©︎ Waka Hirako

24th Manga Division New Face Award

My broken Mariko

HIRAKO Waka[Japan]

Outline

Brassy and cynical office worker SHIINO is on her lunch break at a diner when she learns of her close friend Mariko’s suicide. As a child, SHIINO knew Mariko was being abused by her parents, so the least she can do now is steal her ashes from her parents’ home. SHIINO seizes and absconds with her friend’s remains for their first and final journey. What follows is a heartbreaking tale of sisterhood, of the connection between two disparate souls well-acquainted with their own brand of loneliness. Bound to Mariko despite being at times frustrated by the emotional instability from her abusive past, SHIINO confronts her friend’s death with violent emotionality, and her reality is made all the sharper by the immediacy scrawled in the illustrations. A stunningly expressive debut.

Reason

This is more drag race than roller coaster, a manga that runs pell-mell before your eyes. Everyone on the panel saw it. The story unfolds so fast that we almost missed the little details to pick on. Where is the story headed? Maybe even the artist doesn’t know. Drive, though the way is unclear. Floor it. Where is their destination? SHIINO, Mariko, MAKIO the fisherman—while independent, the three seem to be the emotional aspects of one person. Each is the embodiment of the artist. So hit the road, don’t mind the gas and a crash! (KURATA Yoshimi)