Astro Boy (2003 TV series): Wikis

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Astro Boy
Astro boy.jpg
Astro Boy
アストロボーイ・鉄腕アトム
(Astro Boy: Tetsuwan Atomu)
Genre Action, Adventure, Science fiction
TV anime
Director Kazuya Konaka
Studio Tezuka Productions
Sony Pictures Television
Network Japan Animax, Fuji TV
Singapore India Thailand Hong Kong Republic of China Animax
Canada YTV
United States Kids' WB, Cartoon Network
Portugal TVI
Bulgaria Nova TV
United Kingdom BBC2, CBBC
Malaysia TV3
Brazil Cartoon Network
Philippines ABS-CBN, Hero TV, Cartoon Network
Arab League MBC 3 (Arabic), New TV(English) Republic of Ireland RTE Two (English)
Original run 6 April 200321 March 2004
Episodes 50[1]
Related works
Anime film
Anime and Manga Portal

Astro Boy (アストロボーイ・鉄腕アトム Asutoro Bōi Tetsuwan Atomu ?, lit. "Astro Boy: Mighty Atom") is a remake of the 1960s anime series of the same name created by Osamu Tezuka, which was produced by his company, Tezuka Productions, and the anime television network, Animax, who have broadcast the series across its respective networks worldwide, including Japan, Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia, and other regions.

In 2003, a new Astro Boy anime series was created to celebrate the birth date of Astro Boy (as well as the 40th anniversary of the 1963 series). Under the original English name (instead of Tetsuwan Atom), it kept the same classic art style as the original Astro Boy manga and anime, but was revisioned and modernized with more lush, high-quality, near-theatrical animation and visuals. It combined the playfulness of the early anime with the darker, more serious and dramatic Science Fiction themes of the manga and the '80s anime. The anime broadcast in Japan (on the same date as Astro's birth in the manga, April 7, 2003) across Animax and Fuji Television, with lots of fanfare. It was directed by Kazuya Konaka and written by Chiaki J. Konaka.

Though many episodes of the series can be regarded as "free-standing" in as much as they don't have anything to do with the series major story arcs, the 2003 series can be regarded as having a well-defined beginning, middle, and end. Although the series appears to initially have two main plotlines (Dr. Tenma's eventual plans for Astro to evolve and another plotline about robot rights), these two story arcs dovetail toward the end of the series.

The show was eventually picked up by Sony Pictures Entertainment. However, Kids' WB picked up the broadcasting rights and began airing the show in the U.S. in early 2004. Fans balked at the dub, as the original music score, composed by Takashi Yoshimatsu, was changed and the show was given an uneven scheduling. It was bounced back and forth between Kids WB and Cartoon Network until it was eventually cancelled. TOM, the host of Toonami, the block that aired the show on the Cartoon Network even made a joke during his review of the video game tie in, Astro Boy: Omega Factor that "Astro has no love here in the States." This could easily be viewed as Williams Street's view of the situation as anime fans with their hands tied by red tape in regards to the situation of being allowed to air the show.

The entire series is currently available on DVD in one single boxset. However, the US set is not fully complete, with one episode in the set being omitted called "Eternal Boy" and replaced with a clip show episode. The order of episodes on the set is the syndication-released order, which is different from the Japanese order, evidenced by characters such as Astro's sister, Zoran, showing up in episodes before they were introduced. This DVD set also has a short feature about the show's development that heavily hints at pressure put on the anime developers by Sony to make Astro more of a hero than a boy. This is reflected in the dub as scenes where Astro has emotional moments or where he is acting childlike are cut or the script is changed to Astro acting with a "cooler" or more heroic attitude. That said, the later episodes of the dub do follow along the same lines as the Japanese script.

The series, however, had more success in the UK where it was picked up by the BBC for its children's block and digital only Children's channel from 2003 to 2006. The show's first run lasted about as long as the US one (up to the 2-part episode featuring Pluto) after which the BBC stopped airing new episodes. This may be because (as one presenter commented after an episode) Astro was a darker show compared to the other cartoons CBBC aired (even in its edited state). The western dub has never been aired fully on TV in the US. Despite how well Astro may have fared in the UK airing and DVDs being advertised, the series has not been released on DVD in the UK. Interestingly enough, CBBC finished airing recently unaired episodes of Astro Boy, thus completing the entire series in the UK, making Astro Boy one of the rare anime that airs in the UK in its entirety while not doing so in the United States.

The series was also a success with Arabic speaking viewers when it aired on MBC 3 several times along another anime remake that faced the same fate in America, Cyborg 009.

A trailer from 2001 made for this series when it was in development presented several major differences from the final series: different designs for characters such as Atlas, the characters speaking in English (with voices completely different from the voices that would eventually end up in the US dub) and animation not found in the final series.

Contents

Main characters

  • Astro: A robot built with "Kokoro", an advanced form of artificial intelligence. Astro appears as a young boy who works as a superhero of sorts for Metro City. He continuously tries to stop the relationship between mankind and robots collapsing, despite numerous attempts to destroy him by various parties. He can fly using rocket boosters concealed in his limbs and possesses great strength. Astro was originally constructed by Doctor Tenma to recreate his deceased son Tobio, but Astro rebelled against Tenma when he saw how robots were brutally destroyed in an area of the Ministry of Science and was shut down by his "father".
  • Doctor O'Shay: Head of the Ministry of Science, Dr. O'Shay is an elderly man with a distinguishable large nose. He led the project to revive Astro and is his guardian and protector. O'Shay, like Astro, is very defensive of the relationship between mankind and robots, often defending Astro when he is accused of being dangerous to Metro City. He is portrayed as being a bit clumsy and quick to anger, but is very intelligent and compassionate.
  • Doctor Nagamiya Tenma: A former scientist who worked in the Ministry of Science, and the main antagonist of the show. Dr. Tenma intends for Astro to become the leader of robots and motions Astro to get stronger throughout the series. He originally had a son named Tobio, but he died whilst trying to stop machines that destroy the robots. Tenma was devastated but created Astro to replace his son, but the exact same event occurred, causing Tenma to go quite mad and shutdown Astro before developing his plan to see robots conquer the world with Astro as their leader.
  • Zoran: Astro's younger sister, constructed by Dr. O'Shay with the same AI technology seen in Astro. She shows the ability to talk to animals and understand their languages, befriending a bird who she names Houdini. She has a rather excitable personality, but at times envies Astro for the amount of attention he receives and is overemotional at times too, but she also looks up to and protects her brother.
  • Yuko: Doctor O'Shay's assistant. She often fuses over him and repeatedly reminds him of schedules he must keep to. She is assisted by a robotic flamingo-like robot named Momo.
  • Detective Tawashi: A police inspector who has a large nose resembling a shoe brush. While at first he shows a distrust towards robots in general, he grows to trust those closest to him, including his own robotic partner Delta, and Astro. He often banters with Dr. O'Shay in arguments.
  • Reno: A close human friend of Astro. He originally started off in a robot circus where he disguised himself as a robot to avoid being separated from the other robotic performers whom he saw as his family. He becomes a student of Dr. O'Shay's and becomes quite skilled around robotics, but still maintains his acrobatic skills from the circus.
  • The Blue Knight: A gallant anti-hero of sorts who was badly treated by humans and was rebuilt by Dr. Tenma and Shadow to act as a catalyst to boost Astro's power. He instead decided to wage war against mankind to bring freedom to robots. He dresses in blue armour and rides a white horse, his main weapon being a laser-based lance of sorts. He ultimately builds a robotic empire towards the end of the series.
  • Epsilon: A female robot who has the ability to alter the weather around her. She is very protective of the environment and all lifeforms other than mankind and robots. She is closely allied to Astro and his peaceful intentions.
  • Shadow: A highly intelligent robot created by Dr. Tenma to help him make Astro stronger. He wore a mask over his face for most of the season, eventually revealing his face after some reconstruction to be based on Dr. Tenma's.
  • Mr. Drake: The secondary antagonist of the series. Drake is a politician who deeply hates robots, particularly robots with AI. He grows more paranoid over the course of the series, haunted by memories of a robot he knew in the past whom he considered his friend but drove him to his hatred for machines.
  • Skunk: A recurring villain who uses robots to commit various crimes, showing no concern and care for the robots he uses.

Cast

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English dub cast

Theme songs

(Japan)

Openings

  1. "True Blue" by Zone
  2. "Now or Never" by Chemistry meets M-Flo

Ending

  1. "Boy's Heart" by Fujii Fumiya
  2. "Tetsuwan Atomu" (A remixed version of the 60's series' theme song.)

(U.S.)

Opening

  • "Astro Boy Theme" by William Anderson

(Taiwan)

Opening

  • "True Blue" by Rainie Yang, cover version of the Japanese one

(Hong Kong)

  • "滿天飛" by Candy Lo, Cantonese cover version of "True Blue"

Reception

The 2003 version of Astro Boy was extremely well reviewed by Zac Bertschy of Anime News Network, receiving a grade of A+ in every category and comments of "It's perfect."[2] The series has been received with mix reviews by most of the large fan-base community of Tezuka. Despite the largely darker tones in the second arc and the overall changes made to the Western dub it has been criticized for not having the same optimistic tone of the color 80's version of the series and eliminating several or changing the personalities of several major characters.[3]

The show did not meet with commercial success on ether KidsWB or CartoonNetwork's Toonami block, a fact that is hinted at during the review for the tie-in game Astro Boy: Omega Factor with comments such as "Astro Boy [didn't receive any] love here in the states". This has been largely attributed to the quality of the Dub and the constant moving of the show between the two stations. Its been suggested the show was done in by removing the original's comical co-stars, particularly Mr. Pompous and Astro Boy's robot parents. That, plus the general switch of the show's visuals from childish simplistic to near 3-D complexity, and the name changes for so many of the main characters (Astro Girl=Zoran, Dr. Elefun=Dr. O'Shay) were deemed by the older fans to be unnecessary for a formerly plot-driven show.

References

  1. ^ Astro Boy (2003 TV series) (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia. Accessed on 2007-06-25.
  2. ^ Bertschy, Zac (2003-06-06). "Astro Boy (2003) review". Anime News Network. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/review/astro-boy-2003. Retrieved 2007-02-10.  
  3. ^ "Astro Boy will fly into theaters in a blast from cartoon pastUSA Today". 2009-07-21. http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/news/2009-07-20-astro-boy_N.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-24.  

External links


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