Phoenix 2772 starts with twelve minutes without dialogue, much like a silent film, recalling the birth and education of Godo. In this brave new world, children are born in test tubes and are raised by computers and robots. Godo learns the skills that will make him into a great pilot, assisted by the robotic wonder Olga. Everything that Godo needs is provided for him until he eventually goes for training with his automaton companion. He soon realizes that the world is not what he expected...
Hi no Tori or Phoenix or Firebird is one of those end seventies/eighties movies which worth a look. it is a work of Tezuka (Astro le petit robot, Blackjack, Leo Lion King...) whom is often regarded as the father of Manga!! I was therefore rather curious to watch this anime.
The story depicts a dystopia : A young pilot living in a society with genetic engineered individuals born for a precise purpose and belonging to specific classes has to find a mysterious being called 2772... What could that be?
Obviously the story and the art itself have many influences from movies or
novels : 2001, Alien, a brave new world... which is a positive aspect.
Art and animation are truly wonderful even by today's standards, and the animation can easily match Disney's movies. I was amazed by some scenes and the fluidity of the animation. Back at that time, every frames had to be drawn by hand!! Besides, some of you will recognize Tezuka classic characters (Black jack, the big nose researcher, the Walrus like old man...)
The score is definitely a great feature of this movie. Wondrous classic music played by a symphonic orchestra conveys strong feelings and ideas even without word. Some parts of the movie are even speechless to let you appreciate this musical work.
This anime addresses many issues and concepts even if I feel it was made for a young audience : Love, struggle for power, ecology, the superficiality of the bourgeoisie, prejudice and ignorance of politics...
There are only 2 downsides : the humourous counterpart characters (2 funny creatures) which are quite often irritating and the rather Oedipal idea underlying the relation of the characters.
Overall this Movie really deserves your interest, no matter your age or generation as it raises many questions and let you pondering it while listening to a magnificent melody.
PS : for French speakers, the anime is dubbed very well in French. Excellent voice acting.
Round two with Tezuka (father of manga, creator of Astro Boy) is done. The first go was Umi no Triton, which was a total disaster. Going into this, thoughts were not high from his work turned to animation, and maybe his creations were a thing of the past (60s Astro Boy). However, this is not the case. Firebird 2772 is an animation masterpiece to say the least. If anybody has seen Disney’s Snow White, know of Betty Boop 20’s animation, Fantasia; then put all the best aspects of those films and shows, put a little sci-fi anime twist, and you got yourself Hi no Tori
The animation brings back the pure simplistic art with creative character designs reminiscent of the 1920’s. Sound is accompanied by full a full symphonic orchestra leading every scene to epic proportions. Even when the two cartoon comic-relief characters have their own music performances to give an ever intense movie a break from the action.
2772 starts out very much like a silent movie, with only the screen and music telling the story of how our main protagonist, Godo, is created, grows, and assigned his job in the dystopian society that the world is in. What is Godo’s job, but to train in order to find and catch something? That something happens to be a firebird somewhere out in space. What is the firebird and why? One of the best aspects of this film is not just the animation, but learning as Godo learns. The struggle of Godo throughout all points in his life and the journey he must take along the way.
The one major shortcoming is the lack of character reasoning. If you were raised from birth like a robot, wouldn’t you act like a robot? We never really grasp why Godo turns out the way he does as well as some of the other characters, which is only nitpicking at this point. 2772 is a fantastic work in animations, music, and story always making the anime fan want more. So go out and watch it.
Even though Tezuka is held up on a high pedestal, as one of the the most important creators in all of manga and anime history, if you dig down into his works, turns there's plenty of bad mixed in with the good. He was just so prolific, so many stories he produced over the years.
Fortunately, 2772 turned out to be one of his better works. And this movie is a minor cinematic gem worth watching.
In the distant future, a young boy is raised with only one goal in mind: to become a
space pilot. Earth is slowly dying, and the world has been divided into the small fortunate elites, and everyone else. At first tasked with a mission to capture the enigmatic space firebird (2772), but then tossed into a hellish prison for the sin of seducing one of the elites, he finds a way to escape, assemble a rag-tag group of companions in search of the firebird and Earth's salvation.
Some of the most impressive features of this movie include the orchestral score, which works well with the animation, and the musical interludes are among the best parts to watch. It also features a sympathetic protagonist, and a clear "quest" type storyline and clear resolution.
However, it also suffers from some of Tezuka's omnipresent flaws. For example, his tendency to re-use the same character designs over and over again in different works (e.g. Dr. Black Jack, the Professor) - I know his justification for it (as a "cast of actors playing parts"), but no matter the justification that doesn't make it any less annoying. Also, Tezuka can get a little preachy at times, but at least he is able to successfully pair death with rebirth in his Phoenix stories. And, of course, the mixing in of the silly characters with the serious ones can also be off-putting (the worst part of this is the "Star Wars cantina" menagerie of creatures on his first extraplanetary visit. Ugh.)
But while an imperfect film, it remains worth watching, as one of Tezuka's stronger works.