Happy Birthday Astro

by Christopher Macdonald,
April 7th, 2003 marks the date of Astro Boy's "birth." Back in 1951, Atom started out only as a supporting role in Captain Atom, but due to his popularity, he became the main character when the series was renamed in 1952 to Tetsuwan Atom, or "The Mighty Atom."

Eleven years later, on New Years Day, 1963, Tetsuwan Atom became the first Anime TV series to feature an ongoing plot. Alas, contrary to popular misconception, it was not the first Anime TV series, but unlike it's predecessor "Manga Callendar" or "Instant History," Tetsuwan Atom featured an ongoing plot about the same characters every week. In this sense, it was the first true Japanese animated TV serial.

From there, Tezuka's Astro Boy led the way for all the animated TV series that followed, and along the way gathered millions of fans, not only in Japan, but around the world. And its creator, Osamu Tezuka, the "God of Manga" also became the "Godfather of Anime," for without the mightily popular Atom, Anime may not have become what it is today.

It's no surprise then that April 7th, 2003 is one of the most important days in the history of Anime. It may indeed be a fictional day, but its importance is so very real.

Happy Birthday Astro,
And thank you Tezuka.

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