Well isn’t this just a big old chunk of cute and wholesome. In what is a very clear homage to both the Star Wars and the Astro Boy (Mighty Atom) franchises in a totally different coming together of western and eastern stories, this episode is not what I was expecting at all.
The sixth episode, titled T0-B1 was directed by Spaniard Abel Góngora and comes out of a studio by the name of Science Saru. It’s actually one of two episodes to come out of the studio. I didn’t realise they were doubling up here, because when I look again it seems like Trigger have a second episode coming up as well.
Science Saru have only been around for eight years and do a lot of collaboration work with other teams both in Japan and in the west. Of their projects, the main ones I personally recognise are Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! from last year and Devilman Crybaby, the Devilman remake from a few years back, which is very different from the content of this episode.
Like I said at the top, this episode is a very clear mashup of the Astro Boy story mashed up with the Star Wars universe. Our titular T0-B1 is one of many droids assisting Professor Mitaka (some Doctor Light looking Mo-Fo) in the terraforming of a twin sunned desert world. Unlike the rest of the droids, T0-B1 has a very human personality and constantly daydreams of leaving the planet and becoming a Jedi.
His impetuousness eventually causes an Inquisitor to be led to the planet, causing the death of Professor Mitaka, who is revealed to be a Jedi Master in hiding. With this loss of his father figure, T0-B1 (now going by Tobi.) continues Mitaka’s work and brings rain and plantlife to the previously dead world.
An act that draws the Inquisitor back and leads to a Lightsaber duel, with Tobi reconstructing his mentor’s old Lightsaber and being able to feel a connection to the force.
Now I could be like the guy who commented on one of my old reviews and get in a huff about how it doesn’t make sense that a droid would be able to feel the force and become a Jedi. But come on… this is a spinoff story, and a throwback to Astroboy at that, of course Tobi would be as capable of being a Jedi as anyone else.
And it all works for me. The episode was so bright, cute and wholesome throughout that I wasn’t really expecting the Inquisitor to return and give us an action sequence at the end.
But its an impressive one nonetheless. This is a very pretty episode. The environments have this pastel look and colour to them.
Coupled with the smooth and bouncy animation and friendly character designs, you wouldn’t expect the episode to go as hard into the action as it does when the story turns into a fight. But given Devilman Crybaby is in this studio’s past, I know they’re more than capable of going hard into action when they need to.
This ended up being something very different than I had been expecting from the series when I started watching them. Not only for them to make this very clear homage to Astro Boy, but for this style of animation and particularly stylised approach to how it all looks. Even the brief glimpse we get of a stormtrooper is all round and bouncy.
This is another good one, despite my nerd brain wanting to initially reject the idea of droid Jedi at the outset. I got past it though and really got a kick out of this one.