Astroboy (or Tetsuwan Atomu, “Mighty Atom”, as he is called in Japan) was originally created in comic form by manga legend Osamu Tezuka in 1952. In the early 1960s, Tetsuwan Atomu was made into an animated TV series, which was a huge success worldwide (as Astroboy). The series was remade in the early 1980s and in 2003. Astro’s image still adorns bags, caps, t-shirts and anything else that remains still long enough for the print-bot to get at it. Now, of course, Astroboy has just been released as a computer-animated (CG) feature film, directed by David Bowers — a HK, US and Japan co-production with animation by Imagi.
Despite the 3-dimensional appearance of this film, there has been a live-action version that was even more genuinely 3-dimensional, if boasting very primitive SFX. This was in fact made four years before the famous anime series, airing on Fuji TV in 1959-1960. Masato Segawa starred as the robot-boy who fought against giant robots, space aliens, and other nasties.
Here is some clips from the show, plus a scene from the live-action Tetsujin 28-go TV series of the same period.
Also available is the opening ten minutes of a feature-length “compilation” movie, Fuhrer ZZZ, that was produced from the series. Note that the beginning moments utilise drawings from the manga.
If you get into the story, you can find the rest of the movie (8 parts in all) on YouTube. They can be found by the title “astro boy – fuhrer zzz 1/8”, “astro boy – fuhrer zzz 2/8”, “astro boy – fuhrer zzz 3/8”, etc.
Now, apparently, the 58 episodes of the live-action series are being released on DVD by Geneon Universal Entertainment in Japan. You can read about it here.