Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Meet Kirobo, Son of Astro Boy

"Tokyo on Wednesday was treated to one of the first demonstrations of Kirobo, a talking robot that was jointly developed by the University of Tokyo, Toyota, and Dentsu Inc., and will be heading into outer space later this summer. Named after a combination of the Japanese word kibo, or “hope”, and the word “robot”, the Kirobo project is part of an experiment that will see the first human-robot conversation held in space."

- via an article published today at Japan Daily Press

First there was Roboy, and now meet Kirobo, his space-faring brother, set to be launched, this coming August, from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan to the International Space Station in... well, outer space!

But, watching the various Japanese robots that have come onto the scene in recent years, I get this eery feeling of deja vu - why does none of it seem particularly new to me? Ah, I remember now! If you were born at any time between the 1950's through the early 1970's, you probably already have a singular Japanese robotic boy planted in your psyche - Astro Boy, who can "swim oceans, leap over mountains, even fly into space on his own power"!

Astro Boy was the 1950's brainchild of the "Godfather of Manga", legendary animator and visionary, Osamu Tezaku, and this is long before Americans ever heard of the words anime and manga. And, in a strange sense, you might also say, Tezaku is, essentially, the godfather - or grandfather - of Kirobo.

Posted below, is a vintage video introduction to the 1960's Astro Boy cartoon... but, if you want to see an eye-opening list of topics that continue to metaphorically reverberate in the paranormal meme-field today, check out the titles and the early Astro Boy episodes found on this Manga Entertainment page. Yes, Astro Boy even went to Mars!


News Update 8/4/13:

Kirobo the talking Japanese robot lifts off into space

"JAXA, Japan's equivalent of NASA, said the rocket launch was successful, and the separation of a cargo vehicle, carrying the robot to the space station, was confirmed about 15 minutes after liftoff."

- via this Sunday article from The Independent

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