ASTROBOY VOLUME 6

This is the 6th volume of the original manga.

"Once Upon A Time" Astro Boy Tales, Part 1

First serialized from January 24th to December 23rd 1967 in the Sankei newspaper

1. Beginning of the Contradiction

On a far distant planet live a race of aliens with human faces and bodies like locusts.

One day a locust lady named Scara Ohara is charmed by a locust man, Mr.Putler. She is already married to a scientist, Dr.Ohara. Putler is entitled by the law of their planet to kill Ohara since his wife has changed her allegiance commitment. But Putler grants him one day’s grace to complete his research.

Scara won’t change her mind but tells her husband that her favourite dream is to live on a planet with lots of beautiful nature. Ohara tells her there is such a planet, the Earth. He shows her the invention he is working on that can transform her into one of that planet’s inhabitants so she could live there without attracting attention. Scara wants to go to Earth and begs to be transformed.

When Putler arrives to kill Ohara he is horrified and humiliated. Ohara tells him Scara is simply fickle and has changed her mind once again. So the two locust men say good-bye to her as she blasts off for Earth.

When she arrives however her spaceship lands in the water of Tokyo Bay, malfunctions and explodes. Astro was nearby at the time and investigating he discovers Scara floating in the water. She had managed to escape just in time and explains to Astro who she is and where she comes from. When Astro tries to tell Professor Ochanomizu about Scara he is horrified to find himself in the year 1969.

Scara says perhaps this happened because there was a time travel machine on board her spacecraft and in the explosion she and Astro were literally blown fifty years into the past. Astro is very upset. He’ll never see Ochanomizu or any of his family or friends again. Robots haven’t even been invented yet and worst of all, when his energy runs out he’ll be nothing but a lifeless metal doll.

2. Living on Earth, 101

Astro has only one friend he can rely on in this 20th century world. He is Shin-Chan, a humble beggar boy. Astro had shown him his robotic chest and convinced him of the truth. He helps set Astro and Scara up in an apartment. Astro tries to tell Scara they’re going to have to find jobs to earn money to support themselves. However Scara wants to have nothing but fun all the time on her new home planet.

Astro calculates that if he carefully conserves his energy he could survive for up to three years and he flies off at night and finds some diamonds which he cashes in to get them some money to get them started. Scara is so difficult as she wants to buy everything she can get and tries to go off with some bad men to “have some fun”. Astro is able to save her without blowing his cover thanks to the surprise help of a man who looks exactly like Mr. Mustachio. Astro thinks he may be one of his teacher’s ancestors.

3. The Birth of Neva #2

In this chapter Astro persuades Scara to apply for work as a nurse. The clinic is run by Dr. Whitebeard, the ancestor of Mr. Mustachio who they had met the other day.

To his joy he also meets a fifty year younger version of his mentor Ochanomizu. Ochanomizu is not yet a professor, though he is trying to build a robot that works just like a human. He agrees to let Astro work with him to assist in the project. Neva #1 blows up and so they build Neva #2. The second Neva also self-destructs, but before so he actually speaks a few words. Ochanomizu is eager to succeed but Dr. Whitebeard has an intense argument with him that for the sake of humanity he should give up his robotics research. Whitebeard says robots will take away employment and increase poverty.

Astro is very upset by this and tells Scara at home afterwards. She disturbs him further by saying that robots are highly valued on her own planet as slaves to do all the work so they can have fun all day. When she tells Astro he is just like a slave too he flies away vowing to find someplace else to live. He is on his way to ask Shin-Chan to help him find a new home when his attention is caught by an announcement on the news that a foreign nation has invented a robot delivery system for its new successful H-bomb weapon.

4. Baro, the Robot

President Bundell has employed Professor Carpon to design the H-bomb’s robot delivery weapon. The robot is called Baro and he is to be tested the following morning. He is designed to explode if all goes well.

Baro has the mentality of a two year old child and begs his “father” not to kill him. Professor Carpon realizes Baro is really just like a son to him and begs the President to call off the experiment. The outraged Bundell has him arrested.

Astro appears and persuades Baro to fly away with him and go into hiding. astro is so happy to no longer be the only robot in the world and hopes to keep Baro hidden in the ground for three years. However Professor Carpon contacts Baro by remote control in his cane. President Bundell catches him in the act and shoots him dead as a traitor. Then he speaks to Baro himself announcing that his father’s dead and if he gives himself up they won’t explode him. Just disassemble for an “inspection” secretly planning to produce more copies of Baro.

Baro is so devastated that he breaks out of his hiding place and goes berserk back at base. President Bundell tries to escape but Baro kills him with a huge rock thrown at his getaway car. By the time Astro realizes Baro has left his sanctuary the army has blown Baro to pieces with his father’s body cradled in his huge arms.

Astro is devastated at the loss of his dear robot friend. Furthermore he finds out that he has been using up more energy than he anticipated and now he has only has six months left before he’s finished.

5. Scara Disappears

Meanwhile Scara has fallen in with a trio of people going on a hiking expedition. She is so excited and asks if she can accompany them. They let her join them although the lady hiker thinks there is something weird about her personality. Eventually Scara announces that she intends to live in the mountain grasslands and that she is from another planet. They really think her crazy but she uses a device to shrink herself down to the size of an earth locust and disappears.

When Astro returns he learns from Shin-Chan what happened as reported by the news. Namely that a female hiker (Scara) vanished in the mountains. Astro is sorry he ever ran away from Scara after their argument and flies off that night to search for her. He finds Scara who tells him that she has made up her mind to stay tiny and make her home in the lovely countryland. Astro is very sad but wishes her the very best.

Shin-Chan is now the only friend he has left in the world but when he explains to him that in less than six months he will run out of energy Shin-Chan has an idea. He promises to store Astro away among his personal treasures at home until the day when the technology is invented to enable him to be re-activated. This cheers up Astro immensely.

6. The Energy Tube

Astro is forced to flee after an incident involving a collapsed building. In order to be able to save people pinned beneath steel beams without blowing his cover he disguises himself in an empty robotic shell from Ochanomizu’s laboratory. This leaves him with only three days worth of energy and when Ochanomizu challenges him about what he knows regarding the empty robot shell Astro reluctantly reveals to him that he’s a robot. He flies away when the astonished Ochanomizu tries to ask him where he came from.

While Astro seeks to elude the police and military he crosses paths with some evil foreign spies. They have stolen plans for a new invention for injecting uranium into machines. Even though Astro senses they are bad men he reluctantly agrees to help them for the present in hope that they will give him an energy recharge. At the close of this chapter Astro is stored inside a suitcase on board the spies’ secret atomic submarine.

7. The Angel of Vietnam

Astro escapes when he realizes that the spies have double crossed and sold him to the U.S. Navy as a secret weapon and a slave. When he attempts to leave with the blueprints the crew attack him with flame throwers burning them to ashes. Astro is so furious since these were the plans to build the energy tube he needed to live and drags the sub onto land. He bashes and smashes until it explodes causing everybody to run for their lives. Now he has only one day’s worth of energy left.

He discovers a Vietnamese peasant village being attacked by bomber planes and vows to protect them. He pretends to be an angel of death scaring the fighter bombers to parachute out before destroying their planes. In the last three minutes left to Astro he accepts the thanks of the villagers and begs them to wrap up his body and deliver it to his friend Shin-Chan back in Japan. He hands the address over on a piece of paper.

The villagers are amazed when he collapses as a lifeless doll and an elder concludes that Astro must have been a messenger from the Goddess of Mercy. They must carry out his wishes. Two villagers try to cart Astro personally to Saigon to arrange delivery to Japan. But the next day more bombers come and exterminate the entire village. Meanwhile the last two villagers are ambushed by machine guns while pushing and pulling Astro’s cart. Before they die they shove the cart into the nearby river to protect their saviour from falling into enemy hands. Concealed in funeral cloth Astro floats along for a long time until he eventually sinks to the bottom of the river. Lost forever?

Trivia

Tezuka started drawing this serial in the Sankei newspaper shortly after the 1960 animated series ended. It was conceived as a sequel to the finale in which Astro personally directed a missile into the sun designed to prevent it turning supernova. Thus sacrificing himself to save Earth. Astro floated in space half melted, some locust aliens discovered him, repaired him and a female locust took him back to Earth where they discovered they had gone back in time to the latter half of the twentieth century. Tezuka never drew the scene where Astro plunges into the sun because the newspaper stories bore little relationship to the series he produced for Shonen Magazine. Therefore since it didn’t feel right to start in the middle of the story Tezuka edited out the scenes where Astro is saved and mended by the aliens and reconceived the beginning of the story with Astro on Earth when the female alien arrives.

This serial is continued in Books 7 and 8 of Dark Horse Manga release.