"Childlike innocence, a sense of fun and rare breadth of vision - echos of Disney and the Fleischers. A landmark in SF animation and hugely enjoyable film."
"Part of the great Osamu Tezuka's 'Life Work', the PHOENIX cycle, which focuses on reincarnation and man's place in the universe, this uplifting SF story isa beautiful, moving and regarding film. Born into a dehumanising society where people are simply cogs in the machine, and even the wealthy must fit into their assigned place, Godo has one true friend - the robot girl Ogra."
Director: Taku Sugiyama Screenplay: Osamu Tezuka Copyright: Toho Language Format: English language Running time: 115 mins Certificate: 12 Label: Western Connection Catalogue no: WEST 041 Price: £12.99 Release Date: 30th May 1995
The Firebird (aka The Phoenix) can raise itself from the ash to gain eternity and it has so much power that many people want to capture it to gain immortality themselves.
Osamu Tezuka's Firebird series used the legend of Firebird to explore many problems faced by humanity - jealousy and selfishness can be seen anywhere but loving hearts cannot be found. The depth of the series has helped Tezuka to gain his legendary status in the anime world (Mr. Tezuka died quite some time ago). Another interesting point about the series is that every episode looks at the world at a different point in time.
In Space Firebird, it looks at the future when the Earth is dying because of the excess resource extraction by human. Aware of this fact, the government sends space pilots to capture the Firebird (which lives in outer space) to save the earth. However, all previous attempts have failed. Goro (the lead character) has been assigned the task of capturing the firebird. Will he succeed or is he going to become another part of a space scrap.
The Space Firebird story line is good but the anime falls short in the atmosphere department because the artwork is rather out of date. (It was made 15 years ago). While believable, the characters make little appeal to me because the atmosphere is not strong enough and the dubbing isn't that convincing either.
Space Firebird has its moments, but I'm afraid that it failed to raise itself from the ashes this time. Nevertheless though, if you are interested in a yesteryears' classic, Space Firebird would suit you very well. Otherwise, money can be better spent else where. [Terry Bogard]
A rarely seen classic of animation by anime pioneer Osamu Tezuka, this was originally made in 1980, and is part of Tezuka's Phoenix cycle, which focuses on reincarnation and man's place in the universe. The story is fanciful and of childish simplicity and the whole piece carries an air of innocence that is rarely, if ever, encountered in contemporary anime. A youth born into a dehumanizing future society is trained to be a space pilot but is disgusted to find that his mission is mainly to kill alien beings. He is offered the mission of capturing the Space Firebird, for the benefit of his masters, but revolts, and is flung into prison. The hero is accompanied throughout by his faithful friend, the robot girl Ogra The robot is capable of some startling transformations, and the animation evokes the science fiction trappings with some amusing and inventive touches of Tezuka's own. The animation has worn well and still looks good, but the dubbing is probably the worst ever inflicted on an English-speaking audience.
So why buy this? It's a very enjoyable film, and if you're an animation buff you'll want to see some of Tezuka's best work, and if you like art it's probably cheaper than an Athena print, and hopefully your kids should like it. [Geoff Cowie]