Astro Boy Flies Back into Town
By Rosalie Leung
Whats that darting across the sky? No, its not a bird, plane, or even Superman
.its Astro Boy! Also known as Tetsuwan Atom (Mighty Atom) in Japan, the cartoon character first flew onto TV screens in 1963. Following his very first birthday celebration this past April, forty years after his first TV appearance, the boy wonder is expected to return to TV and perhaps even whiz by the big screen. In the U.S., the Kids WB is said to have ordered 26 new episodes of the animated series. Sony Pictures Television International is also rumored to be producing a computer animated Astro Boy film, to be released in 2005.
Astro Boy during his days as a comic book character.
Courtesy of: www.en.tezukaco.jp
Astro Boy was Japans first manga cartoon character, originating from Osamu Tezukas Captain Atom. For newcomers to the anime genre, Manga is the name of Japanese style cartoon characters with large oval eyes and small mouths. Tezukas comic was published in 1951 in a manga magazine named Shonen. By 1963, Captain Atom, now known as Astro Boy, had fought his way onto Japanese and American television to become Japans first animated TV series and television import to the U.S.
The original series, in black and white, was produced by Tezukas Mushi Production Company. Nineteen years later, in 1982, the color version was released worldwide.
The cartoon began in 1963 with an atomic powered robot named Aster (Toby in the new series) who was created on the distant future date of April 7th, 2003. A scientist created him as a physical and emotional replica of his deceased son. After building the thinking, caring, super powered robot, the scientist was disappointed that he was not real and rejected him. He was then sold to a robot circus where he was renamed Astro Boy. Shortly after joining the circus, he was rescued by Dr. Elefun (Dr. Ochanomizu in the new series) who helped him start a new life with a robot family, which the doctor built especially for him.
Astro Boy to the rescue!
Courtesy of: www.astroboy-online.com
Like any hero, Astro Boy also had an evil nemesis, Atlas. Atlas resented the humans for their mistreatment of robots and tried to eliminate the human race. In his daily adventures, Astro Boy used his super strength and abnormal hearing, language, and sight abilities, to fight Atlas and any other evil that lurked the Metro City streets.
Even after years of battling evil, Astro Boy is still going strong. It may be 40 years since he first entered the homes and hearts of television viewers, but fans of the cartoon are hardly tired of watching the young hero and his daily antics. To many of his older fans, he is just what the younger generation of cartoon watchers need. Part human, part toon, with heart of pure gold, Astro Boy is sure to win them over too.