22nd Manga Division New Face Award
The Invisible Difference
マドモワゼル・カロリーヌ／原作：ジュリー・ダシェ／訳：原 正人 ［フランス］
A bande dessinée comic that became a best seller in France. It is based on the biography of a woman diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. The protagonist is 27-year-old Marguerite. She has a job and a boyfriend, but she finds communication difficult, hates crowds, and has extreme likes and dislikes. As she struggles through her challenging life, an incident with her boyfriend leads her to receive a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome. The story is of her subsequent three-year journey toward achieving a sense of her own identity. The pages are shaded in gray tones in the beginning, but they gradually take on beautiful colors, expressing Marguerite’s transformation from a woman full of self-doubt to one who learns to live a positive life. Included at the end of the book is information regarding the current situation and issues regarding Asperger syndrome as well as practical advice.
Original Edition: 2016
Japanese Edition: 2018 (Kadensha)
© Éditions Delcourt / HARA Masato
Manga combines the abstract and representational and is excellent for expressing human emotions. It is an effective tool for understanding people in minority groups. Using techniques such as employing red for situations stressful to the protagonist, the story shows that objective and subjective are not the same. Observing the same landscape, she has different reactions. Expressing this gap visually, but not as insurmountable, helps to understand Asperger syndrome. This work is highly commendable for using the power of manga to broaden the readers’ worldview. (OMOTE Tomoyuki)