The bird that’s reborn in flames is reborn in the sky.
With Japan’s well-known passion for comics, a number of manga creators have become cultural icons for their contributions to the artform. The works of, for example, shojo manga pioneer Ryoko Ikeda, space opera composer Leiji Matsumoto, and youth sports chronicler Mitsuru Adachi have all gone on to leave lasting impressions on the hearts and minds of the country as a whole, not just hard-core otaku.
But there’s one manga author whose legacy stands among them all. Osamu Tezuka, best known as the creator of Tetsuwan Atom, also known as Astro Boy, is routinely referred to as “the god of manga.” The honorary title is a salute to Tezuka’s prolific output of influential hit series, but a recent photo taken by Twitter user @saku_kamu in Hyogo Prefecture is enough to make one wonder if the late Tezuka did in fact possess divine powers, as the titular creature from his manga Phoenix seemingly appeared in the skies.
さくや (@saku_kamu) June 06, 2017
▼ Tezuka’s Phoenix
とりにく (@toriniku1050) June 03, 2017
Making the theory that the amazing cloud formation is Tezuka’s handiwork particularly compelling is that at the photo was taken in Takarazuka, the town where Tezuka and also where the Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum is located. There’s also the fact that Phoenix is a famously unfinished work, with Tezuka having penned 12 collected volumes of the series before passing away in 1989. Given the manga’s themes of rebirth and reincarnation, however, it seems rather fitting that Tezuka’s death not be the end of his phoenix’s appearances.