17th Manga Division Excellence Award
Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru （The Town Keeps Moving）
ISHIGURO Masakazu [Japan]
Hotori Arashiyama is a high school girl living in the Maruko shopping area, a working-class district in Tokyo. The work depicts the everyday life of the residents of that area, who seem ordinary at first – but on closer inspection, reveal their oddities. Hotori, a well-known girl in the Maruko area, she plays many roles in her life: a slightly unreliable sister, a maid at a local coffee shop called “Seaside” and a high-school girl who wants to be a detective. The latter helps her to figure out difficult- to-solve incidents during her part-time job. Along with these slapstick stories, this work features various comedies, including a strange story told by Kon-senpai who is Hotori’s older best friend, and an episode about Hotori’s younger brother, Takeru, and his girlfriend Ebi-chan. The series is published in the form of standalone episodes with more than a hundred installments being published in magazines and twelve comic books. Readers can enjoy a wide range of styles from an SF-like story to a tear-jerker drama which depicts old-fashioned “duty and sentiment”.
Reason for Award
ISHIGURO places a high value on a sense of wonder. He has portrayed various “wonders”, – the frustrations and outbursts of youth in Nemuru Baka (Sleeping Idiot), the interests in investigation and construction shown in Gaitenrou, and the subtleties of family and human interactions depicted in Kyoko and Her Dad. In addition to these, his other works such as SF short stories filled with mindboggling ideas and the bitingly humorous Mokuyoubi no Frutto (Frutto on Thursday) have been highly rated, but Soredemo Machi wa Mawat teiru (The Town Keeps Moving) which has been serialized since 2005 displays all of ISHIGURO’s strengths and is definitely his masterpiece. This work has proven that a manga can convey drama, happy daily lives and connection with people without depicting any dramatic or personal traumatic incidents. All jury members highly valued this work’s realization of the “pursuit of cheerfulness”, which I would describe as “heliotropism” (meaning flowers which turn towards the sun), also seen in the works of FUJIKO F. Fujio and CHIBA Tetsuya, and provides entertaining episodes with high level contents every installment. (SAITO Nobuhiko)