In the last few days, an anime ONA series from the Fall Anime Season of 2023 has become known as it is soaring on rating charts everywhere.
And this series is none other than the anime adaptation of “Pluto.” It is adapted from a manga series that took reference from the first-ever manga series “Astro Boy.”
More specifically, it adapted the arc “The Greatest Robot on Earth” of Astro Boy with a dark psychological-thriller twist. It has eight episodes, each adapting one volume of its source material.
What most people don’t know about Pluto is that it was expected to be written by another author instead of its original author, Urasawa Naoki.
This was revealed in an interview by the eldest son of Osamu Tezuka (the godfather of manga and the author of Astro Boy), Macoto Tezuka.
The interview is at the end of the first physical volume of Pluto, so only dedicated manga collectors have access to it. So, let’s see what details are present in this interview.
Synopsis of Pluto
“Pluto” takes place in a futuristic world where androids have become a part of society, and there are government bodies that defend android rights.
In this world is Gesicht, an android robot who works for Europol as a detective. He is given a case that involves the murder of a government officer, who is a human.
The strange thing about this murder case is that it was similar to the murder case of Mont Blanc, a famous robot, as both cases involved two parallel objects shoved into the head region.
So, Gesicht consults another robot-killer, thinking a robot is behind this. The robot tells Gesicht that whoever did this was named “Pluto.”
He also reveals that this murderer is after the lives of the seven most powerful robots created, and Gesicht is one of them.
So now, it is a race against time for Gesicht as he has to save his life while also catching Pluto red-handed.
For those of you who are still unaware of this phenomenon known as “Pluto,” it was written by Urasawa Naoki and was supervised by Osamu Tezuka’s eldest son, Macoto Tezuka.
Macoto Tezuka owns a share in Tezuka Production (animation studio), which also cooperated in creating this manga series.
Urasawa and Macoto were interviewed when the manga project “Pluto” was approved (in September 2003) by officials in the industry, and both of them gave their views about this manga series’ future. The detailed interview is presented at the end of the first volume of the “Pluto” manga series.
To start with, the interview asked both of them about their perception of the legendary manga series “Astro Boy.”
Urasawa replied that he was exposed to Osamu Tezuka’s “Astro Boy” when he was four to five years old. He even tried to copy Tezuka’s art style and his signature, which he got pretty good at.
Macoto, on the other hand, said how blessed he was that “Astro Boy” was written entirely and composed in front of him, and he was one of the first people in this world to read it.
Also Read: Dead Tube Manga: A Horror Take on YouTube
A Challenge to the Original “Astro Boy”
The interview later turned his attention to Macoto, asking what his feelings were when Urasawa contacted him regarding giving his father the most renowned work, an adaptation utterly different from the source material.
Macoto started by commending Urasawa’s guts, as this project will be a direct challenge to his father, the manga legend Osamu Tezuka. He knew Urasawa was a well-known mangaka, so he decided to at least listen to him.
Urasawa later described how he first thought of using Atom (the main protagonist of “Astro Boy”) as his protagonist. But he later changed because he had second thoughts. After all, he didn’t want to change his character too much. So, he opted for a supporting character, Gesicht, as his main lead.
Pluto was supposed to be written by Osamu’s family member
Macoto continued the talk by saying that Osamu Tezuka’s work would have been challenged before, as there are so many talented mangakas present. He later explained how he never thought he would take up this challenge because he is not a mangaka.
So, he was expecting some other family member of Osamu Tezuka to take this challenge, but Urasawa came out of nowhere and volunteered to take the challenge first.
He also praised Urasawa’s confidence. He changed the complete storyline, changed some character’s names, and even changed the main character, knowing how this manga is a part of not only Osamu’s but Japan’s legacy.
They continued their talk by discussing Macoto’s profession (Japanese film & anime director). They also urged the young fans to read “Astro Boy,” as it was the reason “Pluto” came into existence.
Urasawa Naoki is a mangaka that needs no introduction in the modern era. He is famous for his writing skills. He is also a mastermind, as he knows how to create a perfect antagonist.
Examples include “Johan Liebert” from Monster and “Friend” from 20th Century Boys. And Pluto (the antagonist of “Pluto”) is also an addition to this list.
All eight volumes of “Pluto” are available on Amazon in English. So, if you like, add this masterpiece to your collection.