Nora is Professor Ochanomizu's assistant robot in the 2003 series. She functions as Ochanomizu's housekeeper and Astro's guardian. While she can be skittish and become easily flustered, she cares very much about Astro and Uran. In the Japanese version, Nora is named Robita, which is also the name of her brand line of robots. Her brand line was designed by Dr. Tenma for mass production. Nora plays a minor role in the series, but provides guidance and information to Astro and Uran.
Nora is adapted from the Robita robots in Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix series. The Robita line is a series of gender neutral service robots, which are usually used for manual labor or assistance. The Robita series began when a pair of lovers had their joint consciousness uploaded into a robot, allowing it to emote in a way so humanoid that the Robita was mass produced.
However, a young child died from radiation poisoning after following his family's Robita into an isotope field. His family decided to sue the Robita brand, which led to most Robitas being destroyed or killing themselves upon hearing about the recall.
The final functioning Robita was on the moon, owned by the space transport officer Acetylene Lamp. This Robita became self aware, but Lamp scoffed at this, claiming that the only way Robita could prove being human would be if he could rebel over being treated like a slave. Robita then decided to underfuel Lamp's android lover Fanny, causing her to cease function, trapping Lamp in a tight hug with limited oxygen in his car on the moon outback. Robita was left stranded and wrought with guilt, until he was found by Dr. Saruta and adopted as an assistant.
Two Robita robots appear in the episode "Save the Carolina-3", as satellite and system operators. They have limited AI, and only take orders from their captain or his son. When Skunk Kusai and his gang board the ship, both Robitas are shot in an effort to seize further control of the satellite.
The Robita series appears in the 2003 anime, but this time, with individualized personalities between Robitas. These were designed years before by Dr. Tenma. In the present, other Robita models can be seen throughout Metro City as guardians and service workers.
Professor Ochanomizu's Robita (Nora in the English dub) is treated like a friend and assistant in his household. Nora often babysits Astro and Uran, helps out with chores, and provides Astro with information and education. She is grandmotherly and loves taking care of children, even though they often overwhelm her. She is most often seen helping out at Ochanomizu's house or escorting Astro and Uran.
During Tobio's life, Dr. Tenma had a Nora unit in his house as a babysitter. Tobio saw Nora as his best friend. As well, due to Dr. Tenma being at the Ministry of Science so much, Nora stepped in as Tobio's parent. Tenma assumed that Tobio only liked Nora as a toy or tool, and proposed replacing her with an upgraded model. Tobio was so disgusted by this idea that he cursed out Tenma, and tried to run home to Nora. Unfortunately, Tobio was hit by a truck and died.
In the English dub, Nora is found by Dr. Ochanomizu, cleaned up, and reactivated. In the original Japanese version, the Nora that Tobio knew is deactivated and abandoned in Tenma's house. It is implied that Tenma destroyed this Nora in a fit of jealous rage after Tobio's death. While living as Tenma's son, Astro first finds this Nora deactivated in the basement, and is frustrated when Tenma refuses to tell him why they can't reactivate her. Later on, when living with Ochanomizu, Astro finds the old Nora in Tenma's abandoned house.
Pocket Jeunesse series
In the French chapter book series, Nora appears as Dr. Elefun's office assistant and Astro's teacher. She has a much different design than in the 2003 series.
Astro watched Nora, his robot teacher. She had an odd form: she was like a cone on wheels topped with a transparent cover, under which were turning workings composed of tiny cogs.In personality, Nora is very much like her 2003 version. She loves to teach, but is extremely nervous whenever Astro gets into trouble.