A research scientist models a secret, atomic-powered robot boy on his deceased son. After jolting to life, Astro Boy tirelessly fights for justice. Includes 50 episodes on 5 DVD's, with 29 never before seen tin the USA.
When Osamu Tezuka created Tetsuwan Atom (literally Iron-arm Atom) a.k.a. Astro Boy, he set his birthdate as April 7, 2003--51 years after the initial manga and 40 years after the groundbreaking television series debuted. Sony produced this third incarnation in 2003, and a few episodes aired on American TV in 2004. A combination of drawn and computer-generated animation, the new version is far more lavish than the initial black-and-white series or the 1980 color remake. The artists strive to preserve Tezuka's drawing style, keeping Astro's outsized eyes and Dr. O'Shay's pickle nose. Spaceships and other robots float effortlessly by, but Astro's legs shoot old-fashioned rocket flairs.
The newly born Astro is a complete innocent, but as he explores various aspects of the world, he develops a strong sense of purpose, aiding those in need. His state-of-the-art brain includes kokoro, which can be translated as "heart," "spirit," or "will," which makes him more human. The conflict between humans and robots--which some critics have interpreted as a metaphor for racism distinguishes--escalates into a battle at the city of Robotonia in Antarctica. Astro strives to make peace between the hostile factions, although many of the conflicts were sparked by Dr. Tenma, who originally created him. Although visually appealing, this lush reinterpretation lacks the gritty charm of Tezuka's low-budget original. The only extra is a short "remaking of"; the dialogue is dubbed in English, Spanish, and Portuguese--but not Japanese. (Unrated, suitable for ages 8 and older: cartoon violence) --Charles Solomon
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