Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dr. Tenma

Hey, today was Father's day, after all.

Dr. Tenma is the scientist who created Astro to replace his dead son. He's portrayed differently in different versions of the story. Sometimes he is a cruel father who purposely abandons Astro after realizing that a robot can never replace a human child. Other times he is shown in a more regretful light, accidentally losing Astro after getting frustrated with him. In the 2003 anime series, Tenma is the main villain, and a very over-the-top one at that. His portrayal develops into a truly crazed mad scientist who wants robots to conquer the world, and wants Astro to lead them. He even plays the pipe organ in his secret lab! That's pretty evil right there.

It is said that in the upcoming CG animated movie from Imagi, the story is set up so that Dr. Tenma doesn't come across as that bad, and will have a more sympathetic tone in his portrayal. So I wouldn't expect any pipe-organs in that (though they could surprise us, I suppose).

My personal favorite portrail of Dr. Tenma is the "Astro Boy: Omega Factor" video game for Game Boy Advance. In it, Tenma starts out as something of a mysterious villain who makes Astro fight other robots, but eventually Astro discovers that Tenma abandoned him because he knew that Astro was destined for greater things, to act as the bridge between robots and humanity, going much further than just acting as a replacement for his dead son. But you'll have to play the game to see how that happens!

You can read more about Dr. Tenma on Wikipedia.

What is your favorite take on Dr. Tenma? Should he be a misunderstood genius who made a mistake, a mean old scientist who doesn't care about his own creation, or a crazy supervillain who wants to see the world burn? Perhaps you'd like to see other takes on the character. I'm interested in reading what you thinj, so hit up the comment section below and leave your feedback!