Pluto continues to amaze with a fantastic second volume of manga following on from the shocking events of volume one. As the body count continues to rise, Gisecht turns to a familiar face for assistance in his investigation. The case grows more and more difficult as questions outweigh answers and Gisecht discovers that robot memory may not be infallible.
It goes without saying that Urasawa is a brilliant mangaka, but having the incredible source material of ‘The World’s Strongest Robot’ arc from the original Astro Boy does go along way. The magic of Tezuka’s original translates incredibly well into Urasawa’s distinctive gritty style. What I find most compelling however is the way that Urasawa takes Tezuka’s work and gives it a new perspective. His look into this world where robots and humans must coexist is utterly tantalizing.
This volume focuses in on the notion that what makes humans primarily different from robots is their ability to forget. What is most interesting about this idea is that Pluto immediately proceeds to break that idea down and blur the lines between humanity and robots. While human memory naturally fades over time, a robot’s memory is stored on their hard-drive, but that doesn’t make it infallible. Many characters express the notion that robot memory is infallible but what happens if someone deletes a memory? What if a memory is replaced with another?
Upon sharing his memory chip with Atom (Astro Boy), Gisecht is riddled with curiosity as to what he thinks of the case. While Atom has little insight to give Gisecht in this moment, he does something rather intriguing. He immediately excuses himself and privately cries for Gisecht. It is a poignant scene and one that proposes many questions. What exactly happened to Gisecht? What memory did Atom tap into? These questions are left unanswered for now. I’m sure they will hold great importance as the series proceeds.
An intrigue filled thread that raised itself is undoubtedly the memory situation regarding Gisecht. After beginning to believe his memory has been erased and replaced, he immediately heads in for maintenance for a check-up on the situation. While Gisecht is lead to believe he is perfectly fine, we the audience see the truth. The government has done something unspeakable to Gisecht and are covering it up in order to use him for their own purposes. It is a major reveal for the series so far and where it leads our troubled hero is anyone’s guess.
Pluto volume two continues on strongly from the first volume, increasingly building upon plot momentum adding layers upon layers to this epic world. The characterization is handled with true finesse and for a cast full of robots they are brimming with emotion and life, proving to be distinct from one another and each individually important to the story of Pluto in a major way. Urasawa’s gut-wrenching take on ‘The World’s Strongest Robot’ is must-read manga for fans of Astro Boy and fans of quality manga alike.
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