23rd Manga Division Critiques

The End of a Long Distrust

I was particularly struck by three works: Robo sapiensu zenshi (Prehistory of Robo Sapiens) by SHIMADA Toranosuke, which won the Grand Prize; hana to hoho (Flower and Cheek) by ITOI Kei, for which I wrote the critique when it won a New Faces Award; and WAYAMA Yama's There is no other. also a New Faces Award winner. These works made me sense the possible demise of strategic design, but they also conveyed an elementary trust between people - in this case between author and reader. I am not sure if they were written without any strategic design, but the works that I wanted to recommend were those that held something different from just a "wellconstructed" one. I believe what I was feeling was plain joy in the realization that the artist trusted me, the reader. I am a working manga artist, and yet I had lost sight of this very issue. Being a commercial author for a long time can incur a lack of faith in the reader at the basis of our work in some way. While this can lead to innovation and variation, after reading the works I just mentioned it really made me sense that this distrust ends up being a dead-end for us. The way in which works written with trust in the reader can effortlessly exceed any strategic design fills me with pure delight. Advances in communication can facilitate our living in an isolated state where we can nevertheless remain connected, and I think that this trust is what we truly desire at our innermost core--the subtlety of a handshake rather than routing applause. Works like this show us what we've really always wanted. I have a feeling that when we look back at this year, we'll realize that this was a turning point

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NISHI Keiko
Manga Artist