PLUTO Honest Review

Almost a Modern Masterpiece

It’s been a long wait to see PLUTO Manga which ended back in 2009 to be adapted into an Anime, we have known since 2017 that it was in the pipeline but it took longer probably due to a combination of COVID years and due animation studios being overcomitted to multiple other projects. It finally dropped on Netflix last week and fans are rejoicing to see it finally on their screens. Let’s break down a brief synopsis of what PLUTO is about before we tackle the review

Pluto tails the Europol cyborg investigator, Gesicht, in his relentless pursuit to unravel a series of mysterious deaths involving both humans and robots worldwide. Each victim is found with objects forcefully inserted into or placed near their heads, resembling horns, adding a chilling pattern to the killings. The enigma deepens as clues point towards a robot as the perpetrator, marking a groundbreaking event—the first instance of a robot causing human death in eight years.

The plot thickens as it’s revealed that the targets are the seven most advanced robots worldwide, revered for their potential as weapons of mass destruction. The victims, humans slain in these peculiar ways, share a common link: their involvement in upholding the International Robot Laws, which advocate for equal rights for robots. – Synopsis

In case you aren’t too familiar with this project, you may not know that it’s part of the Astroboy (Tetsuwan Atom) franchise and Pluto is essentially one of the arcs re-purposed and redesigned to be darker and work more like a Detective series than a Shonen mecha fighter. The question that you may have is do I have to watch any of the Astroboy stuff before watching Pluto? and the answer is No. but it does help to understand a bit more about the actual world-building and who exactly Atom is one of the main characters in this series.

Netflix Made a Good Pick Here

Generally, Netflix always chooses to pick anime that panders and suits more of a Western audience (general normies). That is why a lot of their portfolio consists of detective-style series like B The Beginning and Hero Mask. So choosing Pluto is a sensical addition to their roster of anime, despite them talking about earlier this year toning down their Anime production at their company. When it comes to Pluto it’s really free of a lot of generic anime tropes and Lewd fan service that you tend to see with a lot of other shows out there in the regular season.

It’s going to be something that your average viewer who is not interested in Anime, probably is gonna have a lot easier time getting into Pluto. From what I’ve read the series is quite faithful to the original manga and not excluding anything of importance from it, but of course, pacing is always different in anime and it’s gonna have more fill-in compared to manga.

Checking All the Right Boxes… Almost

Even though many people aren’t talking about PLUTO on the wider web, when you observe things like MyAnimelist it’s currently sitting at #44 which is quite a high rank while Imdb has a score of 8.6 which is quite high for any Anime series on the website. Let’s be real for a second though Putachi is a Counter-hegemonic outlet we don’t really care what the masses are saying, but we agree with general consensus here.

  • Animation – Great detail by Studio M2 by combining the best elements of 3D designs into a beautiful 2D landscape and designs that are very faithful to the original designs of the manga
  • Story – Great concept and execution on the pacing of the story, giving viewer gradual information, but not being too obvious who are the bad guys or culprits behind different things
  • Voice Actors & Sound – Nothing to complain about here great picks cross the board for voices and sound design is good too
  • Characters – Lot of likable and interesting characters here on the roster, some of them kinda have odd motives that don’t feel logical at times but granted still an enjoyable bunch

Now the reason why this is not a perfect 10/10 series for me personally really breaks down to two things. One big factor is that it exists under another IP that being Astroboy and there are certain things in the story that are not obvious to you if you haven’t seen any of the Astroboy versions or movies. It’s totally different let’s say it was like 2 years ago when we got an Astroboy series and then PLUTO came out, but the last Astroboy series came out back in 2003 and Live Action movie in 2009, so yeah its been a while and we cannot expect people to be familiar with the IP that much especially in the west.

So understanding inception how Atom came to be and what has he gone through so far are very obscure in detail. It only would have taken a 30-second flashback to kinda explain the premise of the world and who Atom exactly is – but this is a general meta of the TV landscape that recaps, narration and general flashbacks are being phased out. Don’t get me wrong this is somewhat minor detail, but it would have allowed better worldbuilding for this series if there was any background story to begin with.

The last piece of the issue was the OST, it was simply weak and so was OP/ED which was quite frankly non-existent, such iconic IP deserves a bit more delicate work on a soundtrack honestly. Now since we don’t do decimal ratings on Putachi I am leaning towards a lot more 8/10 than 9/10, but it’s seriously somewhere between there. Admitting that I’m not your average person who enjoys detective shows, so I’m not the core audience here, but when you deliver solid performance on all fronts that’s when I am looking beyond genres too.