Comics

Cult Cartoon Essentials: Astro Boy

Astro Boy is a science fiction series set in a futuristic world where Robots co-exist with humans. Its focus is on the adventures of the titular “Astro Boy” (aka “Astro”): a powerful robot created by the head of the Ministry of Science, Doctor Tenma (aka Dr. Astor Boyton II in the 1960 English dub).

Dr. Tenma’s created Astro to replace his son Tobio (‘Astor’ in the 1960s English dub; ‘Toby’ in the 1980s English dub and the 2009 film), who died in a car accident (ran away in the 2003 anime; vaporized in the 2009 film).

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Dr. Tenma built Astro in Tobio’s memory and treated Astro as lovingly as if he was the real Tobio. However, Dr. Tenma soon realized that the little robot could not fill the void of his lost son, especially given that Astro could not grow older or express human aesthetics (in one set of panels in the manga, Astro is shown preferring the mechanical shapes of cubes over the organic shapes of flowers). In the original 1960 edition, Tenma rejected Astro and sold him to a cruel circus owner, Hamegg (the Great Cacciatore in the ’60 English dub).

After some time, Professor Ochanomizu, the new head of the Ministry of Science, notices Astro Boy performing in the circus and convinces Hamegg to turn Astro over to him. He then takes Astro in as his own and treats him gently and warmly, becoming his legal guardian. He soon realizes that Astro has superior powers and skills, as well as the ability to experience human emotions.

Astro then is shown fighting crime, evil, and injustice using his seven powers: 100K horsepower strength, jet flight, high intensity lights in his eyes, adjustable hearing, instant language translation, a retractable machine gun in his hips, and a high IQ capable of determining if a person is good or evil. Most of his enemies are robot-hating humans, robots gone berserk, or alien invaders.

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