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Phoenix 2772
Image via Wikipedia

Space Firebird 2772, or Phoenix 2772, is a 1980 film based on Osamu Tezuka’s Hi no Tori manga. 

I remember enjoying this film a lot in previous years, but it has not aged well.  Unlike the still fabulous Galaxy Express 999, Space Firebird 2772 now feels very derivative of Fantasia and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis [1]. As a result the once state of the art animation now feels somewhat clunky, although some sequences do still work well.

Another issue is that despite the story retaining my attention, and that of a housemate, Space Firebird 2772 feels emotionally flat in many ways, without enough character development. 

I suspect that this may be due to the compression of the manga adaptation: storylines that had emotional resonance in the original manga were edited to the point of being little more than signals to those who have read the manga.

This is a pity because Space Firebird 2772 tackles some fairly serious themes of love and sacrifice, including both the rebirth of the Phoenix and the willing sacrifice of the Fisher King to save the realm.

In essence this may well be an example of how not to do a manga adaptation.

Given the themes, and the number of supporting characters killed off along the way, I’m surprised that the local Madman release scored a G rating, I would have expected a PG.

Equally surprising is the presence of an extra on the DVD in the form of the original Japanese trailer [2].

This is still worth a look, but mostly for historical interest and hard core Tezuka fans will appreciate it more.  

Day 1 – New Kimagure Orange Road: Summer’s Beginning (1996)
Day 2 – Naruto Shippuden The Movie (2002)
Day 3 – Galaxy Express 999 (1979)
Day 4 – Steamboy (2004)
Day 5 – Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer (1984)
Day 6 – Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)
Day 7 – Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
Day 8 – Ah! My Goddess: The Movie (2000)
Day 9 – Summer Wars (2009)
Day 10 – Macross: Do You Remember Love? (1984)
Day 11 – Silent Mobius I (1991) & II (1992)
Day 12 – Space Firebird 2772 (1980)
Day 13 – ???
Day 14 – ???
Day 15 – ???
Day 16 – ???
Day 17 – ???
Day 18 – ???
Day 19 – ???
Day 20 – ???

 



[1] Metropolis is something of a recurring theme for Tezuka given that he also wrote a Metropolis manga.  This then became the basis for the Rintaro directed anime movie (which I don’t have).


[2] It isn’t a very good trailer.  I suspect that it was squarely targeted at the manga fans as a “We got all your favourite bits” trailer.