22nd Manga Division Critiques

Despite Changes in Industrial Structure, Manga is Power

The expectation for the manga of Japan, whose main place of publication is magazines, is that it has power to draw readers in, even if they start reading midway through the story. In this regard, the Grand Prize win- ner ORIGIN has incredible power. While the images are drawn in great detail, they are organized in an easy- to-read manner. It is constructed at varying paces, involving both stillness and movement. The stable per- spective and composition prevent confusion even in dramatic action scenes. Laid-back humor is interwoven within the hardcore sci-fi drama... I started reading this halfway through the series, but it dragged me in. Of course, I got even more enthralled when I went back and read it from the top.With the decline of the magazine medium, we are seeing diverse ways in which manga is released. Many of the award-winners are manga series that ran on the Internet or are newly created pieces. Despite the changes in the industry structure, the power of manga remains unchanged. While they range in styles, they are all superior works that quickly draw in readers. It was challenging to rank them, but we tried to stay mindful of variety and balance. The unique role of these awards presented by The Agency of Cultural Affairs, I believe, is to highlight genres that are not mainstream but are important, and those that are mainstream but have very few submissions to this festival.Among the "jury selections," I would strongly rec- ommend Voy a contarte historias de un lugar lejano by SUDO Masumi. It brings a supernatural phenomenon into an ordinary rustic life and churns it to highlight the emotional interactions among the characters. By draw- ing lines with gaps in them and detailed landscapes with skillfully omitted parts, SUDO demonstrates her masterful ability to create both a solid sense of reality and airy softness. While she often creates short sto- ries, this is her first full-length story in a while. The story development is remarkable in that the first half nestles within the latter half, which has an even greater story line. It can be considered the culmination of the artist's work, packed with all of her talents. A highly recom- mended read.

OMOTE Tomoyuki
Researcher, Kitakyushu Manga Museum
Born in 1969 in Osaka Prefecture. OMOTE earned a Ph.D. in literature from the Graduate School of Letters at Osaka University. He was involved in the opening of the Kyoto International Manga Museum at Kyoto Seika University and worked as a researcher of general arts before assuming his current position as manager of art-related affairs in 2011. He also works as the vice president of Kyushu Comitia Meeting, a voluntary group that puts on Kyushu Comitia, a fanzine exhibition and sale established in 2017. OMOTE also served as a director for the Japan Society for Studies in Cartoons and Comics from 2013 to 2017. His major works include Manga to museum ga deau toki (When Manga Meets Museums) [Rinsen Book Co., 2009; co-author with KANAZAWA Kodama and MURATA Mariko], Sabetsu to mukiau manga tachi (Mangas Who Face Discrimination) [Rinsen Book Co., 2007; co-author with YOSHIMURA Kazuma and TANAKA Satoshi], and Hadashi no Gen ga ita fukei: manga, senso, kioku (Contexts of Barefoot Gen: Manga, War, Memory) [Azusa Shuppansha, 2006; co-editor with YOSHIMURA Kazuma and FUKUMA Yoshiaki]. On many occasions, he has also provided commentary and chronological compilations of authors' bodies of work for special editions of books.