Astro Boy: Tetsuwan Atom - A forgotten manga.
The introduction to this series does a really good job of explaining the importance of Astro Boy, originally called "Mighty Atom" in Japan, and providing some histories without dragging on too long, during 3 volumes. Astro Boy is also called the "Mickey Mouse" of Japan, for those who don't know.
So the original synopsis of this manga tells the history of the director of the Ministry of Science's son that is killed in a car accident, so he creates a robot to replace him but then sells him after being disillusioned by the fact that Astro Boy isn't his
real son. After seeing him perform in a circus act, Prof. Ochanomizu takes him from the circus and raises him like a son. He also apparently teaches him how to use his robot powers, superhero style. The director has a real mad scientist look to him, and completely freaks out when Astro Boy won't grow. Either way, he comes across as a completely irrational villain. In contrast, Prof. Ochanomizu is a kind hearted rotund scientist who apparently adopts Astro Boy no questions asked. Given the fact that they are both scientists, Astro Boy's two parental figures seem to represent the fact that science can be used for both good and evil.
I haven't seen such a complex character in a log time and Astro Boy (as a manga) just shows that appearances deceive when it comes to old manga properly of a series that have been having several adaptations throughout the years. Astro Boy holds a strange sense of dark peril, behind the wacky action and cutesy look of everything. Even violent, things happen to the characters who do nothing but good, and just when you think things couldn't get any worse, they do.
Personally, I think that Astro Boy it's a splendid character when it comes to characterization, he's heroic, honest, and willing to throw himself in any sort of danger, even if it means perishing in the process. All of these things are a common trait in the hero factor, but what makes this infinitely more interesting is the fact that Astro is a child. The readers can not forget that this is a manga created originally in 1951 and even now is a talked character, with a prequel animation called Atom: The Beginning. Astro takes on insane responsibilities, not just because he's the only one who can do it, but because he likes helping those who can't help themselves. As you know, Dr. Tenma made Astro for one reason, to replicate his son. Although it isn't stressed hardly at all in the manga when Astro isn't out saving the world he's doing normal things a kid would: playing with friends and having fun.
Astro Boy it's not the Tezuka's top notch manga but surely is in the top three manga of him, making it highly enjoyable and worth reading more than once.
Story: 8 | Art: 8 | Character: 7 | Enjoyment: 7
Personal Note: This manga was edited in Portuguese around 2011, making it quite rare to find it and it was only sold this version of the manga.