2.20.2010

Phoenix / The Complete Collection : 5 of 5

"Life itself is that which never ends" is the overarching theme of this beautiful, philosophical, and supremely entertaining anime based on Osamu Tezuka's manga masterpiece. I rented and completely enjoyed this series in 2008, and finally got the boxed set for Christmas this year and loved every minute of watching it again! It's rare that I review something twice, but I just had to mention this series again, which actually does justice to one of the best manga ever created, and gives me such a peaceful, healing feeling. Without going into detail that I've covered before, Phoenix combines stories of the ancient past with tales of the extreme future, linked by the godlike Phoenix (firebird or Hi no Tori) who represents the resilience of life. I tried to notice new details in each story, since it had been just long enough for me to be surprised at dramatic events. I loved the moment that Nagi finally calls Saruta father in The Dawn, and smiled at how cute and kind Chihiro the robot is in The Resurrection. The story of the nun Bikuni and her never-ending time cycle makes The Transformation such a creative self-contained episode, and of course the long saga of the wolf-faced Ingugami in The Sun is simply epic. I was amazed all over again at the battle scene - while human armies fight on the ground, the spirits of Buddhism and Shintoism war above the clouds! Finally, I took note of how The Future was expertly edited from the manga version (removing all scenes in the underground cities), although I would love to see a longer version. But this story of Masato, who lives billions of years to see the recreation of life on the dead Earth, is unbelievably moving, and does such a wonderful job of summarizing the theme of the anime. Tezuka was a brilliant treasure, and I think he would have completely approved of this incredible adaptation of his life's work. I'm so glad to have this anime in my collection and I'm looking forward to watching it and being moved all over again!