19th Manga Division Critiques
The Thing I Felt the Most in Awards…
An Impressive group of masterpieces were left as 50 works were narrowed from 948. We carried on against the daunting challenge, and after the long deliberation process, the masterpiece Kakukaku shikajika (So-and-so, Such-and-such) won the Grand Prize.
I renewed my conviction that timing is essential for awards, and some works are difficult to be recognized. For example, Otouto no otto (My Brother's Husband) was awarded without much ado an Excellence Award in comparison, since LGBT issues are receiving attention presently. Without doubt, the work itself is admirable, but it is a great example of how the current situation positively influenced the outcome. My recommendation is to see the continued serialization to determine the work as a true masterpiece or greatest oeuvre. As such, I imagine next year to be another high-level contentions.
Allow me to grossly categorize the works into "entertainment" that focused on amusement and "real" that dissected social conditions. In the latter, the impressive work Kenko de bunkateki na saiteigen no seikatsu (Maintain the Minimum Standards of Wholesome and Cultured Living) depicted the struggles of a rookie caseworker. Capturing the social problems of illegally receiving welfare benefits, this work demonstrated the steadfastness of an "occupational manga" genre. Additionally, How are you?, a Heisei version of Koware yuku onna (A Woman Under the Influence), brilliantly depicted a female foreigner lost after her husband suddenly disappears. Joshi kousei ni korosaretai (I want to be murdered by a high school girl) appears to be from "entertainment" for depicting the perverted sexual delusions of full-on Thanatos drive, and yet hinting at an eerie "realism" of the current milieu in which tabloids demonize male molesters and men who pay to date young women.
Lastly, the self-published manga in such forms as Dojinshi were extremely bountiful. Many notable works exemplified the wide-ranging variety of manga. Though ultimately not awarded, many works showed the healthy state of nonsense manga and reaffirmed the charm of one-frame manga. Without entries from online manga this year, such as the four-frame manga that use animation, expect breakthroughs when this field develops and creates more masterpieces.