Thanasis is a writer, professional geek, and assistant editor at MANGA.TOKYO. He started watching anime with the mecha shows of the 70s and hasn't stopped since. He loves JRPGs.
Episode 8 of Atom the Beginning had a lot of amazing moments, but I think that the highlight was the name they decided to give to the ojou-sama master of antagonist Mars: Dr. Lolo. I’m not a fan of the name, but the episode was so full of action that I went past it. Now, the only thing I’m really looking forward is for A106 to kick Mars’s mechanic ass.
Japanese Title: ロボットレスリング
This was the best episode of the series so far. Having established the differences between Ochanomizu and Tenma, A106 first battle is colored by their own ambitions for their project. A106 is more the ‘kindhearted child of science’ and less the ‘ultimate superman with seven powers.’ This is what will probably drive Tenma to create Atom and then abandon him, but that’s a tale for another time.
The Robot Tournament is your classic Colosseum fight. Thirsty for oil, the spectators gather for a robotic WWE show that is entertaining and cruel. The first two contestants realy on brute strength and showmanship to win the people and provide them with what they want: punches and flying bolts. A106 on the other hand doesn’t want to play their game. He wants to reach the finals to meet his arch nemesis but he doesn’t want to step on destroyed parts to do so. I’m not sure if he realizes that the rest of the robots do not have the conscience he has or if he just doesn’t care. The important thing is that he doesn’t want to damage the robots. He spends most of the fight calculating all possibilities, weighing his options and finding the best way to end the battle without anyone getting hurt, human or robot.
In a very timely critique of our own bloodthirsty reliance to violent entertainment (or semi and indirectly violent as the football-like chants imply) the audience is not getting its fix. They start booing A106 for not taking part in their charade. Humans may have replaced the gladiators for robots, but their affiliation to unnecessary cruelty remains the same.
True to its hopeful representation of the future, Atom the Beginning has the audience experience a change of attitude. After all, hope is always more effective than despair. After the second match, the crowd is starting to appreciate A106’s methods. In a cynic world, the marketers would have used his skills to create a new show, but here A106 is just being true to Ochanomizu’s vision of a society where robots and humans are living together in harmony. In this world, and the one that Tenma wants, robots are little more than slaves.
Jpop chiptunes: When Linda Oishii does her little fan show, in the background play some some Jpop tunes that I can only characterize them as pop chiptunes. I have heard similar songs before, but I’m not familiar with the genre or where they are usually used. I think the first time that I heard something similar was in the Nyan cat video.
Robot Types: The robo-wres tournament reminded more of Juohmaru and Plawres (see my review of Episode 7). The first robot was remote-controlled just like the small robot fighters of the 70s mecha show Plawres Sanshiro. The second robot, Gigaton Hammer, was a pilot type, just like Mazinger and Grendizer.
Pluto: Since we in the world of Astro Boy, we need to mention that Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto is going to get an anime adaptation. In Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy, there was a certain chapter called ‘Chijou Saidai no Robot’ (The Biggest Robot on Earth). Pluto is based on that story, and follows the robot detective Gesicht.
The previews of Atom the Beginning are always giving just enough information to keep us interested. I hope you do watch the previews because they are not just a cheap trick to get you to stay through the credits (even though you should read the credits because some people are working really hard to get you these episodes). In this preview we see that A106 is having some kind of malfunction. One match before the final, how is A106 going to keep to his robotic ideals and win the match?
There is no doubt that Bewusstein is a success. A106 was built to think like a human, but he does so much more than that. He doesn’t just think like a human, he thinks as one that seeks the best for his kind. Just try to imagine what a wonderful world we would have been living in if everyone thought like A106.
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NEXT TIME: Six is Unfit to Fight (シックス戦闘不能)