18th Manga Division Excellence Award
Hitsuji no ki (Sheep Tree)
IGARASHI Mikio / Original author: YAMAGAMI Tatsuhiko [Japan]
What if the person next to you were an ex-convict who had committed an atrocious crime? This is a story about coexistence with former convicts, the wellspring of human fear, and the interstices between happiness and misfortune. The story takes place in a provincial town somewhere in Japan. Once flourishing in marine trade, the port city Uobukashi was chosen for the trial of a confidential project by the government to relocate former prisoners who had served out their sentences to local towns. The only people who know the full story about this scheme to transfer ex-convicts and hide their past are the city mayor and two of his friends, TSUKISUE and OHTSUKA. The townspeople are told nothing. Those relocated are eleven ex-convicts, among them murderers, robbers, and others who have committed vicious crimes of assault and fraud. Two great masters of gag manga, YAMAGAMI Tatsuhiko, known for Gaki deka, and IGARASHI Mikio, of Bonobono fame, depict the outcome of a project testing the coexistence of those who have committed crimes, and those haven’t.