Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys – about a group of boys trying to save the world from destruction – is getting a deluxe perfect edition.
One of Urasawa’s three classic manga – along with serial killer thriller Monster and Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka (a reimagining of Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy, co-authored by Takashi Nagasaki) – 20th Century Boys is considered to one of the best (and best loved) sci-fi adventure manga.
20th Century Boys: The Perfect Edition Vol. 1 will be in stores on September 18th. Future volumes will be released quarterly.
Naoki Urasawa has had a long and illustrious career as a creator of original, thoughtful and action-packed manga like Monster, 20th Century Boys, 21st Century Boys and his reworking of Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boys for an older audience, Pluto: Urasawa × Tezuka. He’s done action-adventure, psychological thrillers and even romantic comedy.
Master Keaton – an answer to Indiana Jones and other pulpy heroes – may have a story (and a very good one, at that) by Hokusei Katsushika and Takashi Nagasaki, but it’s Urasawa’s art that elevates it from very good to classic.
Master Keaton, a tale of ‘cold war intrigue and espionage,’ from the creator of Monster and 20th Century Boys, Naoki Urasawa, is getting its first North American release on December 16th.
Taichi Hiraga Keaton, an archeology professor and part-time insurance investigator known for his successful and unorthodox methods of investigation. His day job and his background as a former member of the SAS give him a unique ability to uncover secrets and thwart would-be bad guys.
The 12-volume series has never been published in English until now and each volume will be given the deluxe treatment – including eighteen pages of full color art. Master Keaton will be published quarterly by VIZ Media under the company’s VIZ Signature imprint.
North Americans might not recognize the name Osamu Tezuka, a significant percentage of them know about Astro Boy – which, along with Tezuka’s Kimba the White Lion, was the first anime´ to really connect with that audience. One of the best Astro Boy adventures – both in a twelve-part manga serial and as an episode of the anime´ series – was The Greatest Robot in the World. Naoki Urasawa, best known for his manga series, Monster, has chosen to take that epic adventure and re-work it for today’s audience.
Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys is an odd and interesting manga. It’s about a group of men who formed a club when they were kids and now find the symbol they used for their club appearing in their adult lives.
As Kenji and his friends come together for the funeral of one of their old gang, Kenji receives a letter from the deceased – a letter that includes the symbol [which the others in the gang have long since forgotten]. At the same time, there is a mysterious fellow who calls himself Friend, who performs feats, like levitation, above a stage floor on which is inscribed the circle. There’s also a mysterious girl who is troubled by unusual noises that emanate from something big in the night.
Disappearing families, deaths made to appear to be suicides, seeming supermen – and the evilest twins in history – make for an exciting read. Urasawa balances the mundane and the unusual with deftness. He has a gift for delineating a solid character with a minimum of information, and his layouts are fresh and frequently subtle. The story’s complexities – it frequently moves between time periods and groups of characters – are intriguing, and Urasawa builds layers of mystery which each shift.
I finished the two hundred-pages of Volume One: Friends in almost no time at all. Indeed, 20th Century Boys practically read itself to me – Urasawa’s storytelling skills are that sharp. If this isn’t classic storytelling, I don’t know what is.