• Kyodo

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Sony Pictures Entertainment and Tezuka Productions said Monday that Astro Boy, a cartoon character and focus of a television animation boom in the 1960s, will be appearing again on U.S. television.

The series, which is being produced in Japan, will be broadcast throughout the U.S. as early as the beginning of next year, the companies said.

Character goods dealing with Astro Boy, which is known as Atom in Japan, will also be produced and sold, the companies said.

Kids’ WB, under U.S. entertainment and media giant AOL Time Warner Inc., will broadcast all 26 episodes of the new series, they said.

The series will mark Astro Boy’s third appearance in the U.S. The first, titled “Astro Boy” and shot in black and white, was the first Japanese cartoon in the U.S. It was rebroadcast in color in the 1980s.

Sony Pictures Entertainment, a unit of Sony Corp., said it will launch “Astro Boy” at an international fair related to licenses of character goods opening in New York on Tuesday.

Sony Pictures Entertainment said it expects to sign contracts with about 50 companies, in the U.S. alone, that sell toys, stationary and related goods, aiming to make Astro Boy a hit in that market.

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