Charles's Reviews > PLUTO: 浦沢 直樹 x 手塚 治虫 005

PLUTO by Naoki Urasawa
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Mar 31, 2012

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

** spoiler alert ** Stuff I Read – Pluto Vol 5 Review

Well, things are definitely moving right along in Pluto, and volume five really doesn’t slow down at all, as the series keeps upping the stakes. The true mystery of the series to this point starts to get solved, or at least reaches a little closer, and yet another of the strongest robots on the planet gets destroyed. But more than that, this is about the mystery of Gesicht’s past and his own experiences with hatred and murder. As such this is very much a fast paced and thrilling volume of the series, one with plenty of action and intrigue and revelations. As I suspected leading up to this volume, all is not entirely right with Gesicht’s mind, and in his push for finding the truth regarding the recent murders and such he is brought into contact with his own nature and his own past. He is dealing with a lot, and in ways that bring into focus a lot of the themes of the series, namely what it is to be human and what it is to be a robot. That, more than anything else, seems to be the question the series is trying to raise.

And to contrast the point we have Gesicht, so is a robot and who yet possesses so much that is human and the Saddam Hussein-esque deposed ruler of the Persian Empire, who is human and yet who acts in many ways like a robot, in such a detached manner, a manner devoid of most emotions. There is a real turning here, where we see that while robots can possess the potential for hatred, it is humans that typically act much more inhuman. Take the leading conflict of this volume, which is the fact that Gesicht outright murdered a suspect, the brother of the man who has been trying to kill him and who now Gesicht is charged with protecting. This was an act of hatred, something that robots are not supposed to be capable of. And many people in the series are very against robots learning hatred, becoming more human. The creator of Atom says explicitly that terrible things will happen in trying to make a robot too much like a human, because it necessitates things like hatred. But I think what this volume demonstrates is that while the potential for hatred is indeed dangerous, it also unlocks the potential for real courage and love.

This is expressed rather dramatically when Gesicht is shot by a weapon powerful enough to presumably destroy him. Gesicht places himself directly in danger, risking his life for someone who tried to kill him, not because he was ordered to or because he, as a robot, had to but because it was the right thing to do. Before the story has been that robots incapable of feeling have been used to do terrible things. That is the saga of revenge that Pluto is telling, that these more unfeeling robots are being destroyed because they did great crimes. And it is being shown that the mistake in all of this was not with the robots who fought but with the humans who assumed that just because they were robots they were incapable of being affected by the horrors of war. In a way, it is because humans created robots to fight for them, to separate humans from that horror, that all of this has happened, and so the series seems to be laying the blame at the feet of the creators of the robots, which I guess is why they are also being killed.

I suppose I also have to mention that here is where Hercules is killed, as well, which leaves only Gesicht and Epsilon left of the most powerful robots. This volume also furthers the weird of the series by including a strange and evil teddy bear that seems to be running things, though what the hell that means I’m not sure. In any event, things are definitely running towards some answers, and we see here the mysteries concerning Gesicht and the murders starting to get wrapped up. The plot thread about the anti-robot group and the man whose brother Gesicht killed are wrapped up, in any event, and there is the sense that progress is being made. At the same time just enough new things are introduced to keep us going, to press forward with the story, and I am left wanting more. Still, this is only about halfway through the series and I can’t really imagine what the heck is going to happen once these elements are tied up. At the least we are reaching the end of a large arc, and journey for Gesicht as he discovers himself. And with all of that, this volume gets an 8.5/10.
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