Saturday, December 17, 2011

Crazy Astro Font

I found this image of a really strange Astro Boy themed premium typeface a few weeks ago. It came from some kind of marketing exhibition in Japan. These letters are... unique, to say the least.

I bet that someone will have some fun with this font when it's made available, but I'm not sure that I'd ever really want to read anything longer than 2 or 3 words looking this way.

Continue reading "Crazy Astro Font"...

It's Tezuka Day!

Hey, it sure has been a while, huh? Well, I moved to a new city and thus have been busy with other things, but I'm looking to devote some time back into this site, starting now with this incredible fan movement.

Tezuka Day was created by some anime fans in Brazil, who upon discussion of Osamu Tezuka on his birthday in November, decided to set aside a day to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions that Tezuka made towards the world of anime and manga. The day was chosen simply to give enough time to research, and just about every anime website and blog in Brazil has gotten on board. Now it's spreading all across the world via Twitter.

The purpose of Tezuka Day is to make fans aware of how important and significant Osamu Tezuka has been to the development of anime and manga. Many people claim to be anime fans, yet know little about who Osamu Tezuka was and what he did. So let's change that! Brazil has got the right idea, but everyone can join in on the fun, help spread the word, and get the whole planet hooked on Tezuka!

Some great great resources to start out with are, which has posted an excellent summary of Osamu Tezuka's life, Helen McCarthy's Tezuka Day blog post, and's listing of 17 Tezuka manga published in English.

So take some time out to tell a friend, watch some anime, read some comics, and pay homage to the God of Manga. Of course, for people like me, every day is Tezuka Day!

Tezuka Day by ~MrAnyone on deviantART

Continue reading "It's Tezuka Day!"...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Black Jack by Ayami Kojima

Hey there. It's been a long time. I haven't had much time to post as I was super busy with a big annual project for TFcon, the Canadian Transformers convention. 8 pages of full color comic book art. You can check that out here if you're interested.

I'll be doing my best to make up for the lost time here and post some of the cool news that has come out recently when I get a chance. Until then, here is a cool image I stumbled upon. It's artwork of Osamu Tezuka's Black Jack illustrated by Ayami Kojima, who is well known for her work with the video game series Castlevania (Akumajo Dracula in Japan) for Konami.


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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Black Jack Returns to Manga

That's right, Osamu Tezuka's famous doctor character will soon be drawn again in manga form. Hitoshi Iwaaki, the creator of Parasyte, will write a new Black Jack series to be drawn by Masaaki Nakayama, artist on PS -Rashōmon-.

Weekly Shonen Champion magazine will be running this new version of Black Jack as it did with Tezuka's original back in 1973. It will begin in Japan on September 8th and run under the title "Black Jack - Aoki Mirai".

Source: Anime News Network - Hachima Kiko

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Interview with Buddha Director Morishita

The Daily Yomiuri Online recently published an incredible interview with Kozo Morishita, the director of the first movie based on Osamu Tezuka's Buddha. This man is a true veteran of the animation business and has quite an incredible resume. Check out this sample from the article.
Morishita joined Toei Animation more than 40 years ago, when it was still known as Toei Doga. Since then, he's risen through the ranks to become vice president, and it's probably safe to say that the Shizuoka Prefecture native knows more about the firm than anybody else. After a break of more than two decades, Morishita recently dusted off his director's cap to call the shots for Osamu Tezuka's Buddha--The Great Departure (Japan title: Tezuka Osamu's Buddha--Akai Sabaku yo! Utsukushiku), which opened last month.
That's right, this dude worked on Transformers, and now he's worked on Tezuka. Awesome.

You can read the entire interview here on the Daily Yomiuri or by clicking the link below for an archived version. You can also read about the Japanese premier of the Buddha film, with statements from the cast and crew including Morishita-san, here on
Breathing life into 2 dimensions / Toei Animation's Morishita relishing return to hands-on duties

Makoto Fukuda / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer

Even if the name Toei Animation doesn't immediately ring a bell, chances are you're familiar with much of the company's output: Over the years, the Tokyo-based firm has produced some of the nation's most celebrated cinematic and TV anime.

Similarly, you may not have heard of Kozo Morishita, but you're likely au fait with at least a few of the anime titles he's helped coax into life, including Dragon Ball Z and Saint Seiya.

Morishita joined Toei Animation more than 40 years ago, when it was still known as Toei Doga. Since then, he's risen through the ranks to become vice president, and it's probably safe to say that the Shizuoka Prefecture native knows more about the firm than anybody else. After a break of more than two decades, Morishita recently dusted off his director's cap to call the shots for Osamu Tezuka's Buddha--The Great Departure (Japan title: Tezuka Osamu's Buddha--Akai Sabaku yo! Utsukushiku), which opened last month.

Morishita, 62, has been a movie fan since childhood and says he always wanted to work in a related field. While attending a vocational college with the aim of becoming a designer in the TV industry, he happened to hear about the entry test for Toei Doga. He recalls, "I initially thought the exam was for the Toei film company, but [Toei Doga] turned out to be a different firm altogether!"

When Morishita joined Toei Doga in 1970, it was known for making feature-length cinematic productions such as Nagagutsu o Haita Neko (The Wonderful World of Puss in Boots [1969]). However, the company was also starting to make strides with full-blown TV anime. Starting with Kikku no Oni (Demon Kick), Morishita served as a director's assistant, learning the ropes under experienced senior colleagues.

He made his directorial debut with an episode of Kyuti Hani (Cutie Honey) in 1974, and also had a hand in such titles as Kotetsu Jigu (Steel Jeeg) and UFO Robo Gurendaiza (UFO Robot Grendizer), both produced in 1975. His first outing as chief director came in 1981, when he was handed the reins for Tiger Mask II. In 1983, he directed Tatakae! Cho Robotto Seimeitai Toransufoma (The Transformers) and in 1988, while handling directorial responsibilities for Saint Seiya, he was made a producer.


Contrasting TV and movies

TV anime and cinematic anime are very different beasts. On TV, it's all about presenting the characters in an engaging way within the framework of a limited number of drawings and a limited budget.

Explains Morishita: "[We learned that] if you endow the female protagonist with generous breasts, it puts a smile on kids' faces. Also, we turned the limitations associated with static images into a plus by effectively employing very detailed drawings of robots and such like.

"Working within such constraints let staffers heighten their powers of expression."

It may have been a slightly unrefined approach, but in their pursuit of each protagonist's "cool" factor, the staff helped coalesce the traditions of Toei Doga's production methods.

Morishita brought the full range of his skills to bear on Saint Seiya, which was produced in conjunction with Shueisha Inc. and its publication Weekly Shonen Jump. The project ate up large amounts of time and money: Clouds were drawn with multiple gradations, lavish action scenes were common and staffers poured their hearts and souls into the work.

Morishita recalls, "We used far too much cash, and consequently, I was made a producer so I could learn how to disburse funds appropriately."

Morishita then produced the Dragon Ball series--again based on a Weekly Shonen Jump manga story--which led in turn to Dragon Ball Z. Dragon Ball starts off as a heartwarming tale, but as the protagonist, Son Goku, grows up, he becomes involved in numerous fierce battles. This change in narrative direction, coupled with Toei Animation's depiction of the resultant action scenes, increased the show's popularity.

In 1978, to deal with a shortfall in personnel, Morishita traveled to South Korea and trained staff there. Five years later, at the invitation of U.S. firm Marvel, he began visiting the United States to help make and direct The Transformers, the success of which brought great benefits for Toei Animation.

Morishita's personal standing rose, too, and he began to have a say in the running of the company.


Animating 'Buddha'

About six years ago, Toei Co. President Yusuke Okada told Morishita he was interested in turning Osamu Tezuka's Buddha into an animated feature film. Numerous directors and scriptwriters were then tasked with drawing up pilots and plots.

"At the end of the day, however, none surpassed the impact of the original work, and I realized that a straight reading of the story would be best," recalls Morishita. "As I was the one who'd had the original conversation with President Okada, I decided it would be best if I tackled the project myself."

Fulfilling his role as a senior manager naturally kept Morishita very busy, so he'd hit the studio at night and on weekends to hammer away at storyboards for the project.

"I'd order in food and fill out expense sheets; I guess staff in the administration department probably wondered, 'Who the heck's Morishita?'" he says with a laugh. "They probably didn't expect me to be working on the shop floor, as it were."

As for getting into the thick of things again, he notes: "I'm one of only a few people who were around in the era when Toei Doga was churning out full-length cinematic features.

"TV anime attracts viewers through the accentuation of popular characters, whereas movies can afford to spend a long time concentrating on story composition, development and presenting a world view," he adds. "Within these two genres, the director's job is completely different. But when you tackle these roles, you find that it becomes easier both for yourself and for the people who come after you."

The animation master's directorial efforts continue apace, and he's currently working on several projects slated for eventual cinematic release, including George Akiyama's Ashura.

Notes Morishita: "Director Hayao Miyazaki is proving there's still an audience out there for high-quality cinematic anime."

Morishita has a strong desire to see his company once again churn out top-notch feature-length movies a la Hakujaden and its many successors. In this regard, the industry veteran's focus and enthusiasm may well serve as a valuable legacy for future Toei Animation staff.


Tezuka's 'Buddha' trilogy launched

Toei Animation's Osamu Tezuka's Buddha--The Great Departure is based on Tezuka's manga series Buddha, which traces the life of Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism.

The first film in a projected trilogy, it sees the birth of Prince Siddhartha in the Indian kingdom of Shaka, about 2,500 years ago. On becoming acquainted with a number of young female thieves, the young prince begins to ponder the merits of his caste-based society. Meanwhile, Chapra, a slave-turned-military leader from the kingdom of Kosala, invades Shaka.

"We endeavored to make the kind of entertainment that the whole family can enjoy, while still conveying the story's main themes," says director Kozo Morishita. "Ideally, we'd like to spark people into thinking about the fate of those burdened by troubles, or about hurdles that can't be overcome."

Steering clear of needless flash, the film's treatment of the characters' inner struggles and conflicts is handled in an orthodox manner, but with care and gravity, impressing upon viewers the fundamental strengths of Toei Animation.

The movie features the voice talents of such actors as Hidetaka Yoshioka, Masato Sakai, Kiyokazu Kanze, Sayuri Yoshinaga and Nana Mizuki. The theme song, "Scarlet Love Song," was penned by X Japan.

Original artwork by Tezuka and a statue of Buddha are among the many items being showcased at an exhibition titled Buddha: The Story in Manga and Art, running at the Tokyo National Museum in Ueno, Tokyo, until June 26.

Continue reading "Interview with Buddha Director Morishita"...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Black Jack OVA #11?!

Somehow, this amazing news had totally slipped by me until now!

The Black Jack OVA, directed by the legendary Osamu Dezaki who unfortunately passed away recently, is getting one more volume. The first volume was released in Japan in 1993, and this new is coming more than 10 years after the 10th volume, which was released in 2000.

The original voice actors for Black Jack and Pinoko are returning, and apparently did a live video stream of a recording session on May 14th.

And now I am reading that not only will there be this 11th new episode, but a 12th one as well. An amazing final gift from the great Osamu Dezaki. You can read more (in Japanese) here.

No word on any English-language release yet, of course. The previous 10 volumes were released on region 1 DVD by the now defunct Central Park Media and it's now likely harder to find a complete set. You can download subtitled episodes from Tezuka Productions on iTunes.

Source: Anime News Network.

Continue reading "Black Jack OVA #11?!"...

TeZuKa - The Dance Show.

The Sadler's Wells theatre in Islington, London, England will be holding a new stage production featuring music, dance, and multimedia, celebrating the work of Osamu Tezuka. It is being choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and will have 5 performances this September.

More information from the website:
Visionary Japanese animator and manga artist Osamu Tezuka provides the inspiration for internationally renowned choreographer and Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s brand new work - TeZukA.

Working with a cast of nine dancers, two musicians, an actor and a calligrapher, all drawn from Europe and Asia, Cherkaoui explores Tezuka’s fascinating world - a blend of tradition, science fiction and contemporary reality. Two of Tezuka’s manga stories which are well known in Japanese popular culture – Astro Boy and Buddha – have particularly captured Cherkaoui’s imagination in creating this new work.

TeZukA will feature a specially commissioned score from award-winning composer Nitin Sawhney with lighting and visual design by Willy Cessa, plus projections of Tezuka’s original illustrations alongside work by video artist Taiki Ueda. Using the dancers’ movements to trace the physical evolution of Tezuka’s drawings - from a line on a blank page to a single Japanese kanji (letter) to a fully-formed manga character - Cherkaoui will bring the “God of Manga’s” philosophy, drawings and characters to life.

You can book your tickets here. The September 9th performance will include a talk with Helen McCarthy.

Source: Anime News Network.

Continue reading "TeZuKa - The Dance Show."...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tezuka Museum's Moe Re-imaginings

The Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum in Takarazuka will soon host an exhibition featuring re-imagined Tezuka character illustrations by many famous artists in the modern moe style. The roster of contributing artists numbers at about 20, including Noizi Ito (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Shakugan no Shana), Narumi Kakinouchi (Vampire Princess Miyu, Ryoko's Case File) and Haruhiko Mikimoto (Macross, Gundam 0080, Gunbuster).

There are about 90 different art pieces and dolls set for display at the exhibition. Here are some examples featuring Princess Knight.

Read more at Anime News Network or in Japanese at the Daily Yomiuri Online.

This seems to be along the same lines as the Tezuka Moe Gallery I first reported about last year, only that one was held in Akihabara. So now more people will get another chance to see what the current generation of artists can do with Tezuka's classic characters.

Continue reading "Tezuka Museum's Moe Re-imaginings"...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Prime Rose Art

Prime Rose by *wRuzicka on deviantART

Now here's something you don't see everyday. Fan art of Osamu Tezuka's character Prime Rose. It was illustrated by William Ruzicka, a great artist who is currently working on Transformers Prime, which is a totally awesome show. Check out some more of his artwork here.

Continue reading "Prime Rose Art"...

Monday, May 9, 2011

What's up with the hate on Buddha?

Have had some exciting new developments with real work recently, and on top of that keeping me busy, I've got some serious problems with the computer that I keep all my cool stuff on. Bummer. So things have been slow here, but I'll carry on as best as I can.

A while back I put a copy of the first trailer to the upcoming Buddha movie, based on the Osamu Tezuka manga, on my YouTube account. Over the past couple of weeks, I've gotten a few comments from very angry people saying that this movie is a disgrace to Tezuka and that the art looks nothing like his style. They seem convinced that the movie is terrible and that these changes were made to intentionally make it more generic and appealing to "shallow American fans".

To this I say... WHAT?

Yeah, I don't see it. We've hardly seen much of the movie yet and I see several shots in this trailer that definitely have Tezuka's touches.

Come on, look at that. The bright shiny eyes. The elegant swoop of the nose. This totally looks like a Tezuka shot!

And even if it didn't, so what? Osamu Dezaki did not attempt to replicate Tezuka's style with the Black Jack OVA series he directed. Was that a problem for anyone? Of course not. Besides that, I am pretty sure, for very painfully obvious reasons, that any decisions on the art direction of this project are not made with the so-called "shallow American fans" in mind. Since, you know, this is a movie about Buddha.

The works of Osamu Tezuka are legendary and deserve respect, but what people need to realize is that if we were to hold it up on a pedestal, never to change, reinterpret, or revisit it in any way, than these works are simply going to fade into obscurity. Tezuka did not want for his work to become solely the realm of academic study, he wanted real people and average fans from the mass audience to continue to enjoy it for years. He was constantly reinterpreting and revising his own work, and so I seriously doubt he'd have a problem with this. To say that he'd be "spinning in his grave" over a trailer like this is, quite frankly, incredibly ignorant. If you respect Osamu Tezuka, then you should at least know something about who he was!

Some people complained about the Astro Boy movie, saying that it was changed from the original story, that the character didn't look like the original style, that it was too "Americanized", and other such nonsense. Not only do none of those arguments hold up, but they entirely miss an important point. It's because of that movie that many more people know about Astro Boy. Isn't that a good thing? And now the same irrational complaining is happening again here with Buddha, despite the fact that Buddha, unlike the Astro movie, is actually being produced by Japanese companies.

Go figure, huh? Some people are never going to be satisfied. And to think, we haven't even seen the whole movie yet.

So what do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!

Continue reading "What's up with the hate on Buddha?"...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Big Guns

The Big Guns by *kizer180 on deviantART

Very cool artwork by kizer180 on deviantART featuring several famous robot, cyborg, and high tech characters, including Astro Boy. Do you know them all?

Continue reading "The Big Guns"...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

RIP Osamu Dezaki

It is my unfortunate duty to report on the tragic loss of legendary anime pioneer, Osamu Dezaki, who passed away last weekend due to lung cancer.

Dezaki had an incredible, influential career in the Japanese animation industry that went all the way back to the 1960's when he joined Osamu Tezuka's Mushi Productions and worked on the original Astro Boy anime. He would go on to work with other Tezuka properties including directing the Black Jack movie and OVA series, as well as finishing The Old Testament Story after Tezuka's death.

Probably best known as the director of the Ashita no Joe anime, Dezaki also worked on classic series and franchises including Aim for the Ace, Lupin III, Golgo 13, and Space Adventure Cobra. Even beyond that is his involvement in co-productions for American produced cartoons including Bionic Six and Mighty Orbots.

The "Postcard Memories" technique, where the importance of an animated scene is enhanced by fading into a fully detailed illustration, was created by Dezaki and has pretty much become an anime staple. Thanks to brilliant touches like this and his overall wide body of diverse work, the memory and influence of Osmau Dezaki will live on.

Continue reading "RIP Osamu Dezaki"...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Limited Edition Astro Boy Casio Exilim

Check out this special limited edition of the Casio Exilim digital camera featuring Astro Boy imagery and made to celebrate the famous character's manga debut.
Among what makes this limited edition unique are these frames featuring Astro Boy characters that add a fun graphic element around your photos.
A special pouch is also included.
This price for this camera is approximately $440 US, but good luck if you want one. Naturally this is only being sold in Japan and is limited to only 300 units. Check out the camera's specs and more information on Crunch Gear.

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Young Black Jack

A live action TV special featuring a younger Black Jack from back when he was still in medical school will air in Japan on Saturday, April 23. It will be directed by Kentaro Otani, who also directed the live-action films based on the manga NANA. Actor Masaki Okada will star as young Black Jack.

More information from Anime News Network:
In the story, the title character received major injuries in an accidental explosion when he was 9, and his mother was put in an artificially induced coma. The new special will depict how the Black Jack character became an unlicensed doctor and how his destined rivalry with Dr. Kiriko came to be.

Naho Toda (Romance of Three Kingdoms, Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror) will play Black Jack's mother, and Risa Naka (anime and live-action The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) will play a fellow medical student. Yukiyoshi Azawa and Masachika Ichimura will also co-star.
Looks interesting and it's always great to see new Black Jack stuff, though for the sake of the character I wish he had even just a touch of silver in his hair.

Continue reading "Young Black Jack"...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Astro Key Chains

Found these Astro Boy key chains awhile back, but I don't remember where. They seem to come from China. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether they are officially licensed merchandise or not.

Astro's face is... unique, to say the least. His eyes look kind of funny. But that makes these kind of interesting. The variety of available figures based on Astro's different appearances in the movie is pretty cool.

Continue reading "Astro Key Chains"...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Castro Boy

I was walking around the streets of Toronto earlier this week and somehow wound up in front of a store with this crazy thing in the window.

It's obviously some kind of custom T-Shirt mash-up of Astro Boy and Fidel Castro, not a real licensed product. At any rate it's not anything I would have ever expected to find in my travels, so I was quite surprised and had to take a quick picture to share with you here.

I don't know the name of the store this was at, but it was somewhere right downtown on Queen Street, if you're interested.


Continue reading "Castro Boy"...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Astro Painting by Bryan Lee O’Malley

This incredible painting featuring Astro Boy and his sister Uran was made by Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O’Malley and is for the “Water Works” art show at Giant Robot in Los Angeles. It's based on this frame from the 60's Astro Boy anime.
100% of the proceeds from the show will go to UNICEF for Japan aid efforts. You can find out more here.

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We have hit 500!

This month, AstroBoy World celebrates two huge milestones. I started this site 3 years ago, and in that time there have now been 500 posts!

While originally this site was created to serve as a central place for news and information on the then-upcoming Astro Boy movie, and things may have slowed down since then, there has still been plenty of activity in the Astro-Universe even though the movie has come and gone. This year marks the 60th anniversary of The Mighty Atom's first appearance. Plus, there are many other exciting events happening in the world of Osamu Tezuka, including the final volume of Black Jack and the upcoming release of the Princess Knight manga. This is a great time to be a fan and I'm happy to be right there with you, sharing the latest developments and all the other interesting/crazy stuff I find.

I have really enjoyed posting over the past 3 years, and I hope to continue to do so for as long as I can. Thanks to all the readers for your support! Please continue visit and post your feedback.

Continue reading "We have hit 500!"...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Help for Japan.

As I'm sure you're all aware, Japan has been struck by a huge earthquake and tsunami. It's a terrible tragedy that has shocked the world.

As an anime fan and admirer of Japanese culture for many years, I'm heartbroken by the news coverage I have seen. The comics, animation, video games, and movies of Japan have always been so inspiring to me, and in light of these terrible events I am compelled to do something to help.

I'm joining with Anime and Manga Bloggers for Japan to get the word out on how people like you can donate to a cause that will assist in disaster relief efforts.

You can also donate through the Red Cross. In America you can use your cell phone to text REDCROSS to 90999, which will donate $10 through your phone bill, or call 1-800 RED CROSS. In Canada, text REDCROSS to 30333 for donations, or call 1-800-418-1111.

There are other ways to donate as well, but please make sure that you are giving to a legitimate organization.

Although this is a trying time for the Japanese people, I know that the Japanese spirit will rise above it all, rebuild, and prevail. Anime and manga are full of stories about extraordinary heroes. Let's become heroes ourselves and do our part to give back to the country that created these stories we love so much. You don't need rockets in your boots to be a hero. You can help by donating today. Give them a hand and let them know that we stand together!

Continue reading "Help for Japan."...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Any Hats Out There?

I got an e-mail recently from a reader named Jen who has a young son that is a big Astro Boy fan. Great to know that a new generation of fans is growing out there. Jen is looking to get an Astro Boy hat for her son, specifically requesting the red "Ministry of Science" hat that Toby wears in the movie.

I haven't had any luck in finding such a hat. The only Astro hat I was able to find is this freaky looking one shown below, and that doesn't seem to be available anymore.

 So I'm putting out the call for help with the hopes that somebody else out there will know something or be able to find an Astro Boy hat. It can be any hat at all as long as it's related to Astro Boy. I'm sure that Jen and her son will appreciate the help, but I'm also interested in seeing what might be out there just for curiosity's sake. If anyone finds anything, please post it here in the comments section.

Continue reading "Any Hats Out There?"...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Vertical Investment.

Big news from Vertical Inc., the company responsible for publishing several English-language editions of Osamu Tezuka manga, including Black Jack (volume 13 pictured right), Buddha, and Dororo.

 Kodansha, Japan's largest publisher, and Japanese printing company Dai Nippon have made major investments into Vertical. This gives Vertical much greater financial stability and access to even more titles, both manga and otherwise.

It's still business as usual though, and all of their previously announced titles, including Tezuka's Princess Knight, are still on the schedule.The company is being invested in, not completely taken over, so they will keep doing what they have been doing, and we should be able to look forward to more great releases from them in the future.

You can read more detail here on Anime News Network and in an informative interview with marketing director Ed Chavez on Comic Book Resources.

Continue reading "A Vertical Investment."...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tezuka on iPad

Thanks to the Tezuka Osamu Magazine Club and Soba Project, 400 volumes of Osamu Tezuka Manga (that's about 80,000 pages) are now available to read on the Apple iPad.

An subscription fee of 1,050 yen
($13 US) per month will grant users unlimited access to all the available manga in the e-library. There is also a free edition of the latest Weekly Tezuka Osamu Magazine featuring 100 pages selected from Tezuka's various works. Most interesting is a motion manga feature, where the comic pages have been enhanced with animation and voice acting.

Thus far, this is only available in Japanese, though I suspect international versions may follow at some point in the future.

You can read more information on as well as and Asahi.

Continue reading "Tezuka on iPad"...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tetsujin Internet

This is not Astro Boy, but hey, we like Tetsujin 28 too, right?

Here's a creative series of Japanese commercials for some kind of wireless mobile Internet, featuring a CG version of the world famous anime giant robot created by Mitsuteru Yokoyama.

Continue reading "Tetsujin Internet"...

Comic Nation TV @ Tezuka Museum

Here's the video from Comic Nation TV about their trip to the Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum. It features images from their journey getting there and the exterior of the building. Another video, featuring the inside of the building, will be forthcoming later in the month.

Continue reading "Comic Nation TV @ Tezuka Museum"...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Toying with Humanity

Reporting on a new exhibition taking place at the RMIT Gallery in Melbourne, Australian newspaper The Age has a new article about the sophisticated themes behind some of the cute characters found in Japanese anime. Here's a sample:
TO MANY, Astro Boy is just a cartoon; a children's show about a robot with rocket-powered legs. But beneath its animated exterior is a surprisingly dark undertone.

Consider the origins of the title character, who, the story goes, was created by the head of Japan's Ministry for Science to replace the son he lost in a car accident. After a brief period of happiness, the grief-stricken bureaucrat realised he would never fill the void in his heart - so he sold his robot franken-child to a cruel circus owner. As you do.

But fortunately, the kindly new head of the Science Ministry spotted Astro performing in the circus and obtained legal guardianship of him, thus discovering he was capable of human emotions. All of which allowed the series to explore artificial intelligence, feelings and what makes us ''real''.
You can read the entire "Toying with humanity " article on or by clicking the link below for an archived version.

Toying with humanity
Michael Lallo
February 4, 2011

The cute characters of anime frequently explore dark themes.

TO MANY, Astro Boy is just a cartoon; a children's show about a robot with rocket-powered legs. But beneath its animated exterior is a surprisingly dark undertone.

Consider the origins of the title character, who, the story goes, was created by the head of Japan's Ministry for Science to replace the son he lost in a car accident. After a brief period of happiness, the grief-stricken bureaucrat realised he would never fill the void in his heart - so he sold his robot franken-child to a cruel circus owner. As you do.

But fortunately, the kindly new head of the Science Ministry spotted Astro performing in the circus and obtained legal guardianship of him, thus discovering he was capable of human emotions. All of which allowed the series to explore artificial intelligence, feelings and what makes us ''real''.
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''These are not just fluffy cartoons,'' says Evelyn Tsitas, public programs co-ordinator at RMIT Gallery. ''The Western approach sees animation as a kids' thing, but in Japan they use it to explore more adult themes. It's not about telling a pretty story; often, it's about darker themes and emotions.''

Which is why the gallery has just launched two exhibitions: one about Japanese characters such as Astro Boy, Hello Kitty and Pikachu, and another about animated Japanese films - or ''anime'', as they're known - most of which are geared towards adults.

It's clear that cartoon characters occupy a special place in the Japanese psyche. They appear on bank cheques and train tickets, electric shavers and tampons. You can drink Hello Kitty wine and eat Pokemon beef curry. You can even choose from a range of Astro Boy-emblazoned ''boxers, briefs and men's panties''.

''If you look here,'' says Tsitas, waving towards a mocked-up girl's bedroom furnished entirely with Hello Kitty merchandise, ''you'll see some of the most popular products. But you won't just see them in bedrooms - it's perfectly reasonable for office workers to line up dolls and cups with characters on their desks to make them feel happy and comforted.''

Indeed, comfort is the goal of a Hello Kitty-themed maternity hospital in Taiwan, in which everything from the sheets and towels to the walls of the examination room feature the feline motif ''to ease the stress of childbirth''.

In Bangkok, however, a police chief has taken to disciplining his officers by adhering Hello Kitty armbands to their uniforms ''to make them feel guilt and shame''.

But despite her Japanese heritage, Kitty was ''officially'' born in suburban London in 1974. Her favourite word is friendship, she likes goldfish and lollies, brushes her teeth with strawberry toothpaste … and her blood type is A.

Not surprisingly, her hyper-cute tastes - and the fact she has no mouth - have angered critics, who say she's a bad role model for girls.

But according to Sanrio, the company that owns her, ''Hello Kitty speaks from her heart. She's Sanrio's ambassador to the world and isn't bound to any particular language.''

The females in animated Japanese movies, on the other hand, are unequivocally strong. Unlike the pathetic Disney princesses who are in constant need of rescuing, anime women are empowered, says Tsitas. ''They're not waiting for a prince to release them from a spell, they're conquering evil with their magic sword.''

The character exhibition is divided into decades, helping contextualise the creation of each cartoon idol with the key events of the time. For instance, Astro Boy - who turns 60 next year, and whose Japanese name means ''Mighty Atom'' - was conceived in the aftermath of atomic warfare, just as television was taking hold. Information panels also explain the historical roots of modern cartoons.

''The fact [the Japanese] have lots of different gods means they can associate with lots of different characters and good-luck charms,'' Tsitas says. ''And it's interesting how the anime and manga characters, which are often quite expressionless, are different from the Western cartoon characters.

''If you think of a cartoon like Scooby Doo, the animators tell you how to perceive those characters and what emotions they're feeling. Whereas with a lot of the Japanese characters, you can project whatever you want on to them.

''You can make them happy or sad or whatever you want them to be, which is probably one of the reasons they're so endearing.''

Continue reading "Toying with Humanity"...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ishinomori's Story

Be sure to check out The Mike Toole Show for an incredible look at one of Japan's greatest creators, the legendary Shotaro Ishinomori.

Ishinomori created so many of Japan's most famous characters and stories, conquering most every conceivable genre and medium. Most famous among his works is the classic Cyborg 009. Fans of Osamu Tezuka should definitely look into learning more about this incredible artist's body of work. In fact, it was Tezuka himself who discovered Ishinomori's talent and broke him into the professional manga industry.
Here's a sample from the article:
Anyway, a young artist named Shotaro Onodera submitted some samples of his work to Manga Shonen, and it just so happened that Tezuka's famous Astro Boy was running as a special feature in the magazine at the time. Tezuka's editor clued him in to the budding talent, and history was made when Tezuka hired the kid as his assistant and set him to work on the Astro Boy story Electro. The entire experience is laid out in dark horse's Astro Boy volume 15, so seek that out if you want the dirt.
Be sure to read the entire column on Anime News Network.

It's unfortunate that so little of Ishinomori's work has been made available to English speakers. The tide has turned in recent years when it comes to Tezuka's manga, so let's hope for the same attention being paid to Ishinomori as well. Check out the English Language version of the IshimoriPro website for more.

Continue reading "Ishinomori's Story"...

PLUTO Wins Comics Award in France

The epic revisioning of Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy universe by Naoki Urasawa has once again been honored with another award

The PLUTO manga won the the Intergenerational Award at the Angoulême International Comics Festival in France this weekend. This is one of the biggest comics events in the entire world, and France has a huge comic book culture.

The Intergenerational Award is a recently created honor, and it seems appropriate to give such an honor to Pluto, as it is the product of 2 generations of manga artists.

Source: Anime News Network

Continue reading "PLUTO Wins Comics Award in France"...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Get ready for PRINCESS KNIGHT!


Vertical Inc. has announced that Osamu Tezuka's legendary classic manga Princess Knight (Ribbon no Kishi) will be published in its eternity in English.

From Anime News Network:

Vertical will publish Princess Knight in two volumes: the first, about 384 pages long, on October 4, and the second, about 330 pages long, on December 6. Both books will carry a suggested retail price of US$13.95. The books will be the same trim size as Dororo and Black Jack — two other Vertical releases of Tezuka manga.
This is truly incredible news! Princess Knight is one of Tezuka's most popular and important creations. We've only gotten a few glimpses of the Princess Knight manga in English before, but now we're getting the entire series in such a comprehensive fashion. More information will be forthcoming, so keep checking back.

Continue reading "Get ready for PRINCESS KNIGHT!"...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


This amusing image is part of the current seasonal background on Here we have Uran, Atom, and Jump with a Ban Shunsaku made out of snow. If you look closely, you'll see Ban's trademark fez is actually a bucket.

I know they're robots and all but it's got to be way to cold for shorts and skirts, kids.

Continue reading "Snow-Shunsaku"...

Kyoto Tezuka Osamu World Closed

The Kyoto Tezuka Osamu World, a store and theater in Kyoto Japan, closed down on January 16th. While there are several official Tezuka stores in Japan, and other stores that sell Tezuka related merchandise, the closing of this particular location is notable because it had a theater screen that played exclusive Astro Boy and Tezuka-related short movies, not available anywhere else.

It is unknown at this time what will happen to these movies. There is some speculation that, with 2011 being the 60th anniversary of Astro Boy's manga debut, there may perhaps be some sort of DVD collection, but there have been no announcements at this time.

This news came to me from a couple of different sources, so thanks to everyone who alerted me to this. You can read more about it on Dr. Jerk's Astroboy Online thread.

Continue reading "Kyoto Tezuka Osamu World Closed"...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ultimate Dodge!

 There is another unofficial Astro Boy fan-made Flash game out there. Astro Boy Ultimate Dodge puts you in control of Astro as you use his multiple jumping, hovering, and dashing skills to clear a course of deadly obstacles.
 This game is not to be entered into lightly! The levels are incredibly hard. It takes skill and patience.

Get used to seeing this image a lot.
Aside from the futuristic setting, it actually doesn't seem to have much to do with the Astro Boy universe, but it's interesting all the same to see the character like this.

You can play it for yourself on Kongregate, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Remember to check out prior postings on Astro Boy games with the Games Tag.

Continue reading "Ultimate Dodge!"...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Imagi Selling CGI Models

A collection of 3D digital objects made by Imagi for their animated works, including TMNT and Astro Boy, can now be purchased for use by other studios and animators. You can see Dr. Tenma's books, Toby's hat, and some futuristic buildings as part of the examples shown. These are just general items, things like props and buildings, not copyrighted characters.
From what I understand, this is not an unusual thing. It saves time and money to use 3D resources that have already been made over developing them from scratch. It would be quiet interesting to see if anything distinctive from the Astro Boy movie ever shows up in another film.

See the entire CG Model Library here.

Continue reading "Imagi Selling CGI Models"...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Tezuka Russian Nesting Dolls

Take a look at these customized Russian nesting dolls, hand painted with Osamu Tezuka characters by artist "hooverdam".

Originally posted on D. Merril's Let's Anime blog, where you can see more pictures of each layer. I agree, they are the coolest thing ever.

Continue reading "Tezuka Russian Nesting Dolls"...