Pluto: Volume 2 – Manga Review

Pluto is Naoki Urasawa’s adaptation of the ‘The Greatest Robot on Earth’ story arc from Osamu Tezuka’s legendary manga series, Astro Boy. Urasawa turns the classic story into a neo-noir detective story with more philosophical questions and a much darker tone. The second volume of Pluto picks up exactly where the first volume ends, with Gesicht investigating the murders of several of the most advanced robots in the world.

I loved the first volume of this manga, and it took me quite a while to get round to reading the second volume. As soon as I started reading I was completely absorbed into the story. Urasawa is my favourite manga writer by far, and Pluto is one of his best.

Like the first volume, this is a great story. The central mystery is really well crafted, and I constantly wanted to read more. One of the best things about the story is how it blends the line between humanity and robots. For the most part, you can’t tell who is a robot and who is human, and even within themselves they are starting to lose that distinction. Atom has spent so long mimicking humans that he starts to believe he can feel emotion. There’s some really great moments that explore when artificial life becomes sentient.

I also really like seeing the robot who previously killed a human years before the story takes place. He’s completely stuck, unmoving but still alive while people study his actions. It’s almost like Hannibal Lector in Silence of the Lambs, as he gives advice to Gesicht, and helps with the investigations, while at the same time seems to have his own reasons for doing so.

The second volume also has an interesting postscript written by Osamu Tezuka’s son Macoto, about how he felt when he was first approached to give approval for Urasawa to adapt the manga. It’s an interesting insight to the behind the scenes of the manga’s creation and also really highlights the significance of both Astro Boy and Osamu Tezuka.

Pluto is a great mystery and volume two marks quarter of the way through the story. It still feels like it’s just getting going, but it’s great so far and hopefully it won’t take me as long to read volume three.

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About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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