15th Manga Division Grand Prize
The story is set in a time when the whole of the Earth has been designated as a nature reserve and it is not permitted to descend to the Earth’s surface, so humans live in buildings high up in the sky, at a level of 35,000 meters. The protagonist, Mitsu, was born and raised in this gigantic ring system, which is divided into upper, middle and lower levels. Just as Mitsu graduates from junior high school, he takes the same job as his late father, “ring system window cleaner.” It is a meticulously-depicted story of Mitsu’s growth as he gains in confidence and pride in his work through encounters with his workplace mentor, his neighbors and his clients.
Reason for Award
A gentle human drama set in the near-future earth
This work brilliantly constructs in freehand the sort of extraterrestrial colony that humanity may soon be crowding into. Particularly memorable, for example, is the scene in which shirts made of a rubbery material are laid out all over to prevent people from slipping and falling from elevated roads built from scaffolding-like pipes. Those who live in this contradiction-riddled class society are not there by choice, yet remain attached to a place they have built themselves. The process by which the new resolve of a boy who grew up there develops through his ties to those around him makes for a moving tale.