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Phoenix 2772: Part Three

lga cannot be repaired. No manipulations with switches and cables, no tears and kisses can bring her back to life, but Godo tries again and again, oblivious of the ship's condition and of the danger outside (almost too much so - but this is not a realistic story).
       Meanwhile the Phoenix attacks, and is hurled back by a strange shock. This is repeated several times. At last the Phoenix tires out, changes from the red glowing monster into the smaller, gentler shape, traditional for Tezuka's comics, and magically transports itself into the ship.
       The Phoenix addresses Godo telepathically and makes some vague remarks about the great force that is protecting him. The dub is even more mysterious, with lines like "I have been searching your heart to try and find its center" materializing out of nowhere.
       Apparently the Phoenix wants something that is in Godo's possession, and is ready to grant him any wish in return.
       So what does Godo ask for - to save his own life? Maybe to save humanity, for the sake of which he has been chasing the Phoenix in the first place? Does he even understand what he is offered?
       Not really. Stunned with grief, he hardly listens to the bird. All he can think about is that he wants Olga back, and the wish is readily granted: the Phoenix breathes life into the robot. Olga does not become human, but she is functioning again, sparkling like new, and Godo is overjoyed. He never stops to wonder how his side of the bargain is to be fulfilled. There are more important matters at hand: he must confess his love to Olga.
       Of course, all this is just as the Phoenix planned. The mysterious force it wants is the power of love - of Godo's feelings for Olga. The Phoenix has taken Olga's place and now has it all.
       Godo and Olga bury Saruta's body in space. A lecture in the voice of the Phoenix on the mysteries of the all-pervading Cosmic Life follows, and among the generalities and computer graphics it is easy to miss an important fact. The Phoenix can and does resurrect whole planets, but to do so it needs, so to say, a donor - a living thing, no matter how small, willing to sacrifice itself for the planet.
       But for Godo the time of sacrifices seems to be past. He arrives with Olga at a green idyllic world, full of lush flora and wacky fauna ("Just like what the Earth used to be!" - Godo exclaims, as we are shown a creature that looks like a vacuum cleaner grazing in a field). Pincho, Poox and Crack meet him there, miraculously alive. For a while everybody is happy.
       Then one night Godo wakes up in Olga's arms and tells her he has reached a decision. They are going back to Earth. There is another way to save the planet, or so he believes: it can be rejuvenated by cultivating local plants. In the dub Godo does not explain this, and simply states that they must "take lots of vegetables and fruit to grow on Earth". Olga tries to oppose the scheme, but Godo's faith in it is firm, if not particularly well-founded.
       Olga is right. The Earth is in no condition for gardening, as the great construction project is about to end in a fiasco.
       Rock is in Iceland with his wife on an inspection tour, and Black Jack's report to him is very grim. The dub improvises wildly, turning Rock's line "I'll be taking command personally" into "Now get out of here and do your job", and making Black Jack reply "I'm doing the best that I can" instead of "I'm only telling the truth". One thing is clear, however: Godo must hurry if he wants to save the world.
       A huge earthquake strikes. Black Jack, this model officer who has foreseen the disaster long ago and has such strong sense of duty, shows himself completely incompetent. There is no organized evacuation, no attempt to save the workers. Far from it, Black Jack does exactly the opposite: he allows them to run, spreading panic and chaos. Buildings begin to explode, and then Godo's Space Shark lands in the middle of the turmoil.
       Rock sees it and has only one explanation: Godo must have brought back the Phoenix. With the ultimate treasure in his hands even an escaped prisoner can bargain for anything - amnesty, citizenship, promotion.
       Godo does not bargain. He does not even admit he has got the Phoenix, and Rock has no patience for what he thinks is a clumsy lie. But he finds only the baffling cargo of seeds and plants. In the original Godo's explanation at least sounds like an agricultural project, but the dub - and for once the subtitles too - are completely lunatic: the vegetables are to be not planted, but fed to people, because "when they eat them, everybody in the world will be given new life". Rock gives an order to confiscate the cargo anyway, and then another explosion makes him abandon Godo and go back to his wife.
       Godo and Olga go to see Black Jack. It turns out that there are several spaceships at the camp, but it never occurs to Black Jack to use them to rescue the workers. When Godo suggests the possibility, part of the ceiling falls and damages the main computer, and the hangar doors just cannot be opened manually. Tezuka in his rather cold-blooded manner has calculated everything for the maximum casualties and the maximum emotional impact. Black Jack stoically remains underground to meet his fate like a captain on a sinking ship.
       Huge cracks open in the ground everywhere and magma gushes out in fountains. With Olga's help Godo reaches the Space Shark only to find Rock and Lena there. He refuses to help them escape leaving all of the others behind - in both translations it becomes a venomous remark "Why don't you go with the others?". Then Lena steps forward as if to embrace Godo and snatches the gun from his holster, so that Rock can make him pilot the ship at gunpoint. Both translations then give Godo another strange line: "You want to live so much?" In the original the sentence is unfinished, but it is clear that Godo is appalled by Lena's change of heart, not by her will to live.
       But there is no time to remember old feelings. The moment Lena boards the Space Shark the ground breaks, and the spaceship sinks into glowing lava. Godo saves his brother from falling after her, and Olga, transforming into an aircraft, carries both men to a safer place.
       Rock has lost his sight in the explosion and mutters deliriously about starting his project all over again and reviving the Earth this time for sure. Then he dies, and the Earth seems to be dying too.
       Destruction is raging around the globe, an endless succession of crumbling buildings, erupting volcanoes and other scenes of the wrath of nature. One remarkable shot shows whole continents covered with a network of fiery cracks - not unlike Hayao Miyazaki's TV series Future Boy Conan produced at about the same time.
       On a dark and desolate beach Godo stands lamenting the fate of his planet. Olga comes to his side and says that he need not die with the Earth. He has only to make a wish, and the Phoenix will give him its magical blood.
       These words make Godo realize at last that Olga is the Phoenix. But he does not want to remain the sole survivor in the wasteland, nor is he comforted when Olga promises that a new biosphere will spring forth in a few million years. It is the old Earth that he loved, and he would willingly die to bring it back.
       That is exactly how the Phoenix resurrects planets - by transferring somebody's life into them. Olga is reluctant to grant Godo this wish, because she does not want to lose him, but of course she has to respect his feelings and accept his ultimate sacrifice. Godo dies in her arms.
       The magic takes effect immediately. The earthquake ends, volcanoes stop erupting, the sky clears and bright stars come out. Tattered survivors crawl out of the ruins, sensing the change.
       But what is broken remains broken. The heavy damage caused by the catastrophe is not cancelled, unlike Olga's resurrection when she was instantly restored to brand-new state. This is because the Earth is transformed from within, and Olga's second life has been nothing but an illusion.
       Now the illusion ends. Olga lies down by Godo's side and turns back into the charred broken robot. A light shines over the bodies, forms into a medically accurate heart with a pair of wings and flies away.
       But the miracles are not over yet. As a parting gift from the Phoenix, perhaps, or a reward to the Earth's savior Godo is granted new life. He is transformed into an infant, and Olga by his side finds herself alive and human, allowed once more to take care of the child. Thus the lovers are back to their original relationship, which is probably the best for them (at least until Godo grows up again).
       The sun rises, but there is one star that continues to glitter, and it may be the Phoenix watching over the resurrected world.
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ray of hope