On April 7th 1951, Dr Tenma created a robot in the image of his deceased son, Tobio. The robot was named Tetsuwan Atom and would later be known to more as Astro Boy.
My very first episode of Astro Boy was in black & white. The opening act left a deep impression on me. Astro Boy was a creation made out of sorrow, in a desperate bid by a grieving father to fill the void his deceased son has left him. As a child, it’s not often that you’re made privy to a father’s grief as he puts together, piece by piece, an image of his dead son. Upon completion, Dr. Tenma’s grief turned into anger at Astro’s inability to relief his loss. He then sold Astro to a circus. The scenes of Dr. Tenma disowning fatherhood and even the most basic sense of ownership over his own creation were heart-wrenching. This was the birth scene of a character beloved by many and one of the scenes I remember Astro the most for.
Tezuka’s concept and appreciation of life is one of the key reasons why he’s such a prolific writer. Decades later and his works are still some of the best storytelling present in any medium.
Tezuka demonstrated immense, nigh-unmatched range with Phoenix, Alabaster, Black Jack, Dororo, MW, Ode to Kirihito, Journey to The West, Buddha, Adolf, Jungle Taito, Metropolis, New Treasure Island, Princess Knight, Cleopatra and many others. With a career spanning 43 years of respectable, illustrious work, it’d be a loss to miss out on such a great collection of work. Among the adaptations of his work, Astro Boy fans should also read the notable Pluto by Naoki Urasawa.
Happy 58th Birthday Astro Boy,