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This article is for the character "Atlas". For other uses, see Atlas (disambiguation)

Atlas is a powerful but dangerous young robot. He is rebellious and refuses to be controlled, especially not by humans. In many ways, Atlas is Astro's opposite, often being Astro's rival. Atlas appears in various forms throughout the Astro Boy franchise, but has an especially prominent role in the 1980 anime series and 2003 anime series.

Origin

Atlas and Astro as painted by Osamu Tezuka

Atlas originally debuted in the 1958 manga chapter, "Atlas".[1] In his first appearance, Atlas was built by a South American scientist who wanted to enact revenge for his mother, who was enslaved by colonists and unfairly killed. This first story has set a precedent for Atlas's incarnations, and he most often appears in Astro Boy series with tragic circumstances.

In the 1980 series, Atlas was reworked to be a much more prominent character compared to his first appearance. The series also established Atlas as Astro's half-brother. Atlas's creator in this series, Count Walpur Guiss, plagiarized Dr. Tenma's blueprints for Astro and adapted it into Atlas's child version. The only difference between Atlas and Astro is how Atlas has the Omega Factor, a dangerous circuit that gives Atlas maximum power and the ability to rebel. Atlas remodeled himself into an adult body, but he is still able to page Astro remotely through their similar electronic brains. Atlas's status as Astro's older brother also caused the character Cobalt, Astro's brother built by Dr. Ochanomizu, to be retired to avoid redundancy.

Appearance

Atlas in the 1963 anime series

Manga and 1963 series

In his first appearance, Atlas has a simple, streamlined body without much detail. He resembled a young teenage boy, relatively close to Astro's age. On his head are several black pistons that resemble bantu knots, a Black hairstyle that originated in Zulu.[2] Much like Astro he is capable of flight, but the means that he does so differ between adaptations. In the manga, Atlas has a small jet turbine mounted on his lower back, which allows him to fly through the air, and also use as a defensive weapon similar to Astro's rear-mounted machine guns. In the 1963 anime series however, this jet turbine is absent, and he instead possesses a pair of retractable jets on the sides of his neck.

1980 series

Atlas has two forms in the 1980 anime series. Initially, he is a child robot who appears very similar to Astro's design. Atlas is orange with moulded yellow hair, and wears a black and gold toga with matching boots. As an adult, Atlas resembles an ancient Roman soldier, now much larger and stronger. He is equipped with an electrical sword, a black cape, and long pleather gloves.

2003 series

In the 2003 series, Atlas is the robotic recreation of a human teenage boy who died in a space shuttle accident. As a human, Daichi Tokugawa was an eighteen-year-old Japanese human with red hair and green eyes. As a robot named Atlas, his face is more angular, and he is equipped with bulky red and blue armor housed within his body that can be equipped through shifting his internal mechanisms. In this form, he has five electrical receivers on his head, resembling his head pistons from his original 1958 version.

Manga

Dr. Ram, Atlas, and Astro

Chapter 57: "Atlas"

In "Atlas", Atlas is a robot built by Dr. Ram, an Inca scientist. Dr. Ram was discriminated against by European and East-Asian colonists, and his parents were forced to perform manual labour, something that wound up accidentally killing Dr. Ram's mother. Ram creates Atlas and equips him with the Omega Factor to increase Atlas's powers as much as possible. Dr. Ram then takes Atlas to Japan in order to show him off.

At a robot fighting coliseum, Atlas attacks and kills numerous robots, until Astro steps up to try to fight him. Atlas is unable to finish the fight and decides he and Astro will settle it another day. Atlas later goes on to attempt to kill a whole village of humans. Astro is able to save the village, but Atlas knocks Astro's head off. Dr. Ram traps Astro in an electromagnetic field, and while Astro is trapped, Atlas is given a goes on a crime rampage. Professor Ochanomizu is able to clear Astro's name after the boy sends out a radio signal for help. Astro escapes and has to fight Atlas, but Atlas is ultimately destroyed by an electromagnetic field built by Dr. Ram.

Atlas is given his 8th power

Chapter 85: "Astro VS Atlas"

This chapter was originally published in 1981, and loosely adapts Atlas's origin in the 1980 anime series. Underground criminals Count Walpur Guiss and Skunk Kusai build a bootleg version of Astro Boy called Atlas.

While Atlas has all seven of Astro's special powers, Guiss fears they won't be enough to completely overpower Astro. Guiss gives Atlas an additional 8th power that allows him to urinate pellet bombs. This power can be used by flying over his opponents and peeing on them, showering them in explosives. After a short-lived comedic fight with Astro, Atlas attempts to use his eighth power. Astro is disgusted and tells Atlas that he must pee in a toilet. Atlas flies back into Guiss's castle to use his toilet, but winds up blowing up the entire house. Atlas and Astro work together to apprehend Skunk and Guiss and take them to the authorities.

Anime

1960s series

Atlas prepares to fight

In the 1963 anime series, Atlas appears exclusively episode 26, "Atlas". The episode is a faithful adaptation of the original manga story, but Atlas's creator is redesigned to no longer be an offensive caricature. Atlas and Astro Boy's rivalry is explored a bit further, but due to his death, Atlas does not appear in any other episode of the 1963 series.

Atlas's abilities in this series include:

  • Super strength
  • Flight: Two airplane-like jet wings launch from his ears, allowing Atlas to fly through the air
  • Omega Factor: This circuit-altering device allows Atlas to hurt robots and humans alike
  • Overheating: He can heat his body up to temperatures hot enough to melt steel

1980s series

Atlas1980book11.jpg

In the 1980s series, Osamu Tezuka chose to completely rework Atlas, giving him a much larger role in the anime series. Dr. Ram is replaced by Count Guiss in the role as Atlas's misanthropic creator. Atlas is first built as a child robot adapted from Astro Boy's blueprints. Guiss and Skunk Kusai split duties in caring for the boy robot; Skunk is tasked with teaching Atlas about crime, while Livian handles Atlas's maintenance. Livian is the only kind individual in Atlas's childhood. He is especially horrified when Guiss dismantles Livian for accidentally dropping an antique gargoyle. Guiss attempts to flee the infuriated Atlas, but Atlas runs Guiss's car over the edge of a cliff. Atlas leaves his creator for dead, returns to the villa, and begins to rebuild himself and Livian.

Atlas soon returns to Japan in his "adult" form, a 2.5 metre tall gladiator robot, and he seeks out Skunk Kusai. Skunk is amazed by Atlas's new appearance and powers, but Atlas quickly loses interest in Skunk's robberies, considering it to be "boring" and below him. Together, Livian and Atlas rule over a crystal palace spacecraft, with Livian being the only person that Atlas trusts and will not harm.

Unlike Atlas's prior incarnation, he was not a naive robot simply carrying out the commands of his human creator. With the Omega Factor installed, Atlas is aware of the repercussions of his actions. He is willing and able to threaten or even harm humans, and to make decisions that infringe on the Laws of Robotics. In Atlas' last appearance in the series, "Atlas Forever", Astro and Atlas finally learn that they are brothers. At the end of the episode, Atlas and Livian sacrifice themselves to save the earth.

Atlas's abilities in this series include:

  • Astro's seven special powers: Atlas was first built from Astro's blueprints and is equipped with similar powers
  • Electrical sword: Atlas's sword can connect to and charge from his battery. He can electrify his sword to shoot beams or to cut through heavy metals
  • Radar paging: The radar system in Atlas's chest can page Astro and Livian, due to their similar internal mechanisms.

Atlas's original origin story is greatly cut down and re-edited for the 1985 Canadian dub. Skunk Kusai is now Atlas's sole creator, who rejected him as a child. Livian, redubbed as "Selena", is an independent robot built entirely by Atlas. Count Guiss appears briefly but is re-edited to be an interloper who kidnaps Livian.

2003 series

Atlas2003postcard.jpg

In the 2003 anime series, Atlas is the robot alter ego of a young man named Daichi Tokugawa. He is the rebellious son of a business tycoon who sneaks off with his biker gang friends, and gets into a fatal space shuttle accident. His father, Mr. Tokugawa, is so stricken with grief that he commissions Daichi's robotic duplicate from underground roboticist Umataro Tenma. Tenma notices how similar Daichi's life was to that of his own late son, Tobio, and gives Atlas Kokoro - a program that gives robots free will and emotions - just to see what happens. Daichi develops his own super robot alter-ego and begins wreaking havoc.

In the English dub, Daichi's backstory is edited to make it so he was always a robot commissioned from Dr. Tenma. This was done due to concern that American broadcasters would take issue with a human teenage boy dying, whereas a robot teenage boy being "destroyed" was considered more appropriate for American children. In the English dub, Atlas declares that he and Astro are brothers since they were both created by Dr. Tenma.

Early Concept

Early concept of Atlas that appeared in the pilot.

Atlas' early concept was much closer to his original design as shown in the original manga and 1960s anime. In the pilot trailer, Atlas is said to be a robot based on a 14-year-old human boy, which differs from the final Atlas being based on an 18-year-old boy.

Early Life

Daichi was the son of Mr. Tokugawa, the wealthy CEO of his own company. When he was very young, his father gave him an atlas as a present and promising him that one day they would go to the moon and look back at the Earth together.

On a future birthday, Daichi's father was away at work. He tried to call his father to show him a drawing he had made of them but was instead yelled at for calling him while he was at work. Mr. Tokugawa hung up, leaving Daichi upset.

Years later, Daichi has the dream of being a painter. His father finds out and disapproves. Tokugawa throws Daichi's paintings into the fireplace. When Daichi protests, his father pushes him to the ground and says being a painter is a useless dream and that Daichi's only concern is to train to be the next CEO.

Death and Rebirth

Daichi's memories being implanted into a robot body.

Daichi and his air bike gang went to the spaceport one night so Daichi could hijack a shuttle to the moon. Something went wrong, resulting in Daichi's death. His father went to Dr. Tenma, begging him to remake Daichi in a robot body. Dr. Tenma built a robot like Mr. Tokugawa asked, inserting all of Daichi's memories into his electronic brain.

Daichi's gang rejecting him.

Daichi shortly went to meet up with his gang to inform them he was back. However, once they learned he was a robot, they talked to him like he wasn't Daichi and teased him for being a robot. Daichi realized they were only hanging out with him because of his father's wealth. Enraged, Daichi unintentionally activated his transformation into an armored battle mode he wasn't aware he had. With his new powers, Daichi attacked his now former gang and then declared he was Atlas, the strongest robot on earth. He decided he would use his powers to attack Tokugawa's power plants.

Atlas later came across some kids that were picking on a few robots. He demonstrated his power by attacking a nearby power plant. When they ran scared, he chased after them. That's when Astro showed up to intervene. He tried to talk Atlas out of wanting to harm humans but failed. Atlas attacked him and nearly defeated him. Instead of just finishing him off, Atlas left him alive and flew off.

Atlas, as Daichi, went to a meeting that was meant to unveil him as the next in line for Tokugawa Conglomerate's

Daichi about to reveal himself as Atlas.

CEO. Instead of the planned speech, Atlas revealed that he would not be the next CEO because the Tokugawa Conglomerate would not exist by the end of the day. When Tokugawa questioned what he was doing and why, Atlas revealed his battle mode and his identity as Atlas. Atlas then caused destruction to the surrounding buildings. The police showed up to stop him, but he fought them back. Astro interfered to save the police but refused to fight Atlas. To get Astro to fight him, Atlas started to attack the city. Atlas was winning until Astro discovered an arm cannon and defeated Atlas with it.

Atlas being damaged.

Damaged, Atlas found Tenma's secret laboratory and busted down his door, demanding repairs and upgrades. Tenma warned him that his body may not be able to handle too many upgrades, but Atlas didn't care. He had unfinished business. While being repaired, Atlas asked Tenma about why he decided to build him. Atlas told him he knew about Astro; that he had built him because he also wanted a successor but he didn't follow orders when Tenma needed him to. Angry, Tenma told him to shut up because he was disturbing his work. Atlas was then jolted by high amounts of energy and blacked out. Repaired and upgraded with a new arm cannon, Atlas hijacked another shuttle and went to the moon to destroy the plant there. Astro followed him and they fought until Astro's arm cannon ran out of energy. That's when Mr. Tokugawa increased the gravity and tried to kill Atlas by shooting him with a plasma gun Dr. Tenma gave him. Atlas was hit a few times on the back, destroying one of his jets. Atlas forced himself to stand up and blast the controls to set the gravity back to normal. Then he flew up to where Mr. Tokugawa was and attempted to shoot him. However, a cannon on his leg exploded and the shot missed, instead blowing a hole in the wall. The decompression began to suck Mr. Tokugawa out. Astro tried to save him but he was stuck in some of the railings from Atlas flinging him off his back when Astro tried to stop him from shooting his father.

Atlas floating off into space.

Through the hole, Atlas could see the earth and remember back when his father promised to take him to the moon. Having a change of heart, Atlas pulled his father back in and handed him to Astro. Astro offered to pull Atlas in, but Atlas refused. He told Astro that it was hard for humans and robots to get along, but he could do it. Then as the jets on his back exploded, he drifted off into space.

Pavlos' Puppet

Atlas found encased in rock in space.

Atlas was later found in the asteroid belt encased in rock by a private salvager. He was brought to the anti-robot group headed by Mr. Drake and given to Dr. Pavlos, who inserted his Nexus Chip into his electronic brain. The chip disabled his Kokoro and allowed him to be remotely controlled by Dr. Pavlos. He was sent to capture Astro so that a nexus chip could be placed in him too. That failed and Atlas was forced to fight him again. The battle took them to a cliff over the waterfall. The chip deactivated before Atlas could blast Astro off the cliff. Then the signal came back again and the

Altas regulating the core temp. of Pavlos' air ship.

shock caused Atlas to stumble backward off the cliff. Luckily, Astro grabbed him and pulled him back up. Noticing Dr. Pavlos' ship was damaged, Astro flew off to save him. After a few moments thought, Atlas followed. He briefly saw his father in another ship on the way there. Atlas hooked himself up to the ship to keep the core temperature down long enough for Astro to escape with Dr. Pavlos. He took the ship up into space so that no one would be hurt when it exploded.

Robotonia

Main article: Robotonia

Atlas protecting Astro from the Blue Knight.

Atlas appeared later at Robotonia to fight Duke Red's army in defense of all robots after the human leaders had passed a law to destroy all thinking robots. While initially fighting on Blue Knight's side, Atlas later joined Astro's side to stop the fighting. After a truce was called, Atlas and Pluto went to join Astro's other allies. He later witnessed Astro being shot out of the sky and essentially die. Atlas was visibly distraught as Astro was his only friend.

What happened to him after that is unknown.

"Astro Boy": PS2 Video Game

Atlas' bio from the instruction book.

In the PS2 game, no references to Atlas' past as Daichi or relation to Dr. Tokugawa are made.  He's simply a robot that hates humans and their "puppets".  This is why he fought Astro.  In the first fight, Atlas had some other robots on air bikes fight with him.  After he was defeated, Atlas left on his air bike.  He later returned, disguised as Astro with some other dopplegangers.  After some fighting, Atlas revealed himself and continued fighting Astro.  This time, when he was defeated, Atlas exploded.

Astro Boy: Omega Factor

Main Article: Astro Boy: Omega Factor

In Omega Factor, Atlas is again a robot made with the memories of Mr. Tokugawa's deceased son Daichi.  This time he was lost on the moon and Astro was sent to find him.  When Astro found him, Daichi revealed his armor form and declared himself as Atlas.  They fought until the battle caused a capsule with a young woman to come into view and seeing this caused Atlas pain but he couldn't understand why.  It's later revealed that the woman, Prime Rose, is Daich's girlfriend who had a disease, explaining why she was in the capsule.  Daichi wanted to take her to the moon but became ill from the radiation of Death Mask and died. That's when Mr. Tokugawa had Tenma build him a new body.  Astro also learns that Prime Rose is Drake's daughter and that her disappearance at the hand of a robot (he assumed; it was actually Daichi in disguise) was the cause of his anti-robot attacks. Because of this,  Astro brought Black Jack to the moon to operate on Prime Rose.  Astro had to fight Atlas while this was happening, keeping him away from the oxygen tent.  After Prime Rose's operation was done and Atlas' memories of her returned, they contacted Drake to let him know his daughter was okay.

Manga

Main article: Astro Boy (Akira Himekawa manga)

Daichi with his parents.

In the 2004 manga by Akira Himekawa, young Daichi received the atlas as a present from both his father and his mother. Mr. Tokugawa again began neglecting Daichi.  Daichi's mother fell ill and was in the hospital for a while.  She eventually died, which devastated Daichi.  Worse, his father wouldn't even show up when he was called because he was in a meeting.

Daichi again formed a gang and eventually rebelled.  He left on his air bike.  Katari went after him and ran him over the edge of the highway.  Daichi fell down and was mortally injured.  Dr. Tenma showed up, offering him a new body.

With his new body, Atlas began a quest to take revenge on humans.  He fought Astro on several occasions, their last battle being at a Tokugawa plant.  Atlas had Astro defeated and was about to finish him off when his arm cannon locked up.  A message popped up telling him that Astro was Tobio, then his arm cannon exploded. Tenma showed up to take Astro and left Atlas behind.

Atlas hijacked a shuttle and went to the moon.  There he ran into his father and Katari.  His father was shocked to learn what had happened to Daichi and that Katari had killed him.  When Tokugawa was almost sucked out of a hole in the wall, Atlas saved him.  Tokugawa apologized for his actions.  Dr. O'Shay came and fixed Atlas' arm.  Learning of a bomb planted by Kato, Atlas went off to help Astro stop it.  Atlas eventually took the bomb and flew into space to destroy it.  He was shortly found encased in rock and later repaired.

Atlas, resuming the name of Daichi, became the president of Tokugawa Conglomerate.

Other appearances

Atlas' design in Astro Boy Reboot

Atlas has occasionally appeared in other Tezuka works via the Osamu Tezuka Star System. His most prominent role outside of the Astro Boy series is in the 2001 film Metropolis, where he plays a human revolutionary leading an anti-bourgeoise coup d'état against Duke Red.

Atlas has most often appeared in modern media with his 1980 series design. He appears in his child form in Astro Boy: Edge of Time and in Tetsuwan Atom for the Super Famicom. Meanwhile, in Tetsuwan Atom: Tap Tap Rush, Atlas is a boss in his 1980 adult form.

Shibuya Productions officially confirmed that Atlas will appear in the upcoming Astro Boy Reboot animated series. However, the series has entered a production standstill at this time of writing, and it is unclear when or if the series will actually air.

Atlas' appearance in the 2001 film Metropolis.

Gallery

See Atlas gallery subpage.

References

  1. 鉄腕アトム|マンガ|手塚治虫 TEZUKA OSAMU OFFICIAL - https://tezukaosamu.net/jp/manga/291.html
  2. https://www.byrdie.com/bantu-knots-5075639
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