Astro Boy (aka Mighty Atom) is a Japanese animated science fiction TV series that began airing on the first of January in the year 1963 and ended it's initial run on the 31st of December in the year 1966. The series is an animated version of it's director's Manga series but eventually began to air more episodes then the manga had published resulting in many stories being found exclusively in the anime.
Astro Boy is set in the year 2000, forty years in the future from its original production in the 1960s. Dr. Tenma, a scientist working in the Ministry of Science's Department of Precision Machinery, loses his only son, Tobio, in a car crash. Though the robot is the most advanced anyone has ever seen, he is not pleased with it because of the fact that it does not grow, and in a fit of rage he sells it to the circus. After this, he loses his job at the Ministry of Science and rarely appears again. He harnesses a complicated relationship towards robots, mainly believing that they should not be treated as humans but as slaves.
In the circus, where robots exist, but are a lot more primitively made than Tobio (now named Atom), they are forced to participate in fighting tournaments similar to gladiator battles. However, Atom wished to be peaceful, and luckily runs into Professor Ochanomizu, the man who succeeded Dr. Tenma at the head of the Ministry of Science. Ochanomizu is treated much differently to Tenma, however, being regarded as a saviour figure by the robots for his large amount of affection and kindness towards them that Tenma did not possess. After realising how advanced Atom is compared to the rest of the other robots, he sets him free from the circus, becoming a surrogate father figure to him.
Related Works Edit
The character of Astro Boy (Mighty Atom) originated in a Manga series by Osama Tezuka, and from that series other Astro Boy (Might Atom) animated TV shows and films have been based. The 1963 series however is most closely related to the feature film Mighty Atom, the Brave in Space which was created by combining three of this series episodes into a feature length film.
The series aired a total of 193 episodes during it's three year run.
According to Osamu Tezuka, the main themes of much of the manga he had created, specifically Astro Boy, were that of anti-war, the preservation of nature, and discrimination, which had emanated from his childhood experiencing the devastation of World War II. Since Mighty Atom ended up being re-written over ten times, either due to limits on size or duration in the magazines Astro Boy was published in, instead of just simply cutting or scaling down certain parts of the manga, Tezuka would completely redraw certain panels and sections of the manga to fit and flow better with the rest of the story. This means that it is hard to define what the most original, authentic version of the story is. Also, when the manga was to be made into the anime, further revisions had to be made, including a simplifying of the story to suit the less sophisticated, wider target audience the show was aiming to appeal to. After a while, since the television company that made the series needed an output of fifty-two episodes a year, the anime quickly outpaced the manga, meaning Tezuka also had to create many original stories that would not appear in the manga for the purpose of filling in the gaps.