Blabbering of a Fool
20世紀少年 (20th Century Boys)
I dun really know how to put it to words.
This movie requires one to read the manga to understand more, yet at the same time, it’s advisable to not read the manga in the first place.
AM I EVEN MAKING SENSE?
Anyway, the depiction of the first arc is different from that in the manga. It is being told as a true story of a hero by the most wanted and feared criminal held in a cell to another fellow inmate in another cell, who is a mangaka (comic artist). (People who read the manga, you should have the idea of who these 2 are.)
Now, why one need to read the manga to understand more about the movie? To mention firstly, this movie is 2 and half hours long! Even so, it is with much cutting of characters’ background stories that they managed to reduce it to such a duration!! Therefore, one needs to read the manga to understand more about the characters, and why they act the way in the story.
Then, why the advice to not read the manga at first? One major plus-point about this movie is that it is very, VERY faithful to the manga, except for some changes to characters and incidents which wouldn’t really affect the entire flow of the movie/s much. However, this would mean that those with the manga in their heads would just know what’s going to happen next, and thus, everything would seem like ‘Hey, I’ve seen this before!’.
My advice: Read the manga after the movie, like a data book of sorts. (Otcho’s story must be understood…major explanation to why he becomes what he is in the present)
Indeed, characters are literally lifted straight out from the manga (except God/Kami-sama…he looks nothing like the one in the manga…though I dun think it’s humanely possible anyway). Though many supporting cast have only little time on the screen, great performance from them nevertheless, portraying their roles to the fullest.
Even the child actors who played their younger counterparts (I liked Yoshitsune best…).
But one thing I didn’t quite enjoy was the little screentime our mysterious Friend (Tomodachi) had! All his appearances in the Friend-marked headdress were short, and lacking in movement. (Of course, it would be logical to think that it is impossible to see where you are going with thing covering your eyes, but still…) But at least they kept the Hattori-kun mask, which was exactly the same as the manga’s.
(By the way, for one who watches many J-dramas, you can guess the real identity of Friend from his voice. 😀 )
Of course, the climax scene in the movie…enough to make one with a weak bladder to wet his pants. Even more so if he has read the manga.
It’s literally a 3D rendering of the exact scene, down to the last dust in the scene. And it’s BRILLIANT.
The ending is very well-done, though a little unexpected for me.
Just a little spoiler: we get to see Endou Kanna in almost all stages of her life. Get it? 🙂
(But she’s a little too cheerful at the ending…shouldn’t she be bearing a grudge against those who twisted the entire truth?)
Nevertheless, the essential question in the entire story still holds…
Who is ともだち/’Friend’?
WARNING: Stay after the credits for the trailer of the second movie, which also serves a continuation of the ending!!
Release date of 2nd movie: 31st January 2009!! (長過ぎ!)
Official movie site here.
Cast as follow, with their manga counterparts:
Karasawa Toshiaki（唐沢 寿明） as Endou Kenji（遠藤 健児/ケンジ）
Toyokawa Etsuchi（豊川 悦司） as Ochiai Chouji（落合 長冶）,
Tokiwa Takako（常盤 貴子） as Setoguchi Yukiji（瀬戸口 ユキジ）
Kagawa Teruyuki（香川 照之） as Minamoto ‘Yoshitsune'(皆本 ’ヨシツネ’)
Ishizuka Hidehiko（石塚 英彦） as Maruo（丸尾/マルオ）
Ukaji Takashi（宇梶 剛士） as Shimon Masa’aki（子門 真明）,
Miyasako Hiroyuki（宮迫 博之） as ‘Keroyon’（’ケロヨン’）
Sasaki Kuranosuke（佐々木 蔵之介） as Fukubei（服部/’フケベエ’）
Kuroki Hitomi（黒木 瞳） as Endo Kiriko（遠藤 貴理子/キリコ）
Ishibashi Renji（石橋 蓮司） as Manjoume Inshuu（万丈目 胤舟）
Katase Nana（片瀬 那奈） as Shikishima Mika（敷島 ミカ）
Taira Airi（平 愛梨） as Endou Kanna（遠藤 カンナ）
Yuusuke Santamaria（ユースケサンタマリア） as Sadakiyo（サダキヨ）
Koike Eiko（小池 栄子） as Takasugi（高須）
Furuta Arata（古田 新太） as Haru Namio（春 波夫）
Fujiki Naohito（藤木 直人） as Detective Chouno（蝶野刑事）
And this is an impossible dream in Singapore…
Karasawa Toshiaki and Tokiwa Takako
at a Wild Premiere preview of 20th Century Boys in France
At least someone, start selling the Friend shirts here soon!! (Start doing so myself…?)