In the distant year 2003, Japan is a technological utopia, and robots are everywhere. One such robot, Tobio, was built by the brilliant Dr. Tenma to replace his dead son. But when it soon becomes apparent that Tobio is an imperfect copy of his departed child, Dr. Tenma throws him out. He is rescued from the scrap heap by the benevolent Professor Ochanomizu, a crusader for robot civil rights. Now the little robot, renamed Astro Boy, is given a mission to defend Japan and the world from all manner of sinister threats. Using his seven super-abilities and 100,000 horsepower worth of strength to battle evil, Astro hopes to set an example to the world of the good which all robots are capable of.
Tetsuwan Atom was published in English as Astro Boy by Dark Horse based on the 23-volume bunkoban reprint from March 27, 2002 to January 28, 2004 and is published in omnibus volumes since September 23, 2015.
Manga history! This should really be read by everyone.
There really isn't an overarching story, but rather just a collection of stand-alone chapters. The chapters however, can be really long, like half a volume long. I would recommend reading all of them but it can be a bit of a drag sometimes since not all stories are especially interesting. One of the real essentials is one of the few real arcs, "Once Upon a Time" spanning volume 6-8. The arc is also a good example of the darker side of the manga. The stories are often about the nature of humanity, violence and war. There's
usually a lesson to be learned at the end.
The art style is childish, but it really is excellent. Tezuka has a really cinematic style and is great with shadows. The characters are also great but unfortunately most of the main characters just don't get enough development or relevant screen time. My favourite characters were Astro Boy himself, and his creator Dr. Tenma. Dr. Tenma is not a good guy but he's not fully evil either, he's a very grey character. Dr. Tenma doesn't appear that often, but whenever he does, it's a highlight. The one-off characters are also really great, and all have their own back story, motivation och development.
Unfortunately the manga overall is very up and down. I think for younger children it doesn't really matter, but for an adult some chapters don't really leave an impact.
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