This article is for the character for other uses see Astro Boy (disambiguation)
I still believe that robots will all become friends one day and never fight each other again.
— Astro Boy at the end of "The Greatest Robot in the World"
Astro Boy (アトム Atomu) known in Japan as 'Mighty Atom' or 'Iron Arm Atom' or just Astro is a fictional character created by Osamu Tezuka and the main protagonist of every series in the Astro Boy franchise.
Astro is a robot male with human emotions created by Umataro Tenma. Tenma created Astro in the image of his deceased son Tobio Tenma. After learning that Astro is robotic and therefore cannot function like a biological human boy, Tenma sold Astro to a robotic circus out of a fit of rage. Astro was forced into fighting other robots against his will in the robot circus, but was eventually rescued by Hiroshi Ochanomizu. Astro fits the embodiment of a hero, having a strong sense of justice and is always willing to defend those who can't defend themselves. A natural pacifist, he always attempts to solve situations intelligently with diplomacy. He has an extreme care for the preciousness of life, much like his real-world creator Osamu Tezuka himself.
Astro made his debut appearance in 1951's Ambassador Atom He only played a very small role in the story and often only appeared in the background. Although, Ambassador Atom itself was only a moderate success, Atom became incredibly popular with Tezuka and the publisher receiving many letters from young boys requesting the character.
Tezuka's editor would suggest that he create a manga series in which Atom was the star and had human emotions. When working in the hospital Tezuka was punched by a frustrated American G.I. who was having difficulties understanding him, this encounter gave Tezuka the inspiration to make Atom a robot who fights for the innocent.
Early Years (1952 - 1970)
Tezuka was a lifelong fan of Disney and he drew many of his early characters with the famous Disney characters' design in mind. Astro would continue this trend of characters designed after Disney characters, using a simplistic cartoon style. Astro bears a strong resemblance to Mickey Mouse -- Disney's most popular character. The most prominent feature of Astro's design that borrows from Disney is in the head. His head uses a large circular shape, also being used by many popular American animated characters at that time. Symbolically, this suggests Astro's innocence, while the spikes on his head introduce an edge to his personality.
Astro Boy's most defining feature are his eyes, especially in the anime series due to the use of limited animation. His eyes were designed to be fully reactive to light and feel dynamic. This would become a very common design aspect in anime and manga characters that would follow. The use of the eyes in this manner allowed the facial expressions to use less animation yet seem more real.
Although a robot Astro was intended to look indistinguishable from a human being as he was designed to resemble Tobio Tenma. He was given many of the similar distinguishing attributes, his large innocent eyes, jet-black spiky hair and light skin tone. His hair has two spikes one on the the left of his head pointing directly upwards and the other on the right side just above his ear pointing out to the side, and a widow's peak. Since Astro is a robot and does not function like a biological being, the height of his body, his weight, and the length of his hair never change.
Astro was created with what appears to be underwear and a green belt. Other than these Astro has no clothing, except for when he is dressed in his school uniform. Astro also wears a red pair of boots, which can change into jets for rocket-powered flight. for the most part his design and clothing remain consistent throughout adaptations with some exceptions. In the 2009 CGI film Astro Boy, he wears a blue v-neck and white undershirt, with black pants.
Astro now has a green shirt with light blue highlights, green eyes, and black pants that connect with his red boots.
Astro was created in the image of Tobio Tenma therefore he inherited his basic personality traits. Due to Tobio being a child when he died, Astro has inherited his same childlike innocence including his childlike naivety, Astro by nature has a strong sense of justice and for deciding what is right and wrong. Mostly a pacifist, Astro will not stray from using force if he has no choice, although he always tries to solve situations diplomatically. Astro is incredibly protective of family and friends and will often risk his own life to protect them from harm.
Astro is selfless, brave and kindhearted. He has a deep love for humanity, in spite of the many hardships he may face. At the end of both the 1960s anime series and Astro Boy: Omega Factor, he willingly sacrificed himself in order to save humanity from certain doom.
Mari Shizimu is the voice actress for Astro Boy in Japan for the 1963 series and the 1980 series, in the 1963 series his voice actress was Billy Lou Watt, in the 1980 version he is voiced by Patricia Kugler Whitely in America, and Steven Bednarski in Canada, in the 2003 series he was voiced by Makoto Tsumura in Japan and Candi Milo in America, in the 2009 film he was voiced by Freddie Highmore in America, and Aya Ueto in Japan.
In Other Media
- In the Season 2 episode of The Toys That Made Us about Transformers, Astro Boy was used as an example of Japanese pop culture.
Abilities and Powers
- Horsepower: Astro was designed with a 100,000 horsepower engine, making him among the most powerful robots. In some adaptations he is upgraded to 1,000,000 horsepower.
- Jet-powered Flight: Astro's most commonly used power is his flight ability. He achieves this by retracting his feet into his legs and blowing exhaust out.
- Digit beams: In later manga and the 1980 and 2003 series he has lasers in his fingers.
- Intellect: He also has useful tools such as a brain that can speak more than 100 languages and solve tough math problems in seconds.
- Laser cannon arm: In the 2003 anime he gains a powerful new weapon, a cannon in his arm which he uses in escape from volcano island to create a huge tornado of laser to save a ship from a exploding volcano. This was likely added to give Astro a big appeal to viewers of a new generation.
- Posterior mounted machine guns: The new Astro Boy movie coming added machine guns in Astro's bottom. In the 1980's series, Astro had his machine guns in his hips, but the way it was animated made it look like it was coming out of his rectum.
- Hyper Adaptive/G&E: Body increases in power to match and then exceed the capabilities of stronger combatants. Astro has a intent deferent between good and evil.
- Hyper Sensitive Hearing: Astro's hearing can be amplified by 1000 times.
Reception and Legacy
Astro's character proved such a success that it launched into an international franchise of anime, manga, films and video games. Tezuka, originally designed after traditional Disney characters of the time, Astro's style reflects that of Mickey Mouse. A simple cartoon style of character, although Tezuka would implement some of his own styles into the drawings that would become commonplace for most anime and manga that came after. Astro would also inspire the creation of the character Mega Man. 
Astro was listed on Empire magazine's 50 Greatest Comic Characters list ranking forty third, making Astro the only manga character on the list. Astro was placed tenth Mania Entertainment's 10 Most Iconic Anime Heroes written by Thomas Zoth who commented that "he was Japan's first great modern cartoon hero, on the printed page and the TV screen". In 2014, IGN ranked him as the fourth greatest anime character of all time. Astro appeared in Screwattack's Death Battle!, where he faced another fictional robot, Mega Man in battle and won.
Even decades after his initial appearances Astro remains a cultural impact in Japan and is among the most celebrated figures in popular culture. On April 7, 2003 Japan celebrated the official date of birth for Astro, people from all over Japan participated. In 2004 Astro was accepted as an honorary citizen of the city of Niiza in Japan and was inducted into the Robot Hall of Fame. Multiple statues of the character have been erected in Japan, most prominently is a statue immediately outside of the Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum in Takarazuka. Mostly due to his numerous appearances on syndication Astro has become well known in Europe and Australia and with the mainstream success of the 1963 series and the 2009 feature film Astroboy has built a presence in the United States.
Astro Boy was one of the first manga characters to embrace mass merchandising including action figures, collectible figurines, food products, clothing, stamps and trading cards. The franchise has earned 3 billion dollars.
- ↑ The Astro Boy Essays, Schodt(2007) p. 5
- ↑ Nintendo Power Issue 220 http://www.rockmanamv.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1509 (October 2007)
- ↑ https://www.empireonline.com/movies/features/50greatestcomiccharacters/?c=43
- ↑ https://web.archive.org/web/20131017063118/http://www.mania.com/10-iconic-anime-heroes_article_119883.html
- ↑ http://www.ign.com/articles/top-25-greatest-anime-characters?page=5
- ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbbhEgl95W4
- ↑ http://web-japan.org/trends/arts/art030421.html
- ↑ https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2003-03-20/astro-boy-a-japanese-citizen
- ↑ http://www.robothalloffame.org/inductees/04inductees.html
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- Akin to Mickey Mouse, no matter which direction Astro Boy faces, the spikes atop his head are always in the same place.
- Astro Boy's Color remake that came out in the 1980's was originally meant to come out during 1977, but changes in plans resulted in it changing into a show called Jetter Mars
- Astro appears as a Star System character in many manga Tezuka series.