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When it comes to discussing which is the greatest cartoon in the world, it can be a hot topic to debate. However be sure to hear one name that will come up time and time again, Astroboy'. He is a legend of the cartoon genre. I like him, because we can all learn a valuable lesson from what he stands for and how he goes about trying to fit into the world. Although I am a little old to like such a program, I am proud to admit that Astroboy still gives me great pleasure anytime I see him.
In the year 2000, after the loss of his beloved son Toby in a car accident, Dr. Boynton built an android in his image. Soon, Dr. Boynton figured out that this android would not grow up to the son that he had lost. However he loses the robot to a greedy circus ringleader who made him part of the robot circus. However at the circus, the robot meets Kathy, a kind person who gave him the name Astroboy and let him go with Dr Elfun from the ministry of Science to be used for the good of all. Astro was designed with super powers, the ability to fly, powerful light beam emitters from his eyes which serve as a searchlight, heightened hearing, a machine gun on his hips, ultra-strength of 100,000 horsepower, and a powerful laser from his finger.
This cartoon is brilliant Japanese animation. People from that part of the world are extremely talented, are should be proud of what they can do. The creator of Astroboy is Osuma Tezuka. I like what he did for children's' TV. His role in making Astroboy the success it was is phenomenal. He took on the roles of creating the original story, Framework, main Character design and Screenplay. The director of this version of Astro is Noboru Ishiguro, and I really like the cartoon that he gave us. Tezuka has done many works, but I am certain that Astroboy would have to be up there as one of his finest achievements. I also like the simple but effective message Tezuka had in bringing us Astroboy:
"What I try to appeal through my works is simple. The opinion is just a simple message that follows: 'Love all the creatures! Love everything that has life'! I have been trying to express this message in every one of my works. Though it has taken the different forms like 'the presentation of nature' 'the blessing of life' 'the suspicion on too much science oriented civilisation' anti war and so on."
There was only a few people doing the voiceovers to the characters of Astroboy (in English), but they were extremely well done. I enjoyed all the characters that appeared in the stories of Astroboy. Astro was an exciting robot, who at an instant would go into battle to save anyone from anything remotely evil. Add in Dr Elfun, Daddy walrus, Astro's parents and sister Uran' and his friends from the local school he attended, life was pretty good for Astro.
However, he did have his enemies. The human criminals included Skunk, a greedy man whose only use for robots was to make him rich. Yet Astro's greatest war was with a mighty robot, his brother Atlas. Atlas was like a human criminal, only with super powers. Astro and Atlas had many a fight, with no standout winner. Atlas wanted power and used the earth as his playground. Astro had to save the day many times from Atlas, with the consequences being great for each robot many times.
The fitting tribute for this cartoon is seeing a 17 tape video collection produced by local Australian video group, Siren Entertainment. If you have access to seeing them, by all means do so. Also having all the great merchandise with Astro is another avenue that helps keep his legend' alive. Such items as key rings, t-shirts and coffee mugs still available today, shows me that Astro is as popular as he ever was.
When I think of my childhood, cartoons are a big part of it. Early morning viewings with cartoons such as Inspector Gadget, Voltron and He-Man. However Astroboy has and always will have a special place in my heart. With the passing of Osuma Tezuka (1928-89), we have all lost a great man of the animated Television profession. Astroboy was a Japanese creation many years before people in Western society began viewing it. I am thankful that I had the chance to see it, because Astro has only taught me good things. I love the musical theme(s) that accompany this cartoon. Furthermore when people still say the name Astro' today, it at least proves to me that this cartoon will live on for many decades to come.
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