You have doubts that a robot cat sans ears was a hero? You've probably never grew up with Doraemon.
The Japanese manga and anime was really hardcore science fiction disguised as a children’s comic. It touched on concepts such as deep space exploration, teleportation, personal aircraft, dimensional portals, quantum physics and time travel… just to start!
The blue robot cat from the future was the real hero of the stories, not the wimpy protagonist Nobita. Doraemon ignited the imaginations of children, and taught them ethics and morals, as well as cause and effect. We don’t know anyone who grew up with Doraemon who didn’t wish he was real, and could come from the future to change our lives.
The good news is, Doraemon still has new adventures even now, even after there was an official final chapter to the series. Never say goodbye, Doraemon.
Widely regarded as the most manly character from the most manly anime ever, Kenshiro was designed with elements of Bruce Lee, Sylvester Stallone and Mad Max in mind.
Imagine all the world’s testosterone stuffed into a man-shaped container, then have that container walk around the wasteland, punching and poking evil-doers to smithereens, while ripping his clothes open with the bare expansion of his muscles. That’s Kenshiro.
Rumor has it that a fan played the orchestral version of the theme song of Fist of the North Star to his sister, who was instantly transformed into a brother. All we have to say is Atatatatata!
Osamu Tezuka's most recognisable creation, the original super powered boy robot. Astroboy was an android built by a mad scientist to replace his own dead son. Originally cast-off as a failed experiment, he became a kind of protector of earth, doing good deeds and so forth.
Armed with an array of technology, including foot-jets and rocket punches, a lot of Astroboy’s adventures were interweaved with his search for identity, and his struggles integrating into a future society that relied on robots as much as it was threatened by them. There’s a not-so-good 2009 CG movie, but go read the comics if you want to get the real deal.
Astroboy wasn’t just a robot saviour, he was an anecdote for loss and the human condition - and that’s why he remains well-loved till this day.