Weighing in on the current hyperbolic flight of Astro Boy and the God of Comics, in its final week at Sacred Fools Theatre Company Los Angeles, is like pointing to the sky and saying “blue”. There’s simply no denying that this early Japanese manga sci-fi cartoon character, now rendered for stage is pure fanciful entertainment: sweet, empathetic and visually captivating. Or that the innocent mind of a child flying robot is no less potent than that of a human child mind or the childlike imagination of cartoonist, animator, film producer, Osamu Tezuka, “the father of manga”, who created it. Astro Boy indeed reels in audiences with a heartstring-pulling nostalgia that is sad for his inevitable demise yet hopeful of humanity for the future.
Using the elements of projections on scrim, minimal puppetry, interactive effects and the simply phenomenal act of precision drawing in the moment on stage uniquely captures this early anime narrative told backwards, heightening the experience of cartoon and its very intimate relationship with the man whose imagination and career literally soared in the genre through Astro’s story.
Actress Heather Schmidt could not be more perfectly cast, exquisite in physical and vocal choreography, as well as West Liang as Tezuka. The cast is flawless in every aspect of this production including all of its moving components.
Astro Boy and the God of Comics
Written by Natsu Onoda Power
Directed by Jaime Robledo
Produced by Brian Wallis
Please note that Astro Boy explores themes of war, illness and death, and may not be suitable for children under 10.
Heather Schmidt as Astro Boy
West Liang as Osamu Tezuka
Zach Brown, Megumi Kabe, Anthony Li, Mandi Moss , Jaime Puckett & Marz Richards
Erin Sanzo as Astro Boy
Scot Shamblin as Osamu Tezuka
Gregory Guy Gorden , Lisa Anne Nicolai & Aviva Pressman
Lead Producer – Brian Wallis
Assistant Director – Rebecca Larsen
Associate Producer (Design/Tech) – Shaunessy Quinn
Associate Producer (Casting/Outreach) – Seamus Sullivan
Marketing Coordinator – Carrie Keranen
Stage Manager – Heatherlynn Gonzalez
Assistant Stage Manager – Suze Campagna
Scenic Design – DeAnne Millais
Lighting Design – Matt Richter
Costume Design – Linda Muggeridge
Prop Design – Brandon Clark
Sound Design – Jaime Robledo
Original Music – Ryan Johnson
Stunt/Fight Choreography – Mike Mahaffey
Live Art Design – Aviva Pressman
Projection Video Design – Anthony Backman
Projection Animation Design – Jim Pierce
Stage Crew – Alyson Schultz & Bo Powell
Key Art – Christopher Komuro