Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka vol. 1 Impression

Pluto Manga volume 1
Poor Mont Blanc; a hero he was now just the victim of … well that’s the fun in reading volume 1 of Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka from Viz. This story feels old-school in its art but its story is original and surpasses so many of it’s counterparts it’s a great read for the ‘educated’ manga fan. Don’t believe me, guess you ain’t being educated.

Nobody believed the news but it’s indeed true. Mont Blanc is dead. The robotic hero is said to have died in a freak accident but in truth he was murdered, but who could take out one of the most powerful beings on the planet? Enter detective Gesicht as he investigates not only Mont Blanc but also the death of Bernard Lanke, a human seemingly killed by a robot, something that is near impossible. As Gesicht gets further into his investigation his life is also put at risk and the mystery deepens. If a robot killer at work, a killer robot or a modified human? Seems Mont Blanc is one of seven very special robots and each is being hunted and destroyed for unknown reasons including a former war robot serving as a butler in the north. The clues are few and cryptic including what seems to be horns placed on the deceased robots and it’s up to Gesicht to figure out what is going on.

The story and art laid out by the creative team of Naoki Urasawa and Osamu Tezuka is just a pleasure to read. There is something so simple, sublime and nostalgic about the art in Pluto. It reminds of a time before cookie cutter anime and manga characters when the genre was still in its infancy. The character designs seem fit more for black and white than full color and it works so well. The stories tone and pacing is deep as this society is not all ponies and candy. It can be dirty, grimy and plain bad from the death of a robot cop to the sad tale of a war robot turned butler to a distraught composer. It’s also brutal, a fact that should not be list in it being robots that are killed. The best part, the mystery. Who is doing this, whipping out only the most advanced robots and seemingly doing it with easy and secrecy? It’s been a while since a story hits on so many right notes but that’s exactly what Pluto does and I for one cannot wait to see how this story plays out.

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