I first came across 20th Century Boys in an advertisement in Shonen Jump Magazine. It was a very pretty splash page and it had a really interesting picture of a person with a weird Eye mask and it just looked kind of interesting. When I was wandering around a place called "foreign flicks" that sold Chinese Marketed DVDs I went ahead and purchased a copy. Later I ended up getting the other two as I felt it would be good to complete the set. This was a long time ago and now I have finally gotten to watch the trilogy back to back and have been taken aback leading me to this review. I do of course recommend if you buy these movies to purchase the Viz Media copies and not Chinese copies so you can support the artist. At this time the only one I have that is not the Viz copy is the first one.
So we are of course left with the lower qualities of the films. I feel that the front end of the first film was very plot heavy and you had to slog though a lot of exposition in order to get to the point where you feel like you are able to go anywhere or really invest yourself in the project. This dragging feeling I felt abated after about 2/3 of the way through the first film. In the end it does have a pay off but I must admit at times I felt myself drifting and in a sub that is a bad thin as you miss a lot. You have to really pay attention to what is going on and I had to watch some scenes twice to better understand the plot as a whole. The other beef I had was the ending. I feel that the scenes after the credits were unnecessary as it seems that in other Japanese stories such as say...Clannad they tend to try and take back some of the bad that they did. I remember Stephen King writing after a point in the Dark Tower series to try and just drop it here and leave it be. Just like then I think after the credits I would have dropped it if I had the chance to do so.
In the end this is a well balanced trilogy that did quite well in Japan beating out the Live Action Death Note in overall sales. It is too bad it did not translate again to american success. If you get a chance and see this at your local store check it out. It is worth the watch.