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17 Jun 2009

Get your hands either on the movie or, more importantly, the manga, and then immediately eat that shit up. As you can probably tell from the site’s name, this is the series that started it all. Naoki Urasawa’s (read: fuckingballergenius) 20th Century Boys is, honestly, my favorite work of art. It’s about childhood, about nostalgia, about lost dreams, about friendship. Take these themes and thread them through the most mindblasting, hairbristling adventure/mystery story I’ve ever read, and you have yourself maybe one iota of the sublime genius that is 20CB. Seriously, this thing is about rock ‘n’ roll…about saving the world…about being alive. Everything I’d ever want, and it existed right here in these pages. Check the trailer for the 3rd film, The Final Chapter, and read more about the series after the jump.

The manga was made into an epic film trilogy by Yukihiko Tsutsumi, backed with a ridiculous budget (at least in Asia) of six billion yen (62.7 million USD). Unfortunately, I’m sometimes left wondering where that six billion went, as the movies so far have been sort of cheesy in a B-movie way, with occasionally uncredible sets and camerawork. Still, I can’t help but love seeing the story on the screen. Part III, due out soon, seems to have some of these problems still, but some of it also looks genuinely exciting and crazy. I mean, the story idea itself is just, man:

In the summer of 1969, Kenji was an elementary schoolboy. He built a secret base in a vacant lot with his friends Otcho, Maruo, Yoshitsune, Mon-chan, Donkey, Yukiji and Fukubee. One of their secret activities included writing in the ‘Book of Prophecy’. In their ‘Prophecy’, the children fantasized that they had to fight villains who were out to conquer the world, bringing about doomsday.

Years later in 1997, Kenji is the manager of a convenience store. He’s given up his dream to be a rock star and has chosen to live a regular life, looking after his sister’s baby girl Kanna after his sister has disappeared for an undisclosed reason. His boring life is turned upside down one day when his old classmate, Donkey dies mysteriously and then an entire family in the neighborhood disappears.

At the same time, there’s a lot of talk about a religious cult and its mysterious leader, Friend. A strange chain of events follow, which exactly duplicate the events described in the ‘Book of Prophecy.’ Kenji and his former classmates are shocked to learn this horrible truth. If things are happening exactly as described in the ‘Book of Prophecy,’ then Friend’s intention is to fulfill the doomsday prophecy. And Friend is most likely one of the kids they used to play with…

As the events in the ‘Book of Prophecy’ unfold in their lives, Kenji and his former classmates decide to take on the villain.

Time passes and now it’s December 31st, 2000. This is the day described in the ‘Book of Prophecy’ as the day of mankind’s demise.

If you have not seen either said movies or series, please do now, and then comment here. Let me know what you thought, and then let me know what book/movie/manga/anime/comic/tv series/girl/thing made you (Eminem made you?).

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