Saturday, April 5, 2008

AstroBoy 80's Intro.

In 1980, the Mighty Atom returned to Japanese airwaves in full color with a brand new anime series. As with the original 60's series, this version would also be translated released around the world. Here is the opening sequence in English.

Despite its cute animation style and upbeat theme music, this particular version of the story is actually quite dark. This time around there was to be less of a focus on super hero antics of the 60's version and more attention paid to the serious issues and messages that Osamu Tezuka was trying to convey in his original manga. The result was a show that featured many characters dieing and several episodes ending on a real downer! Tezuka did not devote as much of his time to this series as he should have and he was unhappy with the result. He didn't think his staff understood what he wanted and complained that Astro came across as too much of a goody-two-shoes!

Oddly enough, there are actually two different English dubs of this show. One was shown in the US and Australia, and another was shown in Canada. Most characters in the Canadian version have different names than the other version. What really lets the Canadian version apart, though, is that every episode had an additional sequence where Astro would talk to a computer named "Geronimo" about what happened in that episode. There was always something intentionally wrong with what Astro said, encouraging viewers to write down the mistake and compare with their friends. This Canadian version was the one that I watched as a kid, and was probably the first anime I ever saw. Even at a young age, I could tell that there was something different about this show when compared to other cartoons of its time.

52 episodes were made, but there are only 51 episodes in English. The first two episodes were compressed into one for the English dub. I'll be exploring what happened there in the future.

The entire series is available on Region 1 DVD from Manga Entertainment, which contains both the US English version and Japanese audio. The picture quality on these disks is extremely clear considering the show's age. For those of you in Austrailia, Madman Entertainment released a box set of their own, which has many more features than the US release.

Maybe this is just for sentimental reasons, but the 80's version of Astro Boy is probably my favorite. It had brought us action, creativity, and thought-provoking messages through each unique adventure. Even though the 60's version was the original and the 2003 version had great animation, I think the 80's version is the definitive animated expression of the Mighty Atom.

Read more here on Wikipedia.


Anonymous said...

the manga version does not have all the episodes in japnese and english audio ,this is wrong, only episode 1 ans 2 are in dual audio

Ninjatron said...

Nope. Every episode of the R1 DVD release by Manga Entertainment has both English and Japanese audio. I watched every episode in Japanese.