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Osamu Tezuka

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Osamutezuka

(1928-1989)

Osamu Tezuka was known throughout his career as the "god of Manga", he was basically Japan's Walt Disney. Tezuka not only gave birth to mecha, he gave birth to anime as we know it today. He started the long standing anime trait of characters having enlarged eyes, a trait he learned from watching the animation work of another visionary artist who was based in the United Sates, Walt Disney himself. Metropolis, one of Tezuka's earliest mangas originally written back in 1949, makes crystal clear the connection between anime and Walt Disney. The manga features a species of giant rats that Tezuka calls, "Mikimaus waltdisneus" which bear a striking resemblance to a certain famous cartoon mouse.

It was in 1963 that Osamu Tezuka started the genre of anime as we know it, with an animated tv series adaptation of his manga series Tetsuwan Atom, better known in the west as Astro Boy. This anime series was the very first anime tv series, period. It was also the very first anime to ever appear on American television. Mecha anime, and anime in general, was born.

Tezuka also pioneered another concept in mecha: Combining robots. Often atributed to Go Nagai, with his manga/anime series Getter Robo from 1974, the concept was actually introduced by Tezuka 11 years earlier in the 1963 Astro Boy maga story "The Snow Leopard". In the story Astro gathers a large group of robots and combine together rather crudely into a giant robot, (with Astro asuming the role of the head.) Around the same time this story was adapted into an episode of the 60s anime series.

Mecha Anime:

  • Astro Boy (1960s series)
  • Astro Boy: The Brave In Space (1964)
  • Astro Boy (1980s series)
  • Astro Boy: Shinsegumi (2001)
  • Astro Boy (2003 series)
  • Ambassador Magma (1993)
  • Metropolis (2001)

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