Anthropology of Anime and Manga

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E-Mail Yutaka Yamada: tamayu@aol.com

Osamu Tezuka's "Phoenix" (Hi no Tori)

The 12 volume manga series, "Phoenix" (火の鳥), is the life work of the great anime and manga master of Japan, Osamu Tezuka (手塚治虫 1928-1989). Tezuka began writing Phoenix in the mid-1960s and worked on it until the end of his life in 1989. Tezuka, a former medical doctor, is one of the greatest anime and manga masters of post World War II Japan. His nicknames range from the "God of Manga" to "Walt Disney of Japan". He is also well known as the creator of mega hit anime and manga, "Astro Boy" (Tetsuwan Atomu 鉄腕アトム), "Black Jack", "Adolph" , "Kimba the White Lion" and "Buddha".

The myth / folklore of gaining immortality through drinking the blood of the phoenix is one of the core themes of the narrative. This masterpiece of visual narrative depicts the quest of immortality among many heroes and heroines of the Japanese past as well as the future. The symbolic narrative elaborates on the socio-political theme of injustice, exploitation of masses by the elite, the futility of war, the meaning of art, fate (e.g. Karma), reincarnation and consciousness. The story also touches upon biological and environmental themes such as the significance of evolution, ecology and procreation. The characters such as aliens (e.g. Moopie), androids and robots (e.g. Olga and Robita) appear to illustrate the fantasic nature of the story.

The historical period covered by the phoenix cycle includes: Yayoi Period 弥生時代 ("Dawn"), Kofun Period 古墳時代 ("Yamato"), Asuka Period 飛鳥時代 ("The Sun"), Nara Period 奈良時代 ("Karma"), Heian Period 平安時代 ("Turbulent Times"), Muromachi Period 室町時代 ("Strange Beings") and future ("A Tale of the Future", "Space", "Resurrection", "Nostalgia", "Life" and "The Sun"). (See chart below) Phoenix is a fascinating example of Japanese anime, manga / graphic novel that utilizes mythological metaphors and symbols to express Japanese as well as "universal" cosmology, world view and ethos.

Kadokawa Shoten (角川書店) of Japan published the complete Japanese language 12 volume phoenix series in 1986, 1987, 1992 and 2003. In September 2007, Viz Media in the United States of America has completed a translation of the twelve volumes of “Phoenix” into English (see titles below). As of October 2007, 17 episodes of Phoenix have been made into anime. The anime entitled, "Phoenix 2772", (火の鳥愛のコスモゾーン) (1980) is widely available with English subtitles. In 2004, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation 日本放送協会) broadcasted 12 anime episodes of Phoenix. The contents and plots of some of the NHK Phoenix Anime differ significantly from the original Manga (e.g. Resurrection). See below for the complete list of Phoenix Anime series.

Japanese Original



Key: jt=Japanese title, et=English title, hp=historical period, m=magazine, p=Publisher, #ISBN number


1967 "Reimei" (jt) "Dawn" (et) COM (m), Mushi Pro. (p)
Yayoi Period (hp)

1967-1968 "Mirai" (jt) A Tale of the Future (et) COM (m), Mushi Pro. (p)
35th C AD (hp)

1968-1969 "Yamato" (jt & et) COM (m), Mushi Pro. (p)
Kofun Period (hp)

1969 "Uchu" (jt) "Space (et) COM (m), Mushi Pro. (p)
26th C AD (hp)

1969-1970 "Hoou" (jt) "Karma" (et) COM (m), Mushi Pro. (p)
Nara Period (hp)

1970-1971 "Fukkatsu" (jt) "Resurrection" (et) COM (m), Mushi Pro.(p)
25th C, 31st C and 34th C AD (hp)

1971 "Hagoromo" (jt) "Robe of Feathers" (et) COM (m), Mushi Pro.(p)
Unspecified past (hp)

1973 "Ransei" (jt) "Turbulent Times" (et) Vol. 1 COM (m), Mushi Pro. (p)
Heian Period (hp)

1976 "Bookyo" (jt) "Nostalgia (et) Manga Shonen (m), Asahi Sonorama.(p)
Unspecified future

1978-1980 "Ransei" (jt) "Turbulent Times" (et) Vol. 2 Manga Shonen (m), Asahi Sonorama. (p)
Heian Period (hp)

1980 "Seimei" (jt) "Life" (et) Manga Shonen (m), Asahi Sonorama.(p)
Unspecified future (hp)

1981 "Igyo" (jt) "Strange Beings (et) Manga Shonen (m), Asahi Sonorama.(p)
Muromachi Period (hp)

1986-1988 "Taiyo" (jt) "The Sun" (et) Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 The Wild Age (m), Kadokawa (p)
Asuka Period and the 21st C AD (hp)

English Translations



2002 Phoenix: A Tale of the Future
Viz Media LLC. #159116026XX
"Mirai" (jt)

2003 Phoenix: Dawn
Viz Media LLC. #1569318689
"Reimei" (jt)

2003 Phoenix: Yamato / Space
Viz Media LLC. #1591161002
"Yamato" (jt) and "Uchuu" (jt)

2004 Phoenix: Karma
Viz Media LLC. #1591163005
"Hoou" (jt)

2004 Phoenix: Resurrection
Viz Media LLC. #1591165938
"Fukkatsu" (jt)

2006 Phoenix: Nostalgia (Vol.6)
Viz Media LLC #1421502585
"Bookyo" (jt)

2006 Phoenix: Civil War Vol.1 (Vol.7)
Viz Media LLC #1421505177
"Ransei" (jt)

2006 Phoenix: Civil War Vol.2 and Robe of Feathers (Vol.8)
Viz Media LLC #1421505185
"Ransei" and "Hagoromo" (jt)

2006 Phoenix: Strange Beings / Life (Vol.9)
Viz Media LLC #1421505193
"Igyo" (jt) / "Seimei" (jt)

2007 Phoenix: Sun Part 1 (Vol.10)
Viz Media LLC #1421509725
"Taiyo" (jt)

2007 Phoenix: Sun Part 2 (Vol.11)
Viz Media LLC #1421509730
"Taiyo" (jt)

Phoenix Anime Series



1978 "Reimei", Toho

1980 "Phoenix 2772" (Ai no Cosmo Zone), Tezuka Production, Toho

1986 "Hoou", Tezuka Production, Kadokawa, Tohoku Shinsha

1987 "Uchuu", Toho, Kadokawa, Tohoku Shinsha

1987 "Yamato", Tezuka Production, Toho, Kadokawa, Tohoku Shinsha

2004 (April to June)
"Dawn" -- 4 episodes, NHK TV
"Resurrection" --1 episode, NHK TV
"Strange Being"--1 episode, NHK TV
"The Sun"---4 episodes, NHK TV
"The Tale of the Future" -- 2 episodes, NHK TV

Phoenix Links



English Phoenix Links

Tezuka profile.
http://www.awn.com/mag/issue3.5/3.5pages/3.5leger.html

Tezuka biography.
http://www.japan-zone.com/modern/tezuka_osamu.shtml

IMDB.COM's Tezuka biography. (Good database for anime and films.)
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0856804/bio

Tezuka's wikipedia link
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_%28manga%29

Introductions to Tezuka's works in English.
http://tezukainenglish.com/bm/series/phoenix/phoenix-manga/index.shtml

Japanese Phoenix Links (In Japanese)

NHK (Japan Public Broadcasting) Phoenix anime of 2004 webpage.
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/anime/hinotori/

Kadokawa publishing company's webpage.
http://www.kadokawa.co.jp/sp/200403-07/

Detailed chronology of Tezuka's works.
http://www.phoenix.to/54/54-18.html

Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum in Hyogo prefecture.
http://www.city.takarazuka.hyogo.jp/tezuka/index.htm

Summary of Phoenix plots.
http://homepage3.nifty.com/KN6/sub1.htm

Summary of Phoenix plots.
http://www.bekkoame.ne.jp/~takeboh/hinotori/

手塚 治虫先生 漫画 「火の鳥」シリーズ和文記述



Key: jt=日本語タイトル, et=英語タイトル, hp=時代, m=雑誌名, p=出版社, #=ISBN 番号


1967 (昭和42年) 「黎明編」 (jt), "Dawn" (et), COM (m), 虫プロ商事 (p)
弥生時代 (hp)

1967-1968 (昭和42-43年) 「未来編」 (jt), "A Tale of the Future" (et), COM (m), 虫プロ商事 (p)
35世紀 (hp)

1968-1969 (昭和43-44年) 「大和編」 (jt), "Yamato" (et), COM (m), 虫プロ商事 (p)
古墳時代 (hp)

1969 「宇宙編」 (昭和44年) (jt), "Space (et), COM (m), 虫プロ商事 (p)
26世紀(hp)

1969-1970 (昭和44-45年) 「鳳凰編」 (jt), "Karma" (et), COM (m), 虫プロ商事 (p)
奈良時代 (hp)

1970-1971 (昭和45-46年) 「復活編」 (jt), "Resurrection" (et), COM (m), 虫プロ商事(p)
25世紀、31世紀と34世紀(hp)

1971 (昭和45年) 「羽衣編」 (jt), "Robe of Feathers" (et), COM (m), 虫プロ商事(p)
未定の過去 (hp)

1973 (昭和48年) 「乱世編」 (jt), "Turbulent Times" (et), Vol. 1 COM (m), 虫プロ商事(p)
平安時代 (hp)

1976 (昭和51年) 「望郷編」 (jt), "Nostalgia (et), マンガ小年 (m), 朝日ソノラマ(p)
不確定未来

1978-1980 (昭和53-55年) 「乱世編」 (jt), "Turbulent Times" (et), Vol. 2 マンガ少年 (m), 朝日ソノラマ (p)
平安時代 (hp)

1980 (昭和55年) 「生命編」 (jt), "Life" (et), マンガ少年 (m), 朝日ソノラマ(p)
不確定未来 (hp)

1981 (昭和56年) 「異形編」 (jt), "Strange Beings (et), マンガ少年 (m), 朝日ソノラマ(p)
室町時代 (hp)

1986-1988 (昭和61-63年) 「太陽編」 (jt), "The Sun" (et), Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 野生時代 (m), 角川書店 (p)
飛鳥時代と21世紀(hp)

Notes



(N1) Yayoi Period: approximately 300 BC to 250 AD.

(N1) Kofun Period: about 3rd C AD to 6th C AD.

(N2) Asuka Period (The Age of Reform): 552 AD to 710 AD.

(N3) Nara Period: 710 AD to 794 AD.

(N4) Heian Period: 794 AD to 1185 AD.

(N5) Muromachi Period: about 1336 AD to 1573 AD.

E-Mail Yutaka Yamada: tamayu@aol.com

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Updated 01/21/2012