3.834 out of 5 from 73 votes
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 the distant future, humans are no longer born, they are grown in test tubes and raised by robot companions until adolescence. Determined by genetics and skills at birth, each new member of society is trained for a specific job, from living as a noble to becoming a lowly pilot. For one young man named Godo, his quest for independence will send him across the stars and beyond the reaches of the phoenix, the only creature alive that can help breathe life into the dying Earth...
Nitaro's mother passed before he was old enough to remember her, and after smallpox leaves him blind at a young age he finds a connection to her through music and her shamisen guitar. Happily, Nitaro finds out that he has an aptitude for the shamisen and his skills are soon recognized by a goze (a traveling female bard) who takes it upon herself to teach him the traditional style of play. However he quickly realizes how restrictive this style can be and, frustrated, he begins the long journey to find and perfect his own style of play.