Tezuka In English
Category: About : Anime

Tezuka’s Anime (TV Series)

Astro Boy (1963-66)

Astro Boy (1963-66)

Osamu Tezuka is well-known as being the “father of Japanese television animation”.  When he first decided to try his hand at animation, he quickly realized that, as a small independent studio without the resources of Walt Disney or Toei Animation, the only viable projects would be producing short, simple animation for television commercials; most likely a frustrating and unsatisfying experience.  So, instead he decided to do something that had never been tried in Japan – a weekly television anime series.

Understanding that he would be competing with the production costs of live-action television programming, Tezuka made a conscious decision to produce his anime as as a loss-leader on a shoestring budget.  This meant he needed to adapt high-quality story concepts to a form of limited animation that required only 10 frames per second or so (as opposed to the standard 24-29) and relied on an image bank of re-usable cells that could be combined and re-combined in new ways to prolong the action sequences.

The process worked, and when the original Black & White Astro Boy (1963-66) television anime first hit the airwaves on Fuji TV on January 1, 1963, it was an instant hit, capturing nearly 40% of the audience.  The success allowed Tezuka to build Mushi Productions into a true animation studio that would go on to produce full-colour animated television programs for Jungle Empror (1965-66) and Princess Knight (1967-68), as well experimental animation/live-action hybrid’s shuch as Vampires (1968-69).

Always trying to improve the finished product, Tezuka returned to several of his key series, either as re-imaginings, such as Jetter Mars (1977) or re-makes such as Jungle Emperor (1989-90).  In fact, the legacy Tezuka built in regards to television anime has survived his death and Tezuka properties, such as Astro Boy (2003) continue to be developed for the television anime audience to this day.

Title Started Finished Network Format Episodes Produced by
Astro Boy 01/01/1963 21/12/1966 Fuji TV B&W 193 Mushi Productions
Galaxy Boy Troop 07/04/1963 01/04/1965 NHK B&W 92 Mushi Productions/
Takeda Puppet Theater
Big X 03/08/1964 27/09/1965 TBS B&W 59 Tokyo Movie
Wonder 3 06/06/1965 27/06/1966 Fuji TV B&W 52 Mushi Productions
Jungle Emperor 06/10/1965 28/09/1966 Fuji TV Colour 52 Mushi Productions
Jungle Emperor: Onward, Leo! 05/10/1966 29/03/1967 Fuji TV Colour 26 Mushi Productions
The Adventures of Goku 07/01/1967 30/09/1967 Fuji TV Colour 39 Mushi Productions
Princess Knight 02/04/1967 07/04/1968 Fuji TV Colour 52 Mushi Productions
Vampires 03/10/1968 29/03/1969 Fuji TV B&W 26 Mushi Productions
Dororo 06/04/1969 28/09/1969 Fuji TV B&W 26 Mushi Productions
Marvelous Melmo 03/10/1971 26/03/1972 Asahi Colour 26 Tezuka Productions
Triton of the Sea 01/04/1972 30/09/1972 Asahi Colour 27 Animation Staff Room
Wansa-kun 02/04/1973 24/09/1973 Kansai TV Colour 26 Mushi Productions
Microid S 07/04/1973 06/10/1973 NET Colour 26 Toei Animation
Jetter Mars 03/02/1977 15/09/1977 Fuji TV Colour 27 Toei Animation
Astro Boy 01/10/1980 23/12/1981 NTV Colour 52 Tezuka Productions
Don Dracula 05/04/1982 26/04/1982 TV Tokyo Colour 4 Sankyo Planning
Blue Blink 07/04/1989 16/03/1990 NHK Colour 39 Tezuka Productions
Jungle Emperor 12/10/1989 11/10/1990 TV Tokyo Colour 52 Tezuka Productions
The Three-Eyed One 18/10/1990 26/09/1991 TV Tokyo Colour 48 Tezuka Productions
Bible Stories 01/04/1997 09/05/1997 NTV Colour 26 Tezuka Productions/RAI