Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Heroic Master of Pens / Photar


This self portrait is based on a little known but important cartoon character named Photar. In the last two episodes of the 1980's Astroboy cartoon (titled 'The World's Strongest Robot'), Astro defends himself against a massive and destructive blue robot named Bruton. This robot is given a mission by his master 'Sultan' to became the most powerful robot in the world by destroying every other uber powerful robot. And what do you know, Astroboy is among them. 

'The World's Strongest Robot' contains numerous high quality robot fights, often culminating in very sudden and brutal robot deaths. As a child, none of these fictional tragedies, in those two memorable episodes had more of an affect on me than the demise of Photar. Photar was a solar powered robot from the 'southern continent' (aka Australia), a sensitive and caring robot who looked after children. Photar did not like fighting, but when it came down to it, he was really very deadly, fast and powerful. And I thought he was cool.
As a kid, and now as an adult who loves cartoons, Photars death really bugs me. Partly because it was a fictional character that had an effect on me, but also because I thought Bruton got lucky to win his battle with Photar. To set the scene; Bruton chooses to fight Photar in the rain, less light meaning less power. Photar flies up into the clouds, and before you know it, he has Bruton on the ropes. Then some fricken kid in a fancy dress costume comes out in the rain, distracts Photar and before you know it, Bruton the robot killing machine pulls a sneaky death blow and kills Photar. Just before Photar explodes he cries 'give me more sunlight!'.  A hope crushing and cruel demise. Just what children love to see. When I watched the episode back in the day, I remember first seeing Photar thinking 'wow that is one cool robot' and 'maybe I could be a solar powered robot when I grow up too'. Not long after that some damn kid in the costume turns up and becomes a lethal distraction. 

These Astroboy episodes illustrated to me as an impressionable child, that being an evil blue robot meant you have to learn to land a sucker punch. Several perhaps. For all I know Bruton paid off / threatened that fancy dress child to distract a far more awesome robot so he could get the low blow.

That damn kid.