The Astro Boy Essays

The Astro Boy Essays-65
Originally published in 1996, it prefigured much modern writing on comics and remains essential reading for fans, literati, and cultural watchdogs about the state of the manga universe as its popularity explodes on the American scene.Now available in a new casebound collector's edition, with a new introduction by the author.

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Topics include Tezuka’s life, the art of animation, the connection between fantasy robots and technology, spin-offs, and Astro Boy’s cultural impact.

"To today's anime fans, Astro Boy is a historical figure more often heard of than seen. Schodt tells the full story about the little robot and his creator, Osamu Tezuka, in a delightful book that every anime fan should read." Dreamland Japan is a collection of provocative essays on Japan's very own pictorial narrative art: manga (Japanese comics).

Containing a historical overview, an examination of themes and artists, and over 200 illustrations from Japanese comics magazines, this classic work remains and essential guide for anyone interested in the future of popular visual culture.—From the back jacket blurb, 1987.

John Winner Astro Boy is a conscious robot, nuclear-powered, with synthetic skin giving him the appearance of a twelve-year-old boy, and plastic hair that sticks out like horns from the top and the left of his head.

He has lasers in his fingertips, rockets in his limbs, blasters in his arms, a super-computer for a brain, “100,000 horsepower” strength, extremely sensitive hearing, spotlights in his eyes, and two 50 caliber machine guns in his buttocks. Tenma to replace his own son, Tobio, who had died in a car accident.

Tenma eventually discovered, however, that although designed to look like a boy, Astro could not physically mature.

We can see here most of the themes that the further adventures of our hero will address: The difficult relations between humans and robots; the moral corruption and cruelty of which humans are capable; discrimination and the hope for liberation; the notion that consciousness requires both the capacity to learn and conscience (the one to acquire knowledge, the other to acquire insight and judgment).

The Astro Boy narrative, as a serial , began publication in 1952.

[1] The series became a sensation overnight, and by the mid-1950s had inspired a live-action television show.

Then in 1962, Tezuka himself developed an animated cartoon series for television – writing, drawing, even animating alongside his staff of six (some of whom went on to become notable figures in the industry).


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