The day has finally dawned. A day eagerly anticipated, with equal lashings of dread, by the world’s most talented mangaka. Today, 14th December, 2018, is the final judging of SILENT MANGA AUDITION® 8.
In an innocuous room in Coamix HQ, nestled in Kichijoji, a vibrant suburb of Tokyo, we editors of ‘SMAC!’ frantically finish prepping. As we triple check that hallowed spot, reserved for the stalwart Committee Judges, is adequately stocked with spreadsheets, creator information, copies of the incredible work of all 27 finalists, and enough green tea to sink a ship, we reflect on the past 12 months. 2017 has been an exceptional year for ‘SMAC!’, not only have we run TWO, coveted international manga awards, SMA7 and SMA8, we decided to add two Extra Rounds, making 2017 our biggest year to date! Exhausted, but proud, we stand and await the culmination of our, and you the participants, herculean efforts in making SMA8 an outstanding success.
Mayu, during the calm before the storm
Firstly, the young and energetic editors of our parent publication, Monthly Comic Zenon file in and respectfully take their places at the back of the room, eager to observe, learn and laugh with the soon to arrive, battle scarred veterans of manga. A hush descends. The atmosphere is electric with anticipation as the first of the SILENT MANGA AUDITION® Committee Judges enter…
Striding in with purpose, SMAC! Editor in Chief, “Mocchi” San and the President of North Star Pictures, Miya San are the first to arrive. After a shared nod of approval at the fruits of our preparation, they both take their seats. Next to enter is the flamboyant and impeccably dressed CEO of Coamix, Horie san. This man’s style sense easily matches his monumental knowledge of manga editing! Then, manga legends Tsugihara Sensei (creator of the high octane, speed infused Yoroshiku Mechadoc) and Hojo Sensei (writer/artist of the beloved City Hunter) arrive, laughing at a joke that would make a Hostess blush! Finally, Hara sensei (manga artist/co-creator of the hallowed Fist of the North Star) arrives, channelling Johnny Cash as he saunters up to his chair. Resplendent in his sharp, black suit and pitch perfect quiff (seriously, my admiration for Hara Sensei’s almost god-like hair sculpting rivals my love of his art…in fact, his hair IS ART), The Man in Black takes his seat just as Horie san commands the room, bringing quiet mutterings to a close (this is a feat worth witnessing, I could easily see Horie san bring silence to a Wembley Stadium, filled to capacity with drunken FA cup final fans, with a mere raise of an eyebrow). The judging begins…
Mayu, looking on in awe as Mocchi san reads out the finalists. However, I’ve spotted a ¥10 coin on the floor…
After an intense 60 minutes of heated debate, approval, and much laughter, the GP Winners, Excellence Award Winners and remaining Honourable Effort Award winners are agreed upon – the competition is over. The incredible work of manga’s next generation of superstars, whittled down to 27, has been meticulously assessed and agonised over, to finally reveal the winners of SMA8.
AND THE WINNERS ARE…Ah, sorry, you’re just gonna have to wait until the 21st December, where we will announce the victorious winners on this very website.
A HUGE thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, to all who entered SMA8. Whether you’ve been selected or not, your hard work, dedication and sheer love of manga has warmed our cold, cracked hearts, here in the ‘SMAC!’ editorial office. We’ve marvelled, laughed and cried at your entries, confirming why we devote so much of our lives to this world class award. So, a heroically earned WELL DONE to you all, and of course, GOOD LUCK!!
Tsugihara Ryuji Sensei
Tsukasa Hojo Sensei
Tetsuo Hara Sensei
Nobuhiko Horie San
Naoki Miya San
Shuichi “Mocchi” Mochida San