So let’s cut to the origin story.
However, the simple fact is that although Astro Boy is living as an ordinary robot in future Japan, and is a citizen by virtue of the laws of the land, he is still no ordinary being. Astro Boy is not an ordinary civilian and his acts prove exactly how heroic he is. By rescuing the human race from natural disasters, enemy aliens (and for once, this phrase is used EXACTLY the way popular culture wishes it to be used), and frequently, humanity itself, Astro Boy goes to the lengths that normal law enforcement and justice would not go .Where angels fear to tread, Astro Boy seeks to go. And that is why superheroes are outside the ambit of justice, not because they are not accountable to our laws but because they must be accountable to different standards that the public sets for them. Remember, the difference between a vigilante and a superhero is public acclaim and Astro Boy remains firmly affixed in our hearts and minds.
Now, I generalize greatly here, but indulge me - almost all such superhero series tend to have protagonists that are some form of outcasts, who acquire certain critical skills due to “fateful” circumstances (read: plot direction) and cutting across past plot-heavy sequences, we see the naysayers welcoming the protagonist back with open arms and gratitude. Redemption-heavy, these shows tend to be one-dimensional and ignore the psychological implications of superhero-ness; but this was an expected, predictable flaw in shows that cater to the demands of preteens and adolescents. Astro Boy, however was ahead of its time in both senses of the phrase. That the Pinocchio-like protagonist would never really be human, that he would never really be accepted into human society no matter how many villains he eliminated, was a fact that Astro Boy never really forgot. Suffering obvious abandonment issues from when Tenma both created and rejected him, he does not do the same injustice to mankind. He redeems himself not by abandoning them in their time of need, but by rescuing them time and time again, although they are the same humans who classify him as an unnatural aberration.
And that’s why Astro Boy will always be my first superhero.