25th Manga Division Grand Prize
Being highly educated, tall, and having a high income, KITAKATA Keisuke is seemingly a high-spec young man, but he is really a 32-year-old “job hopper” who has changed jobs 24 times. He joins a talent agency with great enthusiasm, but ends up in a difficult situation because a promising new actress runs away on the day of her debut. Then he meets YOSHIKAWA Rui, a “serial monogamist” who repeatedly jumps from one romantic relationship to another. Attracted by her composed attitude and strong-willed eyes, Keisuke scouts her. Keisuke really wants to “work on something so interesting he could die for,” and Rui wants to be chosen by someone in earnest for once. Recognizing an opportunity to seriously challenge themselves for the first time, they step forward towards the shared goal of making her debut in show business. The fast-paced story attracts readers, and so does the delicately balanced relationship between the two, which seems to be so close to a romance but not quite there. Clever dialogues among the characters are the artist’s specialty, and remain in readers’ hearts. Although it takes place in the glamorous world of show business, the story casually incorporates apprehensions of modern youths, such as the hesitation and anxiety arising from job hunting where they need to build a career on their own, and the loneliness amid weak human relationships, which causes a longing for someone who truly cares for them. It also depicts the work of a talent agency, including promotional activities, as well as film shooting, adding reality to their success story.
Reason for Award
The characters in this work are exceptionally attractive. The readers are struck by the philosophical yet sincere eyes of heroine YOSHIKAWA Rui, who has a strong mentality and an unconventional taste. Words from this fine-looking girl are neither self-deprecating nor vain, but refreshing and pure. Interactions with the Jack-of-all-trades manager, who is attracted by Rui, demonstrate a new form of romance that goes beyond conventional gender roles. One of the reasons for the Grand Prize is the work’s overwhelming momentum derived from these characters. With the fast-paced story and well-planned bluffing, accompanied by the high-quality drawing, this comfortable roller coaster ride kept me excited while judging. After reading this work, our values for categorizing this glamorous world of show business with handsome men and women into “modern women’s manga” will be swept away. The Grand Prize is awarded in the hope that this pioneering woman’s manga will prompt the re-acknowledgment and onset of the entire woman’s manga genre. (OZAWA Yuki)