Ranked #6

20th Century Boys (Manga)

20th Century Boys

Alternative Titles

English: 20th Century Boys
Synonyms: 20 Seiki Shounen, Nijuu Seiki Shounen, Nijuusseiki Shounen, 20thCB
Japanese: 20世紀少年


Type: Manga
Volumes: 22
Chapters: 249
Status: Finished
Published: Sep 27, 1999 to Apr 24, 2006
Authors: Urasawa, Naoki (Story & Art)
Serialization: Big Comic Spirits


Score: 9.031 (scored by 17182 users)
Ranked: #62
Popularity: #56
Members: 37,563
Favorites: 4,927
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top manga page. Please note that 'R18+' titles are excluded.


Humanity, having faced extinction at the end of the 20th century, would not have entered the new millennium if it weren't for them. In 1969, during their youth, they created a symbol. In 1997, as the coming disaster slowly starts to unfold, that symbol returns. This is the story of a group of boys who try to save the world.

For Kenji, a simple convenience store manager who once dreamed of becoming a rock 'n' roll musician, a host of memories from his past come rushing back when one of his childhood friends mysteriously commits suicide. Could this new death be related to the rise of a bizarre new cult that's been implicated in several other murders and disappearances? Determined to dig deeper, Kenji reunites with some of his old buddies in the hope of learning the truth behind it all.

(Source: VIZ Media)


20th Century Boys won the Kodansha Manga Award in the general category in 2001, an Excellence Prize at the Japan Media Arts Festival in 2002, and the Shogakukan Manga Award in the general category in 2003. The series' combined storyline won the Grand Prize at the 37th Japan Cartoonist Awards on May 9, 2008.

VIZ Media published the series in English under the VIZ Signature imprint from February 17, 2009 to September 18, 2012. VIZ Media licensed the series in 2005; however, at Urasawa's request, it was rescheduled for release after Monster finished its English publication due to a change in art style over time.

The series was adapted into a trilogy of live-action films which released in Japan from August 30, 2008 to August 29, 2009.

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Write a review | More reviewsReviews

Aug 18, 2015
First of all, i apologize if i made any English mistake, Unfortunately, I'm not native speaker, It's also my first. hope it helps you

- 20 Century Boys -
The best manga I've read, I really can't describe the legendary of this manga by words..

Story: 10/10
It's about a group got involved in a disaster include the whole world. I've read/watched a lot of psychological/drama works, and this is the best one, Also the author of this manga is Monster author too

Naoki's art style is not shounen style, his art is distinct, not like the author, he made a new art style, Personally i prefer his art read more
I found this review Helpful
Jan 6, 2009
While the whole "saving the world" kind of storyline isn't anything new, it does it so well that it makes the reader so engrossed in the story and not want to stop reading. The switch between timelines are done so well that it hardly leaves you confused on what is going on. There are so many twist and turns in the story which makes nearly every chapter such an enjoyable read.

The art is quite detailed and even as the art was already quite good from the start, as it goes on it steadily improves. I have to say Urusawa's distinct art style definitely is read more
I found this review Helpful
Aug 11, 2015

SHOCKER!!!:Story isnt ORIGINAL!!!!!!!!. but tbh the story is your generic insane cult working in the shadows to try to take over the world and an unlikely hero which has virtually zero chance at stopping the mad cult will try to protect humanity. as generic as that might seem the execution with that story is wonderful and the first 50 chapters are by far the greatest piece of literature I've ever seen. the first 50 chapters had a great main character, exciting drama, great backstory, solid villain (for at least 50 chapters) and so on. The problem is the nosedive (in my opinion) the series takes read more
I found this review Helpful
Aug 16, 2007
20th Century Boys is about a group of men (and one woman) who, when they had been children, had been best friends, sharing a "secret base" in an overgrown field: a sanctuary where they could read manga, listen to music, and hide from the most evil twins in history, Yanbo and Mabo. One day, their "creative genius," Kenji suggested they bury a time capsule, fill it with their treasured possessions, and agree to unearth it only when the earth was in grave danger, for they would then save it.

Years later, they find themselves leading ordinary, unglamorous lives, their dreams of greatness long-buried under the dust read more
I found this review Helpful


Manga: Pluto
You will find yourself mesmerised by the amazing storytelling, dramatic character development, and the enveloping mystery of the plot in these two publications.  
reportRecommended by radiantfire
Manga: Monster
Monster and 20th Century Boys are both written by the same author (Urasawa Naoki) and are both heavily psychological works that primarily explore the nature of evil. 
reportRecommended by Cren
Manga: Oyasumi Punpun
The two pieces are emotive in two particular ways: a coming-of-age realisation, and the development of relationships between friends. Both also feature great artwork and storytelling. 
reportRecommended by radiantfire
Manga: Billy Bat
Both are written and drawn by Urusawa Naoki, and has the unique Urusawa feeling. They are both about a "mystery" of sorts, as well as a conspiracy that threatens the world. Billy Bat has some supernatural elements and is more of a historical manga set during the 50s-60s. 
reportRecommended by AfterGlow
Manga: Old Boy
Both stories are thrillers that are a race against time as the protagonist has to remember events and people from his childhood to protect himself and those he cares about. They definitely have the same kind of series-long tension that keeps you reading late into the night. 
reportRecommended by lithiumflower
Manga: Liar Game
The characters in both are involved in a life or death game. The "game" in 20th century boys involves the entire world, while Liar Game is much smaller.
Both focus mainly on psychological conflits and character development. You need to actually think to understand the story of either 
reportRecommended by PirateKingz

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