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The Astro Boy Essays: Osamu Tezuka, Mighty Atom, and the Manga/Anime Revolution
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The Astro Boy Essays: Osamu Tezuka, Mighty Atom, and the Manga/Anime Revolution

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  62 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
The pioneering genius of Japan’s “God of Comics,” Osamu Tezuka (1928–89), is examined through his life’s masterwork: Tetsuwan Atomu, also known as Mighty Atom or Astro Boy, a comic series featuring a cute little android who yearns to be more human. The history of Tetsuwan Atomu and Tezuka’s role in it is a road map to understanding the development of new media in Japan and ...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published July 1st 2007 by Stone Bridge Press
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Matt Ely
3.5 for being workmanlike but failing to be much more.

A narrow look at Astro Boy. Tezuka's life and other work are secondary as this is very focused on being a comprehensive timeline of all things Mighty Atom, whether they're interesting or not, gosh darn it! It felt like the author could have given the material broader relevance, but didn't. The book calls itself "essays" but really that's an excuse to have chapters that don't tie to a larger idea and build on one another.

It's decent. I learn
Mar 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theoretical, comics
An essential read for every Osamu Tezuka fan and people who are interested in the origin of anime and manga. It doesn't only give detailed background on the person of the manga god Osamu Tezuka, his influences, his demons and his flaws, but also a rough but very precise info on the early history of animation from the 40s propaganda films by Mitsuyo Seo to the 80s work of Hayao Miyazaki. Furthermore it gives a good impression of some technical aspects of animation and the boundaries of limited an ...more
Dec 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
The perfect book for me to pick up at Shibuya Tower. Somewhere between my personal desire and what others in Japan have given me, I find myself surrounded by Astro Boy toys and books. When I first started to go to Japan, Osamu Tezuka was one of the sources of understanding that culture and it was such a pleasant adventure. Frederik L. Schodt's book on the culture and history of Astro Boy is a must-read for anyone who have even the slightest interest in manga and its history.
Tezuka is without a
Aug 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
I can think of no better author for this book than Frederik Schodt. He was one of the first American "otaku," a leader in early Japanese-to-English manga translations and imports, translator of works such as Barefoot Gen, Astro Boy, The Rose of Versailles and Phoenix, writer of the groundbreaking Manga! Manga!, and personal friend of Osamu Tezuka. He's done so much to establish Japan as a major cultural producer internationally that he was given the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese govern ...more
Sarah Hayes
Jan 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
An excellent collection of essays analyzing the Astro Boy canon and examining Tezuka's life as both a scientist and a manga-ka. A lot of great insight in one book.

One issue: I wish Schodt did not try to brush off Tezuka's overtly racist artwork (the images of black people as grass skirt-wearing savages with big lips and so forth) as just a sign of his being influenced by Disney or that he didn't intend the art to be racist. Authorial intent means jack squat when the actual finished product depi
May 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Astro Boy Essays details many aspects of Osamu Tezuka's personal life, and the surroundings that led to the robot's creation. Yes, it's a history lesson, but Tezuka is a fascinating person to learn about. He was heavily influenced by old Walt Disney cartoons, and was always creating new and unique characters. The book focuses primarily on Astro Boy, but it briefly mentions some of his other works. One particularly fascinating aspect of Tezuka's manga was how he would treat his characters as ...more
Oct 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Highly enjoyable. Schodt is a real mensch, as well as being Tezuka's long-time interpreter. Interesting stuff on how Tezuka presferred the comic Astro Boy to the anime, and was crestfallen how the rest of his works (on the Buddha, Hitler, vampires, princesses, etc.) were overshadowed by this one work. Lots of good images & photos. The photo of a model of Ab lying in state at the 2003 Robocon, lovingly attended by a phalanx of Mitsubishi industrial robots, is priceless, as is the jewel-encrus ...more
Mar 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Astro boy made an incredibly impression on me as a young 8 year old boy. I enjoyed this work very much. Schodt did a wonderful job in exploring the person (Osamu Tezuka) behind the great creation of Tetsuwan Atomu (Astro boy), as well as the iconic character himself. This well researched book also contains excellent illustrations with an episode list in the appendix. Highly, highly recommend for fans of Anime, Manga, or the history of cartoons or anyone interested in this popular form of culture
Alicia Wright
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I got this book in university as research material for a project, partly... but I am a huge Astro Boy fan too and I highly recommend this to anyone who is.

I read it from cover to cover, even though I was partly reading it for reasearch. I don't really know what to say about it though. I thoroughly enjoyed it and at the same time, I learned more about Atom than any sane person probably should.
Jon Holt
Jul 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: research
Light read. Author is certainly one of the best people to write this, but I feel there's too much time spent on the tv show when the manga is ultimately far more interesting and will draw people to this book.
Brandon Telg
Jun 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I am a huge Tezuka fan and this is truly fascinating reading if you are the same. Otherwise, unless you are interested in the history of Japanese animation and comics design, you may not be interested in reading this one.
Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of two books I claim as my Scriptures of anime and manga research. Schodt has never shirked his research as a manga scholar and knows his stuff.

This biographical account of Tezuka and his many creations covers a lot of ground, all of it necessary.
Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Anyone who loves anime and manga should read this! Tezuka started it all!
Man Solo
Mar 07, 2010 marked it as to-read
Recommends it for: everyone
This is a must read. I'm going to get back to this asap.
Jacob Fink
Jun 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Did you know that Astro Boy pioneered shoddy animation? I didn't until I read this well written book. It's a breezy read and interesting history of first anime program!
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Frederik L. Schodt is an American translator, interpreter and writer.

Schodt's father was in the US foreign service, and he grew up in Norway, Australia, and Japan. The family first went to Japan in 1965 when Schodt was fifteen. They left in 1967 but Schodt remained to graduate from Tokyo's American School in Japan, in 1968. After entering the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1970 Schodt
More about Frederik L. Schodt...

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“Even if there are no new Mighty Atom manga or films created, the Mighty Atom character has become a permanent fixture of both Japanese and global pop culture.” 2 likes
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