20th Century Boys: 10

When I see the Mystery Gambler, Takasu (Dream Navigator), and Father Nitani (Yakuza Catholic – the name of my new band, coincidentally), having been introduced earlier and then all named in volume 10, it makes me start to see a formulaic pattern forming to how Urasawa is crafting this long story. It reminds me of the way Chuck Dixon used to write some of the Batman titles; you could literally see the formula from whatever book he’d read. In every issue, there would always be one story thread being introduced, one continuing from a previous issue, and one being ended, like clockwork. Anyway, I enjoyed Yukiji and Kanna bonding over ramen, and the general way that food and music pervade the series, along with other pop culture references like the Toyota 2000GT. Damian Yoshida (member of the band) finally gets named, so it makes me think he will begin to feature more prominently in forthcoming volumes. Koizumi and Kanna (schoolmates) finally meet! Though it doesn’t quite go as successfully as we’d like. There are lots of meet-ups actually, including Yukiji and Kamisama. Koizumi goes from Friend Land to Friend World. Uh-oh. We learn that the new English teacher under the mask is Sadakiyo, but that he is not Friend, merely the Director of the Friend Musuem, who appears to be having a change of heart. Part of that formula Naoki Urasawa uses is to introduce a future concept that will then get fleshed out in forthcoming volumes. For example, here we have the idea of “The President of the World” being inaugurated at some point in the future, assumably Friend. It’s also the second or third hard mention of space aliens, and I can’t believe that’s coincidence. The bombshell that the audience knew, but that gets dropped on the character this time out, is that Friend is Kanna’s father.


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