Wednesday, June 04, 2008


As some of you probably know, the manga 20th Century Boys by Naoki Urasawa (Monster, Pluto) is getting the film treatment too. Three films, in fact. The first of a movie trilogy adapting Urasawa's epic story (including the final chapter of the story, released as 21st Century Boys) will be coming out in Japan on August 30.

As Viz folks have hinted at on a few occasions, the plan is to release 20th Century Boy in English after the release of Monster has concluded. Urasawa specifically requested that they wait to serialize any new titles (including Pluto, the "Watchmen of manga" according to Carl Horn) until the current series is completed. By my count, that could theoretically mean us getting the series by mid-2009? Maybe?

I've only read the first volume (in Japanese) so far, but it's utterly fascinating, dense and exciting. I can't really do it justice, but it's a mix of SF, political thriller, coming of age story and post-apocalyptic futurism. Terrorist sects, weird interweaving plots and childhood memories, a giant robot and deadly viruses. A dude on some message board called the later sections of the series, "Pop culture reimagined as a totalitarian nightmare."

More production and cast details can be found on the 20th Century Boys official site. Enjoy this 4-minute clip, via our good friends at Twitch (the best film blog on the entire internet):


Anonymous said...

Oh my god. This looks great. Makes me want to read the manga again.

Anonymous said...

The first 12 volumes of this series are amazing. Hopefully they can do it justice.

honk said...

While I think that 20th Century Boys kind of went to shit when it went into Terrible Future Land Where Only Bad Things Can Happen, I'll probably buy it as Viz releases it, 'cause I'm kind of a sucker.

Also, Pluto might be the best manga I've ever read by somebody who isn't Tezuka. It is seriously so goddamned amazing.

Anonymous said...

I was so excited about this, until i watched the trailer. It looks like the Japanese film industry is putting out another shitty manga adaptation. Seriously, this happens every time! If they are ever handed some seriously awesome, manga epic, they always fuck it up. For easy examples, take a look at dragon head, uzumaki, and drifting classroom (all joke examples, except dragon head. they really ruined that one)!!
On a side note, if Viz keeps up with their current schedule, Monster should be done at the end of this year (after 18 volumes), so hopefully 20th century boys will follow immediately after.

Ryan S said...

@anonymous: It gives me a good kick in the pants to get cracking again with the manga. I know there are scanlations around for nearly the entire series, but I wanna force myself to get through it in Japanese.

@larry: I hope so too. It sounds like the films won't be strictly Movie 1: vol 1-5, Movie 2: 6 - 15(?), Movie 3: 16- the end. I'm a little worried, but it's an interesting project to tackle. Did anyone see the film version of The Stand? Sometimes stuff should done like a 10 or 20-episode HBO-esque limited series.

@mark: Yeah, I think that Viz knows there are sitting on a goldmine with the remaining Urasawa titles they have on deck. They just have to tackle getting Bleach fans to understand and go after something as ambitious as Pluto. We'll see. The folks I know at Viz are all huge fans of Pluto, and definitely probably want it to happen eventually.

@rizzah: You are correct, sir. When it comes to blockbuster, mainstream Japanese film adapatations, they often look like crappy tv movies (I know I mentioned TV series above, but I'm talking direct-to-dvd type effects and acting here). It's hard to say--- We'll just have to see how the films end up. I personally didn't enjoy the Uzumaki film and never brought myself to watch the Dragon Head adaptation (though I was in Japan the week it came out to theaters!). The Drifting Classroom "adaptation" is totally fucking awesome, as we all know :)

Yeah, I think realistically, they'll take a little break between books. My friend Kit is editing Monster right now, so I'll ask him if he's working on 20th Century Boyz too :)

Anonymous said...

nah this movie definitely does look alright really, very true to the manga from what is seen already. yeah not sure if theyre advertising the whole trilogy with this promo trailer or the first movie. casting is decent and looks like a sufficient budget for something of this nature although they had better hope to not leave out anything important. perhaps an anime show would have done it more justice. a great series nonetheless

Anonymous said...

i like 20th Century Boys version movie and i'am make to site