Kuroda Seitarō:
Astro Boy as an 18-Year-Old

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“I would never have become an artist if I had not encountered Tezuka Osamu’s work.”

Kuroda Seitarō was deeply impressed with the great Tezuka Osamu’s ground-breaking modern manga, New Treasure Island (Shin Takarajima), which he discovered when he was only 8 years old. It was an encounter that made him decide to become an artist. In the present series, Astro Boy as an 18-Year-Old, Kuroda focuses on Astro Boy, one of the numerous characters that Tezuka created.

Kuroda re-envisions a brand-new Astro Boy: he is no longer a robot, but just a normal 18-year-old human. The series is showcasing the different emotional changes of Astro Boy when he decides not to fight on behalf of humans, but to live with them as an 18-year-old young man. The birthday of Astro Boy, according to the original story, was April 7, 2003, which means April 7, 2021, coincides precisely with his 18th birthday! You are welcome to come see the exhibition and celebrate with Astro Boy!
“I wanted to draw an Astro Boy that dogs would bark at”

Kuroda once asked one of his best friends, the author Nosaka Akiyuki, about his thoughts on Mount Fuji, and got an unexpected answer: “I feel sorry for Mount Fuji because it always has to live up to the expectations of everyone.”
Nosaka’s answer moved Kuroda, and he sensed an analogy between Mount Fuji and the character of Astro Boy: both having to live up to everyone’s expectations, one as the greatest mountain of Japan, and one as the superhero who always has to help out everyone– Kuroda felt sorry for Astro Boy, for having to be strong all the time.
“It is boring to see only the superhero Astro Boy. I wanted to draw an Astro Boy that dogs would bark at,” says Kuroda.
In this series Astro Boy as an 18-Year Old, Kuroda shows the humane side of Astro Boy: sometimes laughing, sometimes angry… courageous, sad, even pitiful. He is not just a combat android but an 18-year-old youngster who goes through the same complicated emotions just like everyone of us.

“Astro Boy returns to nature”

Astro Boy as an 18-Year Old shows its hero talking to the sun and grasses at the roadside, sometimes even transforming himself into a flower or a bird. Kuroda envisions an Astro Boy, though functioning on atomic power, who realigns with nature: not overwhelmed by technology, his world is one where mankind and nature beautifully coexist.

Moving from the high growth period of the late Shōwa era to Heiwa, and now Reiwa (the present era in Japan), many challenges in society have surfaced, and people have once more experienced the frightful power of nature. In order to live up to these challenges, 18-year old Astro Boy might have one or two things to teach us.