May 5, 2008
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.