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New Face Award

OATSURAE NINJOMAKUNOUCHI MAGEMON.

MASAHARA Koichi

Manga published in book form, in magazine [Japan]

This is a collection of short stories depicting the pattern of various human relationships, which take place against the backdrop of a row house in Edo. Through various "ties," such as those between parent and child, husband and wife, and friends, the artist uses meticulous brushwork to depict everyday life in Edo, overflowing with hopes and kindness. The richness of the lively expressions on the faces of the distorted characters and the realistic, subtle depiction of the streetscapes, not to mention the expression of light and shade, recreate views of Edo from the distant past and the interactions of the people who lived there before the very eyes of the reader.

© Masahara Koichi / LEED.CO.,Ltd

Profile

MASAHARA Koichi

Japan

After serving as an assistant to the manga artist Kenichiro Takai, he won the Young Manga Artist Grand Prix of Weekly Young Jump (Shueisha) in 1999. The same year, his prize-winning entry nobody understands made its debut in that magazine. Currently, his manga Oatsurae Ninjo Makunouchi Hanamame. is being serialized in Monthly Comic Ran (Leed).

( 2011 )

Award Reason

Human drama featuring the vividly-drawn citizens of Edo
There is nothing tender about that which is felt keenly. Sometimes one tucks a spot of darkness away in one’s heart for life, and sometimes one endures a constant pain unbeknownst to others. Much of this tale unfolds in Edo’s old working-class shitamachi area. The characters are of the sort encountered in traditional comic monologues (rakugo) and sentimental storytelling (ninjobanashi). But the author’s distinctive and exquisite sense of distance, neither dispassionate nor devoted, and keen observation of the human condition, merciless at times yet never disavowing, generate a strange, one-of-a-kind sharpness and warmth. In leaving the reader with such an aftertaste, Magemon. clearly distinguishes itself from shallower, more sentimental tales. As a series of collected shorts, Magemon. occasionally introduces abrupt changes in visual style and content. But while the depiction of characters may be radically distorted, and the drawings may shift from something out of a children’s storybook to landscapes executed in exquisite detail, the visuals have an incredible ability to impart the sense that one is witnessing how people really lived during the Edo night.

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