Hi no Tori: Uchû-hen
1987 / 48m - Japan
Adventure, Sci-fi - Animation
Phoenix: Space Chapter poster


January 23, 2023


Kawajiri takes on Tezuka's Hi no Tori manga with Rintaro acting as a producer. It's a pretty impressive array of names, and they were able to deliver. I'm a bit surprised this short anime isn't better known among anime fans, as Kawajiri does a stellar job building up the story within the short amount of time that was given to him. Fans of sci-fi and fantasy won't be disappointed.

Four astronauts find themselves stranded on a ruined spaceship. Their pilot, Makimura, is found dead in his chair, an apparent suicide. The only option for the four is to board the escape pods and hope for the best. When it transpires that Makimura was killed, everyone needs to worry for their own safety.

The plot is a best-of of sci-fi/space cliches, but Kawajiri packages them well, and the addition of fantasy elements makes it a little less predictable. The animation is fine, the art style classic Tezuka and the pacing is just perfect. Short and sweet, then again, why doubt Kawajiri?