Wednesday, November 15, 2006

20th Century Boys

Mangaka: URASAWA Naoki

Genre: Psychological, Drama, Mystery

Description: 20th Century Boys is a drama mystery set in both 1970s and an alternate future version (Although not Sci-Fi style future) of Japan. It takes place over these two time zones and tells the story of a group of people it falls upon to save the world. This manga is certainly one of the most intriguing i've read for some time, with some excellent mysteries that keep you guessing right till the final plot twist. As with all of Urasawa's mangas you quickly end up feeling for the characters because unlike in many manga, they are based in reality. This results in you genuinely feeling emotionally involved with them as their fates unfold adminst extraordinary events.
Initially I wondered how the initial plot device of saving the world from the evil 'friend's' plans could possibly last past 10 volumes. This is to the merit of the series though, it just goes to show to what extent the plot subtly unfolds.
The artwork is of an excellent quality throughout with some truly impressive and detailed final panels. The level of emotion involved in the characters faces and the ease of which the plot could be followed through the frames was brilliant and almost movie-esque at times. The translation is also good for the series with the translator explaining many aspects of japanese culture which the uninitiated might not know at first and also explaining at times why he has chosen or decided to change particular uses of phrases throughout.
I wholeheartedly recommend the series to anyone who likes character and plot based manga with a mystery element. It's not recommended for people who like a lot of action to take place in their manga.