HISTORIE received the highest critical acclaim by most members of the jury and relatively smoothly was selected as the winner of the Grand Prize. In contrast, the manga works nominated for the Excellence Prize were uniformly superb, so it was very difficult to narrow them down to four recipients of the prize. This fact alone demonstrates the concentration of diverse manga works of the highest level at this year's Japan Media Arts Festival.
There were many elaborate works whose plot incorporates unfamiliar down-to-earth settings, and among the manga works on historical topics there were both classical history manga and modern history manga, so the selection of the prize winners reflects the maturity of manga culture.
The cat manga Ore to Neko-Nyan, which failed to win an Excellence Prize, stood out for the extraordinary affection demonstrated by the jury members, a fact that probably proves the chemistry between cats and manga artists.
I was also impressed by the way works with a plot set in the near future, such as Bokurano, Diaspolice, and WOMBS, reflect contemporary Japanese society, the various changes it is going through, and the ever growing sense of impending crisis.
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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