Late October 2009 In USA and January 2010 will see the release of the Animation of the classic Astroboy. This animation calssic was created by Osama Tezuka a way back in 1952 right through until 1968 and was called “Tetsuwan Atom” and it was a alot years later USA got the first english spoken version (I’m unsure if the cartoon was aired in UK though).
Osam Tezuka has been credited many titles like “God Of Manga”, “God of Anime” and even the “Japanese Disney” which upset the great man(though he was inpired by disney and Bambi). Along with Astroboy, he created Kimba The white Lion which many critics believe was the imspiration for the Lion King (maybe a post for a another day) but what we can say is the big puppy eyes we see in anime he was man to start the trademark style.
Im a massive Anime fan I havent seen much of Tezuka classics, though I have seen alot of pictures read a few of the graphic novels and I can see and respect why the animation had become a cultural part of American and in some other lands. Its Like Mickey Mouse to Walt Disney, Astroboy is to Tezuka. It was shown by NBC during a period of time when the world was recovering from World War 2 along with world economy recovering, people will simply rebuilding themselves and it was also a fascinating time for techonolgy with alot of gadgets like microwaves, the sort of things we take for granted these days. television was improving slighty, lots of programmes and films where sciFi based so anything robotic was big news.
Basically anything we grew up watching, buying, doing when we were younger is iconic be it for positive or negative reasons. I’m one of Thacther’s children, the children of Britain who grew up with iron lady dictator in power, iconic things I remember are Ulysees 31, dogtainian and muskerhounds, rainbow, return of the jedi, Miyazaki’s Laputa, the list goes on.
So why has Astroboy and its up coming film caused so much stir among many fans? Americanizing is a little harsh, yes a American company was involved but so was a company from Hong Kong and Tezuka productions (a company started by or on the great mans behalf) which shows they production team want to keep orginallity. The tv shows have been made twice, once in 1980’s and again 2000 and the 2000 edition did have alot of Americanisms in it but no comments where made then. I have to say the two things I see why people are up in arms about the new anime is the use of big known Hollywood actors and the new astroboy look.
Astroboy himself is voiced by Freddie Highmore (spiderwick chronicles, golden compass) who 17 year old english actor , Astroboy’s father and creator Dr Tenma is voiced by Nicholas Cage and the choice of him as a important character is annoying alot of people the most. Donald Sutherland, Bill Nighy, Kristen Bell, Eugene Levy and Little Britians Matt Lucas are in it as well. It has always been traditional to use actual voice actors rather than big hollywood stars in animations especially Japanese ones, the producers want the money to fly in so they chose these big names, but if this anime is an iconic kids classic, why is there a need for known actors, the actual fact its a classic story (based loosely on pinocchio) so why use these actors. What I will say is was there any outcry of use of big hollywood actors for Miyazaki’s and Studio Ghibli’s classic animes? No despite Miyazaki views of fat cat coperate Disney.
Well we know Astroboy was a story of a era in the future with androids and Dr Tenma created a android boy called Astro to replace his son tobio who was killed in a car accident and built the android in the same image as his son. Astroboy is an 9 year old android boy but suddenly the new film he is a 16/17 year old teen with a english accent! It maybe the fact astroboy was roughly the same age as the children who watched him and that now he’s an adolescent teen boy?! The other thing he wore just pants in the original now he’s virtually fully clothed and to many its astro hair quiff the only recognisable thing from the original.
I cant see how itsgoing tobe an Americanised as not every actor is american some are british, the production team is mixed. I am however a supporter of keeping some originality if your going to make or remake a classic or simply loose that loyal fanbase, so keep astroboy similar to the original cartoons. As for voices it doesnt matter for me , everyone one these days wants to make a few extra bucks and in the year(s) of the remakes or reboots, watch it as if its one of those reboots, just look at star trek! So wait until the animation is released go watch and then judge the animation then.
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Astroboy new film ,is it a Americanizing of a Kids iconic classic animation? by Paul Devine is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 UK: Scotland License.
Based on a work at thepeoplesmovies.wordpress.com.