Characters: 20th Century Boys
WARNING: Several characters are Walking Spoilers. Open directories at your own risk.
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Kenji and his former classmates
- Action Survivor: When shit starts happening, he's just an average guy with no special skills who really believes in justice. He still Jumps At The Call, because somebody has to do it, and slowly becomes a Bad Ass.
- Adorkable: Both as a kid and as an adult, he doesn't mind making a fool of himself if he believes that it's the right thing to do or that it will be fun. It's one of the main reason people like him and he ends up becoming The Leader.
- Anti-Hero: Starts out as a former rock guitarist now living with his mother and working at a convenience store. He later starts La Résistance, and finally becomes a Rock and Roll Messiah!
- Badass Biker: How he enters the stage at the beginning of the third arc. Of course, his Badass Bike is out of gas after a couple of panels.
- Badass Pacifist: When confronted by a self-appointed Card-Carrying Villain, who's acting as an Evil Overlord of sorts and who killed his sister's fiancee, Kenji still refuses to fight and brings him down by talking.
- Breaking Speech: During the third arc, he manages to Drive To Suicide a guy who spent his whole life trying to be a villain simply by explaining to him how pointless his way of life is and how he comes off more pathetic than menacing.Kenji: "It's not that easy to be evil incarnate, is it? Personally, I think it's easier to be a man of justice."
- Cool Shades: Wears them during the third arc, part of his new Rock'n Roll persona.
- Decoy Protagonist:
- Once the first story arc finishes, the story stops focusing on Kenji to shift to Kanna for most of the remainder of the series.
- Subverted: During the last third of the story, after everybody finally accepted his death, he comes back to be a protagonist again.
- Determinator: His main trait, even noted as such in Friend's virtual reality game.
- The Hero: As a kid he loved heroes, always wanting to play as one in pretend games. As an adult, despite being an underachiever in his daily life, he demonstrates he is willing to be truly heroic when the situation calls for it.
- Not Quite Dead: At the beginning of the third arc it turns out he survived his apparent death, though he needed several years to come to terms with his failure.
- Messianic Archetype: Finds self in the desert, spends three days simply grieving, seemingly dies and comes back to save the world?
- Nice Hat: Eventually gives it to Kanna as a memento.
- Our Hero Is Dead: At the end of the first arc. Several characters spend the whole second arc coming to terms with this.
- Took a Level in Badass:
Otcho (Chouji Ochiai)
- The Atoner: After indirectly causing his son's death, he spends the rest of his life trying to atone for it.
- Bad Ass: He's definitely the strongest and most skilled of the main characters, and probably the smartest. He's essentially a ninja in a modern-day setting.
- Badass Beard: When you put a Bad Ass in prison for several years, you get this. He never bothers shaving it after his escape.
- Badass Longcoat: He wears this all the time after his Training from Hell.
- Badass Grandpa: During the second and third arc he's visibly old, but he doesn't seem to have lost even a bit of his strength and skills.
- The Berserker: In Friend's virtual reality game, and occasionally in real life.
- The Lancer: Both in his childhood and as an adult in the La Résistance. Despite being the smartest and strongest member of the group, Otcho acknowledges that Kenji is the better leader; other characters often informally treat Otcho as the second-in-command, especially when Kenji isn't there.
- Parental Neglect: He spent so little time with his family that his son thought a stranger was his father and chased him into the street, where he was hit by a car. Otcho blames hiself for his death.
- Red Baron: He's called "Shogun".
- Salaryman: Originally was one, but quit after he realized the effect his workaholism had on his family.
- Simple Staff: He's skilled with a bo, but usually uses a pipe instead of a wooden one.
- Training from Hell: He went through this as part of his atonement, then used his new skills to mantain a bit of order in a very poor and unruly part of the city.
- Closer to Earth: A subversion when younger, being a rather fiery Cute Bruiser, but sort of grows into the role post-timeskip.
- Cool Old Lady: After the timeskip. Her physical strength doesn't come into play often, but her inner strength and determination are very notable to the end.
- Cute Bruiser: As a child she was the strongest of Kenji's group.
- Parental Substitute: She is this to Kanna during the first timeskip, after Kenji's disappearance.
- Old Maid: Even after the timeskip it's shown that she never married.
- The Chains of Commanding: He really doesn't want to be the leader after being separated from the rest of the group, especially since the job requires a great deal of pragmatism he's frankly too nice to be comfortable with.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: At first it's just regular Self-Deprecation but as time goes by and he reluctantly becomes leader of the heroes it turns into this.
- Rebel Leader: After Kenji's death and Otcho's capture, he's forced into this.
- Reverse Mole: He infiltrates Friend Land by working there as a janitor.
- Salaryman: Before joining La Résistance he's a pretty pathetic example of this.
- Took a Level in Badass: After the timeskip he becomes legitimately badass in his own quirky way.
- Big Eater: One of his most noticeable traits since he was a child.
- Flashback Echo: He seems to develop post-traumatic stress disorder after the Bloody New Year's Eve.
- Taking You with Me: Comes very, very close to doing this with Friend and a bomb. Remembering Kenji's words about not hurting innocents convinces him not go through with it at the very last minute.
Mon-chan (Masaki Shimon)
- Famous Last Words: "I just want to live as long as possible!"
- Secretly Dying: Until Bloody New Years when he reveals his illness to Yukiji.
- Your Days Are Numbered: He suffers from this during the first arc.
- Creepy Child: When he was a kid, of course.
- Mad Scientist: He considers it a game to make as terrible a virus as possible to see how long it will take Kiriko to develop a vaccine for.
- My God, What Have I Done?: His reaction to finding out Friend planned to kill 99% of the world's population.
- Animal Motifs: With the frog, both in looks and name ("kero" is the Japanese onomatopoeia for a frog's croak).
- Badass Normal: Lacks the kind of training that Otcho has, but still rushes into a burning factory to save lives regardless of his burns.
- Gonk: Sort of. Keroyon isn't hideous, but he has a very froglike visage.
- Refusal of the Call: Ignores Kenji's request to stop Friend, and terribly regrets it.
- Attention Whore: His desire to rule the world is due to him wanting to be the center of everyone's attention and admiration.
- Big Bad: He decides to be this to Kenji's Hero.
- The Bully: He was quite a jerk as a kid. Notably, he's the one directly responsible for Katsumata's Start of Darkness.
- Dead All Along: Turns out Friend did die before thing started falling apart.
- Rival Turned Evil: He pushes his childhood rivalry with Kenji to utterly insane heights.
Donkey (Saburou Kido)
- Agent Scully: Even as a child he firmly believed in science over superstition.
- He Knows Too Much: What ultimately leads to his death is the fact that he happened to witness Fukubei's faked "miracle," and would know that any other resurrection he would have as Friend would be fake as well.
- The Pigpen: As a child he didn't take many baths.
- Posthumous Character: His death starts the story.
- Never Suicide: The plot is started by Kenji not believing his death to be a suicide and starting to look further into it.
- Starts with a Suicide: The story starts with his "suicide". Which is, obiviously, ''not'' a suicide.
Sadakiyo (Kiyoshi Sada)
- The Faceless: He always wears a mask and can't even remember what he looked like as a child.
- Heel-Face Turn
- Heel Realization
- Go Out with a Smile
- Redemption Equals Death
Yanbo and Manbo
- Fat Bastard->Bishōnen->I Was Quite a Looker: Hilariously, they go from portly in childhood, to slim in attractive in adult-hood, back to fat and ugly when they become elderly.
- Heel-Face Turn: Originally sold Kenji's group out to Friend but eventually turned against him.
- Hidden Depths: They started defecting against Friend after a longtime employee of their company died from The Virus.
- Jerk Ass
- Single-Minded Twins: Up until they grew very old, they acted entirely as one.
- Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: They don't even realize they were bullies.
- Wrestler in All of Us
- Creepy Child
- Dead Person Impersonation: Takes up the mantle of Friend after Fukubei dies.
- The Faceless: We never actually see his face before he underwent plastic surgery to look like Fukubei. In the virtual reality game, he simply has no face.
- Freudian Excuse: Despite being even worse than Fukubei as Friend, he actually has one.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: And how. In fact, it is because he was almost literally nobody that he became a nightmare.
- Psychopathic Manchild: This trait is of the few things that first differentiates him from Fukubei.
- Start of Darkness: Several factors lead to him to becoming the second Friend.
- Walking Spoiler
Other good guys
- Action Girl: Sort of.
- A Father To Her Men
- Almighty Janitor: waitress in a crappy restaurant who breaks up mob gunfights.
- Cunning Linguist: Dealing with various mafias has given her a command of Thai and Chinese.
- Early-Bird Cameo: The unnamed girl in the very first volume reacting in horror to Friend's robot is her post-timeskip.
- Expy: Of Nina Fortner.
- Guile Hero
- Heroic BSOD: Twice. First when she finds out that Friend is her father and again when Friend succeeds in killing 90% of the Earth's population and scattering the main characters again.
- Like Uncle Like Niece
- Luke, I Am Your Father: She's Fukubei a.k.a Friend's biological daughter.
- Messianic Archetype: Unites enemies, has unique abilities born to a "holy mother". In a subversion her father would be "the devil" in the situation, so this overlaps a bit with Anti-Antichrist.
- Nice Hat: She got her cap from Kenji as a memento.
- Parental Abandonment
- Plucky Girl
- Psychic Powers: Specifically precognition, and more rarely telekinesis and mental communication.
- Rebel Leader: In the final arc.
- Ship Tease: There's some notable tension between her and Shouhei.
- Tagalong Kid: On the Bloody New Year's Eve
'God/Kami-sama' (Kamigama Kyutaro)
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: A homeless man with psychic powers and obsessed with bowling. He eventually uses his precognitive abilities on the stock market to become one of the richest men in Japan.
- Cool Old Guy
- Crazy Homeless People
- Insistent Terminology: "Don't call me God."
- Mad Oracle: He loves to use bowling metaphors left and right but most characters acknowledge his intelligence and insight. Being an actual psychic helps too.
- Though he himself casts some doubt on his powers, attributing them instead to the Power of Trust. It is left ambiguous.
- Only Known by Their Nickname
- Rags to Riches: Goes from homeless man (with psychic powers) to self-made millionaire and the first Japanese person to go into space.
- Serious Business: takes bowling very seriously.
- Unwanted False Faith
- Wisdom from the Gutter
- Butt Monkey
- By-the-Book Cop: Was one until he discovered Friend control most of the police force.
- Early-Bird Cameo: An off-screen example, but he's the young grandson who's birthday party Chou-san is supposed to attend.
- Embarrassing Nickname: "Chou," pretty much the equivalent of Butterfly.
- Ensign Newbie: A detective, but incredibly inexperienced and living in his grandfather's shadow.
- Ship Tease: With Kanna.
- Great Detective: So great that he found the complete answer to the Driving Question of the series 21 years before anyone else.
- He Knows Too Much
- Married to the Job
- Memetic Badass: Invoked among the police force.
- The Atoner: Spends all of her time trying to treat people for the virus she created.
- Chekhov M.I.A.
- Missing Mom: Left Kanna to Kenji shortly after she was born
- Professor Guinea Pig
- Accidental Misnaming: Her name itself isn't generally mistaken, but she's often annoyed by people claiming the "kyo" in her name means "misfortune/disaster" instead of "echo/reverberation".
- Break the Cutie: Her experience at Friend Land. Slightly subverted in that, traumatic as that was, she seemingly remains as adjusted as ever after her ordeal.
- Butt Monkey: Provides most of the comic relief in the seriously dark series.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Well, not exactly a Bad Ass, but she did some very important things in the series.
- The Ditz
- The Gift: For... bowling, which she doesn't really like and mostly just gets her pestered by an old man.
- Girlish Pigtails
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Sadakiyo. This is actually one of the reasons he has a Heel-Face Turn in the first place.
- She also has one with Yoshitsune, both the adult and the virtual version of him in the Bonus Level.
- Resigned to the Call
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: To the point that after the second major Time Skip near the end, he's the only one close to having enough clout to match Friend's.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Realizes sometime after after Friend's "ressurrection", that the man was a fake who was planning something terrible. This is what led to his near poisoning so he could be replaced with a Friend-allied clergy.
- For Science!: One of the primary reasons for making his giant robot: he thought the fake one was such a piece of crap that he felt obligated to make a real one.
- It was probably all he had left, given he eventually realized (off-screen) that his daughter wasn't being held hostage, but had actively joined the Friends.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Appears early on as a successful enka singer who works with Friend, Later revealed that he's protecting Maruo and helping the La Résistance covertly.
- Stepford Smiler: Subverted when he turns out to be one of the good guys. Then you realize it's probably necessary to get close to Friend.
- The Atoner: Left Kenji's band to join another and felt obligated to help him when the time comes.
- Reverse Mole
(Other) Members and Allies of Friend's Cult
- The Antichrist
- Big Bad
- Big Bad Friend
- The Chessmaster
- Cool Mask: No, the fact that it's a cartoon monkey mask does nothing to stifle it. Probably because it's really a Ninja Hattori-Kun mask.
- Dark Messiah: "Our Friend! Our Friend!"
- Disproportionate Retribution: Combined with Evil Is Petty.
- Hidden Villain
- Legacy Character:
- Luke, I Am Your Father: The first Friend is revealed to be Kanna's father
- Manipulative Bastard
- Omnicidal Maniac
- Plaguemaster: His main method of mass-killing, though mostly the first one.
- Psychopathic Manchild
- The Sociopath: Especially Fukubei, who was manipulative, callous and egocentric ever since childhood.
- Villainous Breakdown: Has a pretty epic one when Kenji apologizes to him at the end, which makes him decide to speed up his plans to kill everyone out of spite.
- Villain with Good Publicity: And HOW! He managed to become World President and got every leader in the world eating out of his hands. Willingly.
Police Officer Assassin
- Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: He has a mole on his face.
- Eyes Always Shut
- Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: He had incredibly narrow eyes.
- The Mole
Prisoner #13 (Masao Tamura)
- Bald of Evil
- Heel-Face Turn: Unclear exactly when it started except when he realized the first Friend was truly dead, but he ended up helping the heroes in the very end.
- Professional Killer: Hitman for the Friend group, though he's in it for loyalty rather than money.
- Psycho for Hire
- Redemption Equals Death: Dies in the process of killing the second Friend.
- Beard of Evil
- The Dragon: To Friend.
- Dead All Along: His mind was stuck in the virtual reality game and didn't realize he had died until Kenji came in and told him.
- Faux Affably Evil
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Went from a penniless Snake Oil Salesman to the second most powerful man on the planet.
- Go Out with a Smile: His Virtual Ghost self fades away after he finally does a good deed. It's surprisingly moving considering what a dick he was for most of the series.
- I Hate Past Me / My God, What Have I Done?: Only really sees the whole nature of his actions in the story when he watches his past self as a Virtual Ghost.
- I Just Want to Be Special: His ghost in the virtual reality machine claims that all he wanted to be was a somebody.
- Redemption Equals Death: Well, technically he was already dead.
- Snake Oil Salesman: Used to sell simple nick-nacks like astronaut food on the street before he started working with Friend.
- Virtual Ghost: Becomes/makes one of these when killed while in a virtual reality game.
- Villain with Good Publicity
- Faux Affably Evil
- Lady Looks Like a Dude: At one point, two characters confuse her for a man.
- Lady Macbeth: Tries to be one of these to Manjoume after the first Friend dies, but he doesn't show much interest. So she eventually kills him and takes the power for herself.
- Slasher Smile
- The Starscream: To Manjoume.
- Stepford Smiler: When acting as a "Dream Navigator".
- Affably Evil
- Card-Carrying Villain: He is very insistent that's he's evil and even compares himself to many famous anime villains. Then subverted when Kenji gets him to admit he's full of it.
- Driven to Suicide: He tries to off himself with a gun when Kenji makes him realize he's not as monstruous as he'd like to think, but is stopped.
- No Name Given
- Professional Killer
- Smug Snake
- Reused Character Design: He has the face and hair of Johan Liebert from Monster.
- Villainous Breakdown
- Walking Shirtless Scene
- What Happened to the Mouse?: His fate is never explained. He might have been killed when the tower was stormed.