22nd Manga Division Critiques
As a Second-year Jury Member
Although this is my second year as a jury member, I've hardly gotten used to it. The intense jury process is over, yet a raging storm remains in my mind, wonder- ing if I had misread or forgotten to say anything. Manga made with superior drawing skills, story, characters, or theme, one that makes you laugh, has drama, that's mysterious, well made, fiction, nonfiction, long-running serials, short stories that sparkle, self-published work, etc., etc... There are so many of them flying around, and the second you miss catching one, it instantly fades into the distance. It's excruciating. That said, I believe we ended up with works that are each unique and excep- tional in its own way.After my second year participating, what was dis- appointing is that pieces we saw last year for which we needed to see a proper ending ended up with a wonderful conclusion, but they were not submitted this year. It makes me realize that these submission-based awards are such a matter of chance. I myself have ap- plied to these contests many times, and it is not fun getting let down so many times. But as a jury member, I cannot help but wish that more submissions are made.In closing, I will name some works that have left an impression on me.One that I felt the most moved by was MADGER- MANES by Birgit WEYHE. The story is based on the real experiences of laborers who came to East Ger- many from Mozambique, Africa in the 1980s. They were promised first-class education, but what they arrived to was hard menial labor and exploitation by the middle man. This is not an issue that is unrelated to us or from a long ago. Three Mozambicans endure being tossed about and hurt, yet each struggles to live. They are por- trayed through a style that is at times humorous and at times dramatically mournful. I wish for everyone to read this exceptional graphic novel.Warera Contactee by MORITA Rui is a factory town sci-fi story that has great momentum both in its draw- ings and story. The clever composition draws you in. I have great expectations for the future of this artist.