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.