Astro Boy (鉄腕アトム Tetsuwan Atomu?, lit. “Mighty Atom”) is a remake of the 1960s anime series of the same name; both series are adapted from the manga by Osamu Tezuka.
This series, which first aired during the 1980s, placed more focus on Astro’s robotic skills and a somewhat darker storyline than the previous incarnation of the series. While mostly light-hearted, the series could be quite sombre and sad at times. It was not uncommon in the series for robots or human characters to suffer for their actions or the misdeeds of others.
The series ran for 52 episodes (edited down to 51 episodes for the English versions).
The first episode is set in future Tokyo, in the year 2030. The Minister of Science, Dr. Tenma, is attempting to create a robot capable of expressing human emotions. After his fourth failed attempt, Tenma is approached by a shady man named Skunk Kusai, who offers him an “Omega Factor” circuit which will humanize a robot if installed. After seeing Skunk thrown out, Tenma’s nine-year-old son Tobio tries to console his father by suggesting he make a robot shaped like a child.
Inspired, Tenma sets off to the Ministry of Science to work, forgetting his promise to take Tobio to an amusement park. Upset, Tobio drives an aerocar home but crashes into an oncoming truck and is killed, but just before he dies, Tobio makes his father promise to name his boy robot “Tobio”, make it the strongest robot in the world, and love it like a son. Tenma does so, making a 100,000 horsepower (75,000 kW) robot capable of flight, equipped with lasers and machine guns. However, Skunk obtains the blueprints and duplicates them and takes them to Count Walpurgis, who aspires to put the Omega Factor into a super robot and use it for world domination.
Afraid of the potential threat Tenma’s robot son could pose to humanity, the Prime Minister of Japan orders the robot dismantled by the next night. Tenma, however, secretly finishes constructing the robot that night, only showing his two assistants that “Tobio” exists, and takes him home to raise him. After various mishaps with raising the robot, Tobio’s mind suddenly goes blank and his eyes start blinking red, and he is summoned to wait in the middle of town. Atlas, Walpurgis’ new super robot, had been activated and was connecting to Tobio. When the connection process fails, Tobio regains his senses, only to come under attack from a robot disposal tank piloted by Tenma, Honda, and Ushiyama, but something goes wrong and the tank malfunctions and goes berserk. Tobio recovers and saves everyone in the vicinity. Recovering in hospital, Tenma realizes the public will discover that Tobio exists, and decides to take Tobio on an ocean cruise to America.
Tobio struggles to control his strength. After a disastrous meal on the cruise, Tenma disowns Tobio.. Tobio hides on deck and is tricked into signing himself into a contract of slavery to the ringmaster Hamegg, who runs the Robot Circus. Tobio spots Atlas nearby and tries to attack him, but loses most of his energy in the process. Hamegg shuts him in his suitcase. Temna soon resents his actions and begins searching for Tobio. At the circus, Tobio is renamed “Astro Boy” and is cruelly treated by Hamegg, but taught and cared for by a worker named Kathy. Dr. Ochanomizu, a local scientist, discovers Tenma’s lost robot at the circus, and with Kathy’s help, Astro Boy escapes. Dr. Ochanomizu becomes the new head of the Ministry of Science. From there, Astro Boy learns more about the world and becomes the defender of Tokyo and beyond.
Learn more about the concepts, principles and symbolism behind the subliminals found in this television series: