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!
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!
Honestly, as much as I somewhat enjoyed this series, I can't help but think that so much of its potential was left unused and wasted.
Atom: The Beginning had a good basis upon which a fantastic series could have been established, the story was there, the characters were there, what could go wrong, right? Well, this is usually what happens when what a series has to truly offer is left unexplored, here we had the concept of artificial consciousness, AI is one thing, but to give a machine a soul, to make it sentient and aware, to have it feel and connect on a "human" level,
it's exactly that what the series first hints that it will be focusing on, instead, it was left ignored and the application of it thrown aside until the couple last episodes, and even then it wasn't fully explored or given the attention it deserved.
Most of the episodes presented were fillers, and yes an argument could be made that those helped establish more character development, but I feel like that's something that could have been done while focusing on the actual plot of the series, instead, we get a touch of useless scenes here, a bit of useless twists there, and a side dash of drama to top it all, sigh..
Overall, this is was an "alright" anime deserving of a general rating of 7.