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Netflix's Pluto Anime - What We Know So Far

In the world of manga a select few titles have achieved legendary status; "Astro Boy" ranks as one of those properties. It became a sensation during publication in the '50s and '60s. Osamu Tezuka's classic story sees a young android made to replace a void left by a deceased son; his journey leads him to a professor determined to show him life as a normal boy, leaving behind his somewhat difficult past.

The popularity of "Astro Boy" makes it fertile territory for updates. "Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka" did just that in the early '00s; instead of a standard reboot or remake, its story twists tones and themes to create something beyond anything Tezuka imagined with the original story. Fans embraced the manga, making it a hit around the world. Netflix, which has already amassed a large collection of anime titles, is looking to expand its original content with "Pluto," according to a report from Deadline. The adaptation seeks to bring the story to life with a bold, colorful vision.

When will Pluto be released?

Netflix surprised fans with a four-minute teaser trailer that hints at a 2023 release. In it, brief glimpses of certain scenes are interspersed with an already memorable soundtrack. Major character reveals make it seem like the project is well on its way to reaching the promised debut. Gesicht and Uran appearances are key points, with Atom making a brief appearance towards the end; Uran noticeably shows off her skills with lions calmly surrounding her.

The upcoming anime is not the streaming service's only title aiming for a 2023 premiere. Toei Animation is leading an adaptation of "Akuma-kun" — a '60s manga focusing on a child with a strange connection to demons. Much like "Pluto," this is a major attempt at reviving one of the genre's classic titles — the original anime adaptation premiered in 1989. Another project aims to introduce Baku Yumemakura's stories to a younger audience; the sci-fi writer's animated anthology is tentatively titled "Onmyōji."

Who is starring in Pluto?

The release date for "Pluto" may not be available as of 2023, but there's no mystery about who makes up the voice cast. Shinshu Fuji has been cast as Gesicht — a robot straddling two worlds as he investigates a brutal mystery. The actor has experience in the darker reaches of sci-fi thanks to "Blade Runner: Black Lotus." He's also voiced roles on "JoJo's Bizarre Adventures" and "Lupin III." 

Yoko Hikasa joins the cast as Atom — the coveted role is a direct callback to the famous Astro Boy manga and anime. The actress has been voicing characters since the early '00s, some of her earliest work includes "Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow" and the video game "Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc." Atom's sister is voiced by Minori Suzuki; she's notably lent her voice to titles like "Cinderella Girls Gekijou: Kayou Cinderella Theater 2nd Season," with writing credits on "Sugar Apple Fairy Tale" as well as other projects.

As of early 2023, there is no word on whether an English language dub will be available. In some cases, the studio may opt to use subtitles instead of additional performers.

What is the plot of Pluto?

The key details of "Pluto" come from the original "Astro Boy" manga "The Greatest Robot on Earth." In the story, a killer robot is intent on destroying others — as it moves through other potential rivals, the devastation comes closer to Astro. His sister, Uran, becomes a hostage as the crucial events unravel with much of the story featuring Astro as the protagonist and Pluto as the antagonist.

Instead of following the perspectives presented in the original manga, "Pluto" focuses on Gesicht. The Europol detective understands all too well the demands of being a mechanized man in a human world; he is investigating brutal murders that feature victims in unique positions. While it seems like something beyond the human world, Gesicht is determined to find out why a robot would do the unthinkable. More than an update, this story also has an adults-only feel that goes beyond the "Astro Boy" reputation of being all-ages.

Who is producing Pluto?

The series has a prestigious name behind it. Anime company GENCO is producing the project for Netflix.  Its most notable project before "Pluto" was "Sword Art Online" — the anime, based on a light novel of the same name, is yet another property to take on darker themes. Characters are tasked with surviving in a game that leaves their players dead in real life.

Studio M2 is heading up animation production for the series. While more of a newcomer to the genre, they have produced some memorable projects. "Usuzumizakura: Garo" presented a visual treat that relied heavily on classic influences — a vivid pastel palette with purple hues only heightened the aesthetic. Many of the available reviews look at its visual properties instead of various story elements. A German reviewer stated the brutality of this property was a key point to balance out the complicated plot. Their summary felt that a shorter run time meant better quality and less chance of boredom (via Ittenbach Fans).