20th Century Boys Review

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A school reunion provokes a group of adults to remember the unusual events in their childhood surrounding the imagined villians they choose to play-fight. These memories start to have profound and unexpected resonance on their current lives.


Based on a sprawling manga series, the first part of this proposed trilogy arrives with much fanfare, but those unfamiliar with its origins may find the huge cast of characters and complex timelines overwhelming. Too convoluted to summarise, the action follows a gang of kids who spend ’70s summers inventing villains to fight, only to find their adult lives eerily reflecting these imagined events.

Yukihiko Tsutsumi is an accomplished director with an advertising background, and his pop-culture mash-up style makes for the odd flash of creative genius; but probably best to wait for the full trilogy before committing your time.

Headache-inducingly convoluted plot and cast of characters but the action and faithfulness to the series is impressive. Be aware that this is definitely a trilogy and the ending reflects this.