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Netflix’s Pluto anime adaptation looks incredibly intense

It adapts a bestselling manga inspired by Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy, but it’s a grim tech-noir story

Tasha Robinson leads Polygon’s movie coverage. She’s covered film, TV, books, and more for 20 years, including at The A.V. Club, The Dissolve, and The Verge.

Pioneering writer and artist Osamu Tezuka, often called “the godfather of manga,” is widely credited with helping give Japanese comics and animation their distinctive look and visual language. But he inspired generations of creators in highly specific ways as well as general industry-wide ones. The manga series Pluto, serialized from 2003 to 2009, is one example — based on a story arc from Tezuka’s signature Astro Boy manga series, Pluto was an award-winner and bestseller, a series that re-imagined Tezuka’s mid-1960s “Greatest Robot on Earth” story arc for a new generation, as a cyber-noir story about a future detective chasing down a string of murders that might have been committed by a robot.

Netflix has now released its first teaser for an anime adaptation of Pluto, which updates the original manga series’ look and feel yet again. The four-minute trailer sets an explosive fight and other scenes from the series to music, with no audible dialogue, but it showcases fast-moving action, a cold but elaborately beautiful tech-focused future, and a grimly adult-focused design, drawn from the manga series illustrated by Naoki Urasawa, from a script he and co-creator Takashi Nagasaki wrote together.

The series is produced by anime house GENCO (Sword Art Online, Accel World), with animation production by Studio M2. The series will debut in 2023.

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