Kennedy (健一; Kenichi) is one of Astro's classmates and best friends. He is a very positive and outgoing young boy, and very devoted to his friends. Various versions of Kennedy appear in almost every Astro Boy series, and he is a frequent character in the Osamu Tezuka Star System.
Kennedy is adapted from Kenichi Shikishima, one of the first characters Osamu Tezuka ever created. He was Tezuka's first boy hero, and he designed Kenichi as purely lawful good. Kenichi appears in the very old manga Lost World, Metropolis, Nextworld, and Mysterious Underground Men. Usually, Shunsaku Ban appears as Kenichi's uncle.
Kenichi and Shunsaku Ban appear in the 2001 film Metropolis. They are a Japanese family of detectives who enter the enormous city Metropolis in hopes of finding a wanted organ dealer, but accidentally become involved in a citywide coup d'etat. The two are split up, and Kenichi finds the angelic robot Tima while Shunsaku and his robot partner attempt to investigate the situation in the city's government.
Kennedy is one of Astro's classmates in the 1980 series, where he is renamed as Kenneth. He, Mindy, and Theodore are the first to befriend Astro when he joins their class. Kenneth is the class president, and a very prudent and outgoing student. Usually he is the first voice of reason whenever something goes wrong or there is chaos in his class.
Of all his versions, Kennedy gets the most character development in the 2003 anime. He is a member of the Sky Riders group alongside Abercrombie, Alejo, Astro, and Denkou. Kennedy is the first child in Astro's class to want to be his friend, and immediately welcomes Astro into his friend group.
In "March of the Micro Bears", it is shown that Kennedy is an avid soccer player in a citywide league. His good nature accidentally slips when he slightly touches the ball to keep it in line, which allows him to make a big kick that wins the game. Astro is the only one who notices; when asked about it, Kennedy is embarrassed and angry. He doesn't talk to Astro for several days and only stays in his room talking to a Micro Bear. However, when Astro is attacked by a swarm of Micro Bears, Kennedy immediately springs into action to help Astro escape. After that point, Kennedy commits to being an honest sportsman.
His Skin color was Changed to add more Diversity to Astro's Friend roster, Making him the First Main Astro Boy character to have an African Skin tone or a Sun tanned Skin Tone.
Little Astro Boy series
A very modified version of Kennedy appears in Little Astro Boy, renamed as Ken. He is an athlete once again, and he tends to speak in rhyme and slang. He is one of Astro's best friends, and at the start of each episode, he and Astro lead the opening dance.