West London-based comic creator Lorenzo Fruzza has been announced as the overall winner of the 2014 Manga Jiman Competition organised by the Embassy of Japan, for his entry “Cogs”.
The winners of the competition were announced at a reception held at the embassy on Friday 6th March 2015. The major manga-writing competition, now in its eighth year, continues to grow in popularity and unearth young, upcoming manga artists in the UK.
Lorenzo, who likes painting, drawing, graphic design, photography – “pretty much any form of visual communications,” he says – studied a foundation in Art & Design at Central St Martins, before completing a BA in Illustration at Camberwell. After college he started work at Abbott Mead Vickers, before joining Naked Communications as Head of Design and most recently undertaking the role of Senior Design Creative for Hypernaked London.
Among his many commissions was one from HarperVoyager to create three prints based on readers’ favourite quotes from George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones series, to celebrate reaching half a million fans on its official Facebook page.
Comic artist, Ilya, one of the five judges of the competition, commented that the winning entry contained “a boy, a girl, a bike – what’s not to like? Lorenzo’s entry was a marvel of a short story, delivering a sucker punch straight to the heart. Emotionally powerful, while at the same time expertly told: starkly effective, well-presented, neat and efficient in both character design and pacing – a deserving winner from a strong field for its overall clarity and originality“.
“Cub”, by Sophia Sycamore, received the runners-up prize while “No Moment the Same” by Kieran Chong was placed third.
Manga artist Kiriko Kubo said “‘Cub’ beautifully described how the boy recovered from his loss with help from his only friend. Each drawing has good composition in its frame and has individual presence.”
Fellow judge Maya Gartner commented that “Kieran’s entry was a very ambitious piece of storytelling involving a montage of powerful, thought-provoking scenes that flowed seamlessly from one to another through the backdrop of a beautiful poem. His passion for manga clearly shines through his draughtsmanship and his skill for visual storytelling. It was a powerful, energetic piece of work and a great reading experience.”
Adeline Kwok won the prize for the most impressive Manga by an entrant aged between fourteen and sixteen.
Paul Gravett, manga historian, author and journalist, explained that “all of the judges singled out Adeline Kwok’s entry ‘A Tale of Two Seasons’ as remarkably skilful for someone so young. We greatly admired her imaginative ideas about the children of the Four Seasons, who succeed their parents, and the sibling friendship between the separated sister and brother, Summer and Winter, who choose to rescue the world.
“We admired her ambitious themes within a fantasy fairytale about awareness of global problems and sacrifice for the benefit of mankind. It is clear that Adeline Kwok has a great future of comics-making ahead of her. Her storytelling and artwork are already quite advanced for her age and I feel sure we will see some wonderful new manga from her over the coming years”.
In an exciting new twist to the competition, Rachel Rissa won the inaugural Yonkoma Manga competition for her entry “Successful Failure”. Yonkoma is a type of comic strip which contains four panels usually vertically arranged from top to bottom on one page.
• You can view the full list of winners here on the Embassy of Japan web site. Visitors to the Embassy can enjoy reading all the shortlisted entries in our special exhibition, Manga Jiman 2014: The Winners, in which artwork from every entry received this year will also be on display. The Embassy is 0pen weekdays 09:30 – 17:30, closed weekends. Admission is free, but photo ID is necessary to gain entry which is at 101-104 Piccadilly, London W1J 7JT