Award-winning WorksManga Division
- MURAKAMI TomohikoProfessor, Kobe Shoin Women's UniversityMURAKAMI TomohikoEvery work that was selected for the final screening is unique and reminds the jury of the depth and breadth of manga expression. I would also like to mention some other works that came up in the discussion. Young and middle-aged artists received many votes in the early stages, and in the end, the 'veterans' yielded to the young. JIN by MURAKAMI Motokazu, MOROHOSHI Daijiro's bio no mokushiroku, and MOBILESUIT GUNDAM THE ORIGIN by YASUHIKO Yoshikazu were excellent and are regarded as characteristic works. In particular, 5 minutes from the station by KURAMOCHI Fusako is an aspiring work that portrays human relationships in our Internet society, and has a high level of characteristic manga expression. It is a story about people's lives of different generations and professions in a small town, and how they are loosely related to each other. Another impressive work is IGARASHI Mikio's To Kamuroba Village. This story portrays a kind of utopia that is experienced by the hero who refuses money. A strange event caused by human imagination colors the world and imparts a peculiar feeling after reading the story.
- HOSOGAYA AtsushiAssociate Professor, Tokyo Polytechnic UniversityHOSOGAYA AtsushiI joined the panel of jury this year. The screenings took place at a turning point of the government's pop-culture policy, and I recently joined the teaching staff of the manga division of a university. These events made me think a lot about manga. There are many amateur manga artists who support today's manga culture. The daily media orientation of the readers is shifting from paper to digital media. Hence, we can expect the rampant rise of non-professional or non-book works from applicants in five to ten years. When I think of this trend, I feel I am not the only one who worries a sense of foreboding about the small number of applicants in the field of Web manga or independent categories. The number of manga schools and manga divisions is increasing, but I feel that not enough effort is being put to promote them.
- NAGAI GoHead of the Jury / Manga ArtistNAGAI GoThe five members of the jury chose five works that they liked from among the many submissions, and discussed the good points. The works that received the nod from a number of judges became the recipients of the excellence awards, and one of them is judged as the Grand Prize winner. Each nominee is selected from among the outstanding entries. However, the discussion was intense as deciding the definite winner was not an easy task. We also had to decide any defects in the works by pulling each other's opinions. It is not a pleasant task to discuss the faults of outstanding and excellent works, but the work with the fewest faults becomes the winner. Thus, VINLAND SAGA, which some judges described as an "ultra-orthodox adventure story," was chosen as the Grand Prize winner.
- SAITO ChihoManga ArtistSAITO ChihoFor the last couple of years the number of the new manga titles I have read was not many. Screening process this time therefore made me a little dizzy against a heap of more than 100 manga titles. After all, I was not able to even to touch the 25 titles that had passed the screening, due to the hectic of my own deadlines of the works. It was not an easy job to read them, but I must say I had thoroughly enjoyed-all of the final screening titles maintained very high standard with rich contents. I was particularly intrigued in the awarded works, in particular in the subject area of the historical and the science fantasy. It was also truly an exciting process to see how other jury members selected their own final candidates-so much difficult to select a few as the awarded pieces among many other of the books-a precious moment you would not encounter much in your life time. The diversity of the manga as the subject area was so apparent and appealing, and I feel very lucky to thoroughly enjoy this rare opportunity.
- SHIRIAGARI KotobukiManga ArtistSHIRIAGARI KotobukiThere 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.