Hi No Tori is a collection of stories, in which the Phoenix ('firebird' or 'hi no tori') plays a role. Some stories span five episodes, others only one. The stories are also set in wildly different time periods: the first story is set in the stone ages, the next in the far future and the last one at the end of life on Earth!
While the stories themselves differ vastly in their subject matter, they all share a common theme: life, death and rebirth. As the Phoenix is the mythical animal that is reborn in fire when it dies, it plays a large part in this.
The stories have a distinct Buddhist feel to them. The message is to live your life in a proper way, and to let go at the end -- because life will go on. The intro animation features a larger-than-life statue of Buddha, with the Phoenix flying past it. Yet the stories themselves are no Buddhist propaganda -- rather, the Buddhist values are shown to apply to every time period.
The animation is fluid, and we get the usual Tetsuka cast of charactes: Rock, Lamp, and others. The music is pretty nice as well, but in the end I just could not care for the series as much as I had hoped. The stories are clever and interesting, but ultimately I did not feel any attachment to the characters.
- Based on work by Tetsuka!
- Good animation;
- Good music;
- Interesting premise.
- Not enough time to identify with the characters;
- The theme is rather alien to a western audience.
I'll give it a 7.