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The Phoenix

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Behold the majestic Greek Fire-Chicken!

"I was reborn before all life could die
The Phoenix bird will leave this world to fly
If the Phoenix bird can fly then so can I"
Elton John, Grey Seal

The Phoenix is an ancient and well known symbol of death and rebirth and is an idea that is found all over Asia and Europe. It's portrayed as a magnificent bird with a plumage of fiery colors and also with fiery powers or in some stories, a bird actually made of living flames.

The Phoenix of the Phoenician myth was an immortal bird that could regenerate from any injury. At a certain time, the Phoenix would make a nest of cinnamon sticks, and then self-immolate, burning to ashes, from which a new Phoenix was born. Similar myths include the Egyptian Bennu, the Chinese Fenghuang (or Houou to the Japanese), the Vermilion Bird Suzaku, and the Firebird of Russian folklore.

Traditionally this is not a species; there is usually only one Phoenix (video games and other modern fantasy works may beg to differ, but that's another story). More modern depictions will take this and run with it, depicting the phoenix as an Endangered Species, with the single specimen often being the Last of Its Kind. Unlike most other mythical beings, it's not immortal, instead it lives, ages, lays one single egg and burns itself up. The heat of its self-cremation causes the egg to hatch, or a new Phoenix is born from the ashes.


Stories don't agree whether the bird from the egg is a new phoenix or the same individual. As goes with the death/rebirth theme, it's often intentionally left unclear.

Other ideas include that its tears or song have healing powers.

It is commonly mistaken to be a member of The Four Gods, due to its similarities with The Vermillion Bird.

A common plot device is to have the protagonist first meet the phoenix as a sickly, dying pet of someone important. When the bird unexpectedly catches fire, circumstances lead them to expect said important person to blame them. But just as they're cringing and apologizing, The Reveal comes that this is a phoenix, going through its rebirth cycle.

See Birth/Death Juxtaposition for a plot that reflects this motif. See Born-Again Immortality for other characters with the ability to be reborn after death. See also Ouroboros, another ancient symbol of immortality/eternity. See Hot Wings for other wings of fire.



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     Anime and Manga 
  • Bakemonogatari has Tsukihi Araragi and more specifically the Dying Bird which she is possessed by (or simply is, it's hard to tell). The Dying Bird is a spiritual phoenix; when the host dies of age it reincarnates as another newborn and essentially lives again. Despite looking human Tsukihi is very much a supernatural creature and has all the powers one might expect including a massive Healing Factor.
  • Ikki in Saint Seiya has the Phoenix Cloth, and like the bird could come Back from the Dead only to get stronger each time. The Phoenix Cloth itself is explicitly said to be immortal, and could regenerate (as well as its wearer) within the incredible heat of volcanoes.
  • Tezuka Osamu's Phoenix combines the mythos with themes of Reincarnation.
  • Suzaku, one of the four gods of heaven and earth in Fushigi Yuugi, is represented by a Phoenix.
  • Ranma ½:
    • A parody of the bird shows up in one story (here called 鳳凰, Hōō, same as the Chinese Fenghuang), where a fat, round, ugly chick hatches from an egg purchased by Kuno and imprints on the first thing it sees —namely, Ranma— and determines it to be its mortal enemy. Hilarity Ensues.
    • The subject is treated somewhat more seriously with the final enemy in the series, the Phoenix Emperor Saffron, ruler of Mt. Phoenix to the south of Jusenkyo. Not only is he, like all his people, a Winged Humanoid with talons for hands and feet, but he can generate raw flame from his Battle Aura and regenerate from any injury through his phoenix flame... up to and including having his head frozen solid or his entire body shattered into a million pieces (which merely causes him to be reborn as an egg.)
    • The myth is first referenced in the Cat's Tongue/Phoenix Pill storyline, wherein Cologne makes Ranma incapable of withstanding any amount of heat—thereby locking him in female form, since he needs hot water to become male again. She blackmails him by offering the "Phoenix Pill" (不死鳥, Fushichō, "immortal/undying bird", a literal synonym of phoenix), which would make him impervious to heat, or at least restore him to normal, in exchange for marrying her great-granddaughter Shampoo.
    Akane: "Phoenix Pill? As in, the bird that's reborn in flames?"
  • Je T'aime, Fou Lafine's B't in B't X. Notably its powers had little to do with fire and instead focuses on using sonic weaponry to disable enemies.
  • A very short-lived Jewel Seed Monster took this form in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha during the period after Nanoha met up with the Time-Space Administration Bureau.
  • While there haven't been shown a phoenix in One Piece there's a Zoan Devil Fruit which allows the user to become a phoenix. Marco, Whitebeard's 1st Division Commander, have eaten this fruit. One Piece's version creates and is made of blue flames and has incredible recovery powers, as demonstrated when Marco shields Whitebeard from Kizaru's beams.
  • Digimon:
    • Zhuqiaomon, one of the Four Sovereigns, who are based on The Four Gods. Thus, he is the Vermilion Bird. He's something of a Knight Templar, it turns out. (Azulongmon, aka the Azure Dragon, has to cool him down. Via an epic battle between gods.) There's also a Phoenixmon (also known as Hououmon) who is seen briefly in one episode.
    • Biyomon and her evolutionary line from Digimon Adventure has very clear phoenix influence, with all of them being brightly colored birds associated with fire. In fact, the aforementioned Phoenixmon is her mega form.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, Yusuke's Battle Aura during the final battle in the Dark Tournament manifests as a flaming blue phoenix. In addition, after Yusuke's death at the hands of Sensui and his rebirth as the Mazoku, Puu's true form turns out to be a tremendous blue phoenix.
  • In Weapons Of The Gods, Nangong Wentian was known as this after getting resurrected by transplanting his heart with Phoenix, an axe made from nine feathers of the phoenix and gaining its power.
  • Kai's Bit Beast Suzaku/Dranzer from Beyblade is modeled after the Suzaku of The Four Gods, like the other three Bit Beasts.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: One of The Winged Dragon of Ra's powers is turning into a Phoenix and destroying any monster on the opponent's field. If it's during a Shadow Game, this usually destroys the opponent's mind as well.
  • In Guardian Fairy Michel, episode 7 is centered around finding a Phoenix.
  • The royal family of monsters in Princess Resurrection are actually these. They can only become an adult phoenix by receiving blessing from THE only adult phoenix, and then merging into one creature, just like the myth above. And they gain complete immortality by becoming adults. This is the driving force of the plot: Since becoming adult phoenix means complete immortality, the siblings must kill each other because there only can be one winner per generation. A physical body of a immature royal family usually is as weak as a human, unless they train themselves so hard like Gilliam does. Their blood is also magical, it temporarily revives a dead being, gives it temporary immortality for a few days. After a few days, whoever drank the blood of the royal family must drink it again, but a single drop is more than enough for the next few days. Those who drink a royal's blood are called Blood Warriors, and only few personally chosen by said royals can be one, and becoming a Blood Warrior is considered one of the greatest honor in the universe, as personal bodyguard of the royal. Much later in the story, as phoenix is a being closely tied with fire, the royal family do can unlock their fire powers without have to be adult phoenix, and capable of upgrading their Blood Warrior into Flame Warrior by putting an eternal flame into their warriors body, and unlike Blood Warriors, a Flame Warrior is not completely dependent on the royal he/she serves, as the flame will never run out of effect, unlike the blood. A Flame Warrior is also capable giving their flame toother Blood Warrior, as Keziah did to Madeline. A talented member of the royal family also capable of turning into half-phoenix-harpy-like being, just like Emil, even though he is NOT immortal because he never become an adult and already die, killed by his own vassal Sledge. Hime too is capable of turning into a semi-phoenix being by absorbing her past and future selves , in order to defeat Sylvia who already absorbed Fuhito and both are very powerful to begin with, and cancelled both of her own and Sylvia's powers. After that, Lilianne, Sylvia, and Fuhito, who already lost their royal powers, is seen with some kind of horns on their heads.
  • As an early gag in Dragon Ball, the Muten Roshi calls the Immortal Phoenix to grant Son Goku immortality as a reward for saving Umigame/Sea Turtle. However, the Immortal Phoenix does not appear since it died from food poisoning a year ago. Bulma lampshades it.
  • Magic Knight Rayearth: Rune God Windam is a green, wind controlling Phoenix that eventually dons with Fuu Hououji (name translates to "Wind of Phoenix Temple"). Augmenting with the Phoenix theme, Fuu herself is the only character that learns a healing spell (and Windam boosts that further).

     Card Games 

     Comic Books 
  • A mini-comic featuring Batman had the Penguin theming a series of thefts after the phoenix, eventually creating a fire-breathing robot called the "penguin phoenix".
  • Jean Grey from X-Men, depending on the continuity, or even the writer at the moment in the main continuity, was either the Phoenix itself (later Dark Phoenix), possessed by it, or replaced and impersonated by it at some point. She keeps an equally variable connection to it from her return onwards. The Phoenix wasn't even originally intended to give her an ability to come Back from the Dead. Becoming the Phoenix in the first place was considered her "death and rebirth." None of this helped her overall reputation much, and by now she has become the poster child for Death Is Cheap even by comic book standards, to the point that whenever she's in mortal danger, both readers and other characters don't really care all that much, though they might be concerned about her occasionally coming back wrong with her Superpowered Evil Side active. As of 2018, following Phoenix Resurrection, she's back and sane, with the Phoenix having departed after Jean flatly told it to leave her alone.
    • Ditto for her Kid from the Future, Rachel Grey, who kept the motif even after ditching the actual cosmic critter itself. Rachel's connection with the Phoenix isn't in a constant state of retcon like her mother's, though: she and the Phoenix were merged for years, then separated via a fairly complicated (though simple by Summers/Grey family standards) Time Travel storyline. She also never went Dark Phoenix like Jean, despite generally being more the hot-tempered of the two, but she came close to it a couple of times.
    • One of her other children, Nate Grey - not quite from the future, instead Cable's counterpart from the Age of Apocalypse - was never explicitly a Phoenix host, though it was hinted a few times, with the Phoenix raptor forming around him more than once, and it being bluntly stated from the start that he was as powerful as the Dark Phoenix. Death and rebirth motifs, usually related to the fact that he was slowly dying from Power De Generation, followed him wherever he went, and he ultimately pulled an actual death and rebirth worthy of his mother in Dark X-Men. Twice.
    • Hope Summers, the Mutant Messiah, was foreshadowed as a Phoenix host quite literally from birth, with the Phoenix raptor frequently being seen glowing in her eyes. And when her powers finally manifested, a Phoenix raptor formed around her as she obliterated Bastion and a dome of energy that had been shrugging off the best the Avengers could throw at it for most of a day, in a split-second. This led to a lot of speculation as to who and what she really was, it being clear that she wasn't just an average mutant — the Phoenix in human form, the reincarnation of Jean Grey herself (speculation restarted after an encounter with Teen Jean revealed that they looked identical)... no one was really sure. The ultimate answer seems to have been that her birth was arranged by the Phoenix to restart mutantkind and undo M-Day, which she ultimately did at the end of Avengers vs. X-Men - and the resemblance may just have been because the Phoenix likes Jean. Since then, however, there's been no real sign of anything Phoenix related going on with her, with the closest she's come being her involvement in Teen Jean's struggles with the entity.
    • Various other characters have also been hosts for the Phoenix, but it's always been either an extremely temporary situation or happened in ancient history. Even Spider-Man! But not really. He was using the gadgetry that allowed the robot Rachel of some Excalibur impostors to make it look good. Thus the costume change
  • The Sentry has vaguely Phoenix like attributes (leading to further Epileptic Trees on what he actually is), in that he consistently dies and comes back, as strong as before, and has a deep connection to fire/the sun.
  • A Sandman one-shot story mentioned that the new phoenix hatches from a white egg, but the burned phoenix actually produces two; the other is black and no one knows what there is inside.
  • One story in The Phantom had a man using ashes of the Phoenix egg as a medicine to keep him immortal. When his date overdoses herself by sniffing it all in, he tries to find a new egg for himself. While he does find the resting place of the Phoenix and gets more ashes, he is too impatient to wait for them to cool down and burns to death.
  • Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman: In "Generations" Diana follows a phoenix to take its egg as a present for her mother when it completes its rebirth. Cheetah follows her and tries desperately to steal the egg thinking Wondy's interest means the tales of the things granting immortality is true. It turns out it's little more than a pretty decoration and Diana wants it for her mother since she broke the phoenix egg that inspired her mother to make her when she was young.
  • In Swordquest: Fireworld, Tarra fights and briefly rides a giant fire hawk.

     Fan Works 
  • Harmony in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Chronicles of Harmony's End is the Top God of the setting, and possibly the phoenix. Array and Discord "kill" him in a specific way — by sealing his essence — to ensure that he cannot be reborn.
  • In the Kingdom Hearts fanfiction Sentinels of Chaos, one of the gifts the Keyblade Masters receive is a magical phoenix that "reads the intentions of their hearts," so that the one who gave the phoenix to them can know if the Keyblade Masters are worthy for something more. Axel (reluctantly) takes ownership of the phoenix, originally calling her Dopey, though after bonding with her later on, renames her to Pyranas. Interestingly, Dopey/Pyranas is treated as an actual character, rather than as a pet, and communicates through squawks and other bird noises (which are conveniently translated by the narrator) that the Keyblade Masters interpret and translate perfectly. And she also laughs at almost every pun, regardless of quality.
  • Child of the Storm:
    • The Phoenix Force is merged with Destruction of the Endless. After seventy chapters of hints, Chapter 71 spectacularly and violently confirms that Harry's protection comes from the Phoenix Force, which can act through him when required, while Chapter 78 confirms that Lily merged with the Phoenix as part of the deal, becoming the White Phoenix of the Crown.
    • The Tragic Villain of one of the major arcs of Ghosts of the Past is the Dark Phoenix, a.k.a. Harry, who is, thankfully, talked down in time. It's also revealed that the original Dark Phoenix a.k.a. Surtur wasn't talked down and ate a galaxy.

  • The Flight of the Phoenix (1965) is about a crashed plane being rebuilt by its desert-stranded passengers to fly again.
  • In Star Trek: First Contact, the name of Zefram Cochrane's warp ship is "The Phoenix", implied to have been chosen to herald in a new era after the devestation of World War III. Little does Cochrane know that it does indeed lead the rebirth of human race, when his warp-jump leads to peaceful first contact with the Vulcans.
  • In a deleted scene of A Knight's Tale, William suggests a phoenix as his heraldry as Sir Ulrich von Liechtenstein, on grounds of A) the private symbolism of his incipient jousting career rising from the ashes of Sir Ector's, and B) Ector's white stag could be recognized and Roland and Wat's suggestion of a lion is overdone. Wat suggests three phoenixes as a compromise, to symbolize the whole group rather than just Will.
  • This is implied to be the case with Mothra, who has a habit of laying an egg and then dying in the same film, then coming back in a later film after the egg hatches.
  • In the French movie Revenge (2017), the heroine has been Left for Dead by the villains, but heals her injuries by cutting open and flattening an aluminum beer can, holding it over the fire and then pressing it against her wound. In doing so she inadvertently brands the beer can's logo on her flesh, which happens to be a phoenix.

  • Harry Potter:
    • Fawkes, Dumbledore's pet, saved Harry in the second book. He's introduced in the way mentioned in the trope description — bursting into flame while Harry is alone in Dumbledore's office. It's left obvious it's the same animal that is reborn, and it "dies" at least twice during Harry's stay at Hogwarts. While rare, phoenixes are a species rather than Fawkes being one-of-a-kind.
    • These Phoenixes can carry very heavy loads, including several people, and have tears with healing powers. They can teleport in a flash of flame, and even carry at least one person with them when doing so; this ability can circumvent Hogwarts' teleportation defenses, something even the most powerful human wizard can never do. They can survive a Killing Curse — another thing impossible for wizards except under very specific circumstances — through their 'rebirth' ability. Their tail feathers are one of the magical items used to create wands (others being unicorn hair, dragon heartstring, and veela hair). The feather in Harry's wand actually came from Fawkes as did the feather in Big Bad Voldemort's wand — a connection which saves Harry in the fourth book. Wands that have cores from the same source don't work properly against each other.
  • The Simurgh of Xanth is notably NOT a phoenix. There's more than one great immortal bird in mythology, after all.
  • Carpe Jugulum includes a phoenix, and gleefully subverts this trope in classic Discworld tradition:
    • Rather than a one-bird species, it's a member of a breed of firebirds that has found a way to incubate their eggs really quickly. As Granny Weatherwax said, one of anything is stupid, since everything has enemies, so it won't survive long. However, since historians were more interested about writing about wars than writing about birds, they didn't know this simple fact.
    • On dropping from the blazing nest of their self-immolating parent, phoenix chicks shapeshift into the form of the first bird they encounter, the better to blend into their surroundings. Hence, when falconer Hodgesaarrgh goes looking for one, he has no idea which of the several different phoenix-drawings in his bird guide will be correct. After it does that, as Granny puts it, it will be whatever it has become until it needs to be a phoenix. Its actual resemblance to a lappet-faced worrier or "Lancre wowhawk" (a singularly pathetic bird of prey which faints at the sight of blood) was not one of the possibilities he'd been led to expect; the ostrich-like puppet he constructed was mainly related to the shape of his arm.
    • It also shares a few traits from Marvel's Phoenix Force: first, the tendency to manifest a giant raptor shaped burning aura in battle, second, the fact that Phoenixes apparently 'share their memories', and third, that they have absolutely no tolerance for evil (and not the world's most forgiving nature, either).
  • The classic children's book David and the Phoenix. This was quoted in At All Costs, complete with birth-death motifs.
  • The phoenix is one of the Great Houses of Dragaera. It is unknown if there are more than one of the animal phoenix, but in order for a Dragaeran to be of the House of the Phoenix, both of their parents must be of the House AND a phoenix must fly over when they are born. Needless to say, the House is all but extinct except Zerika, the Empress.
  • The bird itself does not appear, but the throne of the Autarchs in The Book of the New Sun is shaped like a phoenix, to symbolize their hope that the dying sun will be rekindled by the second coming of their savior figure.
  • The Phoenix And The Carpet by E. Nesbit contains a phoenix (well duh) and a carpet. The Phoenix came with the carpet, as an egg which then burst into flame and released a small bird which then rapidly grew into an adult, English-speaking Phoenix. The carpet also grants three wishes a day and can fly and take the children on adventures.
  • A swamp in Ursula Vernon's Black Dogs contains the world's last phoenix, imprisoned by magic. The protagonists release it and it flies off into space, but not before burning up all the magical apparitions that had been harassing them and granting them safe passage through the treacherous swamp.
  • Wicked: Pfenix (as they're spelled) appear in the books. They're known to be rare, and omens of change.
  • In Robert E. Howard's "The Phoenix on the Sword", the image of a phoenix put on Conan the Barbarian's sword both lets him kill the Eldritch Abomination and proves he wasn't dreaming.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero's Daughter trilogy, phoenix lamps use phoenix feathers, which regenerate, for light; phoenix ash is useful for bribing salamanders to behave themselves.
  • There is a short story (name currently unknown) about a group of modern-day people who capture a Phoenix and put it on display. They figure they can make a lot of money by televising the phoenix's death and fiery rebirth so they do everything they can to convince the bird that it's dying. When it starts building a pyre, the people train their cameras on it and start their vigil. The phoenix regenerates all right — unfortunately the resulting fireball winds up taking out most of the observers and a huge chunk of the city with it.
  • Neil Gaiman wrote a story ("Sunbird") for his daughter's birthday about a group of gourmets who, having eaten one of everything else on the planet, are inspired to hunt and devour a phoenix by the oldest member of the group. The member who keeps their records looks back through it and finds that the club has tried this in the past, but the pages after each attempt are strangely burnt. They find the phoenix, kill it, and cook it — but as they eat it, their bodies are consumed in flames. The old man who suggested the hunt is unharmed due to his habit of eating increasingly hot objects; in fact, he's done this dozens of times before, becoming immortal by regularly eating the phoenix.
  • A Fantasy Attraction has a phoenix passing overhead at the very end.
  • Fancy Apartments: Carr meets a phoenix that sings to him and gives him a tear. Unsurprisingly, the tear proves to be rather a Chekhov's Gun.
  • "Letter to a Phoenix" casts humanity in the role of the immortal bird: only humanity, of all sapient species, kills itself off periodically via warfare and thus never becomes moribund.
  • The Witchlands has an underplayed example in the fire hawks, which are basically Exactly What It Says on the Tin — hawk-like birds that are always on fire.
  • The Machineries of Empire uses the phoenix as a motif for the Kel faction. Their signifier, the ashhawk, is a fiery hawk, and the signature formation of the Kel is the one that causes self-immolation.
  • One of the stories in Pareidolia And The Gilded Scar Residual Warmth has a phoenix as the narrator and is about them dealing with the aftermath of their fiery rebirth.
  • Ology Series: Phoenixes are birds that, rather than being reborn in flames when they die, simply bathe in fire to get rid of parasites. Dragonology depicts them as vaguely reptilian, toothed pseudo-dragons, but Monsterology has them as fairly normal eagle-like raptors (apart from the fire thing, obviously). Drake opines that they evolved from Archaeopteryx, but this is contradicted in Dinosaurology.
  • The Spiderwick Chronicles: The tie-in field guide details phoenixes (with the image above being directly from the book). They are genderless creatures that, towards the end of their centuries-long lifespan, set up a nest they then incinerate themselves upon, leaving an egg that hatches into a new phoenix after nine days.
  • The Executioner. When Mack Bolan goes from wanted Vigilante Man to covert US government operative, he has to fake his death in the explosion of his War Wagon. His new cover name is Colonel John Phoenix.

     Live-Action TV 
  • In Babylon 5, the phoenix is used as Elizabeth Lochley's Starfury Nose Art and helmet artwork. In a DVD commentary, show creator JMS says that he gave it to her because it seemed appropriate, not knowing that the actress Tracy Scoggins had a minor obsession with phoenix mythology.
  • In Warehouse 13, the Phoenix artifact will allow you to save yourself, but using it will cause someone else to die.
  • Super Sentai and Power Rangers:
  • Kamen Rider:
    • In Kamen Rider Ryuki, Kamen Rider Odin is phoenix-themed and is completely overpowered compared to the rest of the Riders. Unfortunately, he's also The Dragon enslaved to the Big Bad. His resurrection ability is only metaphorical, in that if anyone does manage to kill him, the Big Bad will just brainwash and equip someone else to fill the role. His counterpart from the American adaptation Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, Kamen Rider Wrath, is similar.
    • Kamen Rider OOO: The main character's mix-and-match powers have various animal themes, with red Medals giving him powers based on birds. When he uses all three of them at once, the individual bird motifs (Hawk, Peacock, and Condor) merge into a Phoenix theme. It's only his second-most powerful form, but is sometimes used as the Super Mode since the actual strongest form is a Deadly Upgrade.
    • Kamen Rider Wizard: The Phoenix Phantom is one of the main villains (at least at the start) and serves as The Dragon in the first arc. He Came Back Strong from every defeat, which makes him one of the biggest physical threats of the series; and Wizard has to Hurl It into the Sun to deal with him permanently (it wouldn't kill him for good, but he won't be able to escape).
    • Kamen Rider Build gets a Phoenix as one of his choices for his organic-half powers. It's one of his more powerful options, and gets special focus by being featured in one of the tie-in movies.
  • In Supernatural, the Phoenix is a human-looking creature who can't die, and who can burn people alive with a touch.
  • In Legacies, one of the main characters, Landon Kirby, is revealed to be partially a phoenix.
  • On Degrassi: The Next Generation, Darcy's nom de guerre at a camp she went to.
  • There was an extremely short-lived TV Series in 1982 called The Phoenix, featuring an alien trapped on earth named Bennu of the Golden Light (Bennu being an Egyptian myth similar to the phoenix), who awakens after being stored away for thousands of years. The usage of the Phoenix symbols was metaphorical, however. No incendiary birds appeared.

  • Igor Stravinsky's The Firebird is all about the trope, through Russian fairytale. Have a listen. This piece was set to animation in Fantasia 2000.
  • 30 Seconds to Mars has Mithra, a phoenix featured as one of the band's earliest logos and still used today.
  • In Kanye West's Runaway, a lady phoenix with strategically placed feathers crashes on Earth, and Kanye keeps her as a pet, or girlfriend, or something.
  • "Феникс" ("Feniks") by Ariya tells the story of the bird in question.
  • Firebird by Dreamtale.
  • Fall Out Boy's single “The Phoenix,” which is also the opening track of the album Save Rock and Roll. Since this is the first album they made after a three-year hiatus, it works as meta symbolism of the band's rebirth.
  • "Phoenix" by Polish industrial band Gorthaur:
    Out of my ashes / Will raise a new phoenix / I'll live forever / Because the spirit never dies
  • "Phoenix" by Progressive Classic Rock Twin Lead Guitar band Wishbone Ash:
    Bird, rise high from the cinders / Leave it all far behind / All the ruins and the fire / Bird, raise your head from the ashes / Many men lay dead / You can see them like I / Phoenix rise, raise your head to the sky
  • Tenacious D's third album and title track 'Rize of the Fenix' uses this imagery to signify their rise back to stardom after the critical failure of their movie.
    When The Pick of Destiny was released, it was a bomb,
    And all the critics said that the D was done.
    The sun had set, and the chapter had closed,
    But one thing no one thought about, was the D would rise again.
    Just like the phoenix,
    We'll fucking rise again!

     Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons has had several versions of a phoenix monster over the years. Depending on the edition, they're either Neutral Good inhabitants of the Upper Planes or destructive Elemental Embodiments of fire. Either way, they're always extremely powerful and usually have to be killed twice in combat.
    • In the first edition Fiend Folio, it's stated that phoenixes are based on garbled accounts of reptilian ostrich-like monsters called giant striders bathing in fire. This is immediately contradicted by the subsequent Monster Manual II introducing actual phoenixes to the game.
    • Phoelarches are a race of fiery humanoids whose lives are linked with Phoeras, phoenix-like creatures from the Elemental Plane of Fire. When a phoelarch dies, a phoera spontaneously appears in its place to avenge its death.
  • In Pathfinder, phoenixes are powerful and benevolent creatures of great wisdom that resemble enormous birds of prey made of fire. They are able to self-resurrect when slain only once a year, dying permanently if killed again before a full year has passed since its previous death. They have an important role in the worship of the goddess Sarenae, whose followers believe them to be sacred to the goddess and that Sarenae created the first phoenixes from rocs blessed with her power.
  • Warhammer: The phoenix is the symbol of Asuryan, the Elven king of Eternal life and Rebirth, hence the king's bodyguard being the "Phoenix Guard". Actual Phoenices are also available to the High Elf army as monstrous units, and come in two flavours — the classic Flamespyre Phoenix, which is young and fiery and able to come back from the dead in a shower of flames, and the ancient, much tougher Frostheart Phoenix, which trails ice and chill rather than flames, and has lived so long it is no longer able to rebirth itself.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Phoenix Lords are the greatest of all Eldar warriors. The title seems to be related to the phoenix's connection to death and rebirth: the Phoenix Lords are actually spirits residing within soulstones attached to the armor they wore in life. When a volunteer dons the armor, the Lord's personality and will merges with them. As long as the soulstone and the armor remain intact, the Phoenix Lord will never truly die.
  • Kings of War: Basileans can take a Phoenix as a monster unit. It has fire breath and the ability to heal your troops.
  • Exalted: Garda birds are fire elementals resembling large, beautiful birds with gold, purple or silver feathers (the exact coloration depends on the specific form they are in, as they can take several). They are ageless and immortal — when one dies, it is reborn in flame nine days later without fail. One of the forms they use for combat, a humanoid with six arms and the head, tail, wings and claws of an eagle, is also referred to as the Phoenix form.

     Video Games 
  • Dota 2 has the hero Phoenix, a Strength-based ranged hero that is basically... a phoenix. It is actually a manifestation first sun that soared in the void of universe. All of its skills are using HP as well as mana for activation. Its ultimate skill, Supernova, sacrificed its life to transform into a burning sun. If the sun isn't destroyed, it will be reborn at full health / MP / cooldown and deal big damage to the area surrounding. Phoenix was created way back in Dota Warcraft v 6.70, somewhere in 2010. Its Dota 1 name was Icarus from the Greek legend, now it is simply Phoenix.
  • League of Legends:
    • Anivia, the cryophoenix, turns into a egg when killed and revives from if it isn't destroyed, although she can revive as such only once per few minutes.
    • Udyr has a Phoenix Stance, but subverts the death and rebirth part of the trope. He uses the fiery aspect of the creature for a Fire-Breathing Weapon.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The Phoenix is a summon monster in quite a few Final Fantasy games, usually in some combination of fire-based attack on the enemies and healing and/or resurrection on your allies.
    • Plays a particularly important role in Final Fantasy XIV. After Louisoix failed to re-seal the rampaging Bahamut, he was able to absorb the aether of the failed spell before Bahamut could; with the enourmous mass of energy and the prayers for salvation from everyone present, and Louisoix's own wish to see the realm reborn, he was able to summon Phoenix into his own body and weild its power against Bahamut. He won the ensuing battle and then released the aether back to the dying land, allowing it to return to life. As a result, Eorzea was able to recover from the calamity in record time.
    • The series' go-to item for resurrecting fallen allies is named "Phoenix Down". Some games have the rarer "Phoenix Pinion" which either revives everyone/revives someone at full HP/revives them with an auto-resurrect.
  • StarCraft has the Protoss Fenix. A Zealot met early in the Protoss campaign, he's defeated in battle when the Zerg invade and is presumed dead. Later, however, it turns out his body was recovered and he was resurrected as a Dragoon cyborg.
  • Pokémon:
    • Moltres, one of Kanto's legendary birds, draws inspiration from the western phoenix myth. Besides being an elemental bird with feathers made of fire, its Pokédex entries state that if it is injured, it will bathe in the lava of a volcano to burn and heal itself.
    • Ho-Oh, which resurrected the legendary Pokémon Raikou, Entei, and Suicune after the Brass Tower they were in burned down, and which seems to be based on the Chinese fenghuang.
    • The legendary bird Pokémon Yveltal is an interesting variant; while it lacks an obvious association with fire and instead embodies death and destruction, it is said that when it is dying, it will sap away life energy from every living thing and revert to a cocoon state in order to be reborn later.
  • In Age of Mythology, Egyptians can summon Phoenixes (scientific name Aquila inferna, literally "Eagle from hell") that are actually MADE of living flames, which they can throw from the air in a bombing-raid-style attack. When they are killed over solid ground, an egg appears in the ashes of their body and a new Phoenix can be summoned from it.
  • In Warcraft III, the Blood Mage can summon one as his ultimate spell. Like the above example, it turns into an egg on death, rebirthing from it when the egg is not destroyed quickly. It actually burns itself, needing a rebirth every few minutes even without fighting. As first and strongest of the Blood Mages, the phoenix is the personal symbol of Kael'thas Sunstrider, and a very prominent symbol of the Blood Elves in World of Warcraft in general, representing their rebirth from the ashes of genocide in the Third War. Kael's pet phoenix Al'ar serves as a boss in his raid, Tempest Keep, and Kael summons phoenixes during both boss fights against him in Burning Crusade.
  • Like many mythological creatures, they're featured in the Shin Megami Tensei series. What's interesting is that in Persona 4, Phoenix's (of the Sun Arcana) artwork is that of Suzaku's and Suzaku (of the Temperance Arcana) has another variation of its artwork.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic had it from the start. In Heroes of Might and Magic 1 and 2 it was the top-tier creature of the Sorceress Castle. In Heroes of Might and Magic III it was absent but returned in the expansion, Armageddon's Blade, as the Conflux top-tier creature and gained the ability to resurrect after a stack died for the first time. In Heroes of Might and Magic IV it showed up as one of two top-tier creatures for the Preserve/Nature faction as well as a summoning spell in the Nature school. Heroes of Might and Magic V actually has two versions, a summoned Phoenix whose stats depend on the hero's, and a neutral creature that can come in numbers and ressurects once per battle when slain. In the campaign, their light is one of two ways for the Elves to defeat the Vampire Lord Nicolai for good.
  • Age of Wonders:
    • The original game has a phoenix as a rare, summonable creature. It's extremely powerful and, when slain, will resurrect after three turns, which it can do without limit.
    • Age of Wonders 3 sees the Phoenix unit return. This time, however, its resurrection abilities came from its ability "resurgence" which returns it to life after a battle with 30% of its Hit Points as long as its controller won the battle, which makes them fantastic suicide units.
  • Rise of Legends: The Alin use an Arabian-style phoenix as a scout.
  • Suzaku from Tenchu 2 is a frightening parody of the phoenix's life after death theme.
  • The Monster Rancher series has these. Ironically, the Phoenix monster has one of the shortest lifespans of any monster in the game. That said, unlike other monsters, it doesn't die when it's time is up. It just flies away, never to return. In terms of game mechanics, it's the same thing though.
  • Fujiwara no Mokou from Touhou has phoenix-themed powers in the form of resurrection-type immortality and control over fire. One of her Spellcards is even called "Possessed by Phoenix".
  • You can create these in Scribblenauts. They're treated as a standard flying creature, and aren't flaming themselves, but they are attracted to fires—with the humorous result that you can tie a rope to them, tie the other end to something you want to move, and repeatedly move a fire that they'll chase after like it's a carrot on a fishing line.
  • A phoenix makes an appearance in the second God of War game
  • Mega Man X6 and Mega Man Zero 2 had the fire-themed bosses "Blaze Heatnix" and "Phoenix Magnion". While they don't have the ability to resurect, you do have to fight them again in the Boss Rush of their respective games, and one of Magnion's attacks involves summoning ghostly apparitions of past (and probably long dead) Mega Man X villains to attack Zero with. Mega Man 10 has a Dual Miniboss, Fenix and Suzak, with that theme. Magnion, however, had a notable attack in which he can briefly summon spirits of Zero's old X series foes in battle.
  • Kirby:
  • Then there are the two classic coin-op games Phoenix and Space Firebird, both of which have the player battling wave upon wave of phoenices.
  • Archon had a phoenix as a piece. It could immolate itself as an attack, and was invulnerable while doing so.
  • Peter the phoenix in Shining Force II, an important plot character who revives himself if he dies in battle.
  • Though never directly associated with the Phoenix, Yukiko from Persona 4 uses Fire, Healing, and Resurrection Magic. Her personas are also winged humanoids. There's also an ACTUAL Phoenix persona in-game.
  • Raven in Rune Factory 3 turns out to be one, with pretty incredible fireball attacks.
  • There are now two different phoenix pets in RuneScape.
  • BlazBlue: Nox Nyctores Phoenix Rettenjou has the power to sever the connection from the Boundary, and in here, Boundary can mean 'land of the dead' so it has the probability to save someone from death. Its user, Bang Shishigami, inexplicably has some untold fire powers. And that one time he was thought to be dead (when he saved Litchi in the beginning of his story in Continuum Shift)... he suddenly got back up as if nothing happened. Hmmmm....
  • In Magical Doropie, Doropie can transform into a Firebird to defeat all enemies on screen at the cost of one-third of her life meter.
  • The shmups Terra Cresta, Legendary Wings(NES version only), and Crisis Force(No Export for You) all have a phoenix form as a Super Mode.
  • The second version of Loewenzahn in P.N.03 transforms into a robotic phoenix.
  • RefleX has the player's ship, which is called the Phoenix. In Area 7, the Phoenix is totaled by ZODIAC Virgo, resulting in the death of the pilot...but then the Phoenix lives up to its name and reawakens as ZODIAC Ophiuchus.
  • Golden Sun's Phoenix line (the stronger ones are called fire birds and wonder birds) is notable for being the Mook Medic and giving massive amounts of experience (especially if killed with Mercury Djinn), with an unfortunate tendency to run away. It is possible to run into two wonder birds at a time, who keep ressurecting each other for risky Level Grinding.
  • RuneScape has various forms of the Phoenix, mainly stemming from a quest called In Pyre Need, which rewards the player with a repeatable boss (a phoenix), the ability to summon a phoenix familiar and a baby phoenix pet. There is also a desert phoenix, and a "firebird", an actual bird of fire resembling a phoenix.
  • In Copy Kitty, the Yoggval you fight midway through Normal Mode World 11, thanks to being tampered with by an ancient artifact, is given fire attacks and drops the Phoenix Flare power. At the end of the world, it comes back and uses the artifact's full power to become Phoenix Yoggval, with the ability to resurrect itself several times.
  • One of the bosses in Astal resembles a phoenix.
  • Flight Rising has a phoenix familiar; unlike most familiars, the phoenix's image actually changes each time you open the page it's on, cycling between four stages of life (egg, chick, adult, ash).

     Visual Novels 
  • Phoenix Wright is a rising new star lawyer with the uncanny ability to turn cases around when all hope seems lost. Case 1-5 is even called "Rise From the Ashes". This applies much more to the English version though. In the Japanese version, however, his name suggests the Dragon, and at one point he has a rivalry with a tiger-themed character.
  • Ushiromiya Battler, from Umineko: When They Cry, has been likened to a phoenix a couple of times in Arcs 2 - 4. After being turned into a soulless servant, tricked mercilessly by his rival and enemy, and fading out of existence after learning his parentage, he continues fighting Beatrice. May double as a reference to Ace Attorney.

     Web Comics 

     Web Original 
  • Bennu in The Dragon Wars Saga is a phoenix (it's implied that phoenixes are a species among Speakers).
  • Shadowhunter Peril:
    • The Phoenix as a species becomes prominent in the second half of Shadowhunter Peril. Instead of one of a kind, red-and-gold birds roughly the size of a hawk, Phoenixes are tall, anywhere from 7-9 feet in height (although their King stands at 11 feet) and they speak with telepathy. Phoenixes in this universe come in any color feather, usually a solid color, and they all sport unique, intricate, glowing linies of another color along their bodies. They have the ability to light themselves on fire at will, they breathe fire, and they can carry a human or two, depending on their size and strength. These Phoenixes used to live in mountains all over the planet, until their homes were destroyed by an unnamed entity, and they were forced to retreat to Ushuum'a, a city built inside the volcano Kilimanjaro, and Ka'a, their capital city built inside a hollowed out Mount Everest. They have a single King and Queen, Ra and Nasaero, who rule over the entire race and reside in Ka'a. The entire city is lit by artificial sunlight coming from a large jewel hanging above the area on the rocky ceiling, and wildlife grows and lives in the city as well. Phoenixes in general are very untrustworthy and proud, so much that they were ready to kill Kyle, Etzel, and Kitty upon sight. Only one with phoenix blood in their veins can open the entranceway to their cities. They have a massive army sporting golden armor, due to their warlike nature. Phoenixes are easily as intelligent as a human, clearly sentient, and because of their incredibly long lifespans it is very hard to trick them. A select few also practice the ability of forcefully digging into the minds of others for information, if the need arises. Phoenixes will live forever, bursting into flames and rising from the ashes ever five hundred years, unless they are killed in battle.
    • In the same universe, there is a phoenix-human hybrid named Kyle Vivoka, who has inherited some of their abilities, as well as a version of their immortality, mortalized in the form of high-speed regeneration.
  • St-hang from Slush Invaders has the abilities of a phoenix, reviving after every time they die in a burst of flame, and can throw fireballs or huge walls of fire.

     Western Animation 
  • The In Name Only Conan the Barbarian (1982) Animated Adaptation had a talking Phoenix as a Small, Annoying Creature. In the sequel series where the firebird was missing, Conan made an off-hand comment saying that he eventually ate it. To note that is was a small, young phoenix (with the power to enter a metal objects and become a symbol/decoration). In one episode it temporarily got its adult form and it was massive and powerful, easily carrying Conan on it's back.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy showed the phoenix as a gluttonous beast.
  • One of the Three Keys of Power (artifacts that grant their owner tremendous magical power when used together) from Gargoyles, the Phoenix Gate, allows people to travel through time. Howver, due to the nature of time travel in that series, no one can actually change the past, merely fulfill their role in it. In the canon comics, the Phoenix Gate is broken and an actual Phoenix is freed as a result.
  • While no phoenixes are seen in Avatar: The Last Airbender, Fire Lord Ozai invokes the symbolism of the bird when he grants himself the title of "Phoenix King" on the basis of how he will rise from the ashes of the incinerated Earth Kingdom as the supreme ruler of the world.
  • The pilot episode of Galaxy Rangers is called "Phoenix," ostensibly named for Zachary's ill-fated ship. It also could be read as a reference to Zach himself, as his life is pretty much shot by the end of the ep (severely injured, the ship's destroyed, wife's headed to the Fate Worse than Death), and he's "reborn" as a Hollywood Cyborg and put in command of the Series 5 team. One of the Ear Worm theme songs also references the Phoenix.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Phoenixes make scattered appearances throughout the series: as a whole, they're large, eagle-like birds with brilliant scarlet, orange and yellow plumage, sometimes with magenta highlights (the exact colors and pattern vary highly between all individuals seen), and long tails. Typically for birds, they have marked sexual dimorphism: male phoenixes have a tufted crest of long backwards-pointing feathers on their heads, while females have three thin feathers with round tips, reminiscent of a tiara. They periodically age into a wasted, ugly state before burning to ash and rising back to full health, and contact with their feathers can induce deafness.
    • Princess Celestia, Equestria's Immortal Ruler, has a pet phoenix named Philomena. When first introduced, Philomena is a sickly bird, and Fluttershy kidnaps her to nurse her back to health. Everything she tries fails, and meanwhile Fluttershy and her friend Twilight Sparkle are panicking about how much trouble Fluttershy will get into for kidnapping the bird. Just when the princess arrives, Philomena catches fire. Fluttershy is very dismayed and confesses what she did, and the princess reassures her that she knows Fluttershy's intentions were good. Then she reveals that Philomena isn't dead, and a beautiful phoenix rises from the ashes. Philomena also turns out to have a mischievous side not unlike her owner which is why she went along with the kidnapping. Interestingly, this plot is very much like how Fawkes from Harry Potter was introduced, causing many fans to see it as a Shout-Out.
    • In "Dragon Quest", the teenage dragons attempt to raid the nest of a phoenix family. The family escapes, but Spike finds a lone unhatched egg. The other dragons urge him to smash it, but Spike refuses out of sympathy (he was a lone egg too not too long ago) and takes the egg with him back to Ponyville. The egg later hatches and Spike adopts the newly hatched chick as his pet naming it Peewee. Peewee was Put on a Bus in the next season, but returns as an adult in "Molt Down". This borders on Fridge Logic since in most lore phoenixes cannot be killed. Although, the fact that there is a phoenix species in Equestria implies that there must be something that prevents the population from growing out of control.

     Real Life 
  • "phoenix" was the online handle of the Playful Hacker leader of the original Hacker Unionist Movement... and while he retired at the end of the first movement, it's had a Continuity Reboot of sorts twice.
  • The Bennu, the mythological bird that inspired the concept of the phoenix in the west, was based on a species of extinct heron (Ardea bennuides). In turn, the Feng Huang, or "Chinese phoenix", was inspired by the Asian ostriches that lived during the ice ages in China.
  • Special mention should be given to the Vermilion Bird (aka the Zhuque or Suzaku) of Chinese-Japanese mythology. Its often mistaken as the "Asian Phoenix" due to the color of its plumage, however in its home countries its not considered a fire bird so much as a bird that uses fire.
    • Similarly, the Chinese-Japanese mythological bird that is even more often considered the "Asian Phoenix" is the fenghuang/houou, despite having even less to do with fire and rebirth. Not helped by the fact that the fenghuang and Zhuque are conflated with each other. While it does have some associations with fire and the sun, it's nowhere to the same extent and neither of these birds have anything to do with rebirth.
  • There is a breed of long-tailed chicken known as a phoenix.
  • Phoenix was the name of the coins the Greek state used after its liberation. It symbolized the rebirth of Greece.
    • A phoenix rising behind a soldier was also a symbol of the "Colonels' Regime" in Greece (a military junta that ruled the country 1967-1974), symbolizing the "rebirth" of the Greek nation under their quasi-neofascist rule. They put this symbol everywhere, including coinage.
  • A phoenix above the main entrance of Hamburg's city hall symbolizes the rebirth of the city after the great fire of 1842, as does the representative Phönixsaal (Phoenix Hall) on the upper floor.
  • A phoenix was added to the coat of arms of Coventry, to symbolize the city's restoration after the World War II bombing.
  • The capital of Arizona is Phoenix, named in reference to it being founded on the long-abandoned ruins of former Hohokam settlements in the Salt River Valley. Most Americans assume that the city is instead a reference to the triple-digit temperatures the state experiences every summer. But it's a dry heat.
  • The Provisional IRA had a phoenix as their symbol representing the rebirth of the IRA and the Irish republican cause.
  • The city of San Francisco has the phoenix as its flag symbol.
  • The city seal of Atlanta, Georgia is a phoenix, reflecting the city's rebuilding after being wiped out during the Civil War.
  • There is an Azhdarchid pterosaur, called Alanqa, is named after a type of phoenix. This being an Azhdarchid pterosaur, it looks more like a dragon than a phoenix.
  • It is thought by some that the source of the phoenix myths were sightings of flamingos feeding in boiling crater lakes.
  • The Imperial Japanese Navy had four carriers named after the phoenix: the Hōshō ("Flying phoenix"), the Shōhō ("Auspicious phoenix"), the Zuihō ("Fortunate Phoenix"), and the Taihō ("Great phoenix").
  • There's also a Phoenix in the sky, the southern constellation of the same name. As with so many other examples, good luck attempting to figure that mythological bird on it.
  • Last but not least, NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander, whose insignia featured a very stilized phoenix. Unfortunately she did not come back from the Martian winter.

Alternative Title(s): Burning Bird


Example of: