Just in time for the release of the Astro Boy 3D movie October 23 2009, Sony Pictures releases the 2003 50-episode Astro Boy Japanese cartoon series on 5 separate DVD. This Japanese take on the Pinocchio story with a robotic twist was in its third incarnation with the 2003 version. This is a fun if somewhat violent manga DVD series that may be a bit too violent and complex for its intended audience of young kids but is fun and visually interesting enough for fans of the genre.
Astro Boy Volume 1 begins with the birth of Astro Boy, a robot with something called Kokoro which is basically self-awareness. It is only on the DVD’s fourth episode that the viewer gets enough back story necessary to figure out what is going on with some characters like Dr. Tenma and who “Tobio” is. By episode 9 Astro even gets to wear more than just black underwear.
Each DVD in the 2003 Astro Boy series features 10 episodes. As is the case for the other volumes in the series, some of the stories on Volume 1 are interconnected. The series itself features two story arcs: the growth of Astro and society accepting robots and recognizing their rights.
The basic story line for most episodes on the Astro Boy Volume 1 DVD is either some form of robot goes berserk and Astro comes to the rescue, he discovers something about himself and his past, or he does something to prove robots are good.
Most of the ten episodes on this DVD are pretty decent aside from episode 5 on DVD 1, Demos. You do, however, have to get over the overacting and emoting of most of the characters, something quite common to Japanese manga.
Another Astro Boy DVD review