15th Manga Division Critiques
The difficulty of choosing from among works of uniformly high quality
This was my first experience being on the side of the jury. I am certain I was a burden to my fellow jury members and the staff, and wish first to offer them my apologies.
As one would expect, the works that remained for the final screening were all outstanding. To tell the truth there were none that I wanted to drop. It was difficult to bid farewell to works like MOON, perhaps the most highly evolved ballet manga ever written by a male author; Space Brothers, with its superbly timed humor; the majestic epic Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin; and Shingeki no Kyojin, which exuded the greatest sense of mystery among the monster manga in spite of its somewhat crude touch. But the work I pushed for the hardest was Mamagoto. I've had my eye on the author since she debuted with Kaoru no Hiwa and although it pained me much to think she would go uncrowned, her work's true power is hard to see in a single volume and so leaves me looking forward to next year and beyond.
Meanwhile, Excellence Award-winner HIMITSU THE TOP SEACRET was flawless and garnered nearly unanimous support as a candidate to receive the Grand Prize. That the author is already so famous, however, may have inspired a root-for-the-underdog sympathy that tilted the scales in favor of the lesser-known Saturn Apartments, the upset winner of the Grand Prize. As a member of the jury I am ashamed to admit that I had neglected to read Saturn Apartments prior to its candidacy, but I found it to be a fine piece of work full of clever ideas.
I am also deeply moved that two works from overseas have received awards. Fun Home -A Family Tragicomic-, in particular, made me think again about where comics began and how they have evolved. Among the New Face Award-winners, THE ADVENTURES OF NAKAYOSHI CREW drew broad support while the others were all bunched up a step back. In the end it was Magemon., whose author is relatively established for a newcomer, took the day. There is more I'd like to write but I'm all out of space....