Astro Boy / The Complete Series : 4 of 5
At last I've finished all 50 episodes of the latest Astro Boy animated series! This five-DVD set covers the most recent version of the Astro Boy story to come from Japan, although unfortunately only the American dub is available (it's not so bad, really). This is the series that was broadcast on Kids WB, but they cancelled it so quickly that over half of these episodes were never seen! It's really a shame, not only because they did all the work to dub all 50 shows, but because the quality of the animation and the depth of the story are so incredibly far beyond any other Saturday morning animation currently in production. The characters are all exactly true to Osamu Tezuka's designs, and the backgrounds are filled with detail and life (I always get excited by futuristic cities, and they definitely deliver in that department!). The entire story arc follows Tezuka's major theme of human/robot strife and a struggle to live together in peace, and the writers managed to squeeze in all kinds of cool robots from the manga. I was shocked and amazed to watch the two-part episode that even weaved in part of the Phoenix saga (and the animation of the Phoenix herself was wonderful)! There are so many fun characters that you really get to know over 50 episodes, including Astro's school friends, and of course, Mustachio (though they only call him Detective Kisaragi in the dub). The final showdown with the robot rebellion and the last stand against Tenma is amazing and emotional, too (though I'm sure the emotion is toned down for American audiences). I've really enjoyed watching this set - too bad it wasn't a big hit!