As I read the manga and absorbed this new anime, I couldn’t get the thought of “Watchmen” out of my mind; It’s not just because both it and “Pluto” are murder mystery comics. What Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons did with “Watchmen” and what Urasawa and Takashi did with “Pluto”; taking old comic book characters (Charlton Comics’ heroes in “Watchmen”, Tezuka’s creations in “Pluto”) and artistically re-imagining them. lens.
Naoki Urasawa is a manga legend, but only half of his works have been adapted into anime: “Yawara!” (about the eponymous Japanese girl training with her grandfather to become an Olympic Judo champion), “Master Keaton” (an adventure story about a part-time archaeologist, part-time insurance investigator) and his masterpiece “Monster” (a horror-thriller about a Japanese-German doctor hunting down a serial killer whose life he once saved).
“Pluto” now joins their esteemed ranks; The anime was first announced in 2017 and now arrives on the 20th anniversary of the manga (“Pluto” ran from 2003 to 2009). The 2003 start date is not accidental. Part of the backstory of “Pluto” is the “39th Central Asian War.” Thrace (apparently it was the Greeks who sailed West in this alternate history) led the Persian invasion. Supposedly the IHR was supposed to eliminate dictator Darius XIV, who allegedly built a secret robot army. There was no such army, but the war continued and the Persian people suffered. Pluto’s robots and human victims all served in this war, and their connections to the war are crucial to solving the mystery.
If this seems like a transparent allegory for the Iraq War, it should be; This occupation started in 2003. The battle went from a timely commentary in the manga to a sobering reminder of historical atrocities in the anime.