Finalists for the 5th Morning International Comic Competition

In its 5th installment, Morning's International Comics Competition was truly global. In terms of quality and quantity it exceeded the previous one. Furthermore, within this group of submissions there were many professionals among them. Given its works and readers, Japan is included within the comics' market, but we have now come to consider and realize that this is the case globally, through the affection of so many people.

As members of the manga industry, we are very pleased with this situation and wish to express our appreciation. As those who have shown interest in this contest have known, Japan's comic market extends to men and women, young and old, and is filled with a range of genres. And within that world, we as publishers of Morning and Morning 2 are a seinen manga magazine for men. While the majority of our readers tend to be white-collar males, a unique characteristic we have is a sizable female readership. Within our editorial department there are several editors who have experience from the shonen and shojo manga realms, as well as novels and journalism. So basically, Morning has an editorial staff that can position itself in many ways within comics for adults.

For this competition the idea of seinen comics for marketing purposes was entirely excluded as we decided to seek out and value budding-talent and ability. Meanwhile, we are too accustomed to marketing genres, and it is sometimes very difficult for us to exclude genre when we read comics. Therefore, we want the public to understand that this competition doesn't represent the entire "Japanese manga market.”

In this installment the main impressions I took from it were, first, the wide range of nations that participated, and then, the polarity of genre. Up to this point it was clear that East Asian cultures such as Korea, China and Taiwan had an established manga culture. Meanwhile, North America has a fertile source for superhero comics; in contrast, we can apply the artistic prowess found in bandes dessinees to France and Italy. In this edition, more than previous ones, we are able to see an increasing number of works from rarely seen locales such as Russia, Eastern Europe, South America, and the Middle East and that greatly influenced our initial judging.

While we have had the competition five times, it has now come to be known to many areas in the world. It has been a privilege to receive submissions from many places where Japanese comics are not widely available. The splendid Second Prize winning Over the Rainbow by Manguinha hails from Brazil, and it is a full-color work with an impressive “pop” palette. Set in a not too distant future dystopian world it is packed with science-fiction, it also holds an anime and video game style, with character designs and modeling that exudes a fresh feel.

Then there is the problem of polarity. From the start, this competition has repeatedly pointed out that from a global perspective Japan's “manga” has consistently been viewed in people's minds as an image of shonen (boys) comics. (Incidentally, it is also often said that adults and females also read shonen works in large numbers.) This year was not an exception, as there was yet another increase in submissions that imitated a shonen style. For example, we received titles that were full of martial arts or where super-humans would fight battle after battle.

As many shonen manga admirers might feel they would also like to draw such works, it turns out that such tales lack originality with characters that act like robots and their reactions are predictable. But, (it is almost a chicken and egg question,isn’t it) the true essence of shonen manga is to show subtle elements of human nature, such as pride and ego, self-sacrifice, ethics and so on, through action and battles . To realize such, it is critical to bring life to every individual character. We ask participants to understand that it is more difficult to do so within a world of fantasy, often seen in shonen manga, than in a realistic world that can be seen around ourselves.

In addition, we are able to see many submissions which strikingly contrast with shonen manga style. These are the works where an individual's nightmares and suffering are drawn in an abstract literary style. The artists have flowing and beautiful artistic styles and it seems that some of them are already active as pros. We assume that these artists turned in their works because the Japanese manga market has the diversity in style. But, their submissions are very self-sufficient and don't communicate their messages well while the artists might think they can. As many have said, Japan's comics can be fiendishly popular works that bring pleasure, but they are not art collections for sale. It is a business that has come to exist where tens of thousands of people buy books for $5 to $10.

Among those submissions, the winner of this year's competition Demi-Human Symbiosis which a work fits a Japanese magazine. Demons and human co-exist in this fantastic work. Its creators worked with great effort to surprise readers and pose them such profound questions as what it means to be human. So as written, this work clearly from the start appears to aim to create what many readers may enjoy; a key factor in this winning award.

However, that is not the case. Instead, in this case, we the judges highly valued Ya Shen's ability to maintain composition and line-work, through their adept sense of characterization. Whether works come from the imitation of existing works or the self-serving vanguard, they were not valued as long as the works try to fit into existing genres too much. Instead of from genre, a creator's artistic technique is where we seek originality. It is worth a challenge to fascinate readers with ordinary characters in everyday life.

As mentioned above, we feel there is a limitation for our seinen manga magazine to discover a variety of talents that exist all over the world. Now in its 5th installment, we can deeply feel the international comic culture widen. So even as sponsors of the award, to further broaden our talent pool and grow our network, we have to consider plans to diversify our own policies.

Demi-human Symbiosis will be published in Japanese in the April 24th edition of Morning Two magazine. And both Demi-human Symbiosis and OVER THE RAINBOW will be published online in their original languages, English and Japanese beginning May 22, 2012. Please look forward to them. Finally, I would like to thank the many participants from the bottom of my heart.

M.I.C.C. Selection Committee, Koji Tabuchi

"人魔共生"

雅紳 / Taiwan

≪故事大綱≫ 某個時代,世界被分為人類與惡魔居住的兩個區域。兩個區域之間的境界線是被稱作「共生域」的地帶,人類與惡魔在此共存。有一天,在共生域進行搜索的救援隊隊長發現了一個剛出生的小嬰兒。為了拯救那個即將消逝的小小生命,隊長與惡魔進行交易。幾年後,救援隊隊員TC在共生域遇見一個與共生域格格不入的少年。那時惡魔忽然出現,襲擊她們。少年面對惡魔卻只是露出笑容,他的真面目究竟是誰?...

≪得獎感言≫ 雅:這個作品能夠得獎,真的是太好了。雖然很意外,也很惶恐,但真的是太好了。
感謝評審對這個作品的肯定,我自己非常喜歡這個故事。關於人心的定義,還有他對人類而言的意義...有很多有趣的議題包含在這裡面。
感謝我的搭檔寫了很棒的故事,讓我們能一起把它完成。我努力要把這個故事表現得更好,但還有太多事情需要繼續學習。我真心希望往後,我們還能夠繼續說更多故事給更多人聽。
最後,我要感謝我的家人。他們的支持和讚美,是我最最強大的後盾。
紳:謝謝我爸媽、總是擔任第一個評審的我哥、當初鼓勵我動筆的人、支持我的朋友們、我夥伴的家人們,以及評審們的厚愛,知道這個作品得獎了,真的是非常非常的意外,真的是非常非常高興能得到這個獎!
關於這部作品,還得感謝大學時的李老師,讓我有靈感可以完成這個故事,人類的心是個奇妙的東西,對其他動物而言,「心」應該就只是個輸送血液的器官吧,『人魔共生』就是從這個想法衍生而來的。
最後謝謝我的夥伴,這趟旅程真的太奇妙了,讓我們繼續往前吧。

≪選評(評審意見)≫ 人類與惡魔共存的世界裡,在一個女性與惡魔少年相遇後,故事以兩人的命運為主軸而展開。人物表情非常豐富,特別是主角的惡魔少年,除了「恐怖感」之外,也同時兼具「魅力」,讓人不禁好奇並期待「這個少年接下來會怎麼做呢?」。故事架構方面,不只沒有破綻,更有意給讀者帶來驚喜。儘管部分構圖與分鏡稍微難懂,仍有一些改進的空間。在此次參賽作品當中仍是出類拔萃,具有高完成度的作品,因此我們決定給予大賞。

"Over the Rainbow"

Manguinha / Brasil

≪Enredo≫ Na cidade-estado de Öröm que é cercada por um muro, o povo vive dentro do sistema de classes sociais, divida por cores. Os cidadões das cores “Indigo” e “Azul” se esforçam pra subir na classe dominate “Verde”. Eles têm medo dos homens de “Vermelho”que vivem fora do muro, chamado de "mundo selvagem", visto como terroristas. Uma funcionária da fábrica de doces Ötélia sofria por ter nascido da própria mãe, em vez de ser comprada. Um dia ela perde um dos braços tentando salvar seu gato das mãos dos policiais que o maltratavam, por consequencia eles lhe dão um braço postiço. Logo aparece em frente dela um homem de máscara que parece um terrorista de vermelho, perturbando a tropa da poliícia e a cidade com sua manipulação de espada que ninguém tinha visto.

≪Mensagem para leitores≫ É uma grande honra para mim como Ocidental ficar entre os finalistas de um concurso tão importante quando o MICC da Kodansha. Agradeço a todos amigos que me deram força, a minha família, aos competidores, e a Morning pela oportunidade que dão aos estrangeiros. Espero que se divirtam com essa história que foi feita um pouco ás pressas, pois soube do consurso perto do fim do prazo, porém dei o meu melhor durante o tempo que tive para produzí-la. Tentei fazer um roteiro com uma mensagem forte e diferente sobre a sociedade, mas que também não pregasse nenhum ideal e pudesse ser divertida ao leitor. Acredito que minha experiência de vida num país tão diferente como é o Brasil, por causa da cultura e dos quadrinhos que leio aqui, possam acrescentar muito na minha originalidade como desenhista e roterista.

≪Crítica≫ É uma história de “distopia”, o povo acredita que é feliz viver dentro de uma cidade controlada. A protagonista um dia fica na dúvida sem saber como, ela começa a lutar contra o governo. Nesta obra não vê o derrotismo nem algo doentio que esse gênero normalmente tem. As cores e os desenhos são pop, assim diretamente alcança leitores com a questão: “O que é felicidade?”. E tem um senso popular na escolha de “gadget” meio Ficção Científica como a técnica da manipulação de espada do homem de máscara e o braço postiço. Se fosse um monstro pavoroso, atraria certos fãs mas ao mesmo tempo limitaria o número de leitores. Essa historia em quadrinhos tem a possibilidade de atrair todas as pessoas sem distinção de idade nem de sexo. Em algums pontos a narrativa está corrida, mas o autor é bem potencial, se caprichar em todos os pontos, pode visar o próximo estágio.

"LITTLE BUT big"

e-ka / Indonesia

≪Judge’s Comment≫ Meskipun saya dapat memberikan nilai yang bagus untuk sentuhan artistik Anda yang mengingatkan saya pada manga cerita bela diri terkenal seperti "Shura no Mon" dan lainnya, saya merasa ceritanya sedikit terlalu biasa saja. Jika Anda mencoba menulis ceritanya menggunakan pendekatan langsung bahwa "Sang karakter kalah dalam pertarungan karena ia belum sarapan. Oleh karenanya, makan sarapan itu penting", maka sebenarnya ada beberapa cara yang dapat Anda gunakan untuk membuatnya menarik. Jika Anda mencoba menggunakan adegan tersebut sebagai semacam lelucon, ya, maaf saja, tapi saya pikir hal itu tidak begitu berhasil. Saya agak kecewa karena saya merasa tidak ada hal yang benar-benar baru dalam karya ini sebagai manga.

"Close"

肖設 / 中国

≪Judge’s Comment≫ 包括着色等,画中充满独特气氛,给人带来视觉享受。美中不足的是故事结构过于单调,只是记流水账式地将主人公在饭店的所见罗列在一起。主人公是一位失聪者这一设定也未能很好地加以利用。即使主人公是作为一个旁观者,但在故事的结尾希望他也能有所收获。

"What once was a dove…"

dee juusan / Joedan

≪Judge’s Comment≫ A sad fate awaits this dove main character, and a boy grows from childhood to adolescence. Their remarks which overflowed with affection and their cruel conclusions were expressed in a very lyrical way. We wondered whether or not the world was beautiful from the eyes of the innocent flying in the sky. Next time, I would like to challenge the artist to create a more story-based comic, instead.

"梦中人"

甘木 / 中国

≪Judge’s Comment≫ 绘图使用简洁的线条,漫画的内容却让人能感觉到非常深刻的内涵。但这需要读者善意地努力去理解,一般读起来则是很难理解的内容。希望能在突出主人公的性格、在各处多增加噱头等方面再下些功夫,吸引读者。

"四人行"

叶卓勇 / Malaysia

≪Judge’s Comment≫ 故事开头令人震撼的场面,以及主人公被带到一个像图书馆一样的地方后,熊熊燃烧的场面等,作品体现出作者对表现具有视觉冲击力的场面有一定功力。谜团一环扣一环地接踵而来,故事展开极具深意,但遗憾的是作者最终想要表达的内容不得而知。作者自己的构思当然重要,但如果有意识地让读者更简单易懂,是不是就能创造出更有意义的作品呢。

"Nothing"

Lydia / Malaysia

≪Judge’s Comment≫ This is a bombastic work presented with a careful and uncompromised touch, where life and emptiness face-off. The main character murmurs hopelessly, “neither Heaven nor Hell want my soul.” And as the story progresses the art gradually breaks down eventually emulating a cubist style before it reconstructs visually. It is quite impressive that the repeated images of destruction and rebirth appeared to express a cycle of life and death. What awaited the lead beyond the gates of Hell was another hopeless world called life. Such gruesome expressions may not be appreciated by the masses, but this an original example of rendering the depths of one's psyche.

"Curse&The City"

Bayu Harditama / Indonesia

≪Judge’s Comment≫ Meskipun mungkin ada beberapa pembaca yang akan berpendapat bahwa beberapa bagian yang ditulis sebagai lelucon di sini lucu, saya sendiri berpikir leluconnya terasa agak biasa. Sepertinya si penulis hanya memasukkan hal-hal yang ia anggap lucu dan tidak benar-benar mempertimbangkan bagaimana pembaca akan bereaksi. Bahkan dalam adegan di mana sang karakter utama bertransformasi, yang memang membuat beberapa orang dalam komite seleksi kami tertawa, adegan itu muncul begitu tiba-tiba tanpa konteks sama sekali. Tidak ada penjelasan tentang mengapa sang karakter utama tiba-tiba harus melawan monster atau tentang apapun yang ada di dunia dalam manga ini, sehingga sepertinya manga ini ditulis tanpa memikirkan pembaca. Manga berperan sebagai manga karena pembacanya.

Selections of second screening