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This Week in Anime - Is It Just Me, Or is Tezuka's Phoenix a Jerk?




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Takkun4343



Joined: 19 Jul 2007
Posts: 923
Location: Gahanna, Ohio
PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 4:00 pm Reply with quote
Ugh, no more climate change talk. I know it's important to discuss and all, but I hate that everyone has to treat it with such inevitability, even in the context of fictional works.

Griping I can't seem to shake aside, I'm all for TWIA focusing on older, more obscure series between the usual dips into what's currently airing/just got released onto Netflix. I look forward to the Paranoia Agent rundown.

Little fun fact: the Phoenix actually serves as an element of episode 10 of the Black Jack TV anime, where the titular doctor is hired to operate on a 200-year old man who apparently lived to that age thanks to the Phoenix's blood... so the old man's multi-great-granddaughter can track down the Phoenix and use its blood on herself. spoiler[Turns out the Phoenix is actually just a local bird covered in luminescent bacteria and the old man lived as long as he did through will alone.]
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R. Kasahara
Collector ExtraordinaireCollector Extraordinaire


Joined: 19 Feb 2013
Posts: 267
PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 5:17 pm Reply with quote
Never seen any of the Phoenix anime adaptations, but this makes me want to reread the manga. I'm a little sad that my favorite arc, the weird and wonderful "Nostalgia", wasn't part of this adaptation, but that's another one that could be an entire cour on its own.

Also, agreed with Nick that Spirit Circle is great! It and Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer needed anime versions like yesterday.
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zawa113
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Joined: 19 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 5:51 pm Reply with quote
Yass, Spirit Circle! One of my fav manga from... was that 2018 or 2019 it got released? Whatever, just read it!

Also, shoutouts to mentioning Simoun, one of Media Blaster's best titles (that wasn't already snatched by Discotek anyway, *cough* Twelve Kingdoms). I'm almost wondering if it was too far ahead of its time, the yuri stuff? That's popular NOW, but in the 00s? It was basically unheard of. Granted, you shouldn't just watch Simoun for pure yuri, while it is a large element, it's just a really good character study and scifi fantasy series. If anything, it might not be yuri enough, they never go beyond kissing (and it's only for their magic machines to work, they are somehow powered by lesbian kisses, yes)

So, what's the more pressing issue I took from this. Is it A) Is the Phoenix more evil than the Horrible Goose? or is it B) Was Tezuka definitely a furry? While I think point A has been argued thoroughly to win me over (jerk bird is jerk), let's look at more evidence for Tezuka being a furry, just for fun (yeah, he was probably a furry). There's Bremen 4, Bagi, Wonder 3, Unico, Birdman Anthology, Animal Treasure Island, Wansa-kun, Zero Men and, of course, we cannot possibly forget Men With Tails. And there's probably more I don't know of (and I'm not even counting ones focused on pure animals, like Leo. I can't believe I never connected the dots before, even when his relative discovered all his furry drawings!
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BodaciousSpacePirate
It's Over 9000!It's Over 9000!


Joined: 17 Apr 2015
Posts: 2801
PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2020 1:33 am Reply with quote
zawa113 wrote:
Also, shoutouts to mentioning Simoun, one of Media Blaster's best titles (that wasn't already snatched by Discotek anyway, *cough* Twelve Kingdoms). I'm almost wondering if it was too far ahead of its time, the yuri stuff? That's popular NOW, but in the 00s? It was basically unheard of.


Studio DEEN made Simoun, at least in part, with the intentions of capitalizing on the unexpected crossover market appeal of Maria-sama ga Miteru, which two years prior set the record for highest Japanese home video sales of a yuri/shoujo ai anime title (a record that it still holds due to the respectable sales of its two sequel seasons and five OVAs). They even brought in Mamiko Noto to narrate the beginning of Simoun's first episode, in the hopes of attracting fans of her work as Maria-sama ga Miteru's Shimako.

Sadly, the show didn't have nearly the same sales as DEEN's earlier work: it averaged ~1000 copies a volume in Japan, or about 1/10th of Maria's first season average. Some say that Simoun simply had the misfortune of airing the same season as Madhouse's adaptation of Strawberry Panic, which was much more successful at capturing the attentions of the average yuri fan. Nevertheless, it remains one of my all-time favorite shows, and I'd wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who is interested in seeing some of the best anime episodes that Mari Okada has ever written.

Also, Spirit Circle is fantastic!
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Brand



Joined: 30 Jan 2006
Posts: 1016
PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2020 7:29 am Reply with quote
I am also on the Simoun recommendation train. I've bought that series several times just to give to people.

I'd also add Ode to Kirihito on the Tezuka was a furry train.

I never really liked this adaption of Phoenix. I kind of hate-watched it all, which isn't something I do often.
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jroa



Joined: 08 Aug 2012
Posts: 464
PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:34 am Reply with quote
I happen to like this anime adaptation of Phoenix, truth be told, so a few of the jabs and criticisms in this column tend to fall somewhere between debatable on the merits or simply a little excessive in terms of form.

In a few words, I hope people don't dismiss the show or the manga just because its admittedly cartoonish trappings didn't meet a particular person's standards for how these subjects should be addressed in animation.

Personally, I don't think something needs to be entirely sophisticated and formally subtle in order to be good or even just engaging, whether on an intellectual or emotional level. It can work in multiple ways.

The original manga doesn't necessarily come across as any less moralistic or heavy-handed, as the themes are essentially the same (the Phoenix is, of course, arbitrary and whimsical) and it's not like each specific arc is super long to begin with, so the effectiveness of the message is always largely going to depend on the audience's own mindset.

There are a few adaptation differences but some are arguably for the better. Tezuka does a lot of fourth wall bending or breaking that is fun to read but could be rather distracting in the anime. I suppose you could call that an acquired taste.
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