If you were an American child in the 1960’s, you probably watched “Astro Boy” on T.V. and I’d call you lucky because I grew up in the late 1980’s and didn’t know “Astro Boy” existed until I did a small history project on anime in middle school.
But now I know and the new “Astro Boy” movie is coming out in theaters on Oct. 23rd and, boy oh boy, am I excited!
Originally called “Tetsuwan Atom” in Japan, the comic-book-turned-anime-turned-film has captured the heart of many kids and adults alike ever since it was released. It tells the story of a robot implanted with human memories created by Dr. Tenma to help him get over the death of his son. When that goes awry, Astro becomes a crime-fighter, particularly focusing on human-robot conflicts, out of control robots and evil doers looking to exploit robot powers.
The movie follows a similar origin story, but also focuses on self-discovery and a typical good-v.-evil energy conflict, which makes me happy since various filmmakers worldwide now feel the need to address ecological issues. I’m sure the legendary Osamu Tezuka, the creator of “Astro Boy” would have approved of the eco-friendly message too.
Speaking of Osamu Tezuka, Dark Horse Comics publishes the U.S. version of “Astro Boy” and still has 23 volumes and a few other Tezuka titles for sale. Nozomi Entertainment/Right Stuf International publishes and sells the anime version.
Vertical sells a number of Tezuka’s darker and deeper works including “Buddha”, “Ode to Kirihito” and “Black Jack” amongst others.
Also, “Astro Boy”-related comic book is “Pluto” which is a post-mortem collaboration between (the very much alive) Naoki Urasawa and Tezuka. “Pluto” is like a darker version of “Astro Boy”, but instead of focusing on Astro, it focuses on Gesicht, a German robot working as a detective. Astro (called by his original name, Atom) and Gesicht are two of the world’s seven great robots and the mysterious Pluto is murdering these robots and their creators for their involvment in the 39th Central Asian War.
You may remember Naoki Urasawa since I mentioned him yesterday in my post about the debut of “Monster” on Syfy, and he is half the reason why I really love “Pluto” too. More importantly, it’s a really gripping read. Urasawa really took Tezuka’s idea and ran with it until the readers are left on the edge of a cliff trying to see who’s dead on the ground below.
But just because the new movie and “Pluto” are modern takes on Tezuka originals doesn’t mean that Tezuka’s genius won’t shine through. I’m looking forward to seeing it next week.
See some exclusive pictures of the film on Comic Book Resources.
Some more stills from the movie and pictures of some of the cast from Comic Book Movies.
A Wikipedia article on the film.