Pluto – Astroboy’s “The Greatest Robot in the World”

In case you’ve never heard about this manga, it’s about an arc in Astroboy wherein a sultan from Persia sends a robot called Pluto to kill the 7 greatest robots all time. It’s only a 2 episode arc in the 1980’s remake but Naoki Urusawa (the insanely good germanophile writer who did Monster) manages to extend this story into 65 chapters running for 6 years. The story now revolves on the detective, Gesicht, as he tries to solve the mysteries of the recent robot killings.

I watched the original version of this  “The Greatest Robot in the World” arc and it is incredibly childish as much of Astroboy is. But something doesn’t seem right when one robot is ore apart after another. There’s that sense of potential darkness lurking inside that two partner, and what this manga does is unleash it. I won’t spoil the details but if you want to watch it, you can find it on Youtube and its only 2 episodes.

Pluto is really good at creating mystery as much as most of Urusawa’s works but what stands out is emotion he gives unto the characters. It’s kind of banal to say that since half the characters are robots but his storyline and dialogue really reaches to your heart. In particular, Gesicht’s heavily built up back story (which I will not spoil) actually made me tear up a bit.

Of course nothing would be what it is without Astroboy, or as he is called here, Atom (Note that the original name for Astroboy is “The Mighty Atom”). While Gesicht is the main character of this manga, Atom is the protagonist in Osamu Tezuka’s world which Urusawa is using. His character is also developed, well enough that if you did not know anything about Astroboy, you would still love this guy. What happened to him in this manga is very shocking, considering I did watch the original version, though the major plot points all ended up the same.

I heavily recommend this manga. It’s not very long but the ride is enthralling and emotional at the same time.

(I made a manga category since I do end up reviewing what I read)

2 thoughts on “Pluto – Astroboy’s “The Greatest Robot in the World”

  1. I’m a big Urasawa fan, and while I don’t think this is anywhere near his best work, it was still a great story, and I’m definitely glad I picked it up.

    • I loved the whole “robot having emotion” concept which was of course the big part of Astroboy but was amplified even more here through Urasawa’s writing.

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