Naoki Urasawa is almost surely the most important genre-related cartoonist working today. The recently concluded Pluto and still-coming out 21st Century Boys have more suspense, action and mystery in one volume than entire months of most other publishers comics. But he remains a bit of an acquired taste here in the US — cartoonists love him, but sales remain modest. So maybe it’s good news that Illumination Entertainment is developing a live action/CGI PLUTO movie .
Now if you remember Illumination was responsible for the horrible Astro Boy movie that came out last year, you would be correct. However they were also responsible for this year’s well-received Despicable Me and have a few things in the hopper that sound good, including something called Hop. Pluto is an adaptation of an Astro Boy story, so Tezuka Productions is part of the deal.
Oops we screwed this part up entirely based on some fast and sloppy reading. Illumination is a NEW company, founded, by ex-Fox animation topper Chris Meledandri and has nothing to do with that horrible Imagi crew that made the Astro Boy movie and went out of business while doing so. THey made Despicable Me and have several other promising projects in the pipeline. Universal is co-producing. Pluto is being licensed by the Tezuka Productions since it is a retelling of a much loved Astro Boy story, “The Greatest Robot on Earth.”
Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys has previously been adapted into a very successful series of live-action films in Japan. Pluto would make a fantastic movie, and would more importantly, sell a lot more Urasawa manga in the US, so we say full speed ahead.