Dr. Umataro Tenma is a recurring major character in the Astro Boy series. He is a legendary robotics engineer and a PhD. graduate from Nerima University. Tenma gained widespread fame for developing the Bewusstsein artificial intelligence with his roommate Hiroshi Ochanomizu. Later in his career he becomes the Minister Of Science and creates Astro, a robotic boy with human emotions and the first robot using the Kokoro AI after the sudden death of his son Tobio Tenma in a car accident.
His name is a series of horse puns: the literal translation for Tenma is "heaven horse", or "pegasus", and the "uma" in his first name means "horse".
- 1 Appearance
- 2 Personality
- 3 Appearances
- 4 Robots created by Dr. Tenma
- 5 Gallery
Umataro Tenma is a very striking-looking man. Tenma has black curly hair that he wears as a soft pompador, and a matching goatee. He has a distinct pointed nose, too, which has led to characters comparing Tenma's overall appearance to that of a rooster. Tenma is also fairly tall and well-built. He dresses in very formal clothing such as suits, even when at home.
When he was younger, as seen at age 20 in Atom: The Beginning, he was fairly gangly and skinny. He also straightened his bangs and tended to dress in all black.
He is often neglectful to his son, and after his son's death is obsessed with rebuilding him into a robot. He is initially kind and happy with Astro, but once he realizes he will never grow, he spirals into hatred and frustration of the robot, even going so far as to hit him with a broom or shovel. Once Dr. Ochanomizu takes Astro in, Tenma is obsessive with getting Astro back. He often ignores Astro's feelings and is capricious when his plans are foiled- he will apologize for his actions in one chapter, then attempt to get Astro back to him in another. However, in the manga chapter, "The Greatest Robot on Earth", Tenma and Astro appear to be on good terms with each other, and Tenma upgrades Astro to have one million horsepower.
Comics and Manga
In his very first appearance in the 1951 short series Captain Atom, Dr. Tenma is a robotic engineer who previously lost his son, and is part of the research staff looking into the space people. Both he and his space lookalike have lost their son, and they become extremely envious over the robot Tobio. This leads to Tenma killing his space version with a shrinking solution, and commandeering the movement against the space people in an attempt to gain back his son.
In most versions of the manga, Dr. Tenma is busy with the Ministry of Science, and either by his neglect or pure accident, his son is killed in a car accident. Tenma creates a robotic version of his son, but gets tired or frustrated with it; he usually winds up selling him to Hamegg, the owner of a robot circus.
In various chapters, Tenma briefly appears in disguise to protect Astro ("Cleopatra"), and at one point tries to steal Astro back. He only retreats from attempting to take back Astro in the chapter Meeva. It is the aforementioned pair of chapters that influenced the 2003 version of Tenma.
In the time traveling arc of the manga, Tenma's wife Hoshie is alive and living with him. Tobio's death and reproduction is all the same, except Tenma's wife plays more of a part in trying to get the robot Tobio back from the circus, before divorcing Tenma and dying.
In the 1987 comic series, Dr. Tenma is known as Dr. Boynton, and again loses his son Astor in an accident and rebuilds him as a robot. However, Boynton is far more dangerous than his previous incarnations. He is violent to Astro, at one point putting a robot bomb spider in Astro to control him. Boynton used under-the-table money from the military to build Astro, packing him with weapons, and then sells Astro to the robot circus when he becomes afraid of Astro.
He was once married to a woman named Jean, who divorced him before Astor's accident, and may have committed suicide after Boynton begun trying to make a robot Astor. This has negatively affected his mental health; Boynton in this version has extremely strong paranoia, to the extent of hallucinations and thinking people are after him. He retreats from society, and attempts to help guard Astro from afar.
In the 1963 anime, Dr. Tenma loses his son in a robot car accident, and immediately advances the Ministry of Science's attempt to make a cyborg robot. He succeeds, creating a replica of his son, and takes him as his son. After some time, Tenma becomes increasingly frustrated with the robot Tobio's inability to grow taller, and sells him to Ringmaster Hamegg.
Tenma appears in only a few other episodes after this, in one instance appearing briefly to assist Astro like in the manga, and in another to plead with Astro to come back to him.
known as "Mr.Tenma," he appears in Jetter Mars having the role of a grieving man who had lost his wife and only son in a car crash. Afterwards, he moved into a small ranch. Upon seeing Jetter Mars wandering around his property, he saw that Jetter Mars resembled his lost son Tobio, he then donned a knights armor and saved Mars from a trap Jetter Mars fell into. Mars, not being the brightest tool in the shed, thought the Knight was a rather weak robotic, then Mr. Tenma still donning the knight armor, pretended to have lost a lot of energy and requested some from Mars. However, Mars energy was drained almost entirely. Upon hearing this, Mr. Tenma revealed himself to be a human, shocking Mars, who realized too late that it was a trap and then shut down. Later a group of gangsters arrived and Mr. Tenma tried to work with the gangsters to have Mars remodeled to appear more like the deceased Tobio, however, shortly afterward, the gang leader betrayed him saying he would rather steal Mars and kill Mr. Tenma. A character named Adios appeared in time to prevent Mr. Tenma's death and forced the gangsters to restore Mars energy.
In the 1980 series, Dr. Tenma is constantly busy working at the Ministry, struggling to create a android robot. Skunk Kusai comes to Tenma's house to promote the Omega Factor, which Tenma turns down, offending Skunk. Toby then suggests that Tenma create a robot that looks like a child. This is more successful to design, but this leads to Tenma being too busy to take Tobio to the zoo. Toby tries to leave on his own, and gets into a fatal traffic accident. On his deathbed, Tobio asks Tenma to treat the robot like he would treat him.
The robot is declared too dangerous, with a public official ordering Tenma to shut down the project. However, Tenma sneaks into the Ministry of Science and activates the robot, renaming him "Toby" and raising him in secrecy at home. Several fiascoes ensue with Astro's newborn robotic mind, including when his mind links with Atlas's from afar. The attempt to shut down a stunned Astro leads to Tenma going to the hospital. There, Tenma promises Astro that they'll go on a cruise to get away from the city, most likely to hide Astro's existence.
On the cruise, Astro embarrasses himself and Tenma during a dinner meeting, and Tenma tells Astro to leave him alone. Astro sadly wanders the ship, and winds up fighting Atlas, stopping an iceberg collision, and signing a contract to Hamegg. While Astro is convinced that Tenma has disowned him, Tenma is last seen searching the ship for Astro. Tenma is not in any other episode again, but fans assume that he either died from a heart attack during the search, or moved away.
His best friend is his coworker Ms. Honda (Ms. Ford in the American English dub), and at one point consults her for help with the robot Tobio. In the American English version, Tenma is renamed "Dr. Boynton," and in the Canadian English version, is renamed "Professor Balfus."
The Last Mystery of the 20th Century
The Last Mystery of the 20th Century is a special, in this special Osamu Tezuka is invited to a new years party in a mansion owned by Dr. Tenma, when Osamu Tezuka suddenly disappears it's up to his most popular characters to find out what happened to Osamu Tezuka and find him before the other guests arrive. Alongside Dr. Tenma, Dr. Ochanomizu, Hamegg, and Higeoyaji also appear in this special.
Dr. Tenma is more central a character than ever in the 2003 series. He is the series' main antagonist, and causes an enormous amount of conflict throughout the series. He and his robot double Shadow create Pluto, initiate a robot war, indoctrinate the Blue Knight into Shadow's cause, freeze a large portion of the city, and almost kill any number of Metro City citizens. Tenma is an open misanthropist, only caring about getting Astro back as his son. At one point, he comes to hate being human so much that he almost converts himself into a robot overlord.
He lives in a rundown gothic building not too far from the Ministry of Science, working on robot commission projects. Through this business, he winds up building Atlas, and briefly bonding with him as a dysfunctional father-son duo; this is due in part to how Atlas's human self was raised by Mr. Tokugawa, a bad father comparable to Tenma himself. In his hideouts, Tenma is only accompanied by an army of robot dogs, which can be converted into weapons and flying vehicles.
Before the anime's current timeline, Dr. Tenma was the Minister of Science. He was usually too busy to be around his son, to the point of sending assistants to go with Toby to sporting events, and giving Toby a robot guardian named Robita. He attempted to make things up to Toby with monetary items and gifts, at one point giving Toby a jetbike. Shortly after, he took Toby to the Ministry's robot disposal area as part of an offer to replace Robita with an entirely new, updated robot. Toby was so disgusted with the idea of losing his friend that he ran away. Not long after, Toby died on impact from a truck. Tenma was distraught and feeling guilty, and creates a robot replica of Toby, retreating from the public and raising the robot Toby in private. However, after Tenma took Astro to the same robot disposal area in the Ministry as before, Astro rebelled and smashed a conveyor belt. This caused Tenma to electrocute Astro, stow him away, and burn down his lab.
In Atom: The Beginning, Umataro is a 20 year old robotics prodigy in graduate school. He and Hiroshi Ochanomizu are roommates and research partners, for better or worse. The two are very close and have a bizarre inside joke where they honk each others' noses.
Umataro is rather cold towards the duo's robot progeny, A106. He mainly sees the robot as a work-in-progress and a means to a future successful project. However, he has moments of realizing he's gone too far with testing A106's strength or battle abilities. Umataro is also in love with Dr. Lolo, a mysterious competing female scientist, but seems very jealous of anyone who gets close to Hiroshi.
In the 2009 CGI-animated film by Imagi, William "Bill" Tenma loses his son Tobio in an accident where Toby is locked in with a berserk robot. Tenma, with the assistance of Doctor Elefun, creates a robot duplicate of Toby: the robot Toby has a complete port of all his human memories, and is outfitted with advanced defence capabilities so that he can't be harmed. However, when the robot version begins to develop his own personality, Tenma tearfully rejects him.
After Astro Boy runs away, he is captured for the power source that Tenma used on him. It is to be extracted from him and put into the Peacekeeper. Astro encourages this decision, accepting that he could never live up to Tenma's expectations. Tenma, however, refuses to have Astro deactivated, saying, "You're not Tobio, but you're still my son!" Tenma is less villainous and deranged in the film, becoming more of a returning father figure who takes back Astro as a son. He was partially designed after Nicolas Cage, his voice actor.
Robots created by Dr. Tenma
- Cobalt (1963)
- Pluto (2003)
- Shadow (2003)
- Atlas (2003, under request of Mr. Tokugawa)
- Orrin (2009)
- Goji (Pluto)
- A106 (Atom: The Beginning)