Masks off the head – review of the comic book “20th Century Boys – Chłopaki z XX życia”, vol. 5–6

If someone reaches for a comic review, which is at the halfway point, it is probably not accidental and wants to confront their reading experience with the undersigned. However, if it were otherwise, I warn you that there may be spoilers in the text.

In the fifth and sixth volumes, oh, what’s happening – although at the same time the story is more focused on one timeline. 2014, a dozen or so years since the Friend’s triumph and the labeling of Kenji and his gang as terrorists. In these circumstances, Kanna, the niece of the main protagonist in the previous volumes, learns that her father is a Friend – a villain responsible for the deaths of thousands of people around the world, now surrounded by an almost divine cult. Some details from the life of the girl’s missing mother are also revealed. Richer by these experiences, Kanna decides to continue the fight to clear her uncle’s name and defeat the despot. She is helped by the other heroes who once suffered defeat during the Bloody New Year’s Eve. Meanwhile, the existence of the New Book of the Prophecy comes to light, which heralds further disasters.

In the fifth and sixth volumes oh whats happening although at the same time the

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never-ending story

The guys from the 20th century have two features that can also be found in other works of Urasawa (e.g. in Monster and Pluto): a story that is stretched to the limit and a constant playing of a mystery. Mangaka loves to create long and multi-threaded plots with dozens of heroes (often episodic), where the core of the story is usually a puzzle, in which the reader is led by the nose and knows as much as the protagonists (and sometimes even less). And so in Chłopaki this connection is shown in the form of the main evil of the series – the Friend, who implemented the plan to destroy the world once created by kids. This enigmatic gentleman wore a mask in all the scenes, never revealing his face. And I must admit that such conduct of the antagonist built the tension very well, especially since none of the Kenji team (and the reader alike) were able to find out who had been hiding their identity for years. Only that this suspense, stretched over several thousand pages, was already becoming tiring for me, especially since Urasawa was supposed to reveal the Friend’s identity several times, and yet he introduced some plot to avoid doing it.

The guys from the th century have two features that can

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Mystery box

The game of cat and mouse continues until the end of the sixth collective volume, where FINALLY, the reader gets to know the Friend’s face. And I must admit to Urasawa that I did not expect this to turn out at all. Though I guessed it must be someone from Kenji’s entourage (otherwise all this suspense would be pointless), but not that this character is a villain.Probably it will be given in the next volumes, but it is a pity that the mangaka is again resorting to the cliffhanger, instead of just giving the reader answers to questions right away.

Daily fight

Despite the complaint above, Guys is still a great story. I love that when Kenji is no more, the plot gives the baton to the rest of the “gang”. The story jumps between different timelines to a lesser extent, which allows for a better presentation of where the individual characters are, who failed to defeat their Friend on the unfortunate New Year’s Eve. Their fight is even more difficult than before, especially since, being considered terrorists, they were forced to go into hiding. Urasawa interestingly differentiates the life situation of individual characters and their different forms of resistance. At such moments, the author’s hydration is even good, because thanks to the large number of pages the reader is able to become more attached to the characters and cheer them on in this extremely difficult situation.

Despite the complaint above Guys is still a great story

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Invitation

Supplements are very rare in manga publications – sometimes at the end of the volume there are guest graphics, humorous tales or short notes from a mangaka or a translator. And that’s about it. That is why I was extremely captivated by the bonus in the form of a card with an invitation to meet a friend. The reader gets exactly the same note as the heroes in the manga. A small thing, but it enjoys.

With the sixth volume of Boys, Urasawa proves once again that he has nothing to do with standard storytelling. Some story solutions are strange (virtual reality simulating the seventies from “A Friendland”), and others require a huge suspension of disbelief (a teenager leading to a truce between Chinese and Thai gangs), but the mangaka still has my credit of trust. In the last pages, such an important event takes place that for a less talented writer it would be the culmination of the story, while for the Boys of the 20th Century, it is only the halfway point. There are five more volumes ahead of the reader, which is a plethora of opportunities to continue trolling and leading the nose. I can not wait!.

With the sixth volume of Boys Urasawa proves once

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