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Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, Vol. 4 Paperback – July 28, 2009
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About the Author
URASAWA Preeminent manga artist Naoki Urasawa, collaborating with editor, producer and manga writer Takashi Nagasaki, creates a daring revisionist take on Osamu Tezuka’s timeless classic Astro Boy. Conceived under the auspices of Tezuka’s son Macoto Tezka, a visual artist in his own right, Pluto: Urasawa × Tezuka is more than just an homage piece — Urasawa takes Tezuka’s masterwork and transforms it into a new groundbreaking series of his own. Pluto: Urasawa × Tezuka will surely delight loyal Tezuka fans, but it will also capture the imagination of anyone who loves a compelling work of great science fiction. × TEZUKA The legendary Osamu Tezuka is arguably the most influential person to shape the landscape of the narrative art form known as manga. In 1964, Tezuka created a revolutionary story arc in his Astro Boy series called “The Greatest Robot on Earth.” Tezuka’s engaging tale struck a chord with the children of that time to become the most popular story line of the series. It would also prove to profoundly influence and inspire a generation of manga artists to come.
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With the release of the exciting fourth volume, whoever has killed the scientists and the great robots now have Atom and Professor Ochanomizu, the head of the Ministry of Science as their target.
Here is a brief summary of each chapter in vol. 4 (short summaries, no spoilers):
ACT 24 - THE PROFESSOR'S DAY OFF - The person(s) responsible for the deaths of the scientists and great robots is revealed.
ACT 25 - A FINE DAY FOR A TORNADO - It was once thought that robots are incapable of emotions or hatred but how is it possible that a robot has the ability to contemplate revenge?
ACT 26 - THE CONFRONTATION - Pluto goes after Uran and Bobby, will Atom save them in time?
ACT 27 - A DIFFERENT DREAM - For some reason, Gesicht is having nightmares. Meanwhile, someone is sent to to kill Gesicht.
ACT 28 - EMERGENCY CALL - Another great robot has fallen.
ACT 29 - WHISPERING SHADOWS - Gesicht is ordered to protect Adolf who may have information on the identities and purpose of those who killed the scientist or the great robots.
ACT 30 - THREE SCIENTISTS AT KIMBERLY - The next scientist targeted is Professor Hoffman. Will the police be able to save him in time?
ACT 31 - THE GREATEST ROBOT ON EARTH - Professor Hoffman reveals of a secret meeting between him, Professor Ronald Newton-Howard and Professor Tenma in talks to create a super robot if need, in order to save the world. And what happened during that meeting between the greatest minds in the planet.
"PLUTO: Urasawa x Tezuka" vol. 004 is a volume that features major revelations and simply is an important volume as we learn of the agenda of a group who are anti-robots but also who may have orchestrated the murders of the world's top robotic scientists and the great robots.
The volume is probably the most serious and also for the fact that compared to past volumes, much less story is focused on the great robots themselves but more of the dramatic, suspenseful storyline of showing motives for murder but also how sinister the people behind the murders really are.
Needless to say, although there is less story focused on great robot battles, the storyline for this volume definitely ramps up because of several major revelations that are quite shocking. In fact, it's difficult to even talk about what happens in volume 4 because of how many plot twists are revealed. And along with that, the surprising shocker of the latest great robot who falls in battle.
If you have invested your time in reading the first three volumes, volume four is simply a no-brainer because Urasawa's storyline just continues to get better and better. One thing that Urasawa is quite successful in this series (and also his "20th Century Boys" manga series) is effectively create a story that is well-written but also artwork that shows detail in emotion. May it be the fear, anguish, happiness or even the lust of killing, he manages to capture the emotion quite well with his character designs.
If you have not read any of the volumes of "PLUTO: Urasawa x Tezuka" but are curious, this is one manga series that is worth owning, worth reading and trust me you won't be disappointed. Another highly recommended volume of "PLUTO"!
I can't say enough good things about Pluto and 20th Century Boys. If you get a chance to read them, do not hesitate to do so.
“Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, Volume 004” by Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki is the fourth book in an eight-book science fiction manga series Pluto. The whole series is based on “The Greatest Robot on Earth,” the most popular story arc in Astro Boy series by a legendary manga master Osamu Tezuka.
A mysterious force disguised as a tornado is after the four remaining great robots of the world, while the former members of Bora Survey Group are being killed one after another… And it seems that both Atom, a.k.a. Astro Boy, and Professor Ochanomizu are next on the list. Meanwhile, detective Gesicht is searching for clues about the killer’s identity and the motive, but he himself is in danger, and not only because he is one of the seven great robots of the world.
1) Perfectly paced and surprising.
As I mentioned in my previous review, the story building in Pluto series is excellent. The plot is full of twists and turns, but despite the fact that A LOT of thing are happening all at once, it is surprisingly easy to keep all the storylines straight. I admit though that “Pluto, Volume 004” didn’t provide all the answers I really hoped for at the end of the third book, but I cannot really complain - I still have four volumes to go. By the way, I am still in denial over a couple of events in this volume: I really didn’t see it coming and still can’t believe it really happened!
In addition to being thrilling and suspenseful, Pluto series is also moving and thought-provoking. For example, the first act in this volume is very simple yet very powerful emotionally. Although “Pluto, Volume 004” does not offer nearly as much social commentary as the previous volume, it still raises a couple of interesting questions, such as what makes a robot perfect.
3) Beautiful artwork.
It’s time for me to finally acknowledge how gorgeous Urasawa’s artwork is. Although I previously complained that the adult characters most of the time are drawn with their mouths shut while talking and have a limited range of facial expressions, it doesn’t really bother me anymore (or maybe the illustrations DID get a little bit more dynamic). In either case, the artwork is very realistic and simply stunning.
COULD BE BETTER:
1) Ruined surprise.
Towards the end of the book the authors introduce a new character and put some effort into hiding his face up until the last page. Such a maneuver is supposed to build tension but it clearly fails to do so because a) we’ve never seen this character before, so finally seeing his face doesn’t have much of an effect, and, more importantly, b) his face is plastered on the cover of the volume and you can easily recognize him just by seeing his hair, beard or glasses. FAIL!
2) Lack of color.
Yet again only the six first pages are colored and the remainder of the book is black and white. Why the teasing, I ask?
VERDICT: 3.5 out of 5
“Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, Volume 004” by Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki is perfectly paced, surprising, moving and thought provoking. It is as good as the previous two volumes, so if you liked the story so far, don’t stop.
Check out my reviews of the previous three volumes:
1) “Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, Volume 001”: http://www.amazon.com/review/R39D2RIEIAPZRO/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm
2) “Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, Volume 002”: http://www.amazon.com/review/R3PJZDE2SFGRI6/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm
3) “Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, Volume 003”: http://www.amazon.com/review/R39D7281G5TKZQ/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm