Posted 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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  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Aug 21. 2014 02:43 PM)
    @Bam, did you honestly compare anime production to slavery? Slavery was an ethical issue. Shitty entertament is not an ethical issue. As Raggers said, you can whine and bitch all you want but unless you plan to brainwash the entire consumer base ain’t nothing gonna change.
  • Raggers
    (Thursday, Aug 21. 2014 02:14 PM)
    The main problem here isn’t the producers but the consumers of anime. The money is with the fanservice and shitty shounen, and anime is expensive to produce. Far better that we get a few great shows each season, paid for by the rubbish ones, than we get middling mediocrity everywhere.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Aug 21. 2014 01:56 PM)
    You can justify your call to indifference, after all it’s much easier than doing anything.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Aug 21. 2014 01:56 PM)
    That’s fine, let them have their pandering shows and whatnot, just don’t squander the ones that have potential. I’m sure there are a lot of people that told the blacks that “whining is futile” and just accept slavery as a way of life. And they were right untill someone did something about it. Animation as a medium was deemed as for kids only, again till a few did something about it.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Aug 21. 2014 01:52 PM)
    As for why they aim for teenagers most of the time it’s because it’s the time where it will hit the most demographics. Aim for kids and you knock out the adults. Aim for adult and you knock out the kids. Aim for teenagers and you get both as Kids look forward to being teens and Adults generally have a nostalgia for the golden days(So to speak)
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Aug 21. 2014 01:47 PM)
    The greats are great because they are rare. Whining about a lack of quailty is a futility. Because these things arn’t made using creativity, they are made using money to get money.
    Besides, Pandering entertainment can still be entertaining in its own way
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Aug 21. 2014 01:43 PM)
    @Bam, somehow I think you don’t get it. We arn’t almost near anything.
    Being a fan is always a matter of wading through the garbage to find gold. A film fan must put up with the michel bays, amercain pies and that one romantic comedy movie that they keep remaking to get the kubriks. Music fans need to put up with those songs that sound like 50 other songs to get the greats. Video game fans, the sequels and knock offs to get the Okami’s. It’s the same.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Aug 21. 2014 01:14 PM)
    It is indeed human to rebel against what we cannot accept, but in this case specially, because it feels that we are almost there but somehow we keep getting further. We get the talents together and then they bomb. Most unfortunate.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Aug 21. 2014 01:11 PM)
    My advice is, stop being in denial. It’s all well and good that you believe that if the public demands intelual shows, they will get them. Thing is if they did we would not be getting a third season fo dog days. Face it man, we are lucky to get even a Mushishi.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Aug 21. 2014 01:10 PM)
    Yeah but psgels’ taste is closer to ours so we should be able to hub here and share our love as well as disdain of shows freely here.

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