Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy Live-Action Drama Gets DVD Box
posted on by Egan Loo
Episodes of the live-action television drama adaptation of Osamu Tezuka's Mighty Atom (Astro Boy) manga will be released for the first time on home video in a Japanese DVD box set on October 23. Fuji TV's 1959-1960 live-action series predates the more well-known black-and-white anime series by four years. Nevertheless, the live-action series featured the title character's jet-engine legs and other details from the 1952-1968 manga via rudimentary special effects. Masato Segawa starred as the robot boy hero who fought against monster robots, space aliens, and other foes of Earth.
While the episodes themselves were live-action, the opening footage had 75 seconds of cel animation — arguably the first animation of Astro Boy ever made. (A 1957 televised show with paper dolls predated both the live-action drama and the television anime.) Unfortunately, the original prints for only 58 of the 65 live-action episodes have survived, but Geneon Universal Entertainment will release those 58 episodes for the first time on eight DVDs. Until now, only a one-volume video digest version of the drama was released in the 1980s. The DVD box will have a limited one-year pressing to mark the drama's 50th anniversary and the 80th anniversary of what would have been Tezuka's birthday.
Not coincidentally, David Bowers and Imagi's computer-animated version of Astro Boy will open in Japan on October 10. On October 23 (the same day that the Japanese drama DVD box set will ship), the film will open in North America. The English dubbing cast features Freddie Highmore in the title role, Nicolas Cage (Dr. Tenma), Donald Sutherland, Nathan Lane, Bill Nighy, Eugene Levy, Kristen Bell, Matt Lucas, Charlize Theron, and Samuel L. Jackson.
The Japanese dubbing cast will feature Aya Ueto in the title role. Megumi Hayashibara will play Cora, an original female character that Bell will play in the English version. Atsushi Abe (Zane), Mika Kanai (Widget), Shinichiro Miki (Sparx), Kenta Miyake (Robotski), Kenji Utsumi (Ham Egg), Takaya Hashi (President Stone), Rikako Aikawa (Freezer), Yasuyuki Kase (Chief Heckler), Tomohiro Nishimura (Dr. Ochanomizu), Nami Miyahara (Sludge), and Kousei Tomita (Hige-oyaji) round out the Japanese cast.