Astro Boy (2003)

This series was released to commemorate Astro’s birth year (2003 being the year given in the original manga). Along with other various festivities in Japan, this series was pretty much centrepiece to the celebrations.

This series again takes the same story and retells it all over in a different way. But this time the series takes creative liberties with the usual storylines. Characters that previously died now survive and overall the vibe now more positive and upbeat than previous. Though occasionally this can make the series feel “dumbed down” to those who have seen the previous shows or read the manga previous.

This series focuses more on Astro’s development as a character and the relationships he harbours with others around him. Astro starts out a happy curious child beginning to learn about the world, and by series end he’s a compassionate protector of justice, with a mature view of the world around him.

Unlike the previous shows this series focuses more on Astro’s personal life rather than his deeds. Astro is reactivated at the start and initially knows nothing of his former life, as time goes by Astro learns of the child he was based on and his “Father” Dr Tenma. Who now watches over Astro from afar and sets up challenges for Astro to face, believing that with time robots will overthrow humans and Astro will become their leader.

The series also deals with discrimination. This isn’t entirely new as it was always somewhat prominent in the previous series and manga, though it plays a large part in the huge final story arc. Despite the series fuffyness, this arc brings the story back to its more serious tone and makes for a rousing finish.

The biggest shame about this series is that the Japanese original hasn’t been released outside of Japan and remains largely unsubbed (7 episodes were subbed by people online before the series rights were brought for the west). The dub of the series is the only version on DVD. It is somewhat weaker due to some chopping of episodes and changes of dialogue. Though its sprit still very much remains

Astro Boy (2003) is Copyright to Sony Entertainment and Osamu Tezuka