Astro Boy tells the story of a youthful robot boy - Astro - modeled after the deceased son of a research scientist, Dr. Tenma. Originally intended to be kept a secret, the atomic-powered robot becomes a reluctant superhero who fights for justice and peace for humans and robots alike. Created in Metro City, he lives among a 'retro-futuristic' society populated by humans and robots. His creator Dr. Tenma, head of the Ministry of Science, builds Astro in his son's image. Astro never can fill the void that Dr. Tenma feels over the loss of his son. Tenma shuts down Astro, burns down the Ministry of Science and flees. Some time later, Astro is discovered by Dr. O'Shay, the new head of the Ministry. Dr. O'Shay takes in Astro and serves as his mentor. Driven by the belief that robots and humans should be friends, Dr. O'Shay is Astro's greatest ally. He provides Astro with a home, enrolls him in school and creates a robot family for him. Astro possesses superb strength, including jet-rocket ...Written by
Whereas the character of Professor Ochanomizu had his name changed to "Dr. Elefun" in most American retellings of the Astro Boy saga, this series instead calls him "O'Shea", a well-known Irish name which happens to sound like an abbreviation of his original Japanese name. See more »
Having good memories of the Astroboy series that aired in the 80's, I was excited to hear about a remake. Overall I'd say the new crew has done a fine job. There are some changes in the story line (Astro working at a circus, getting his trademark red boots, etc) but these may be revealed later. It doesn't seem to have as clear allegories for racism and segregation either, but again, there is still time for this to show up. The show retains a similar look to the original Astroboy with great visuals. The music captures the style of the show very well.
I'm not too keen on some of the voices, though. I have only seen the English-language dub so I don't have the original Japanese for comparison, but I find Astro's voice to be somewhat out of place. Another character, Dr. Tenma, is a tall thin man and has a voice that sounds like James Earl Jones! Those two aside, the other voices are pretty good. I also especially like that Astro's rockets still have the same sound as the 80's show!
As for editing, a real problem with anime aired in the United States, I can't give definite comment, having never seen the original Japanese series. I did notice that Astro was told he was based on a real boy without mentioning what happened to that boy (he was killed in a car accident before the series takes place). A couple characters' names have been changed as well, Dr. Ocha-no-mizu (whom I knew as Prof. Peabody, others, Dr. Elefun in the last series) is now called Dr. O'Shay. I'm not sure why. If they wanted to shorten it, they could've just called him "Dr. Ocha" ("tea" in Japanese). Astro's sister, Uran (Sarah, Astrogirl), is now called Zoran. Once again, I'm not sure why. Also note, it's now called "Astro Boy" (2 words) instead of Astroboy (1 word). Maybe to distinguish between the old and new series?
Another thing I've noticed is that at least some of the episodes are being aired out of order. E.g. Astro's first day of school after we'd already seen him there, his sister appearing with no explanation as to where she came from, only to vanish again until her proper introduction several weeks later. I've learned that this is the distributor's doing and not that of the network that airs the show. I wonder why companies do this. Do they think the viewers won't notice?
Overall, "Astro Boy" seems to be a decent update of the classic show. I look forward to the new movie (slated for 2005).
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