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Firebird Daybreak Chapter: This extraordinarily complex film is not only a send-up of every samurai film ever made, it is also an extrapolation of the value of life. The Yamatai, represented by Prince Susano-O and elderly advisor Sumuke, hire Yumihiko of Matsuro to hunt the phoenix so that Queen Himiko, sister of Susano-O can have eteranal life. Matsuro is then destroyed by the Takamagahara, who have mastered the art of horseback riding, which is foreign to all other western Japanese tribes. One of their number, Uzume uses makeup to appear ugly and avoid rape, though her dancing induces Jingi to spare her. Queen Himiko's apprentice, Iyo, orders the execution of an innocent based on her magical observation, so Susano-O sides with the people. A Yamatai doctor named Guzuri washes up from a shipwreck in the country of Kumaso, where Hinaku, daughter of the chief, is dying. Urusni, her husband, is killed hunting the phoenix to save her, but Guzuri gives her penicillin, which saves her, so the chief marries him to her. The Yamatai army, led by Sarutahaiko, destroys the entire village, but Guzuri, who is initially blamed, and Hinaku escape, and Nagi, the son of the chief, is spared because he knows where the phoenix lives. Initially enraged, Hinaku eventually makes Sarutahaiko take charge of Nagi, who trains him to fight animated foxes, but he is thrown in a pit of wasps when Nagi teams up with Oro, daughter of the innocent man who was executed, in attempt to kill the queen, though Nagi hits a servant, instead. The three attempt to escape during an eclipse which terrorizes the people, but Oro is killed. Sarutahaiko and Nagi float to what remains of Kumaso, Sarutahaiko's nose permanently swollen to great size. In an earthquake Guzuni and new mother Hinaku are trapped at the bottom of a crater, where they will spend the rest of their lives, while Nagi and Sarutahaiko find a horse (Nagi briefly turning into an animation of Astro Boy when kicked), and then the Takamagahara. Jingi has no interest in living forever, but in immortalizing himself through history, and sets out to conquer Yamatai, sparing the two only because Uzume wishes to marry Sarutahaiko.

  • Currently 2.45/5
(11 votes)
Ratings: IMDB: N/A Metascore: N/A RT: N/A
Released: August 12, 1978
Genres: Action Drama Animation Comedy War Adventure History Fantasy
Director: Kon Ichikawa
Actors: Akiji Kobayashi Hideji Ôtaki Jun Fubuki Junzaburô Ban Ken Tanaka Masao Kusakari Mieko Takamine Mitsuko Kusabue Reiko Ôhara Ryûzô Hayashi Takeshi Katô Tatsuya Nakadai Tetsuya Ushio Tomisaburo Wakayama Toru Emori Toshinori Omi

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