From Frieren To Scott Pilgrim


Naoki Urasawa is one of the greatest living manga authors, and the adaptation of his manga “Monster” remains a brilliantly plotted story and anime’s answer to prestige TV drama. Now, Urasawa is getting a new adaptation, this time of his legendary manga “Pluto.” Based on a story arc from Osamu Tezuka’s legendary manga and anime “Astro Boy,” the adaptation of “Pluto” is a masterclass in reimagining a popular franchise. Part “Blade Runner,” and part “Silence of the Lambs,” with a little “I, Robot” sprinkled on top, Toshio Kawaguchi and Studio M2’s adaptation of “Pluto” is simply stunning.

This is a dark and gritty sci-fi crime drama that starts as a simple murder investigation and evolves into a fight to save humanity — and whether we even deserve saving. Along the way, “Pluto” explores some deep and complex subjects such as artificial intelligence, racism, hatred as intrinsically human, and the Iraq War. Indeed, by the time we finally meet the boy known as Atom, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that this is supposed to be an “Astro Boy” story. Each episode packs a gut punch of an emotional story, with a crescendo that builds up to an epic confrontation. This helps make this super-sized eight-episode miniseries feel like a proper event watch.

Beyond the poignant themes, this is also just a very good-looking show, keeping with Urasawa’s aesthetics and penchant for realistic-looking characters (there are so many nose shapes and sizes!).

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