Astro Boy

Japanese town’s beautiful rice paddy art salutes Osamu Tezuka anime characters, Audrey Hepburn

Photos show rural Aomori town’s continuing tradition of artistic agriculture with convenient access for travelers.

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Australia’s Animal Logic Entertainment announces plans for live-action Astro Boy film

Live-action comic book movies are a big deal these days, with four of the 10 highest-grossing films in the U.S. hailing from that category in 2014. All four of those are Marvel properties, though, and while American rival DC Comics has found sporadic movie success in the past, Western adaptations of Japanese manga haven’t even fared that well.

Still, it looks like one studio is getting ready to roll the dice again, and the dice don’t get much bigger than Japan’s most exalted manga of all, as Australia’s Animal Logic Entertainment has announced its plans for an Astro Boy live-action movie.

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Anime’s Tetsuwan Atom/Astro Boy shows up on a pedestrian walk signal in Japan

For many newcomers to anime and manga, it can be hard to tell characters drawn by the same artist apart. In general, Japanese designs use fewer lines, especially in the faces, than those of Western comic books, and even some artists themselves, such as Touch creator Mitsuru Adachi, have been known to get their own cast members mixed up.

That’s not a problem with Atom, though. Also known as Astro Boy, Osamu Tezuka’s beloved mighty robot is instantly recognizable, whether in the pages of the manga where he debuted, onscreen in one of his many anime adaptations, or, in his most recent appearance, a pedestrian walk signal in Kanagawa Prefecture.

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Kamishibai — the precursor to manga and anime?

When I first came to Japan, I noticed students using story boards frequently at school. They drew pictures on cardboard with crayon or marker, to assist in skits, plays and telling Japanese folktales. Story boards were especially helpful in English classes because the illustrations helped the audience understand the less-than-perfect translations from Japanese to English. Furthermore, the students could write their translations on the back of each board and narrate rather than memorizing it in English first.

Little did I know that what these students were doing was performing an updated version of a traditional Japanese storytelling format called kamishibai, believed to be the precursor to Japan’s manga and anime.

Find out where Japan’s first superheroes came from and which manga and anime started with from this original, unassuming art form called kamishibai.

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Boston theatre puts on play about Astro Boy and Tezuka

Osamu Tezuka‘s Astro Boy, in addition to being a historically important piece of entertainment, is also widely beloved around the world. And now, some sixty-plus years after its first inception as a manga, it’s been granted additional life on the stage, thanks to the efforts of playwright and director Natsu Onoda Power, and the folks at the Company One theater company.

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Osamu Tezuka’s Three Biggest Works Celebrated in Collector’s Stamp Sets

Like collecting comics? Like collecting stamps? If you happen to like both, then just try keeping your hoarding urges in check for this news.

Japan Post will be releasing three sets of stamps honoring the works of manga and anime legend Osamu Tezuka. The sets celebrate 40th, 50th, and 60th anniversaries of three of his biggest successes.

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