The Birth of Astro Boy

This is the first episode in the 80's series and was first broadcast in Japan on October 1st, 1980.

Hi! I’m Astro. My father is a robot scientist. He always scolds me for my clumsiness. I think I have too much power. The other day I used my superhuman power to save many people from a big fire. That’s when they found out I was a robot. So my father and I decided to sail across the ocean. Again I encountered trouble. Our ship was drawing near an iceberg. I had to save the ship and its passengers. I became completely exhausted when another danger approached.

Plot

Astro is being powered up
Astro learns to use his powers

Doctor Tenma is the head of Ministry of Science, and is tasked with creating a robot with a soul. However all his attempts are failures. Right after his fourth failure, a man called Skunk asked to see him to propose him to use the Omega Factor, said to give robots a human mind. Doctor Tenma refuses as presumably this could make them evil as well. Tobio, his son, heard the argument and suggests to his father that he tries to create a child robot. Tenma finds it is a good idea and instructs his coworkers to work on this new idea. However, absorbed by his work, he fails to fulfill a promise to Tobio to take him to an amusement park. Tobio is disappointed and goes home alone in a robotic car. He has an accident and is taken to a hospital. There he makes his father promise to create the child robot to his image, and dies immediately afterward.

The project goes on and Tenma is nearing the completion of a child robot with jets and terrific weapons that he sees as his son. His coworkers are afraid of the danger that may possibly come from such a robot. While the robot is almost finished, Skunk manages to steal copies of it’s plans and give them to Count Walpur Guiss, who plans to built a robot equipped with the Omega Factor to rule the world.

When the prime minister learns of the almost finished robot and the potential danger, he orders to cancel the project. Tenma secretly finishes the child robot, finally giving him the aspect of Tobio. He awakens him, calls him his son, and brings him to his home. Honda, a coworker of Tenma, accidentally witnesses the scene but promises to keep the secret.

Doctor Tenma raises Tobio as if he were his dead son, teaching him to speak and eat. While being alone, Tobio learns to fly but accidentally touches electric wires. His destroyed clothes appear to be the only consequences, but not very long afterward the robot has a malfunction, his eyes flashing red. Tenma calls Honda, who told him the robot might have short-circuited, and wants to bring the robot disposal utility after Tobio disappeared as she fears he might explode in the city.

In the meantime, Walpur Guiss’ robot is awakened, his eyes flashing red the same way as Tobio’s. Guiss names him Atlas, the future dictator of Earth. His servant robot Livian is instructed to take care of him, and Skunk is named his instructor. Astro regains consciousness, realizing he is somewhere in the city; he is immediately attacked by the robot disposal utility. Inside the utility, Tenma tries to prevent his coworkers from damaging his robotic son, and the main computer goes berserk under the contradicting orders. Tobio manages to free them and dispose of the utility after a fight, saving many endangered people in the process. Tobio meets his father in the hospital; his father tells him they will go to America to escape the revelation of his secret.

Trivia

One of Doctor Tenma’s coworkers is called Honda in the Japanese version, which is a Japanese car brand. In the English version she is called Miss Ford, an American car brand. In the French version she is called Myriam.

Music

When Astro awakens,the introduction of Also sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss is played (FIXME Japanese version, other versions may have other music).

Differences between languages

Episodes 1 and 2 have been heavily edited in non-Japanese versions, see second episode Astro Boy vs Atlas for details.

In the French version, the fact that Doctor Tenma wants to replace his dead son is occulted. Instead, he creates the robot to pay him homage. As a result, the robot isn’t named the same way as Tobio. In the French version, Tobio is called Thomas, while the robot is called Thomy (FIXME spelling? Thomy or Tomy? Neither seem to exist in French).