Thursday, May 15, 2014

MISC. MANGA, *Atomcat

Osamu Tezuka is known as the "Father of Manga" mainly because he spearheaded the frontier back in the 50s with works like Kimba and Princess Knight, but is probably best known for his creation of Tetsuwan Atom(aka: Might Atom), known out in America as Astro Boy. This has had three anime TV adaptations, and an animated movie done as a joint American/Japanese production. After several years of not doing anything with the manga, Tezuka created a spinoff of sorts titled Atomcat which is a play on the term "a tomcat", although this manga had the original Mighty Atom as being an actual manga that parallels this story its set in. Although this sees some serious shades of Doraemon.

Tsugio is a weak little kid that gets picked on a lot by bullies at school, but is a big fan of Astro Boy. He finds a baby kitten in the trash one day and adopts him, despite protests by his struggling inventor of a father. Tsugio names the cat Atom after Mighty Atom as it resembles the character a lot. Unfortunately, Atom gets run over by of all things two aliens disguised as humans vacationing on Earth. They rebuild Atom into being a cyborg. Atom can now speak human language, and is gifted with super-strength and jet-feet allowing him to fly. He saves Tsugio from another bully attack, and then his father from a burning building. Tsugio keeps Atom's new superpowers a secret, even though its a little hard to with demonic cats, kidnappers, mummy animals, and some serious angry birds. Atom befriends a local girl cat named Munch that he tries to woo while saving her from forest fires and malicious rivals. Each chapter usually begins with a passage from the original Astro Boy manga that acts as an into to the story.

This made for a profoundly enjoyable all-ages manga, aside from all the times they have Tsugio ending up naked in nearly every chapter. Tezuka's approach to turning Astro Boy and remaking him into a cute kitten is thoroughly adorable. This seems like what the live-action Underdog movie should have been! The manga was released through Digital Manga's Platinum line which reprints classic manga not previously made available in America, and crowdfunded by Kickstarter. It's worth getting for the young ones as a great intro to manga.

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