23rd Manga Division Critiques
From Pureness to Darkness
This is my second year on the jury, and the number of entries fell by over 200 from the previous year to a total of 666. The 126 works that cleared the preliminary selection by the Selection Members, however, were all of high quality. I faced my task of reading these works with delight, as well as a heavy sense of responsibility in evaluating them. Robo sapiensu zenshi (Prehistory of Robo Sapiens), which won the Grand Prize, presented a story evolving over a long period of time with intricate illustrations, resulting in a impressively high degree of perfection. Bikacho shinshi kaikoroku (Memoirs of Amorous Gentlemen) addresses the essence of sexual desire with a stylish layout that truly sparkles. DOUBLE, the story of two actors struggling to break their ties, has an impressive ability to draw the reader in, and even though this was the first in the series, it won the high praise of all jury members to earn the Excellence Award. The masterpiece The Arab of the Future A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1984, an autobiographical manga written by a French manga artist, and Ashitashinuniwa, (To Die Tomorrow,), which sensitively depicts the turmoil of a woman in her 40s, fills out this group of works that won the Excellence Award, all being impressive manga boasting a variety of themes and expression. There is no other. combines exquisite drawing with a plot development that surprises its readers by being completely unexpected, which ends up making them laugh. The vibrant descriptions in hana to hoho (Flower and Cheek) cleverly depict emotional upheaval, and have the kind of freshness one would expect to see in the winner of the New Faces Award. If You Become an Adult is a highly sophisticated work that has been well thought-out. It is precisely this kind of work that the Japan Media Arts Festival, which welcomes self-published works and manga from dojinshi (self published comics), can duly recognize with an award. It is somewhat sad that we had entries like this amazing work, and yet the total number of entries in the Manga Division fell significantly from that of the previous year. I think we must do more to let people know about this valuable award. The new Social Impact Award was won by Yamikin Ushijimakun (Ushijima the Loan Shark), a long-running manga series that depicted the darkness of an era.