Pluto (Vol. 03) – Naoki Urusawa & Osamu Tezuka
Published by Viz
A good portion of this volume follows Atom’s sister, Uran. She’s another one of the planet’s most advanced robots (though not one of the targeted seven) and has sensors so delicate that she possesses a strong sense of empathy for others, even able to sense a person or animal’s feelings from far away. I really love Uran as a character, with her combination of robotic logistics and childlike reaction. There was a well-blended mix of confidence versus curiousity that allowed her to feel very endearing as she helps the robot she meets lost in a park, and even in the bored manner she deals with investigators at the books beginning.
The robot Uran helps, on the other hand, proves a little less involved on the personality-scale but has some robotically unique powers that both invoked some thought and gave Naoki Urusawa the chance to add in a beautifully timed piece of coloured artwork mid-story. Viz has my thanks for maintaining the full-colours because much of the story’s impact at the moment would’ve been lost without it.
With much attention on Uran, and her subsequent involvement with a strange homeless robot she befriends, the tone of some parts of the third volume of Pluto have a less sinister, though still poignantly relevant, feel than many previous scenes. In this third volume, the action sequences and suspenseful dramatics, which lent such occasional high-octave reading in previous books, are less prevalent but no less foreshadowed either. Pluto continues to deliver all the intrigue and surprises that made the two first two books so compelling, from uprisings of anti-Robot cults (which evokes even more sympathy to the plights robots face) to the appearance of another of the mystery killer’s targets. The ‘mystery killer’ is also more fleshed out, so to speak, though there remains much to be explained.
In love for this series, I’ve also recently started re-watching old episodes of Astro Boy, and may I note, being amazed at the sheer nostalgic value and realizing that the Uran I like here in Pluto is the same ‘little girl’ I always idolized as a child. Some things never change! And impressively the same can be said for Naoki Urusawa’s Pluto, which is more and more evidently a brilliantly fleshed out version of Osamu Tezuka’s original story arc. I can’t wait to see how he takes the story from here on and continue to highly recommend it.