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Overview

Astro Boy in action.

Osamu Tezuka was a Japanese comics artist and animator whose creations greatly contributed to the sustained rise and popularity of anime and manga in Japan. Tezuka began his lifelong occupation of drawing while still a young child, sketching often and on anything he could use as a surface. His major works include Astro Boy, Phoenix, Buddha, and Black Jack.

The Tezuka Star System

The Star System as it is depicted in Astro Boy: Omega Factor.

The influence of film on Osamu Tezuka's work went beyond just storytelling techniques and camera angles, but also included the concept of recurring actors. Instead of always conceiving a new batch of characters for every new series that he started, Tezuka would sometimes allow existing characters to play new roles. This system of reusing characters in subsequent works became known as the "Star System." It is referenced in the Treasure-developed Game Boy Advance game Astro Boy: Omega Factor, which uses the system to introduce characters outside of the Astro Boy canon into the game's plot, as well as teach people who are unfamiliar with Tezuka's creations their basic factoids and life stories.

Influence on Video Games

Aigis's characterization and abilities owe much to Tezuka's Astro Boy.

Although Osamu Tezuka himself was not involved in creating video games, his popularity as a manga and anime creator was (and continues to be) strong enough to nevertheless influence the Japanese video game industry. As with manga and anime by other creators, many Japanese science fiction video games owe a thematic debt to Tezuka, especially with regard to Astro Boy. The optimistic tone about technology's potential and the ornate realizations of futuristic societies that are central to many games' plots directly draw upon his fiction. Furthermore, specific character tropes that Tezuka first developed remain popular in Japanese video games today. In addition to Astro Boy-like characters who have inhuman origins but proceed to develop human emotions such as Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3's Aigis and KOS-MOS from the Xenosaga games, doctors like those seen in the Black Jack series have also become popular in Japanese video games. This is most apparent in the Trauma Center series of games, which have typically had surgeons for protagonists. Black Jack's influence is especially noticeable in Trauma Team, as the playable character Prisoner CR-SO1 is somewhat of an antihero surgeon who, like Black Jack, has great skills and a dubious reputation as a convict.

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