Posted by psgels on 21 November 2006 with categories: Anime Reviews

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When I found out that this was a case-based anime (as in a collection of individual, unrelated stories, sharing a common theme. Think Mushishi, Jigoku Shoujo and Bartender) I just had to check it out, as it’s one of my favourite genres. Now that I’ve watched it, I can really say that I’m SO glad that I gave this anime a chance. It’s brilliant!

It’s annoying, though. I’ve got so much to say about this wonderful anime, but I’ll refrain from doing so for the sake of spoilers. One of the great things about this collection of stories is its element of surprise. Every episode delivers themes you don’t just think of in one or two moments. The stories are just full of creativity, and they left me hungry for more after each single episode. It’s really best if you just watch this show without having seen or heard anything about it.

Hi no Tori, or in English, Phoenix, consists out of five unique stories, ranging from 1 to 4 episodes. Its main theme is life, but there’s so much more than that. It’s similar to Ningyo no Mori, though it’s way less restricted by the rules it set for itself and made perfect use of this. It’s true that the Phoenix’ blood does bring eternal life, but this anime carries this a bit further than just that. You’ll understand when you watch it. The long stories tell tales of heroes and battles between huge armies, surrounded by events you really can’t see coming, combined with a healthy chunk of atmosphere. The short stories grab one very creative idea, and start toying with it. The results really moved me like no other anime has ever accomplished. (Note: not necessarily that they brought up heavy emotions, more like a huge satisfaction, or utter surprise).

Still, when you start to watch this anime, there’s one thing that will immediately catch your eye: the art. If you only judge on the first episode, you wouldn’t suspect that this anime is from 2004, as it looks really old. Well, let’s just say that you don’t have to worry. I’m not sure why the creators decided this, but the art turns better with every story. And I really mean that significantly. When the fourth arc arrived, I was so surprised at the huge difference from the art-quality, when compared with the first story. The same goes for the music. As the anime progresses, it just starts sounding better and better.

Overall, this is another one of those unknown beauties. If you like thought-provoking stories, I’m definitely recommending you to check this out. My personal favourite episodes were 7 and 13. Episode 7 contained one brilliant concept, while episode 13 really goes further than any other anime has ever gone before. Much further. If you don’t believe me, just watch it, and you’ll understand.

5 Responses

  1. headachebaby says:

    I brought the anime for $20 at Best Buy and I liked it a lot. The various stories are interesting. My favorite is the second story where the main character is brought back to life…it’s thought provoking how he comes back to life.

  2. PL says:

    any idea where i might find the torrent for this one?

  3. AshortDeparture says:

    One of the reasons attributing to the underlying complexity of the series is a little man named Tezuka, who was the creator of the original manga and described it as his life’s work. It’s available in English under the moniker “Pheonix” with each story arch constituting a different volume in the series. The more you know.

  4. Cosmic Brain says:

    The anime is a butchered adaptation of the manga. It is unfaithful to Tezuka’s vision. If you really liked the anime, then the manga will blow you away.

    For example, the anime adaptation of Vol. 2: Future cut out over half the story. While the animation is good, the story has become extremely shallow and void of Tezuka’s original vision.

    Also, my favorite Volume is #4: Karma. Check that one out too.

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  • Mikey
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 03:58 AM)
    Well looks like Fate HA got the 100% Edited and QC’d patch. So time to go play it.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 02:25 AM)
    @Wyatt: I believe initially I got a kick out princess lover then got bored when they did a piss poor job of trying to give it some kind of plot later on.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 01:59 AM)
    @Realist: I don’t believe I am familiar with that manga, love tyrant.
    @Wyatt: Been there, done that.
    @Realist: Luring the viewer into a false sense of security with a happy, deceptive start if done right can work.
    @Realist: Ergo proxy was atmospheric, creepy, well plotted, violent and well drawn and I still love the cyberpunk feel, the ending and silly episode however were a letdown.
  • ninjarealist
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 01:30 AM)
    @AidanAK47 @Emma What’s y’alls opinions on “Love Tyrant”?
  • ninjarealist
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 01:07 AM)
    @WyattX Ergo Proxy is sort of like that. It starts out really dark and the most light-hearted episodes come later on in the series. But it’s by no means a straight trajectory from dark to light. I for one am a sucker for shows that start out light and get dark and am glad it is trending right now. This has been a breakout season for that type of show.
  • WyattX
    (Wednesday, Nov 26. 2014 07:34 PM)
    Just watch it for how fracking trashy it is. “It’s so bad, it’s good” is a huge understatement. Go through the series in order for the full effect you’ll get when you watch the OVAs. Just pure gold.
  • WyattX
    (Wednesday, Nov 26. 2014 07:23 PM)
    I recommend you watch Princess Lover then watch the OVAs. The series itself is relatively normal (although crap) but the OVA are hentai. You get to see the hilarious jump from non-h to hentai as the main character turns into a hungry sex addict and tries to get into the heroine’s pants every five seconds when he HAD acted like a gentleman the entire series. LOL
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Nov 26. 2014 01:02 PM)
    Generally later on when alot of comedies need to wrap things up they try to force in a plot so they can get some kind of ending. I know, agree its generally terrible, some of the drama later in toradora for example made me want to detusk a walrus in frustration.
  • WyattX
    (Wednesday, Nov 26. 2014 09:27 AM)
    What is it with light comedies trying to turn melodramatic as the series gets stretched out? What if we did the reverse? Let’s say theoretically that it happened to Tsubasa Chronicle. It would start out melodramatic as usual, then devolve into a simple, light slapstick comedy and forget about the story. People would lose their minds.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Nov 26. 2014 07:44 AM)
    Here I take a second look at time of eve/eve no jiken: http://emma-hime.deviantart.com/art/Review-Time-of-eve-496663893

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