10 Books/Manga Like Pluto
Pluto is a fabulous sci-fi mystery manga written and illustrated by the legendary Naoki Urasawa. It’s based on the classic Astro Boy story arc titled, “The Greatest Robot on Earth,” written by Astro Boy creator Osamu Tezuka. However, Urasawa’s interpretation of the arc was praised for being much darker and more complex.
The manga was serialized in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Original seinen manga magazine between September 2003 to April 2009. Over eight volumes were collected of this work.
If you’re in the mood for more sci-fi or mystery manga that offers a similar vibe, fear not! We’ve gathered together 10 books/manga to check out when you’ve caught up with Pluto. Of course, if you feel we’ve missed any of your favorites, do comment below and let us know!
Monster – Naoki Urasawa
Similarities – Psychological, Suspense, Mystery
Monster is a psychological crime drama with a strong story structure, thrilling mind games, and incredible characters. Like Pluto, it’s another work by Naoki Urasawa with a dark premise, chilling world, and excellent thought-provoking elements. In it, we follow Dr. Kenzou Tenma, a proficient surgeon who’s loved by many.
When he’s given the chance to save his mayor’s life over a child’s, Kenzou chooses the child’s. This resulted in the mayor’s death, leading many people who praised him to shun him entirely. To make matters worse, the boy Kenzou saves turns out to be a crazed serial killer. Aiming to rewrite his mistake, Kenzou embarks on a quest to murder the child he saved that fateful day.
Monster is a difficult manga to put down. Somehow, Urasawa implements successful cliffhangers at the end of each chapter to keep people hooked and addicted to his stories. Many characters in Pluto look familiar to those found in Monster. Furthermore, Urasawa’s known for making every character that appears in his work unforgettable. Even the characters who show up for one or two chapters receive grand development or enough material to feel memorable. Give this a read if you haven’t yet.
Battle Angel Alita – Yukito Kishiro
Similarities – Sci-fi & Action
Battle Angel Alita is a classic sci-fi manga that received a great live-action adaptation a few years back. This manga contains excellent characters, fun fights, and emotional dialogue that will shake you to your core. Gally, better known as Alita, undergoes severe development in Battle Angel Alita and the situations Yukito Kishiro puts her through will make you empathize with her.
Like Pluto, Battle Angel Alita showcases the dark sides of humanity and features a society filled with humans and robots. Battle Angel Alita feels extremely violent, unlike Pluto. Expect to see ligaments get torn apart and people endure severe trauma in this work.
The main cast for each manga receives splendid character development, so it’ll be hard to forget them. Therefore, if you’re craving another sci-fi world that’s more brutal than Pluto’s universe, give Battle Angel Alita a shot.
Astro Boy! – Osamu Tezuka
Similarities – Story & Themes
First off, Naoki Urasawa wouldn’t have been able to make Pluto if Astro Boy didn’t exist. Pluto’s based on one of Astro Boy’s iconic story arcs, after all. Many characters who crop in Pluto are reimagined versions of characters who appear in Astro Boy. From Gesicht to Atom, you’ll tell right away who Urasawa’s referencing in his work.
Furthermore, both stories are set in a world where humans and robots must coexist. However, robots are often discriminated against, segregated, and exploited by humans in Pluto and Astro Boy. Both works raise questions about the nature of humanity, morality, ethics, and the evils that come from utilizing advanced technology.
Nonetheless, Astro Boy feels more child-friendly than Pluto. Pluto has a dark and mature tone that will resonate more with teenagers and adults. Urasawa’s human and robot designs feel more complex and realistic to convey his grittier take on Astro Boy clearly. Therefore, if you want a more wholesome rendition of Pluto, Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy should suffice.
Berserk – Kentarou Miura
Similarities – Action & Psychological Themes
Berserk is an incredibly mature manga that doesn’t hold anything back. It’s jam-packed with extreme violence, a bewildering medieval setting, and well-written characters that will leave a memorable impression on you. This manga inspired many creators from across different mediums. If it wasn’t for Berserk, things like Dark Souls or Elden Ring may have never existed.
As for its narrative, we examine the life of a warrior named Guts. He stumbles across a powerful syndicate led by a noble swordsman named Griffith. Guts join their legion and fight under Griffith for multiple years. Later, Guts becomes the commander of Griffith’s army and receives praise for his years of service. Despite all going well for our protagonist, something vicious lurks in the distance.
Like Pluto, Berserk examines deep subjects like the purpose of life and the human experience. Guts endure multiple traumatic trials in his journey from molestation to greed. Guts and Gesicht are fueled by their desire to create a better world for many, despite their situations being different. If you want a manga that will make you think but offers enough action that will make you shout, Berserk is the story for you.
Beastars – Paru Itagaki
Similarities – Societal Commentary
Where Pluto felt like the adult version of Astro Boy, Beastars feels like the mature version of Disney’s Zootopia. Both works offer worlds where two species have a difficult time coexisting. In Pluto, it’s humans and machines while in Beastars it’s carnivores and herbivores. The protagonist for both works hopes to tie up that divide so that all life can prosper.
Although both are fictional stories, their worlds feel authentic and realistic to the point readers can make direct connections to the multiple societies and cultures that inhabit our planet. Beastars offers some lighthearted and comical moments to give readers some time to think over its dark and mature subjects, though. Furthermore, a romance blossoms that will keep the tension flowing.
The series’s action is on par with Pluto’s regarding violence. Paru Itagaki’s artwork makes matters feel more whimsical as opposed to Urasawsa’s art style which evokes darkness and realism. If you’re looking for another work that tackles society from a similar yet unique angle. give Beastars a read.
Dead Dead Demon’s Dededededestruction – Inio Asano
Similarities – Sci-Fi & Themes
From the creator who brought you the gut-wrenching barrel of depression that was Goodnight Punpun, comes Inio Asano’s experimental story called Dead Dead Demon’s Dededededestruction. This one received mixed reception due to its feeling entirely different from Goodnight Punpun but offers a deep narrative depicting a society in chaos.
It takes place in a world where aliens arrive on Earth to wage war against humanity. The Japanese government retaliates, but their efforts are futile. At the center of it, all are Kadode and Ouran, who try to live their best lives possible. This manga does a great job of exploring societal issues. It also presents readers with some stances on the world’s political status and expectations.
Inio Asano and Naoki Urasawa explore their characters’ pasts to full effect here. Sometimes the character’s pasts come back to haunt them and serve to impact the story’s present timeframe on a substantial level. For those looking for a story with great mystery components and a futuristic setting that’s on the brink of collapsing, check out Dead Dead Demon’s Dededededestruction.
Gunslinger Girl – Yu Aida
Similarities – Themes, Psychological, Action
Gunslinger Girl is a jack-of-all-trades type of manga. It mixes action, drama, sci-fi, and comedy to tell a fresh and engaging narrative. It takes place in Italy, where a Social Welfare Industry takes in badly-wounded females and grants them artificially-enhanced bodies. They proceed to brainwash the women and turn them into assassins who’ll complete tasks for the Italian government.
Unfortunately for the government, these girls will retain their child-like innocence. Readers will examine their tragic lives as they forcefully take on numerous tasks where their lives are constantly in jeopardy. Despite its heartbreaking premise, Yu Aida implements some lighthearted humor into his story to ease fans’ worries about our characters’ survival.
The weapons the female assassins use look realistic and fit with the story’s dark atmosphere and sci-fi setting. For those looking for another work like Pluto that makes you question humanity and technology’s future, Gunslinger Girl’s a worthwhile read.
ES: Eternal Sabbath – Fuyumi Souryo
Similarities –Sci-fi, Psychological, Artificial Life
ES: Eternal Sabbath is one of those stories not many people know about. Despite its impressive artwork and great sub-plots, it’s not discussed as much as it should. Naoki Urasawa fans who love the author’s thought-provoking tales and characters will find familiarity with the mind-numbing tale Fuyumi Souryo delivers in Eternal Sabbath. Like Pluto, it also delves into artificial life.
However, this manga focuses more on artificial life forms while Pluto handles artificial intelligence and robots. Regardless, you can expect to get your mind blown to bits with the mature topics Souryo covers in his work. In Eternal Sabbath, we examine the life of Ryousuke Akiba, better known as ES. He can survive for long periods and can enter people’s minds and change their memories.
He’ll embark on a personal quest to seek love and his memories. Both stories offer immersive world-building and complex storytelling structures. Souryo gives his cast many dilemmas to solve which will help them grow. The exploration of technology’s impact on society is outstanding in both works, too. For those who like sci-fi works that’ll make you ponder, ES: Eternal Sabbath should suffice.
Eden: It’s an Endless World! – Hiroki Endo
Similarities – Sci-fi Setting, Action, Themes
Eden: It’s an Endless World! is a sci-fi mystery manga that places readers in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. A secret organization takes control of the world as our female and male protagonists find themselves immune to the virus. The organization ambushes these two but they escape. Flash forward twenty years and the male become a powerful drug lord in South America.
He teams up with his son and several mercenaries to fight the organization. However, this story doesn’t always center on the male. The plot breaks up into various sub-plots dedicated to terrorism, human improvement, and power battles between drug cartels and the organization, leading to a tale that will keep you hooked from beginning to end.
Both stories revolve around futuristic settings where societal and technological changes had a huge impact on humankind. Urasawa and Hiroki Eno take the time to explain each world’s social and political issues. Violence is used to convey the chaos and dystopian nature of their respective environments. Humanity’s relationship with technology is also explored to full effect, resulting in memorable interactions that will intrigue and touch many sci-fi story enthusiasts.
Inuyashiki – Hiroya Oku
Similarities – Sci-fi, Action, Characters
Inuyashiki didn’t receive the greatest anime adaptation. It suffered from poor use of CGI, which made fight scenes and emotional segments feel unbearable to watch. The manga includes sharper and well-detailed illustrations of our cast, making it the definitive way to experience this gem of a story. In it, we follow an elderly man named Inuyashiki.
He’s on his last days of survival but his family could care less about him. One day, he travels to the park with his canine companion and notices a boy named Hiro is there too. They both get struck by a small meteorite that causes them to blackout. Inuyashiki wakes up the next morning to learn that he’s become a human android.
While Inuyashiki wishes to use his powers for good, Hiro will use them for evil. The two’s paths will cross again, leading to an emotional and climatic finale you don’t want to miss. Inuyashiki features incredible action and delves into themes like personal growth, heroism, and courage. Hiroya Oku makes direct callbacks to works like Astro Boy in Inuyashiki’s storytelling, too. Give this a read if you want a story with another mature protagonist.
So there we have it, our 10 books/manga to read after you’re caught up with Pluto.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!