« Pluto » on Netflix: when Naoki Urasawa and Osamu Tezuka meet

"Pluto", le nouvel anime de Netflix signé Naoki Urasawa

Netflix has announced its releases for October and we are keeping an eye on a highly anticipated series in France and Japan: Pluto. Scheduled for October 26, this series is the adaptation of a manga by Naoki Urasawa, Monster and 20th Century Boy‘s father.

Naoki Urasawa is becoming one of the most important authors in manga history. If we consider him today a master of thriller thanks to his suspense titles (Master Keaton, Billy Bat), we must not forget that he first started with sports manga (Happy!, Yawara!) and action (Pineapple Army). Today, Urasawa has changed direction again and dives into fantasy and adventure with his new work: Asadora!.

Genesis of the project

Pluto was born from Naoki Urasawa’s admiration for the god of manga: Osamu Tezuka (AstroBoy, Phoenix). Indeed, while he was still a child, Urasawa avidly read Tezuka’s manga, and especially AstroBoy. He even redrew his favorite pages, signing them with the name of the author. This fact is well known to his fans, since he happily admits to it in interviews.

2003 marking the fictional birthday of the character Astro, Shogakukan then seeks to celebrate the event. They post an ad on their website to find authors willing to participate in a tribute. Naoki Urasawa isn’t interested and responds:

Oh no ! This kind of parody or mediocre homage will never be able to reflect the grandiose work of Osamu Tezuka. Couldn’t we instead find a courageous mangaka who would tackle the remake of The World’s Strongest Robot head-on?

When asked if he would like to do it himself, Urasawa categorically refuses. It must be said that, like many mangakas, he was then exhausted by an intense pace of publication (which caused the loss of too many great artists).

AstroBoy page by Osamu Tezuka

Finally, a few days later, the idea comes back during an editorial meeting. Naoki Urasawa, helped by his former tantô, Takashi Nagasaki, decides to send a proposal to Tezuka Productions. The company, surprised by his candidacy for the tribute, accepts. But one man still has to be convinced. Indeed, the very powerful Makoto Tezuka, son of Osamu Tezuka, does not let anyone touch his father’s empire.

Finally, it is over a glass of wine that Makoto Tezuka seals an agreement with Naoki Urasawa. The latter, who no longer believed in the project, suddenly develops terrible hives caused by the intense pressure. Urticaria which will only leave him alone when he will find himself in front of his drawing table, a few weeks later.


Thus was born Pluto, a remake of the special episode “The Strongest Robot in the World” of AstroBoy. Naoki Urasawa, as a master of the thriller, definitely leaves his mark on the work. Unbearable suspense, touching and ambivalent characters, unwavering courage, the themes dear to the mangaka are definitely there.

Synopsis: In a perfectly controlled world where robots are incapable of killing human beings, a murder is committed. The investigation is entrusted to a robot, Inspector Gesicht from Europol. But the mystery thickens when he finds no trace of humans at the crime scene. As he advances in his investigations, Gesicht will discover a manifestation of hatred determined to destroy the world, the most diabolical one that history has ever seen…

Pluto was an enormous success upon its release in Japan, in Big Comic Original. It sold 8,650,000 copies, and won the 9th Manga Grand Prize of the Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize. Such good critics were a relief for Naoki Urasawa, who was afraid of disappointing Tezuka’s fans and especially of disappointing himself.

The 1st year middle school student that I was (…) whispered in my ear: “Don’t just draw something mediocre or I’ll never forgive you!”

Naoki Urasawa

Netflix really did all they could to adapt this masterpiece in the best possible way. Indeed, Toshio Kawaguchi, who worked on Akira, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Whisper of the Heart (and many other great works) directs the series. Takashi Nagasaki, the co-writer of Pluto and former tantô of Naoki Urasawa, produces it. We can therefore hope for a faithful adaptation that will live up to our expectations. To be discovered on October 26 on Netflix.



  • Wikipedia – Pluto
  • Panini Manga – Naoki Urasawa, récits dessins et confidences

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