This week I’m getting back to reviewing Naoki Urasawa’s SF manga 20th Century Boys, after a long break.

Title: 20th Century Boys, Volume 7 – The Truth
Story and Art by Naoki Urasawa
Translation by Akemi Wegmuller

Available from Amazon.com and RightStuf.com

The Premise

Shogun and Kakuta make their escape from Umihotaru Prison, and arrive at the site of the 1970 World’s Fair. Meanwhile, one of Kanna’s former classmates decides to write a paper based on the actual events of the Bloody New Years Eve, which, supposedly, Shogun, Kenji, and their cohorts were blamed for. At long last, the events of that evening will come out.

High Points

The balance between the flashback sequences and the scenes in the “present” are very well done, and the plotting and writing overall have been fantastic.

Low Points

I’m actually kind of getting a little annoyed on the slow burn over The Friend’s identity. Revealing that information now wouldn’t particularly end the plot any. Indeed, it could possibly set up a new series of flashbacks on how The Friend started putting his plan together, and in turn setting up his motivations. The main reasons I can see why Urasawa wants to hold off that reveal is either because he wants to finish the current “line” of flashbacks first, or because he just doesn’t have the right dramatic reveal yet.

One other thing – the size and scope of the Friends, combined with the fact that their plans are still effectively almost entirely secret from the general public (and thus the organization hasn’t been shut down yet), kind of violates the old adage that the number of people who know a secret is equal to the number of people who have been told it squared.

Scores

Originality: The story for this manga is still incredibly original, and I’m glad to finally get back to reading this. 6/6

Artwork: Urasawa is still one of the best artists currently working in manga. 6/6

Story: This volume continues to unwind some of the mystery, while posing some new questions on the Friends’ plans, as well as starting to tell how Bloody New Years Eve played out. 5/6

Characterization: Our new character for this volume, Koizumi, gets some quick but clear development in this volume, and we find out some more on what Kami-sama has been up to in the intervening years. 5/6

Emotional Response: The low point kind of applies here, though this series very quickly got its hooks back in me. 5/6

Flow: 6/6

Overall: I’m enjoying this manga immensely, and I’m ready to do another big long binge on this book. 6/6

In total, 20th Century Boys Volume 7 gets 39 out of 42.