Greetings from Tezuka World Kyoto!
Hullo from my new home, Japan. And sorry for the huge lapse in posting, I’ve been here and there and everywhere doing all kinds of more important things.
Honestly, it’s not as awesome as you’re thinking. BUT there’s one awesome thing about living here and being able to read Japanese (albeit with much dictionary usage) – Tezuka manga for cheap! And lots of Tezuka merchandise! And Tezuka-related attractions, such as Tezuka Osamu World Kyoto, located in Kyoto Station next to the Granvia Hotel. What is it like? I’ll tell you. And show you. To the best of my ability, anyway – some of the photos are so-so.
Stepping off the bus and up to the train station, I noticed some awesome posters and figures-with-arrows pointing the way to Tezuka World (click images for fullsize)
After following these signs, I finally arrived at the front entrance of Tezuka World! It’s hard to see in the photo, but the signs outside the building are actually 3-D hologram type graphics.
And then…I went inside…. and saw some awesome life-size figures of Black Jack, Sapphire, Leo, and Astro Boy, as well as an awesome mural with tons of Tezuka characters on it.
Then, I went to the main attraction – the store. I spent almost an hour looking at tons and tons of merchandise, some of it exclusive to Kyoto Tezuka World, and ended up buying some, which you can see here (along with the Tezuka-related results of my separate manga shopping trip).
But back to Tezuka World…
The other main attraction is the “Anime Theater,” where you can watch a short movie on a flatscreen TV in a dark “theater” decorated with images from many different Tezuka works. The movie tickets are on sale in the store, and the movie plays on the :05 and :35 of every hour. The programme changes every month. The cost is 200 Yen (about 2 U.S. dollars) for an adult. The programme names and schedule are listed on the flyers they have near the entrance with Sharaku on them (there’s one in the photo of the stuff I bought). The ticket also lets you use the “Mini Library,” which has comfy seats and a huge selection of Tezuka manga to read (in Japanese, of course).
According to the flyer, the programme for April is supposed to be “Black Jack and Jungle Emperor Leo” but it’s “in planning” right now, so that’s probably why they showed the December programme, “The Secret of Astro’s Birth,” on the day I was there. I thought I’d record my impressions of the film, even though chances are that you wouldn’t see the same one if you decided to go to Tezuka World Kyoto.
Anime Theater Programme: “The Secret of Astro’s Birth”
The film starts out with a *mysterious figure* (that anyone acquainted with the series could identify as Dr. Tenma) breaking into a science lab. Flashbacks, etc. inform us that he is stealing a mobile laboratory spaceship to work on some project. Ochanomizu tries to stop him, but is shoved into something and locked up. Later, he and the authorities try to hunt down and stop Tenma, who is on his way to Mars (working on his experiment along the way). Flashbacks show us Tobio (Tenma’s son) in the days leading up to his accident, and give us an idea of Tenma’s relationship with him. As any idiot could guess, Tenma’s “project” is the creation of Astro Boy. Chase scenes, high tension “drama,” etc. follow, leading up to the inevitable – Tenma is caught and must return to earth, but he is allowed to finish working on Astro. Standard Astro birth scene follows.
In short, this was a canon prequel to Astro’s story. It was a little heavy on the “suspense drama,” seriousness, and emotional flashbacks in my opinion. Come on, this is Astro Boy we’re talking about here. Not gekiga. The animation, done in the style of the “new Astro” of the 2000’s, is a bit shiny for my tastes. Part of what I love about Tezuka is the simplicity of his designs, which doesn’t always translate well into the hyper-detailed modern anime style. Anyway, it was worthwhile entertainment for 2 bucks and it WAS Tezuka….but if this wasn’t in the venue it was in, I wouldn’t really recommend it except to die-hard Astro fans, though they might be more disappointed than the average viewer, now that I think about it.
Anyway, that’s my take on Tezuka Osamu World Kyoto, and I hope it was worth your time.