Favourite One-Episode Characters?

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Space Flower
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Favourite One-Episode Characters?

Postby Space Flower » 1 year ago

There's been a lot of love on this board for characters such as Astro, Uran, Tenma, Elefun, as well as some of the recurring characters such as Skunk. But what about those characters no one talks about? Who are your favourite forgotten characters that only got a single episode appearance? :heart:

(Early spoiler warning for those who haven't watched all 80's episodes.)

I like the villain from The Red Cat. He's a more 3-dimensional villain than one would expect. He did the wrong thing for the right reason, which was protecting the forest he cherished so much. The ending of that episode always brings a tear to my eye.

Plant boy/Plant girl, Violet. Her story is so beautiful and tragic. She wanted to save her planet but ended up being its last survivor... yet she was happy when Astro planted her and let her show her true form. Another beautiful episode with a memorable character.

Sherlock Homespun. He's a hater of robots, despite being a cyborg. His body was butchered by robot doctors, so he hates all of them. Even though Astro's done nothing to him, he hates having to work with him. His eventual development is great. When he sees Astro's strength of character, he changes his attitude for the better.

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Re: Favourite One-Episode Characters?

Postby DrFrag » 1 year ago

Was Sherlock Homespun his Canadian version name? He was Inspector Randolph Holmes in the version I watched. Definitely a great character.

Buck from The Transformation Robot is one of my favourites. Predated Transformers by several years and had such cool transformation sequences. I showed a girlfriend the scene where he fights Astro and changes from an eagle into a horse and she said "whoa!".

Zeus from Uran Falls in Love was a great character now that I think about it. Uran makes friends with his goofy brain but kind of has contempt for him and is embarrassed to be seen with him. Yet she falls in love with his heartthrob body and she's so shallow about it. There's one scene at the end in the airport fight where Uran cheers him on and he flashes her this look of anger. Uran knows he's an assassin, and he's literally fighting her own brother, but she cheers him on because he's good looking. Zeus realises she doesn't care at all about who he really is inside and the whole time he just wanted to be friends with her.

There are other characters I like because they have such awesome visual designs even if they didn't always have much character development. Molnar with his six arms, Brawndo looked so badass, Xeron had such cool tech, the panther that could split in half, the Sphinx all golden with her laser tail, True's helicopter in his head, Uran's robot watchdog and his snap-down teeth.

I also liked Captain Kili from Atlas Forever, Captain Perot from The Anti-Proton Gun, Matthew and Eltridge Tennyson from Outer Spaceport R45, Lt Blackstone from Astro Fights Aliens, Mayor Ballast from The Death Balloon, and the Light Ray Robot. Not all likeable characters, but so complex and interesting. I remember as a kid thinking Blackstone and Ballast were the "bad guys". They definitely did some corrupt things caught up in their ambitions but now I feel sorry for them. It was kind of rare for the show to have 1-dimensional comic book villains like Dr Feenie from The Snow Leopard. Even Walpur Guiss and Sultan had a lot of depth.

I wish Saphira from The Time Machine had more screen time. I haven't seen Ribbon Knight but I assume there's more to her character than "I crossdressed to take the throne". It pretty much ended up being the Black Jack show. He's good too, but we didn't see much in the way of miracle surgery.
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Space Flower
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Re: Favourite One-Episode Characters?

Postby Space Flower » 1 year ago

Sherlock Homespun was his manga name, I believe.

These are all excellent choices. You're right about many of the Astro Boy villains being 3-dimensional, unlike what you'd see in your average cartoon. One of the characters I didn't expect to have a redemption and happy ending was Black Lux/Blackie Young. But even he, after all his robot-hunting, in finding out his mother was a robot, finally sees the whole story and gives up on his vengeance-quest.

Rumy/Lilly strikes a special chord in me. She seems like the kind of character who would have been a long-term love interest of the hero, if only Astro hadn't been so shy about confessing he's a robot.

President Rag/Richie is a great character as well. Despite all the work he has to do, he still finds the time to greet the people of the city. And despite being targeted and tortured by Deadcross, he still believes that robots and humans can work together as equals.

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Re: Favourite One-Episode Characters?

Postby DrFrag » 1 year ago

Blackie Young's story was tragic, but I don't feel any sympathy for him. He killed so many people and caused so much suffering. There's a bit where he kills a robot factory boss and the robot begs for his life and says he has a family, but Blackie kills him anyway and it was so violent it was edited out of the dub. Blackie's mother had a family too, and look what her death resulted in. I guess the whole story is a metaphor for violent racism.

The villain from The Wreck of the Titan, Morlock, was into extortion, loan sharking, and was prepared to kill his fellow survivors to have all the air for himself. They were all kind of greedy I guess, wanting to rob Lt Miner's grave for the diamonds, but Morlock was so consumed by greed that it cost him his life. I actually felt sorry for him in the end, because he's shouting for help and the final scene shows Astro, Anthony and Prof Thompson looking back knowing they've left him to die. But as bad as Morlock was, his primary goal wasn't killing people. I think for me that's what makes Blackie Young so much worse.

I agree Lilly was a great character. I think it was the only time the show depicted a love interest between human and robot? Kind of surprising since so much of the show was about robot rights like a metaphor for the civil rights movement. Actually I just remembered one - in The Robots Nobody Wanted the chieftan of the jungle island had a robot wife. Hilarious character, he obviously had a thing for robots but he was so henpecked by his robot wife.

I've been thinking about Mayor Ballast as a character. Anti-robot politician, but his backstory was he lost his job at a factory because robots took all the jobs so he couldn't afford to pay for his daughter's medicine and she died. Almost 40 years after the episode was made, experts say we could face 50% unemployment from AI in the coming decades. People already die in America because they can't afford medicine. As a kid I didn't find him to be a particularly beliavable character - hospitals are free in my country so I'd never heard of someone being unable to afford medical treatment. But now Ballast feels increasingly believable, and maybe even inevitable. Tezuka did an amazing job making a believable sci-fi future. There are other elements to Ballast's character I find interesting. He's deliberately set up to be really, really unlikable. He's a corrupt politician in league with gangsters, he helps orchestrate balloon explosions over playgrounds that put children in hospital (even after losing his own daughter), he leverages people's fear to turn them against robots, he paints the hero of the city as a villain, and he shoots Astro in the brain. Even visually he's the most morbidly obese character in the show and has an almost Hitler style haircut. Tezuka does everything he can to create tension between this vile man and the tragic life events that made him end up that way. When he's arrested he attempts suicide (which as I understand it, in Japan would have been a morally responsible thing to do) and asks Astro for forgiveness for hating robots. Should we feel sorry for him? I kind of do, but then I remember the bandaged kids in the hospital.

Anyway, I should write less about the bad ones. I loved how Inspector Holmes could change his body shape. He could have had his own spin-off series where he goes undercover and takes on various disguises to investigate. There's almost a Ghost in the Shell vibe about how much of him is human and where his humanity resides. Despite having his body torn up by robots, and having contempt and even hatred for robots, he has the moral fortitude to never take revenge.
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Re: Favourite One-Episode Characters?

Postby Earthshine » 1 year ago

"Bemo" otherwise known as Bem who appears in the episode Attack from Space adapted from the story "Earth's Last Day" in the manga. I really love this particular character for a lot of reasons. Tezuka pulls no punches in his story telling about the selfishness of sentience and the evil anyone can inflict - having it span even across stars as Bem's people created them for the sole purpose to die should they be deemed necessary. It is made very clear that Bem is no volunteer; they are a bomb with sentient thought with a strong sense of self preservation. Tezuka goes into a lot of details with Bem's story that tells many different opinions that I also really enjoyed; such as Dr. Ochanomizu handing Bem back over to his abusers despite Atom's pleading because in his particular situation what other choice did he have?

Bem has a lot of anger for their situation and rightfully so; created just to die... and to save the Earth from their own people means to also die. Bem as they first show up is not that selfless or righteous but grows to eventually make the decision to save Earth. The English 1960s adaption of this story makes their end much more appealing but it looses the impact of what the full scope of their situation was; in the ELV Bem was simply not helping Earth because they didn't want to, not that they would DIE if they did so. So in this version Bem was said to have just been "taken home and de-weaponized." A happier end but it makes the whole story seem a bit more lackluster and rudimentary.

One detail about Bem that I do like that the ELV also did not reveal was that Bem was technically non-binary; a gender nonconforming to either man or woman. Tezuka often loved playing with gender and physical sex, writing characters like Princess Sapphire, Tima from Metropolis, Kei from Black Jack (and many others that I am forgetting atm) but he typically stayed within the range of man or woman, it was a rare thing for him to write a character that was purely outside either as Bem made it generally clear that both options was not accurate to what they were really.

And gosh I love the designs of the Norikans/Nicolans... Wings on their HEADS! Physics, what physics?

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Re: Favourite One-Episode Characters?

Postby Tetsuwan Penguin » 1 year ago

How about Dr. Tenma? OK, he's not a ONE episode character, but in the 1963 ELV he only appears in two episodes (and in his second appearance he shows up as an alternate universe version of his former self. If you include the missing 89 of this same anime series, Tenma does make a few genuine other appearances.) IIRC his appearance in the 1980 series is in a single episode. It was only in the 2003 series that Dr. Tenma becomes a major character (and Tezuka didn't write that). He does appear a bit more often in the Manga, but mostly in the stories that Tezuka wrote in Atom's "second" manga life after he'd been killed off in the first anime series. Dr. Tenma did have a few Star System roles elsewhere, including an episode of Black Jack, where he again played Tobio's father, and Tobio was Kuro's patient.
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Re: Favourite One-Episode Characters?

Postby carlymichelle » 1 year ago

baby pook the elephant it makes me cry everytime i watch

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Re: Favourite One-Episode Characters?

Postby jeffbert » 1 year ago

Interesting discussion!

A few names from the Tezuka Character guide Vol 1:

シャーロック・ホームスパン / Shārokku hōmusupan / Sherlock Home span

ベム / Bemu / Bem

ブラック・ルックス / Burakku rukkusu / Black Looks

Y教授 / Y kyōju / Y Professor (the Red Cat guy)

Devil's Balloons guy:
大福安古東京都知事 / Dai Fukuyasu ko Tōkyōto chiji / Daifuku depreciation old Governor of Tokyo

the kana version for his name translates to Bean paste. :P

アルンア12 星人 / Arun'a 12 hoshibito / Aruna 12 stars (Plant man)

プーク / Pūku / Puku (Buck)

ルミコ / Rumiko / Rumiko

from the cast listing of the B&W series:
金持ちの倉持社長 / Kanemochi no Kuramochi / shachō Kuramochi president of the rich (Ivan the fool greedy guy) I think the manga combined the greedy guy with the jewel thief, as I see no reference to him in the Tezuka Character guide Vol 1.

ラグ大統領 / Ragu daitōryō / Rag President


As far as the 1980s series goes, I cannot think of any particular single episode character whom I particularly like. :cry: :o
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Space Flower
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Re: Favourite One-Episode Characters?

Postby Space Flower » 1 year ago

All excellent answers! :D

DrFrag - Sherlock was great, and you're right, he never tried to hurt any robots, despite hating them.

One character who is more positive, and who I didn't expect to like was Boon. They merged him with Hamegg in the '09 movie and turned him into a villain. Shame, because in the original he was a genius inventor who never got his chance, but ended up saving everyone.

Earthshine - Bem is a great character, too. They have a duty to sacrifice themselves for their planet, but they don't want to do that, and it's understandable why. And their sacrifice in the end is sad, but shows they're willing to save earth from another bomb. Have you watched the Jetter Mars episode that featured them? Their story is very different in that one. Their species travels in egg pods, and Bem survives in the end. I love their redesign, too.

I like the dog lady in that chapter/episode as well. A woman willing to stay behind on earth and take care of the abandoned animals. It's just so sweet and melancholy.

Tetsuwan Penguin - I'll count him, since he does just show up in one episode, in the old series! He's a complicated character, certainly. His love and loss is relatable and who wouldn't want to bring back someone they loved, if given the chance? Only to find it's not the same thing. I did find myself wishing he'd appear again in the 80's series, since his disappearance was never explained, and he could have still been searching for Tobio. He did apologize to him in that version and seemed genuinely concerned about him (and was wondering if he'd fallen overboard, in the Japanese version).

carlymichelle - Pook the elephant was a cute character. It's so sweet whenever Astro takes care of animals. It's a beautiful episode, indeed.

jeffbert - Nice name reference guide! Your fave doesn't have to be from the 80's show; it can be from the 60's show, if you want. I liked the kid Buyou (sp?) from episode 101: Dangerous Mission!

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Re: Favourite One-Episode Characters?

Postby Earthshine » 1 year ago

[quote="Space Flower"

Earthshine - Bem is a great character, too. They have a duty to sacrifice themselves for their planet, but they don't want to do that, and it's understandable why. And their sacrifice in the end is sad, but shows they're willing to save earth from another bomb. Have you watched the Jetter Mars episode that featured them? Their story is very different in that one. Their species travels in egg pods, and Bem survives in the end. I love their redesign, too.

I like the dog lady in that chapter/episode as well. A woman willing to stay behind on earth and take care of the abandoned animals. It's just so sweet and melancholy.
[/quote]

I admit, as much of a Tezuka fan I am... I have not seen a single Jetter Mars episode.... :blush: :hyo: I do intend to though but with a busy work schedule it does become hard to fit it in.


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