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Acetylene Lamp

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Acetylene Lamp (アセチレン・ランプ) is a reoccurring character from the Osamu Tezuka Star System. He mostly appears in Tezuka's works as a villain, especially in Astro Boy canon, where he has appeared in almost every series to date.


Lamp's concept came about from one of Osamu Tezuka's childhood friends. This friend had a noticeable dent in the back of his skull, which was said to be flat enough to support a candle. Tezuka then based the shape of Lamp's head on that of his friend's. Sometimes a lit candle will appear behind Lamp's head, usually when Lamp is feeling an extreme emotion. Lamp's full name further references this: an acetylene lamp is a fire-powered gas lamp often used in lighthouses or caves.

Lamp Acetylene-127482-58645-1

Lamp in Message to Adolf

Tezuka originally designed Lamp to play an American spy. In 1948, Lamp first appeared in the manga Lost World, as a criminal who joins a space expedition in hopes of finding treasure. Tezuka was then later inspired to model Lamp after Italo-French actor Lino Ventura.[1] Tezuka caught notice of Ventura when two of his films, Touchez pas au Grisbi (1954) and Un Témoin dans la ville (1959) had become popular in Japan.[2]

Usually, Acetylene Lamp appears in Tezuka's works as intimidating and shady individuals. He most often plays villains, but has appeared in Black Jack as a dedicated but slightly loose cannon police inspector.

1980 Series

In the 1980 anime, Lamp appears as an anti-robot rights terrorist in the episode "Uran Falls In Love". Lamp works with the robot Zeus in assassinating robot s with wealth or power. He only sees Zeus as a means to an end, even though Zeus at one point saves his life when Astro shoots down their helicopter.

During an attempt to kill a robot politician, he attempts to hold Uran hostage, but his plan backfires overall.

2003 Series


In the 2003 anime, Lamp is the secondary antagonist after Dr. Tenma, as a politician pushing for a ban on kokoro robots. He is the heir to a robot manufacturing empire, but shut down production of AI robots after the death of Buddy. His Japanese voice actor is Kouji Ishii, and his English voice actor is Wally Wingert. He is renamed as Drake in the dub.

In the episode Escape from Volcano Island, Lamp's stigma against robots is explored in detail. He begins to have flashbacks about a robot named Buddy that he befriended when he crashed on an island. When his search team arrived, they rescued Lamp but left Buddy on an erupting volcano. In coping with the loss, Lamp ended production of Buddy's robot model, and forced himself to believe that robots are just tools. Lamp at one point tried to interfere with the Robot of the Year award ceremony because of this point of view.


During The Robotonia Incident, Lamp was one of Chairman Lyon's henchmen. Finally, after an attempt to destroy Robotonia and with Astro damaged and out-of-service, Lamp found this as an opportunity to destroy the remaining AI robots. However, his shadowy associates gave up on him, pointing out that humans and robots were now closer than ever and it would be a pointless endeavor.

Lamp, now desperate and hysterical, went on to steal a colossal pilotable mecha and drove it to Dr. Tenma's mansion. Lamp attempted to finally destroy Astro and Tenma's lab, but was overtaken, crashing his mecha and being taken in by police.


  1. アセチレン・ランプの夜 / Night of Acetylene Lamp. Kawade Shobo Shinsha, 2002. 978-4309406657
  2. | Nikkan Digital Creators article by film critic Sougou Susumu

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