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New Astro Boy/Mighty Atom Animation to Air in Nigeria

posted on by Egan Loo
Robot Atom animated by trainees who came to Japan's Tezuka Productions

Robot Atom, a new animated television series of Osamu Tezuka's iconic Mighty Atom (Astro Boy) character, will air in Nigeria starting this March. The project is an international joint production between Tezuka Productions and the Nigerian television station Chanel TV, and the animators are trainees who came to Japan to study.

The 30-minute episodes are aimed at preschool children, and they follow the robot boy Atom as he embarks on adventures with his human and robot friends in a future town. Instead of defeating bad guys as an "ally of justice," the story will be more about an innocent child who makes mistakes from time to time.

Nigeria is Africa's most populous country with 170 million people and oil as its primary industry.

Chanel TV wanted to obtain know-how in animation production and character content business, so it approached Tezuka Productions. Three staff members ranging in age from 20s to 40s came to Japan last November and learned to draw animation at the studio. As planned, they will be responsible for about two cuts of animation sketches. (The animeanime.jp website posted more photographs of the trainees and their work.)

Two episodes will air in March, and production on at least eight episodes have been green-lit. Tezuka Production is going forward with joint production plans with other countries besides Nigeria, and it wants to pursue sales worldwide. A broadcast in Japan has not been scheduled.

Japanese studios have animated international co-productions for decades, and their own characters have been exported and animated overseas for almost as long. Hong Kong animation studio IMAGI produced the computer-animated film version of Astro Boy with distributor Summit Entertainment in 2009. Japan's Kodansha and TMS Entertainment is collaborating with Indian studios in an animated television version of Ikki Kajiwara and Noboru Kawasaki's Kyojin no Hoshi baseball manga — except the production remakes the story with India's ball game of choice, cricket. France's Blue Spirit Animation produced the first of three planned television sequels to Studio Pierrot's Mysterious Cities of Gold anime last year.

Sources: animeanime.jp, Asahi

Image © Tezuka Productions

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