Charles's Reviews > PLUTO: Urasawa x Tezuka, Volume 008

PLUTO by Naoki Urasawa
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's review
Nov 10, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: manga-graphic-novels, science-fiction, stat_3, reviewed

Stuff I Read - Pluto Vol 8 Review

Well, the mystery is over. After taking a bit of break between volumes six and seven I breezed my way to the ending and it was quite a ride. I picked up this series not really knowing anything about Astro Boy except that it was an old cartoon that I never really wanted to watch. Since starting the series (and it has been some time since I started this series) I have learned a bit more, but mostly I decided that you don't need to love or even know all that much about Astro Boy to really enjoy Pluto. With a strong central mystery and a compelling set of characters, with a tragedy that continues on through this volume and a philosophy that blends robotics with the vagaries of good and evil, the series shines as a strong story with some amazing visuals and a consistent message: that the ability to hate might be what makes a person human, but it is the capacity for love that fulfills the potential of humanity.

The series has finally moved things to a head, to a rematch between Atom and Pluto. It also reveals the role that Atom's "father " had in creating Pluto and holds enough mystery back for there to a few nice twists this volume. Perhaps most surprising is that the United States of Thracia makes much more of an appearance, answering the question of what that little Teddy Bear is and how it plays into the unfolding tragedy. Things go deep indeed as humans teach robots who control humans to make robots to destroy robots to create a robo-utopia. It's…well, it's a bit odd I will admit but it had me guessing and it's certainly a conspiracy so vast that it can't even effectively measure or check on itself.

And through all that it's also about the strength of hate and hope, love and loathing. Atom wakes because of the power to hate, the rage that is required to kill, to be fully human. And yet it is also the power to love. Gesicht shows that he's not utterly gone in the final lessons he gives to Atom, the final gifts, the knowledge of good and evil, the apple that destroys the garden. Only here the garden is already lost, perverted by those seeking power and dominion. Atom has to embrace his hate, but also learns how to forgive and how to heal as well. After all the death the series has witnessed, it comes down to a few more, and there is a sense of inevitability. When surrounded by so much hurt and sorrow, is love even possible? The series gives its answer, and it is powerful and satisfying, full of hope and promise that maybe, just maybe, people will learn from what happens when hate rules. That people will find a better way.

It's a bit of a cheesy message, yes, but it's paired nicely and complicated by giant robots fighting and a tapestry of sadness and death that threatens to culminate with an eruption that would wipe out most of human life on the planet. And artwork that does an amazing job capturing just how human these characters are. The love and the hate are at the surface as Atom fights, as Gesicht finds his child, as the world stands on the brink of ruin. Even Pluto is complicated nicely and beautifully rendered. It's been a long time coming, but even so Pluto has been a rather intimate series, a detective story to the end, with Gesicht living on a bit in Atom. It's a bittersweet moment when it's all said and done, but a fantastic series. The final volume shines with as an 8.5/10 for me.
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Reading Progress

November 10, 2015 – Started Reading
November 10, 2015 – Shelved
November 10, 2015 – Shelved as: manga-graphic-novels
November 10, 2015 – Shelved as: science-fiction
November 10, 2015 – Shelved as: stat_3
November 10, 2015 –
page 256
100.0% "A fitting ending to the series. Quite good!"
November 10, 2015 – Shelved as: reviewed
November 10, 2015 – Finished Reading

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