Astro Boy 18

April 21, 2008

I was underwhelmed by the stories in this volume of Astro Boy, I must say.  Tezuka mentioned in one of the other volumes that this series of Astro Boy volumes was published with the better stories in the early volumes in case the series got cancelled early.  That wasn’t very encouraging news for me, because I’m in the final section of stories now.  The ones in this volume just… weren’t very good.

The best one was probably the one with Atlas, which introduces the “Omega Factor,” a piece which makes robots capable of both good and evil… in other words, they do things that most robots wouldn’t normally do, like hit humans, since most robots are programmed with only good intentions.  The “Omega Factor” makes Atlas process things more like a human would, and thus makes him a more “perfect” robot.  I thought this was interesting since I’ve just read a huge chunk of “Pluto” by Naoki Urasawa, and the idea of robots doing (or being able to do) bad things as a result of thinking more like humans and why this would make their AI “perfect” is sort of central to the plot of that series.

Most of the volume is taken up by the story “Robot Spaceship,” which is about aliens who are able to raise the dead and cause a lot of problems.  It was very long and not all that interesting, though there were some notable battles, an undead character, and a tiny Astro-bot that manages to cause a lot of problems for the aliens.

There are two other very short stories at the end of the volume which lean heavily on morals.  One is about not listening to kids who tease you, and the other one is about… not stealing?  Not getting eaten by rock-munching aliens?  I don’t know.  It just wasn’t that cool.

2 Responses to “Astro Boy 18”

  1. mark thorpe Says:

    So I guess when Dark Horse releases the omnibus versions of these books, I should just look the other way. I didn’t like volume 1 and none of the others sound good either. Kind of depressing because I was looking forward to reading nice big gulps of Tezuka, but really, doesn’t sound very good. Well, I might get the first two volumes because I assume that Pluto will be in one of them, and I’m holding out hope that Urasawa’s Pluto will be published in America. I mean, they wouldn’t dangle it in our faces and then pull it away like a cruel child, would they? Eventually, they have to publish it right?

  2. Connie Says:

    Man, I hope they release Pluto. It seems like it may be a really depressing, long wait though, because I remember reading something about how Urasawa wanted his series released in order, which is why 20th Century Boys starts after Monster in English. When that story was making the rounds, I think people assumed that Pluto would definitely come out after 20th Century Boys if that was Urasawa’s wish, but… if that’s true, that means Pluto is at least five years away, which is a real tragedy.

    And yeah, Astro Boy isn’t really worth it. It has its charm, but the stories just aren’t as well developed as his other stuff, and it seems to miss some points while making others with a sledgehammer.

    I hadn’t heard about Dark Horse releasing the omnibus volumes. It’s hard for me to believe that they’d go back to this series, which I remember hearing made them absolutely no money, when they seem to be so ready to cancel anything else that doesn’t reach a certain level of popularity. The first two volumes, especially if they’re omnibus volumes, will probably do okay though. The “Greatest Robot On Earth” story was in volume 3 of this edition, so I assume it would make it into volume 2 of an omnibus edition.

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