Saturday, April 12, 2008

2003 Anime Japanese 1st Intro

Of all the things to come out of the 2003 Astro Boy birthday celebration, this new series absolutely had to be the biggest and the most important. Here is the first opening sequence from the original Japanese version.

Although it's said that this 2003 version of Astro Boy was only a modest success in Japan, it lead to a renewed interest in the character, with many new licensed products. Astro even appeared in commercials! This show gave modern anime fans a taste of what Astro Boy is really about, and it made the character relevant to yet another generation.

Here are few interesting facts about this particular incarnation.

- The first episode aired in Japan on April 6, 2003. It ran on the Animax and Fuji Television networks. 50 episodes were produced. More specific details can be found here and here.

- This series boasts a budget that is 3 times as much as a typical anime series on TV. The production cost was said to be 30,000,000 yen per episode. The result is near-theatrical quality widescreen animation.

- The storyline for this show included classic elements from previous versions of Astro Boy/Mighty Atom, with several stand-alone episodes. As it went on, though, a larger story arc about the brewing conflict between humans and robots revealed itself.

- Of course, this series aired in several other countries with translations into different languages, including an English version that I'll be talking about later.

- Even in the Japanese version, the name international name "Astro Boy" is acknowledged. It's no secret to Japanese fans that, even though they call him Mighty Atom, he's known as Astro Boy around the world, and so "Astro Boy" was incorporated into the Japanese Tetsuwan Atomu title and logo. Towards the end of the first episode, a young girl sees Atom flying and says he's an "Astro Boy", using the English words.

- This theme song is called "True Blue" and was performed by ZONE. The tune of this song figures heavily into the symphonic musical score of the Japanese version. Separate versions of this song were also made in other languages, one for Taiwan and one for Hong Kong.

- Zac Bertschy from Anime News Network managed to see the first episode before it was officially released outside of Japan and wrote a review stating that it was "perfect". I saw it too, way before the English version came out, and I loved it!

There's going to be plenty more information and discussion on the 2003 version of AstroBoy, so keep coming back!