Book Review: Pluto, Vol 6 by Naoki Urasawa & Osamu Tezuka

Pluto, Vol 6

Author: Naoki Urasawa & Osamu Tezuka

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: November 17, 2009

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Sci-Fi Manga//200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Gesicht is ordered to go back and let others handle the case of Darius XIV’s attempted suicide, but Gesicht says he is too close to quit. Apparently he has a hunch…who even knew robots could have hunches? On the streets of Samarkand, he helps up a poor orphan robot child who was callously knocked over.  Gesicht goes to meet with Professor Abullah, head of the Ministry of Science. Gesicht is momentarily confused by Abullah, who says many feel that way upon meeting him. He says that he lost most of his human body during the war. Gesicht questions him about Darius, a man called Goji, and something called the Tenma chip. Abullah says supposedly the chip belonged to the world’s most advanced robot, but because the AI was so advanced, the robot could never gain consciousness. Allegedly, he’s still sleeping beneath the Persian ruler’s former palace. When Gesicht shows him a photo of a man standing in a field of flowers, Abullah says he doesn’t recognize him.

After Abullah leaves, Gesicht buys a good luck charm from a street vendor who tells him it is a charm of the great sage Goji! And then the little robot child, whose name is Muhammad Ali, tries to sell Gesicht a flower, and he tells the inspector he recognizes the man in the photo! He tells Gesicht he wants to get to be a great man, just like Sahad. Apparently, Sahad left Persia for the Netherlands in order to learn how to make the desert bloom with flowers.

Gesicht follows this new lead to New Amsterdam, where he discovers the boarding house where Sahad once lived. He speaks to one of Sahad’s professors, who has nothing but good things to say about the robot. Plus he has a tulip in a glass case that Sahad left with him with instructions not to plant it until after his return. He also speaks with a woman who owns a flower shop, who knew Sahad well. He spoke to her of his dreams, and of the flowers he cultivated, which he gave individual names. But something changed and he said he had to go home, in order to enlist to fight in the war. One day he went to his field and all the flowers were dead…all except for one…the one he had named Pluto.

Gesicht goes back to see Brau, asking about the sleeping robot, and was that even possible. Brau claims that the AI could wake if someone introduced an extreme emotion. Of course, there is no telling what sort of robot this awakened AI would be. Gesicht asks Brau where he thinks Pluto might have gone after his fight with Hercules, and he says home…his tulips home.  Meanwhile, even as an order goes out to arrest Gesicht, Professor Abullah goes to see Professor Hoffman. Gesicht receives a call that the professor has been kidnapped and he is to return immediately and he says he will but not right now…as he has just found Pluto!

Things are rapidly escalating here, as layers upon layers are being peeled back. But at what price? Has the unthinkable really occurred? Or is this just a red herring? Only three volumes to go. Real nail-biter this is. Afraid to look at what comes next, but can’t look away.

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