20th Century Boys: The Last Chapter-Our Flag (Saishû-shô-Bokura no hata) (2009)

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Released 1-Sep-2010

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Alternate Ending
More…-Press Conference Promo
Theatrical Trailer
Teaser Trailer
Trailer-Eastern Eye Trailers
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 149:41
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Yukihiko Tsutsumi
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Yasushi Fukuda
Naoki Urasawa
Naoto Takenaka
Teruyuki Kagawa
Arata
Kôichi Yamadera
Renji Ishibashi
Gregory Pekar
Ryûnosuke Kamiki
Mayuko Fukuda
Hitomi Kuroki
Eiko Koike
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI Box Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, alternative ending after credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     It is 2017. The resurrected Friend has become a god and World President after a deadly virus released on his orders killed more than half of the Earth’s population. Tokyo has been encircled by a giant wall to protect the residents from the virus, although some people survive outside the walls, saved by the vaccination discovered by Kanna’s mother Kiriko (Hitomi Kuroki). And there is a new prophecy from Friend: on 20 August 2017 aliens will invade the Earth and the remainder of the population will be killed by a new, even more deadly virus. Only those who believe in Friend will be saved. Inside the wall, Kanna (Airi Taira) is a resistance leader urging the people to rise up on 20 August and attack Friend, Yoshitsune (Teruyuki Kagawa) still leads the few remnants of their old group while Maruo (Hidehiko Ishizuka) is on the track of Kiriko and a possible vaccination for the new virus. Otcho (Etsushi Toyokawa) scales the wall from outside searching for Kanna and Yoshitsune with the news that he believes Kenji (Toshiaki Karasawa) is alive and may be coming to save the world. As 20 August looms, all the main players gather for a showdown that will either finally reveal all or lead to the total destruction of humanity on this planet.

     Part three of the trilogy 20th Century Boys: The Last Chapter – Our Flag (20-seiki shonen: Saishû-shô - Bokura no hata ) starts off with a recapitulation of the first two films and then proceeds to try to tie up the many character story arcs and other loose ends. Indeed, much of The Last Chapter – Our Flag is bogged down in exposition: what a number of the characters have been doing, what really happened during “Bloody New Year’s Eve” or outside the Shinjuki Church, explanations for the virus and Friend’s resurrection and “magic” tricks, another version of the school lab sequence. As such, it takes about 45 minutes for the story to get started and although there are some good minor action sequences involving Kanna and Otcho, and tension in the sequence when Kanna confronts Friend, there is not really enough of these two characters who made Chapter 2 – The Last Hope so interesting. The Last Chapter – Our Flag also returns to the extensive use of CGI effects that were so prevalent in Chapter 1 - Beginning of the End although parts of the climax, with flying saucers spewing the virus over Tokyo while a giant robot rampages through the city, are exciting enough. .

     20th Century Boys is an epic trilogy based on the hugely popular manga by writer Naoki Urasawa. The third film, 20th Century Boys: The Last Chapter – Our Flag, certainly tries to tie everything together but almost drowns under the weight of all the exposition. As well, like that other famous third firm The Return of the King, it has trouble making up its mind when to stop and we have two endings of the film, one before and one after the credits, so make sure you don’t stop watching. Indeed, while the first ending ties up the plot, the second actually has more to say about motivation, and friendship, and its opposite: the effects of alienation from society.

     To its credit, at it’s core the 20th Century Boys trilogy, and especially this last chapter, is about more than action; it is also a reflection on friendship, alienation and isolation, and what it means to be a man of the 20th century. While not a total success due to the myriad of character arcs and plot strands condensed into three films, the 20th Century Boys trilogy has an intriguing premise, interesting ideas, some good action and set pieces but it really is a case of some parts being better than the whole.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     20th Century Boys: The Last Chapter – Our Flag is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, close to the original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     There is nothing wrong with the print, although it was not as sharp as I would have expected. Colours are muted yet natural, blacks and shadow detail are fine, brightness, contrast, skin tones good. I saw no film artefacts except some edge enhancement.

     The English subtitles are in a yellow font and I did not notice any spelling or grammatical errors. Captions translating Japanese signs are in white.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     While Part 1 offered a choice between Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps and Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps, Part 3 follows Part 2 in only having a Dolby Digital 2.0 track at 224 Kbps.

     The good news is that this is still a very good audio track. It was surround encoded. Dialogue was clear, effects were good and music and effects were in the surrounds. On my system the subwoofer was very active, especially with the flying saucers and crash of the robot’s feet in the climax.

     Lip synchronisation is fine.

     The score by Ryomei Shirai used both electronic and orchestral music and added some Japanese and Western pop songs including 20th Century Boy by T-Rex. It was an effective support for the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Alternative Ending (24:30)

     This is an extended version of the ending that occurred after the credits with a few additional pieces, such as Kanna meeting her mother.

Press Conference Promo (4:41)

     An extended ad for the first film.

Original Teaser (0:35)

Original Trailer (1:42)

Eastern Eye Trailers

     Trailers for other films from Madman. Included is The Grudge: White Ghost & Black Ghost (1:13), Love Exposure (2:12), Goemon (2:18), Survive Style 5+ (1:36) and Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (1:14).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The three films have been released separately in Region 1 US, Region 2 Japan, Region 2 UK and elsewhere. The Region 1 discs are single discs which seem to have similar video and audio to ours and only trailers as extras. The Japanese Region 2 release is not English friendly.

     In Region 2 UK there are two disc editions of the first two films but I cannot find The Last Chapter – Our Flag available on the sites I checked.

     The complete trilogy is also available in Region 2 Japan and Region 2 UK. The UK version seems the best as they have a 4 disc edition with a 24 page booklet (made up like the Book of Prophecy) and all the extras on the fourth disc. Here in Region 4 Madman has spread these same extras across the 3 discs. The Region 2 Japanese release is a 3 disc set which does not seem to have any extra features that are not on the Region 4; for example, there is no audio commentary.

     I did not notice any compression issues in the Region 4 disc, but clearly having the extras on one disc would free up space. That and the booklet would give the Region 2 UK individual version of the trilogy the win.

Summary

     20th Century Boys is an epic trilogy based on the hugely popular manga by writer Naoki Urasawa. The third film, 20th Century Boys: The Last Chapter – Our Flag, certainly tries to tie up all the loose ends and the plot strands, and it almost drowns under the weight of all the exposition. To its credit, at it’s core the 20th Century Boys trilogy, and especially this last chapter, is about more than action; it is also a reflection on friendship, alienation and isolation, and what it means to be a man of the 20th century. The video and audio are good, the extras minimal except for the alternative ending.

     In Region 4 Madman have released the three 20th Century Boys films as one box set containing all the extras on the three discs, unlike the Region 2 UK release that has the extras on a 4th disc.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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