Ļ ˱ (Hinotori - Houoo Hen) - Anime Home Page

This Japanese anime is about 60 minutes long, created by Osamu Tezuka and tells a story about the legendary bird of the fire. The complete title of this movie is Ļ ˱ (Hinotori Houoohen = Compilation of the Legendary Goddess Bird of the Fire), but it is generally referred just as Hinotori. There are other two Hinotori movies (one is "Yamato Hen" and the othe other is "2772 - Utchyuu Hen").

The story's background is the ancient Japan. Feudal lords ruled it and everyone was supposed to be ready to attend to their wishes. The only unforgivable crime was to disobey one's lord.

I'll present the characters first, making the understanding of the story easier. My Japanese understanding is not good, so I avoided some details in the story. The symbolism of some takes, mainly the final scene, is quite hard to describe, although there're no speeches, only the marvelous music. This Page needs many changes, but I have no means and time to do it now.

The Characters

(Akanemaru Yamato) is a young sculptor in a search. (Gaou) is a thief. ® (Hayame) is a mysterious woman. ֥ (Buchi) is a young woman from a small village. ФĻ (Hinotori) is a kind of goddess that carries the good souls to heaven (or somewhere like that).

The Story

Akanemaru Yamato is sat down at a bonfire, eating some onigiri (Japanese rice balls) when a masked man approaches him. Surprised, Akanemaru hides himself behind a big tree. The other man drops his mask and eats the rice. Akanemaru comes forward and begins to speak. He says he's searching for Hinotori, a tapestry with a picture of the fabulous creature. The other stands up and approaches Akanemaru. He doesn't have the left arm. Gaou draws a knife and ask Akanemaru to take his clothes off. Then he makes a cut along Akanemaru's right arm. He says him to blame the sun for it and leaves, taking his clothes.

The man finds a woman near a water fall, brushing her long white hairs. He draws his knife and approaches her.

The woman's name is Hayame. The man, Gaou, talks about his life, saying he had already murdered people. For his crimes, his left arm was cut off.

Gaou comes home a night, bringing a gift to Hayame, a mirror (note: mirrors where very expensive at that time). Gaou looks at the mirror and cannot see Hayame's reflex in it, although he can see himself. Hayame says he was fooled and bought a defective mirror.

Another night, Gaou wakes up with his nose aching. Hayame prepares him a salve to use on it.

Walking with his gang, Gaou comes down from his horse and put his face in the snow. One of his partners approaches and see his swollen nose. Gaou shows him the salve. The other man drops the stinking salve and says him Hayame was trying to poison him.

Back home, Gaou finds Hayame. He draws his knife and attacks her, blaming her for trying to kill him. She says him she was just trying to help him for saving her life. Gaou doesn't remember he have ever saved her or anyone else, so he finally kills her. Her body disappears and a little ladybug lays on the ground. Gaou takes it in his hand and remembers. He once saved a ladybug that had fallen into a river. Suffering for killing Hayame, he walks adrift, alone.

Meanwhile, Akanemaru finds a young woman, Buchi, in his search for Hinotori. One day, two guards find Akanemaru and ask him to come to the city to help in the construction of the Giant Buddha's Statue. He refuses to go and tries to run away, followed by Buchi. The two men, riding horses, reaches them and arrests Akanemaru. Buchi, trying to release him, is struck by a sword and falls to the ground.

In the city, Akanemaru becomes an important man, helping in the construction of the big statue. One day, however, the statue "cries", an obvious signal of displeasure of the gods. Worried, he is sitting down in the construction yard at night when he hears a laughter. He sees Buchi on the shoulder of the statue. He is happy to find her well, but she ignores his greetings and asks him why he had left his quest for the Hinotori picture. He tries to argue, but she fades away. He looks for her and see her floating into a warehouse. He runs after her and finds, fixed at a wall, the Hinotori picture he once spent so much time searching for.

The city cleric says to Akanemaru that a new sculptor is being brought to the city, his name is Gaou. A contest will be made to discover who is the best to finish the statue.

Gaou is brought into the city, imprisoned, followed by a little dog. Akanemaru finds out that he is the man that had attacked him that night, long time ago.

In the night, Akanemaru is trying to make a statue of Hinotori, but cannot do it. The spirit of Buchi appears and tries to counsel him, but he antagonizes her and she disappears. In another room, Gaou stays quiet, just sitting down, with the little dog sleeping by his side. Then he has a vision of Hinotori. She talks to him about his suffering and his true regret for everything wrong he made. After that, he starts to work.

In the morning, Akanemaru and Gaou present their statues. Although Akanemaru's statue is very good, Gaou's is far more magnificent. The clerics begins to discuss about the winner. Akanemaru approaches the clerics and shows them the large scar in his right arm, result of his first meeting with Gaou. He claims that a man that does such things is not deserving to finish the Buddha statue. A cleric declares Akanemaru the winner and asks him what to do with Gaou. He says him to cut off the other arm of Gaou and so is done.

Gaou walks out of the city, followed by the puppy. Akanemaru watches him and enjoy it.

In the warehouse, Akanemaru's Hinotori statue starts a fire. Out of his mind, Akanemaru enters the burning room, searching for his statue. Completely surrounded by the fire, he falls to the ground and Hinotori appears among the flames. For his cruelty upon Gaou, Hinotori says he will reincarnate and live as a little fish in the sea. And Hinotori disappears.

Gaou sees from a hill the warehouse burning. A little ladybug lands on his shoulder, bringing tears to his eyes. Hinotori appears and looks at him. Gaou stands up and walks away. Hinotori then flies to the space. The moon appears and a space station crosses the sky.

The Music

The music is outstanding, composed by ܲ ټ (Fumio Miyashita), it's synthesized, with a "New Age" style. The ending vocal appears in the computer game Hinotori, once available for MSX machines.

This soundtrack has no relation with the original version.

Page last modified on 1998-April-8 Wednesday.


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