Astro Boy – 1960s Deluxe
DVD Collection I & II (1963 - 66/Region Four/4/PAL
Import/Madman DVD Tin Box Sets)
Picture: C+ Sound: C Extras: B Episodes: B
PLEASE NOTE: These DVD sets can only be
operated on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Four/4
PAL format software and can be ordered from our friends at Madman Entertainment
at the website address provided at the end of the review.
with Gigantor, the original Astro Boy TV series established the
foundation for Anime as we know it today before Speed Racer solidified it for good.
The character has been revived a few times in later years, but the
original show remains a charming, groundbreaking, innovative animated series
that owes something to both the Disney legacy and the Fleischer Superman
cartoon shorts, but is also its own show and Madman Entertainment in Australia
has gone all out with two big, think tin DVD collections with every
English-dubbed episode from the original series.
co-produced by NBC in the U.S.,
the show was a big hit, but surprised the industry by becoming an international
hit and the title character a pop culture icon.
In a clever Science Fiction twist on Pinocchio and Frankenstein, one Dr.
Boynton (in the future year of 2000!) finds himself drowning in grief when his
son dies in a horrible car accident.
Deeply pained, he decides to take his cutting-edge technological
know-how and make a robot son that is as armed and indestructible as possible. When he believes he has succeeded, he gives
birth to Astro Boy!
the wrong people get wind of this and want to find a way to get and control
him, while others will challenge him throughout what became 104 episodes that became
a sensation and remain very watchable even today. Creator Osamu Tezuka mixed the genres long
before animation was willing to do so in general. Each tin has a booklet with complete episode
guide, 11 DVDs each with 10 each holding half of the series’ original shows and
each a bonus DVD with more extras. Few shows
have received treatment this deluxe, including this one in other markets, but
the two tin boxes add up to a remarkable collection and are true collector’s
The episodes have fun with putting Astro Boy into all
kinds of situations and
The 1.33 X 1 image is looking very good for this format,
with the PAL definition furthering the nice detail you see throughout in this
format. Video Black is decent and the
prints are in good shape throughout. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is more mixed
since some of the English dub tracks did not survive as well as others, but
what is here has been cleaned up as best the makers could.
excellent booklets inside the case for each half of the show, meant to be read
after going through all the episodes, unless you need to consult the episode
guides included. An on-camera interview
with producer Fred Ladd has been split between the two set’s bonus DVDs. Set
One adds Original Japanese Episode 1, a Character Art Gallery and great
Merchandise Gallery, while Set Two
adds two more Japanese Episodes and a “Colour” episode that is not colorized
(or worse) but was intended as a pilot for another show that never was produced
and is the first official appearance of Astro Boy in color, another Character
Art Gallery, another (albeit shorter) Merchandise Gallery, Deleted Scenes and
Behind The Scenes at Mushi Studios showing how each episode was made. Even the bottom of the tins have character
art printed on them. It also seems a red
tin was issued, though ours are clear metal.
Oh, and be careful of
the tin tops, because they have sharp edges in the rare case they pop
apart. For more on the 2003/2004 series
revival of the character, try this link:
above, you can order these PAL DVD import sets exclusively from Madman at: