20th Century Boys (20世紀少年, Nijusseiki Shōnen) is a manga written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa. It won the 2001 Kodansha Manga Award in the General category, an Excellence Prize at the 2002 Japan Media Arts Festival, and the 2003 Shogakukan Manga Award in the General category. The last two volumes of the story were serialized under the name 21st Century Boys (21世紀少年, Nijūisseiki Shōnen). The series makes many references to rock music as well as a number of 1960's-70's anime; its title is based on T.Rex's famous song, "20th Century Boy".
Urasawa wrote 20th Century Boys along with another popular title, Monster, for two years (Monster ended in 2001). It was licensed by VIZ Media in 2005; however, at Urasawa's request, it has been rescheduled for release after Monster finishes its English serialization due to a change in art style over time.
A live action movie adaption, directed by Yukihiko Tsutsumi, was released in Japan on August 30, 2008, as the first part of a trilogy of films. The second film was released on January 30, 2009, with the final part being released August 2009 (Both the USA and Japan shared the same premiere date of the final film, with the USA's premiere exclusively being at the VIZ Cinema in San Francisco).
Plot[edit | edit source]
20th Century Boys[edit | edit source]
As the 20th century approaches its end, people all over the world are anxious that the world is changing. And probably not for the better.
Kenji Endo is a normal convenience store manager who's just trying to get by. But when he learns that one of his old friends going by the name "Donkey" has suddenly committed suicide, and that a new cult led by a figure known as "Friend" is becoming more notorious, Kenji starts to feel that something isn't right. With a few key clues left behind by his deceased friend, Kenji realizes that this cult is much more than he ever thought it would be—not only is this mysterious organization directly targeting him and his childhood friends, but the whole world also faces a grave danger that only the friends have the key to stop.
Kenji's simple life of barely making ends meet is flipped upside down when he reunites with his childhood friends, and together they must figure out the truth of how their past is connected to the cult, as the turn of the century could mean the possible end of the world.
21st Century Boys[edit | edit source]
Growing older is pretty rough and Kenji is finding out just how hard it can be as life starts wearing down on him. On top of trying to make ends meet running a convenience store he has to care for the niece that his missing sister left in his care. Memories of youth make it easier, until those memories come back to haunt him
Picking up directly after the events of 20th Century Boys, it seems like the world is finally out of danger, but the mystery of "Friend" still exists. As the world is threatened again, Kenji must search his memories for any clue about "Friend".
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