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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Action > Science Fiction > TV > Japan > Astro Boy – 1960s Deluxe DVD Collection I & II (1963 - 66/Region Four/4/PAL Import/Madman DVD Tin Box Sets)

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.



Along 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.


Originally 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!


However, 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 items.


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.


Extras include 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:






As noted above, you can order these PAL DVD import sets exclusively from Madman at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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