The outcome of the manga award which honors productions that excel at division of labor, “Saito Takao Award”, has been decided. With the prize this year going to writer Iwaaki Hitoshi and illustratr Muroi Daisuke, for their work on the manga “Reiri”, serialized in Bessatsu Shonen Champion. Iwaaki and Muroi, along with their editor-in-cheif Sawa Takafumi, have received comments of praise from the Saito Takao Award screening committee for their work on the manga.

“Saito Takao Award” was established by The Saito Takao Gekiga Cultural Foundation on 2017 to commemorate the passing of 50 years since the manga “Golgo 13” started serialization. It awards grate works made by division of labor between senario and drawing.
“Reiri” takes place 4 years after the Battle of Nagashino between Takeda and Oda, and tells about a girl named Reiri who leads a life with a hapless fate in the Warring States Period. The five screening members Ikegami Ryouichi, Sato Masaru, Nagasaki Takashi, Yamasaki Juuzo, along with Takao Saito settled on this decision during their final screening meeting.

In addition, each of the scenario writer, illustrator, and producer acting as editor-in-chief (editorial department) will be presented with a “Golgo 13 Statue” designed by Takao Saito. The scenario writer and illustrator will recieve an additional monetary prize of 500 thousand yen.
The Third Saito Takao Award ceremony will be held on Jan. 17, 2020 in the Mikasa Kaikan. The official site of the “Saito Takao Gekiga Cultural Foundation” web site has announced a special reveal pf the final screening meeting at 18 o’clock of the same day.

[Scenario writer/Iwaaki Hitoshi]
I usually prefer to draw my own manga, but I felt with “Reiri” that for the first time, this might be impossible. It’s not that I don’t want an assistant, but that I was never good at giving people directions and guiding them. Usually I just work on my own at a slow pace, then I would work on another story, the next thing you know, I’m at my limit.

It took some time, but after I finally finished writing the story’s scenario, Mr. Sawa from Akita Publishing took charge of finding personnel between manga writers. He expressively favored Mr. Muroi who had distinctive characteristic that I might’ve lacked. The recognition I have received for this manga has filled with emotion, gratification that I would have never felt when working by myself. I sincerely thank you very much.

[Illustrator/Muroi Daisuke]
I have always respected Mr. Iwaaki Hitoshi. Back in 1990, a manga review on Takarajima magazine recommended and amazing manga called Parasyte, which I read. I had never experienced anything as mind blowing. Ever since I had always liked Iwaaki Hitoshi. I like everything about him.

Which is why the idea of working with him still feels unbelievable, I feel blessed. I am very glad to be a part of “Reiri”. It is on honor to have Reiri elected by legends still active on the front line, I feel very rewarded. Thank you very much.

I’m very delighted that this prize will act as an opportunity to get more people to read our work, I am also delighted to earn the 500 thousand yen. I am genuinely delighted with the 500 thousand. I can’t wait to buy myself something with it. Thank you very much. Thank you too, Mr. Iwaaki and Mr. Sawa.

[Editor/Sawa Takafumi]
I will never forget Mr. Iwaaki Hitoshi’s original work that took him 12 years to finish, and how moved I was after reading it one go. I have confidence in this work of perfection. On the other hand, Mr. Muroi Daisuke had managed to produce a new work filled with his intense charm. With such overwhelming talents, I could witness chance to see the production an amazing work of art right in front of me. As the current editor-in-chief, it gives me deep joy to see our work so well received. I am thankful to all of you.

[Selection committee/Ikegami Ryouichi]
A complete and perfect historical drama that took 12 years to write, based on a vision of a worthy prodigy manga writer. Unique scheming of psychological descriptions and fight scenes that give a sense of a peculiar reality, all give away to an eccentric story. This must be the outcome of adding such talented manga writer as his illustrator…

[Selection committee/Sato Masaru]
Such high degree of perfection. The phrase “what if” is dangerous to use in history, but at this level I believe it is adequate. Even the landing exceeds the reader’s impression at the end quite well. Reiri as a character is very charming, and does not only attract adult audience, but also reaches out to children who I believe will also be able to fully enjoy this manga.

[Selection committee/Nagasaki Takashi]
This is quite the masterpiece. Such amazing characters and story. I like the idea of using someone who wishes to die as a body double. I wished to read more of it, as it ended on a plain note.

[Selection committee/Yamasaki Juuzo]
The main character is a female that acts as a warring general’s double. In spite of the generic sounding concept, they managed to pull off a heated and refreshing story of youth. It’s a work of art with a solid plot that will leave you breathless with impactful imagery.

[Selection committee/Saito Takao]
I may have not experienced any of Mr. Muroi’s other manga, but it felt like pen-touch was created to draw this manga’s images. It’s easy to follow. The frame sequence is also done quite well.

(C) Iwaaki Hitoshi・Muroi Daiuskue (Akita Publications) 2016