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Home > ‘Pluto’ (2023): A Review

‘Pluto’ (2023): A Review

Pluto A Review; Anime; Two kids confront a robot

A True Monster of an Anime

Pluto is set in a futuristic alternate reality where Zuckerberg’s Meta successfully led to the creation of advanced robots and AI. In this reality, robots are essentially second-rate citizens. As advanced as these robots are, they’re still obviously robots. There exists, however, seven highly advanced robots with cutting edge technology. The story begins with the murder of one such robot. The series was animated by Studio M2 and is based on the manga of the same name created by Naoki Urasawa.

Opening up to the Story

Prior to diving headfirst into the plot of this anime, it’s important to go over the most glaringly negative thing about this anime which is the opening. Nearly every anime has an intro of some kind which can help set expectations for the show and even get viewers excited for the episode. These intros often feel like separate productions intended for a music video. Animes like Attack on Titan (AOT), Naruto, and Cowboy Bebop are just a few anime whose intros are still widely remembered by anime fans around the world. Try imagining AOT without that amazing intro at the start. The issue with Pluto is that while it does have an opening, the intro itself feels lazy. It essentially just consists of actual pages and images from the manga being flipped through while some music plays in the background. Basically, imagine the old Marvel intro at the start of their movies. The intro does a horrible job of setting expectations and does not match the overall energy of the show. This is especially odd if viewers are familiar with another one of Urasawa’s works, Monster. That series deals with a surgeon whose fate becomes entangled with a psychopathic killer. The intro for the accompanying anime perfectly captured what fans could expect from the series. 

The overall plot structure will see viewers follow the protagonists as they attempt to solve the central murder mystery. Each episode will also expose viewers to each of the 7 advanced robots. This structure works well in a series format. The plot was mostly coherent until the last couple of episodes which felt like they were trying to wrap up loose ends quickly. The ending was still well-earned, just a little confusing with the introduction of random characters and events.

The tone of the anime can get dark at times as it deals with themes of trauma, identity, and hate. Urasawa has always been able to implement darker tones into his work with the right amount of nuance, and this isn’t lost in translation from manga to anime.

Pluto, a review

Warm Blooded Robots

This anime is character-focused, so expect to have a favorite character by the end. The majority of the central characters are robots with their own distinct personalities. Despite being robotic, they are still meant to be the most humanized robots in this alternate future. From a world-class detective to a pacifist, each robot is different and will leave a long-lasting impression. They also each have their own distinct motivations driving them throughout the show, ranging from hatred and revenge to the duty to protect. There are some characters that appear for only half an episode that’s more than enough time to absolutely fall in love with them. 

The design of some of the characters will seem very familiar to seasoned anime fans. One character in particular, Atom, will remind some old-school anime fans of Astro Boy or the original Japanese translation, Mighty Atom. Similar to the iconic boy robot, Atom has a hairstyle that will remind viewers of Astro’s two spiked hair. Viewers may also notice the way in which Atom flies around with rockets that are located at his feet. In fact, the series can technically be described as an edgy reimagining of Astro Boy.  Special robots in the series act as a reference to Astro Boy’s seven powers.

The Aesthetic of Emotion  

Despite the initial gripes about the anime’s introduction, the soundtrack is wonderful and a good fit. At its core, this show is a murder mystery, and the soundtrack wonderfully conveys that, with the expected jazz scores littered throughout. It fosters a somber atmosphere that suits the story. This doesn’t mean that this is a noir thriller, so don’t go into it expecting a black-and-white detective piece (although one of Urasaw’s other mangas, Billy Bat, might scratch that itch)

The cinematography in every episode is also spectacular. While the animations aren’t as mouth-watering as something from Jujutsu Kaisen from MAPPA, there are so many unforgettable shots and scenes ripped straight out of the manga. The anime does a great job of utilizing close-ups with an emphasis on the eyes. As previously mentioned, most of the central cast are robots; however, there will be an occasional close-up of a character’s face, and their emotions can genuinely be seen and felt through their eyes. One of the ideas explored in this show is the idea of hatred, and the close-ups are well implemented in showcasing this emotion in some of the characters. There is just as much visual storytelling as there is verbal. 

Final Verdict

This is an absolute must-watch as far as animes and even TV shows. Coincidentally, both Pluto and Monster, which were created by Naoki Urasawa, are available via streaming on Netflix. Since Jujutsu Kaisen’s future is up in the air, why not spend some time with this gem? 

Pluto; anime; a robot

Pluto (2023): Official Netflix Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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A lover of gore and over the top violence, no movie can make my stomach squirm. The only thing better than a bloody death scene is a well choreographed stunt. Whether it be action or horror, if it has blood in it, then I've likely already seen it.
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Elke Simmons' writing portfolio includes contributions to The Laredo Morning Times, Walt Disney World Eyes and Ears, Extinction Rebellion (XR) News/Blog, and Dead Talk News.