20th Century Boys (Manga) - Warrior 4 Jesus' Review

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20th Century Boys (Manga) - Warrior 4 Jesus' Review

Postby Warrior 4 Jesus » Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:50 am

"20th Century Boys" by Naoki Urasawsa is a phenomenal manga series comprising of 22 volumes. The story is largely character-driven but there's still a great story to unfold. I would class the manga as 'psychological sci-fi/adventure/suspense/thriller' but as with "FMA" it includes elements belonging to other genres - specifically drama and humour. I'll be reviewing the English translation.


TRANSLATION:
The English translation is well done and includes minimal spelling and grammatical errors. Still wondering if it would've been better for the translators to leave the sound effects untranslated, as the English equivalents don't make much sense.

ART:
Not stylish but realistic and incredibly well-drawn. Lots of close-ups of people's faces, allowing for an incredible subtlety of emotions. Easy to tell the differences between cultures eg. Japanese and American people. Urasawa's artwork is cinematic and suspense-ridden. He knows what to reveal and what should be left to the reader's imagination. Characters are distinct and this is important when the story contains such a large cast.

CHARACTERS:
There's a myriad of characters. Children, cooks, convenience store owners and assistants, musicians, soldiers, homeless people, scientists, politicians, terrorists, citizens, cultists, priests, criminals and even the pope - amongst many others. All are portrayed with depth. Our 'hero' is a convenience store worker called Kenji Endo. But there are more than one hero in this story. The main characters, of which there are many, are so well-developed the reader feels they know them. The main villain is cartoony to a degree but also very, very human.

STORY:
The series surrounds a group of children, mostly boys and the events that happen one Summer in the late 1960's. What happens during this Summer affects their lives as adults. Jump to 1997, their childhood games are coming back to haunt them. The childhood/adult aspect reminded me of Stephen King's book, "IT" (of which I've admittedly only read half). The scope of the story, variety of characters (likely and unlikely) and some of the themes therein, remind me of King's "The Stand". There are many echoes of the Cold War. Elements of the story are torn straight from the pages of the Bible, particularly the book of Revelation. And yet, despite all that, the story is largely unpredictable and very, very suspenseful. This really is one series where the reader will need to turn the pages to find out what happens next. Many themes are covered, including but not exclusive to - community versus the individual, the desire to belong and believe in something, Truth versus truth, family and friendship.


FINAL THOUGHTS:
Urasawa is an incredible storyteller. Some readers may find the story slowly-paced (and it is) but this allows time for a real exploration of characters. It's remarkable that such a complex story remains so consistent. That said, I found the ending to be a little anticlimactic, rushed and confusing. Also, it leaves the reader with many questions. All in all, a highly enjoyable manga series.

Not for children. "20th Century Boys" Contains moderate violence and mature themes.

9/10 (9.5/10, if not for the ending)


To those who've read the manga, does "21st Century Boys" answer any questions left by the first series? I felt we didn't get a proper payoff for the characters. I guess I wanted a half a manga wrap-up like that of "Fullmetal Alchemist". Thanks. :)
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Re: 20th Century Boys (Manga) - Warrior 4 Jesus' Review

Postby Atria35 » Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:47 am

Okay, so....

Why are you posting these here instead of in the Manga Reviews?

2. I've read the manga, would love if you went into more depth with this. Your 'story' and' 'final thoughts' are..... beyond bare. This series is over 20 volumes, isn't there more to say about it than two incredibly short paragraphs?
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Re: 20th Century Boys (Manga) - Warrior 4 Jesus' Review

Postby mechana2015 » Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:27 am

Atria35 wrote:Okay, so....

Why are you posting these here instead of in the Manga Reviews?


Thats my question too.

21st century boys does wrap things up better BTW.
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Re: 20th Century Boys (Manga) - Warrior 4 Jesus' Review

Postby goldenspines » Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:32 am

It could be that W4J is unable to post reviews because the system is still broken in some parts. (I've gotten reports that some members are unable to submit reviews into the system on titles)
Though, in case you can post reviews, Warrior 4 Jesus, I would appreciate it if you could submit your 20th Century Boys review here: http://www.christiananime.net/reviews/c ... iew&id=130

Otherwise, even though you post your review here, it will be buried in a matter of weeks, hence why it's better to put it in the reviews system.
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Re: 20th Century Boys (Manga) - Warrior 4 Jesus' Review

Postby Warrior 4 Jesus » Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:46 am

Atria, thanks. I'd be happy to discuss the story further, I just didn't want to ruin anything by spoiling the suspense and gradual unveiling of the Friend etc.

Mechana, thanks, mate. That's good to know. I can't wait for VIZ to publish 21st Century Boys in English (roll on April 11).

Goldenspines, I'm new to writing reviews here but yes, you're right the system wasn't working for me. Sorry, I should've taken that issue to CAA staff. Again, I apologise. Should I do the same for my Fullmetal Alchemist review (post it where you linked?) Cheers.
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Re: 20th Century Boys (Manga) - Warrior 4 Jesus' Review

Postby goldenspines » Fri Mar 29, 2013 10:38 am

Warrior 4 Jesus wrote: Goldenspines, I'm new to writing reviews here but yes, you're right the system wasn't working for me. Sorry, I should've taken that issue to CAA staff. Again, I apologise. Should I do the same for my Fullmetal Alchemist review (post it where you linked?) Cheers.

No worries. The system being repaired in currently in limbo, so if you get an error trying to submit a review (to the extent of "not having privileges to review" or something) leaving things like this is fine for the time being. Hopefully we'll be able to get this fixed soon.

Though if you can submit reviews to the system, please do so for this title and for your FMA one.
I already linked you to the 20th Century Boys entry, but in regards to the FMA review, just make sure you find the title submission for FMA in our system (in the manga/green section in this case) and submit your review there.

You can find the reviews system on the navigation bar up top under "reviews", otherwise, here is the link to the manga section of the reviews system: http://www.christiananime.net/reviews/c ... ngaReviews
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