Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Comic Book History of Comics

It's a comic book, about comic books! That's right, The Comic Book History of Comics tells the story of how comic books became what they are and features some of the medium's most influential figures.

It was created by Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey and originally released in 6 issues by IDW. Now, a volume collecting the entire series is being released and Comics Alliance has a preview featuring the chapter on the the life of Osamu Tezuka and the rise of manga in Japanese culture. Check it out!

You can purchase a copy of this book here on Amazon and help support AstroBoy World in the process. You will also find even more pages to preview there.

Continue reading "The Comic Book History of Comics"...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Don Dracula, Leo, Melmo, & more now on Viki.

Not too long ago I reported on, the free streaming site that presents international video with crowd sourced subtitles. They had added 80's Astro Boy and Black Jack anime to their service, and it looks like they are not stopping there!

Another huge batch of classic Tezuka anime has been added to Viki, and there is an incredible selection! Not everything is available with English subtitles yet, but you can now watch the following list anime from Tezuka Productions.
All of this is 100% free and legal!

(The Ambassador Magma anime is not very good, but hey, it's the thought that counts!)

Let's hope that the streaming rights for more shows can be acquired and that the offerings continue to expand. Princess Knight would be a fantastic addition. Let them know what else you want to see!

Continue reading "Don Dracula, Leo, Melmo, & more now on Viki."...

Tezuka Museum Tourism Video

The Hyogo Tourism Association and the Let's JAPAN Channel have put together this video look into the Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum in Takarazuka, Japan. It's a very detailed look on what spending a day at this museum must be like. Give it a watch!

One day, I will be there! It will be my pilgrimage.

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Monday, April 30, 2012

60th Anniversary Vinyl Astro Figure

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Astro Boy manga, ZC World has released this new collectable figure in Japan.

This figure retails for about ¥12,000 ($147) and comes with a wooden box. Astro is depicted looking very young here and sure displays a lot of personality!

Check out more great pictures of this great collectable on Crunchyroll.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Astro Bus

Let's turn back the clock and go all the way back to the year 2009 for some pictures of a bus decorated to advertise the November 5th release of the Astro Boy movie in Singapore. Glad someone was able to capture these images, as I didn't see anything like it at the time. I guess you could call this a promotional vehicle!

Astro Boy Bus by ~tintinspartan on deviantART

Astroboy Flying Over Taxis by ~tintinspartan on deviantART

Astroboy Soaring To The Roads by ~tintinspartan on deviantART

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Crime and Punishment and Tezuka

Check out David Merill's classic anime blog Let's Anime for a great article about the rare English language edition of Osamu Tezuka's manga adaption of Crime and Punishment.

I mean, where else are you going to find a write up on Russian Literature turned into Japanese manga turned into a tool to learn English?

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Black Jack 21, Uncut 80's Astro Boy Now Streaming on Viki

A great new way to watch Tezuka anime has recently appeared, and it's all 100% free and legal!

Viki, a website with international video entertainment, authorized for streaming with crowd sourced subtitles, is now offering the the complete 80's Astro Boy series, the Black Jack anime, and the sequel series, Black Jack 21.

The 80's Astro Boy has been legally streaming in other forms before, but what makes this special is that this is the Japanese release rather than the English dub. All 52 episodes are accounted for, including he original versions of the first and second episode, which were edited and combined into one episode for the English language broadcast. So, this may be the first time some of you have seen the full origin of Atlas! This was absent from the region 1 DVD release. I haven't gone through it all, but I imagine other episodes may have scenes missing from the English version. These episodes even feature the original Japanese title cards.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of crowd sourced translations, there are some mistakes in the subtitles. One embarrassing instance has the famous villain character call himself "Skank" instead of "Skunk". However, by registering for an account, one gains access to a subtitle editor, and so the translation can be continuously improved upon by the users watching it.

This is one of the bigger developments in Astro-Fandom for quite awhile! Plus, we get Black Jack 21, which has never been streamed with English subtitles before. This is very exciting stuff, and it bodes well for future releases of more Tezuka shows and other classic anime.

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Ganbare Japan!!!

One year ago, Japan was struck with a series of natural disasters, but in the wake of these terrible events, a powerful spirit of perseverance and support had emerged. This artwork is my small tribute to that great inspirational spirit.

GANBARE!!! by *ninjatron on deviantART

I wanted to draw something that focused on the unbreakable will and positive outlook that has been exhibited in the months since the disasters. Two of the anime world's most popular and positive characters, Goku and Astro Boy, give the thumbs up to show that inspirational, never give up, can-do attitude.

Please continue to support Japan!

Continue reading "Ganbare Japan!!!"...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ravex in Tezuka World

Produced in time for what would have been Osamu Tezuka's 80th birthday, Ravex in Tezuka World is a short animation featuring characters from Tezuka's body of work meeting an animated version of the musical trio Ravex. It was included as an extra DVD with the group's debut album.

I first reported on this a couple of years ago, and in reading that now I'm kind of surprised at how unfavorable my initial reactions where! I was kind of harsh on it when this project was first announced.

Well, it's taken awhile for me to see it, but it's out there now thanks to a recent fansub. You're on your own if you want to see it for yourself, but I thought it would be fun to give it a quick review with some screenshots right here on ABW for those who are curious. After finally seeing it, I can say that it's at the very least worth being curious about because watching this is kind of bizarre! Whether it's good or bad, it sure is different, so let's go through the the whole story.

Click on the images for a bigger look. Feel free to leave your comments because I'm looking forward to seeing what you have to say.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Osamu Tezuka Manga Movable Feast

Manga Critic
Be sure to check out The Manga Critic for a huge celebration into the life and work of Osamu Tezuka. Many reviews and articles are being collected and anyone is able to participate. This is going on right now and new content is being added throughout the week. Here's some more info.
From February 19th through February 25th, I will hosting a week-long tribute to legendary manga-ka Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy, Black Jack, Buddha, Dororo, Jungle Emperor Leo, MW, Ode to Kirihito, Phoenix, Swallowing the Earth, and many other titles. Everyone is encouraged to participate, whether they wish to review one of the many Tezuka titles available in English, write an in-depth article about Tezuka’s star system, or trace his influence on other famous manga-ka.
Seems like Tezuka tributes are becoming a common occurrence! All is as it should be.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Manga Artists Make Tezuka Tributes

This week marked the 23rd anniversary of Osamu Tezuka's passing. He died on February 9th, 1989. While it's much better to celebrate the life of someone rather than mark the occasion of their death, I mentioned on Twitter that the best way to pay homage to Tezuka's legacy on that day would be to draw something.I was happy to see my message spread around a bit, and a number of people did do a Tezuka inspired drawing.

It looks like I wasn't the only one with that idea, as several Japanese manga artists have also created new illustrations of famous Tezuka characters

 Here is one I really like by Keiichi Tanaka, creator of a story called "Doctor Chichibuyama".

You can find more at Anime News Network.

I drew some cool anime-esque robots for another project that I'm working on, but you'll have to wait a bit before you get to see those!

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Melmo Figures

Officially licensed by Tezuka Productions, these two Marvelous Melmo figures stand 3.5 and 5.5 inches tall and are made of PVC plastic.

Older Melmo is a little risque, but they're out there if you're into that stuff!

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Astro Boy and the God of Comics - Live!

A new live theater stage production based on the life and work of Osamu Tezuka is set to debut in Washington D.C. next month. Natsu Onoda Power, who wrote God of Comics: Osamu Tezuka and the Creation of Post-World War II Manga will be bringing "ASTRO BOY AND
" to the Studio Theater starting on February 15th, 2012.

Here's a brief description from the show's creator herself:

Astro Boy and the God of Comics combines three narratives — the fictional story of Astro Boy, the story of how the Astro Boy series was created, and the story of the series’s creator, Osamu Tezuka. It’s about a little boy robot who tries to be “human” and fails (and eventually come to terms with his identity... he is a robot and he is proud); it’s about a comic book series that becomes a national icon; it’s about a cartoonist who is admired as the “god of comics”; it’s about a young artist transforming the dehumanization of World War II into something hopeful. It’s really about “trying to be human,” whatever it means in all these different situations. I am hoping to explore this theme in the staging too... what does it mean to be “live theatre with real humans”?

You can read the entire text on the Studio Theater website, or by clicking the link below for an archived version.

Sounds like a very exciting project! Wish I could go see it. If anyone in the Washington area is lucky enough to be able to check it out, please let me know what you thought of it.

Trying to Be Human: Astro Boy and the God of Comics
Natsu Onoda Power is a director, writer, and designer. As rehearsals for Astro Boy and the God of Comics approach, Literary Director Adrien-Alice Hansel chatted with her about the inspiration behind her newest work, which combines Tezuka’s life, the history of Japanese animation, and the fictional world of his greatest creation: Astro Boy, a crime-fighting boy robot.

AH: You’ve literally written the book on Osamu Tezuka (God of Comics: Osamu Tezuka and the Creation of Post-World War II Manga) and now you’re exploring his life and cartoons theatrically for Studio 2ndStage. Why are you drawn to Tezuka’s work?

NOP: I’ve loved his work since I was a child. He is a genius at borrowing techniques from other art forms, like theatre or film, to make his comics alive and interesting. One of the most interesting things that he does is what he calls the “Star System” — he “casts” his comics from an ensemble of fictional “stars” (really, stock characters) that he has created. It’s like the Star System in film, where an actor brings all kinds of associations with him/her into a character, making the character all the more complex. Tezuka is also a master storyteller. He can create absorbing narratives, but will always pull you back and make you aware that you are reading a comic book. It’s really Brechtian.

What do you hope to explore in the story of Astro Boy?

Astro Boy and the God of Comics combines three narratives — the fictional story of Astro Boy, the story of how the Astro Boy series was created, and the story of the series’s creator, Osamu Tezuka. It’s about a little boy robot who tries to be “human” and fails (and eventually come to terms with his identity... he is a robot and he is proud); it’s about a comic book series that becomes a national icon; it’s about a cartoonist who is admired as the “god of comics”; it’s about a young artist transforming the dehumanization of World War II into something hopeful. It’s really about “trying to be human,” whatever it means in all these different situations. I am hoping to explore this theme in the staging too... what does it mean to be “live theatre with real humans”?

That’s fascinating—the idea of playing with real humans and real action on stage. Astro Boy, like some of your other work, will feature live animation—actors drawing while the audience watches. Why do you think it’s so engaging to watch people draw on stage?

I am obsessed with watching skilled people carrying on a task. I love great acting for that reason, but I also enjoy watching people draw, paint, cook, knit, build things. I once stood outside watching a person spread plaster on a wall on stilts for an hour. It was completely mesmerizing. There is magic to witnessing an object come into existence in front of you. Sort of the same idea as an open kitchen.

You describe this play as a sort of high tech/low tech retro-sci-fi piece. Can you talk a little bit about the aesthetic you’re going after and how you and your design team are hoping to achieve it?

Astro Boy gives us a vision of the “future from the past”... an image of the early 21st Century from the perspective of the 1950s-60s. I just love this. Growing up, I was also obsessed with Tex Avery cartoons from the 50s (“The Farm of Tomorrow,” “Cars of Tomorrow” and the like). It is completely anachronistic. Astro Boy periodically has to “change his vacuum tube” because they sometimes fail... like an old TV. I am trying to do something similar with the staging. We will use video (Jared Mezzochi, who is doing projection design for the show, is the master of high-tech), but mix it with low-tech elements like drawing. It should be clunky and cartoony. Not at all slick. My goal is to make the show look like it was an animation made by Tex Avery or Tezuka in the 50s/60s: “The Theatre of Tomorrow.”

Continue reading "Astro Boy and the God of Comics - Live!"...

Astro Baby

This PVC toy is most likely a bootleg and was found on Looks more like a baby dressed up as Astro than it looks like the actual Astro, but I have to admit, it's kind of cute. I guess.

Continue reading "Astro Baby"...

Friday, January 20, 2012

About Comments

Back when I was moving and could not update AstroBoy World very often, I was getting bombarded with spam comments. There were dozens of them. I tried to delete them as soon as possible, but when I had limited access to the Internet, there wasn't much I could do about it. So, unfortunately I had to disable comments completely. It wasn't a big deal since I wasn't able to update the site at all during that time so there was nothing new to comment on, but didn't like stopping people from legitimately discussing the posts that were already here.

I definitley did not miss getting the constant stream of comment notification e-mails my phone was getting only to find it was just some automated garbage trying to sell things!

Anyway, comments are back now, so go ahead and post! The difference now is that in order to leave a comment, you have to have a Google or OpenID account. No more anonymous posters will be allowed. I was kind of annoyed at all the anonymous posting going on anyway, especially when there would be more than one Anon in the same blog entry and nobody knew who was talking. So please get yourself set up with an account and use it to share your thoughts!

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Astro TV Boy

Breaking News: Astro Boy removes own head, replaces with TV. Can now watch TV at all times, even when eyes closed.

Actually, it's a customized toy sculpture by Eric Wirjanata. More pictures can be found on

Continue reading "Astro TV Boy"...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tezuka's "Barbara" Pledged to Life!

A few months ago, Digital Manga Publishing created a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to bring their release of Osamu Tezuka's Swallowing the Earth back into print. It was a huge success. Now, they're using Kickstarter again to bring a new Tezuka license that has never been released in English before: Barbara.

The goal was to raise $6,500 in 30 days. It only took 2 days to reach that goal, and now the campaign is over $10,000 strong!

Check out the Barbara Kickstarter right here! It ends on Feburary 13, 2012.

So, now Barbara is definitley being released, but the campaign continues. There are multiple bonus options available to those who pledge depending on the amount, in addition to copies of the book itself when it is released. I would really like to make a pledge myself but I'm unable to use a credit card at the moment.

The success of this campaign opens the doors for several other Osamu Tezuka manga releases that might be off the beaten path to be released in a similar fashion through Kickstarter, so the future bodes well for more Tezuka! Plus, it could also result in more classic manga from other famous creators. I would love to see Mazinger Z, Devilman, Captain Harlock, Galaxy Express 999, Kamen Rider... the list goes on!

We can look forward to Barbara being published in July 2012 should everything go as planned. Check back right here at ABW for more information as it develops.

Continue reading "Tezuka's "Barbara" Pledged to Life!"...