From swordsmen to robots, from ancient tribal cultures to civilizations that reach the stars, there is one force that dominates all others: life. From birth to death, and rebirth again, it is life that permeates the soul and opens up to us the mysteries of the universe. Within this tale of the phoenix and those who would be touched by its beauty, we are shown the joys and tragedies that life sometimes hands us, and what we, as humans, must do to survive...
In another world, there exist many countries, each with different cultures, customs, and traditions. From technological marvels to folk legends, each location yields a vast wealth of insight of its people: their hopes and their dreams, their failures and fears. Kino is a traveler whose goal is to visit as many new places as possible, learning about others' ways of life, but also making sure to stay clear of their affairs. Together with the talking motorrad Hermes, Kino sets out to explore the beautiful world and meet its inhabitants, wherever they may be.
This is one of my few recommendations that seems to have no basis, no similarity, and no merit, except my own personal recommendation. Having seen both of these masterpieces, I strongly think that if you liked one, you'd like the other. I can't give you a good reason why... perhaps it was the studying of humanity in such detail, tragedy, and hope? Just trust me... this out.
The one, big label to give both Kino's Journey and Hi no Tori, is "thought provoking". The individual stories have some value of their own, but the only thing that justifies a high score on both is how they present the viewer with ever-difficult questions about mankind and nature. Don't go into either shows expecting smooth, easy entertainment to brush off the day. If you're in the mood for something a little more philosophical however, don't miss out on either of these titles.
Both these episodic series explore various questions about life through their various stories. The varried settings in each series can be seen to represent a different aspect of life or society and is used as a framing device to explore a specific point or question.
Tori is faster paced than Kino but it's also not quite as deep or as detailed. What Tori it lacks in nuance it makes up for in it's more varried settings.
Although I enjoyed Kino's Journey more overall I think if you liked one series then the other is definitely worth checking out.
In the year 2058, mankind is about to take its first leap into the distant reaches of space. Using the resources at the tail end of a comet, massive spaceships will be sent to the corners of the universe in an attempt to colonize other worlds, but due to the length of time it will take to arrive at even the closest solar system, the comets must be destroyed in-flight, resulting in super-fast speeds that will kill any life onboard; only frozen sperm and eggs, and machines will survive the journey. Carrying the unborn children of the Robinsons, the first of these ships must now set forth to Ozma; and with its precious cargo is coupled the hopes and fears of all humanity.
Hi no Tori is epic and brilliantly unique enough that I have only made a single recommendation for it - until this day. Hi no Tori and Space Fantasia 2001 Nights are two peas in a pod, and are quite possibly the best recommendations for each other. Each is an epic journey that spans centuries, combining multiple stories into a narrative that will leave you breathless.
While Hi no Tori does not take place exclusively in space, its last arc will remind you of nothing other than Space Fantasia 2001 Nights.
There's not much more to say: if you liked one, you WILL like the other. There is no doubt in my mind.
Both are epic stories, spanning thousands, even billions of years, in order to show the persistence of life and humanity. The last arc of Hi no Tori is especially reminiscent of 2001, so if that is what struck your fancy, it's worth seeing both.
Both Space Fantasia and Hi no Tori are essentially tales about life. Space Fantasia is about the inhabitation of a different planet in order to make the human race live on, where Hi no Tori focusses more on the question of what eternal life is. If you liked the themes in either of these shows, definitely give the other a watch.
It isn't unusual for a person to feel that the world around them is strange and has unexpected secrets lying just beyond their sight. However, for most people this is just an occasional sensation that greets them upon awakening or chases them into sleep. For the mushi researcher Ginko, it isn't a feeling at all; it is a knowledge which guides his travels and motivates his life. Found in the cracks between what is conceivable and what is not, are the varied life forms collectively known as mushi. They surround us and affect us, but their intensely different nature makes them unrecognizable to most. Ginko brings these life forms into perspective for the lives of those most affected and most in need of an explanation.
Hi no Tori and Mushishi both examine people's prejudices, morality, and beliefs. The story lines are unconnected but each allows a glimpse into people's minds by watching reactions to events out of their control.
Both series contain short drama stories connected by an overarching central character (Ginko and the mushi in Mushi-shi and the Phoenix in Phoenix) in what are otherwise unrelated stories. Both deal with how people act in the special situation created by the mushi or the promise of eternal life in Phoenix and explore the depths of humanity in the process. If you liked one, you should check out the other one.
The dark and brooding Ayakashi is composed of three horror stories: the narration of a young woman named Oiwa who was abandoned and betrayed by the one she truly loved, leading her to curse all who stood in her way; a story of two star-crossed lovers – a human and a forgotten god – and their struggle to have a future together; and the tale of an evil and malicious demon who is haunting and murdering a family for unknown purposes. Though different in animation style and tone, each story shares a similar theme: the darkness of the human heart.
Each anime has several different stories within their genre. Hi no Tori takes on the sci-fi part where Ayakashi takes on horror. Both are sure to please if you are interested in either genre and just wanting to sit down for a quick story that will leave you satisfied.
Tetsuro was orphaned at a young age when his mother was killed by Count Mecha. He dreams of one day earning, or stealing enough money to board the Galaxy Express 999 - the intergalactic train that would take him to the robot planet, where he could cast away his humanity in his quest for vengeance against Count Mecha. Tetsuro soon finds a shortcut towards his desires when he meets the enchanting Maetel while running from the police. Tetsuro finds himself drawn towards this woman that eerily resembles his mother, especially when she offers to take him on the Galaxy Express 999 with her. So begins Tetsuro's intergalactic journey to fulfill his wishes, whatever those wishes may be in the end.
Galaxy Express 999 and Hi no Tori illustrate what it means to be human. The former follows a youth's journey to immortality, a quest marked by various layovers where he encounters characters and philosophies that'll shape his outlook on a finite existence. The latter is an odyssey through the ages of man as witnessed by the titular deity, individual chapters tied by themes of life, freedom and the presence of atavism.
Both features have all the makings of a modern folktale. Hi no Tori focuses on the legend of the Phoenix, passed on by word of mouth and common to primitive and advanced societies alike. Galaxy Express 999 is a sci-fi fairytale, where the impossible is plausible, that trades scientific detail and accuracy for romance.
These are timeless stories and required viewing for anime enthusiasts.