Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, Vol. 7

Writer / Artist
Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, Vol. 7
Pluto Urasawa x Tezuka Vol 7 review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: VIZ Media – 978-1-4215-3267-7
  • Volume No.: 7
  • Release date: 2009
  • English language release date: 2010
  • UPC: 9781421532677
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no

A vast array of different faces, people of different ages, sexes, complexions, and sizes, greets us as we begin Vol. 7 of Pluto. Dr Tenma is showing Dr Abra the ultra-advanced ‘perfect’ AI he described to Professor Ochanamizu in Vol. 5. The six billion personalities programmed into the AI’s brain are all insisting they should be the one it chooses, and the robot lays dormant. “It refused to awaken… It was TOO complex. It would probably take an infinite amount of time to simulate six billion personalities,” Tenma reflects. However he also has the solution for this impossibly complex problem. “Just take the chaos of six billion and arrange it a different way. Destroy its balance. Anger… Sadness… Hatred … Insert plenty of polarising, extreme emotions.” But even Tenma isn’t ruthless enough to use this to awaken his creation. “Terrible things could happen, depending on who is his master … it’s quite possible he could rampage out of control. It might be the birth of a Demon‚” he admits. The parallel between Tenma here and Dr Robert Oppenheimer’s invention of nuclear fission in 1943 is obvious. And despite his restraint this time, as with Oppenheimer’s A-Bomb, everything has changed now this potential ultimate weapon exists in the world. Can it only be a matter of time before someone inevitably uses it?

In Hunter Valley, Australia, the sunlight-powered Epsilon is the only advanced robot still left alive. He had nothing to do with the 39th Central Asian conflict, refusing to be involved in any wars. Even though he has seen and felt the trauma of his fellow robots dying at Pluto’s hands and faced Pluto himself already, he remains adamant that violence is not his way: “No matter how many times we fight, I cannot think of him as my enemy,” he says to the UN Tribunal. However, as this volume rushes toward a very big confrontation can he maintain his pacifist stance when one of his children is kidnapped? And what about Atom? Events seemed to have resolved themselves twice already but Naoki Urasawa and co-writer Takashi Nagasaki still have plenty of surprises left, with perhaps the biggest yet to come.

As always, the intricate and intelligent writing is more than matched by the superb imagery, with prodigious amounts of fantastic drawing making this a visual feast in every area: great, personality-filled characters, excitingly complex settings and dazzling action sequences. The skill on display here is something else. Don’t miss Vol. 8.