The 20th Century Boys (20-seiki shonen) (2008) (2009) (2009) Film Review


With the end of the Japanese Film Festival, is it time to stop watching Japanese films? No way! But where to start, there are just so many? Well, why not with a trilogy?

The 20th Century Boys was an action manga series that was made into three films released in 2008 and 2009. It tells of an anonymous cult-leader called ‘Friend’ who rises in Japan, becomes known and respected world-wide, but it is known to a small group that it is he who is intending to destroy humankind. This group grew up together in Tokyo in the seventies, and it is the events of their childhood that lead them to their paths in the present. None more so than their creation of a comic book ‘The Book of Prophesy’ which foretells the rise of an evil organisation that will take over the world. When it starts coming true, they need to figure out what action to take.

It’s a magnificently nuts series of films, with giant robots, a series of viruses that kill large numbers of the world’s population and, of course, rock and roll. It is very entertaining with some magnificent (and some a bit less that magnificent) special effects. But, be aware that it is a long series of films – each over 140 minutes. The plot is dripped out –  to the point of new characters being introduced very last-minute. But, it is totally and utterly worth it. Watch it somewhere that the volume can be turned up loud and you can really shout at the television – or even better, try to see it at the cinema.

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