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The Astro Boy Essays: Osamu Tezuka, Mighty Atom, and the Manga/Anime Revolution Paperback – July 1, 2007
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Fred Schodt, author of Dreamland Japan Manga! Manga!: the World of Japanese Comics and translator of Phoenix, Astro Boy and more, was a personal friend of the "God of Comics" and his translator when Tezuka visited America. In his long-awaited Astro Boy Essays, Schodt gives a concise and detailed introduction to the life, influence and significance of Tezuka in the history of Japan and the international comics world. Focusing on Tezuka's best known work, the anti-racist children's classic Astro Boy, it gives efficient, approachable portraits of Osamu Tezuka's life and personality, the atmosphere in Japan during and after WWII and their effect on the manga industry, the nightmarish behind-the-scenes production schedule that birthed Japan's first animated TV series, and the spread of Astro Boy as a Japanese, and later an international symbol of peace, technology, hope for the future, and above all of Japan itself. The rocky history of Astro Boy's American distribution gives a fascinating look at the beginnings of American anime fandom, and how many barriers had to be broken to achieve the comparatively-smooth licensing and distribution system in place today. All the material is presented in a format beginners can understand, but with enough details that even experts will find themselves learning more with every page. The Astro Boy Essays is an invaluable contribution to manga scholarship, and provides a window for American otaku to finally learn about the "God" who made anime what it is today.
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For more information about Osamu Tezuka, his life and works, see:
Schodt does an amazing job breaking down Mighty Atom/Astro Boy along with Tezuka. He actually knew Tezuka so he brings a great insight to this work. The images in the book are great as well, especially the color inserts at the beginning of the book. Included are a great index of all the manga and anime episodes, and a character guide with both Japanese and English character names.
If you are a fan of anime, manga, or both, you will want to read this book to know why the two art forms are so popular today, not only in Japan, but all across the world!