Phoenix 12

Wow.  I couldn’t have been… more surprised at the contents of this book.  I was expecting stories in the same style as the main Phoenix series.  These are… drawn like Princess Knight, like a shoujo Astro Boy.  And they are VERY, very shoujo.  Sometimes the logo is made out of hearts.

The stories themselves aren’t bad, as much as I would like to hate them.  Each one concerns the same couple, who starts off in Egypt and are granted immortality by the Phoenix.  When they “die,” they fall into a kind of sleep and wake up hundreds of years later.  They first wake up in Greece and each take part in the battle between the Trojans and the Spartans, then they wake up in Rome and participate in things like lion fights et al.  It does feel unfinished (Rome cuts off abruptly, and the fate of the couple is never determined), and it also shows its age because… the couple isn’t called a couple, nor are they ever married.  They actually say several times that they think of each other as brother and sister.  I find that a little creepy, but I suppose times have changed.

Mostly the stories are about the two characters being separated and a lot of dramatic and historical events happening between the two before they are reunited (usually tragically) at the end.  They periodically lose their memories, but fate brings them together again and again.  Besides them, there is the child of the original Phoenix, who is growing up as the events are playing out, and after the original Phoenix dies, the child’s care is entrusted to a trio of animals (a rabbit, a fox, and a turtle, who I have a feeling appeared elsewhere in Tezuka’s universe), all of whom have been granted immortality.

I kind of liked them, but I’ll be the first to admit they weren’t very good.  It almost feels weird associating them with the rest of Phoenix, because they really DO NOT fit in.  I think most people would probably do well not picking this last volume up, but hey, who am I to stop anybody from completing their series.


4 Comments on “Phoenix 12”

  1. Pirkaf says:

    I can’t say I didn’t enjoy this book. And I wouldn’t say it’s VERY shojo because there’s a lot of fighting.. ;-) Yes, it’s different, but at least there is a phoenix bird in it (in fact, there are two) so I didn’t feel it to be that much out of place.
    If I should compare this series with Buddha, I must say I liked Buddha much more. It’s more mature and I also enjoyed the theme because I have a great respect for the Buddha person.

  2. Connie says:

    I keep forgetting to read my copies of Buddha. It’s the only one of his series in English I haven’t read, and I’m sure it’s really fantastic. I’m slightly deterred from reading it by the fact that the hardcovers are white, and much of my manga reading is done on the bus, so the covers would probably get scuffed up riding around in my bag. But that doesn’t stop weekend or evening reading!

    Anyway. This last volume of Phoenix just felt out of place for me because it didn’t link into the timeline as nicely as the others, that and the artwork. One of my favorite things about the series was that everything went back and forth through history, which is why I enjoyed the last volume as much as I did. After hearing about how it was an unfinished work, “Sun” actually felt like a great place to end it. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy shoujo Phoenix, though.

  3. Pirkaf says:

    Well, I didn’t want to set your hopes too high. I think for the appreciation of Buddha is also important if you are at least a bit religious. But maybe not. It can as well stand on its own because it’s a really great pieco of comic.

    While I had some problems reading the oldest Tezuka work like Astro Boy (I’m really not a fan of it), I had no problems reading this last volume of Phoenix, I simply liked it also because of the historical theme.

    I really hope you will like Buddha once you will have read it.. ^_^

  4. Connie says:

    I’m sure I will like it. I haven’t really run across any of his work done after 1970 that I’ve disliked, it all seems to be good stuff. I’ll agree with you on the early stuff, though. I don’t really like Astro Boy, and I also dislike the sci-fi trilogy that’s floating around (Lost World, Nextworld, Metropolis). And I also could tell I probably wouldn’t be able to read more than a couple volumes of Princess Knight by the sample that came out in Shojo Beat, too ^_^; I do like his early shoujo art, though. It’s very cute and seems extremely appropriate for those types of stories.


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