Alt title: Hi no Tori

Vol: 12
1954 - 1988
4.008 out of 5 from 165 votes
Rank #3,705

"All things are born and all things die. That is the law of heaven." According to legend, the Bird of Fire called the Phoenix is the eternal spirit of life, death and rebirth. She oversees the cycle of reincarnation and the rising and falling of civilizations and species. Those who can obtain her blood will be granted eternal life, while to others she can grant infinite wisdom, or eternal suffering. Throughout history, from the dawn of civilization to the extinction of the human race, those human souls touched by the Phoenix have hunted her over and over in multiple reincarnations, and their actions in one life determine or reflect the sins and sufferings of other lifetimes.

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Phoenix is a 12-volumes masterpiece by the legend Tezuka. Each volume/book narrates a different story, but they're all related by characters or simply actions taken in previous volumes. Phoenix is like wine: it gets better with age. I know it's my opinion, but vol. 1 was already enough for me to consider it one of the best manga I've ever read. Also, let's not forget that this is the history of manga, as this project started in 1954. Unfortunately Tezuka died before he could finish the cycle, but I assure you that those 12 volumes are plenty enough to recognize his genius. Plus/minus considerations. STORY: simply sensational. Each volume introduces a different story, linked by the same old character: the Phoenix. Phoenix is a mythical omniscent bird which grants immortality and rejuvenation to whoever is able to kill it and drink its blood. This will push human will to its limits trying to achieve the unachievable (the hunt of the legendary creature), exposing the best and worst traits of mankind. Tezuka does a magnificent job combining such innocent art style with mature themes, including war, religion, family and science. To be able to alternate action, comedy, drama and plot twists like he does, you really need to be a great writer. Oh boy, the plot twists in these books are something amazing. When you think the story is already great as it is, a new twist not only is able to surprise you in positive, but it makes the story better: at that point you understand you're reading something truly special. (+++) ART: unique. Take the best shots from the early 30-40s Disney works, improve them with a personal touch and the result is Tezuka's style. Phoenix is no exception. The ease with which he can draw an animal being hunted, humans' heads chopped off, kids dying: he makes everything look so natural because of his cartoonish style, so that even kids can scroll pages and see the images. Unfortunately they won't be able to understand how dark those stories are. (+++) CHARACTERS: amazing. It doesn't matter if every volume narrates a different story because every main, secondary and even minor character feels so special and unique that you'll immediately like or dislike it to a point where you get emotional and feel like you relate to it. The most imporant detail for me is the humanity (virtues and flaws) behind every single character. The only exception in this manga is Phoneix, as universal being, always makes the right choice and it's never wrong. (+++) Although I think some books are better than others, I'm not really into fedal Japan for example, I believe all the stories compensate and I'm sure you'll find your favorite one. If you're not used to Tezuka works it'll be hard for you to get into his art style, but once you're comfortable with it, you're ready to full immerge yourself in the stories. And that's when the manga really gets good. Phoenix is easily in my top 3 along with Hokuto no Ken and Oyasumi Punpun, please treat this literary beauty well.

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