BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

20th Century Boys (vol. 13) by Naoki Urasawa, with the cooperation of Takashi Nagasaki, English adaptation by Akemi Wegmüller

20th Century Boys 13The announcement is over a week old, but better late than never, especially when it’s such well-deserved fabulous news: … and the 2011 Eisner Award (the Oscar of graphic novels!) for “Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia” goes to Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys!

Well, of course it does! And what a perfect-timing glorious little break I had catching up on the three latest volumes.

Volume 13 opens with confirmation that The Friend is dead! Otcho himself confirms his non-existent pulse. He also announces that the newly unmasked ÜberBuddy was none other than childhood classmate Fukube. And while he’s definitely dead, Otcho knows that the world is hardly the safe place it should be. Something about Number 13 (this is volume 13, after all!) has Otcho all worked up!

Without the saintly leadership of The Friend (cough, cough), his executive committee starts to flounder … and splinter. Manjome, the unFriendly top henchman, is devastated (and disoriented) by the boss’s death, but will soon figure out that the New Book of Prophecy must be carried out. World domination waits for no (dead) man!

While Kanna continues to search for clues about her mother Kiriko (Kenji’s still-missing sister), Kiriko’s involvement with the Friend’s insane plans is further revealed, but she’s working hard to stay one step ahead. More of Kenji’s devoted childhood posse appear (some were there all along), including The Friend’s favorite musical mouthpiece who’s got quite a story to confess.

On the other side of the world, a Japanese soba-selling food truck proprietor and his skeptical son driving through New Mexico (“I told you a thousand times, places like New York, LA, they got food from all over the world”), discover the final survivor of a sudden plague that wiped out his entire town … that tiny little boy just might be the link back to the vaccine that could save the world. Just beware the salted salmon!

To check out the previous volumes of 20th Century Boys, be sure to click here.

Readers: Young Adult, Adult

Published: 2011 (United States)
20 SEIKI SHONEN © Naoki Urasawa/Studio Nuts
Original Japanese edition published by Shogakukan Inc.


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