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20th Century Boys :
1969: Kenji and his band of friends spend their summer holidays dreaming of the universal exhibition of Osaka, and of inventing a catastrophic scenario to bring about the end of the world on New Year's Eve in the year 2000. All is recorded in their notebook of predictions, marked with a symbol of their friendship. At this time, Kenji wishes to become a rock star, and to save humanity.
1997: Kenji helps his mother in the local mini-market, playing baby-sitter for his niece Kanna. His childhood dreams resurface when the police question him about a mysterious organsation that uses the symbol drawn in the notebook of predictions of Kenji's youth. All clues led to a mysterious sect whose head calls himself FRIEND.
31st December 2000: The countdown begins; the end of the world is close. Who will save humanity?
The Author of the Manga :
Naoki UrasawaBorn in 1960 in Tokyo, qualified in economy, Urasawa develops during his high school years a keen interest in drawing, and in music. At 22, he receives the prize for the best young manga artist offered by the editor Shogakukan. He follows this success with 'Yawara' in 1990 (Prize for Best Manga), and then wins the Tezuka Grand Prize for 'Monster' in 1999. '20th Century Boys' then brings him worldwide recognition.
Urasawa's work has received international acclaim. The public success of his mangas has crossed continents. In France particularly, they have received a degree of popularity on a par with that of the greatest bestsellers in all popular genres.
From manga to the big screen
Created in 1999 and completed in 2004, Naoki Urasawa's '20th Century Boys' is spread across 24 volumes. Nippon Television Network Corporation (producer of the Death Note films) proposed a live-action trilogy adaptation, a format rarely encountered in Japan. After consideration of several directors from all over the world, Yukihiko Tsutsumi was chosen for this project.
Casting was a particularly delicate area in the creation of these films; only by distributing roles with the greatest of attention could justice be done to the nuances present in the characters of the original manga.
The first two films were produced at the same time, though the chronology of the filming differed to that of the story. Production with the children present in the film was carried out by a second team led by Hisashi Kimura, the assistant director.
This ongoing work has subsequently become recognised as one of the greatest ever Japanese cinematographic sagas.
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