Pluto Review

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The pioneer Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy, which is a manga that has lasted for over sixty years has been captivating many generations of fans and inspiring several careers like Naoki Urasawa’s. In the early 2000s, after creating his classic manga Monster, Urasawa conceived the idea for Pluto, which reimagined Astro Boy series “The Greatest Robot on Earth” as a detective story. The central character in Pluto is a robot investigator called Gesicht who is hunting down killers who are targeting men and machines alike through lots of mysterious events. Though the subject matter of this anime has been dissected in numerous ways by previous works of science fiction, Netflix’s adaptation gives it an interesting twist and a new direction through Urasawa’s artistic production.

Stories involving artificial intelligence often characterize humanity as having an essential quality that distinguishes humans from robots such as love or emotional connections. This traditional distinction between humans and robots has already been compromised at the beginning of Pluto. Most positive human emotions including joy and hope can easily be imitated by robots. Indeed Pluto’s world contains robotic marriages throughout its plotline with romantic partners loving each other very much as well as families; thus making it possible to differentiate between them both naturally made beings with their own limitations and powers. Unlike people, robots are assumed to be logical machines devoid of emotions when they kill.

These characters symbolize the main dividing line in this novel: Gesicht and Atom. Gesicht is an android detective who can analyze any scene instantly for evidence while Atom is a child-size robot that lacks human like qualities including quickness to get distracted or curious(He uses his original name ‘Atom’.). Whenever these two characters come into contact with one another during scenes where they share screen time, their interactions lead to some really good dialogue about what kind of things robots can do for us beyond being perfect copies of ourselves. They make great pairs to one another visually. Atom is the advanced machine even though Gesicht is a grown-up in appearance – a slightly receding hairline, towering height. It’s an example of how much adults can learn from children.

Pluto focuses on robots who are full citizens like Gesicht and Atom because they are never questioned about their right to be recognized by law; thus, it explores their internal conflicts. Those who have prejudices against robots in this series are depicted as extremists within society. This human-robot binary is entirely self-determined. For instance, instead of regarding sorrow and yearning expressed by robots as natural feelings that could be “flawed,” both human and robot characters dismiss these emotions as bugs rather than features. The story thus looks at issues such as social groups like machines being reduced to numbers or mere automata.

Most of the emphasis in the novel is concentrated on a conflict known as the 39th Central Asia War – essentially the Iraq War in disguise. In addition, powerful machines such as Gesicht had been compelled to kill innocent robotic enemy citizens during this war. As Gesicht and his comrades constantly mention, guilt stays with them long after they have left military service since its traces cannot be washed off completely ever again.” Basically, this was another brilliant move on Urasawa’s part where he lets the characters criticize robots for not having hearts while the latter experience great remorse for what they did out of free will.

Pluto has some of the most damning sequences that juxtapose evil acts perpetrated by robots against their contemporary engagements. In the first episode, Pluto introduces us to North No. 2, a gentle old war robot who works as a lowly servant for a blind famous Hollywood composer and hopes to learn how to play piano from him. In an instant, North annihilates hundreds of enemy robots soon after his introduction – this is shown in complete silence as he recalls it. It’s savage; it doesn’t match with North’s cool composedness throughout the play thus leaving viewers with dissonance.

From its beginnings, however, Pluto frames itself as a question of who did it but it has no interest in following up on this premise. For the first half of the series, the viewer has no idea who committed these murders and so every character feels like they could be the killer. This becomes problematic though because knowing who killed them does not feel like solving any mystery at all. By finally knowing their identity, it is not as if there is some big reveal but more like an elongation of one’s personality causing many episodes of struggling over what we already know about their crimes to seem pointless. The audience is misled into thinking that people will try to deceive them through many episodes.


Pluto is an excellent character-driven drama delving into post-war ordeals and humanity itself. However, even when its primary intent was to make a whodunit out of everything else in Pluto’s early episodes ends in failure since the killer was intentionally hidden during first half just to make everyone suspicious on screen. Even though these are major concerns for some audiences they aren’t mysteries in any sense where we puzzle over who they are before this sudden revelation happens sometime late into season two only adding more depth than anything else about their character background developed across numerous episodes spent dealing with this aspect alone ending up being wasted on something entirely different altogether from what was intended in the first place. Except for a few episodes, Pluto is always straightforward.

Pluto is a brilliant character-driven drama about post-war consequences and what it really means to be human. But while the main mystery of the series is not enthralling, its emotional arcs are. Even though it took over six years to make the series, it was worth waiting for.

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