My second Hi no Tori film, quite a bit better than the other one (2772) I've seen. That's no doubt due to Rintaro's involvement, one of the more interesting anime directors of the 80s. The Karma chapter sports a pretty typical religious plot, it's Rintaro's atmospheric execution that elevates this film.
Akanemaru is a sculptor looking for the Phoenix, hoping to immortalize this majestic bird as one of his creations. On his quest, he bumps into Gao, a bandit who steals his food and clothes. Years later, the two will meet again. They are both very different men now, working on an assignment for the emperor.
The animation is somewhat basic, but the art style is attractive enough, and Rintaro makes good use of the soundtrack to give the film some extra flair. The story moves about rather quickly, with just 60 minutes on the clock, that's no real surprise. A very solid animated film, fans of Rintaro's work won't be disappointed by this one.