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PLUTO: Urasawa x Tezuka vol. 008 by Naoki Urasawa (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

April 16, 2010 by  



The final volume of “Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka” is here!  From the very beginning to its final moments, this is one manga series that I can give a huge recommendation for its storyline and artwork.  “Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka” is highly recommended!

© Image courtesy of 2004 Naoki URASAWA/Studio Nuts, Takashi NAGASAKI and Tezuka Productions All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: PLUTO vol. 008: Urasawa x Tezuka

STORY AND ART BY: Naoki Urasawa, Takashi Nagasaki and supervised by Makoto Tezuka with the cooperation of Tezuka Productions.

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC

RATED: T for Older Teen

Atom is back, and the fate of the Earth is in his hands!  Now that Atom has all the answers to the unsolved mysteries around Pluto, Bora and more, he’s prepared to put everything on the line.  With the memory of his fallen brethren – Gesicht, Mont Blanc, North No. 2, Brando, Hercules and Epsilon – etched deeply into his heart, Atom is headed for one last battle to save the world!

“Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka”, a tale of the great robots on Earth which include Tetsuwan Atom (aka “Astro Boy”) and in the last seven volumes, we have read and seen how the world’s greatest robots and the scientists who have created them were killed/destroyed.

What began as a series focusing on the character of Gesicht, the great investigator robot, who worked on trying to solve the case on who was responsible for the destruction and murders have all ended with failure.  Whoever this being is…Pluto… is too powerful.

And with the last great robot Epsilon defeated/destroyed in volume 7, Atom is reborn but this time with the memory chip of Gesicht.  And now, all is revealed in this final volume of “Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka”, a reimagining of “Astro Boy – The Greatest Robot on Earth” written by manga great Naoki Urasawa (“Yawara”, “Monster”, “20th Century Boys” and many more titles) and co-authored by Takashi Nagasaki. The Astro Boy or Tetsuwan Atom stories are based on the popular works of Osamu Tezuka and with cooperation from Tezuka Productions, this manga project is managed by Makoto Tezuka.

Here is a brief summary of each chapter in vol. 8 (short summaries, no spoilers):

  • ACT 56 – Formula for Destruction – Atom has been reborn but his first action was creating the formula of a photon bomb.
  • ACT 57 – Wither the Heart – Atom has been reborn but with the emotion of anger.  Will Atom become a robot of great destruction or will he be able to control this new emotion.
  • ACT 58 – Old Friend – All is revealed on who is responsible for the destruction of the great robots.
  • ACT 59 – Various Reunions – Atom meets up with characters impacted by the destruction created by Pluto.
  • ACT 60- The Honest Truth – All is revealed on who is responsible for issuing the murders of the scientists.
  • ACT 61 – Doomsday – Atom vs. Pluto.
  • ACT 62 – Gesicht’s Legacy – The battle continues between Atom and Pluto.
  • ACT 63 – Wish Upon a Star – A flashback on Gesicht and the emotions he had developed.
  • Final Act – The Greatest Robot In History – The battle against Goji.
  • POSTCRIPT – Takashi Nagasaki (manga writer and editor.) writes about being enthralled by “Astro Boy”.

The final “PLUTO: Urasawa x Tezuka” and overall, I was complete pleased with the finale and it helps that in the US, there was not much of a wait between each volume.  Whereas in Japan, readers had to wait a year or two as Urasawa was busy working on other projects and thus, the anticipation for each volume was intense considering you have one of the greatest mangaka working on Osamu Tezuka’s beloved series albeit a reimagining of the Tetsuwan Atom storyline.

The manga series had primarily been focused on the great robot detective Gesicht and right up to the end, despite being destroyed by Pluto, he plays an instrumental part in Atom being reborn and to tell you the truth, the ending is what I was pretty much expecting.  Atom may be quite powerful but yet he does possess a great heart and Urasawa makes sure that no matter how dark the series would get, he maintained the overall personality that Osamu Tezuka had created for Atom in the original series.  But yet, it’s through the character of Gesicht that we realize how Atom is able to value life.

As for the artwork of “PLUTO: Urasawa x Tezuka”, if you are familiar with Urasawa’s work with “20th Century Boys” and “Monster”, you can imagine his style in creating the characters.  I’ve always felt that his work is just unique and solely his style that I really respect and appreciate and Naoki Urasawa knows how to bring together wonderful artwork and a well-written story. He has excelled in doing so with his previous series and manages to do it again with “PLUTO: Urasawa x Tezuka”!

If you have not read any of the volumes of “PLUTO: Urasawa x Tezuka”, the fact that there are only eight volumes as opposed to Urasawa’s other series which are longer, this manga series is definitely worth reading.  A well-written story, beautiful artwork but most of all, Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki manage to create this whole new world, reimagining these characters, giving a dark vibe to the storyline and making it so enjoyable and addictive.

What a wonderful manga series this one turned out to be from beginning to end.  Highly recommended!

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