Japan in the near future suffers an unexplained major disaster. Five years later, reconstruction is well underway. Two young researchers at a university are pinning all their hopes on robot development. Now their new interpretation of the eternal hero Astro Boy up until his birth is just about to start!
Erupting from the embers of a renowned yet moribund franchise, Atom the Beginning is an exceptionally flamboyant van Gogh painting, determined not to be discounted or disdained. To be clear, the thunderous orchestral strings and dashing color palette are hardly synonymous with Astro Boy’s more reclusive persona. As a modernized prequel to the original, Atom the Beginning diligently distances itself from the psychological analytics of its predecessor, establishing its own intimate identity for itself. Atom the Beginning is exuberant. It’s headstrong. It’s innovative. It’s sincere. It’s slightly self-reflective. It’s by far the most entertaining non-sequel of the Spring 2017 season. And Atom the Beginning has
little concern with being anything else.
With a rising star of a chief director (Katsuyuki Motohiro) and a fresh-faced duo (After the Rain) performing the theme song, Atom the Beginning is the creative love child of the newest and brightest talents in the industry. Indeed, this show is the very reflection of its titular robot, it too brought into existence by equally vivacious youths in a reputable industry (the industry in this case being engineering). Umataro Tenma and Hiroshi Ochanomizu are Atom the Beginning’s innovative engineers; they are iconoclastic intellectuals, courageously combating the conventional machination methods, and revolutionizing the industry in the process. Tenma and Ochanomizu advocate for sentient robots, as opposed to the standard human-operated ones, and the robot which they built (Atom) is a brazen representation of their belief.
However, it’s the separate interpretations of Atom’s objective that causes philosophical conflicts between the duo. Tenma, the personification of Atom the Beginning’s unabashed confidence, only values robots in relation to physical strength, sneering in disdain at those weaker than his project; to Tenma, life itself is a test of masculinity and only a robot that comprehends this is worthy of his admiration. In comparison, Ochanomizu, the self-insert protagonist that he is, strives to craft a robot capable not only of independent thought but of empathy as well; to that end, he at one point labels Atom “the Kindhearted Child of Science”. It is Atom that combines the passion and physicality of Tenma’s vision as well as the rationality and altruism of Ochanomizu’s ideals. The scenes contrasting the philosophies of Tenma and Ochanomizu are not only the unequivocal highlights of the show but they also foreshadow the events that occur in Astro Boy. It’s such a shame that Atom the Beginning doesn’t dedicate as much detail to the other characters.
In Production I.G. (Attack on Titan, Psycho Pass) and Astro Boy (anime’s first truly iconic franchise) backing this show, it comes as a surprise that Atom the Beginning entered this season as a bit of an unheralded dark horse but, considering the amount of popular shows it had to contend with, it was to be expected. However, it was its status (recognized enough to be acknowledged by seasonal viewers yet not enough to warrant mainstream success) that allowed Atom the Beginning to flutter its wings in the calming breeze, attempting a few narrative styles, introducing ingenious plot threads (the mystery behind A-105 in particular), sometimes clumsily tripping over its shoelaces, and all without generating a mass following. Compared to the corporate entities of this season aiming only for grandiose viewership numbers, Atom the Beginning is a representation of the typical sitcom uncle, laid-back and self-assured. Sure, this show can deliver exaggerated explosions and scintillating visuals like the others (view the latter episodes for prime examples) but it’s when the stakes are as low-risk as possible that this show is most comfortable. It’s episode 3 that serves as a microcosm for the Atom the Beginning adventure: an exhibition of skill transforms into a character-building experience for the cast and concludes by warming the heart.
The fundamental issue with this show is that it’s thoroughly unconcerned with what it deems as trivial details, naturally causing Atom the Beginning to exist as an incomplete organism. This show single-mindedly follows its objective yet its refusal to stay in one place creates a jarring, haphazard tempo. Of course, this contributes much to the blatant deficiencies, overlooked elements, and unanswered questions in Atom the Beginning’s plot. Yet, it’s because of how charming and sincere this show is that you can bypass the plot holes, and revel in its overpowering machismo. To be certain, you won’t find a lead character as charismatic as Tenma, a tournament arc as realistic, or a fighting technique as reliable as the High Speed Beat Punch, nor a theme song as high-octane in the typical anime schlock. My favorite non-sequel of this season, flaws and all, Atom the Beginning holds its own against the greats of its genre, even in comparison to good ol’ Astro.
(Side note: because you took the time to read through this, I have a game for you. Try to piece together the last letter in each sentence of the final paragraph to figure out who the best grill of the season is. Have fun!)
Atom: The Beginning had a great premise. Tell the story of Doctor Tenma and Doctor Ochanomizu as they create Bewusstsein, the AI system which will revolutionize robotics and will lead to creation of one of the greatest anime/manga icons of all time, Atom.
And we get that, but we also get a lot of useless filler. First 7 or 8 episodes work in repetitive episodic format. X Slice of life situation happens. Everything goes well, until something goes wrong. A106 saves the day. The end. This would've been fine if it built the characters of the show, or the world of the
show. But sadly it doesn't happen. After the first half of the series we enter the second half which has continuous plot up until the very end. Aaaaaaand...it's not very good either. There is some action but it's bland. Characters are mostly uninteresting, the world itself is uninteresting. The show itself is uninteresting. We don't get to see how Robots deal with gained humanity. We don't get to see early stages of AI exploration. We get a fighting tournament.
Only episode which somewhat saves this anime from being completely mediocre, is the finale which at last brings some retrospective and contemplation.
As I said, the characters are uninteresting. All of them lack depth. All of them lack originality. Only Tenma occasionally shows deeper characteristics. But these moments are rare. Usually he's just a male tsundere/genius that doesn't act as genius. Hiroshi is the good guy, Motoko is the smug girl and Ran is the shy loli.
From the production standpoint it's fine. Music is good but forgetable, animation is fine (I am glad they kept the Tezuka's trademark noses) and CGI is actually pretty good.
I was looking forward to this anime the most in the last season. Sadly it disappointed me, but the final episode gave me a little hope for the future. If the series returns for another season, I hope this will be the path it'll take. Anime about beginnings of Atom deserves something better than episode about making udon.
The fact of how underrated and overlooked this anime is, makes me quite sad. and the fact that a lot of generic anime is rated higher than this, makes me salty. but I ain't going to talk about how salty or sad I am on this review, but what makes Atom: The beginning so special for me?
TL;DR: Overall Section
Now, I'm sure that many people out there have watched Astroboy at least once . Astroboy was an important part of my childhood as how other anime like Dragon ball or even Saint Seiya were childhood for others (sadly Super ended being garbage) so knowing that a
prequel to Astroboy was going to happen in spring season caught my eye, I, of course didn't expect a full packed action like Astroboy were. but at least a bit of what happened a long while ago, before Astroboy was even created, a past where Tenma and Ochanomizu were lab pals.
What inspired them to create an A.I that could think like a Human? a Robot capable of feeling something? be aware of spoilers in case I let some squish over here
we are introduced on a futuristic world were robots with A.I are possible for easy tasks like construction, traffic, or even partners for humans(something like dogs for example). so what lead Ochanomizu and Tenma to attempt creating a robot with "Heart"? will they succeed on the Idea of creating robots that can think, act and feel like a Human? that lead into creating A10-6, Ochanomizu and Tenma's latest creation, a robot that has a "heart" on itself and can think like a human, but with improved strength and reflexes
as for where the story is heading, this is more of a SoL anime with some heartwarming moments, of course there will be some development, specially for A10-6. yet, the concept of improving the "bewwustsein" system to make a even better robot with a "heart" is still there, and while they experiment with A10-6 on basic tasks, they get more ideas of what can they do to improve the A.I for upcoming projects.
let's not forget the nostalgia factor of how the idea of a Heart grows while we think of their success with Astroboy
the art for both OP and ED were gorgeous, I also like the Idea of not depending that much on CG graphics on robots (with the exception of robo-fights, yet it didn't look bad at all) there was an episode were the animation quality did fall considerably, yet it wasn't really bothering me, overall the art was really appealing and beautiful. I won't get enough from Tenma and Ochanomizu "Nose grabbing" when they succeed on something XD
Both OP and ED delivered on the Soundtrack department. the OST was really special to me, quite touching when it had to. I liked A10-6 voice overall, Seiyuus did a decent job, not complains here
who would thought that a single robot could develop this much? proving the success of the "Bewusstsein" system, the development of A10-6 was excelent, it was a bit slow, but was completely worth it. even the OP defines what is he feeling (at least that's what I get from the lyrics) feelings that are still unkown for him, questions without answers for a robot, what is his purpose?
the last episode was really heartbreaking while we were hearing A10-6 inner thoughts as how he feels with himself and what has become of his "life" while having deep thoughts and being cared by the whole gang.
oh yeah, before I forget, as for the other cast of characters, they are unique on their own, I got my appreciation over Motoko-waifu xD, and some nostalgic factors over Tenma and Ochanomizu, can't speak much of them, because, after all, this story is more about A10-6 IMO
Since the first episode, I knew what I was up to. What I can say is that if you enjoyed Astroboy, you will surely enjoy this one
TL;DR: Nostalgia hits like a train with an Unique setting and refreshing premise
Atom: The Beginning is another re-imagining of the classic anime, Astro Boy. The way it goes about doing this is handled a lot better than maybe it's MAL score might suggest.
I thought the story was great overall. Each mini arc that was given to us throughout the series was interesting. In particular, I thought the last part of the story was amazing.
The art and animation wasn't anything spectacular but I also had no complaints about it either. I share most of the sentiments for the soundtrack and sound design as well. The character designs felt familiar yet updated for a more modern look.
Where Atom: The
Beginning really shines is with its characters. The way how they interacted with one another, Ochanomizu and Umatarou in particular, made for an entertaining show. I also thought that the main and the supporting characters all got sufficient development.
In closing, Atom: The Beginning was an anime that I was able to get a lot of enjoyment from and I'm surprised at how underrated the show actually is. I definitely encourage you all to give this anime a watch!