Astro Boy (鉄腕アトム Tetsuwan Atomu?, "Mighty Atom", lit. "Iron Arm Atom"). is a Japanese animated television series produced by Mushi Productions and based off of the Tetsuwan Atomu manga by Osamu Tezuka. It would become the first serialized animation to air on television in Japan it aired on January 1, 1963 on Fuji TV, the series would also become the first Japanese animated series aired in the United States.
In the year 2003, Tobio Tenma is traveling down the electric highway 66. A highway claimed to be the safest made by man when suddenly Tobio collides with an oncoming vehicle and is killed. When his father Doctor Umataro Tenma discovers his body he instantly becomes distraught and slowly begins to go insane.
Dr. Tenma becomes obsessed with a new project to build a robot in the image of his deceased son. He shifts all focuses at the Institute of Science to the production of this new robot. After one year Tenma's robot project is a success and he gives life to a new robot and names him Astro Boy.
Transition To English
During the mid 1960's NBC executives visiting Japan were impressed by Astro Boy's immerse popularity. The network in the United States was short for children's programming and had been using foreign animation to fill the gap. It was easier to dub a single 30 minute episode then it was to cut together 5 - 15 minute animations from other companies so NBC gained an increased interest in licensing the show.
Osamu Tezuka was flown to NBC headquarters to negotiate a licensing deal with NBC. He was initially offered the sum of $500,000 per broadcast episode but instead turned it down to counter offer a much smaller $5,000 per episode in order to increase the network's interest in renewing the show.
NBC's dubbed animation specialist Fred Ladd was tasked to produce the episodes and on September 7, 1963. The show was an instant hit taking 60% in the ratings. Overall 104 episodes were syndicated on the original NBC run and broadcast would end on August 20, 1965.
Reception and Legacy
- AUSTRALIA .9 Network, Channel 0, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
- UNITED KINGDOM .ITV (Independent Television)
- UNITED STATES .Syndication, NBC, WVEC-TV, Adult Swim