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Volume 2 immediately reminds me that Dark Horse's Astro Boy collection is far from complete by very briefly bringing Uran and Cobalt (an Astro Boy look alike) into the story despite never introducing them in any way. In the first story Astro Boy becomes embroiled in a plot to ruin the first robot president; president Rag (as in Rag Doll). Rag's primary desire as president is to see humans and robots in a more cooperative position which doesn't sit well with many humans who prefer their robots working as servants. The main threat against Rag's presidency is Deadcross, a costumed villain intent on destroying him. The robots are clearly surrogates for any oppressed group although oppressed groups don't generally manage to secure highest position in the land. This is a classic example of Osamu Tezuka using robots and science fiction to tell a tale of morality that's relevant in any era.

Dealing with the topic of sentient robots is one of Tezuka's common stories. In the second story a robotic (but very human looking) magician named Kino is framed for the theft of priceless paintings. In response the police want to change the robot rules and force all robots to have their intellects dumbed down to prevent robots like Kino from committing crimes. This would include Astro Boy. The general population of robots are not surprisingly unhappy with the proposed change and begin marching in the streets. Lowering the intellect of free robots is perhaps not such a bad idea since they are flat out superior physically to humans and have repeatedly shown themselves to be dangerous. On the other hand the dangerous robots are generally created by villains who simply don't adhere to the robot rules while creating lethal robots. In this case Kino's duplicate was created by a magician named Noh Unoh who gave the robot limited intelligence to make him easily controlled.

As in volume 1 Osamu Tezuka breaks in to complain about his stories being censored in the United States for excessive violence and brings up the very good point that this is the same country that was involved in multiple wars in southeast Asia where real people were being killed. At the same time Tezuka can be very playful as when he does some fourth wall breaking. In the Kino story the police attempt to hide the valuable paintings from Kino's double by folding back the comic panel and hiding them behind it. Tezuka is frequently a mix of serious and silly.

In my review of volume one I compared this collection to the recent Fantagraphics release of Floyd Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse. The Fantagraphics books are gorgeous hardcover editions fit for display. They are complete and given their page count and dimensions add up to 26254 sq inches of high quality pages for $21.89. Dark Horse gives around 6702 sq inches of cheap quality paper in this paperback collection that includes huge gaps in the stories. Currently the volumes are selling for between 8 and 10 dollars per. This is pretty much a done on the cheap collection although I won't deny that the translating seems to be well done. At this point Dark Horse is the only show in town so if you don't want to pay the asking price for this collection you don't get to read Tezuka's stories. Maybe some day a publisher will decide to give Tezuka and Astro Boy the star treatment they deserve but until then people will have to settle for this overpriced collection.
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on June 19, 2003
The two previous volumes have detailed the beginning of an alternate origin for Atom (Astroboy), and he now moves on to finish the adventure started in them. In the conclusion to that serial are four adventures "Living Mold From Outer Space", "A Declaration of Robot Rights", "Astro Goes to School", and "Gone With the Snow". First, Atom confronts the cruel indifference of the ruling class. Just as blacks likewise were ill-treated by whites, and were accounted as little more than livestock; so, now Atom faces a similar situation. The next segment details the robots' victory in the struggle for civil rights, and Dr. Ochanomizu (Elefun)'s gift of a robotic mama and papa for Atom. After which, Atom experiences school integration, in the face of human students who would rather not have his presence. Scara, an insect person from a distant plant, who was introduced in volume 6, has become much wiser in the 40 years since she arrived on earth. Not only that, but she has been shrunken to insect size, and has since disappeared. Well, her husband and suitor have both come seeking her, and will not leave without her. This ends the serial.
In the next chapter a whole new unrelated adventure begins when a robot built for work on the moon crash lands on the earth. "The Faceless Robot" (corresponds to the 80s animated series' "Goliath's Head") is featured in its entirety.
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on April 20, 2016
I love this manga! It's an absolute classic and for all ages! It shipped on good timing and I could read it again and again.
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on September 8, 2016
I've liked Astro Boy since I was 11 and it's fun to read the original stories I grew up with.
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on July 26, 2016
the cover feels cheap, but the content is fine.
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on September 25, 2013
It was fun to revisit something that was pretty neat when I was nine. Not sure what kids today would think of this. From a historical point of view, it was enlightening to know this was the starting point for American interest in Manga and Anime.
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on January 20, 2014
Astroboy - the manga that my kids read again and again. Tezuka's classic series is a long one, so there is plenty of material to keep them interested.
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on October 23, 2013
What a fun ride through nostalga. It was like racing home again to watch the black and white cartoons of my youth, only with the fun eye of an adult. Tezuka's insite into the minds of eight year old boys is hillarious. And the Art is as always perfect. I'm passing it on to my grandchildren!
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on April 19, 2010
Astro Boy (Extreme Atom) is such a great series. Each volume contains and introduction by Dr. Tezuka, and several stories. Astro Boy as a series is great. I recommend it to anyone of any age. Great stories, characters (many cameos as usual), and a great lesson to take with each story.
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on July 23, 2013
Used this book in my Japanese Literature class. Awesome to get volumes one and two into one book. Great pricing and shipping timing. Satisfied.
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