Into Thin Air

Into Thin Air is the 6th episode of Astro Boy.

Plot

Note: This may not be accurate as I do not have access to the 2003 series right now.

A security officer is walking around a museum at night to ensure that none of its precious artifacts has been stolen, when suddenly he stumbles upon two broken security robots. This makes him a bit worried, as it may indicate that there is a thief in the museum. Suddenly, he hears a young child laughing, and then a floating artifact comes out of the darkness. The officer faints. A voice coming from the artifact claims that it was as if “he saw a ghost”.

Later that day, Police Inspector Tawashi comes to Dr. O'Shay‘s home, with news on the robbery. O’Shay, however, does not believe that it was committed by a ghost, but rather by a robot that has invisible powers. This theory is further supported by the fact that a prototype with optical shields has been stolen recently. Tawashi asks Astro to help him, however O’Shay claims he cannot as he has already gone to school. Tawashi is stunned; a robot going to school is something unheard of.

At school, Astro receives a warm welcome from Alejo and Kennedy, but school bully Abercrombie and his friends aren’t so nice to him. Abercrombie even claims that Astro is a mere machine and compares him to a toaster. The class leaves the classroom for a holographic lesson; Alejo, however, forgets his school bag and returns to retrieve it. Someone (apparently disembodied) hands him the bag, Alejo gets freaked out yet later deduces it was probably his imagination.

Halfway through the holographic lesson, which takes place on a medieval pirate ship, chaos ensures. This was caused when Abercrombie claimed he was grabbed, and yet there was no-one there. On their walk home, Astro spots someone invisible splashing around in the puddles; Abercrombie hurriedly cowers behind Astro. That someone later reveals himself to be Denkou, a young robot with the ability to turn invisible through use of optical shields. Alejo shows them a flying bike which theoretically cannot fly as it is way too heavy, however Astro with his super strength allows it to get airborne. After a tiring flight, it is evening, and everyone heads for him, and Astro asks Denkou where his home is FIXME (unsure about storyline) yet Denkou doesn’t tell, claiming that his boss (“Mr. Skunk”) will get angry at him.

Later that night, Astro is doing the dishes with Nora and asks her about the man Skunk. Nora then tells him that he is a criminal who specializes in using innocent robots to commit crimes. Astro realizes that Denkou is in grave danger, and Denkou later shows up and hands Astro a pearl. Astro then finds out that it has been stolen, and Denkou, convinced by Skunk, believes that stealing is a game. Astro fails to convince him and Denkou, upset, runs away, but not before telling him they are about to steal King Solomon’s Crown.

Astro and his friends (the Sky Riders) head to the crown’s place, and Denkou shows himself to the group. However, the police, who has heard Astro and Denkou’s previous conversation, are also there. Tawashi does not hesitate to tell his squadron to open fire, but all the shots miss and Denkou runs away with the crown.

Denkou gives Skunk the crown, yet Skunk does not give Denkou his promised reward because Denkou has no use to him anymore, and in an act of cruelty fastens a belt with a bomb on it to Denkou. Denkou attempts to remove the belt but can not. Denkou runs to the center of Metro City where a festival is taking place. Astro and friends try to call to Denkou, but it doesn’t work. Then Astro thinks of an idea and waves the flag of the Sky Riders, Denkou sees it, rushes to Astro and Astro instantly removes the belt just moments before, saving him.

It is now time for Denkou and his creator to fly back to their home, and Astro and friends gives him the Sky Riders’ flag as a present. Denkou gladly accepts it and promises Astro he will return. Denkou’s creator tells O’Shay that he invented him not to cause harm but to assist humanity.

Trivia

It is possible that this episode is loosely based upon the 1980s series episode The Light Ray Robot, as they both revolve around a robot that can turn invisible.