Osamu Tezuka’s “Astro Boy” serves as a new model for media systems in that it was one of the first to pioneer the model successfully. Using different media systems, “Astro Boy” was able to permeate through different sources of public information, leading to it being almost commonplace and dynamic, no matter how it was illustrated.
Astro Boy, created by Tezuka in 1952 in its own manga, was adapted later into an animated series, on January 1, 1963. The process, according to Frederik L. Schodt, included a team of animators that helped him with “limited animation,” where only necessary drawings would be made. The dispersal of Astro Boy became even more successful through the use of product merchandising, which came up from the sponsor Meiji Seika, a confectionary manufacturer. As Astro Boy transitioned from one form to another, one can find a change in his state of being, first being static in the manga, and shifting to being dynamic in the product merchandising. One can say that the product merchandising is a form of a new media system because it was able to relay information to the public through its consumption.
The creation of the animated series may be described as the point where Astro Boy obtained the ability of mobility. This comes through the way it was broadcasted to the general public, and how a lot of the elements that Tezuka used created the illusion of Astro Boy moving through space in the anime. This illusion was based on repeating the same pictures over and over to show dynamic movement. These pictures included things like flying, or fighting.
The illusion of movement was then transferred to the merchandising practices of Meiji Seika, where stickers were placed as extras in their chocolate cylinders. In these stickers, according to Steinberg’s essay, we still see the dynamic motion of Astro Boy as seen in the animated series, where “flight” was symbolized in some stickers by depicting Astro Boy with “speed lines” drawn behind him. These stickers became dynamic motions in themselves, able to “move around” and be put on a variety of surfaces for children. These surfaces included places like notebooks, shoes, and even faces. As Steinberg described the stickers, “the image is dynamic even in its very stillness” (page 66). Astro Boy now wasn’t just in the animations alone. It was now in our world, thanks to the media system of merchandising goods. And this media system wouldn’t be as developed if not for the existence of the animation media system, where movement is illustrated with the least use of materials. As Steinberg puts it, it is “graphically immobile dynamism” (page76).
“Astro Boy” is illustrative of a successful system of media systems in the fluidity and dynamic symbols of movement through its different mediums. Through animation and manga, as well as merchandising, we find Astro Boy has consistently held a way of illustrating movement. This movement has held Astro Boy in perpetual fluidity through different systems that have led to its success.