6.27.2011

20th Century Boys: 14

We learn that Keroyon, who I think was mentioned in a really early volume, is the soba guy we met last issue. The virus is spreading rapidly and global mourners congregate to worship Friend in his death. It’s crazy to see Manjome Inshu, a character portrayed largely as in control, now really lost without Friend, and even doing heroin(?). Initially, Koizumi and Yoshitsune enter Friend World, but find the virtual landscape altered. Haha, we learn that Kamisama owns the bowling alley! Which proves that amid all the gravitas and end of the world prostelitizing, Urasawa still isn’t afraid to use some over-the-top humor. Whatever the heck happened in that Science Lab in 1971 sure must be important, because everyone is descending on that location. Along with Koizumi and Yoshitsune, Manjome enters, Kanna goes in, along with a mysterious other person. In the lab, we learn that Yamane, Sadakiyo, and Donkey are the ones to see a hanging body of Fukube/Friend, which then comes back to life so that they witness a miracle around Friend’s resurrection. Again, this takes on some hard spiritual overtones rooted in Christianity. Even the “death mask” version of Friend appears in the virtual world, so that he seems to be having a spiritual resurrection both in reality and the virtual space all at once. Creepy! At this point, you also realize that all three people who saw this, Yamane, Sadakiyo, and Donkey, are also dead. While in the virtual world, we also get to learn of Yoshitsune’s origins as “the Chief” and why Donkey is probably always running as a kid, because he’s running from Kanna. It’s as if these virtual experiences have shaped the past and created one of those awesome time travel paradoxes. It’s a Mobius Strip loop, like elder Kanna influences a young Kenji, so that Kenji can grow up to influence a young Kanna. At the end, we’re left with our character choices: be the king of evil, or be the hero.

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