Thanks to the main man himself, director David Bowers, take a look at this shelf shot from Toys R Us, stocked with Astro Boy movie action figures by Jazwares.
These should be hitting mass retail any day now if they haven't already. Keep an eye open, and if you happen to buy any, let me know how you like 'em!
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Thanks to the main man himself, director David Bowers, take a look at this shelf shot from Toys R Us, stocked with Astro Boy movie action figures by Jazwares.
We're less than a month away from the Animated Astro Boy movie by Imagi and the hype machine is rolling! Some new guides to the Astro Boy movie universe have appeared online to prepare audiences for the film.
MovieTickets.com has got a Guide to Astro Boy featuring short bios for each main character. There are some brand new images, so check it out.
Also, IGN.com has an interesting look at the Astro Boy Rogues Galley, focusing on the villains and other antagonists that will be in the film. Looks like the deck is stacked against Astro. Will he prevail? (Answer: Yes.)
Are we excited yet?
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Thanks to Worthplaying, check out some new screen shots from the upcoming Astro Boy video game.
Included in this batch is a look at an absolutely enormous boss battle with the Peacekeeper, who has grown in size by absorbing other machines and has basically filled up an entire half of the screen! That's huge! If you were wondering why Astro looked so small in comparison to the rest of the screen, now you know!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I'm not sure when this happened but it's news to me!
There is a whole bunch of new content on the official Astro Boy movie website. You'll find fully animated video all throughout the site, some exciting new games, and probably more that I haven't seen yet. Check it out!
International fans will be pleased to find a "Worldwide Release Dates" listing for when the movie is set to debut in different countries. Or, maybe you won't be pleased if it turns out that you'll have to wait awhile! Some countries won't be getting the film on October 23rd, and in some cases not until next year. If you're not living in North America, the list will let you know when the film should be showing up around your neighborhood. Have patience, grasshoppers!
Monday, September 21, 2009
The North American release of the Astro Boy animated movie from Imagi is only a month away! But, before that, there will be a number of special premier events.
Astro's home country of Japan goes first, with its premiere on October 5th. The film will be officially released on October 10th.
Then, in Imagi's home base of Hong Kong, the film will premier on October 17th. It is confirmed that members of the Cantonese voice cast will be in attendance.
Shortly afterward will be the North American premier, taking place in Los Angeles on October 19th. Freddie Highmore, Kristen Bell and Nicolas Cage are set to be in attendance. How about sending an invite to a certain Toronto ninja, hmm?
It is said that this will be the first ever Hong Kong produced movie to be released across 4 continents and 20 markets in the same month! Not bad for a little robot kid!
Source: Blast Magazine
Friday, September 18, 2009
A full 3 minuite clip of the upcoming Animated Astro Boy movie from Imagi is now online thanks to Moviefone! This clip details the much talked about scene where Astro is chased through the city. Naturally, this contains spoilers, so you may or may not want to view it right now, but those who do are in for a treat! It's got all the action you'd expect from a movie like this, plus a whole bunch of Tezuka-esque sight gags. Ban Shunsaku even makes a surprise appearance!
I won't give it all away right now, but I will share this picture I snagged.
Wow, Astro actually looks badass!
Thanks to everyone who sent this to me!
Here's an embeded version thanks to Summit Entertainment's YouTube Channel.
With much thanks once again to Imagi's own Felix Ip, take a look at how the upcoming animated Astro Boy movie is making its mark in the character's home country of Japan.
There's just something so uniquely Japanese about this photo! You can find many more pictures like this on Felix's blog.
Also, the Japanese Atom movie website has been updated, and there's plenty of cool stuff to be found if you can navigate through the Japanese text.
I suppose I should say something clever about how the Japanese marketing campaign seems to be mostly focused on shirtless Astro while the North American market mostly showcases fully clothed Astro, but honestly that's what I expected from the get-go so I don't find that particularly remarkable. Wherever the character is more well known, he'll be shown more often in his classic appearance.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Statues of anime characters are a big deal in Japan! This summer saw the rise of a giant Gundam statue, and soon a long-planned Tetsujin 28 statue will be completed.
Not to be outdone, a 10 foot tall Astro Boy statue will be appearing at the "Mighty Atom Exhibition in Lagunasia" in the Japanese prefecture of Aichi on September 19th. This special exhibition will also include a recreation of Osamu Tezuka's desk and is a part of the year-long celebration for what would have been Tezuka's 80th birthday.
But that's not all. Elsewhere, another famous Tezuka character will be getting the statue treatment. On September 22nd, the Kyoto International Manga Museum will unveil an incredible statue of The Phoenix, carved out of red pine and detailed with gold foil.
See the story on Anime News Network for more info!
Author Helen McCarthy brings us more information on her highly anticipated new book, the Art of Osamu Tezuka.
There is what's called a "blad", basically like a conceptual brochure of the book, available here. "Blad" is a funny sounding word, but judging just from these small morsels, the book is looking quite extensive already. I've already ordered a copy and I'm really looking forward to finally getting my hands on it. I highly recommend ordering a copy as soon as you can, because this book may just wind up being a sought-after collectible item some day. If you order from Amazon here, you'll help support AstroBoy World in the process!
For even more information on this book, you can also check out the Press Release here or by clicking the link below for an archived version.
The Art of Osamu Tezuka
God of Manga
By Helen McCarthy
Publication date: 1 November 2009
Price: £25.00, Hardback PLC + DVD
272 pages, 350 colour illustrations
ISBN: 978 1 905814 66 4
The Ilex Press
Osamu Tezuka has often been called the Walt Disney of Japan, but he was far more than that. Tezuka (1928―1989) was Disney, Stan Lee, Alan Moore, Tim Burton and Carl Sagan, all rolled into one incredibly prolific package, and he changed the face of Japanese culture forever. Tezukaʼs work - especially his Astro Boy animation and comics, and the phenomenally successful TV series Kimba the White Lion - achieved worldwide acclaim.
The Art of Osamu Tezuka reveals what makes Tezuka one of the key figures of 20th century pop culture. Packed with stunning images, many never before seen outside Japan, the book pays tribute to the work of an artist, writer, animator, doctor, entrepreneur, and traveller, whose insatiably curious mind created two companies, dozens of animated films and series, and more than 150,000 pages of comic art in one astonishingly creative lifetime.
With a foreword by Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo, and including a unique 45-minute DVD documentary never aired outside Japan, this is the most comprehensive tome on Tezuka ever produced. Like Tezukaʼs own work, this book is an amazing adventure for the manga and anime neophyte, an essential reference for the confirmed fan, and a visual treat for anyone who loves art.
The bookʼs accessible style, clear chronology, and references to other Asian and world events will enable the general reader to place Tezukaʼs work in its wider context, while the bibliography and indices will be invaluable to animation and comics scholars.
Film: In Spring 2010 a new animated film, Astro Boy, will be launched worldwide, featuring the voices of Donald Sutherland, Nicolas Cage, Kirsten Bell, Matt Lucas and Bill Nighy. www.astroboy-themovie.com
Helen McCarthy is one of the pre-eminent experts on modern Japanese culture. With eight books about anime and manga to her name, she also curated the first Osamu Tezuka Film Festival at Londonʼs Barbican Centre and is developing a documentary film about his life and work. She lives in London.
Katsuhiro Otomo, who contributes a foreword, is the creator of Akira, the first hit manga in the English speaking world. Widely seen as one of the most important manga creators after Tezuka, his work has sold millions of copies worldwide.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Thanks to the unforgiving, unforgetting Anonymous for alerting me to this additional Astro Boy movie coverage from Ain't It Cool News, this one being an interview with director David Bowers.
Here's a quote about how Astro and his futuristic setting were updated, or as the case may be, not changed much at all!
We updated the look of the city and the technology of course, because things have come a long way since the 1950s. I think the thing we wanted to be really sure of keeping was the look of Astro Boy and the powers that he has. When I started the movie, I was working with a lot of crew and people say “Well, Astro Boy has X-ray vision and special hearing and this and that, and he’s got a butt machine gun, but of course, we won’t be doing those.” And I said, “You can absolutely bet your life we will be doing that. That’s the best thing ever. Are you kidding?”And this little bit that I hadn't heard before amuses me greatly.
These two robots, they are really keen to get Astro on their side, because what they want more than anything is to do something really horrible and terrifying to force humans to free all robots, but unfortunately they are subject to the laws of robotics, so all they can do is write angry letters to newspaper editors or tickle people, but at the same time they are really militant about it. They are kind of crazy and silly, so there’s a lot of fun new stuff.Probably not Blue Knight material, but they sound pretty hilarious all the same!
Read "With butt-guns at the ready, Capone chats with ASTRO BOY director David Bowers!!!" on AICN.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
The infamous Capone from Ain't it Cool News brings yer another interview with Astro Boy movie cast members Kristen Bell and Freddie Highmore originally from Comic Con 2009. It's a good long talk about their parts and the process of acting for an animated feature
Here is a great quote from Freddie about the daunting task of encapsulating Astro Boy into an animated film.
I think it was important and I looked at the manga. Saying that, I think it was important also to make ASTRO BOY our own movie, you know? Not to just base it on what has come before, but I guess to try amalgamate all that is great of Astro Boy into just an hour and a half movie, which is going to be tricky because there is so much that is great about it. I’m sure there are going to be somebody thinking their favorite bit has been left out, but we tried to get as much as possible really and enough people go, we will have a chance to do another one. [Laughs]I like the sound of that! Yes, a sequel would be very nice!
Check out "Capone Talks ASTRO BOY With Freddie Highmore And Kristen Bell!!" for the whole story. There are a few more pictures from the interview there too.
Thanks to The Times BFI 53rd London Film Festival, lucky film fans in Merry old England will be getting an early chance to see their favorite kid robot on the screen as the CG animated Astro Boy movie from Imagi will be among the movies screened during the course of the event. Quite fitting since director David Bowers is, in fact, a right proper English gent, and a number of British actors are a part of the film's voice cast
It appears that the film will screen on October 17th. You can see the Festival's listing for Astro Boy here and see here for information on how to attend.
Jolly good show.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
The past and future of the medical profession collide in Sci-Fi Surgery: Medical Robots, an exhibition at the Hunterian Museum of Surgery and Medicine in London, England.
Comparing and contrasting famous medical robots from the world of sci-fi with modern day advances and prototypes of things that were once thought only to exist in the realm of fiction, this exhibit also features the work of Osamu Tezuka, who was a licensed doctor turned Manga artist, as well as other notable related elements from pop culture. Here's an official quote:
The exhibition will also feature some famous medical robots from the world of science fiction, from the 1920s ‘Pyschophonic Nurse’, to Japanese Manga (printed cartoons) and Anime (animated films), and Britain’s own 2000AD, and ask whether science fiction reflects fact, or if scientists are inspired by the representation of medical robots in films, books and comics.It runs until December 23. Admission is free, so do check it out if you're in or around the London area. Thanks to Helen McCarthy's Blog for the info.
Sci-Fi Surgery: Medical Robots also marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Manga artist and animator Osamu Tezuka whose creations include ‘Astroboy’ and the maverick surgeon ‘Black Jack’. Tezuka trained as a doctor but never practiced, choosing to follow his dream of becoming a manga artist. Many of his stories feature medical themes and one of his earliest works, ‘The Monster on the 38th Parallel’, has miniaturised humans entering a body to fight disease and is thought to have been the inspiration for the 1966 Sci-Fi classic ‘Fantastic Voyage’.
A programme of themed Sci-Fi Surgery: Medical Robots events including anime and film screenings, discussions and robot family workshops has been created to support the exhibition.
Now if only I could get myself set up with a Robot Health Care package.
Yes, it's true. In 1959, 4 years before the original classic anime series, there was a live action Tetsuwan Atomu television drama! The opening footage featured a brief animated introduction to set up the futuristic scenario, which abruptly switched to footage of a kid in a plastic costume flying around with smoke coming out of his legs.
There was also a re-edited movie length version, as was often done with Japanese shows at the time. Here's a sample I found of "Fuhrer ZZZ". Behold!
Well, that's sure something else! What fascinates me is that the costume seems to be an attempt to make Atomu look more realistic, with rivets and shiny armor sections, and yet he's still got these round, chubby hands that look like they were drawn!
This is a very obscure part of the Astro Boy history, and much is known about these episodes, but that is about to change. For the first time ever, this series will be released on home video in Japan. Only 58 out of the 65 total episodes have survived the ravages of time and are still viable for release, but they'll be included in an 8 disk DVD box set, coming out in Japan on October 23rd.
Importers, be on the lookout! This could be the only chance to obtain this rare, unique version of the Astro Boy mythos!
Source - Anime News Network.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Hey, don't look at me. I didn't come up with the title!
ComicsAlliance has a new article about the upcoming Astro Boy movie from Imagi, including a video taken during the San Diego Comic Con containing interviews with David Bowers, Freddie Highmore, and Kristen Bell (who does, in fact, talk about Astro's butt and the machine guns therein).
I can't embed the video but here's a great quote from the director.
Bowers also cited "Pluto," a recent manga series by Naoki Urasawa that was based on "Astro Boy," as another modern reinterpretation of Tezuka's work. "I think Astro Boy is a classic character and is open to a little interpretation," said Bowers. "The Tezuka guys wanted us to make a more global movie and encouraged us to expand and build on the Astro Boy that's come before."I am saddened that Mr. Bowers continues to pronounce "manga" incorrectly. I thought we went over this, David! That's ok, we still love you.
Read the "Kristen Bell Talks About Astro Boy's Butt" on ComicsAlliance and make sure you watch the video there.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Here it is, folks! I am very excited and proud to share with you this exclusive interview between myself, speaking on behalf of the Astro Boy fan base, and Cameron Rains, producer of the Astro Boy Video Game for High Voltage Software. There are some great pieces of information here, more than any other coverage this game has gotten if I do say so myself, and it's all for you Astro-fans! I also threw in a funny bonus question at the end, and I think you'll all get a kick out of the answer!
The Astro Boy Video Game is set for release on October 20th from D3Publisher. After reading this interview I'm sure you'll be looking forward to picking it up!
Extra special thanks to Cameron Rains for taking the time to give such detailed answers and to David Saba of fortyseven communications for arranging the interview!
Now, without further ado, click the link below for the entire interview, and be sure to leave your comments!
1.) How did High Voltage first get involved in the Astro Boy video game?
CR: High Voltage Software is full of manga, comic, and anime fans alike and when we were presented with the opportunity to make an Astro Boy game, well, elated doesn’t quite cover it.2.) What are some of the challenges faced in developing a game based on a movie that is itself still in production at the time?
CR: With movie license games, schedule is always going to be the biggest challenge. We were very lucky to have such incredible partners such as D3P and Imagi to work with. The professionalism of these two companies helped us so much by making approvals and asset delivery a breeze, facilitating a quick production process. This allowed us to make a high quality arcade shooter/brawler in a short period of time.3.) Who do you hope to be the target audience of this game? And don't just say "Everybody!"
CR: We are definitely reaching out to fans of the film, but we also hope to excite all Astro Boy fans the world over. We also strongly believe that the game features an accessible arcade-like experience that gamers will really enjoy.4.) Games based on cartoons and movies don't always have the best reputation. What does the Astro Boy game do to avoid this trend?
CR: Above all else, we adopted a gameplay first approach. We wanted to make an action-platformer/shooter that rocked and stood up to the perennial champions of the genre. Following in the footsteps of classics like Defender, Mega Man, Ikaruga, and Treasure’s Astro Boy: Omega Factor, we had a solid understanding and appreciation for what makes this genre great. Funneling that good old nostalgic feeling into a new game that really pulls on what is best in the genre definitely allows Astro Boy: The Video game to avoid the pitfalls that most traditional license games fall into. 5.) I really like the decision to design the Astro Boy game as a "new classic". What factors went into making the game this way?
CR: Early in design we all reminisced about the fun we used to have frantically jamming quarters into arcade cabinets as kids, and really wanted to channel that into our game. We also were huge fans of the Treasure title, Astro Boy: Omega Factor for the GBA and noted how well they handled the license. That being said, working in a 2½D perspective (definitely the look of the “new classic”) also allowed us to create an experience that is accessible for players new to games but decidedly nostalgic for people that grew up with the NES.6.) How challenging will the game be on its various difficulty settings?
CR: Astro Boy: The Video Game will be released with four difficulty settings spanning from Easy to Hero. We did this for several reasons, but the primarily accessibility. We wanted to make sure that there would be an optimal way to play for all players. We want a father who has been playing Mega Man his whole life to be able to play the game, enjoy it, and then hand it over to his son who is new to gaming, who in turn will play the game and enjoy it. 7.) How will the motion controls work on the Nintendo Wii version?
CR: The Wii version provides the player the option of playing with Standard or Motion controls. Utilizing motion controls the player can shake the Wiimote or the Nunchuck to engage a special attack. Additionally, we provide the player with the option to completely remap their controller. We do this across all systems, and it is just one more way that we are striving to create a comprehensively accessible experience for the player. 8.) I understand that there is a two-player co-op mode, but both players will be controlling Astro. How exactly does this 2 player mode work?
CR: Players have the opportunity to play through the entire story mode of the game utilizing drop-in-drop-out gameplay. It is truly as easy as a second player picking up a free controller and playing, and since both players get to be Astro Boy, everyone gets to unleash his amazing powers. In addition the story mode, players can play cooperatively through our Arena Mode, a round based survival mode where players compete for high scores.9.) Do Astro's powers and abilities have to be earned through gameplay, or are they all available from the start? Are they upgradeable?
(Additional clarification about this two player mode was provided after the interview. There will indeed be 2 different Astros on screen at the same time when there are two players!)
CR: Astro is provided with all of his abilities pretty much from the get-go, but he will need to find and collect upgrades throughout the game in order to grow more powerful. We have gone to some good lengths to hide his upgrades throughout the levels of the game, so if getting 100% completion on a first playthrough is something that is important to the player, they will have to be diligent in their approach.10.) Without giving too much away, explain a little about the game's story and how it relates to the movie as well as the classic manga and anime. Are there any major changes or additions?
CR: Astro Boy: The Video Game follows the major events of the film, a fantastic coming of age story that bends rejection into the ultimate triumph. We were able to do some traveling in the game that the film cuts between, creating new fiction and some new characters that are unique to the game.11.) Will there be any appearances by other famous characters from the history of Astro Boy band the works of Osamu Tezuka? How about an appearance by Tezuka himself?
CR: Astro Boy: The Video Game works within the narrative framework of the film, and with that in mind you will see some cross-over. We were able to create brand new characters for the game that are inspired by the story of the film, but are decidedly Tezuka in style. We were really in awe of the manga’s style and were really excited to bring that to the game.12.) What kind of secret stuff can we look forward to unlocking?
CR: Sprinkled throughout the game are hidden collectables which will both upgrade Astro’s powers and abilities as well as unlock powerful cheats for the player to use in game. Good luck finding them all, we went out of our way to hide them really well. Old school style.13.) What else can we look forward to from High Voltage in the future?
CR: High Voltage Software always has a few pots boiling! We are really excited to be working on a brand new IP, The Grinder. The Grinder is a brand new cooperative FPS that focuses on taking the fight to some of the most famous monsters of all time. This definitely takes us back to our roots in the Hunter series, oh yeah and the guns are pretty sweet too! In addition to The Grinder we are now working with TRI’s Infernal Engine and are looking forward to bringing our solid track record with the Wii to the XBOX 360 and the PS3, with more solid HVS titles.14.) Anything you'd like to say to the Astro-fanbase as we await this game?
CR: When making this game, the entire team went to great lengths to ensure that we were creating an amazing game that would honor the license and Astro Boy fans to the highest degree. This game is truly for the fans and we can’t wait to give them all an opportunity to check it out this October.15.) And finally... The eternal question! Astro Boy versus Mega Man: Who wins and why?
CR: You have to give props to the original Astro Boy. I mean, where would Mega Man be without Astro Boy to pave the way? Not to mention these three words: Butt Machine Guns. Enough said!
With thanks to Superhero Hype, here are two new images from the upcoming Astro Boy CG animated movie from Imagi, showing Astro on the surface of the Earth doing battle against other robots as part of Ham Egg's Gladiator fights.
Source: Superhero Hype - "Exclusive New Astro Boy Images!"