Saturday 20 February 2016

Yet Another Astro Boy

Astro Boy Reboot
I grew up on Astro Boy, and my mum sort of grew up on Astro boy too. But different ones. This is because they keep making them. I've said before that they keep wheeling the little guy out to see how the new generation will take him every couple of decades or so, and that is an apt assessment of the way it's been handled.

Anyway. They made it again in 2003, and Astro Boy, in its third go round, is a well animated, science fiction, adventure cartoon. It's much of the same sort of thing as both the 1963 and 1980 cartoons. It's Astro Boy. Like, proper Astro Boy. Not like that 2009 3D, CGI movie that is not Astro Boy. It isn't. It feels wrong.

Have you seen it?


That's mean. It tried to be Astro Boy, bless its little rocket socks. It put on the underpants and it went flying high in the sky, and all that jazz, but it just didn't really get there. To the Astro Boy place. It got to the sky. I mean, I think it did. Where does the sky start?

Anyway, the one that is is because it's got most of the old stuff from the first two series with some more focussed storytelling in the major story arcs, and a more deliberately dark tone.

I say that it's more deliberate, because both the preceding series are pretty dark. There was a lot of death, and Astro frequently came out the other side of an episode feeling like no one really won. But they were also more playful and optimistic than the new series. Call it seesawing. Call it tonal diversity. Either way, the new one is more consistent in what it wants to be (unless you watch it in Japanese, in which case it still is, only less so).

It's also slicker. That's probably its main selling point over the other two. It's a slick 50 episode action-adventure cartoon with prejudice, robots, and all that atomic age Pinocchio guff that we get out of bed for.

It's a good thing they did this. Plugging the little, robot guy back in and polishing him up every 20 years or so for another go round is going to be how we mark the generations in eras to come. He's good for us with all his butt machine guns and finger lasers.

Oh, B-T-dubs, did I mention that they're making a new one?

Yeah, that's what that whole Astro Boy Reboot thing was at the top of the post. Did you think that the thing I was just talking about was the reboot? No, that is not the case.

Anyhoo, apparently, someone didn't get the memo, and they're getting him out o' the drawer (P.S. punned the hell out of that) sooner than they meant to. I mean, he's not due for another 7 years, and they go and do this:

Now, there is a lot of implication that my little buddy, Astro, be living it up in some sort of digital environment, where he himself may be a a digital thing, or an avatar of the more modern vernacular.

And, I'm not saying I don't want this, because I do. I want all the Astro Boys. Except the one that I mentioned not wanting earlier. That, I don't want.

But, I guess I'm concerned at the direction they're taking, and I don't really understand yet if they're wheeling out a new Astro Boy or whether they're just wheeling out the brand for a thing that isn't really Astro Boy.

This may or may not be a thing that I want. I mean, perhaps they're trying to appeal to a modern audience with all them computers, and gigabytes, and the like, but robots are just around the corner. They're soon, but not yet.

Does their lack of immediacy make them unappealing to children? I mean robots were nowhere in sight when I was one of those, but they appealed the shit out of me.

Still do.

Regardless, it looks pretty, and I'll probably be watching it.

Astro Boy Reboot Cityscape

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