Pluto – Season 1 Episode 1 Recap & Review

Episode 1

Episode 1 of Pluto begins with firefighters attending to a fire in a forest. A scientist rushes toward the scene and wants to save the heroic robot, Mont Blanc. However, the firefighters hold him back and tell him there’s nothing they can do.

Our protagonist, Gesicht, a Europol investigator, awakens from a nightmare. He heads into the living room and watches a report about Mont Blanc’s demise. Gesicht leaves for work and promises to take his wife, Helena, on a trip soon. 

Gesicht investigates an apartment that was formally owned by Bernard Lanke, a key human advocate for the Robot Rights Protection Laws. Gesicht meets Inspector Wallace and believes the thief didn’t commit this crime. Wallace shows him a dead body with metallic horns sticking out of it. One of his men receives a phone call from someone and they all head to the scene. They find an injured officer who tells him that he and his robotic constable companion (Robby) got injured at the checkpoint. 

Wallace’s baffled that a constable bot can take this must damage. Another officer informs our crew of a male suspect fleeing toward the old city’s redevelopment zone. Gesicht leaves Wallace behind to check things out for himself. Gesicht finds the culprit and asks him who he’s working for. The culprit says he works for a man named Shultz and discloses his location. Gesicht shares his theory of how the drug addict pulled off Bernard’s murder, the constable-bot’s assault, and why he did it.

The drug addict attempts to assault Gesicht but fails. Gesicht reveals he’s a robot and can’t hurt humans. Gesicht visits Robby’s home and informs his wife about what happened to him. Robby’s wife says she’s an outdated robot model who works as a human family’s maid. Gesicht asks Robby’s wife if she wants him to erase a portion of her memory data. Robby’s wife asks Gesicht not to erase any memories about Robby. At HQ, Gesicht and his comrades analyze some photos Gesicht took at the crime scene. 

His comrades wonder why Bernard’s body has weird pillars sticking out of it. Gesicht presents them with a photo someone snapped of Mont Blanc in the forest. They notice both photos have similar pillars in them, making them question if the same person is responsible for these incidents. Gesicht believes a rogue robot is responsible for the assault, despite Article 13 of the International Robot Laws stating “A robot shall not be able to harm or kill humans.”

Gesicht promises to find the offender responsible for these murders. He visits a stone pedestal with the scientist from the episode’s start. He explains they wanted to build a statue of Mont Blanc on it, but Blanc objected to their offer because it’d interfere with the Alp’s beauty. Moreover, he told the people he knew he’d perish one day despite being in his prime. Suddenly, a woman shares inspiring information about Mont Blanc’s heroism during the 39th Central Asian War. 

From thwarting terrorist schemes peacefully to being one with nature as a poet, she says without Mont Blanc’s pacifistic heroic approach, Asia wouldn’t have achieved the state of peace it has now. The scientist confirms the construction workers below are working without compensation because of their devotion to Mont Blanc. As a father figure to Blanc, the scientist argues against the tornado story he heard from the officials that day and wants Gesicht to capture his “son’s” murderer. 

Gesicht visits Dr. Hoffman to get a maintenance check-up. Like the scientist, Dr. Hoffman doesn’t believe Mont Blanc died from natural causes. He brings up Blanke’s case but feels his field made him more of a target for murder than Blanc. Nonetheless, he’s baffled by the murders that occurred and hopes Gesicht can solve them. Gesicht asks him if humans can infiltrate an area without leaving biological traces behind. Hoffman’s unsure but promises to give him a better answer soon. 

Gesicht brings up his planned trip with his wife. Hoffman suggests they visit Japan, Tokyo preferably. He brings up the strange dreams Gesicht’s been having and finds it fascinating robots can have dreams. He plans to discuss this further with him upon his next visit. Gesicht notices a garbage worker disposing of Robby’s remains and asks the worker if he can take it with him for analysis purposes. The worker says it’s fine since it’s all “junk” at the end of the day, triggering Gesicht’s memories of someone. 

Gesicht presents Robby’s wife with Robby’s memory chip. His wife asks him to insert Robby’s chip into her and doesn’t mind the repercussions. Robby’s wife finds crucial evidence and projects it onto a screen for Gesicht to analyze. The footage depicts the drug addict harming Robby’s partner, Robby reacting to the situation by raising his weapon, and the drug addict knocking him out with his lead pipe. Upon analyzing the footage further, Robby’s wife notices Robby spotted activity happening in Lanke’s apartment. 

Gesicht notices someone soaring into the sky between Lanke’s apartment and another building. Gesicht wonders why the forensics team didn’t notice this earlier. Robby’s wife explains they’d never have spotted it unless they had the memory chip inserted into their mind. Robby’s wife deduces that this isn’t a robot despite the individual’s incredible athletic capabilities. Gesicht visits a facility and receives intel from a scientist about an individual he’s about to interrogate. 

The scientist warns him to keep his guard up as four robots perished to this individual he’s about to meet. Gesicht meets Brau1589 and Brau thinks he wants to discuss the situation that happened with the robot who killed a human 8 years ago. He informs Brau about Bernard’s death and the crime scene. Gesicht asks Brau if he thinks a human or machine would be responsible for ending Bernard’s life. Brau admits humans analyzed his murderous AI and couldn’t find anything troublesome with it. 

He tells Gesicht this is why he’s trapped in this area because the humans are afraid of the unknown. Brau suggests Gesicht to exchange memory chips with him, so he can better understand a murderer’s mindset. Gesicht presents Brau with two photos, depicting Bernard and Mont Blanc’s bodies with the horns sticking out. Brau says the horns remind him of the “god of death” Europe legend concerning Herne the Hunter (the Horned King). Brau brings up Hades and Pluto to Gesicht, piquing Gesicht’s curiosity. 

Brau believes the culprit will strike again and the culprit could be one of the six high-class robots, capable of mass destruction like Gesicht himself. An individual named North No. 2 arrives at a man named Sir Duncan’s household. North No. 2 says he’s his new butler with militaristic experience. He says he served as the British Army commander-in-chief’s butler during the 39th Central Asian War. While serving Duncan tea, they discuss North’s opinion of a film and Duncan’s musical genius. 

During dinner, Duncan asks North about his kill count during the 39th Central Asian War. North says he can’t kill humans and doesn’t share any intel about harming robots either, upsetting Duncan. Duncan tells him to leave him be. North examines Duncan’s music room and plays his piano until Duncan arrives and tells him to stop. Duncan reveals he has no need for the equipment in the room as he finds machines revolting. He says he despises machines so much that he refuses to put in AI eyes.

Duncan recounts a beautiful sight from Bohemia (his homeland) and wants to recreate its beauty through music. North glances at Duncan while he’s sleeping, taking note of the melody he’s humming. In the morning, he touches Duncan’s piano again and Duncan tells him to stop. North suggests Duncan add the melody he hums at night to his Bohemian-inspired piece. He plays a bit of it, resulting in Duncan telling him to leave the premises. North begs Duncan to teach him how to play piano.

He wants to produce “real music” since Duncan believes machines aren’t capable of doing so. Duncan says North belongs on a battlefield with the other machines. North tells Duncan this is why he wants to play piano–to avoid being placed on a battlefield again. The next morning, they run into the same dilemma with North playing Duncan’s piano and Duncan asking him to stop. North continues playing this time, enticing Duncan to sabotage his electrical equipment. 

Duncan prattles on about his disdain for machines and their musical potential. North asks him to stop while Duncan orders North to remove his gear and tell him how many robots he killed during the war. Duncan reveals details about the dream he’s been having and his past in North. He says he’s not Paul Duncan, he’s Paulo Holy. He grew up in a poor single-parent household, suffered from a severe eye illness, and found joy in singing songs. Unfortunately, his mother abandoned him for wealth. 

He lived in an England boarding school, and had no friends, but continued his strive for music. His illness got worse over time and everyone from doctors to his mother gave him no attention. Holy says a doctor approached him one day with an experimental proposition. He accepted his surgical offer and saw slight improvements. However, Holy confirms his eyesight deteriorated every day, so he devoted a lot of time to studying music until he could no longer see. 

In the present, he confirms he made it big while his mother failed to marry the wealthy man and lived a lonely life. Holy says he wants to create this Bohemian-inspired piece to prove to his deceased mother why one should never throw away their true treasure. Holy says he’ll write North a recommendation letter so he can leave his home tomorrow. While Holy is wandering his garden, he overhears North playing the piano again. As North plays, he recalls moments during the war when he killed his robotic brethren. 

Holy admits North’s improved a bit. At night, Holy sees North charging himself up to prepare for his departure tomorrow. He overhears North making mumbling sounds and wonders if he’s having a nightmare. In the morning, Holy tries playing his piano but struggles. He asks North for advice but remembers he’s not around anymore. Holy receives a message from a cinematographer who works for MCM Pictures. He gives him a music offer and Holy asks him to share details about it. 

The man asks if he can use one of his older scores for the film, baffling Holy. Holy’s upset but tells the man he can use his track before closing the call. He receives another message, but this time it’s from Russel of the British Philharmonic Orchestra. Russel tells Holy they have canceled his upcoming suite performance. Holy visits his piano again and plays the melody North suggested for him to try. As he plays, he recalls the nightmare he’s had for a while, depicting him as his younger self and his mother. 

Holy attacks his piano enraged by the vision. North stops him and tells him he went on a trip to Bohemia to collect folk songs from the region. He tells Holy that he found the melody he hums in his sleep. He wants to sing it to him but Holy refuses to hear it. North argues Holy shouldn’t view his dream as a nightmare as it shouldn’t be erased like the vision North experiences at night. North says he relives his dreams many times and it hurts seeing himself kill thousands of his kind. 

North said he met an elderly man who knew Holy’s mother. The man said the melody Holy hums was sung beautifully by his mother in the past, shocking Holy. North says he has data from his mother who promises him that she didn’t abandon him when he suffered from illness. He says she approached the millionaire, Jonathan, to attain treatment for Holy. North confirms surgical doctor who assisted Holy in the past helped Holy because of his mother’s involvement. 

Furthermore, his mother was by his side, even when he went blind. Holy doesn’t believe it, but North feels he’s excluding an important detail from his dreams. He reports the old man telling him that Holy and his mother once sang this melody together while holding hands. North sings the song, forcing Holy to recall the full memory. Holy tells North he doesn’t want him to go to the battlefield and asks him to play piano with him.

We receive a montage of North and Holy spending time with each other. After playing the piano some more, Holy tells North he’s finished creating the Bohemian piece. However, North senses something approaching them. They discuss the news from Switzerland concerning Mont Blanc and his demise. North believes this isn’t a mere tornado and heads outside to deal with the problem. After fighting the calamity with everything he has, North perishes. 

Holy hears North singing the melody in the sky and cries realizing his friend has met his end. The episode closes with Gesicht meeting a young boy named Atom. 

The Episode Review

Before Dragon Ball, Jujustu Kaisen, and many other hit series, there was a story about a little robot child named Astro. Pluto is a dark retelling of Osamu Tezuka’s classic series but this one preferably focuses on one of its best arcs titled “The Greatest Robot on Earth.” Going into this anime, many retro fans had high expectations. While the animation staff is fairly new, the story itself was a joint effort by Tezuka and the prolific mangaka, Naoki Urasawa. He’s known for masterful works like Monster and 20th Century Boys.

That said, Pluto Season 1 Episode 1 delivers a lengthy 70+ minute chapter brimming with masterful storytelling, gorgeous visuals, and animation, a compelling soundtrack, and solid characterization. As with Urasawa’s other works, he finds a way to flesh characters out and give them importance in the grand scheme of things. From the tidbits concerning Robby and his wife to the emotional connection that brewed between North and Holy, fans will be smitten by the story beats presented here. 

Although the episode itself carried strong themes and beautiful writing, some scenes could’ve benefitted from better lighting. Some instances were a bit dark and hamper the audience’s immersion a tad. Fortunately, there were only a few instances like this that cropped up during the episode, so it wasn’t too bothersome. Overall, this was a solid first episode that’s on par with other elongated anime episodes we’ve received this year. I’m excited to see how Gesicht solves Bernard and Mont Blanc’s case. 


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You can read our full season 1 review of Pluto here!


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