May 8, 2009
I have a crippling headache tonight, but I feel the need to talk about this since it’s Pluto and all, and I just finished reading it.
I really like Uran. I liked her in Astro Boy too, but she’s a great character to have in this series. She’s likely going to be one of the most positive characters we’ll see, and not only is her empathy an interesting ability, she scored major points for the awesome scenes between her and the robot hobo in the park. She seems like one of the only robots that would appreciate his chaotic emotions and get along with him. For that matter, there are so far very few human characters that would appreciate the robot hobo, so Uran may be the only one period.
There are a few scenes between Atom and Uran at school and at home. The absence of Cobalt, Atom’s brother, is notable. He may not have been a part of the original story, or perhaps hadn’t been introduced at that point in Astro Boy, but it seems strange not to include him. I’d love to see Urasawa’s character design for him. Maybe he’ll appear later.
It’s not clear what the robot hobo is going through (mentally) during his stay in the park, but he slowly opens up to Uran more and more, and we see later that he’s got special un-robot-like abilities to control nature and life. He’s never really all that friendly, or approachable, but he is a robot who does abstract art, and the conclusion of his story towards the end of the volume is an interesting one. His painting, the two times it appears, is in color. Not that the page is a full-color spread or anything, but just one panel is in color, and just the painting in the panel. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, and it makes his painting that much more striking.
Also in this volume: Epsilon is introduced, who stuck around with Astro until the very end in the original story, if I’m not mistaken. He stays pretty close to his origins here… powered by a special type of energy, loved by children, and a lover of peace, which I thought was interesting. Of course, besides Astro himself, he was the only one of the robots in the original that had any character development, so I suppose that has something to do with it.
Also introduced is a bizarre anti-robot cult. A subplot involving one of the members wanting to destroy Gesicht begins developing, and… well, it raises an interesting question about Gesicht, too.
We get to find out a little bit more about Pluto by the end of the volume, too. A member of Pluto’s entourage is a robot taken straight out of Men in Black. There’s just no way to not think of that movie when you see him. He’s got an Edgar suit and everything.
Anyway. The series continues to reward me with an extremely deep and interesting story that keeps adding more layers, including questions of morality that can’t be answered, as it continues. The anti-robot cult should prove to be an interesting addition to the story, and I’m very much looking forward to how the aggression/accusations against Geischt will pan out.
This is a review copy provided by Viz.