This moment is pretty much a huge spoiler for the final chapter of 20th Century Boys. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading 20CB, I suggest you read only up to the spoiler warning, and then stop and and read 20CB for yourself. It’s a wild ride and you won’t regret it. For now, enjoy this significantly less spoiler-y (and also best) scene from the 20CB movies instead.
Reading 20th Century Boys was an experience. 20CB is, at its heart, a love letter from Naoki Urasawa to his childhood. The characters’ childhood in the 1960s (when Urasawa grew up) takes center stage in the story. Setpieces such as the World Expo, the moon landing, rock ‘n’ roll, and super robot manga decorate the nostalgia cake, and the primary antagonist I can now describe as an extreme case of childish Chuunibyou gone horribly awry. The story itself takes the form of an emotional thrill ride with the vast scope, memorable characters, intense cliffhangers, and tight, full-circle storytelling that only Urasawa can deliver. As my friend and I plowed through it with unbelievable speed, the “FFFFFFFFFFFFFF”s went back and forth more times than I can count.
There were probably enough powerful moments from each volume of the manga to give each one its own set of 12-Days posts, so picking just one is a completely token gesture.
In the end, I settled for the closure of my favorite character’s arc. Both in 20CB and in Monster, the character that I ultimately came to like the most was the tragic figure: the one the most obviously doomed to die yet the one you most wanted to be happy. All Sadakiyo wanted all along was to be the good guy. He was the one who most strongly longed for the series’ childlike ideal of the “seigi no mikata,” or “hero of justice,” but he could never seem to figure out what being the good guy meant.
This moment I choose is the moment when Sadakiyo, complete with his heroic Ultraman mask, finally decides what being a Good Guy means to him, and stands up to save the day for the side he believes is right.
Sadakiyo, you are a good guy.