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Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, Vol. 8 Paperback – April 6, 2010
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This volume concludes the story inspired by the classic Astro Boy, by the “God of Manga,” Osamu Tezuka. Modern master Urasawa reimagines Tezuka’s story as a futuristic sci-fi noir in which the most beloved robots on earth are systematically hunted down and killed. Bleeding with emotion and deep thoughts at all seams, and visualized with the grace and power of Urasawa’s distinguished line work, the story is ultimately an exploration of how hatred can pervert the loftiest of intentions. A flash-bang finale to a series that has carved out a spot at the vanguard of modern literary manga. --Ian Chipman
About the Author
Naoki Urasawa's career as a manga artist spans more than twenty years and has firmly established him as one of the true manga masters of Japan. Born in Tokyo in 1960, Urasawa debuted with BETA! in 1983 and hasn't stopped his impressive output since. Well-versed in a variety of genres, Urasawa's oeuvre encompasses a multitude of different subjects, such as a romantic comedy (Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl), a suspenseful human drama about a former mercenary (Pineapple ARMY; story by Kazuya Kudo), a captivating psychological suspense story (Monster), a sci-fi adventure manga (20th Century Boys), and a modern reinterpretation of the work of the God of Manga, Osamu Tezuka (Pluto: Urasawa × Tezuka; co-authored with Takashi Nagasaki, supervised by Macoto Tezka, and with the cooperation of Tezuka Productions). Many of his books have spawned popular animated and live-action TV programs and films, and 2008 saw the theatrical release of the first of three live-action Japanese films based on 20th Century Boys. No stranger to accolades and awards, Urasawa is a three-time recipient of the prestigious Shogakukan Manga Award, a two-time recipient of the Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize, and has received the Kodansha Manga Award. Similarly, Monster has been nominated twice for the Eisner Award in America. Urasawa has also become involved in the world of academia, and in 2008 accepted a guest teaching post at Nagoya Zokei University, where he teaches courses in, of course, manga.
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Top customer reviews
“Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, Volume 008” by Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki is the last 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 written by a legendary manga master Osamu Tezuka.
Thanks to Gesicht’s memory chip, Atom, a.k.a. Astro Boy, wakes up. However, he is different: provided with the memories and emotions of the other six great robots of the world, Atom has learned to hate. Bu will his hatred and anger be enough to finally stop Pluto, the murderous robot controlled by his villainous creator, and to save the Earth from the impending apocalypse?
1) Great ending to a great story.
The last volume, just like the whole series, is action-packed, thrilling and suspenseful but at the same time extremely thought-provoking and touching with complex and relatable characters. As before, the illustrations are very detailed, realistic and simply gorgeous. However, “Pluto, Volume 006” still remains my absolute favorite with the fifth book as a close runner-up (check out my previous reviews to see why). Moreover, detective Gesicht is BY FAR my favorite character. I still cannot believe that, after reading the very first volume, I dared to call this robot passive and boring. Ha!
2) Important takeaway.
Although every single volume is thought-provoking and touching in its own way, the main message - “nothing comes of hatred” - and its gravity become clear just at the very end. As a bonus feature, in the eight volume’s postscript, co-author Takashi Nagasaki beautifully summarizes the takeaway of Pluto series and also builds a very convincing case speculating on what Osamu Tezuka meant by his famous story’s title “The Greatest Robot on Earth.”
COULD BE BETTER:
1) Rushed wrap-up.
Comparing to the excellent story building in the earlier volumes, the last two volumes seem a little bit rushed as some revelations are way too convenient, not very logical and thus less realistic. Also, it feels like the authors were just too eager to wrap things up and did’t bother to tie some loose ends. For example, I might be missing something, but how exactly is the evil teddy bear involved in the assassinations of the seven great robots of the world?
2) Lack of color.
Throughout the whole series, my only constant complaint is the black and white illustrations. Don’t get me wrong, they don’t look bad at all, but at the beginning of every single volume there are six to ten colorful pages which just look SO MUCH better. I understand that it might be too expensive to color the whole book, but even the black and white illustrations with additional shades (like the first eight pages in Act 63) are so much more appealing than the rest of the artwork.
VERDICT: 3.5 out of 5
Although a little bit rushed, “Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, Volume 008” by Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki is a great ending to a great story with a powerful takeaway. However, just as I predicted in the very beginning, you really need to read ALL eight volumes to truly understand and appreciate Pluto series.
Check out my reviews of the previous seven 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
4) “Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, Volume 004”: http://www.amazon.com/review/R5LDPO6IH4KUW/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm
5) “Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, Volume 005”: http://www.amazon.com/review/R2142JT7QBOFIZ/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm
6) “Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, Volume 006”: http://www.amazon.com/review/R2KID8Z4LSG4R9/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm
7) “Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, Volume 007”: http://www.amazon.com/review/R3GNH4K0UP97JT/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm
This is the final volume, of course, and Urasawa finishes it with a bang... literally. All loose-ends are tied up in some way or another and the series ends in a satisfying manner despite this truly only being an 'arc' from a bigger story of Astro Boy.
For being only eight volumes long, Urasawa actually surprised me on how tight of a job he did with rounding the series out. Monster is 18 volumes and 20th Century Boys (including 21st) is 22, I believe. So seeing him create the whole universe and atmosphere in only 8 volumes is some extremely crafty scripting on his part.
Not really going to delve into the plot of the volume. It runs slightly longer than the previous volumes... and Viz's presentation of the series is just as nice as the previous volumes including yet another interesting interview following the end of the series.
All-in-all, another amazing work for the mastermind Naoki Urasawa. If you have yet to read his other series, go ahead and jump on them. Viz has released all of Monster (and the first DVD boxset for the anime) and is currently releasing 20th Century Boys. Also, if you haven't read any of Tezuka's works, go pick up Apollo's Song, Black Jack, or Buddha from Vertical. I personally hadn't read anything by Tezuka before reading Pluto. And though this work really has nothing to do with Tezuka, it made me think about reading somethings from him and I wasn't disappointed.
If you've never read manga or would like to try something different, give this series a read. At only eight volumes it's nowhere near as daunting as something like One Piece and, I think, appeals to all. Do be aware though that if you're thinking of Astro Boy from your childhood cartoons, this is much more violent and dark. The first volume starts off with the horrific murder of a beloved robot and it only continues from there. However, Urasawa makes sure the violence and darkness never overwhelms and there is always an undercurrent of hope.