Astro Boy (2003 TV series)

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Astro Boy
Screenshot of the titular character, Astro Boy
(Asutoro Bōi: Tetsuwan Atomu)
Genre Action, Adventure, Science fiction
Anime television series
Directed by Kazuya Konaka
Music by Takashi Yoshimatsu
Studio Tezuka Productions
Sony Pictures Television
Licensed by
Network Fuji TV (2003-2007)
English network
ABC (2004–2008)
Kids' WB (2004)
Cartoon Network (2004)
Jetix (2007)
Original run April 6, 2003March 28, 2004
Episodes 50[2] (List of episodes)
Anime film
Released July 15, 2005
Related works
Anime and Manga portal

Astro Boy (アストロボーイ・鉄腕アトム Asutoro Bōi: Tetsuwan Atomu?, lit. "Astro Boy: Mighty Atom") is a remake of the 1960s anime series of the same name created by Osamu Tezuka, which was produced by his company, Tezuka Productions, Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan and Fuji Television network. It was also shown on Animax, who have broadcast the series across its respective networks worldwide, including Japan, Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia, and other regions.[3][4] It was created to celebrate the birth date of Atom/Astro Boy (as well as the 40th anniversary of the original TV series). Under the original English name (instead of Mighty Atom), it kept the same classic art style as the original manga and anime, but was revisioned and modernized with more lush, high-quality, near-theatrical animation and visuals. It combined the playfulness of the early anime with the darker, more serious and dramatic Science fiction themes of the manga and the 1980 series. The anime broadcast in Japan on the same date as Atom's/Astro's birth in the manga (April 6, 2003) across Animax and Fuji Television.[5] It was directed by Kazuya Konaka and written by Chiaki J. Konaka at the beginning of the series. Other writers included were Keiichi Hasegawa, Sadayuki Murai, Ai Ohta, Hirotoshi Kobayashi, Kenji Konuta, and Marc Handler, whom was also executive story editor.


The series consisted of fifty episodes. Though many episodes of the series can be regarded as "free-standing" in as much as they do not have anything to do with the series major story arcs, the 2003 series can be regarded as having a well-defined beginning, middle and end. Although the series appears to initially have two main plotlines - Dr. Tenma's eventual plans for Astro to evolve and another plotline about robot rights - these two story arcs dovetail toward the end of the series.

The show is set in 2043, where robots are common part of humanity's lives. In Metro City, the renowned Doctor Tenma disappears after trying to construct an AI robot using a new technology called Kokoro (which is Japanese for "heart"). Professor Ochanomizu replaces Tenma as head of the Ministry of Science and discovers a boy-like robot and brings it to life and names him Atom/Astro. He soon discovers he can fly via rocket boosters in his hands and feet, and has superhuman strength and other such abilities, and must deal with robots and villainous robot-hating humans who threaten his friends, fellow robots and Metro City, becoming a hero in the process. Astro quickly learns he is a robotic duplicate of Dr. Tenma's dead son Tobio, and was shut down after seeing how discarded robots were dealt with by his father, something similar that Tobio experienced before dying.

A new arc occurs with the introduction of the Blue Knight, a gallant robot who starts a campaign to free all robots from mankind. Another recurring character, Mr. Drake, goes slowly paranoid about the destruction of all robots and becomes a major antagonist of the series. In the final episodes, the Blue Knight declares a new nation for robots, Robotonia, located on Antarctica. Drake deceives the public into believing a house robot pushed a young girl down a flight of stairs (when he did not), and the girl's father, General Red, declares war on Robotonia. Most of the core cast becomes involved in the goal to stop the war between man and machine, until Astro convinces the Blue Knight that humans and robots can be friends. The Blue Knight departs Earth on Robotonia, which is revealed to be a spacecraft. However, Drake, who is still paranoid (despite the fact the robots have stopped their crusade against humanity), tries to destroy the spacecraft with a missile, but Astro blocks the attack and is seemingly taken offline.

Dr. Tenma manages to restore him, but erases his memories as Astro (so that he can remain "Tobio" forever). Eventually, his memories are restored by his friends from school and his sister, Zoran. In one final attempt to reclaim his lost son, Dr. Tenma goes to a laboratory in the Ministry and tries to convince Astro to join him in ruling the world but the latter refuses. Dr. Tenma tries to kill himself to end his suffering, but Astro embraces and forgives him, causing Dr. Tenma to break down and embrace his son. Professor Ochanomizu and the robotic police come to the rescue, and Dr. Tenma is willingly arrested and sent to prison. At the end of the series, Astro and Tenma and humans and robots start happily fresh and moving on. Humans and robots come closer together, and Astro appears to shed tears at the conclusion of the series.

Short films

A trailer from 2001 made for this series when it was in development presented several major differences from the final series: different designs for characters such as Atlas, the characters speaking in English (with voices completely different from the voices that would eventually end up in the US dub) and animation not found in the final series.

In 2005, an IMAX film was made titled Astro Boy/Tetsuwan Atomu Visits the person IGZA - 100,000 Light Years Away! that is based strongly on this series. It was distributed by Sarai Inc. and was never made into English. There was also a short film titled The Secret of Atom's Birth (アトム誕生の秘密?),[6] shown only in Japan.

Other short films made were:

  • Ivan's Planet - Robots and Humans' Friendship (イワンの惑星〜ロボットと人間の友情〜?)
  • Lunar Base - Mystery of the Robot Disappearance (月面基地・消えたロボットの謎〜?)
  • Shining Earth (Star) - You Are Blue, Beautiful... (輝ける地球(ほし)〜あなたは青く、美しい...〜?)


  • Atom/Astro: A robot built with "Kokoro", an advanced form of artificial intelligence. Astro appears as a young boy who works as a superhero of sorts for Metro City. He continuously tries to stop the collapsing relationship between mankind and robots, despite numerous attempts to destroy him by various parties. He can fly using rocket boosters concealed in his limbs and possesses great strength. Astro was originally constructed by Doctor Tenma to recreate his deceased son Tobio, but Astro rebelled against Tenma when he saw how robots were brutally destroyed in an area of the Ministry of Science and was shut down by his "father".
  • Professor Ochanomizu/Dr. O'Shay: Head of the Ministry of Science, Dr. O'Shay is an elderly man with a distinguishable large nose. He led the project to revive Astro and is his guardian and protector. O'Shay, like Astro, is very defensive of the relationship between mankind and robots, often defending Astro when he is accused of being dangerous to Metro City. He is portrayed as being a bit clumsy and quick to anger, but is very intelligent and compassionate.
  • Dr. Tenma: Astro's creator. Dr. Tenma was a former scientist working at the Ministry of Science, but lost his beloved son Tobio after showing him how discarded robots were scrapped. He built Astro to replace Tobio but found Astro was more powerful than he thought and shut him down. Dr. Tenma becomes somewhat insane and believes robots are superior to humans, and Astro should be their leader. In the final episodes, he tries to coax Astro to his side but fails, only to be forgiven by Astro and willingly surrenders himself to the authorities. In this series, at the start it did not show him creating Astro.[7]
  • Uran/Zoran: Astro's younger sister, constructed by Dr. O'Shay with the same AI technology seen in Astro. She shows the ability to talk to animals and understand their languages, befriending a bird who she names Houdini. She has a rather excitable personality, but at times envies Astro for the amount of attention he receives and is overemotional at times too, but she also looks up to and protects her brother. She claims herself to be the biggest fan of the rocket ball player robot Harley.
  • Yuko: Doctor O'Shay's assistant. She often fusses over him and repeatedly reminds him of schedules he must keep to. She is assisted by a flamingo-like robot named Momo.
  • Detective Tawashi: A police inspector who has a large nose resembling a shoe brush. While at first he shows a distrust towards robots in general, he grows to trust those closest to him, including his own robotic partner Delta, and Astro. He often banters with Dr. O'Shay in arguments.
  • Epsilon: A female robot that protects Metro City's wildlife, most notably the marine animals. Also she can alter the weather however only uses her abilities for peaceful purposes.
  • Delta: A robot policeman that serves as the leader of the "Anti-Robot Robot Squad", a division of the police force.
  • Reno: A close human friend of Astro. He originally started off in a robot circus where he disguised himself as a robot to avoid being separated from the other robotic performers whom he saw as his family. He becomes a student of Dr. O'Shay's and becomes quite skilled around robotics, but still maintains his acrobatic skills from the circus.
  • The Blue Knight: A gallant anti-hero of sorts who was badly treated by humans and was rebuilt by Dr. Tenma and Shadow to act as a catalyst to boost Astro's power. He instead decided to wage war against mankind to bring freedom to robots. He dresses in blue armour and rides a white horse, his main weapon being a laser-based lance. He ultimately builds a robotic empire towards the end of the series, which is disguised as a palace built in the Arctic. When touched by Astro's speech for peace between men and machines, the Blue Knight reveals the palace is in fact a spacecraft and uses it to take his fellow robots who still fear mankind into space to find a barren planet to live on.
  • Shadow: A highly intelligent robot created by Dr. Tenma to help him make Astro stronger. He wore a mask over his face for most of the season, eventually revealing his face after some reconstruction to be based on Dr. Tenma's.
  • Acetylene Lamp/Drake: Drake is a politician who deeply hates robots, particularly robots with AI. He grows more paranoid over the course of the series, haunted by memories of a robot he knew in the past whom he considered his friend but drove him to his hatred for machines.
  • Skunk: A recurring villain who uses robots to commit various crimes, showing no concern and care for the robots he uses. Before his final capture, the police told Astro that he was one of Metro City's most dangerous criminals.
  • Atlas: A robot constructed by Dr. Tenma similarly to Astro, built for a man named Tokogawa. Atlas is a clone of Tokogawa's deceased son Daichi, and has his memories. Atlas is a very destructive robot but maintains Daichi's dream of seeing Earth from space, which he eventually achieves unintentionally with Tokogawa. He floats away into space and returns as a recurring character.
  • Pluto: A powerful combat-based robot built by Shadow to challenge Astro and other robots including Epsilon, Hercules, Harley and Delta. He gains emotions and befriends Astro and Zoran, and commits suicide to save the two from a clone of him, plunging into a volcano. However, he is rebuilt later on in the series.
  • Nora: A yellow, cylindrical robot which acts as Dr. O'Shay's housekeeper as well as a nanny, who takes care of Zoran. She appears in most of the episodes, although having a relatively minor role which has little impact on the storyline.
  • Duke Red: The primary antagonist of the series' final arc, Duke Red is a high-ranking officer who thinks of robots as mere tools. His hatred towards them later intensified after his domestic robot supposedly tripped his daughter. When rebellious robots form their own nation, Red is asked to lead military forces to battle the robots, but when his daughter, Reno and eventually Astro convince him of the truth, Red has a change of heart.
  • Kennedy, Alejo and Abercrombie: Astro's good friends and schoolmates. Kenedy plays soccer for his local team and has somewhat of a short temper. Alejo is portrayed as a science geek that is fascinated by Astro. Abercrombie is a bully that, at first, declines Astro, but soon becomes friends with him. Astro, along with the trio and a robot named Denkou, were also the founding members of a club called the "Skyriders", and were later joined by Reno and Zoran.
  • Denkou: A small robot who has the power to turn herself invisible. Her debut is in the episode Into Thin Air. Although this episode is her first major appearance, she is a minor character in the series.


Japanese dub cast

English dub cast


Astro Boy is a 2005 3-chapter manga that roughly corresponds with the 2003 TV series of the same name. It was written by Japanese comic book artists Akira Himekawa. It was released in English in Singapore by Chuang Yi. This version uses the Japanese names for all characters, including Astro Boy (called "Atom" in this story).

Video games

Two video games based on the 2003 TV series were released by Sega. Astro Boy: Omega Factor is a beat 'em up video game developed by Treasure Co. Ltd for the Game Boy Advance receiving release worldwide between 2003 and 2005. An action video game, simply titled Astro Boy, was developed by Sonic Team and released for the PlayStation 2 in 2004 in Japan and North America and in 2005 in Europe.


The 2003 version of Astro Boy was extremely well reviewed by Zac Bertschy of Anime News Network, receiving a grade of A+ in every category and comments of "It's perfect."[8]

Anthony Brzenican of USA Today criticized the series for not having the same optimistic tone of the color 1980s version of the series and eliminating several or changing the personalities of several major characters.[9]

The show did not meet with commercial success the TV series is on Kids WB! and on Cartoon Network's Toonami[10] block, a fact that is hinted at during the review for the tie-in game Astro Boy: Omega Factor with comments such as "Astro Boy [didn't receive any] love here in the states". This has been largely attributed to the quality of the dub and the constant moving of the show between the two stations. It has been suggested the show was done in by removing the original's comical co-stars, particularly Mr. Pompous and Astro Boy's robot parents. That, plus the general switch of the show's visuals from childish simplistic to near 3-D complexity, and the name changes for so many of the main characters (Uran=Zoran, Dr. Elefun=Dr. O'Shay) were deemed by the older fans to be unnecessary for a formerly plot-driven show.

The series, however, had more success in the UK where it was picked up by the BBC for its children's block and digital only children's channel from 2003 to 2006. The show's first run lasted about as long as the US one (up to the 2-part episode featuring Pluto) after which the BBC stopped airing new episodes. This may be because (as one presenter commented after an episode) Astro was a darker show compared to the other cartoons CBBC aired (even in its edited state). The western dub has never been aired fully on TV in the US. Despite how well Astro may have fared in the UK airing and DVDs being advertised, the series has not been released on DVD in the UK. Interestingly enough, CBBC finished airing recently unaired episodes of Astro Boy, thus completing the entire series in the UK, making Astro Boy one of the rare anime that airs in the UK in its entirety while not doing so in the United States.

Astro Boy was released on DVD in one single boxset by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in North America. On May 5, 2015, Mill Creek Entertainment re-released the complete series on DVD in Region 1.[1]


J# U# Title (English)
Title (Japanese)
Original air date (Japan) Original air date (U.S.)
1 1 "Power Up!" / "Power Up!"
"Pawā appu!" (パワーアップ!) 
April 6, 2003 January 17, 2004
When Astro is activated the city's power starts to drain, and he must try and stop the robot Magnamite from destroying the everything. Armed with Kokoro (the ability of free will) Astro discovers his purpose for being activated. 
2 2 "Rocket Ball" / "Robot Ball"
"Robotto Bōru" (ロボットボール) 
April 13, 2003 January 24, 2004
When Astro makes new friends, a robot dog lures him to the Rocket Ball stadium and the Rocket Ball players challenge Astro to a game or they will destroy the human spectators under Dr. Tenma's orders. 
3 3 "Atlas" / "Atlas Birth"
"Atorasu Tanjō" (アトラル誕生) 
April 20, 2003 March 10, 2004
Dr. Tenma builds Atlas, a robot just as powerful as Astro. When Atlas begins to destroy Metro City, Astro must find a way to stop him. Astro discovers his true origins and a new ability that might cause tension in a city where anti-robot sentiment continues to grow. 
4 4 "Astro vs Atlas" / "Atom vs Atlas"
"Atomu tai Atorasu" (アトムVSアトラス) 
April 27, 2003 March 11, 2004
Astro faces his past when his memory circuits are reactivated, and he remembers how he was activated and ultimately rejected by Dr. Tenma. Tenma even rebuildes Atlas to be strong enough to defeat Astro. 
5 5 "Destination Deimos" / "Atom in Space"
"Atomu uchū he iku" (アトム宇宙へ行く) 
May 4, 2003 March 15, 2004
On Deimos, one of the two moons on Mars, robot miners ignore the orders of their human foreman and mysteriously begin digging on their own. Dr. O'shay goes on a spacecraft to get to Deimos to investigate until he finds out that Astro snuck aboard. 
6 6 "Into Thin Air" / "Thunderbolt"
"Denkō" (電光) 
May 11, 2003 January 31, 2004
A gangster name Skunk tricks a special robot name Denkou to steal and do his evil bidding. It's up to Astro to save Denkou before Skunk does something terrible to her. 
7 7 "Rainbow Canyon" / "Save the Robot Farm!"
"nōjō wo sukue!" (ロボット農場を救え!) 
May 18, 2003 February 7, 2004
A girl name Mimi needs Astro's help to save her farm at Rainbow Canyon because of her grandfather's weather tower and it's creating lots of terrible storms by someone Mimi trusted. 
8 8 "Neon Express" / "Neon Express"
"Robotto chō tokkyū" (ロボット超特急) 
May 25, 2003 March 18, 2004
When a mysterious person name Kato hides a hyper-accelerator virus on the robotic super train Neon Express, it sends the train and it's passengers speeding out of control. Astro must rescue the passengers and prevent the train from crashing into the center of Metro City. 
9 9 "Franken" / "Franken"
"Furanken" (フランケン) 
June 1, 2003 March 22, 2004
A mysterious robot terrifies humans as he hunts for scrap metal parts and uses them to rebuild his own malfunctioning system. 
10 10 "The Venus Robots" / "Venus Robots Invasion"!
"Kanaboshi robotto shūrai!" (金星ロボット襲来!) 
June 8, 2003 March 23, 2004
In order to take advantage of their special freezing powers, Dr. Tenma pretends to be the long-awaited leader of a group of advanced robots call The Venus Robots and use them to do his evil bidding. 
11 11 "Jumbo Revived!" / "Reviving Jumbo"
"Yomigaetta Janbo!" (蘇ったジャンボ!) 
June 15, 2003 March 31, 2004
12 12 "Robot Hunters" / "Dark Robot Hunters"
"Yami no Robotto Hantā" (闇のロボットハンター) 
June 22, 2003 March 23, 2004
13 13 "The Rise of Pluto" / "The Strongest Ground Robot"
"Chijō saikyō no robotto" (地上最強のロボット) 
July 6, 2003 April 1, 2004
14 14 "The Fall of Acheron" / "The Dead Brute"
"Burūtou wa shinazu" (ブルートウは死なず) 
July 13, 2003 April 1, 2004
15 15 "Dragon Lake" / "Monster Lake"
"Mizūmi no kaibutsu" (湖の怪物) 
July 20, 2003 April 5, 2004
16 16 "Lost in Outland" / "Lost Memory"
"Ushinawareta kioku" (失われた記憶) 
July 27, 2003 March 25, 2004
17 17 "Deep City" / "Dr. Moshimo's Tears"
"Moshimo namida o nagasetara" (もしも涙を流せたら) 
August 3, 2003 March 29, 2004
18 18 "The Blue Knight" / "The Blue Knight Appears"
"Aokishi tōjō" (青騎士登場) 
August 10, 2003 March 30, 2004
19 19 "Hydra-Jacked" / "Crisis of the Universe's Plant"
"Uchū puranto no kiki" (宇宙プラントの危機) 
August 17, 2003 April 6, 2004
20 20 "Geo Raider" / "Exploring the Underground"
"Chitei tanken" (地底探検) 
August 24, 2003 April 6, 2004
21 21 "Secret of the Blue Knight" / "Secret of the Blue Knight"
"Aokishi no himitsu" (青騎士の秘密) 
August 31, 2003 March 24, 2004
22 22 "Robot Circus" / "The Robot Circus Arrives!"
"Robottosākasu ga yattekita!" (ロボットサーカスがやって来た!) 
September 7, 2003 April 26, 2004
One of the members of a robot circus, Reno, is actually a human boy disguised as a robot. When this is discovered, the authorities try to take the boy away from his robot family. 
23 23 "Little Sister, Big Trouble" / "The Birth of Uran"
"Uran tanjō ウラン誕生" (ウラン誕生) 
September 14, 2003 March 25, 2004
24 24 "Micro Adventure" / "Adventures of Micro"
"Mikuro no Daibōken" (ミクロの大冒険) 
September 21, 2003 April 26, 2004
25 25 "Only a Machine" / "Population's intelligence protection!"
"Jinkō chi nō wo mamori re!" (人工知能を守れ!) 
September 28, 2003 March 29, 2004
26 26 "Robot Boy" / "Robot Boy"
"Robotto Bōi" (ロボットボーイ) 
October 5, 2003 April 6, 2004
27 27 "Dawn of the Techno Revolution" / "Eternal Boy"
"Eien no shōnen" (永遠の少年) 
October 12, 2003 May 26, 2007
28 28 "The Legend of Tohron" / "Goodbye Princess"
"Sayonara Purinsesu" (さよならプリンセス) 
October 19, 2003 March 30, 2004
29 29 "March of the Micro Bears" / "Bear-chan"
"Bea-chan" (ベアちゃん) 
October 26, 2003 June 2, 2007
30 30 "Old Dog, New Tricks" / "Detective Higeoyaji"
"Mei tantei higeoyaji" (名探偵ヒゲオヤジ) 
November 2, 2003 March 30, 2004
31 31 "The Case Of The Phantom Fowl" / "The Detective and Uran"
"Uran to mei tantei" (ウランと名探偵) 
November 9, 2003 June 9, 2007
32 32 "Gideon" / "Gunon's Adventure"
"Gūnon no dai bōken" (グーノンの大冒険) 
November 16, 2003 April 30, 2004
33 33 "Fairy Tale" / "Fairy Tale"
"Yōsei monogatari" (妖精物語) 
November 23, 2003 June 16, 2007
34 34 "Shape Shifter" / "Deformation of Mupi"
"Henkei seimei mūpī" (変形生命ムーピー) 
November 30, 2003 June 23, 2007
35 35 "Firebird" / "Atom vs. Rock"
"Atomu tai Rokku" (アトムVSロック) 
December 7, 2003 June 30, 2007
36 36 "Space Academy" / "Robots in Love"
"Koisuru robotto" (恋するロボット) 
December 14, 2003 July 7, 2007
37 37 "Atlas Strikes Back" / "Atlas Strikes Back"
"Atorasu gyakushū" (アトラス逆襲) 
December 21, 2003 July 14, 2007
38 38 "Battle-Bot" / "Emily's Wish"
"Eimī no negai" (エイミーの願い) 
December 28, 2003 July 21, 2007
39 39 "Time Hunters" / "Time Hunters"
"Taimuhantā" (タイムハンター) 
January 11, 2004 July 28, 2007
40 40 "Escape from Volcano Island" / "Robot Hatred"
"Robotto-girai" (ロボット嫌い) 
January 18, 2004 August 4, 2007
41 41 "Avalanche!" / "Giant Record"
"Kyojin no kiroku" (巨人の記録) 
January 25, 2004 August 11, 2007
42 42 "Battle of Steel Island" / "Battle of Steel Island"
"Tekkō shima no tatakai" (鉄鋼島の戦い) 
February 1, 2004 August 18, 2007
43 43 "Undercover" / "Robot Longing for a Human"
"Ningen ni akogareta robotto" (人間に憧れたロボット) 
February 8, 2004 August 25, 2007
44 44 "Into the Dragon's Lair" / "To the Dragon's Forest"
"Ryū no mori e" (龍の森へ) 
February 15, 2004 September 1, 2007
45 45 "Night Before the Revolution" / "The Eve of the Revolution"
"Kakumei zenya" (革命前夜) 
February 22, 2004 September 8, 2007
46 46 "Robotonia" / "Founding Robotonia"
"Robotonia kenkoku" (ロボタニア建国) 
February 29, 2004 September 15, 2007
47 47 "Showdown in Robotonia" / "Decisive Battle! Robotonia"
"Kessen! Nankyokutairiku" (決戦!南極大陸) 
March 7, 2004 September 22, 2007
48 48 "Journey to Tomorrow" / "Journey to Tomorrow"
"Ashita e no tabidachi" (明日への旅立ち) 
March 14, 2004 September 29, 2007
49 49 "Astro Reborn" / "Atom's revival"
"Atomu fukkatsu" (アトム復活) 
March 21, 2004 October 6, 2007
50 50 "The Final Battle" / "Final Showdown"
"Saigo no taiketsu" (最後の対決) 
March 28, 2004 October 13, 2007

Theme songs



  1. "True Blue" by Zone
  2. "Now or Never" by Chemistry meets M-Flo


  1. "Boy's Heart" by Fujii Fumiya
  2. "Mighty Atom" (鉄腕アトム Tetsuwan Atomu?) (A remixed version of the original theme song.)



  1. "Astro Boy Opening Theme" by William Anderson


  1. "Astro Boy Ending Theme"



  1. "True Blue" by Rainie Yang, cover version of the Japanese one

Hong Kong


  1. "Fly" (滿天飛 Mǎntiānfēi) by Candy Lo, Cantonese cover version of "True Blue"


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  9. Breznican, Anthony (2009-07-21). "Astro Boy will fly into theaters in a blast from cartoon past". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-07-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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External links


fr:Astro, le petit robot (série télévisée d'animation)