©︎ Inio Asano / Shogakukan

25th Manga Division Excellence Award


ASANO Inio[Japan]


On August 31, an enormous spaceship suddenly swoops down on Tokyo and destroys it. Three years later, its “mother ship” is still staying silently above Tokyo, becoming a part of the everyday scenery. High school girls KOYAMA Kadode and NAKAGAWA Oran are enjoying their youth, but everyday life gradually starts to be disrupted. Invaders hide among people, the mother ship starts to fall apart, and the country is in turmoil—the countdown to the end of humanity begins. The existence of a parallel world is revealed, and a highly constructed worldview unfolds traversing the science fiction genre. Taking place after the unprecedented disaster seems to imply the Great East Japan Earthquake and the nuclear power plant accident. The society that lost a sense of emergency, despite the extraordinary situation with the mother ship hovering above Tokyo and the Self-Defense Force fighting against flying saucers, seems to imply the present time with the COVID-19 pandemic. This work also satirizes the dark side of modern times, such as fake news and conspiracy theories. The well-thought-out characters, including minor ones, add a dramatic effect, while the imbalance between the realistic depiction of a collapsing city and the visual expression of innocent girls creates a surrealistic impression.

Reason for Award

Under the threat of alien invasion, high school girls in Tokyo live their lives playing games and having romances. With occasional Doraemon parodies, the work criticizes the government and society. Time-traveling and parallel worlds are discussed and the countdown to the end of the world begins. You probably don’t understand what I am writing about. I would like to first express my admiration for the artist’s ability in creating a multilayered worldview while cramming in so many elements. “Invasion by weak aliens” may remind you of the movie District 9 (2009), but the artist digs this theme deeper with a critical eye. This work is also a good read as a social critique, containing the experimental spirit in the title logo and aliens’ dialogues, the shocking visual expressions of the destruction scenes, the hardheaded lyricism in depicting adolescence (which is the artist’s specialty), the critical and partially predictive thoughts portraying the social situation from the Great East Japan Earthquake to the pandemic, and the scenery between disasters in Japan. (SAITO Tamaki)