Osamu Tezuka’s legendary creation, “Astro Boy,” laid the foundation for modern manga and anime. In the hands of manga artist Naoki Urasawa, Astro Boy’s story finds a new life in “Pluto,” a captivating anime mini-series now streaming on Netflix. Urasawa, along with co-writer Takashi Nagasaki under the supervision of Tezuka’s son Makoto, crafts a reimagined tale that delves into the essence of humanity, morality, and the blurred lines between man and machine.
Set in a futuristic world where robots coexist with humans, “Pluto” revolves around a string of mysterious murders targeting advanced robots and the scientists who created them. The intricate plot follows Gesicht, an Europol police inspector, as he navigates this complex web of intrigue. What makes “Pluto” stand out is its profound exploration of emotions within robots, moving beyond the clichéd portrayal of artificial beings discovering joy and love. Urasawa delves into the complexities of memory, hate, and the human experience, questioning what truly defines a perfect robot.
The anime’s narrative structure mirrors its source material, the manga, with each of the eight hour-long episodes corresponding to a volume. While this fidelity occasionally results in disjointed storytelling, the compelling mysteries and well-developed characters compensate for these minor pacing issues. The series maintains a relentless momentum, keeping viewers engrossed until the final revelation.
Visually, “Pluto” is a feast for the eyes. The character designs, faithful to Urasawa’s art, strike a balance between realism and animation. The use of vibrant colors enhances the visual experience, adding depth to the narrative. The action sequences are brought to life with a level of dynamism that sets the anime apart from its printed counterpart.
Additionally, the English dub, helmed by Patrick Seitz, features standout performances from unexpected voices in the anime sphere. Nolan North and Keith David, known for their work in video games and film, deliver compelling portrayals, adding depth to their characters and enriching the viewing experience.
In essence, “Pluto” transcends its origins, much like Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons did with “Watchmen,” by reimagining classic characters through a fresh, thought-provoking lens. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer to the world of “Pluto,” this anime adaptation is a must-watch, offering a gripping narrative, complex characters, and stunning visuals that will leave a lasting impression.