20th Century Boys 1: Beginning of the End is the first film in Yukihiko Tsutsumi’s 3-part live-action film adaptation of Naoki Urasawa’s popular “20th Century Boys” manga serial. It was released by Toho in Japan on August 30, 2008.
The film’s story begins in 1969, as a young rock ‘n’ roll enthusiast named Kenji makes a secret fort with his friends. Together they write the “Book of Prophecy”, which details a tokusatsu-inspired future in which a giant killer robot threatens mankind and only they can rise up to stop it. Many years later, in 1997, Kenji (Toshiaki Karasawa) has given up his dream of becoming a rock star and has resigned himself to a dull life managing a convenience store. He also has to take care of his baby niece, Kanna, because his sister suddenly took off with no explanation.
Meanwhile, a strange cult has been gaining followers lately due to their mysterious leader, who’s known only as “Friend” (Tomodachi). Kenji notices that this cult is using the same image that he himself drew on the cover of the Book of Prophecy when he was a kid. Soon, horrible events start occurring that were foretold in the book. On December 31, 2000, a giant plague-spreading robot begins decimating Tokyo. The only people that know about the Book of Prophecy are Kenji and his childhood friends, and they also know they’re the only ones that can save humanity—no matter how impossible it may seem.