Otaku USA Magazine
ATOM: The Beginning Manga Spins a New Astro Boy Story

Atom: The Beginning

No matter how new an anime fan you are, it’s likely you understand the importance of Astro Boy. Osamu Tezuka’s trailblazing title is one of the earliest examples of anime and manga as we know it, and still considered one of the greatest series of all time. So it’s no wonder creators keep revisiting it—in remakes, reimaginings, and beyond. For example, ATOM: The Beginning—introduced as a prequel series, but becoming so much more.

If you’ve seen the anime adaptation, you’ve definitely gotten a taste for what it is. But by diving into the manga, you get so much more. And thanks to hardcover copies coming out as we speak, you can now own it as part of your library!


The Story

A106 fights

ATOM: The Beginning takes place five years after a calamity that nearly destroyed Japan. In response, the robotics industry flourished. Amongst the crowd of innovators are Umatarō Tenma and Hiroshi Ochanomizu, two young geniuses from Nerima University. The two are working together on a new form of artificial intelligence: the Bewusstsein System. Rather than a “brain,” this functions more as a “heart”: an awareness that allows machines to discover and develop emotions for themselves.

Their test subject is A106, a human-sized robot. A106 shows great promise, acting independently to protect others and attempting to solve conflicts peacefully. Ochanomizu is excited about this; but Tenma has other plans.


Familiar Faces

Reaching out

You may already have picked up on some familiar names in ATOM: The Beginning. And yes—Tenma and Ochanomizu sure do appear to be the Tenma and Ochanomizu (or Boynton and Elefun) of the original Astro Boy. They’re younger, but they’re pretty unmistakable.

Also keep an eye out for characters inspired by Astro Boy stars. Ochanomizu’s little sister Ran is a ringer for Uran (a.k.a. Astro Girl). The super-strong robot Mars bears some design resemblances to both Cobalt (Astro Boy’s big brother in the anime) and Jetter Mars (Tezuka’s own legally-distinct take on Astro). And of course, there’s A106—who, while far more robotic than Astro, carries the same desire for peace and understanding.


Incoming Surprises

A106 vs. a human-powered robot

As of this month, you can own up to Volume 2 of ATOM: The Beginning. But there’s so much more to go—and even if you’ve seen the anime, you’re in for some surprises. Will Tenma and Ochanomizu ever see eye to eye on A106? Who is the mysterious Dr. Lolo, and what are her intentions with Mars? What happened five years ago that changed the world? And… wait, how does this lead to Astro Boy happening?

The manga is still running as we speak, so there’s still lots of story to tell. You’ll definitely be in it for the long haul… and if you’re an Astro Boy fan, the incoming twists and turns will be super exciting. Even if you’re not, it’s great sci-fi with lots of action and—naturally—lots of heart.

Pick up ATOM: The Beginning from Titan Comics!

From robotics to the cloud, check out Owl City’s new song for the Girls’ Frontline spinoff.

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.