13th Manga Division Critiques
There were many submissions to the manga division again this year. In the Web manga category, we saw many approaches that foreshadow the new era of mobile phones and the Web. We also saw great diversity and high-level, eye-catching presentations in the frame manga/independent category. In the feature manga category, we received more distinctive submissions this year than in previous years that represent today's times. Much to our delight, the selection was very tight. The five works that received the Grand Prize and Excellence Prizes are especially outstanding, including those that offer a sharp perspective to reflect our present times-that have the ability to expand the expressive range of manga, and others by talented experts. All of the works are outstanding and incorporate a fresh vision, extensive research, and high-level skill; and the competition for the Grand Prize between VINLAND SAGA and Hyouge-Mono was very strong. The former is based on the history of Northern Europe and undoubtedly walks along the true road of entertainment. Although the latter depicts the history of the Warring States period in Japan, as a production set in those times, it unusually presents a totally fresh viewpoint by portraying warlords not on the battlefield, but as people who loved the utensils used in the tea ceremony. Both works deserve recognition as Grand Prize recipients that the screening sessions prolonged extensively. However, the decision was given to VINLAND SAGA by merely a difference of one vote. I think it was a good decision. Personally, I was delighted to get acquainted with so many excellent works during the screening process. I hope the awards will make the works attract the attention of as many people as possible, and expand the potential of manga.