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Humanity, having faced extinction at the end of the 20th century, would not have entered the new millennium if it weren't for them. In 1969, during their youth, they created a symbol. In 1997, as the coming disaster slowly starts to unfold, that symbol returns. This is the story of a group of boys who try to save the world.
Won the Kodansha Manga Award in the category "Best General Manga" in 2001.
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A Loveletter to Aging Otaku
When I was a kid, I used to get an adrenaline rush reading shounen manga like Dragon Ball or Rurouni Kenshin, much like the kids in 20th Century Boys read Mazinger or Getter Robo. Sadly as we age, we lose some of the excitement we used to take in reading about characters striving to become the strongest fighter or a hero of justice. Nowadays I read mostly seinen manga, but at times I still long for the days when a manga could get my blood pumping. Thank god I found 20th Century Boys.
20cb is a manga that is both mature enough in character and plot to satisfy jaded manga fans and exciting enough to make you feel like a kid again. I can't remember the last time I've been so energized when reading a manga. The tension, cliffhangers, and plot twists kept me so tightly wound that on several occasions I was inspired to shout out a string of obscenities followed by an enthusiastic "Yeah!!" With multiple timelines stretching across 50 years, 20cb is not so much a 'thrill-ride' as it is a 'thrilling epic'.
I'm not one to easily score a series as a 10, but in the case of 20th Century Boys, it is well-deserved. It's among the best, if not the best, manga I have ever read.
I wanna be a Hero of Justice...
The Best Manga Ever
Many people like to say that their favourite manga is "teh best magna evar!!", but most of the times it's just a case of the reviewer not reading many titles. However, 20th Century Boys is the best manga I've ever read ever since I started reading manga in 1990, and it might just really be the best manga ever.
It doesn't have a lot of fighting, it doesn't have bodacious females in skimpy clothing, it doesn't have pretty young men, it doesn't have over-the-top humour, it doesn't even have anyone who comes from another dimension. It simply has wonderful art that conveys emotion in a real way and a very carefully crafted plot, with mysteries and surprises in every chapter, gripping you tight and not letting you stop reading until you run out of chapters.
I have recommended this title to all my manga-loving friends, and every one of them cursed me afterwards for causing them to stay up for nights to read all chapters in one go.
One of the best out there
It's been a long time, but I suddenly felt like writing a review for this one, so bear with me a bit.
I tend to be extremely harsh in my critiques, from a generalized standpoint at least. The first thing I see in any work are its flaws. I'm not going to lie, here. We're dealing with a piece that has many. With such an enormous cast, character development is often sudden and relatively unprovoked. Like a bad shounen title, characters that should have died magically reappear, though admittedly to ravenous applause. The endgame has some slightly short-sighted psychological portrayals (though I'll refrain on saying much more, let's say some motivations are a little ridiculous, though thematically relevant).
And yet. And yet and yet and yet. Nijuu Seiki Shounen will likely always be Urasawa's greatest work. It is to Monster what 2666 is to Bolano's The Savage Detectives, what The Brothers Karamazov is to Crime and Punishment. Nijuu Seiki Shounen is very much a work at the level of a magnum opus. It takes the insight Urasawa honed with Monster, the humor he mastered with Yawara!, and rolls it into something altogether new, strange, and wonderful. For all of its flaws, 20th Century Boys is unmistakably insightful, masterfully plotted, and utterly gripping. It is, in the end, exactly what the title implies: a work that truly deserves to be the end result of growing up in the 20th century.
This has got to be one of he most riveting manga I have ever read. It had me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. Both the art and storytelling are excellent, which is something I've come to expect from Urasawa. Unfortunately, I think the story was unnecessarily stretched out over the last story arc. I felt that those last chapters could have been used to effectively conclude the story and to explain any mysteries that were left. This might be why I found it strange that Urasawa had to utilise a sequel "21st Century Boys" to finish off the story.
this has been an excellent, intricate story that appears to have absolutely no intention of ever ending. it could be excellent. it could be terrible. theres no way to tell, because it ends without even the slightest bit of plot resolution.
Awesome. Just awesome.
I tried reading this a few years back, and found it fairly interesting at first. However, the more I read, the more I became bored with it. Basically, it has a lot of plot twists, and no conclusions. The plot twists are so many that there's just no point in reading on. If you think you got something figured out, you know the author will just throw up some new theory over and over, so it's basically so unpredictable that it becomes predictable. Furthermore, the endless plot twists doesn't allow for any closure. When you normally read a manga, you have different arcs and storylines, and while some remain open, some also finish, leaving you with a sense of closure, while at the same time leaves you looking forward for more. This manga doesn't have that. It just keeps going and going, and knowing that you're not going to be any wiser by the end of all the volumes, it just becomes unbearably dull. I simply got tired of waiting for the plot twists and the neverending spiral of new "surprising" information.
lots of plot twists, maybe too many and the art isn't that good.
An immortal classic
This is one of the greatest mangas written that I've ever read. The art work is great, similar to the other pieces of work that the author has also written such as Monster, with realistic tones and faces with that still animesque style. Don't expect to see much pointy noses or chins with unholy round eyes if you know what I mean. A psychological thriller/mystery with very innovative and unique ideas. If you could only read one manga in your life I recommend this one...every chapter is a page turner leading to something greater...so if you haven't already go d/l this manga....or buy it...