Once upon a time, the future was a very different place. The future of the 1950s was robots and outer space. In stepped Tetsuwan Atomu. Or maybe it’s more correct to say he helped shape and usher in this vision of the future.

Tetsuwan Atomu was created in Japan in the 1950s and was known as “Astro Boy” in English or sometimes “Atom Boy” in other languages. At first, Tetsuwan Atomu lived in the pages of manga, or comics. In 1963 he hit television screens and spurred the development of anime, Japan’s world famous cartoon genre.

Keep in mind that the Japan of the 1950s was pre-technological superpower. Its reputation for futuristic technology would only come later. The world of Astro Boy was a fantasy zone far removed from the Japan of those days.

Enjoy the title sequence and its chirpy song.

If you’re a fan, you might want to check the cover version by Berlin-based French-German duo Stereo Total, who are known for their synth-pop, new wave, electro and lo-fi style with lots of reference to 1960s retro culture. Their “Tetsuwan Atomu” is on the album “Musique Automatique”.