Astro Boy is an immortal hero. Created in 1952 by Osamu Tezuka in a series of now cult and republished manga, then a hero in a famous animation series from 1963, the character has continued to be reimagined by other artists, just like Batman or Superman. Several comics, two TV series, films and even video games have been dedicated to him for over fifty years.

Naoki Urasawa for example, one of the greatest contemporary manga authors (20th Century Boys, Monster) has made ’Astro Boy the hero of his series Pluto, published between 2003 and 2009. Unlike the last film dedicated to Astro Boy in 2009 - which is best forgotten- Pluto (which develops a short history of Tezuka in a saga of 8 unforgettable volumes) is an unmissable work for any manga reader.

 

Atom the beginning - astro boy

© Osamu Tezuka /Masami Yuuki /Tetsuro Kasahara /Macoto Tezuka /HERO¹S INC 2015
©Tezuka Productions 2015

 

Atom The Beginning is a new series which can already feature amongst the best works dedicated to this little robot. It tells the origin story of Astro Boy 30 years before the creation of the character and presents a sort of “prequel” to the adventures that we all know. After a major catastrophe which is not explained, Japan is rebuilt using robotics. Teams of students compete to work on artificial intelligence. Two of them (including the young doctor-in-training Tenma) manage to create the first prototype with a conscience and a generous heart, which they call Six. He is challenged by another very powerful robot called Mars, designed by a young woman. Baptised in homage to the god of war, it promises to become the nemesis of Six. Whilst the little Astro does not appear in this first volume, we can of course guess that Six is an initial version of the robot.

 

Full of wonderful action scenes, volume 1 of Atom The Beginning is a pleasure to read, and makes us want to read the next one! Released on 20 May by Kana, the series is still being published in Japan.

 

Atom the beginning

Cover “Atom the Beginning, volume 1” - Editions Kana