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Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys, Vol. 1: Friends Paperback – February 17, 2009
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About the Author
Naoki Urasawa's career as a manga artist spans more than twenty years and has firmly established him as one of the true manga masters of Japan. Born in Tokyo in 1960, Urasawa debuted with BETA! in 1983 and hasn't stopped his impressive output since. Well-versed in a variety of genres, Urasawa's oeuvre encompasses a multitude of different subjects, such as a romantic comedy (Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl), a suspenseful human drama about a former mercenary Pineapple ARMY; story by Kazuya Kudo), a captivating psychological suspense story (Monster), a sci-fi adventure manga (20th Century Boys), and a modern reinterpretation of the work of the God of Manga, Osamu Tezuka (Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka; co-authored with Takashi Nagasaki, supervised by Macoto Tezka, and with the cooperation of Tezuka Productions). Many of his books have spawned popular animated and live-action TV programs and films, and 2008 saw the theatrical release of the first of three live-action Japanese films based on 20th Century Boys. No stranger to accolades and awards, Urasawa is a three-time recipient of the prestigious Shogakukan Manga Award, a two-time recipient of the Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize, and has received the Kodansha Manga Award. Similarly, Monster has been nominated three times for the Eisner Award in America. Urasawa has also become involved in the world of academia, and in 2008 accepted a guest teaching post at Nagoya Zokei University, where he teaches courses in, of course, manga.
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Top Customer Reviews
We catch up with a few returning characters and through a flashback see the nightmarish days of the plague when neighbors killed each other for the vaccine.
This book could have been gloomy and depressing but Urasawa sprinkles in signs of hope throughout to keep things lively.
After 17 volumes and 1000s of pages of story 20th Century Boys has yet to disappoint! An excellent read from start to finish.
The manga has been made into a live film, with the first film having been released as a part of a trilogy with a budget of 6 billion yen and will feature a cast of 300 people, it's natural to say that the manga series "20th CENTURY BOYS" will definitely be a bonafide classic. And now the manga series has been released by Viz Media.
The manga series goes back and forth from present time to 1969 and 1997 as we are introduced to a group of friends as children and adults.
The manga focuses on Kenji as he receives a letter from his childhood friend before he supposedly committed suicide. The letter from his friend asks if Kenji remembers a symbol. Kenji can't believe his friend would kill himself and in 1997, he tries to investigate more about the symbol while flashbacks in 1969 show Kenji and friends making their own club and using the symbol for their club. Then you get glimpses of the present which allude to something terrible happening, something so terrible that humanity was nearly annihilated.
Overall, the first volume of "20th CENTURY BOYS" was an enjoyable read. One of the major enjoyments of the manga is the artwork. From the detail of the outdoor settings and indoor settings. Detail in the backgrounds and emotions from each character.
Granted, there are a good number of characters introduced in the first volume but it definitely helps that the storyline for several chapters focuses on character development.
"20TH CENTURY BOYS" Vol. 01 was a pretty enjoyable read. I really enjoyed the detail of the artwork and the various timelines, it's definitely complex to plan but so far every chapter has been quite enjoyable and intriguing.
As with any manga series, typically the first volume is used for character development. At first, I have to admit that it was almost like watching a series of "LOST" with the storyline jumping around time periods and it was a bit confusing at first. But as the story started to progress, everything started to become clear.
At first, because of the young characters, it seemed as if the storyline was going to be about youth and something fun but once you start seeing death and people missing or dying, a cult and crazy lunatics murdering, you start to realize that perhaps "20TH CENTURY BOYS" is setting things up as the series will more than likely become a deep storyline.
Knowing how suspenseful Urasawa's work can get, especially with "MONSTER", I'm pretty excited to finally start reading this manga and seeing how it progresses over time. Afterall, this manga has won numerous awards and it has been made to a live action film. So, I'm definitely sticking with it.
"20th CENTURY BOYS" features a fun but somewhat dark storyline and wonderful artwork, I definitely look forward to see what Urasawa has in store for Vol. 02.
Overally, "20th CENTURY BOYS" is a manga definitely worth checking out!
But this is different. I waited until I hit book 4 to review book 1 just to be sure. 20th Century Boys is a multi-layered thriller about a group of childhood friends who reunite to oppose an evil doomsday cult. But it's more than that, it's a story about growing up, the hero Kenji goes from being a creative kid, to a young would-be rocker, to a middle aged man running a convenience store in Tokyo. Along the way we see glimpses of Japanese culture over the last 30 years.
Naoki Urasawa's plot hops from decade to decade building connections and bringing in new characters but never feels lost or confused.
This is a bit of a commitment, there are 22 volumes, but so far it looks like it will be worth it.