Astro Boy (1963 TV series)

Astro Boy

Promotional artwork for the United States broadcast of Astro Boy
(Tetsuwan Atomu)
Genre Action, Adventure, Science fiction
Anime television series
Directed by Osamu Tezuka
Written by Yoshiyuki Tomino
Music by Tatsuo Takai
Studio Mushi Production
Licensed by

‹See Tfd›

NBC Enterprises (TV) (1963–1975)
The Right Stuf (VHS/DVD)
Network Fuji TV (1963–1966)
English network

‹See Tfd›

Nine Network (1965–1971)
Channel 0 (Victoria Only)
Syndication (1963–1975)
WNBC (1963–1966)
Adult Swim
Original run January 1, 1963 December 31, 1966
Episodes 193[1]
Anime film
Mighty Atom, the Brave in Space
Directed by Rintaro
Yoshitake Suzuki
Eiichi Yamamoto
Produced by Koji Bessho
Mori Masaki
Written by Rintaro
Yoshitake Suzuki
Eiichi Yamamoto
Music by Tatsuo Takai
Studio Mushi Production
Released July 26, 1964
Runtime 87 minutes
Related works

Astro Boy (鉄腕アトム Tetsuwan Atomu, "Mighty Atom", lit. "Iron Arm Atom") is a Japanese television series that premiered on Fuji TV on New Year's Day and is the first popular animated Japanese television series that embodied the aesthetic that later became familiar worldwide as anime.[2] It originated as a manga of the same name in 1952 by Osamu Tezuka, revered in Japan as the "God of Manga."[3] After enjoying success both in Japan and abroad as the first anime to be broadcast overseas, Astro Boy was remade in the 1980s under the same name(s), and in 2003 as Astro Boy: Mighty Atom. It lasted for four seasons, with a total of 193 episodes, the final episode presented on New Year's Eve 1966. At its height it was watched by 40% of the Japanese population who had access to a TV. In 1964, there was a feature-length animated movie called Mighty Atom, the Brave in Space (鉄腕アトム 宇宙の勇者 Tetsuwan Atomu: Uchū no yūsha) released in Japan. It was an anthology of three episodes; The Robot Spaceship, Last Day on Earth and Earth Defense Squadron. The latter two were filmed in color.

English-language version

For the English version, the producers, NBC Enterprises settled on "Astro Boy" after discussions between producer Fred Ladd and representatives from NBC. Of the first 124 episodes created (there were 193 total), 104 were adapted into the English version by Fred Ladd, and initially syndicated from September 7, 1963 through August 20, 1965, with repeats continuing until the series was withdrawn from syndication in the early 1970s. The names were adjusted for American audiences. Frederik L. Schodt, who created the English version of the original comic, said that the names were “cleverly” changed for American tastes.[4]

In one Astro Boy manga story Tezuka expressed frustration towards the restrictions passed by American television networks on the adaptation of the newly titled Astro Boy television series.[5] The U.S. version did not air an episode showing a dog being operated on, as the producers believed it was too cruel and grotesque to show. Tezuka criticized this as hypocrisy, as non-Japanese eat and kill animals in manners he described as “grotesque.” Tezuka added that many White people in Africa shot animals for sport, yet people in England spread false rumors about Japanese people eating dogs.[6]

In 2007 and 2008, Cartoon Network broadcast and webcast NBC’s syndicated edition of the original 1960s episodes as a part of its late night Adult Swim line-up. Only the first 52 episodes were aired.

The Right Stuf International and Madman Entertainment have recently released the entire dubbed series on DVD in two box sets. The Right Stuf sets also include episodes 1, 20, 34, 56, and 193 in Japanese with English subtitles, a behind-the-scenes film, and an interview with Fred Ladd.


At first Dr. Boynton enjoyed his company and having his son back, however rejected the robot after realizing he could not grow up physically like a real human child. With this, the robot Astor was sold to the cruel circus owner, The Great Cacciatore, in order to perform in a circus and renamed as Astro. After a fire broke out during a circus show, Astro saved Cacciatore and was granted his freedom, due in part by intervention from Dr. Elefun and following the Law of Robot Rights being passed to grant robots the ability to lead the same lives as humans.
Astro has several special powers, such as flying with rockets, super hearing, 100,000 horsepower, super human endurance and a machine gun which lies in his backside.
In the final episode, which aired only in Japan, Astro sacrifices himself to save the Earth while carrying a shutter which would normalize the sun which was threatening all life on the planet.
Astro is voiced by Mari Shimizu with the exception of episodes 97-106 where he is voiced by Kazue Tagami.
He was thrown away by Dr. Boynton as scrap for being a failed prototype and reactivated by Dr. Elefun when Astro went missing during a search for a deadly H-bomb. The two found each other deep in the ocean due to transmitting on a common frequency, and Cobalt managed to save his brother from certain destruction.
Cobalt is voiced by Kiyoshi Komiyama
Dr. Elefun had made him alongside other robot babies, but Uran took him as the family's new baby brother.
Tamao is a very good friend for Astro while Shibugaki is rather a bully who learns of Astro's moral values after some adventures.
Inspector Tawashi's partneer who is made for comical relief, he acknowledge Astro's bravery and often try to defend him from his partneer Tawashi, specially when Astro is accused of a crime which he didn't commit.
Nakamura is voiced by Shinpei Sakamoto
A police inspector who have a huge distaste for robots and doesn't had much faith in Astro till he manage to prove his worth.
Tawashi is voiced first by Shingo Kanemoto and secondly by Koichi Chiba
However, Astro manage to beat Atlas and save Dr. Ram, who realize his mistake.



Astro Boy was named the 86th best animated series by IGN, calling it the first popular anime TV series.[7]



  1. "Astroboy: An Anime Legend". IGN. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
  2. Lambert, David (2006-07-01). "Astroboy - Press Release for Astro Boy (1963) - Ultra Collector's Edition Set 1 DVDs!". Retrieved 3 January 2009.
  3. "Profile: Tezuka Osamu". Anime Academy. Archived from the original on 1 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-30.
  4. Schodt, Frederik L. "Introduction." Astro Boy Volume 1 (Comic by Osamu Tezuka). Dark Horse Comics and Studio Proteus. Page 3 of 3 (The introduction section has 3 pages). ISBN 1-56971-676-5.
  5. Schodt, Frederik L. "Introduction." Astro Boy Volume 1 (Comic by Osamu Tezuka). Dark Horse Comics and Studio Proteus. Page 2 of 3 (The introduction section has 3 pages). ISBN 1-56971-676-5.
  6. Tezuka, Osamu. Astro Boy Volume 1 (Comic by Osamu Tezuka). Dark Horse Comics and Studio Proteus. 34-35. ISBN 1-56971-676-5.
  7. "86, Astro Boy". IGN. 2009-01-23. Archived from the original on 19 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
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