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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Manga of Humanity
This is a very special manga and a piece of literature. First of all, for those who have never read a Tezuka manga, you'd be distracted by the inferiority of the artwork by today's standard. By if you can ignore that, you'll find the storyline is one of the greatest achievements in literary history.

The entire series is shifting between past and future. And...
Published on March 4, 2005 by -Ashi-

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars the weakest one I've read so far
I liked this volume of Phoenix, but felt the three different stories are not given equal weight, and a long times would go by between checking back in with one of them. Even though I found the pages of text about Japanese history interesting, they broke up the story. You can tell Tezuka was still figuring out the series. Still good over all.
Published on August 25, 2008 by Jesse Haller


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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Manga of Humanity, March 4, 2005
By 
-Ashi- (San Jose, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Phoenix, Vol. 1: Dawn (Paperback)
This is a very special manga and a piece of literature. First of all, for those who have never read a Tezuka manga, you'd be distracted by the inferiority of the artwork by today's standard. By if you can ignore that, you'll find the storyline is one of the greatest achievements in literary history.

The entire series is shifting between past and future. And the interval between time will become smaller and smaller. For example, the story started from pre-historical Japan, then shift to circa 3000 AD in the future, but the jump between time will become shorter as it goes.

The series is incomplete, due to Tezuka's untimely death, though in other sense, it's completed because I think Tezuka probably knew he probably didn't have time to finish it, so the last published chapter already nailed the point that you can't really miss.

Each episodic story is clearly told, but once you began try to link the point of each story, you'd realize it's actually a collage of pictures with a repeating theme that tries to tell you about this vicious cycle of life. Every story is essentially the same, about how human being overwhelmed by their own greed and do stupid things over and over, disregard the passage of time.

So what's the main conflict? There are some side stories, but all the core stories are united with this Phoenix figure, which essentialy the god figure of the story. The Phoenix is immortal. According to the legend, anyone who drinks her blood, will become immortal as well. That's our conflict. People will do stupid things and kill each other just to become immortal (or become god-like).

Anyways, the original title of the series is called "Hi no Tori", which literally means Bird of Fire in Japanese. The Bird of Fire symbolizes sun in East Asian culture and sun is the source of life. It's highly ironical that the source of life is also the source of death. The translated title "Phoenix" isn't too far off, because there are chapters in the stories that will refer to the immortal bird as the Phoenix when the story is set in China (as that's the Chinese name for such bird).

The story transcends time. One of the chapters is about human cloning (not yet translated into English at the time of this review). Now that's something everyone should read about before one go gaga over this cloning issue that's hotly debated right now. It's about how a Reality TV show ran out of ideas, so he started this new show about clone hunting. Now, I'll let you guys read the story. Keep in mind this story is decades old. That's how ingenius this series is and no wonder Tezuka is called the God of Manga.

Major Spoiler now:

You may at some point feeling lost why Tezuka kept the stories going even though they just repeat itself despite of cosmetic changes (rather similar to life, as I see it). Well, just keep on reading to the end of the last published chapter, things become much clearer (as shift of time become narrower and therefore, more focused). The Phoenix will reveal she is sick and tired of being immortal as she will have to oversee human repeat their stupidity, doing a greedy but pointless quest. If you can see it from this way and draw a parallel to our own existence, you'd be enlightened. It's essentially the same enlightenment Buddha is trying to tell us, but Tezuka was smart enough to make another story that's easier to digest than Buddha's teaching. (btw, Tezuka also have a manga called Buddha, but that's a historical fiction about Buddha's life)

It's a masterpiece no one who is interested in humanity should miss. BTW, EmDee stands for MD. It's an in-joke made by Tezuka, because Tezuka was a medical doctor before he abandoned it to become a manga artist.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tezuka is brilliant, July 22, 2014
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I've read the whole Phoenix series, and I have to say it is the most profound piece of literature I've ever read. Maybe that isn't saying much about my experience, but I think it is amazing. The story is so intricate and you learn about so many characters, their flaws their weaknesses. I would say that many of the characters are much more admirable than I'd like, but I think you can't really dive into them too much with a story on such a large scale. I think it's amazing that a project can exist on such a scale, and it feels so contemporary, and I think that's one of its more interesting qualities. The way it portrays contemporary issues with past societies is so... I'm not sure what word to use without sounding repetitive. However I think the subject matter is handled very well, it really allows you to better understand the story and the idea of what it means to be human and to live in this world. I'm not sure if that's making any sense but I truly believe that this work captures the feelings and struggles of the human condition. And for that I give it 5 stars, because it truly is an amazing work of art.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story, some oddities in editing, September 27, 2007
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This review is from: Phoenix, Vol. 1: Dawn (Paperback)
If you are reading this, you are probably already familiar with Osamu Tezuka's work. There is little need to discuss the quality of the stories and art contained within as most agree that Tezuka is without peer. Having said that, I wanted to point out some strange things about these english editions.
First of all, I have looked through the first five volumes of the original Japanese first run printings. I say "looked" as I can't read japanese. The first thing I noticed about these english editions are the size, they are significantly smaller than the originals. However, the new printings seem to be on better quality paper.
My conversation with a japanese friend who read both editions revealed that the translation was a good as could be expected between two such different languages. Some dialog will seem odd, and some of the context will invariably be lost. That said, the stories are still captivating.
Finally, I noticed a strange thing about the book as a whole. The english version, naturally will read from left to right, as opposed to the japanese edition. The pages are in reverse order from the japanese version. However, I noticed that not only were the frames rearranged in reverse order to facilitate english-language readers, but each frame seemed to be reversed as well. For example, the character Nagi, who is a right-handed archer in the japanese version, becomes a left-handed archer in the english edition.
These are minor quibbles which in no way detract from the quality of the art within. I simply thought every one should know what's inside. Enjoy!
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3.0 out of 5 stars the weakest one I've read so far, August 25, 2008
By 
Jesse Haller (Minneapolis, MN USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Phoenix, Vol. 1: Dawn (Paperback)
I liked this volume of Phoenix, but felt the three different stories are not given equal weight, and a long times would go by between checking back in with one of them. Even though I found the pages of text about Japanese history interesting, they broke up the story. You can tell Tezuka was still figuring out the series. Still good over all.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GREAT!!!, April 12, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Phoenix, Vol. 1: Dawn (Paperback)
This book is outstanding. The characters are really life like in the minds eye. The main characters and minor characters burn themselves into your mind. The book has a lot of action in it to keep you in suspense!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Undescribably buetiful, January 12, 2004
This review is from: Phoenix, Vol. 1: Dawn (Paperback)
Osamu Tezuka amazes me, I'd throw everything away just to be like him, words short of god fail to describe him. He is a master of his art, invoking feelings from sadness, to hope, to despair, to joyfulness, and back again. I'm a guy who has gone through pain unlike what you could most likely imagine, at the very least I've hardened to the point where I couldn't care less, to do this to me, to make me feels exactly what the characters are feeling as they are feeling it, is beyond indescribable. I don't know japanese or french, if what they say is true, then that just means I'll have to create my own masterpieces in english.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good? Confused?, November 1, 2003
By 
G. Bogdanoff "orientis" (Yosemite, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Phoenix, Vol. 1: Dawn (Paperback)
I liked this story, but I will understand if you do not. Let me explain.
Dawn is a compelling story of a boy, Nagi, who is taken as a slave from his home, after watching the army that takes him kill every man, woman and child in his village. In a Mountain of Fire near the village lives the Phoenix. Nagi wants to kill the Phoenix and drink her blood, which gives immortality. The trouble is, many other people are also hunting the phoenix.
It is possible that much of the story was lost in translation. Tezuka supposedly considered this series to be his masterpiece, but at times the writing seems awkward. The story deals with death in a very blunt way. At no time is the bloodshed gratuitous, but it can be disturbing. At the same time, Tezuka tries to break up the devestation with missplaced comic relief.
Overall, the story is compelling, and leaves you wanting more. But there is an underlying awkwardness that makes me hesitant to give five stars.
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9 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Excellent work, insulting translation., July 7, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Phoenix, Vol. 1: Dawn (Paperback)
First let me start off by saying that Tezuka's Hinotori is a masterpiece of illustrated storytelling, and anyone would do well to pick it up, even if they aren't into comics. However I do truly wish that there a better translation for you to read. Dadakai has unfortunately shown that it has no respect for the audience's intelligence with their translation. They began by adding a text "narration" to the sequence of the volcano erupting at the beginning. The writing of these scenes is inept and overblown, if I hadn't already read the book in French, I would've probably given up on it there. These text boxes add nothing to the story, and actually take something of it away, because besides being poorly worded, they also cover up some of the artwork that Tezuka-sama meant for us to see! I suppose some changes are acceptable, such as making Guzuly "EmDee", but the most intelligence-insulting gesture, which made me throw the book across the room, was in the character of Saruta. American readers encountered Dr. Saruta in the "first" volume of Phoenix (actually the second), and since we American readers can't obviously concieve of the characters of Saruta and Sarutahiko being connected (probably by reincarnation) they chopped the -hiko off the end of his name so as not to confuse us. Dadakai doesn't respect its audience, and hence I don't respect their work. You'd probably be better off buying the French or Japanese version and
translating them yourselves.
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5 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Five stars to Phoenix & no stars to Amazon: 2,5 stars, let's make it a 3, February 25, 2006
By 
This review is from: Phoenix, Vol. 1: Dawn (Paperback)
According to this:

"Instant Order Update for Ornitorrinco. You purchased this item on October 7, 2005. Check the status of all your recent orders."

I bought this item by that day, in fact I bought the five Phoenix books by then. Nonetheless, I am still waiting for this particular one, the other four arrived well.

I am very dissapointed because now I have been asked three times if I still want the item. Of course that I want it, but I want it now.

I understand that the item is out of stock, but anyway I could not be more dissapointed by the Amazon.com costumer service department. I once argued why my book had not arrived after FOUR MONTHS and they still stated in this page that the items ship within 2 to 3 weeks. Did I receive an apology, a greeting? No. I received again the other four books, but not this one, the only one I still needed; and they charged me again for the books. Fortunately, I received a refund for the books, but still didn't receive "Dawn"

Please, personnel of Amazon.coom, if you cannot send this book for some reason, don't claim it will be shipped within three weeks, basically because of the fact that you won't do it.

Buy it directly from Viz at:

[...]
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Phoenix, Vol. 1: Dawn
Phoenix, Vol. 1: Dawn by Osamu Tezuka (Paperback - Mar. 2003)
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