20th Century Boys 1: Beginning of the End
2010 Movie. Director: Yukihiko Tsutsumi. 142 minutes. DVD, bilingual, $24.92. Distributor: Viz Media.
In 1969, under the secret embrace of wind-blown grass, Kenji and his friends compose the “The Book of Prophecy.” They foretell a future in which they combat a nefarious organization bent on world annihilation. Flash forward: 1997. The influence of a secret cult led by the “Friend” pervades Japan. Suddenly catastrophic events mirroring Kenji’s book occur, and the “Friend” is using a symbol that he created back in the summer of ’69. Worse still, if the book is indeed prophecy, it ends with a virus-spreading robot wreaking havoc on Tokyo! Only Kenji and his friends can unravel this mystery, and make sure the Earth sees the 21st century.
Yes, the world is dangling on the razor’s edge. Old friends must retie dilapidated bonds. And everyone must be a hero. Even if you’re Kenji, the former rock singer turned convenient store clerk. That’s right, instead of living that musical dream, he’s back at the family store caring for his absent sister’s baby. But like everyone, he can’t escape his past. And destiny is kockin’ big time.
Based on the manga of Naoki Urasawa, which became a national phenomenon in Japan, 20th Century Boys is a comic book ride worthy of any Hollywood-licensed DC series. Seriously, what more do you need? You’ve got the nostalgia of childhood friendship, a cause greater than yourself, a mystery filled with comic action, and, of course, a giant iron robot spreading disease! As Kenji reunites his aging crew, they ironically embark on an adventure conceived in the womb of childhood fantasy.
This is the stuff we dream about! And I love it!
Again, seriously, who wouldn’t round up the old boys for one last trip, filled with reminiscing, laughter, and hijinks? 20th Century Boys does just that. Okay, universal doom may be lurking. But if you have to go down, true friends should have your back. And friendship is what this movie is all about. Better still, action, special effects, or week characters never overshadow this concept.
Oh, and did you notice the Part 1 above? Yep, the struggle to discover the “Friend’s” identity and to thwart his stolen machinations is just getting started. So, grab your own crew of friends and check this flick out. You’ll get hooked, and start salivating for part 2.