Otaku USA Magazine
Getting to Know the Upcoming Netflix Anime PLUTO

Pluto, by Urasawa and Tezuka

As you may have seen, PLUTO is coming this year to Netflix. The gorgeous, gritty anime series has lots of classic anime fans excited. But why? And what relationship does this series have to Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy?

That’s what we’re here to talk about! If you’re unfamiliar with this manga work, read on. We’ll get you all caught up before the premiere! And who knows… maybe you’ll have time to read the manga before it starts streaming!


It’s Based on an Astro Boy Story Arc


PLUTO is not the only work to reimagine Tezuka’s groundbreaking Astro Boy. You may have run across Atom: The Beginning in either manga or anime form. It is, however, a uniquely narrow and nuanced remake. Rather than taking on the series as a whole, it zeroes in on one arc: “The Greatest Robot on Earth.” This story is loved by fans, and has been adapted multiple times as part of standard Astro Boy anime adaptations.

The robot known as Pluto is, allegedly, the greatest robot on Earth. To prove it, he’s going to go and fight other great robots. Seven in total, to be precise. Once he’s defeated these seven other great robots, he will have proved for his creator that he is indeed a robot to end all robots. Naturally, Astro Boy (Atom in the original) ends up embroiled in this world-spanning fight. But his unique views on peace and the purpose of robots throw a wrench in these plans.


Naoki Urasawa Came up with It “Accidentally”

from a manga by Naoki Urasawa

PLUTO artist and co-writer Naoki Urasawa has a lot of great titles to his name. Monster, Yawara!, and 20th Century Boys are just a few of his accomplishments. He’s also an Astro Boy fan, and in particular loves the story arc in question. But when he went back to read it, he found that many of the cool story beats he remembered never happened in the original. A case of the Mandela Effect in action? Not really: he’d just dreamed up other cool scenes.

His inaccurate memories of “The Greatest Robot on Earth” became the basis for this retold story, lending another layer of dark intrigue to the story. Since then, it’s become highly lauded for its storytelling and inventiveness.


We Have a Voice Cast


Details are currently a bit sparse on the PLUTO anime adaptation, but we do know who’s voicing the hero of the hour. Yoko Hikasa will be playing Atom—you may know her as Mio in K-ON! or Freya in Is It Wrong to Try to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon? Joining her will be Minori Suzuki (Freyja in Macross Delta) as Atom’s sister, Uran.

Shinshu Fuji will be joining them as Gesicht, a robot detective sent to arrest Pluto. While he was yet another robot combatant in the original Astro Boy, his role has evolved hugely in the new series. Now, he’s a humanoid detective working the case for Europol.

Read about another classic anime robot: Mazinger Z.

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. Beyond the world of anime, she's a writer for Doctor Who expanded universe series including Iris Wildthyme and the City of the Saved, as well as an editor for the critically-acclaimed Black Archive series.