Friend from 20th Century Boys.
Friend. Who exactly is Friend? Well, that's the question. It's question that drives the entire series. Just who exactly is Friend, and what is he trying to do?
To shed a little background on why this is such a mystery, let's dig into the backstory of 20CB. In the 1970s, a group of kids formed a club. All of them were addicted to shonen and mecha manga series, and questioned why the villains were always such idiots. As such, they came up with their own idea for a manga, and set out a plan for the villain to follow. They wrote down the ideas in a book, which they would call "The Book of Prophecy", which was known only to the club members.
20-something years later, Kenji Endo, the one-time leader of the club, is an unsuccessful rock musician, working at his family's liquor store. In the news, he sees a string of virus breakouts that are killing numerous people in major cities. Around the same time, he sees a familiar symbol... the symbol of his old club. Around this time, a political party known as the Friendship Group appear. Their leader is a strange man calling himself Friend, who wears a variety of masks. The symbol of the organisation, however, is the interesting part... It's none other than the club's symbol, something only a few people knew of. As a series of bizarre coincides seem to line up, Kenji comes to a startling realisation... the disease is exactly what the villain had planned in The Book of Prophecy. And as everything lines up, it becomes clear that Friend is behind everything... meaning that the criminal mastermind is none other than one of Kenji's old friends.
The strange thing about Friend is that you hardly ever see him. He's absent for most of the series, and yet he comes off even better for it... because while you can't see him, you know damn well that he can see you. His followers are everywhere. His reach is near absolute. If you know something you aren't supposed to, you're as good as dead. A single slip of the tongue to anybody will almost inevitably end up in Friend finding out, and let's just say that when he does, you're gonna get befriended.
The result is that Friend is mortifyingly scary. You never know what he's planning or why, you don't know who he is, you don't know how powerful he is, you don't know who's working for him... all you really know is that whatever it is, it's not good news for Kenji or anybody involved with him.
Favourite Quote: "If I show you my face... will you be my friend?"