All-star thriller 20th Century Boys
continues with the blockbuster trilogy's second chapter, The Last Hope
! The visionary trilogy's first chapter, The Beginning of the End
, laid the roots with the tale of a group of friends who emerged as unlikely heroes in the battle against an apocalyptic evil they had unwittingly foretold as children. Picking up the story 15 years after the events of the first film, Chapter 2
introduces viewers to a Japan that has completely fallen under the fascist spell of masked cult leader "Friend" after he stepped in to save the world from the virus he unleashed. Most of the resistance fighters including Kenji (Karasawa Toshiaki) have been missing or imprisoned since the bloody New Year's Eve showdown, and are now branded as terrorists.
Kenji's niece Kanna (Taira Airi) has grown up into a spunky high school student who has inherited her uncle's drive to fight the man. For her rebellious behavior, Kanna gets sent to "Friend Land" for indoctrination, and earns the chance to enter a virtual reality world that holds the secret to Friend's identity. With Kanna's life in danger, faces from the past as well as new joiners to the cause begin to emerge from the shadows, but can this new team fight the sinister conspiracy that Friend is brewing? Who exactly is Friend, and what does his New Book of Prophecy have in store for the world?
Based on Urasawa Naoki's acclaimed manga, 20th Century Boys makes for a positively epic exercise in filmmaking and storytelling that spans multiple generations and genres, and bites into conspiracy theory, pop culture nostalgia, and spectacular special effects. Helmed by hit-making director Tsutsumi Yukihiko, the 20th Century Boys trilogy is certainly one of the greatest undertakings Japan Cinema has ever seen, with its six billion yen budget and staggeringly long cast list that runs 300 deep. Most of the first film's main cast - including Tokiwa Takako (Mamiya Kyodai), Toyokawa Etsushi (The Sinking of Japan), Kagawa Teruyuki (Sukiyaki Western - Django), and Karasawa Toshiaki (Casshern) - return for the second chapter, along with newcomer Taira Airi, Moriyama Mirai (Fish Story), Arata (Snakes and Earrings), and new additions Fujiki Naohito (Hana Yori Dango: Final) and Santamaria Yusuke (Kisaragi).