"All things are born and all things die. That is the law of heaven." According to legend, the Bird of Fire called the Phoenix is the eternal spirit of life, death and rebirth. She oversees the cycle of reincarnation and the rising and falling of civilizations and species. Those who can obtain her blood will be granted eternal life, while to others she can grant infinite wisdom, or eternal suffering. Throughout history, from the dawn of civilization to the extinction of the human race, those human souls touched by the Phoenix have hunted her over and over in multiple reincarnations, and their actions in one life determine or reflect the sins and sufferings of other lifetimes.
Note: This is an incomplete series due to Tezuka's death.
Hi no Tori was published in English as Phoenix in 11 volumes by VIZ Media under the VIZ Signature imprint from March 12, 2003 to September 18, 2007. Previous to this, it had had a brief run in the educational publication Mangajin, from May to July, 1992 (issues #17 - #19).
Phoenix by the god of manga himself Osamu Tezuka is more than a masterpiece. It is a piece of art that everyone should read. Even people who don't read manga should read these stories because they deserve so much more praise than what they have now and should be know as one of the greatest series of all time
Story:10. this manga is split into many different stories in various settings switching back and forth between the past and the future but all the stories have the Phoenix present in some way, shape or form. Each story
has a underlying theme in them which include absolute power corrupts absolutely, love can make people do terrible things and people wanting religious freedom just to name a few. Each story is told beautifully from the setup all the way to the conclusion each story brings something new to the table and don't feel like a rehash of other stories in the series
Art: 8. not much to say about the art. It does its job well is consistent throughout the manga but the backgrounds in the manga look amazing so does the design of the Phoenix
Characters: 9. each main character in each story are written very well there was no character in any of the stories that I didn't like (expect for the villains) while not all of them were written all well as other characters (such as benta who I think is the weakest written main character in the series but he does serve his purpose in the story) each one is unique and different from the other main characters. My favorite character is inugami from the sun story his character is written extremely well showing his struggles in his life and how he overcomes them. Other main characters that are very well written are Gao from the karma story and Masato from the Future story
Enjoyment: 10. I enjoyed every story in this series some were written better than others I still love what each story had to offer with it's deep themes and characters every story kept me engaged and wanting to know what happened next
Overall: 10. this manga is the closest thing I've seen to a perfect story that I have ever read it's a true masterpiece no other story that I have read has come close to the storytelling of Phoenix everyone who is reading this I beg of you read this manga this is one of the most important manga in history and more people need to read it if you can't afford the actual volumes (because some of them are crazy expensive) don't worry mangafox has the whole thing but if you can buy a volume or two because you seriously won't regret it
The god of manga, Osamu Tezuka, is rightfully considered the greatest mangaka to ever live. The likes of Hirohiko Araki, Naoki Urasawa, Kentarou Miura, and Yoshihiro Togashi would presumably never have ascended to the status they engross without his venerable craft. Indeed, the notion of anime and manga themselves have been drastically altered due to his illustrious presence within the industry. Tezuka is not solely a man who revolutionized two of the three predominant mediums of Japanese storytelling, but also a bastion of morale, who imbued his crumbling nation with a newfound zeal following the second world war. Out of the myriad manga he created,
several have been more influential, but none more prestigious and expertly written than his bonafide masterpiece Pheonix.
Phoenix is not a traditional narrative transpiring in a singular temporal realm; rather, Pheonix follows the rise and fall of nations, great paragons, reincarnations of said paragons, and ideals throughout the past in the present, all revolving around the pursuit of a great phoenix, in possession of the oracular knowledge sleeping behind the illusory veneer of the human condition. It follows several key actors as, transcending time and space much akin to the Phoenix itself, they attempt to achieve eternal life and satisfy the human longing for the divine. Its a story of religious customs eradicated and rationalization's reification. Its a story about the decline of the human heart set to the backdrop of precocious technological innovation. Its story is not just poignant; it's timeless. It bespeaks itself of a particular quality that solely a storytelling savant could weave.
Many are understandably apprehensive about reading this work, due to Tezuka-san's unfortunate demise leaving the narrative "unfinished". However, I fervently, and perhaps presumptuously, posit that this state of eternal incompletion is what indeed completes the narrative. The purpose of Pheonix is not to delineate the crusade of humanity's perfervid champions, who, after transcending the notions of space and time, captured the Pheonix and pillaged its arcane secrets. The purpose of Pheonix bespeaks why the Pheonix will forever elude humanity. The Pheonix is a metaphor for Aletheia, always fleeting, always spurious. The Pheonix does not exist, has never existed, and never will exist. The Pheonix is humanity's cultivator, destroyer. The Pheonix is nothing but an abstraction of an ideal of pertaining to the sustainment and comprehension of the human condition. In order to make sense of the world, humans break each other's hearts. In order to satisfy our longing for immortalize ourselves, we kill each other. And that is why we are exiled from paradise. That is why Aletheia eludes us. That is why the Pheonix will no longer share its wisdom.
Simply, the Pheonix remarks upon a paradox; humanity's eradicating of itself in pursuit of eternal life. A complete "Pheonix" would simply be nothing more than an incomplete "Pheonix".
Pheonix does not possess the greatest storytelling you will ever see. Nor does it possess the greatest characters. Other comics - JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Berserk, Watchmen, Monster, to name but a few - have achieved much higher dramatic heights. However, the Dostoyevskian and Homerian prowess of Tezuka's ability to glance at the heart of the human condition and construct such a bittersweet eulogy to times long past, to epochs never known, to human longing, in the parturition of a machine doctrine of thought and life, is unrivaled by all to ever contemplate engaging in the art of comic. A frenetic, laconic magnum opus crafted by one of the greatest literary minds in history, Pheonix is perhaps one of the greatest literary works to emerge from Japan.
It is no surprise that the father of anime, Osamu Tezuka, has written such a perfect manga. As obscure as the series is, Phoenix is one of the best manga series known to the world. The art may be dated but the storyline is what makes this series amazing. Each volume has a different story, but contains the same motif: a struggle to gain immortality.
The first volume came out in the 1960's so the art style is much different than today's manga styles. At first, one may not think this series came from Japan because the characters look a lot like Betty Boop. The
Tezuka's style exaggerates the characters but the backgrounds are drawn nicely. Those who aren't into the Astro boy style may not enjoy the artwork, but you'll get used to it.
Some characters are introduced in more than one volume through reincarnations, but most are strictly in one volume. The story jumps from past to future of people trying to gain the phoenix's blood. Each story to each volume is different, which is excellent because it shows how different people wish to obtain the phoenix. Also, it shows Tezuka's creativity. There are many hooks and suspense that make the reader want to read more. There are a variety of characters and their personalities are developed. Though, this series is incomplete due to Tezuka's death, it is still enjoyable.
The volumes are a lot thicker than regular manga, but the price to each volume is only an few extra dollars. It was released in North America recently, so one can easily find it in libraries and bookstores. Two volumes are packed into one for some of the Viz releases, making the series more affordable.
Those who like sci-fi, or historical manga would love this series. The artwork may be simplistic and not the greatest, but the storyline is very deep. It's a shame this series hasn't gotten the attention it deserves because it belongs on every manga fan's bookshelf. Be sure to pick it up.