Astro Boy

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Astro Boy
Original title 鉄 腕 ア ト ム
transcription Tetsuwan Atomu
Tetsuwan Atom logo.png
genre Adventure , science fiction , superhero
country JapanJapan Japan
author Osamu Tezuka
publishing company Kobunsha
magazine Shonen
First publication April 3, 1952 - March 12, 1968
expenditure 23
Anime television series
Country of production JapanJapan Japan
original language Japanese
Year (s) 1963-1966
Studio Mushi Production
length 24 minutes
Episodes 193
Director Osamu Tezuka
music Tatsuo Takai
First broadcast Jan. 01, 1963 - December 31, 1966 on Fuji TV

Astro Boy ( Japanese 鉄 腕 ア ト ム Tetsuwan Atomu , translated as " low iron atom") is a manga by the Japanese illustrator Osamu Tezuka from the years 1952 to 1968. The work has over 2000 pages and has been implemented several times as an anime and video game . The first film version of the manga was the first lengthy anime television series and the first with a continued storyline.


Tobio, the son of Doctor Tenma, was killed in a traffic accident in 2003. Since the professor cannot get over the death of his only son, he uses the latest technology to create the android Astro Boy (originally called Tetsuwan Atomu ), which looks like Tobio. However, when he realizes that Astro Boy cannot get any older, he dislikes him.

The scientist Professor Ochanomizu rescues Astro Boy from a robot circus, gives him superhero skills and creates a robot family for him. Astro Boy has to solve difficult tasks again and again. In doing so, he opposes war and injustice and fights for peace.


The Gagstrip series Ambassador Atom initially planned by Tezuka was unsuccessful in Shōnen magazine . On the advice of his editor, he redesigned the series as a long-term adventure story that focused on the narrative rather than the jokes. The resulting Tetsuwan Atomu soon became a great success. The style of the manga, like other early works by Tezuka, is still heavily influenced by the style of the Disney films.

The readers of Shōnen magazine were able to actively participate in votes on the series, which led to the appearance of Astro Boy being revised several times over the course of the manga series.


Astro Boy appeared in Japan from April 1952 to 1968 in serial chapters in the manga magazine Shōnen published by Kōbunsha . The manga later appeared in a total of 23 anthologies.

The work was published in French by Glénat , later Kana and Panini, in English by Dark Horse Comics , Spanish by Glénat España and Portuguese by Planet Manga. It has also been translated into Swedish, Dutch and Danish, among others.

From 2000 Carlsen Comics published a total of 21 anthologies in German.


1963 anime TV series

The anime studio Mushi Productions , founded by Osamu Tezuka, produced a 193 episode anime series of the same name in black and white for the manga. Osamu Tezuka directed the music and Tatsuo Takai composed the music. The opening title Tetsuwan Atom comes from Kamitakada Shounen Gasshoudan. The series was broadcast from January 1, 1963 to December 31, 1963 by Fuji TV in Japan. It was the first anime television series with a continued storyline and 25-minute episodes. The series also appeared on video.

Astro Boy was broadcast in the US on NBC from 1964 , making it the first anime series to be broadcast outside of Japan. The content of the series was reworked for the broadcast, but the core messages remained the same. In 1974 the series was also broadcast in Mexico. From December 1980, the series was broadcast with great success as the first foreign animation series in the People's Republic of China .

role Japanese speaker ( seiyū )
Astro Boy Kazue Tagami, from episode 107 Mari Shimizu
Dr Ochanomizu Hisashi Katsuta
Hige oyaji Fumio Wada
Dr. Tenma Hisashi Yokomori
Cobalt Kiyoshi Komiyama

Further series

A first remake of the series in color with 52 episodes followed in 1980. The first 6 episodes were released in 2000 on 3 video cassettes with German synchronization .

In 2003 another series with 50 episodes was produced. Both series were internationally more successful than the first film adaptation.

Both were animated by Tezuka Productions .

In 2017, the anime television series Atom: The Beginning was released as a prequel , which is based on the manga of the same name and tells the events up to the development of Astro Boy.

Video games

In February 1988 Konami first published a video game based on the manga for the Famicom console . In February 1994 a game from Banpresto for Super Famicom followed . In December 2003, Sega published the fighting game Astro Boy: Omega Factor . In April 2004, Sega released another game for the PlayStation 2 in Japan .

Motion picture

On October 10, 2009, came from Imagi Animation Studios produced computer animation film ( Astro Boy - The Movie ) in the cinemas. The plot differs in a few details from the manga template; Tobio, for example, does not die in a car accident, but is accidentally killed when a robot standing next to him fires a weapon. In addition, Astro Boy does not end up in a robot circus, but in a robot gladiator arena.


A number of merchandising products for Astro Boy were already appearing in Japan at the time of the first television series . Including chocolate, stickers, figurines, cups and school bags.

Comic adaptations

In 1965 Gold Key published an Astro Boy comic, which was redrawn by American draftsmen based on the manga and appeared in color. In South America, more such adaptations of national artists appeared after the anime series ran successfully on television there.

Reception and meaning

In Japan

Astro Boy is considered a classic of the manga and Tezuka's most famous and important science fiction work. The anime is also considered to be the forerunner of the later mecha genre.

When the official birthday of Astro Boy was celebrated on April 7, 2003 in the Tezuka Museum in Takarazuka, an Astro Boy doll was put into operation in an exhibition room, which reenacts the Astro Boy animation scene at regular intervals.

The theme music is played as a jingle at the Takadanobaba stop in Tokyo.


The anime was among the first to be released outside of Japan, but was not perceived as a Japanese product. The success of the series in America led to the demand for more Japanese series, so that later, among other things, Speed ​​Racer and Kimba, the white lion outside of Japan were published.

Astro Boy was inducted into the Robot Hall of Fame in 2004 .

Individual evidence

  1. The name is difficult to translate and literally means "the atom with the iron hands". In the Japanese original, the English subtitle Mighty Atom is also used. Alexander Wißnet: Robots in Japan. Causes and backgrounds of a phenomenon. Munich 2007, p. 43f.
  2. a b Frederik L. Schodt, Osamu Tezuka (preface): Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics p. 63 ff. Kodansha America, 1983.
  3. ^ Paul Gravett: Manga - Sixty Years of Japanese Comics , p. 55. Egmont Manga and Anime, 2004.
  4. German Film Institute - DIF / German Film Museum & Museum of Applied Arts (Ed.): Ga-netchû! The Manga Anime Syndrome p. 32. Henschel Verlag, 2008.
  5. ^ A b Trish Ledoux and Doug Ranney: The Complete Anime Guide p. 10. Tiger Mountain Press, Issaquah (Washington), 1995
  6. a b Frederik L. Schodt, Osamu Tezuka (preface): Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics pp. 154 ff. Kodansha America, 1983.
  7. List of episodes and overview of the video publications of the Astroboy series from 1980
  8. German Film Institute - DIF / German Film Museum & Museum of Applied Arts (Ed.): Ga-netchû! The Manga Anime Syndrome p. 81. Henschel Verlag, 2008.
  9. Trish Ledoux and Doug Ranney: The Complete Anime Guide p. 47 f. Tiger Mountain Press, Issaquah (Washington), 1995
  10. Patrick Drazen: Anime Explosion! - The What? Why? & Wow! of Japanese Animation p. 6. Stone Bridge Press, 2002.
  11. Paul Gravett: Manga - Sixty Years of Japanese Comics , p. 32. Egmont Manga and Anime, 2004.
  12. "Akibatteru?": Episode 7, 8: 10min,
  13. Trish Ledoux and Doug Ranney: The Complete Anime Guide p. 3. Tiger Mountain Press, Issaquah (Washington), 1995

Web links

Commons : Astro Boy  - collection of images, videos and audio files