ASTROBOY VOLUME 10

1. ASTRO VS GARON

First serialized from October 1962 to February 1963 in Shonen magazine.

This story was adapted for episode 40 of the 1980’s series, “The Genie From Outer Space”, and for episode 19 of the 1960’s series, “The Cosmic Giant”

It’s the beginning of big trouble for the world when a meteor crashes up on Mount Okagura leaving an enormous crater. When Professor Ochanomizu instructs Astro to excavate the meteor at the bottom of the crater for them it turns out to not be a meteor at all. It is actually a large round sphere of mechanical bits and pieces all sealed together. When all separated and put together correctly they form a giant humanoid robot.

Ochanomizu discovers a note inside the robot’s nose in some alien language. When Astro translates it they learn that the robot’s name is Garon and he was being delivered from one planet to another to assassinate somebody. He also has the power to modify planets.All of Ochanomizu’s fellow scientists present agree with him that Garon must be destroyed except one. Professor Amagawa feels that Garon is an important scientific discovery and leaves vowing that he shall find a way to claim ownership of Garon soon.

To further complicate their troubles that night a big storm brews and Garon is blasted by very heavy lightning activating him. Astro fights him as he goes on a rampage, but Garon is too powerful and gets away leaving poor Astro weak and drained of energy. Professor Amagawa later discovers Garon wounded in the face by an army missile and tells him he’ll repair the damage if Garon will go with him and be his servant. Garon agrees and is smuggled away in a huge truck.

Later Amagawa and a research team fly Garon to a remote uninhabited island in the South Pacific. Amagawa commands Garon to modify the land there so that it looks exactly like the planet on which he was created. Garon complies but before anybody realizes what is happening he also modifies the atmosphere to that of his own planet. By the time they run a test on the readings of the air there is hardly any oxygen having been replaced with nitrogen and ammonia. Before Amagawa can do anything he and all his men are choked by the noxious gas and collapse dead. But Garon keeps generating the modified air which spreads over the Pacific wiping out whole communities on other islands and all the passengers and crew of one unfortunate boat. Not to mention all the birds.

Astro is sent to investigate before major areas of the world are overcome and he discovers Amagawa’s dead body and then Garon. Things look very bad but Astro has an idea to trick Garon. He tells him that he’s done a good job of modifying the island to look like his planet. But there’s one thing he’s overlooked. The gravity. All he needs to do is modify the gravity in one single space for exactly one minute. No more and no less to make his modifications complete.

Garon falls for Astro’s ploy and concentrates for one minute. Fortunately the gravity on Garon’s planet is less than that of earth and all the poison air rises like a typhoon sucking Garon up into the stratosphere and into outer space unable to return while Astro holds onto a tree. After the gravity returns to normal Astro reports back to Ochanomizu with the news of his triumph. Ochanomizu is so proud of Astro and says that brains really do win over brawn finally.

Trivia

Professor Amagawa is played by Tezuka’s star character Duke Red, most well known perhaps for his role as the villain in Tezuka’s work Metropolis.

There was an original sequel written for episode 82 of the 1960’s series called “Galeom From Galaxy G”. In it the monster robot did somehow come back and was defeated for good when Astro was able to force him into a shredder which separated all his individual pieces to be destroyed.

2. YELLOW HORSE

First serialized from October 1955 to February 1956 in Shonen magazine.

Astro goes undercover for the police disguised as a human boy to investigate a drug trade. Criminals have developed a drug called Yellow Horse. When people inject it they actually dance and nothing more. It may seem to be rather harmless but once the effect wears off people go crazy desperate for more Yellow Horse.

Professor Ochanomizu has even been captured by the drug ring and injected. They try to blackmail him into helping them produce and distribute their dancing drug in exchange for another shot.

Astro is able to pose as a Yellow Horse addict thanks to an artificial human skin that makes it look like he is injecting the drug into himself and he tracks down the gang’s headquarters and leads the police to arrest them all. The Professor goes to rehab along with all the addicts for detoxification.

Trivia

3. THE 100 MILLION YEAR OLD CRIME

First serialized from March to April 1967 in Shonen magazine.

There are two interwoven plots in this story.

First Astro is assigned to the task of capturing five juvenile delinquents in France who possess dangerous psychic powers. They all combine their power to create a devastatingly strong force that helplessly controls and manipulates people to do anything they want. Furthermore they don’t care who they have to hurt to achieve their goals. In fact they take immense pleasure in it. They break into a military complex and steal a huge robotic tank known as the Karabusu and wreak havoc and destruction upon the nearby communities.

When Professor Ochanomizu brings Astro all the way from Japan by special request the boys manage to capture him to use as a hostage. They threaten to put a bullet through his big nose if Astro interferes with their plans. They intend to use the Karabusu to demolish Paris, London, New York, Moscow, Tokyo and other major cities of the world just for fun and enjoyment.

But Astro happens to come across two weird aliens whose bodies resemble pools of water. They can take on a humanoid form but their bodies are pure liquid and they generally revert to puddles when they move about and carry things slithering along. They are a young female named Parma and her father, whose name is never revealed. He explains to Astro that he first visited the earth 100 million years ago as a research biologist. at one time he decided to modify one of the animals and taught the ape how to walk, talk and use fire. This was very wrong as species modification is highly illegal under universe law and even worse he left the modified ape on earth where it quickly evolved into the modern human being and began abusing other species with fire and finally corrupted the planet even waging war and killing each other. This therefore was his crime, the 100 million year old crime of the story title, and so he has returned bringing his dear daughter Parma to exterminate all humans and put things right again.

Astro tries to negotiate with him and he does agree to a term of testing. If Astro will capture and deliver those five youths over to him for one year he will see if they can be rehabilitated. With the help of the alien Astro succeeds in rescuing Ochanomizu and the boys are all taken away. Ochanomizu was knocked unconscious and only first hears about the situation in secret from Astro in the hospital. He is very worried because he can’t see the boys reforming in one year and the alien refuses to speak with him. He will only see Astro.

Astro goes to check on progress in three months. The boys are going crazy caged up in a huge bubble with nothing to do all the time. Parma is feeling rather sorry for them but her father insists on keeping them for the full year. He has a device that if turned on will emit powerful rays making all humans everywhere kill themselves. If the boys are reformed after a year the human race will be spared for their sake. The boys beg Astro to set them free and he can sense that they truly are no longer bad humans. So he smashes the bubble and tries to sneak them out.

However as they pass the aliens spaceship the boys suddenly charge at it. They jump inside and smash it up until it explodes causing the underground cave to collapse burying everything. Astro protects and shelters Parma inside his body from the falling debris while her father slithers up to the surface with the extermination device. Before he can activate it he is actually drunk alive by a herd of extremely thirsty cows. Astro digs his way out of the ground and finds the device permanently deactivating it.

He reports back to Ochanomizu at the hospital that the boys are all dead and so are the aliens. But Parma was saved by Astro. While he and the Professor fly back to Japan he produces her inside a sealed jar. Astro explains that she wants to stay on earth since she has no way of going home. So Astro unscrews the lid and dumps the jar out of the plane over the ocean where she’ll be able to live out the rest of her days in peaceful solitude.

Trivia

This story uses the traditional belief of evolution that humans came from the apes in a most imaginative way.

4. ASTRO'S BEEN STOLEN

First serialized from June to September 1965 in Tetsuwan Atom Kurabu (Mighty Atom Club)

Twin brother Doctors Rukarike have made a proposition to the Robot Department at the Ministry of Science that robot children should grow up, just like normal children. So Professor Ochanomizu sends adult versions of Astro and Uran around to their home with a letter for their parents explaining that the two robots will have the original Astro and Uran’s electronic brains implanted in them. Astro isn’t home but his family are not exactly thrilled with the idea. Though Uran would love to adopt her older self as a big sister.

Astro first finds out about this when Ochanomizu summons him to the Ministry of Science to introduce him to the Drs. Rukarike. He doesn’t really want to become an adult either but he agrees to consent to having his brain put inside his grown up body as a trial experiment for three days. His original body is stored away in a vault but almost immediately they hear the devastating news that it has been stolen.

Investigations reveal that Drs. Rukarike are the culprits and they are not what they seem to be. One of the twins is really a robot duplicate and the other is an international thief and con-artist whose real name is Mr. Gettrich. With the assistance of Inspector Tawashi and a British Secret Service Agent called James Itch Dnob Ochanomizu and the Adult Astro discover that the whole affair has been Gettrich’s diabolical scheme to obtain Astro’s body to help him in a major crime. He has implanted his robot helper’s brain into Astro’s body so he can infiltrate the Neo Pyramid in the Arabian Desert. This is a special storage vault in the image of an ancient pyramid which contains all the greatest treasures of history including the greatest works of art. The purpose being to protect these priceless artifacts if a nuclear war should ever break out. The computer recognizes and trusts Astro and is even fooled by the imposter so the doors are opened for Gettrich to enter and there is even a rocket ship stored inside so he can load up the treasures and make a getaway.

The only way Astro is able to get past the defences is to tunnel his way in from underground. Reluctantly he is forced to fight the imposter and demolish his own original body. Gettrich blasts off in the rocket but Astro flies after him and captures him. Gettrich is taken into custody by James Itch Dnob. Astro is very upset that he had to destroy his body but he is overjoyed when Ochanomizu reveals to him that an exact duplicate of his body had been constructed to store among the treasures inside the Neo Pyramid. The Professor restores Astro to normal and gives his adult self his own brain back. The adult Astro and Uran decide it will be best for all that they leave and undergo remodelling as totally different robots even though Uran still wishes she could have an big sister.

Trivia

James Itch Dnob is sort of loosely a parody of Ian Fleming’s famous fictional spy James Bond. Dnob is obviously the name Bond in reverse.

Gettrich tries to destroy Astro with two special guns while trying to escape inside the rocket. First he opens a hatch and fires a super cement gun at Astro who is sitting on the tail end. However the wind blows the cement back at him and he is stiffened and drops back down in the rocket.

He gets free though it isn’t revealed how (perhaps the cement cracked upon the fall’s impact) and seeks to blast Astro through the hull with a dissolver gun. But he just misses him. Though it may have been expected that the rocket would depressurize sucking Gettrich out of the hole instead the wind rushes inside and Gettrich is blown into an open box and trapped when the lid slams shut.