25th Manga Division Critiques
Power to Sense, Take in, and Amplify Changes
Manga is entertainment that mirrors social conditions.
Participating in judging for the first time, I was surprised
anew by how many works are sensitively and flexibly
integrating the social conditions, and how the creators
keep their eyes open.
Gender-related works have remarkably evolved over
the past few years, and stories that are more open to
diverse genders and different forms of love are shaped
into a form of drama. The homosexuality-themed Jury
Selections—HEARTSTOPPER, depicting the exhilaration of love, and Kaijuni natta gei (A gay man who turned
into a monster) in which aggravated mental trauma goes
out of control—appeal to everyone with common emotions and win the readers’ hearts.
The Grand Prize winner, Golden Raspberry, exquisitely crafted a delightful story about the changing
positions of men and women. The Social Impact Award
winner, ONNA NO SONO NO HOSHI, presents a unique
sense of high school girls who stay away from romance
yet maintain glamour, striking a chord for many readers.
Portraying the evanescence of “extinct” animal characters, The Concierge at Hokkyoku Department Store
produces an uplift feeling with a lovely taste as if opening a beautiful wrapping paper. THE BEST WE COULD
DO: AN ILLUSTRATED MEMOIR, a record of exile from
Vietnam, vividly reveals the psychological changes of a
family. DEAD DEAD DEMON’S DEDEDEDE DESTRUCTION appears as if it is placed at the tip of the sharpest
antenna. It is realized with almost obsession-like drawings, from the vastness of the overlooking world to the
slight changes within mankind.
The New Face Award winner, Rolling Siblings,
comically and splendidly depicts the fact that human
relationships are established based on affinity, on the
premise that they don’t mesh. Manga offers a clear answer to a complex problem that arises in life. Manga
culture is said to be declining, yet new buds of comic
culture are sprouting in response to the ever-changing
world. I am certain of its strong vitality and potential.