SPOILERS FOR PLUTO
I finished Pluto rather recently and subsequently listened to a number of podcasts about the series. The series has a number of twists and turns in its narrative as well as a bevy of themes and symbolism to discuss if you so desire. As Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki made the story their own they modernized it in many ways while also maintaining many of the messages of old. One of the things that everyone seems to recognize but I haven’t heard as much discussion on is the new and very clear anti-American view presented in the thinly veiled guise of Thracia that wasn’t in the original story.
From their current and uncooperative world policies, especially concerning the Middle East, to the fabrication of “Robots of Mass Destruction” to justify the invasion and occupation of the Kingdom of Persia to the final realization that the president of Thracia is being puppetted by a much more sinister figure (in this case the main computer of Thracia) the parallels to accusations leveled at the United States are obvious. Even the computer’s name, Dr. Roosevelt, clearly harkens back to American’s past leaders and policies. And then as the series comes to a close I was struck by the realization that everything that occurred could be traced back to the machinations of the central computer of Thracia. It causes the circumstances for the birth of Pluto, predicts peoples’ actions, and manipulates information to push its genocide of humans or at least destruction of enough people for the robots to dominate the planet. It isn’t a leap to tie a superior race attitude like that of Dr. Roosevelt to how many people feel about Americans. Truly in the end, America is the villain of Pluto which is quite a new statement.
The real wild card for me was who is Brau-1589 supposed to represent, if anyone. Though as the Thracia computer sees them as similar perhaps it is a bit of redemption for Americans. Or Brau-1589 could represent the Japanese with the knowledge that both sides of a war commit atrocities. Brau-1589 is a killer as well but takes down a greater evil. However since the circumstances of Brau-1589’s murder of a human are left unknown speculation is further complicated. It ends at such a fascinating point it almost seems like there should be more.