This week we continue with 20th Century Boys.

Title: 20th Century Boys – Volume 3
Written & Illustrated by Naoki Urasawa
Translation by Akemi Wegmuller
Published by Shogakukan (Japan) & Viz Media (US)
Publication Date: June 2009

Available from Amazon.com & RightStuf

The Premise

Kenji has come to realize the true danger of the Friends plans, and that it’s up to him to save the world.

High Points

Up to this point, the Friends were basically a threat in the shadows – they menaced the world, but they were yet to become a direct threat to Kenji and the people in his world. This volume, on the other hand, passes the “this s*** just got real” threshold.

Low Points

It hit me with this volume that we don’t know if the Laser gun that Kenji got last volume actually works. It’s an oversight in an otherwise tightly plotted series.

Content Notes

Some bloody violence.

Scores

Originality: I have to admit that I’d never seen the concept of a murderous manzai duo before. 4/6

Story: This volume ups the stakes fairly considerably from the last two volumes, and successfully hooked me in further. 5/6

Artwork: 6/6

Characterization: Kenji’s reluctance to involve his friends makes sense. The character of Shogun, who was introduced this volume, is also very interesting. 4/6

Emotional Response: This is a definite “Wham Volume”. 5/6

Flow: 6/6

Overall: Just when you though you knew how the early volumes of this series would go, something like this comes along. 5/6

In total, 20th Century Boys – Volume 3 gets 35/42.