TALENT BEHIND ASTRO BOY SHOW CELEBRATE LAUNCH OF TOY LINE AND LONGEVITY OF CHARACTER
Bandai America Hosts Screening and Panel at Sony Metreon in San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO, July 14, 2004 – Fans turned out to celebrate the return of Astro Boy at a special event held at Metreon – A Sony Entertainment Center in San Francisco on Saturday, June 26th. Astro Boy fans of all ages were among the first consumers to purchase the new toyline at its unveiling and view a special screening of classic and brand new episodes of the beloved television series. Many adults who grew up with the character attended the event and brought their kids, passing the experience of their youth on to a new generation.
To illustrate Astro Boy’s rich, 50-year legacy, a black and white episode of the original cartoon from 1963 was shown, immediately followed by an unaired episode from Sony Pictures Television’s new series.
Fans were then treated to a panel discussion about the show and the character with executive producer Joe D’Ambrosia, writer and story editor Marc Handler, and the voice of Astro, Candi Milo. After taking questions from the audience and being presented with Bandai America’s 11-inch electronic version of Astro, the trio signed autographs at the Bandai Shop in front of a display of the new Astro Boy toys.
Adding to the festivities was Astro himself – posing for pictures and ushering people around the venue. Representatives from Sega were also on hand, delighting attendees with a working demo of their upcoming Astro Boy Playstation 2 videogame.
“This was a terrific way to celebrate the toys reaching retail stores,” said Lori Moreno, senior marketing manager for Bandai America. “We first showed the figures at Toy Fair in New York and the response was phenomenal. Now that they’re finally hitting stores we needed to kick things off right. Having the talent behind the show here, and letting fans see the evolution of the character through the years was just perfect.”
TALENT BEHIND ASTRO BOY CELEBRATE LAUNCH OF TOY LINE
During the panel, Executive Producer Joe D’Ambrosia commented on what it is that has made Astro a cultural icon for over a half-century. “It’s easy to see the character as this super-human machine that can fly, see through walls and has all these great powers, but these powers do not cause him to win,” he said. “What sets him apart is that he has this tremendous heart. When Astro acts from the heart - as he always does - his powers are dazzling."
Story editor Marc Handler agreed. “Astro’s creator, Osamu Tezuka, grew up in Japan during World War II, and he noted that the government used comics to promote war. When he brought Astro to life, he wanted to use the character to promote peace. And that’s something we’ve tried to honor as well.”
Candi Milo, the voice of Astro on the new animated series, had a different take on the character’s sustained popularity. “I think it’s the red boots,” she joked.
Astro Boy tells the story of a youthful robot boy - Astro - modeled after the deceased son of a research scientist, Dr. Tenma. Originally intended to be kept a secret, the atomic-powered robot becomes a reluctant superhero who fights for justice and peace for humans and robots alike.
Astro possesses superb strength, including jet-powered feet and arms that allow him to fly at extreme speeds. However, the secret to his victories is not his super-powers; the quality that makes him superior to other robots is his artificial brain, the most advanced in the world. This unique quality, termed “kokoro” in Japanese, allows Astro to experience all of the same emotions as humans. He's clever, resourceful and has a strong sense of justice, always attempting to reason with his adversaries.
Mankind's only hope of surviving the onslaught of rebellious robots is a robot himself...the fearless, selfless, incorruptible champion known as Astro. With engaging electronics, transforming vehicles and unique playsets, Bandai America ensures Astro will charm a new generation of toy lovers.
About Bandai America Incorporated
Bandai America Incorporated is a subsidiary of Bandai Co. Ltd., the third largest toy company in the world, with 38 subsidiaries in 13 countries worldwide. Global interests include toys and children’s entertainment, video game software, multimedia, music, full-length feature films, vending machines, trading cards, candies and licensed apparel.
TALENT BEHIND ASTRO BOY CELEBRATE LAUNCH OF TOY LINE
Bandai America Incorporated is the master toy licensee of some of the most popular properties and brands in children’s toys and entertainment, including the Power Rangers, Gundam, Teen Titans, Astro Boy, Strawberry Shortcake and Tamagotchi product lines. Bandai America is headquartered in Cypress, California and company information is available at www.Bandai.com
About Sony Pictures Consumer Products
Sony Pictures Consumer Products (SPCP), a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), is based in Los Angeles and London. SPCP handles the merchandising and branding efforts for some of the most recognized properties in film and television and, through Spider-Man Merchandising, L.P., a limited partnership with Marvel Enterprises, the upcoming motion picture Spider-Man 2™ and the Spider-Man™ animated series. Additionally, SPCP properties include such titles as the gothic box office hit “Underworld”, the Academy Award winning short, “The ChubbChubbs™”, television properties such as “Astro Boy™”, “Stuart Little™” animated,” and “Jackie Chan Adventures™.” SPE is a division of Sony Corporation of America (SCA), a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; digital content creation and distribution; worldwide channel investments; home entertainment acquisition and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of filmed entertainment in 67 countries. Sony Pictures Entertainment can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.sonypictures.com