20th Century Boys 19

May 9, 2012

Naoki Urasawa – Viz – 2011 – 22 volumes

Well! It looks like 21st Century Boys will be a separate series. I had been including it in the volume counts with these, but I guess it counts separately.

I love Yabuki Joe. He’s completely unconcerned with everything. He’s… sort of a hero? But not really? More of a rallying point. The same thing can be said about the Friend. I also love that the rallying point is music, as if an adolescent dream of being a rock star is being fulfilled. An interesting counter-measure to the Friend’s madness, since his world domination ploy was also based around the fantasies of children. Also also interesting, as much as Yabuki Joe is using his music for good, he states in this volume that it’s not going to save the world. Even though… it kind of is. So, in that, he’s unlike the friend with his childhood dream. Perhaps the fact he’s still succeeding at being a popular musician is some sort of commentary on the dangerous weakness in crowd mentality? Hmm.

I guess I either didn’t realize or forgot that the currency in this post-apocalyptic world was the buddy. If you’re buying a forged permit, it’s going to cost you a lot of buddies. I can’t make this stuff up.

Basically, in this volume, Yabuki Joe and Chono (whose name I can’t read without thinking of the French artist CHOMO, a hermit that lived in Fontainebleau forest for 50 years) reach a checkpoint that they need to cross to get into the Kanto region and Tokyo. The problem is that you need a legit pass to get through the checkpoint, and on the non-Kanto side, there’s a booming business in forgeries that will get you shot in the head should you present them to the checkpoint guards. But Yabuki Joe convinces the lost half of the Ujiko Ujio artist duo to draw permits for every person in the border town. Madness ensues. Chono is caught for a bounty. Yabuki Joe faces off against the ruler of the checkpoint forest, a man who is obsessed with the idea of being a bad guy and who, long ago, chose Kenji to be his good guy nemesis. Well, now there’s only Yabuki Joe.

Guys. The end of this book is absolutely EPIC. The identity of the Friend is once again in question. The identity of the leader of the checkpoint is also in question, though I wonder if he actually is anyone important. Probably. He’ll be something insane, like Kanna’s father. Yabuki Joe, though. Yabuki Joe steals the scene. He tells all.

So… I’m just gonna go ahead and read volume 20 now.

2 Responses to “20th Century Boys 19”


  1. Yabuki Joe = the most influential rock star in manga to ever live? I do believe that his motivation is indeed an interesting case of crowd psychology. A lot of people can be weak if they’re not part of a crowd.

  2. DS Says:

    21st Century Boys technically counts separately but it’s not a distinct series. It’s just the ending of 20th Century Boys. I ignore the distinction, because Volume 22 isn’t an ending and was clearly not intended to be one.


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