Astro Boy began life as a comic book, but most North Americans will remember the TV series' he starred in. The first series aired in 1963 and was seen by children in over 50 countries. They watched Astro Boy as he discovered him place in society and fought to gain acceptance. The same story was told in 1980 when Astro returned to television. There were 52 episodes created for Japan which were later adapted into 51 episodes for North America. The episodes were placed in a different order, and American actors dubbed new dialog, but the themes remain intact.
This 8 disc set contains 51 episodes from the series in 4 double-slim cases. I found the hubs on the case very loose, and a few of my discs simply won't stay where they should.
Disc 1 (2:46:41)
The Birth of Astro Boy (24:14)
Robot Circus (23:43)
Save the Class Mate (23:43)
Atlas Lives Again (23:43)
Robot Land (23:43)
The Red Cat (23:51)
Disc 2 (2:45:09)
The Crystal of the Desert (23:42)
The White Planet (23:43)
A Robot President (23:42)
Goliath's Head (23:43)
The Light Ray Robot (23:42)
Uran the Tomboy (22:47)
Robio and Robiette (23:50)
Disc 3 (2:46:12)
Astro Fights Aliens (23:44)
Save the Carolina 3 (23:44)
The Rainbow Comet (23:44)
The Death Balloon (23:43)
The Transformation Robot (23:44)
The Wreck of the Titan (23:42)
The Liar Robot (23:51)
Disc 4 (2:46:07)
The Girl From Alsoar (23:44)
The Greatest Robot in the World Part 1 (23:44)
The Greatest Robot in the World Part 2 (23:43)
The Robot Vikings (23:42)
The Time Machine (23:42)
The Robot Stuntman (23:42)
The Great Meltdown (23:50)
Disc 5 (2:45:16)
Uran's Twin (22:53)
Speeding Through the Storm (23:42)
The Return of Queen Cleopatra (23:39)
The Runaway Subway Train (23:44)
The Baby Elephant Pook (23:43)
The Secret of the Bee City (23:44)
The Monster of Clarken (23:51)
Disc 6 (2:45:03)
Lily on Peligaro Island (23:16)
The Anti-Proton Gun (23:33)
The Man-Made Solar Sphere (23:32)
Blackie Young (23:35)
The Genie From Outer Space (23:38)
The Robots Nobody Wants (23:39)
Atlas Forever (23:50)
Disc 7 (2:44:20)
The Snow Leopard (23:43)
Uran's Quest (23:03)
Outer Space Port R45 (23:34)
The Hijacked Airship (23:42)
The Human-Faced Rock (23:23)
Uran Falls in Love (23:11)
The World of Odin (23:44)
Disc 8 (46:25)
The Secret of the Mayas (23:18)
Astro's First Love (23:07)
Anchor Bay/Manga Entertainment delivered a lot more than I was expecting with this release. The material is 25 years old, yet it looks like something from the late 90s. They did a wonderful job restoring the material (you can see a comparison in the bonus features section); the colors are vibrant, and the picture has been cleaned up. It's not perfect, as many of the earlier episodes contain some dust, but that diminishes as the series goes on. There's an option to play all the episodes on each disc, and there's a chapter set right after the opening of the show.
I should also note that these are the original Japanese episodes, with some exceptions. The opening of the show and credit sequence are in Japanese, but English subtitles are included. The episodes are also placed in the original Japanese order, except the second episode, "Astro Boy vs. Atlas," isn't included. It's an unfortunate omission, especially since the "Atlas" character appears throughout the series. I've also heard there are edits to some of the episodes, but I don't know the extent of the edits.
Fans of Astro Boy can watch the series in two ways; the original Japanese audio, or the English tracks created for the North American airings. I don't have any issues with the audio tracks; they're mono, so they're fairly plain, but they get the job done. Some of the lines in the US version are pretty bad, but that's hardly the fault of the DVD. You can turn on English subtitles if you want (they're handy when you're listening to the Japanese track).
Deleted Scenes (6:56)
Some deleted scenes from the series. These are in Japanese with English subtitles.
Restoration Comparison (2:02)
This is cool! You can view the restored and unrestored footage for a few scenes; the restored stuff looks a lot better. The corrected the colors and got rid of some dust.
Storyboards of Opening Sequence (1:15)
View the opening of the show on the right, and the storyboards on the left.
Original Character Art (7:09)
A slideshow of production art set to music.
Original "Astro Boy" Manga Covers (5:00)
Take a look at some of the original Manga covers in this slideshow.
Character Profiles (12 screens)
Character profiles for Astro Boy (1), Doctor Boyton (1), Doctor Elefun (1), Daddy Walrus (1), Astro's Parents (1), Uran (1), Jump (1), Atlas (1), Livian (1), Guiss (1), Mandrake IV (1) and Inspector Gumshoe (1).
A 24 page booklet is filled with information on Astro Boy, and artwork by Osamu Tezuka, the creator of Astro.
I used to love this show when I was a kid, though I didn't remember any of the episodes while I was watching this set; hey, it's been awhile since I saw it! Astro is so innocent, and it's fascinating to watch him grow and integrate himself into society. I think I enjoyed the show now more than when I was a kid.
This is a good box set for fans of the 80s Astro Boy. There's a decent amount of bonus material, and the restored episodes look great. The missing episode, and edits, take away from what would have been an excellent set.