Yeah, there's going to be a brand new Astro Boy anime. But before you get too excited, understand that it's only going to be 18 minutes long, and it basically a vehicle to sell music. Anime News Network says:
The Daily Sports newspaper reports on Thursday that ravex, a new musical unit attached to the Avex label, will ship a special 18-minute Astro Boy (Tetsuwan Atom/Mighty Atom) anime short with its debut album, trax, at the end of April. Tezuka Production is collaborating on this anime based on the robot boy created by the studio's namesake, manga and anime pioneer Osamu Tezuka. The anime short will be on a special extra DVD bundled with the trax album.A preview of the anime is now streaming on the ravex website. You can see many characters including both Atom and the redesigned "Ratom", Melmo, Sapphire, Tink, and more. Here's a YouTube copy I put up for posterity.
As "another story" set after the end of the original manga, this what-if "Return" plot depicts what happens to the title character after his final act to save Earth. After drifting in space, the robot boy is rescued by the three members of ravex, and he is miraculously revived — not by Tezuka's Black Jack surgeon character, but by "Space Jack." The newly evolved robot boy will be named "Ratom." The Princess Knight and other Tezuka characters will appear in this all-new story. Musical artists BoA, Maki Goto, Anna Tsuchiya, Tohoshinki, and TRF are contributing to the album, and an event is planned at Tokyo's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation on April 10. The album marks Avex's 20th anniversary and what would have been Tezuka's 80th birthday.
There are some clips of music videos on the ravex visual page, some of which are using classic Tezuka animation.
I had heard about some kind of crossover between the Avex music label and Tezuka Productions some time ago, but couldn't really figure out what it was exactly. Even disregarding the fact that all the info is in Japanese, I just don't get it. I'm out of my element on this one.
Anyway, I don't like to editorialize in my news posts, but I have to say that as cool as it is to see a new Astro anime being released, it seems more like a marketing ploy to me. That in itself isn't necessarily so bad, as I'm sure the intention is to get the music loving audience and the Tezuka fanbase to cross-pollinate, but this case leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Piggy-backing off of the end of the Astro Boy manga to introduce a musical act with a bunch of Tezuka characters in what basically looks to be a big dance-athon is kind of tasteless, in my book. It could have been done without bringing in an established storyline like that. But I'll watch it anyway and hopefully it'll be entertaining.
Astro Boy Returns in 'Another' Anime After Manga's End
Astro Boy/Ravex Anime Short's Promo Video Streamed