Imagi’s much-discussed Astro Boy movie was launched in Japan today. The movie breaks with ‘classic’ Astro Boy/Tetsuwan Atom traditions in many ways in its attempt to take Osamu Tezuka’s iconic little robot to a new generation of fans, but one traditon has been restored for the Japanese dub of the movie. The voice of young Hollywood star Freddie Highmore has been replaced with that of a grown-up actress. 23-year-old Aya Ueto voices the little robot, following in the footsteps of original Japanese voice artist Mari Shimizu and American Billie Lou Watt, who played the role when Atom made his debut in the 1963 Japanese and US TV versions.
In Japan and America, there has been talk about the problems facing the anime industry, but elsewhere in Asia there is more optimism, according to this morning’s AFP report by Matthew Scott. Imagi’s Tim Cheung is unsurprisingly upbeat. Kim Ji-Seok, programmer for the Asian animation segment of Korea’s Pusan International Film Festival also sees positive signs in the emerging animation industry beyond Japan.
The film isn’t scheduled for a US opening until later this month, though visitors to the Chicago International Film Festival will be able to see it there on October 18. The USA and China will see the movie on 23 October. UK release plans have yet to be confirmed.