"Astroboy" is a cartoon that originated in Japan in the early 1980s. The story takes place in the future, but adopts classical literary themes like those found in "Pinocchio" and "Frankenstein." An artificial boy is built to replace a real child. In North American popular culture, "Astroboy" is an animated character with his roots in Japan.
Other versions of "Astroboy" have appeared repeatedly since the original manga, or comic book, appeared in 1955. Another serialized cartoon in 2003 was accompanied by another comic book that same year. Most North Americans are familiar with the 1980 cartoon series, but there was another cartoon series produced in 1963.
The Vintage Cartoon
In the early 1980s, "Astroboy" was a popular children's cartoon. The plot revolved around an android created by an engineer named Dr. Boyton. The scientist had lost his own son in a tragic car accident and hoped the robot would replace him. When he realized that this was impossible, Dr. Boyton abandoned the android, who was then adopted by another scientist named Dr. Elefun. Dr. Elefun encourages Astroboy to use his robotic powers to help humanity.
The Recent Film
"Astroboy" was also released as a full-length animated film in 2009. The movie featured the voice acting talents of such actors as Nick Cage and Freddie Highmore. The plot summary is slightly different. Astroboy is built in a futuristic setting by a brilliant engineer, but not to replace a child that was lost. He is not abandoned but is encouraged by Professor Tenma (his creator) to use his powers to aid humanity.
The Video Game
Not to lose a golden opportunity at capitalization, the 2009 film release was accompanied by a video game with the same plot and characters. Both the film and the video game were released in October. The game also includes scenes, characters and lore that aren't presented in the movie. Gameplay and graphics are designed with an inspiration from the original manga art of early "Astroboy" books.