Sunday, May 17, 2015

Pluto by Naoki Urasawa

In the future, robots and humans have fought many wars together and now live, relatively peaceably, side-by-side.  International robot laws are in place and these legal restrictions prohibit robots from killing humans.  In spite of a recent civil rights movement for robots, they are still discriminated against by humans, and the protagonist of this murder mystery is a robot member of an international police agency who passes for human named Gesicht.  As the series begins, Gesicht is investigating the recent chilling destruction of a beloved robot and global hero and a string of murders, trying to determine a motive.

This eight volume manga series brings Astro Boy and the grandfather of manga to a fresh audience with fresh perspective.  It begins with a re-imagining of the premise of the recent war in Afghanistan.  In doing so, it raises questions for readers of the nature of sentient life, the implications of artificial intelligence, the features of a post-conflict diverse society, and explores notions of human rights and civil rights in the future.  Fans of manga who loved Death Note and are looking for a new series will devour this one. ---Jessica Fenster-Sparber

Urasawa, Naoki and Osamu Tezuka.  Pluto.  San Francisco: Viz Media, 2008.  Print.

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