Sunday, August 31, 2008

Talking Tezuka with author Helen McCarthy

Just in time for the Osamu Tezuka Film Fest about to hit Jolly ol' England this September at The Barbican, UK based website Eye on Anime brings us an interview with Helen McCarthy, the noted author who is responsible for making the screenings happen. Here's a clip:

I'm really delighted that it's all worked out. We have an exhibition coming direct from Tezuka's own studio, Tezuka Productions, that not only gives an overview of his work but sets it in the context of the development of Japan's anime and manga industries. We've got screenings of material that has never been seen in the UK before, and even a couple of titles that have never been screened outside Japan before. There are a few real rarities, like Tezuka's own Lion Books episodes and the film Rintaro made for the Tezuka Manga Museum in Takarazuka. There's a strong focus on TV with episodes of seven TV series plus all three of the TV specials he made for Japanese TV. There's even documentary footage of Tezuka himself.
Check out the entire interview on Eye On Anime.

I am so jealous of fans in the UK right now. Seriously.

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

New AstroBoy Movie Images

Some new images from the upcoming Imagi made Astro Boy animated movie have emerged. I saw them on the Astroboy Online forums, but I didn't know how to present them here since there is no provided context explaining what exactly we're looking at. I have no idea if these images are just concepts, or outdated early designs, or if they represent the final look of the film, or (most likely) all of the above. Nor do I know who took these pictures or when they were taken, and I can only assume that they come from one of this summer's US anime conventions. But, now they are out there, with many other blogs and websites reporting and commenting on them (without really taking into account anything I've just mentioned) so there isn't much point hanging on to these any longer.

Please keep in mind that none of these images are confirmed to be what the movie will end up looking like. I am presenting these images as is, without any speculation on what they might represent. I will say this though: They are cool! Check the rest out at the link below and click them for a fullsize view.






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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Kristen Bell Chimes In

Variety reports that Kristen Bell has joined the voice cast of the CG animated Astro Boy movie from Imagi. She is the star of "Veronica Mars" and "Heroes" on TV and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" on the big screen.

Sounds like another great addition! No word yet on what character she'll be playing, except that it's a key role, likely a female friend of Astro's.

This news has been reported by a whole bunch of websites, many of them with some kind of "Bell" or "Mars" related pun in the headline. I'm happy to continue the trend. For obvious reasons, I'm also happy to include a picture of Kristen with this post.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: George Takei cast in Astro Boy Movie

AstroBoy World Reader Guy brings us this scoop.

At a recent Star Trek convention in Baltimore, George Takei, the actor known to legions of fans as Sulu, said that he has recorded a role for the upcoming Astro Boy CG Animated movie from Imagi. Here's what Guy had to say about his encounter.

The day I met Mr. Takei I was wearing an Astro Boy shirt and I wondered if he would comment on it. When I stepped up he saw my shirt and enthusiastically exclaimed "Astro Boy! You know, they're doing an Astro Boy movie?" I answered "Yes, I've heard this for years. I'm afraid it will never happen." Mr. Takei replied "Well, it's going to happen soon because I just did a voice part for it!"
There have been no official announcements yet, nor is there any word on which character he will play, so there is no telling if his part will be in the final film. But everyone who knows Mr. Takei's work can agree that he's got an awesome voice and is certainly a welcome addition to the cast.

I'll update the cast list if and when this news is confirmed, but for now I think it's safe to assume to be true. Big time thanks to Guy for sharing!

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tezuka's Son to Complete "Legend of the Forest"

Anime News Network brings word of this exciting development. Before his death in 1989, Osamu Tezuka worked on an experimental animation called "Mori no Densetsu" (Legend of the Forest). Only two parts were completed, the first and last of four. Now, Osamu Tezuka's oldest son Makoto, director of the recent Black Jack anime, has announced that he will be finishing his father's final work.

Check out all the details thus far on ANN.

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100 Posts!

AstroBoy World has hit quite the milestone. In only a few months, there have been 100 posts.

Within bringing you these 100 posts, I've been able to establish AstroBoy World as a premiere destination for Tezuka news and a great, all in one resource for information on the upcoming animated movie. But more importantly I've been been able to meet some cool people and make new friends.

Thanks to everyone who has been checking out the site. Stay tuned for more, because the best is yet to come. And I'm not just saying that!

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The Astro Boy Essays

This incredible book, written by Frederik L. Schodt and published by Stone Bridge Press, is absolutely a must read for any fan of Astro Boy and Osamu Tezuka. I have personally found it to be not only an invaluable reference tool but also an entertaining read in and of itself. The Astro Boy Essays is an eye opening look at the depth and importance of Osamu Tezuka's influence through the perspective of his most popular creation.

I could go on and write a thorough review on this book, and I have been meaning to do so, but Animated Views has said pretty much everything there is to say about it. Check out their Book Review of The Astro Boy Essays and if you're interested in purchasing a copy, please consider buying through the AstroBoy World Store to help support this website.

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The Reign of Sci Fi Animation

Here's an interesting article about the current state of animated science fiction movies. While the upcoming Astro Boy and Gatchaman movies from Imagi are only given the briefest of mentions, it does set up the scene that those two movies are walking into. Other upcoming films are brought up and serve as examples of the potential variety that the sci-fi genre in the animated medium can offer.

Give it a read on io9.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Art of Japanese Animation Exhibit in Portland

Anime fans in the Portland, Oregon area are going to want to check this out. The MOSHi MOSHi Gallery & Store is currently presenting an exhibition on "The Art of Japanese Animation", featuring original animation cels and backgrounds from anime productions. Astro Boy is a part of the display, along with several other popular and important series.

The exhibition lasts until September 3rd. Don't miss out!

Thanks to MOSHi MOSHi and Mecha Mecha Media.

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Pluto Press Release

Pluto is on its way to English speaking manga fans, and here is the official word from Viz Media.

"MONSTER-creator Naoki Urasawa's two new series, 20th Century Boys and PLUTO: URASAWA X TEZUKA, which is based on Osamu Tezuka's classic manga ASTRO BOY, show this master artist at the height of his powers. Those wondering what are the manga equivalents of WATCHMEN and THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS need look no further," said Alvin Lu, Vice President, Publishing, Viz Media. "In Japan, these two series are considered masterpieces of the form, along the lines of Katsuhiro Otomo's AKIRA and Takehiko Inoue's VAGABOND. With our other new releases for 2009, we're extremely excited this season to be presenting some of the absolute best the manga medium has to offer."


PLUTO: URASAWA X TEZUKA • Rated “T” for Teens • MSRP: $12.99 •
February 2009
A darkly-lit science-fiction thriller set in a cybernetic future reminiscent of BLADE RUNNER and I, ROBOT, PLUTO: URASAWA X TEZUKA takes a storyline from Osamu Tezuka's classic manga ASTRO BOY and radically retrofits Tezuka's space-age optimism for a more chaotic age. Somebody is out to kill the world's most powerful robots—including Astro Boy! A cyborg detective must investigate the robot-murders and solve them, before they come after him. Serialized at the same time as NAOKI URASAWA'S 20TH CENTURY BOYS in Japan, PLUTO exhibits Urasawa's narrative skills at the top of their form, taking the thrilling plot twists of MONSTER to a new level. As a radical reimagining of a classic comic character, PLUTO: URASAWA X TEZUKA is to Astro Boy what THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS was to Batman.
Thanks to Look forward to more info on Pluto right here in the future.

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Frank Miller Hearts Astro Boy

At this year's San Diego Comic Con, Entertainment Weekly hosted a panel called The Visionaries: Filmmakers. On that panel were Kevin Smith, Judd Apatow, Zach Snyder, and Frank Miller.

When a member of the audience asked Miller what TV shows and movies inspired him and his own work, Miller had this to say:

“It’s a really long list that would include everything from old ‘Gunsmoke’ episodes to ‘Astro-Boy’ to ‘Citizen Kane’ so I can’t name them all.”
So there you have it. Frank Miller was inspired by Astro Boy. It really shouldn't come as a big surprise, since Miller has been a proponent for Japanese manga since way before it was ever popular in the West. But still, it's pretty cool that, out of all the things he could have said, he specifically mentioned Astro Boy. You can think about that next time you read 300 or Sin City, I guess.

Thanks to Comic Book Resources.

I would be remiss if I did not include, just for fun, a link to this Shortpacked comic.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back in Grey

I have returned from a long vacation. Too long, if you ask me. But when I came back home I had a package waiting for me. Inside was this awesome t-shirt!

Oh yeah! That is one handsome ninja sporting that rockin' Astro Boy promotional shirt. This is the same shirt that was given out at Anime Expo this year. Big time thanks to Collider for sending it to me.

I'll be doing my best to catch up on the latest updates and adding new content, but it could take awhile. Hold tight, we'll be back to full operating status soon enough.

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