23rd Manga Division Excellence Award
NODA Ayako [Japan]
This manga uses realistic strokes to depict the life of actors working in a small theater, as well as what working on theater and movie sets is really like. Two aspiring actors, KAMOSHIMA Yujin and TAKARADA Takara, have been in a small theater company for seven years. When Yujin, who was originally involved with a small student theater group, begins to teach acting technique to the inexperienced Takara, he exhibits a talent impressive enough to inspire jealousy in Yujin. But only Yujin has noticed his skill at this point. Wanting to bring Takara’s talent to the world, Yujin rents two cheap neighboring apartments and they move into them. Yujin has to maintain Takara in every way, since he has no survival skills of his own. Yujin has not given up on his own dreams, however, and he and Takara set out to become the “world’s best actors.” Takara gradually begins to lead the life of an actor. Yujin’s overall attitude toward him and his appeal, as well as the tenuous nature of his existence that requires so much support from others, is expressed symbolically in the scenes they perform. The subtleties of the characters’ feelings are represented through delicately drawn lines.
Reason for Award
In most manga, there is only one main character. When there are two, the feelings of one character are inevitably featured more than those of the other, and the story tends to become a tale of just one of them. DOUBLE, however, steadily captures the lifestyle and development of both characters. The author is able to achieve this through highly dimensional settings for both the main and secondary characters. These settings, depicted in such detail that the reader would think the author walked there herself doing copious research, are drawn with impressive skill. The story is told in both soft and impassioned dialogue, and the drawings fully express emotions that match the characters’ words. What will Takara do next? And Yujin, for that matter? The readers over and over again experience an eagerness to find out what will happen and what they will do next, further drawing them into the story. The title DOUBLE very likely has a deeper meaning. Only this first title in the series has been released so far, but I am now anxious to read the next installment in Yujin and Takara’s story. (KURATA Yoshimi)