Astro Boy (アトム Atomu) know in Japan as Mighty Atom is a fictional character created by Osamu Tezuka. A robotic boy with human emotions created by Umataro Tenma. Tenma, created Astro in the image of his deceased son Tobio Tenma. After learning that Astro is robotic and therefore cannot function like a biological human boy, Tenma sells Astro to a robotic circus out of a fit of rage. Astro forced into fighting other robots against his will in the robot circus is eventually rescued by Hiroshi Ochanomizu. Astro fits the embodiment of a hero, he has a strong sense of justice and is always willing to defend those who can't defend themselves. A natural pacifist, he always attempts to solve situations intelligently with diplomacy. He has an extreme care for the preciousness of life much like Tezuka.
Astro initially debuted in the 1951 manga Captain ATOM. His character was received so well by readers that by 195 he appeared in his own series,Tetsuwan Atomu. The series proved such a success that it launched into an international franchise of anime, manga, films and video games. Tezuka, originally designed after traditional Disney characters of the time, Astro's style reflects that of Mickey Mouse. A simple cartoon style of character, although Tezuka would implement some of his own style into the drawings that would become commonplace for most anime and manga that came after.
Astro became one of the first major manga character in Japan to successfully adopt widespread merchandise. He has appeared on everything from food items, T-Shirts, mugs, calendars, and stickers. He also became a very successful line of toys and action figures. His success in merchandise continues today especially in items such as Funko's Pop figures.
Since his conception, Astro has become so popular in Japan that he has cemented a status as a cultural icon. Astro's influence as an illustrated character can be compared to others from separate countries such as MIckey Mouse, Popeye, Felix The Cat, Bugs Bunny and TinTin.
Creation and conception
Tezuka was a lifelong fan of Disney and he styled many of his early characters based on famous Disney characters. Astro would continue this trend of characters designed after Disney characters, using a simplistic cartoon style. Astro bears a strong resemblance to Mickey Mouse Disney's most popular character. The most prominent feature of Astro's design that borrows from Disney is in the head. His head uses a large circular shape, also being used by many popular American animated characters at that time. Psychologically this suggests Astro's innocence.
Reception and legacy
- May 3, 2003 was Astro Boy day in Japan in order to celebrate the official birth of the character. People all over Japan celebrated the event.
- Akin to mickey Mouse, no matter which direction Astro Boy faces, the spikes atop his head are always in the same place.
- Astro Boys Color remake that came out in the 1980's was originally meant to come out during 1977, but changes in plans resulted in it changing into a show called Jetter Mars
- Astro Boy on the Heroes wiki.