Thomas Astruc, the creator and director of the globally successful youth franchise “Miraculous – Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir,” is set to reboot “Astroboy,” one of the best-selling manga series of all time.
Method Animation, the prestigious Mediawan Kids & Family banner behind “Miraculous” and “The Little Prince,” is joining forces with Shibuya to produce this ambitious new series.
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The original animated TV series came out in 1963 and became a global sensation, especially in Japan and France, as well as in the U.S. where it was the first anime to air. Based on the manga collection created by Osamu Tezuka which sold over 100 million copies worldwide, the series paved the way for other Japanese TV animation series. “Astroboy” was also a huge seller in merchandising, turning the little child-like robot character into a pop-culture icon and best-known superhero of Tezuka’s work.
Astruc is set to direct this new CGI-3D series which will comprise 52 half-hour episodes. Although “Astroboy” has known several iterations since its creation in the 1950’s, this one promises to be timelier than ever as it will address today’s hot-button issues, including the impact of the Internet, social media and the damages caused to the environment by humans.
“Tezuka’s original comics were far advanced in delivering a powerful message to readers worldwide. These
fantastic stories of the little boy who flies are all about strong values that still resonate today for a global
audience,” said Mediawan and Shibuya, which jointly acquired the rights to the franchise from Tezuka Productions.
Cedric Biscay, the president and CEO of Monaco-based banner Shibuya Productions, has been building relationships within Japan’s creative community for the last 20 years and is a fan of animation and mangas. The producer said he was able to build strong ties with Japanese talents at the annual event that Shibuya organizes in Monaco where all the biggest stars of mangas, animation and video games are invited.
“It is a huge responsibility to revisit the mythical character of Astroboy, I am particularly happy to have met at
Method Animation an ambitious and passionate team that will allow us to take this series to the highest
heights,” said Biscay, who created Shibuya Productions with Kostadin Yanev.
Aton Soumache, founder and president of Method Animation, said “Thomas Astruc will bring a fresh and unique take on Tezuka’s work.”
“‘Astroboy’ is so universal and contemporary that we are not only developing a reboot but a consistent continuum in the full respect of the original universe,” added Soumache. Method Animation’s stellar track record with reboots include “Robin Hood” and “The Little Prince,” as well as “The Magic Roundabout” which was announced on Wednesday at the Annecy festival. “The Little Prince” was also turned into a feature film which world premiered at Cannes and won Cesar and BAFTA awards.
”It took us several months to secure the rights and there were of course many Japanese and American companies which were circling this property, but ultimately (Tezuka’s right holders) entrusted us with it because we have a similar sensibility and culture of graphic novels in both our countries, and what we have achieved with ‘Miraculous’ in Japan and around the world also played a big role in convincing them,” said Soumache. “It’s a collaboration based on respect and trust.” Soumache pointed out Japanese companies are often been put off by U.S. adaptations that “washed out” the DNA of manga brands.
Astruc, who has become a superstar with the creation of “Miraculous,” a world-famous original IP, said he had “no words to describe how much Osamu Tezuka has influenced (his) life and (his) work.”
“‘Astroboy’ is a cult series that has overseen the future like no other property. In the strange world we live in today, everybody needs Astroboy to come back!” added Astruc, alluding to the themes of the series, including the relationship between men vs. nature, as well values such as pacifism and respect.
The creator-director compared the cultural impact of Tezuka’s work to that of Victor Hugo et Jack Kirby. “‘Astroboy’ sparked the boom of mangas and created the industry for modern anime,” explained Astruc.
Julien Borde, EVP managing director and CCO, said “the show is really in line with what we love to do at Method Animation : Adapting and creating IP’s, bringing together the best international talents to create stories that will entertain and inspire kids and their families everywhere in the world.”
As with “Miraculous,” the making of “Astroboy” will ideally bring together an international pool of animation talents, including French and Japanese ones.
Earlier this week, the company announced the creation of Mediawan Kids and Family, a new division dedicated to the production and distribution of youth programming.
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