For the last couple of years the number of the new manga titles I have read was not many. Screening process this time therefore made me a little dizzy against a heap of more than 100 manga titles. After all, I was not able to even to touch the 25 titles that had passed the screening, due to the hectic of my own deadlines of the works. It was not an easy job to read them, but I must say I had thoroughly enjoyed-all of the final screening titles maintained very high standard with rich contents. I was particularly intrigued in the awarded works, in particular in the subject area of the historical and the science fantasy. It was also truly an exciting process to see how other jury members selected their own final candidates-so much difficult to select a few as the awarded pieces among many other of the books-a precious moment you would not encounter much in your life time. The diversity of the manga as the subject area was so apparent and appealing, and I feel very lucky to thoroughly enjoy this rare opportunity.
Born in Tokyo. SAITO Chiho made her debut in 1982 with Ken to Madomoazeru (The Sword and the Mademoiselle) in the magazine "Coronet" (published by Shogakukan). She received the 42nd Shogakukan Manga Award with Kanon in 1997. She is a member of the animation production group "Bepapas", and in 1997 she drew a manga version of the TV animation Utena, La Fillette Revolutionnaire. She was also deeply involved with the production of the animation for the TV and movie theater versions. She is currently working on Ice Forest, which takes figure skating as a subject, serialized in "flowers", and a classic original story, Shishaku Varumon − Kiken-na Kankei (Viscount Vermont - dangerous relation) serialized in "Rinka".
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