A look at the Shogakukan winners

Anime News Network lists the winners of the 56th Shogakukan Manga Awards. Only one of the slate is available in English, Fumi Yoshinaga’s Ôoku: The Inner Chambers (Viz), which won in the Girls’ Category and has also previously shared the Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize with Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s A Drifting Life (Drawn & Quarteroy), won the Tiptree Award, and made the top 10 in 2010’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens list.

Natsumi Matsumoto’s Yumeiro Pâtissière won in the Children’s Category. It’s about an enthusiastic young baker who enters an elite pastry school in spite of her clumsiness. She meets cute boys and is helped by a magical spirit named Vanilla. You can’t make a good dessert without a little Vanilla. It’s running in Shueisha’s Ribon. Viz has published Matsumoto’s St. Dragon Girl.

Takeshi Sasaki’s King Golf won in the Boys’ Category. It’s about a delinquent whose life changes when he takes up golf. I’m now picturing its chances for commercial success in the United States, which conjures images of middle-aged white men discussing the latest volume over highballs at the country club. Yeah. It’s being serialized in Shogakukan’s Shonen Sunday.

The General Category is split between two titles, the first being Shohei Manabe’s Ushijima the Loan Shark. Unsurprisingly, it’s a manga about the seedy criminal underbelly of loan sharks, the black market, and other unsavory activities, and I’d guess that it’s somewhat episodic in nature. It’s running in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits. Tokyopop published some of Manabe’s Smuggler and all of Dead End, though it lost the licenses when Kodansha reclaimed their properties.

It tied with Chûya Koyama’s Uchû Kyôdai, which was nominated for a Manga Taisho Award last year. It looks very promising.

But which of the unlicensed titles look good to you?