Astro Boy (80’s version) (aka: Tetsuwan Atom)


Genre: Sci-fi

Creator: Osamu Tezuka/Tezuka Productions

Distributor: Manga Entertainment, streams on the “TezukaAnime” YouTube channel, located here:

No. of Episodes: 52

Suggested Age: 7+

My Rating: 8/10

(Note: This is a remake of the 1963 anime TV series, which aired in the 1980s. I will be using the original Japanese names for the characters as I prefer those to the dub names)

Summary: The year is 2030.  Dr. Tenma, Japan’s Minister of Science, creates a robot duplicate of his son Tobio, after he is killed by an aerocar crash.  For fear of the public’s reaction should the robot be discovered, Tenma takes himself and the boy robot on a cruise. While on the cruise, the robot’s misbehavior causes Tenma to disown him.  The robot is then discovered by a circus ringmaster, who dubs him Astro Boy (Tetsuwan Atom in the original Japanese. His name literally means “Mighty Atom”). After a daring escape, Atom is discovered by Dr.  Ochanomizu, who becomes his surrogate fighter and the new Minister when Tenma steps down.

Review: Osamu Tezuka is often considered “the god of anime and manga” because he was the earliest and most influential creator of the medium.  I’ve always been curious about Astro Boy, and I chose this version (there have been three adaptations, see the “related media” section for more info) because it’s the most convenient to find of the three.

I liked the art style. It was reminiscent of classic Disney (the two-part starting episode, which I summarized in the summary section, even parallels Pinocchio), which is fitting because Tezuka was influenced by Disney. The style may be somewhat off-putting for those who aren’t used to a more “cartoon”-ish approach and prefer the less-stylized look of the anime that came later. Atom himself is an endearing character. He has a childlike personality and appearance, with an unquenchable heart.  He will always try to do what he feels is the right thing, even when such actions aren’t advisable.  He is reminiscent of the golden age of superhero comics. He does have weaponry (although I must ask why Tezuka thought it was a good idea to give Atom machine guns in his rear end. Hey, someone had to say it), but he only uses them for defense.

In episode 13, we are introduced to Uran (or Astro Girl in the dub), Atom’s sister, who was built by Dr. Ochanomizu. Although she is cute, I do not like her much.  She is quite bratty and more childish than Atom at first, but she eventually develops into a more endearing character through Atom’s influence.

Overall, I think this is a great series. It has lots of action, and even though it’s intended for younger viewers, it doesn’t feel like a childish story. It takes its viewers seriously by actually showing the consequences of everyone’s actions, and even showing sad endings in many episodes.  I would recommend this series to anyone who is curious about Tezuka’s most well-known creation.

Sub/Dub: Tezuka Anime, the YouTube channel I watched this on, only has subtitled episodes. From what I’ve heard, you’re better off watching it in Japanese, as the American dub was done back in the 80’s, when less care was taken to dubs and episodes were often cut to make them more child-friendly.

Music/Score: The music has a cheerful feel to it. This can be somewhat distracting because, as I noted in the review, many episodes get kind of dark.

Violence: (4/10) I’d say it’s no more violent than Marvel’s Avengers movies or your average Power Rangers episode.

Language: (1/10) I only caught a few PG-level swears.

Sexuality: (0/10) none

Nudity: (1/10) One bathing scene with Atom and his schoolteacher, but that’s it.

Religion: (1/10)–In one episode, Uran looks up information on various religious figures. Atom tells her that the concept of a deity is foreign to robots. This didn’t bother me as he didn’t disdain those who do follow a specific religion, he just said robots have use for them.

Related Media: This is based on Osamu Tezuka’s manga of the same name, published in America by Dark Horse.  The original black-and-white anime ran for over 100 episodes and is distributed by Right Stuf (in fact, for a while Atom was their unofficial mascot). In 2003, a more modern version was distributed by Columbia and aired in America on the WB and Cartoon Networks.  There was also a CG anime that was decent at best. The CG film had a video game tie-in on the PlayStation 2.



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