Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pluto #1-2

I've been sitting here for awhile trying to think of what to say about Pluto besides “you must read this book.” I'm having trouble. There's just so much good here.

Story: someone is gunning for the seven greatest robots in the world, as well a few scattered “Robots Rights” advocates. Detective Gesicht is put on the case, a robot himself, and incidentally one of the seven supposedly targeted by the killer. This is a retelling of the “The Greatest Robot on Earth” story arc from Astro Boy, by the legendary Osamu Tezuka. You don't need to have read any Astro Boy to get down with this, but if you haven't this may just inspire you to explore the phenomenon for yourself. If you are familiar with the source material then you will find much to knowingly nod and smile about. The themes concerning the nature of humanity and what it means to be “alive”, themes that made up the central concept behind Astro Boy, are well preserved and even expanded upon in Pluto. the way these supposedly “emotionless” characters are brought to life is remarkable.

Art: Naoki Urasawa has managed something pretty amazing in these pages. He has taken Tezuka's somewhat “cartoony” (for lack of a better term) style and brought it into the real world, while maintaining the unique character aesthetic and expressions that Tezuka is known for. Fusing these two ideas with his own style Urasawa creates a thing of beauty. The story is wonderful, but the art brings an emotion and drama to it that raises the work to a whole new level.

So, you really should read this book. Don't be afraid that it's manga, or that it reads right-to-left, or that it comes from something you may be unfamiliar with. None of that matters. This is good stuff, brilliant science fiction, and it will sweep you away in moments. If it doesn't then it's possible you may not have a soul. You might want to get that checked out.

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