Astro Boy is a remake of the 1960s anime series, created by Osamu Tezuka, which was produced by his company, Tezuka Productions, and the anime television network, Animax, who have broadcast the series across its respective networks worldwide, including Japan, Southeast Asia, South Asia East Asia, and other regions. The anime series was created to celebrate the birth date of Astro Boy (as well as the 40th anniversary of the 1963 series). Under the original English name (instead of Tetsuwan Atom), it kept the same classic art style as the original Astro Boy manga and anime, but was revisioned and modernized with more lush, high-quality, near-theatrical animation and visuals. It combined the playfulness of the early anime with the darker, more serious and dramatic Science Fiction themes of the manga and the '80s anime series.
In 2005, an IMAX film was made titled Astro Boy/Tetsuwan Atomu Visits the person IGZA - 100,000 Light Years Away! that is based strongly on this series, and also in that year Japanese artists Akira Himekawa published a manga of the same name based on this series.
The series consisted of fifty episodes. Though many episodes of the series can be regarded as "free-standing" in as much as they do not have anything to do with the series major story arcs, the 2003 series can be regarded as having a well-defined beginning, middle and end. Although the series appears to initially have two main plotlines- Doctor Tenma's eventual plans for Astro to evolve and another plotline about robot rights -these two story arcs dovetail toward the end of the series.
The show is set in 2043, where robots are common part of humanity's lives. In Metro City, the renowned Doctor Tenma disappears after trying to construct an AI robot using a new technology called Kokoro (which is Japanese for "mind, heart and spirit"). Dr. O'Shay replaces Tenma as head of the Ministry of Science and discovers the robot, restoring the boy-like robot to life and names him Astro. Astro soon discovers he can fly via rocket boosters in his hands and feet, and has superhuman strength and other such abilities, and must deal with robots and villainous robot-hating humans who threaten his friends, fellow robots and Metro City, becoming a hero of the city in the process. Astro quickly learns he is a robotic duplicate of Dr. Tenma's dead son Tobio, and was shut down after seeing how discarded robots were dealt with by his father, something similar that Tobio experienced before dying.
A new arc occurs with the introduction of the Blue Knight, a gallant robot who starts a campaign to free all robots from mankind. Another recurring character, Mr. Drake goes slowly paranoid about the destruction of all robots and becomes a major antagonist of the series. In the final episodes, the Blue Knight declares a new nation for robots, Robotonia. Drake deceives the public into believing a house robot pushed a young girl down a flight of stairs (when he did not), and the girl's father, Duke Red, declares war on Robotonia. Most of the core cast becomes involved in the goal to stop the war between man and machine, until Astro convinces the Blue Knight that humans and robots can be friends. The Blue Knight departs Earth on Robotonia, which is revealed to be a spacecraft. However, Drake, who is still paranoid (despite the fact the robots have stopped their crusade against humanity), tries to destroy the spacecraft with a missile, but Astro blocks the attack and is seemingly taken offline.
Dr. Tenma manages to restore him, but erases his memories as Astro (so that he can remain "Tobio" forever). Eventually, his memories are restored by his friends from school and his sister, Zoran. In one final attempt to reclaim his lost son, Dr. Tenma goes to a laboratory in the Ministry of Science and tries to convince Astro to join him in ruling the world but the latter refuses. Dr. Tenma tries to kill himself to end his suffering, but Astro embraces and forgives him, causing Dr. Tenma to break down and embrace his son. Dr. O'Shay and the robotic police come to the rescue, and Dr. Tenma is willingly arrested and sent to prison. Humans and robots come closer together, and Astro appears to shed tears at the conclusion of the series.
- Astro Boy: A robot built with "Kokoro", an advanced form of artificial intelligence. Astro appears as a young boy who works as a superhero of sorts for Metro City. He continuously tries to stop the collapsing relationship between mankind and robots, despite numerous attempts to destroy him by various parties. He can fly using rocket boosters concealed in his limbs and possesses great strength. Astro was originally constructed by Doctor Tenma to recreate his deceased son Tobio, but Astro rebelled against Tenma when he saw how robots were brutally destroyed in an area of the Ministry of Science and was shut down by his "father". (Note: "Kokoro" is actually Japanese for "heart".)
- Dr. O'Shay: Head of the Ministry of Science, Dr. O'Shay is an elderly man with a distinguishable large nose. He led the project to revive Astro and is his guardian and protector. O'Shay, like Astro, is very defensive of the relationship between mankind and robots, often defending Astro when he is accused of being dangerous to Metro City. He is portrayed as being a bit clumsy and quick to anger, but is very intelligent and compassionate.
- Dr. Tenma: The main antagonist of the series and Astro's creator. Dr. Tenma was a former scientist working at the Ministry of Science, but lost his beloved son Tobio after showing him how discarded robots were scrapped. He built Astro to replace Tobio but found Astro was more powerful than he thought and shut him down. Dr. Tenma becomes somewhat insane and believes robots are superior to humans, and Astro should be their leader. In the final episodes, he tries to coax Astro to his side but fails, only to be forgiven by Astro and willingly surrenders himself to the authorities.
- Zoran: Astro's younger sister, constructed by Dr. O'Shay with the same AI technology seen in Astro. She shows the ability to talk to animals and understand their languages, befriending a bird who she names Houdini. She has a rather excitable personality, but at times envies Astro for the amount of attention he receives and is overemotional at times too, but she also looks up to and protects her brother. She claims herself to be the largest fan of the rocket ball player robot Harley.
- 'Yuko: Doctor O'Shay's assistant. She often fuses over him and repeatedly reminds him of schedules he must keep to. She is assisted by a flamingo-like robot named Momo.
- Inspector Tawashi: A police inspector who has a large nose resembling a shoe brush. While at first he shows a distrust towards robots in general, he grows to trust those closest to him, including his own robotic partner Delta, and Astro. He often banters with Dr. O'Shay in arguments.
- Epsilon: A female robot that protects Metro City's wildlife, most notably the marine animals. She can also detect and alter the weather to her will, such as dispeling tornadoes or generating miniature ocean currents. However, she chooses to only use her abilities for peaceful purposes instead of using them to fight.
- Delta: A robot policeman that serves as the leader of the "Anti-Robot Robot Squad".
- Reno: A close human friend of Astro. He originally started off in a robot circus where he disguised himself as a robot to avoid being separated from the other robotic performers whom he saw as his family. He becomes a student of Dr. O'Shay's and becomes quite skilled around robotics, but still maintains his acrobatic skills from the circus.
- The Blue Knight: A gallant anti-hero of sorts who was badly treated by humans and was rebuilt by Dr. Tenma and Shadow to act as a catalyst to boost Astro's power. He instead decided to wage war against mankind to bring freedom to robots. He dresses in blue armour and rides a white horse, his main weapon being a sword capable of producing shockwaves of energy. He ultimately builds a robotic empire towards the end of the series.
- 'Shadow': A highly intelligent robot created by Dr. Tenma to help him make Astro stronger. He wore a mask over his face for most of the season, eventually revealing his face after some reconstruction to be based on Dr. Tenma's.
- Mr. Drake: The secondary antagonist of the series. Drake is a politician who deeply hates robots, particularly robots with AI. He grows more paranoid over the course of the series, haunted by memories of a robot he befriended, and later on betrayed, in the past. This eventually drove him towards his hatred for machines.
- Skunk: A recurring villain who uses robots to commit various crimes, showing no concern and care for the robots he uses. Before his final capture, the police told Astro that he was one of Metro City's most dangerous criminals.
- Atlas: A robot constructed by Dr. Tenma similarly to Astro, built for a man named Tokogawa. Atlas is a clone of Tokogawa's deceased son Daichi, and has his memories. Atlas is a very destructive robot but maintains Daichi's dream of seeing Earth from space, which he eventually achieves unintentionally with Tokogawa. He floats away into space and returns as a recurring character.
- Pluto: A powerful combat-based robot built by Shadow to challenge Astro and other robots including Epsilon, Hercules, Harley. He gains emotions and befriends Astro and Zoran, and commits suicide to save the two from a clone of him, plunging into a volcano. However, he is rebuilt later on in the series.
- Kennedy, Abercrombie and Alejo: Astro's good friends and schoolmates. Kennedy plays soccer for his local team and has somewhat of a short temper. Alejo is portrayed as a science geek that is fascinated by Astro. Abercrombie is a bully that, at first, declines Astro, but soon becomes friends with him. Astro, along with Kennedy, Abercrombie, Alejo and a robot named Denkou, were also the founding members of a club called the "Skyriders".
- Makoto Tsumura
- Shinya Owada
- Hisashi Katsuta
- Banjou Ginga
- Akiko Kawase
- Akio Ōtsuka
- Kazuki Yao
- Kiku Hiramatsu
- Miki Maruyama
- Miyoko Shoji
- Motoko Kumai
- Naoki Tatsuta
- Nobuyuki Hiyama
- Rie Kugimiya
- Susumu Chiba
- Yuu Urata
- Yuuko Satou
English dub castEdit
- Candi Milo: Astro, Kennedy/Kenichi
- Dorian Harewood: Dr. Nagamiya Tenma, Shadow
- Wally Wingert: Dr. O'Shay/Ochanomizu, Skunk, Blue Knight, Wally Kisagari, Katari, Harley, Kato, Additional Voices
- Bill Farmer: Detective Tawashi
- David Rasner: Pluto
- Faith Salie: Yuko
- Greg Cipes: Daichi/Atlas
- Jennifer Darling: Nora/Robita
- Jonathan Todd Ross: Mechanic #2 (eps.9)
- Lara Jill Miller: Alejo/Tamao, Mimi
- Maile Flanagan: Matthew
- Sandy Martin: Abercrombie/Shibugaki
- Susan Blu: Zoran/Uran
- Dave Wittenberg
- Gregg Berger
- "Astro Boy Theme" by William Anderson
The US set is not fully complete, with one episode in the set being omitted called "Eternal Boy" and replaced with a clip show episode. The order of episodes on the set is the syndication-released order, which is different from the Japanese order, evidenced by characters such as Astro's sister, Zoran, showing up in episodes before they were introduced.