ASTROBOY VOLUME 3

This is the third volume of the original manga.

1. THE GREATEST ROBOT ON EARTH

First serialized between June 1964 and January 1965 in Shonen magazine

A corrupt, greedy sultan called Chochi Chochi Ababa the Third has been overthrown and exiled by his angry subjects. In quest of revenge the Sultan hires a hooded character by the name of Doctor Abullah to create an enormous robot warrior. Sultan’s maniacal ambition grows not only to reclaim his country, but to be master of the entire world. So he christens his giant warrior Pluto and assigns him the task of destroying seven of the world’s most powerful robots to prove nobody can resist him.

Astroboy of Japan is one of the seven and as he tries to find a way he can defeat Pluto the other six targets: Mont Blanc of Switzerland, North #2 of Northern Scotland, Brando of Turkey, Gerhardt from Germany, Hercules of Greece and Epsilon of Australia are all taken out one by one. Professor Ochanomizu strictly orders Astro not to fight Pluto and refuses to modify his robot body so that his strength can be increased to match Pluto.

Ochanomizu is able to locate the Sultan’s secret location and flies his own private plane to confront him and make accusation. Naturally Sultan and Doctor Abullah take him prisoner as bait for Astro, who unbeknown to the Professor followed him. Astro and Pluto fight but Pluto defies his master’s orders and flies away with Astro caught inside his hand to a secluded area where he lets him go. Pluto says he hasn’t forgotten how Astro had previously saved his life on one occasion. Pluto had abducted Uran so that Astro would come to save her but before they could fight then Brando suddenly appeared demanding Pluto fight him first. Brando was a friend of one of Pluto’s earlier victims Mont Blanc. Pluto agrees and destroys Brando, but is almost destroyed himself. Astro helped him by pushing a button on his chest to alert his master to rescue him. So just this once Pluto spares Astro’s life in repayment. Pluto promises to take responsibility for Ochanomizu’s safety until their final showdown.

Sultan is not pleased at all when Pluto does this and his temper is further fired when he receives word from a mysterious masked stranger named Doctor Goji. Goji has built another huge robot fighter called Bora. Goji claims that Bora is in fact twice as powerful as Pluto and that he must challenge and defeat Bora to be truly the greatest robot on earth. Sultan is furious and vows that nothing will interfere with his plans to conquer the world.

Eventually Astro and Pluto meet on the crater of an active volcano. Sultan is there with the Professor as his hostage. Doctor Goji appears with Bora and reveals himself as Doctor Abullah. He had built Pluto for Sultan but was secretly building Bora in a hidden place. If Pluto defeats Astro he has to fight Bora.

Astro and Pluto commence their combat but as they fight the volcano begins to erupt. Ochanomizu tells Astro he must plug up the crater with boulders or else all the nearby township communities will be wiped out. At first Pluto sits by and watches Astro struggle to stop the volcano but then he decides he must help and together they co-operate in sealing it up before it’s too late. Pluto refuses to destroy Astro because he realizes what a fine robot he is and that he would be ashamed to fight him. Doctor Goji insists that Pluto still fight Bora and Pluto accepts on his honour. Astro tries to help him but both Pluto and Bora are destroyed.

Goji reveals himself to be be a robot. He used to be the Sultan’s servant. When he heard his old master wanted to build the greatest robot on earth he became a roboticist and built Pluto for him. But when Sultan started using Pluto to destroy other robots he built Bora to teach him how stupid and twisted his lust for power really was. The Sultan promises never to make any more robots like Pluto and departs with his servant. Astro is very sad and hopes that someday robots will all become friends and not destroy each other anymore.re to

This adventure was adapted in episodes 23 and 24 of the 1980's English dub entitled The Greatest Robot in the World Parts 1 and 2. These were in turn remade for The Rise of Pluto and The Fall of Acheron for the 2003 series.

Trivia

At 181 pages this is clearly the longest Astroboy story of all. (Jeffbert’s Astroboy Manga Reviews: Greatest Robot http://tezukainenglish.com/?q=node/329 )

Although Pluto consented to spare Astro just once to repay him for saving his life he did not offer the same diplomatic gesture to Epsilon who rescues him from sinking down forever into soft deep silt at the bottom of the ocean bed.

After Ochanomizu is captured by Sultan Astro’s creator Dr.Tenma appears and modifies Astro so he can have 2 million horsepower. He leaves after finalizing the operation saying he’s committed himself to a reclusive life and he can’t stay anymore. But he wishes Astro Good luck and offers one final piece of advice. Pluto calls himself the world’s greatest robot. But you know what? He’s really not! YOU“RE THE GREATEST ASTRO!

2. MAD MACHINE

Originally serialized in August and September 1958 in Shonen magazine.

The first robot representative in parliament, Mr. Colt, has successfully passed a law that all robots get an official annual holiday each year called “Machine Day”. This means that on one day a year all the robots in Japan get to have a rest from all the constant work that humans created them to perform. But some humans strongly resent being deprived of their robot workers on this one single day.

A mad scientist named Dr. Foola agrees to help them put the robots in their proper place. They agree to pay Foola one billion yen for him to activate his mad machine that emits waves that causes all machines including robots to go crazy. But Foola announces to Ochanomizu that mad machine will activate in five minutes at noon and demands another billion yen to prevent it.

The Professor calls Astro to the laboratory and dismantles him so he won’t go crazy. Chaos ensues as robots, cars, radios and everything else turn wild at noon. Even Dr. Foola’s clients are appalled and beg him to turn mad machine off. But he refuses unless they give him another two billion yen.

Fortunately Ochanomizu notices that the mad machine stops for a rest every once in a while for about three minutes. He quickly reassembles Astro during the break period and Astro is able to locate and destroy the mad machine before he goes crazy. Dr. Foola goes to jail and Mr. Colt renames the robot holiday “Astroboy Day” in honour of his heroism.

Trivia

It is a little ironic that the humans who hired Dr. Foola’s services were upset about having to allow their robots to have a rest one day every year and Astro was able to defeat Dr. Foola because his mad machine needed to take periodically short rests.