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Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix Manga Gets New Stage Play in July

posted on by Alex Mateo
Play adapting manga's "Karma" arc runs from July 18-21 in Tokyo

Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix manga is inspiring a new stage play that will run at Theatre West at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theater from July 18-21.

Tezuka goods' Twitter account

Kōtarō Ishikawa is directing and writing the play. Salme Company is producing the play, which commemorates the 70th anniversary of Tezuka's original manga.

The play will be based on the manga's "Karma" arc ("Hō-ō-hen," or literally "Firebird Arc"), which the official Osamu Tezuka website describes as follows:

The story is set in the 8th century, the Nara Period in Japan. While traveling through countries with the high priest Shonin Robem, the one-eyed and one-armed burglar Gao, whose life was saved by the priest, meets people suffering from disease and death, and begins to display his hidden talent as a sculptor.

Meanwhile, Akanemaru, a sculptor of Buddhist images who sustained an injury inflicted by Gao in his youth, recovers from the injury, becomes famous, and moves on to become the driving force behind the construction of the great image of Buddha at Todaiji Temple in Nara.

A man of power at that time, Tachibana-no-Moroe, who patronized Akanemaru, decides to let Akanemaru and Gao compete over the production of the ridge-end tile for the roof of the great Buddha building. The two therefore meet again as rivals by fate.

When Akanemaru is about to be defeated, he discloses the past evil acts of Gao, and has Gao's remaining right arm cut off.

Image via Amazon
Tezuka began the original Phoenix "Dawn" arc in Manga Shonen from 1954-55, but it remains unfinished due to the magazine's suspension of publication. Three more chapters (Egypt, Greece, and Rome) appeared in the Shojo Club magazine in 1956, but also left the story unfinished. Tezuka later restarted "Dawn" with some changes in the debut issue of COM magazine in 1967. This manga served as a prologue for the long-running multi-part series.

Tezuka continued to serialize new arcs for the manga until the 12th part, "Sun," which ended in 1988, the year before his death. The stories presented in the Phoenix manga span multiple eras, past and future.

Viz Media published the manga in North America.

The four-episode Phoenix: Eden17 anime based on the manga debuted worldwide on Disney+ last September. The anime's Japanese title is Hi no Tori: Eden no Sora (literally, Phoenix: Eden's Space). The anime also got a film version on November 3 titled Phoenix: Reminiscence of Flower (Hi no Tori: Eden no Hana, literally "Eden's Flower"). The film features a different ending from the Phoenix: Eden17 anime. The anime is based on the "Nostalgia" arc of the original manga.

The manga also inspired a series of anime film and OVA adaptations from 1978 to 1987, each adapting a different story in the manga. The manga inspired a 2004 television anime.

Sources: Phoenix stage play's website, Comic Natalie

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