©Kazuhiko Shimamoto/SHOGAKUKAN

18th Manga Division Excellence Award

Aoi honoo

SHIMAMOTO Kazuhiko [Japan]


A “manga about manga artists” in which the main character, HONOO Moyuru, is comically portrayed as he resolves to make his debut as a manga artist. Though claimed to be a fiction, it possesses autobiographical aspects, while real figures also make an appearance. In the early 1980s, a first grader at Osakka Art University in Osaka named HONOO Moyuru passes his days while holding an ambition and strong passion to become a manga artist. In a search to find his own path, HONOO has confidence but with no grounding in his own ability. He takes his manuscripts to a publishing company in Tokyo, has a feud with classmate ANNO Hideaki, the creator of Neon Genesis Evangelion in his younger days, and plays a game of love with Tonko, a senior he adores… This work is an elegy of agony about the daily struggles of an impassioned student, set to a backdrop of an age in which the Japanese manga/animation world was entering a new phase.

Reason for Award

This work, categorized into the socalled “manga about manga artists” genre, is the story of an art student, apparently the artist himself, who aims to become a manga artist at a time in the early 1980s when their art and design university was a place of fierce competition. In authentic manga of this genre, manga artists and animators familiar to the reader are essential, and this work is no exception. Before long, ANNO Hideaki, who took the world by storm with Neon Genesis Evangelion, and OKADA Toshio, thought of as the founder of otaku culture, appear as themselves to play humorous supporting roles. The main character’s criticism of popular manga of the time is also extremely funny. At the beginning of each volume, it is strongly emphasized that the story is fictional, but no reader will believe it. Is the implication, then, that ultimately their art university producing prominent figures at the time were the “Tokiwa-so of the 1980s”? In short, this work is The Way of Manga for the Heisei years. It has been seven years since the start of its serialization, but following its popularity as a late-night TV drama, it has surely become the inseason manga of the day. (SUGAYA Mitsuru)