Posted by psgels on 2 January 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews



One thing that I’ve noticed with movies is that they’re often too short: they just don’t have the luxury of TV-series, which can take their time in building up their story. It’s much harder to create an awesome movie than an awesome TV-series because of this. I think that Movies tend to be a bit too ambitious for their own good at times. They should be excellent mediums to adapt short stories, but instead I’ve seen tons of them that try stuff much larger stories into their airtime than what’s good for them.

Now, this may just be me who has a bias for folklore, but holy crap, this movie is really amazing. The Houou chapter of Hi no Tori is THE example of how a movie can be done right.

This movie doesn’t exactly have the best animation (though it’s pretty good nonetheless), and even the setting isn’t that big, the action also isn’t why you should watch this, but on the other hand: it really is storytelling at its finest. Osamu Tezuka wrote a brilliant original story, and Rintaro did an awesome attempt in putting the story into an hour-long movie.

It basically follows two men, with completely different backgrounds, around the 7th century AD. What makes their stories awesome is the way its told, and the excellent characterization of these two. It plays around with tons of morals and values, and both these lead characters go through some very powerful developments. They’re complete anti-heroes, and yet you can see the reasons for their actions and their development.

The pacing is slow, but through one of the best soundtracks I have heard of any movie from the 70s and 80s it really gets the best out of the characters. It’s one of those rare movies that just “works”, thanks to its excellent source material. You also don’t have to worry about overlap with the TV-series of Hi no Tori, which was produced in 2004: apparently Osamu Tezuka wrote so many awesome stories for his Hi no Tori manga that there was plenty to choose from from the anime creators. And here I thought that there couldn’t possibly anymore brilliant stories aside from the ones that the TV-series adapted!

Storytelling: 10/10 – Clever, powerful, excellent pacing. Just about everything went right here.
Characters: 9/10 – For a movie they’re really impressive, and shine in their character-development.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Beautiful art, good animation, fantastic soundtrack.
Setting: 8/10 – In what other anime do you get to see the rise of Buddhism in Japan?

One Response

  1. Perrin4869 says:

    I liked Houou-Hen too, but my personal favorite of the movies was Uchuu-Hen. My least favorite was Yamato-Hen, unless you count 2772, although that one was more aimed at children, so it was to be expected.
    Hi no Tori stories are indeed good. I wonder what Osamu Tezuka had in mind for Hi no Tori, seeing as all his stories were converging into modern age… It’s a shame we’ll never know…

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  • Emma
    (Monday, Jan 26. 2015 11:00 PM)
    There is every bit the chance the first six episodes will be standalone stories and the rest more of a continuous plot.
  • Raggers
    (Monday, Jan 26. 2015 10:33 PM)
    @Aidan: I’m not writing it off completely, but Death Parade is at ep3 and it’s still not clear where it’s going, and it has been far from a smooth ride.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Jan 26. 2015 09:23 PM)
    I did feel that Kino would have been better as just a few ovas, hell girl I think overstretched itself after season 2.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Jan 26. 2015 09:21 PM)
    Well in addition to all I’ve posted/thought about death parade so far, like hell girl mushishi, kino no tabi , Natsume even, eventually I find myself watching the best selection of episodes and not looking into every single one, sometimes I’ll just get fed up with episodic format shows too.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jan 26. 2015 04:03 PM)
    @Raggers, it might have difficulty with a two cour run but a single cour I don’t really think so. Hell Mushi-shi has kept itself going with the same formula for two seasons. Hell girl for three seasons.
  • Raggers
    (Monday, Jan 26. 2015 11:26 AM)
    The problem with Death Parade is that its potential is (at least, appears to be) skin deep. At least I’m having trouble seeing it escalate beyond what we see on the surface, and I doubt new cases will be interesting enough to watch week in, week out.
  • MM
    (Sunday, Jan 25. 2015 06:31 PM)
    Hey. You should watch M3: The dark metal ;)
  • Nyangoro
    (Sunday, Jan 25. 2015 09:33 AM)
    But hey, a step in the right direction is still a step. And I’ll take it. I also like that we’ve learned both can go to the same place, instead of either or.
  • Nyangoro
    (Sunday, Jan 25. 2015 09:32 AM)
    Watched Death Parade’s third episode. Easily the best so far. Significantly better execution, felt a lot less forced. The weight of their situation actually added something to their story, giving the Queen Decim gimmick more purpose. That said, the game itself was still heavily underutilized beyond tangential connection to their living selves. And the setting still needs attention if we’re meant to care about it in and of itself.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Jan 25. 2015 07:32 AM)
    Regarding isuca’s female protagonist, whatever anyone or I thinks or not of her character or design/situations involving her its another case of me wanting to beat her to death with a baseball bat. Not a good sign…

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