The Manga that Inspired the Shounen Genre

Astro Boy, Vols. 1 & 2 - Osamu Tezuka, Frederik L. Schodt

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I can honestly say that I have no idea how the heck this book was the manga that ‘started’ the shounen manga or inspired manga artists with their successful shounen series such as Dragon Ball. This manga is just kinda out there that I have absolutely no idea how I was going to rate this.


First off, this manga was made in the 60’s 50’s so the art and the story really has an old fashion type story structure that we’ve seen in old comics before. Especially in the sci-fi and the action genre. The hero lives life normally (or sometimes discovers new powers about himself). A villain appears and causes chaos.


There’s nothing much to say about this book except for the fact that some of the scenes in this manga don’t make any sense and just pop out of nowhere. For example, in the beginning of the manga there is this young boy driving a car. Mind you that this kid is no older than 12 years old and yet he recklessly drives the car and ends up getting into an accident. There’s also the police cars that are shaped like dog heads and there are some sort of diamonds on the moon (or some sort of crystals with an abandoned city, I can’t remember).


The plot is just series of events that happen to our protagonist, Astro Boy and they are kind of boring and lame. They’re predictable and the villains are not really that interesting and can sometimes be kind of stupid. Astro Boy is the only thing about this manga I actually enjoyed. He’s nice, wants to do the right thing, stands up for his friends and is basically your typical superhero. He’s not that interesting or complex but they do give him a good backstory that makes you feel sympathy for him.


If you like the story of robots coexisting with human then this’ll be a cute manga to check out. Just keep in mind that it was made in the 50’s so the plot and the characters are kind of old fashioned and not that complex.