DuckTales Season 3, Episode 6 Review
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, then you’ll know how influential Japanese anime and manga has become in the last thirty years. However, all that success goes back to one man, the God of Manga himself, Osamu Tezuka. He created Japan’s resident cyborg Pinocchio, Astro Boy, and according to Wikipedia, got a lot of inspiration from Walt Disney. Therefore, it seems fitting that the newest of DuckTales, a Disney cartoon, pays tribute to one of Japan’s greatest icons.
BOYD, A Definitely Real Boy
So, remember BOYD, that cute little robot that Mark Beaks brought to that kid’s party? In this episode, Huey becomes his best friend right as he starts malfunctioning. As a result, they learn Gyro helped create BOYD, originally called 2-BO, with his mentor in Japan. Thus, the group and Gizmoduck head to Tokyolk (nice pun) to figure out what’s wrong with him.
From the start, the episode is rife with references to Osamu Tezuka’s work and Japanese pop culture. Firstly, BOYD’s original name of 2-BO is a play on Tobio, the late son of the scientist who created Astro Boy. Secondly, there’s Detective Tezuka, who has a grudge against Gyro for reasons I will explain shortly. Not only does she share her name with Osamu Tezuka, her outfit mirrors the one worn by Inspector Zenigata from Lupin the III, another old-time manga. Finally, BOYD discovers his legs become rocket thrusters, helping him to save Huey when he falls from Tokyo Tower. He even does Astro Boy’s iconic pose!
DuckTales now has a Dr. Gero
A big, though indirect reference I took away from this episode, though, comes in the episode’s villain, Dr. Akita. Turns out, he designed BOYD to be a weapon only for him to run amok and forcing him to go into hiding. He reminds me a lot of another mad scientist from a popular anime, Dr. Gero. The guy built androids/cyborgs for the purpose of
world universal domination, and that’s the same vibe I got off of Dr. Akita. Fortunately, thanks to Gizmoduck and Gyro, he gets hauled off to prison at the end of the episode. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if he returns down the line as an agent of F.O.W.L.
What Measure is a Non-Human?
When it comes to self-aware robots and androids, a popular theme is the question of what it means to be human for them? Are they capable of being real people? In the case of BOYD, thanks to Huey, the answer is yes.
Huey’s had a hard time relating to other people all his life, so when he bonds with BOYD, he’s thrilled to have someone to relate to. As a result, he spends the entire episode defending his status as a real boy. And once Gyro learns that Dr. Akita’s responsible for BOYD’s rampage, so does Gyro.
So, the episode ends up being a sweet blend of Astro Boy and Pinnochio. Which I think that Tezuka would find amusing in the end. Great episode all around, and I hope we see more of Astro BOYD.
I Give “Astro B.O.Y.D.” A 5/5
- We knew Beaks didn’t build BOYD, but it’s funny seeing how he found him in a dump
- Apparently, Glomgold is big in Japan. Kind of like how Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was. Look him up.
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