The Astro Boy series could not duplicate the gloss of better-budgeted American animated television shows, but it did demonstrate a sophisticated humor and a visual inventiveness well in advance of them.
(Tezuka’s were also always in advance of work being done in American comics of the time.) The series was quite successful in Japan and became the first foreign animation series to achieve any popularity in the United States.
Originally published in 1996, it prefigured much modern writing on comics and remains essential reading for fans, literati, and cultural watchdogs about the state of the manga universe as its popularity explodes on the American scene.
Now available in a new casebound collector's edition, with a new introduction by the author.
Animation had been an interest for Tezuka long before he initiated this series.
His father owned a movie projector, and Tezuka was fascinated with American animated films from quite an early age, primarily those by Walt Disney, although the main influence discernible in the Astro Boy series is that of the Fleischer Brothers.Due to budget constraints, the series used what is known as ‘limited animation:’ stock backgrounds, stock shots, very limited figure movement, etc.But this actually increases the charm of the series for me; it has a quirky surrealistically mechanical aura in many of the visuals.In Japan, manga are read by young and old and are a monster publishing phenomenon with annual sales in the billions of dollars.In the rest of the world, thanks to Japan's economic might, manga concepts are revolutionizing the toy, cartoon, and graphic design industries.Topics include Tezuka’s life, the art of animation, the connection between fantasy robots and technology, spin-offs, and Astro Boy’s cultural impact."To today's anime fans, Astro Boy is a historical figure more often heard of than seen. Schodt tells the full story about the little robot and his creator, Osamu Tezuka, in a delightful book that every anime fan should read." Dreamland Japan is a collection of provocative essays on Japan's very own pictorial narrative art: manga (Japanese comics).He has lasers in his fingertips, rockets in his limbs, blasters in his arms, a super-computer for a brain, “100,000 horsepower” strength, extremely sensitive hearing, spotlights in his eyes, and two 50 caliber machine guns in his buttocks. Tenma to replace his own son, Tobio, who had died in a car accident.Tenma eventually discovered, however, that although designed to look like a boy, Astro could not physically mature.Fortunately for Astro, kindly professor of robotics Dr. After the passage of the Robot law, liberating robots from their condition of slavery and granting them rights of citizenship, Ochanomizu took Astro under his wing to help him develop his conscience and his capacity for learning.That’s the basic grounding of the Astro Boy narrative, as developed by writer/artist Osamu Tezuka.