19th Manga Division Critiques

This Year’s Characteristics and the Future Prospects

It is a very joyous thing to see that the number of applications is increasing every year. This year, close to 1000 applied, and I looked forward to reading all of them. However, I was worried evaluations would be inconsistent as there were many pieces comprised of multiple volumes to go through the vast quantity of works under constrained time. I believe the jury members were able to help each other as we thoroughly exchanged opinions and referenced each other's impressions.
Alas, it is human who decides after all. Our preferences are very divisive. Though some works had to be dropped regrettably under one's assessment of the situation, it was interesting to see how one can observe this year's increasingly elucidated characteristic. First of all, the number of online manga and self-published manga decreased dramatically. Perhaps this decrease was due to the fact that last year had multiple works submitted by the same artist. Even as the applications from self-published manga decreased, the quality was extremely high and excited us the jurors.
This year, self-published manga were no longer a collection made by those who couldn't be professionals, but a gathering of artistic and literary works that commercial publications would have difficulties handling! I read them with great affection, as I was overwhelmed by their liberated imagination and creativity. On the other hand, the direction of online manga has a tumultuous road ahead. I have high hopes for online manga as the new media of the future, but also recognize the problem with judging the hardcopy manga and online manga together under the same scale. As many professional works begin as a book, which then gets converted to digital versions, there are no reasons to differentiate between paper and digital. Some works were indiscernible if done by a professional or an amateur, and contributed to the overall low quality of online manga. Having said that, there were certainly some works that would not have been possible on paper. It is the reality, however, that there are very little leeway to consider the future prospects manifested in prototypes that may be experimental or in research phase, since some jurors demand high quality only from paper manga. Though I may be a juror, I have not forgotten my soul as a manga artist; I dream the possible futures and jump onto works if they are simply interesting, not just because of narrative construction or technical levels. I have greater anticipations for manga that will surpass the paper version.

INUKI Kanako
Manga Artist and Visiting Professor, Osaka University of Arts
Born in 1958 in Hokkaido. She made her debut with a special edition of Shojo Friend [Kodansha]. Since the beginning of the series Suspense and Horror [Kodansha, 1989-] she has been drawing the covers and front pages of its magazines. In 1989 she also released one of her best-known works, Fushigi no Tatarichan (Strange Tatari) [Kodansha, 1992-]. In 1992 INUKI drew the covers and front pages for many publishers. At this time, her works were first used as the basis for original video animations. A judge for the Kanako INUKI Manga Award, she has also regularly served as a selection member for several horror manga magazines. In 2001 an exhibition of her works was held at the National Museum of China in Beijing as part of the 1st Japan-China Non-governmental Cultural Exchange. INUKI is a jury member of Manga no Hi and the Japan Manga Association Award. Since 2008 she has been a visiting professor at Osaka University of Arts. Solo exhibitions of her work were held in France in 2011 and in Ginza, Tokyo in 2013. In April 2014 she was appointed as a lecturer at Tokyo University of the Arts. In 2016 the exhibition Hora-mangaka Inkuki Kanako no sekai (Horror-Manga Artist—The world of INUKI Kanako) was held at Nihon University College of Art's Archive and Museum.