‘Astro Boy’ reboot brings new life to the old anime series

The trailer looks refreshingly retro.

 

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Published Mar 22, 2015   Updated May 29, 2021, 6:18 am CDT

Astro Boy dates back to the 1950s, beginning as a manga series before spawning one of the formative TV adaptations of the anime genre.

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As a Pinocchio-style adventure about a superpowered robot, Astro Boy struck a chord with generations of children. The 1980s anime still has a lot of fans, but recent attempts to revive the franchise were less successful. Fortunately, this new 26-episode animated series looks a lot better than the the CGI movie that flopped in 2009.

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This teaser clip arrived online on Saturday, courtesy of French studio Caribara Animation. Caribara is relaunching Astro Boy with Tezuka Productions, the studio founded by Astro Boy creator Osamu Tezuka. The art style is a mix of 2D animation and CGI, and has an appropriately retro-futuristic aesthetic for a story about a robot kid that was originally written in the 1950s.

This hand-drawn style feels like a good choice for Astro Boy, much in the same way that Disney has never successfully rolled out a modern 3D-animated Mickey Mouse movie. For comparison, here’s what Astro Boy looked like in his first TV incarnation, back in the early 1960s.

Whereas this is what the ill-fated computer animated movie looked like in 2009. 

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Last month we heard about another Astro Boy movie coming from a U.S. production company, Animal Logic. Their producer described a live-action superhero franchise modeled on Iron Man, which sounded pretty bizarre given the overabundance of existing superhero franchises plus Hollywood’s poor track record with live-action anime adaptations.

Caribara’s 2D-animated series looks like a more appropriate interpretation of the old Astro Boy. Although who knows, maybe Hollywood is finally ready for live-action version as well.

Screengrab via Caribara Animation/YouTube

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*First Published: Mar 22, 2015, 7:18 pm CDT