Pluto (Volumes 1 – 3) by Urasawa Naoki

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The last of the library haul was this science fiction classic, Pluto, which is based on Osamu Tezuka‘s Astro Boy  (which I have never read or seen, which probably makes me a fake fan).

However, I will say that these three volumes made me wonder what I’ve been missing.

SPOILERS

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To be fair, I am a huge fan of science fiction and, in particular, I’m drawn to the kinds of story that Pluto is, which is ones about artificial intelligence and how it reflects on our own humanity. I imprinted early on Blade Runner, and I feel like if you’re a fan of that, you’d be a fan of this manga (of course, I don’t know how it ends yet, so I can’t say that with 100% certainty. Maybe Ursawa-sensei totally flubs the landing…? Somehow I doubt it, though.)

The story mostly follows Europol detective Gesicht, who is himself a robot, as he tries to solve a series of murders, most of them robot, though at least one human. The first one is a seeming accident that takes out a beloved Swiss ‘bot named Mont Blanc, but then more and more of the world’s most powerful robots are targeted.

This one is dense. There’s a lot to digest in every page, in every panel.

I love that Gesicht has a wife, wants to go on vacation, and is haunted by disturbing dreams–which may be revealing a glitch in his system? I love that Gesicht exists in a world where there a also robots that do not look human at all, but who are no less ‘human.’

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This is a maid robot who lost her husband. Gesicht asked her if she wanted to have her memories wiped so she could skip the pain of grief: she decides no.

There are a lot of fascinating moments like the one above throughout this, but also particularly, around how humans and robots get along. In a lot of ways, these kinds of stories are almost always about dehumanizing and discrimination, and I never fail to sympathize with the underclass, which in this case, is the robots.

I’m hooked. I’m going to have to see if the library has more of these, or if I’m going to have to finish it off on-line. But, one way or the other, I want to read the whole story.

I highly recommend this to you if you’re at all a fan of science fiction.

6 thoughts on “Pluto (Volumes 1 – 3) by Urasawa Naoki

  1. An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto
    a co-worker who had been conducting a little homework on this.
    And he actually bought me lunch due to the fact that I found it for him…

    lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanx for spending some time to discuss this subject here on your site.

    • You’re very welcome. Is you co-worker doing research into SF stories that tackle the issue of AIs/Robots v. Humanity? If they write something based on this, I’d love to hear about where to read it.

  2. You really make it seem so easy together with
    your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something which I think I might by no means understand.
    It sort of feels too complex and very large for me.
    I’m looking forward on your next submit, I will attempt to get the hold
    of it!

    • It deals with complex issues, that’s for sure. I had the next set of volumes, but my library is missing volume 5, so I’m going to have to finish this one online.

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