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
    (Tuesday, May 26. 2015 01:35 AM)
    I’m not seeing anything of interest in the upcoming summer anime season, so I think I’ll be skipping out on it most likely, however the fall season seems to have potential, theres the new lupin out which I can’t wait for, I’m a big tezuka fan and it seems someones coming out with an origin story for blackjack, some seinen horror/demons thing in there too and two murder mystery stories.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, May 26. 2015 01:32 AM)
    @Bam, Nah. Tried that. Thing kept telling me that the blu-ray was acc coded and wouldn’t play. I then tried following steps which were said to fix the problem but it didn’t do a damn thing. Spent nearly 3 hours on this shit.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 26. 2015 12:58 AM)
    @Aidan: yep, Bluray quality is like a sore dick, it’s hard to beat. You should be able to use VLC to play Blurays. What you gotta do is open the folder, find the main menu file using VLC and just run it from there. You do need the right plug-ins but they are usually packaged with the newer VLC and BSPlayers.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, May 26. 2015 12:28 AM)
    Still, in general I don’t really care all that much for video quality so long as I can at least follow whats happening.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, May 26. 2015 12:17 AM)
    Damn…blu-ray anime is something else. It’s all so…clean.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, May 26. 2015 12:13 AM)
    Ah ha! Pirates to the rescue. Found a nice little torrent that’s solved my problem. Yeah no way in hell I was shelling out 80 euro to buy this software.
  • Emma
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 11:53 PM)
    Thats one of the reasons I stopped picking up anime dvds at animecons, started noticing too many of them being sold were on bluray and I don’t have a bluray dvd player and apparently I can’t use my computer for it either…
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 11:37 PM)
    I managed to get something free that can play them, but it isn’t the best. Yep, here I am trying to give something back to anime and I am forced to go though this bullshit. No wonder everyone pirating.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 11:31 PM)
    Well isn’t this fantastic. I go and buy anime blu-ray’s thinking that if I have a blu-ray drive then I can play blu-ray dvds. Low and below apparently you can’t without software. And they is no real working free software that plays blu-rays. So I need to pay money, to get a goddamn program, so I can use my goddamn Blu-ray drive. Serious bullshit sir.
  • Emma
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 09:39 PM)
    Part of the reason I bring this up is because I recall speaking to a Negima fan that told me I didn’t give the series enough of a chance because I dropped it 7 volumes in and because it hadn’t even begun.

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