Robot Circus

This is the third episode in the 1980's series and was first broadcast in Japan on October 15, 1980.

Life in the circus was exciting but hard. The robot elephants did wonderful tricks, and Tornado the trapeze star risked his life in a dangerous stunt. But I couldn't seem to do anything right.

This episode is not to be confused with the 2003 series' episode of the same name.


Hamegg, Kathy and Tornado
Toby performing Tornado's stunt

Toby wakes up at the circus surrounded by Hamegg, the ring master, Kathy, his employee, and Tornado, the robot star of the circus. Toby is given daily chores and performs a clown act in the show. Misunderstanding the instructions he is given and not yet in control of his amazing power, he commits one mistake after another, drawing Hamegg's fury, who beats him in return.

Dr. Elefun is in town and watches the circus, where Toby catches his eye. Suffering from bad maintenance, Tornado misses his circus act and is destroyed. Losing the owner's confidence, Hamegg is in danger of losing the circus. Confident in Toby's abilities, Kathy convinces Hamegg that she can teach him Tornado's dangerous number, which would save the circus. Toby trains while the circus moves to another city, leaving Elefun, who has finally recognized him as Dr. Boynton's missing robot, wondering where he is gone. Elefun finds him right as Toby is about to perform the trapeze act. Toby makes it, and then saves the crowd from the elephant robots that have become mad after Hamegg overpowered them.

Elefun attempts to convince Hamegg to let Toby go with him, but Hamegg will not hear of it. Meanwhile, Kathy plots to make it look like Toby was destroyed in an explosion. Hamegg is convinced after watching what seems like Toby's parts scattered around. Kathy then secretely brings Toby to Dr. Elefun, who is going to bring him back to his native country. Elefun explains that Toby is an atomic robot, and Kathy decides he needs to bear a special name: “Astro Boy”.


Toby receives the famous red boots

Red boots

It is in this episode that Astro wears his famous red boots for the first time. They belong to Kathy, who wore them in her first circus performance. She gives them to an anxious Toby to calm him down before he is about to perform the dangerous stunt.


Hamegg dances a can can to Jacques Offenbach's Gaîté Parisienne.

Differences between languages

In the Japanese and English versions, Kathy is the one to choose Toby's new name, either Atomu (Japanese) or Astro (English). The reason given is because Toby is an atomic powered robot. While this makes sense with the Japanese version, the reason was kept as-is in the English version. In the French version, Hamegg chooses Astro as a new name for no particular reason right after Toby is awakened at the beginning of the episode.

In the French versions, some mistreatments done to Toby by Hamegg are removed, mainly when he holds Toby by his hair spikes.


In the English and French versions, when Doctor Elefun listens to the ministry of science report on Tenma's son, the original Japanese voice can be heard in the background.