1 9 6 3 – 1 9 6 6 (Japan)
51 x 30 minute episodes
When his son is killed in a car crash in the year 2000, widower scientist Dr Boyton builds a robot, Astro Boy, for company.
When he eventually realises the robot cannot replace his dead son, Boyton sells the robot to a circus troop and it is then purchased by Dr Pachedyurm Elefun.
Dr Elefun gives Astro Boy human qualities and squeaky boots – oh yeh, and an assignment to combat space monsters and mad scientists.
The original Astro Boy episodes were first screened in black and white on Japan’s Fuji Television network in 1963. The original episodes were conceptualised and directed by Osamu Tezuka.
These episodes were updated in 1982 by Noboro Ishiguru (with full co-operation from the Tezuka estate) and produced in colour.
Astro Boy has a large arsenal of superpowers: his eyes turn into powerful searchlights, his ears magnify his hearing by one thousand times, his arms and legs turn into rocket jets enabling him to fly, his fingers turn into lasers and his hips house machine guns (on the cartoon it looks like the machine guns are in his arse but while this would be a nice touch, it is sadly not true).
All of this, of course, would be rendered useless by the fact that Astro’s boots squeak so much when he walks that it would be impossible to sneak up on anyone!
Other characters included Daddy Walrus (Astro’s school teacher – Real name Albert Duncan), Uran (Astro’s sister – created by Dr Elefun), Atlas (Astro’s arch-enemy), Livian (Atlas’ companion and sometimes informer), Guiss (the original creator of Atlas and Livian who stole the plans for Astro from the ministry of science, and used them to create Atlas), Skunk (the most wanted criminal in Japan), Mandrake V (a descendant of the infamous Mandrake I and always eager to get his man – although not always the right one), Inspector Gumshoe (Head of the police department) and Chief McClaw, Gumshoe’s faithful assistant.
Atlas and Astro later find out that they are actually brothers.
Billie Lou Watt