20th Century Boys (Vol. 02) – Naoki Urusawa
Published by Viz Media
Kenji continues to be the story’s anchor here in 20th Century Boys, with many of the events eventually bringing most characters back to him. His own personal issues regarding his family business, missing sister and the pressures of raising his niece, remain the forefront trials of his life but the growing mystery, and deadly evolution, of the cult following born from something in his past, continues to plague him like a growing itch. The ‘coincidences’ continue to pile up beyond the ability to ignore, and by the book’s end, Kenji discovers his past is potently integral to the execution of a global epidemic by the ‘Friend’ and his followers.
To aid in delivering more information to both the audience and Kenji is a lively homeless man who fellow box-dwellers call ‘Kami-sama’ (a god). Through his dreams, the man is able to see the future, both in the short and long term. He takes it upon himself to do what he can within reason and his general laid-back attitude and calm demeanour towards his powers makes him a very unique and compelling character. Kenji’s enfant niece also seemed to take a quick liking to him during their brief interaction, offering another good ‘Aww’ moment to the baby’s short but adorable appearances as the resident cutey.
What does leave me wondering, however, is will Naoki Urusawa be able to keep this strong momentum going for another twenty volumes? Monster certainly proved his skill in pacing and drawing out events in a long multi-volume series, but the revelations of 20th Century Boys seems to be happening so quickly (albeit still excellently timed), how much more can there be? Of course this early in the story it seems a mute point, if not admittedly a little ignorant, but believe me I’m more than eager to enjoy everything Naoki Urusawa sets in motion (and doing my best to avoid any spoilers in the meantime). But, with my hopes now so high, I suppose I live in fear that future volumes may not stand up to their predecessors.
But any worries remain mere pittance compared to the praise I continue to shower on Naoki Urusawa and his works, which are brilliant in their execution and near-unfathomable in scope. 20th Century Boys has officially snagged me here in volume two and no subsequent volume can come out fast enough to sate my curiousity of what’s to come. Still a big thumbs up recommendation.