I didn't really like the ending for 21st CB when I first read it. I mean, the whole revelation of "him" being the real friend was good and all, very clever and all considering Urasawa planned that shit from the very beginning. But overall I felt the series took a dip in quality after 17/18 volumes.
Have you seen the movies? Not a fan of them myself, but they expanded on the manga's ending a bit more. Would have preferred an anime instead, but what can you do?
As for Inoue's art, I don't know if I would say it isn't as detailed. To me, at least, it's gotten more 'grittier' as the story has progressed, and perhaps the way it has progressed means he's challenged himself more. The art definitely looks better on paper than it does online.
Don't know if you seen this yet. There's lots of footage and even a documentary on there somewhere.
You might want to check out Hideout first as it's shot, although it's up to you. Also, 'Rainbow' from the same author is meant to quite good as well. It's set in a prison, but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. He is known for is extreme violence as you will soon see. But like I said earlier, he's so under appreciated and such an amazing mangaka.
As for 20th CB, I really need to pick up the last three volumes. I need vol.22 and the last two volumes of 21st CB to complete. I never, ever EVER buy manga from high street book stores as they charge ridiculous prices. Something like 20th CB would cost anything from £10 and above, on amazon they're like £6 or just a bit under
I have a huge collection of comics, trades and books, so I'm with you on wanting the physical copies. Any site you suggest for finding GB and Hideout? And I'm glad you still buy the books because if no one does, they'll stop bringing things here...
Yeah, I had already gotten like the first 20-some-odd American tonkubon before they started doing the VizBigs, so I only have those. Do the VizBigs include the cover art from the regular-sized tonkubon? I have the VizBigs for Dragonball (and Z) which are nice because they include some of the color pages and the little tonkubon do not have any color...
I don't think 20th Century Boys, Monster or Pluto sold nearly as well here as they did in Japan, so I'm not sure if they want to risk translating Billy Bat. I may be stuck with scanlations...
Unfortunately there's only scanlated version available online at the moment for GB and Hideout, but they're still worth a read for now. Although I prefer owning physical copies myself more than anything. If I really like a manga that I've read online, I will still buy the official versions if or when they become licensed.
So do you collect the normal editions of Vagabond, then? 3-in-1 Viz Big editions for me since 2010, although they take much longer to come out. His art is incredible, though. I was going to get Water a long time ago, but never got around to it.
And I'm really surprised Billy Bat hasn't been licensed yet. It's shaping up to potentially be his finest work yet.
Aye, all are truly fabulous artists, each with their own unique style so it's hard to choose one over the other. Urasawa is definitely up there as well. In fact he might even be considered underrated in the artistic department because the way he connects his complex stories with his simple, yet beautifully drawn and effective art is second to none in that category.
I have not read much of Gantz yet, only seen a few panels here and there.
And you might want to check some works from Kakizaki Masasumi, another fab artist who doesn't get the recognition he deserves, such as Green Blood and Hideout - both very gritty and dark manga, although the latter might just be the best short manga (9 chapters I believe) series I've ever read.