Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tezuka Marathon in Washington DC

Attention anime fans in the US Capital!

The DC Anime Club will be holding a marathon of Osamu Tezuka anime films on December 6th, 2008. It'll take place at the Martin Luthur King Jr Memorial Library in 901 G St NW Washington, DC 20001 in Room A10 and will last from 2pm to 5pm.

Astro Boy, Phoenix, Kimba, and Black Jack will be some of the famous works exhibited, so check it out if you're in the area.

Anime News Network has all the details.

Continue reading "Tezuka Marathon in Washington DC"...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Official Movie Website

The official Astro Boy movie website is now online! It's got the trailer, plus a brief story synopsis.

Check it out at!

Continue reading "Official Movie Website"...

Thursday, November 20, 2008


The 1st trailer for the upcoming animated AstroBoy movie by Imagi is now online! And it's a sight to behold! These next 48 seconds might just change your life!

See it in multiple flavors of screen resolution HERE thanks to Moviefone.

WOW! Not only does it look cool, but did you catch the callback to the 60's intro sequence? Awesome!

Continue reading "BEHOLD! THE TRAILER!"...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Challengers!

We know that the animated Astro Boy movie from Imagi is coming to theaters on October 23, 2009. But of course, other movies will be released that weekend as well. There's no harm in scoping out the competition. So, as of now, our boy Astro will be doing box-office battle with these opponents next year!

Saw VI - The sixth (!) entry in the horror franchise.
Cabin in the Woods - A thriller by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard.
Amelia - Hillary Swank stars as Amelia Earhart.

Come on, Astro! You can defeat them!

Hmmm, even though Astro Boy is an animated movie, with the cast it has on board, it looks like it might be the most star-studded film to be released that weekend!


Continue reading "The Challengers!"...

New Tresure Island

If one was to look back through time and find the very origin of what we know today as modern manga, you would probably stop at Osamu Tezuka's Shin Takarajima (New Tresure Island). Released in 1947, it was a breakthrough in comic book storytelling that influenced an entire generation.

However, Tezuka himself was never completely satisfied with Shin Takarajima, as differences of opinion between him and his editor compromised Tezuka's original vision. Therefore, subsequent reprintings of Shin Takarajima were actually completely redrawn by Tezuka. For decades, the only way to read the original version of the story was to spend big bucks on a first edition. However, in February, the original version of Tezuka's first big hit will finally be reprinted in Japan.

The Japan Times Online has an interesting article about this new printing of Shin Takarazuka and the controversy surrounding the original. You can read "Tezuka — keeper of 'manga' flame" on their website or by clicking the link below to read an archived copy right here.

Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008

Tezuka — keeper of 'manga' flame
Classic '47 work's reprint fuels debate over originator of modern cartoon craze

Staff writer

"Manga" comics are ubiquitous in Japan and have become one of the country's most powerful cultural exports worldwide.

But when and why did this country, known for its long-standing and extremely high literacy rate, become the kingdom of cartoons?

One can possibly start by pointing to 1947, when a work that revolutionized manga was published and became a huge best-seller.

The masterpiece, copies of which now fetch more than ¥1 million among collectors, is being reprinted in February in a version true to the original, prompted by numerous manga enthusiasts who have kept debating the secret of the birth of the genre.

The work is the 192-page "Shin-Takarajima" ("New Treasure Island") by the late Osamu Tezuka, which is said to mark the start of story-manga — cartoons that cover hundreds of pages with dramatic drawings and a long, complex and often serious story. In the West these have come to be known as graphic novels.

"I think you can say Japanese story-manga started with 'Shin-Takarajima,' " said Minoru Kotoku, publishing department chief at Tezuka Production, which manages the copyright of Tezuka's works.

"Shin-Takarajima" is believed to have sold 400,000 to 800,000 copies, even though it came out only two years after the end of World War II, which had left the country poverty-stricken.

The work shocked, fascinated and inspired hundreds of thousands of children, sparking a manga boom in the '40s and '50s.

The readers included children who later became key cartoonists and created the golden age of manga in the '70s and '80s, including Fujio Fujiko, the pseudonym of a pair of authors who created Doraemon, the cat-type robot that has become a cartoon superstar in Asia and farther afield.

" 'Shin-Takarajima' was a breathtaking eye-opener. I immediately became a fan, crazily seeking out only Tezuka's works," manga giant Shotaro Ishinomori wrote in a 1965 book. He was 9 when "Shin-Takarajima" was published.

What was particularly new about the manga, in addition to the sheer length of the adventure of a boy fighting pirates, were drawings that depicted sequences of dramatic action as if they were stills from a movie.

Before "Shin-Takarajima," most Japanese cartoons were simple drawings covering only a few pages, with a fixed, flat viewpoint right in front of the cartoon characters.

But as the story in "Shin-Takarajima" plays out, the viewpoint varies and often zooms in and out. "This is a still cartoon printed on paper, but this car seems to be moving at great speed. It's like watching a movie!" wrote Fujio Fujiko in 1977.

However, Hiroshi Kawamura, who is in charge of the reprinting project at publisher Shogakukan Creative Inc., cautions that the method used in "Shin-Takarajima" probably does not look particularly new or exciting to contemporary readers because the style has been much refined over the past 60 years and is now conventional.

"The value of 'Shin-Takarajima' is historic," Kawamura said.

But the legendary book still holds great attraction for manga lovers, one of the reasons that prompted Kawamura's firm to publish the reprint.

An original first edition fetches around ¥1 million, and those in mint condition go for ¥3 million to ¥5 million, said Shinya Yamamoto, from the public relations department of Mandarake Inc., a major secondhand manga chain.

A major reason they garner such high prices is that Tezuka, who died in 1989, refused to allow publishers to reprint the original version.

Tezuka, who was only 19 when "Shin-Takarajima" was published, drew it based on an original proposal by Shichima Sakai, a popular cartoonist at the time.

Sakai forced Tezuka to omit dozens of pages from his draft and to change the faces of some characters, according to Tezuka's account.

Tezuka was therefore not entirely happy with the original version.

When Kodansha Ltd. published a complete collection of Tezuka's works, he refused to reprint the original version and even redrew the entire work solely for the sake of the collection.

Respecting Tezuka's intentions, Tezuka Production had not previously allowed any reprint of the original, even after Tezuka's death.

The company, however, decided to grant the rights to reprint the work to Shogakukan Creative partly because of recent heated debate by manga critics over Sakai's role and influence over the legendary manga, Kotoku said.

"When you study works of an author, you will usually examine from their maiden work to the latest work," said Kawamura of Shogakukan Creative.

But until now, that has been impossible for Tezuka's works — except for a handful of collectors who could afford to shell out millions of yen for a copy of "Shin-Takarajima" — even though Tezuka is considered the most important cartoonist in the history of manga, Kawamura said.

Continue reading "New Tresure Island"...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Anime VS Hollywood

Found this interesting article from the Daily Yomiuri, written by Japanamerica author Roland Kelts, about the positive changes happening in cross pollination between Hollywood and the world of anime and manga. In it is an interesting quote from an Imagi employee working on the upcoming animated Astro Boy movie about how feedback from Japan changed their vision of the movie for the better.

"We showed a preview to some focus groups in Tokyo," said the Imagi producer of Astro Boy, "and the results were disastrous. Our Astro Boy was too snarky, too mature. They wanted to reclaim the original character's innocence."
You can read "Hollywood's new respect for anime sources" on the Daily Yomiuri Online website or read an archived copy right here by clicking the link below.

SOFT POWER HARD TRUTHS / Hollywood's new respect for anime sources

Roland Kelts / Special to The Daily Yomiuri

This March, I had dinner in Los Angeles with two producers from U.S. animation studios making American versions of anime originals. One, a Chinese-American, was from Imagi, the company working on next year's computer-graphic Astro Boy, a film based on Osamu Tezuka's 1960s classic. The other, a Filipino-American, was with Gonzo Digimation Holdings, the company that produces Afro Samurai, an original manga turned international anime series featuring the voice of Samuel L. Jackson.

Both producers were jovial, if anxious about the ongoing decline in U.S. anime DVD sales. But they were also quite keen to share their experiences of working with their counterparts in Japan.

"We showed a preview to some focus groups in Tokyo," said the Imagi producer of Astro Boy, "and the results were disastrous. Our Astro Boy was too snarky, too mature. They wanted to reclaim the original character's innocence."

The staffer on Afro Samurai said this: "We originally thought the collaboration would be, you know, 50-50, between Japan and the U.S. But, to be honest, the final product is more 80-20, with the Japanese input at 80. They knew what they were doing, and we didn't want to screw it up."

In both cases, smart young Asian-Americans were conceding that they needed the Japanese input to make their projects succeed.

This was news to me. In my book Japanamerica, I cite several cases of Japanese artists or producers mishandling (or failing to handle) their intellectual properties once they left the archipelago. Even the original Pokemon franchise first funneled its millions of profit dollars into the bank accounts of its U.S. distributor, a company called 4Kids.

The story was painfully simple: Japanese producers would receive a phonebook-sized contract from the United States, couldn't read all the legalese in English, but recognized a minimal up-front payment in the millions--and would sign away all of their subsidiary rights. I wrote about the absurdity of Japan's losses, wincing as I did so.

A week before the U.S. elections this month, NHK aired a program about recent encounters between anime companies and Hollywood studios called, fittingly, Anime vs. Hollywood.

Included in the show were scenes from the forthcoming Astro Boy movie and Afro Samurai, promoting both projects in the relatively somber tones of a documentary.

And guess what? There was David Bowers, director of the Hollywood Astro Boy film, traveling to Tokyo to seek the approval of Yoshihiro Shimizu, executive producer of Tezuka Productions, for Imagi's latest version of Tezuka's creation.

There, too, was Gonzo's Shinichiro Ishikawa, palling around in Los Angeles with Samuel L. Jackson, laughing and working hard on the newest version of Afro Samurai, which will also include the voice of newly signed Lucy Liu, the Asian-American Charlie's Angel.

In other words: Japanese producers were shown flying to the United States to control their products, and Americans were seen in Tokyo, seeking the approval of the original artists.

The scenes of mutual engagement and respect between anime and Hollywood felt groundbreaking, especially given the history of willful ignorance on both sides. Combined with the comments made by the two Asian-American producers in Los Angeles last spring, they produce a portrait of soft power finally working its mojo--motivating people to work together across national borders largely because they want to.

When Barack Hussein Obama, another hybrid American, was elected president of the United States last week, I and a lot of my friends were deeply moved, regardless of party affiliation, political slant or even passport designation. Obama has a lot to live up to, and an awful lot of hard work to do. But we were stirred by the mere suggestion of a 21st-century America that might reach out to others in a spirit of collaboration, as he has promised to do, seeking advice and counsel and offering strength and support rather than unilateral force and coercion--especially since the threat of declining fortunes long facing the anime industry is now being shared by the rest of us.

Kelts is a Tokyo University lecturer who divides his time between Tokyo and New York. He is the author of "Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S." (, now available in an updated paperback edition. His column appears twice a month.
(Nov. 14, 2008)

Continue reading "Anime VS Hollywood"...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wheeling and Dealing

Wow, there has been so much news about the animated Astro Boy movie over the past few days, it has been difficult to keep up with it all. I'll try to consolidate the most important recent news-bites in this post.

At the American Film Market last week, Imagi had a screening of the trailer for the upcoming film for potential buyers and distributors in the industry. Imagi's own Felix Ip writes that the teaser trailer is attached to DreamWorks' "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" and Disney's "Bolt", so it will be seen this month! The picture above is a huge promotional standee.

The Hollywood Reporter has an article about Imagi and Astro Boy at AFM. Check out "Imagi hopes to animate 'Astro' buyers". They also have a more general article about animated films at AFM. Check out "No shortage of animated product at AFM".

Next, we know that Summit Entertainment is releasing the Astro Boy film around the world except for in China, Hong Kong, and Japan. It has just been announced that the movie has been licensed to Golden Harvest in Hong Kong, Enlight Pictures in China, and Kadokawa in Japan. It is here that we learn that the budget for this movie has moved up from its previously announced $40 million range and is now pegged at $65 million! This news comes from Variety articles "Imagi sells 'Astro Boy' rights" and "Kadokawa nabs rights to 'Astro Boy'".

And finally for this post, several licensing and marketing deals have been announced. In addition to the previously disclosed toy deal with Jazwares and video game deal with D3Publisher, there will be stationary coming from American Greetings, books from Penguin, and comics and graphic novels from IDW! Woah!

As far as bringing all this stuff to us, Imagi has announced marketing partnerships with Striker Ent. and Rogers & Cowan. Looks like everyone worldwide can look forward to a wide array of Astro Boy products, with a focus on marketing to the 6 to 14 year old age group. Check out Imagi's press release (pdf) as well as this article from Animaton Magazine.

Long story short: There is a big-time marketing machine behind this movie,it's rolling right at us full steam ahead, and we're going to be getting a whole lot of cool stuff as a result!

Continue reading "Wheeling and Dealing"...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Astro Gets Game

Yes, as if there was any doubt, there will be Astro Boy video games to coincide with the upcoming animated film by Imagi.

The game will be published by D3Publisher, who may already be known to anime fans for releasing several Naruto games outside Japan. No word yet on what company (or companies, as the case may be) will actually be developing the games. The games are set for release in the forth quarter of 2009, around the same time as the movie, and will be available on consoles and handheld gaming platforms. What I find interesting is that the "First games" are set for release at this time, which could mean that more Astro Boy games may come out afterward. Perhaps some systems version of the game will appear later?

I fully intend to follow the development of the game every step of the way as best as I can, so keep an eye right here on AstroBoy World for all the latest.

This news has spread pretty quickly all over the video game media, with places like Gamespotpicking up the story. But, I might as well take you straight to the source and point you directly to the press release. Or, click the link below to read an archived version right here.


First Games Based on the Spectacular CG-Animated Movie
Scheduled for Q4 2009

LOS ANGELES – November 5, 2008 – D3Publisher (D3P), a publisher and developer of interactive entertainment software, together with its parent D3, Inc., today announced a worldwide publishing agreement with Imagi Studios for videogames based on the new animated adventure film, Astro Boy. The games are scheduled to be released for console and handheld systems in Q4 2009 to coincide the worldwide release of the movie in October 2009.

“The rich history and endearing story of Astro Boy appeals to fans around the globe and translates exceptionally well to the interactive space,” said Yoji Takenaka, president and chief executive officer, North America and Europe, D3P. “We look forward to working with Imagi to bring the film’s unique cast of characters to life in a compelling videogame that fans and gamers of all ages will enjoy.”

Erin Corbett, president of Imagi Studios U.S., said: “We are delighted to have D3Publisher as our exclusive worldwide interactive partner, and we look forward to seeing Astro Boy raised to new superhero heights in the videogame universe.”

About Astro Boy (The Movie)

Set in the future, Imagi Studio’s Astro Boy is a classic superhero origin story about a young robot with incredible powers and his adventure-filled journey in search of his identity and destiny, taking him into a netherworld of robot gladiators before he returns to save Metro City.

David Bowers (Flushed Away) is directing Astro Boy from a screenplay written by Timothy Harris (Kindergarten Cop, Trading Places), with Maryann Garger producing. The all-star cast is headed by Academy Award®-winning actor Nicolas Cage, Kristen Bell, Nathan Lane, Bill Nighy, Eugene Levy and Donald Sutherland, with Freddie Highmore in the title role.

The iconic character Astro Boy has found global popularity since his creation in the early 1950s by Japan’s Osamu Tezuka, known as the “god of manga” and “father of anime”, and has been the hero of three acclaimed animated television series aired around the world.

Astro Boy, slated for domestic release on October 23, 2009, is being distributed worldwide by Summit Entertainment except for Imagi’s reserved territories of Japan, Hong Kong and China.

About Summit Entertainment, LLC

Summit Entertainment, LLC is a worldwide theatrical motion picture development, financing, production and distribution studio. The studio handles all aspects of marketing and distribution for both its own internally developed motion pictures as well as acquired pictures. Summit Entertainment also represents international sales for both its own slate and third-party product. Summit Entertainment plans to release 10 to 12 films annually.

About Imagi Studios

Imagi International Holdings Limited (“Imagi”) is a listed company [Stock Code 585] on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Imagi’s principal business is the development and production of CG-animated theatrical feature films. Imagi’s first theatrical movie TMNT was released in March 2007, opening #1 in U.S. box office revenue, only the third time in history that an Asian-made film has achieved that honor. Imagi has development operations in Los Angeles, California, and CG production studios at its Chai Wan (Hong Kong) headquarters.

About D3Publisher

D3Publisher, a subsidiary of D3, Inc., is a leading interactive entertainment publisher and distributor for licensed and original titles for personal computers, major console platforms and handheld systems. D3Publisher has operations in the U.S., U.K., and Japan. The company also owns development studio Vicious Cycle Software, Inc., and its technology platform, Vicious Engine. Recent releases have included Dark Sector®, Dead Head Fred®, Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords®, and Ben 10™: Protector of Earth. For more information about D3Publisher, please visit:
# # #

Dark Sector® is a registered trademark of Digital Extremes. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners and used with permission. All rights reserved.

Continue reading "Astro Gets Game"...

Black Jack hits the Stage

As yet another part of the celebration of the 80th anniversary of Osamu Tezuka's birth, a special stage presentation based on Black Jack will be making its debut.

The story of "The Disowned Son" will be adapted into a form of traditonal Japanese theater called "kyogen", and will open on December 19th and 20th in Tezuka's home town of Takarazuka, which is famous for its theatrical performances. This is the first time ever that a comic is being used as the basis for a kyogen performance. Kyogen is meant to be a funnier, more exaggerated style of performance, so it will be interesting to find out how the stories of a darker character like Black Jack will translate to the stage.

However, this is not the first time that Black Jack has been depicted in live action. You can read about the Takarazuka Grand Theater's all female cast's rendition of Black Jack in 1994 thanks to Tezuka in English.

You can read more details on about this new kyogen version of Black Jack The Mainichi Daily News website, or click the link below to read an archived copy right here.

Comic character 'Black Jack' to come to life on stage

TAKARAZUKA, Hyogo -- He may not have his trademark black coat, nor his surgical equipment, but one of acclaimed comic artist Osamu Tezuka's most famous characters, surgical genius Kuroo "Black Jack" Hazama, will be stepping off the page and onto the stage as part of celebrations marking the 80th anniversary of the manga legend's birth.

The comic is being adapted for a comic variety of traditional Japanese theater called kyogen, a style related to the more famous forms of noh and kabuki, by the Takarazuka Foundation for Culture Promotion in Hyogo Prefecture.

"This is the first-ever adaptation of a comic for kyogen theater, and we're looking forward to sharing this 'modern classic' with our audiences," said the foundation.

The stage version of Black Jack will be directed by and star Okura school actor Takashi Zenchiku in the title role. The script was written by Tokiko Kawaratani -- a protege of Yataro Okura XXV, the head of the Okura school -- and is based on volume 164 of the manga, "The Disowned Son," the story of an outcast son who studies medicine in order to cure his mother.

"I feel that we're living in a world where family relations are behind many of our social ills, and I want to portray Tezuka's story of filial love as a kyogen of human drama," said Zenchiku.

The stage version of Black Jack will open on Dec. 19 and 20 at the Sorio Hall in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. Enquiries (in Japanese) can be made to the Takarazuka Foundation for Culture Promotion at (0797) 85-8844.

Continue reading "Black Jack hits the Stage"...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Osamu Tezuka's works to be available online... FOR FREE!

Not too long ago I got a comment from a reader named Paul, who found a website called "", but it was not accessible at the time. He asked if I knew anything about it. Well, now we know the answer, and it's one of the biggest, most epic pieces of news in the history of anime and manga fandom on the internet.

Throughout the course of the next 3 years, over 100 anime titles and 700 manga titles created by Osamu Tezuka and produced before the year 2000 will be made available online, for free.

Holy smokes! That's going to be a lot of stuff! Check out this screen shot!

Right now, the full site is available only in Japanese, with just some basic info about Tezuka's published works available in countries outside Japan. But, apparently, there will eventually be an English site, as well a a Korean one.

If this pans out like it's supposed to, then it'll pretty much be a godsend. Tezuka is the greatest, most influential, and most important figure in the entire history of anime and manga, yet most of the new generation of anime fans hardly know anything about him. To an extent, one can't blame them for that, because so little of his material has been made available in English over the past several years. But soon there will be no excuse, because everyone will have access to it!

Check out Anime News Network for the full story and stay tuned to AstroBoy World for more on this story as it develops.

Continue reading "Osamu Tezuka's works to be available online... FOR FREE!"...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tezuka Gene: Light in the Darkness

To commemorate the 80th anniversary of Osamu Tezuka's birth, a special art exhibition of inspired by Tezuka's work is taking place at Parco Part One in Shibuya. It's on until November 10th, and features the works of 35 artists.

There is some very cool artwork here, featuring many of Tezuka's famous characters, including Astro Boy and Black Jack. And, of course, plenty of merchandise to buy from the looks of things as well. Take a look at some pictures on the Mainichi Daily News website.

UPDATE: The Daily Yomiuri Online has posted an article about the exhibition. There are no pictures, but it is a more detailed written account. Read "Diverse tribute to 'God of Manga'" on their website or click the link below to read an archived copy right here.

UPDATE 2: Pink Tentacle also has coverage, with some high quality pictures of the artwork. Check out "Tezuka manga mutations".

Diverse tribute to 'God of Manga'

Tom Baker / Daily Yomiuri Staff Writer

A crudely stitched scar slashing diagonally across his face makes Black Jack instantly recognizable. It's easy to spot this Osamu Tezuka manga character at the "Tezuka Gene: Light in the Darkness" show at the Parco department store in Shibuya, Tokyo, even though he has been reimagined by several artists in different styles.

Tezuka (1928-1989) had his own distinctive style, but the early influence of Walt Disney animation remained clearly visible in it. Even when his material was dark and sinister, his characters were cute.

Present-day artist Kyotaro Aoki has taken Black Jack and characters from Tezuka's Dororo, MW, Ode to Kirihito and other manga and changed their cartoon faces into lifelike pencil portraits, showing what they might look like in the real world.

While Aoki adds detail, Akihiro Soma (Concorde), strips it away, presenting Black Jack in a minimalist torn-paper collage resembling the work of American illustrator Eric Carle (known for his kids picture books such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar).

An art collective known as Enlightenment takes the liberty of making Black Jack a woman, in a large painting in which the outlaw surgeon is partly hidden by drugs, money and other symbolic objects flying out of her billowing cape.

The group also painted an image inspired by MW in which two nude men embrace behind an ornate crucifix. In that convoluted manga story, a young terrorist genius uses his sexual magnetism to torment a Catholic priest (who earlier in life had been a gang member who kidnapped him), turning the older man into a pawn in an apocalyptic plot.

Enlightenment also contributed a trippy light show in which viewers stand in a dark room facing a projector that beams swirling images at them through four layers of transparent screens. Some of the images are silhouettes of Tezuka characters; the rest are abstract patterns.

Other artists have contributed Lego models of Tezuka character Astro Boy, a kaleidoscopic flower video meant to evoke themes from Tezuka's manga biography of Buddha and even a large mobile of thick-framed glasses and jaunty berets of the type the "God of Manga" used to wear.

Despite the variety, the exhibit is small enough to absorb in about a 15-minute visit--but longer if you stay to watch the videos that include interview footage with Tezuka and a trailer for next year's live-action movie version of MW.

"Tezuka Gene: Light in the Darkness" runs until Nov. 10 at the Parco Factory art gallery in the Parco department Store in Shibuya, Tokyo, a seven-minute walk from Shibuya Station. Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (to 6 p.m. on Nov. 10) with last admission 30 minutes before closing time. Admission is 300 yen, or 200 yen for students, with children primary school age or younger admitted free. For details, visit
(Nov. 7, 2008)

Continue reading "Tezuka Gene: Light in the Darkness"...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Birthday to the God of Manga

If Osamu Tezuka was still alive today, he would now be 80 years old. And while it is such a shame that he can not be with us to celebrate his 80th birthday, his life's work remains and will continue to entertain people of all ages well into the future.

So, to everyone who has ever read a manga, watched any episode of any anime, played with a Transformers toy, built a Gundam model kit, or done just about anything else that anime and robot fans tend to do, let's all take a moment to remember the life of the man who started it all. Without Osamu Tezuka, none of those things would exist, and even if they did, they certainly wouldn't be the same.

Finding Dulcia has posted an excellent piece about Osamu Tezuka's birthday, and I highly recommend reading it.

But that's not the only thing worth celebrating today. In a totally mind-blowing coincidence that I have only just now caught on to, someone else has a birthday today as well! Someone who, like Astro, is a child of the atomic age. Only this certain someone is someone big. Very, very big!

Happy 54th birthday to the King of The Monsters, Godzilla!

The original Godzilla film was released in Japanese theaters on this day in 1954. That means the two most prominent figures in the exportation of Japanese popular culture around the world were born on the same day. Is that incredible or what?

Continue reading "Happy Birthday to the God of Manga"...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Teratoid Cystoma

To celebrate the English language release of the first volume of Osamu Tezuka's famous medical thriller Black Jack from Vertical, a classic Black Jack story is now available to read for free online thanks to Publishers Weekly's "THE BEAT" blog.

Check out "Teratoid Cystoma", the weird story detailing the mysterious origins of Dr. Black Jack's assistant, the ever popular Pinoko!

Continue reading "Teratoid Cystoma"...

Astroy Boy toys coming from Jazwares

With the animated movie from Imagi on the way next year, it's inevitable that lots of cool merchandise will come out to go with it. For those of us expecting new toys, it looks like we'll be covered!

Jazwares Inc., the company behind toy lines such as Mortal Kombat, Viewtiful Joe, and Mega Man (pictured) has been awarded the master toy license for the new Astro Boy movie.

Best of all, they are reaching out to the Astro Boy fan community. A post on the Astroboy Online Forums from a Jazwares employee confirms the news, and states that that the fans will be involved. Expect more news from what is sure to be an exciting toy line in the near future.

Continue reading "Astroy Boy toys coming from Jazwares"...