Tuesday, April 15, 2008

'LardAss-tro Boy'


A new article from Mainichi Daily News has suddenly appeared, and it deals with Astro Boy taking on a... new look, of sorts.

I... uh... don't really know what to say. I guess in proper context I can kind of agree with some of the points brought up in it, however.... what on Earth is THIS? Is this really the best way to promote the works of Dr. Tezuka? This is utterly bizarre.

Wow, April 1st was 2 weeks ago, so that means... this is real. Only in Japan!

Read all about it here or just click the link below.

New, fat version of Japan's most famous superhero creates 'LardAss-tro Boy'

Forget the svelte little feller capable of soaring through the skies and 100,000 horsepower strength: the roly-poly latest incarnation of Japan's most famous cartoon character of all is more like LardAss-tro Boy, according to Shukan Shincho.

In a collaboration with decorated illustrator Lily Franky, Tezuka Productions has produced a version of Astro Boy (known as "Mighty Atom" in Japan) with fleshy jowls and a belly that wouldn't look out of place on Japan's other icons, sumo wrestlers.

The new plus-size version bears little resemblance to the little boy robot superhero created by "The God of Manga" Osamu Tezuka, a point those entrusted with maintaining his legacy are prepared to concede.

"I have to admit we get more than a few complaints about it from core fans in their 40s and older," Yoshihiro Shimizu, head of Tezuka Productions' Copyright Division, tells Shukan Shincho. "It's an important year for us. It's 80 years since Osamu Tezuka was born and the 20th year since his death. Of course, there are loads of people who absolutely adore Tezuka works, but there are growing numbers of young people who know nothing about them. We want to actively collaborate on a number of projects and use these developments to get young people learning about Tezuka's works."

Tezuka Productions insiders are calling the fat hero the "AvoCali Style" Astro Boy, taking the name from U.S.-created sushi dishes avocado-maki and California rolls.

"Once upon a time, Americans never ate raw fish, but now they really want to find a delicious sushi," Shimizu says. "In the same way, we want the collaboration that led to 'AvoCali (Astro Boy)' to take the character worldwide. There's no future for Tezuka Productions surviving on Tezuka works alone."

Does that mean Tezuka Productions is feeling the financial pinch?

"Not at all," says Shimizu. "We've got royalties coming in all the time, so we're doing very nicely, indeed, thank you. And it's not like this is the first time we've done a collaborative project."

Tezuka Productions first allowed Astro Boy to pop up in other projects in 2003, when he was given a guest appearance in "Pluto", a manga by "Yawara" artist Naoki Urasawa. Last year, four designers came up with their own Astro Boy designs to be used on Uniqlo T-shirts. And next year, a Hollywood CGI version of "Astro Boy" is due to hit the world's silver screens.

"All we want," Tezuka Productions' Shimizu tells Shukan Shincho, "is to increase the opportunities for people to learn about Tezuka-sensei." (By Ryann Connell)

(Mainichi Japan) April 15, 2008


Unknown said...

...I still think that this critter has GOT to be a parody of some kind! Do they have something like "The Onion" in Japan??