The Anime Chronicles Part 2: Tetsuwan Atom (Astro Boy)

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Prologue:

In the beginning of anime, there were four studios, Toei Animation (1948), Tatsunoko Pro (1962) and Mushi Productions (1961), and Otogi Pro (1955). This prologue will cover the era of anime up until we arrive at our main topic, today Astro Boy. When it comes to Toei many people believe that their first work was Hakujaden, but it was, in fact, a black and white 13-minute animation called Koneko no Rakugaki over the next seven years before Astro boy Toei Animation released ten animated films, including Saiyuuki (based on the book Journey to the West which eventually inspired the first arc of Dragonball), Arabian Knights: Sinbad no Bouken, and Wanpaku Ouji no Orochi Taiji.

Tatsunoko Productions Uchuu Ace in the same year as Astro Boy. Although they are cited as having been founded 1962 (a full year before Astro Boy). Mushi Productions produced exactly two animated films before Astro Boy, these being Osu and Aru Machi Kado Monogatari. Otogi Pro, on the other hand, is credited for multiple long running projects before the release of Astro Boy. These include the first ever Japanese animated television series (Instant History) which ran for over 1274 episodes.

Chapter One: Astro Boy:

In 1963 Japan released what is considered to be the first popular and recognizable piece of animated television to come out of the country. This series was Tetsuwan Atom or Astro Boy. This series defined a generation of aspiring animators such as the film genius Hayao Miyazaki and Dragonball creator Akira Toriyama. Astro boy also influenced the current style of anime in japan (it popularized the large-eyed aesthetic seen in most current anime).

The series was based on a manga created by Osamu Tezuka (other manga include Black Jack and Princess Knight) who also directed the anime. This series was the beginning for Mushi Productions on television, although previously they had created two films (see Prologue). This was a production studio helmed by the aforementioned Osamu Tezuka. This studio and Toei had a very public rivalry as Osamu Tezuka was once employed by that very studio.

Unlike many American animations such as Snow White, and the Micky Mouse theatrical shorts Astro Boy was not animated on ones. It was animated on threes, which was a cost cutting measure, allowing Mushi Pro to create more episodes, at a faster rate for less money. This decision is something that in later years would frustrate the owner of the Mushi Pro/ Topcraft off-shoot Studio Ghibli, Hayo Miyazaki (who wanted anime to go the course of Disney when it comes to flow). This was the beginning of the anime industry. See you in part 3

END CHAPTER 1

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