Photo/Illutration“New Gen, inspired from Phoenix” ((c) Tezuka Productions)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

The "Phoenix" has risen again, in the form of a CD containing songs by 10 musicians and groups inspired by the epic Osamu Tezuka manga of the same name.

The artists brought together for the compilation "New Gen, inspired by Phoenix" include Kenichi Asai, Glim Spanky, TeddyLoid x Kizuna AI, Tavito Nanao and Naotaro Moriyama, covering a wide range of careers and genres.

The full-length CD was released on Oct. 30.

For such "inspiration albums," artists create original songs based on a particular work.

King Record Co.’s Soichiro Hirano, who served as the project's producer, said he came up with the idea after learning of an album produced in the United States containing songs not only used in a movie, but also inspired by the film.

When the producer suggested the use of "Phoenix" by Tezuka, dubbed the "god of manga," as a source of inspiration, his staff members in their 20s and 30s said it was a great idea.

"It's the kind of manga that tells a story spanning several thousand years in one picture scroll," Hirano said. "I thought it would work well with various music genres.

The producer wasted no time in connecting with Tezuka Productions Co. He also held a series of discussions with Tezuka's eldest daughter, Rumiko, saying it would be an album to mark the 90th anniversary of the cartoonist's birth.

Hirano then approached several artists, asking each how they would interpret "Phoenix" through music.

Each artist took a different approach to the project.

In Moriyama's song "Hayame," he speaks to a character in the manga's "Karma" arc as he plays guitar.

In The Dresscodes’ “Junkan Shinko/Gyaku-Junkan Shinko” (Cyclic code/reverse-cyclic code), children sing the phrase, “Like the ending goes back to the beginning.”

“The Flare” by toconoma is the only instrumental song on the album. An impressive piano refrain mirrors the structure and epic scale of "Phoenix."

Guitarist Kotaro Ishibashi, one of toconoma's members, who has read almost all of Tezuka's work, said, "It suggests that we may be hearing such music in our heads when we read ‘Phoenix.’”

Etsuko Yakushimaru’s “Human Is” tells a story about "I" and a planet purification system called Ark. Text recited by the singer is suggestive of another new episode to be incorporated into “Phoenix.”

“Osamu Tezuka once said, ‘Things become part of the past after a moment,’ indicating that it was difficult for him to create a story arc of ‘Phoenix’ set in the modern age,’” she noted. “‘Human Is’ is not the modern age arc, but I made the song using my imagination such that it can be accessed from any timeline in the reincarnation cycle.”

Hirano said that while working on the album he considered its value as a historical record.

“It will be here 100 years from now, and listened to by people in the future. It's fun to imagine how things will be in the afterlife," the producer said.

A manga exclusively crafted for the CD by illustrator Tsunogai and given official approval by Tezuka Productions is also available on a special website (https://hinotori-compilation.com/).