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Australian MasterClass monotone_ink's awarded manga printed in Japan!

SMA Editorial Dept. SMA Editorial Dept. 29/01/2022 9 min read
New MasterClass member has made history by being the first international creator to be featured in “Monthly Comic ZENON” after receiving an award in the prestigious “Kyushu International Manga Award!” momotone_ink entered a 39 page emotional manga in the 6th Kyushu International Manga Award, which has been recently been opened to international creators. His entry “My Friend Mana” received the top award of this round, allowing the young Australian creator to have his work be published in the latest issue of Monthly Comic ZENON.   The following is a comment from 6th Kyushu International Manga Award special judge Akane Tamura-sensei (“A Side Character’s Love Story”) regarding monotone_ink’s entry:
The characters’ relationship is extremely cute and fun to read. The manga also has a well-defined layout with important lines and scenes being well illustrated on the pages. Some parts of the story are not well developed, so I think that if more effort was put in order to define the details of the whole story, the climax could have been even more engaging.
  “My Friend Mana” is a one-shot manga that takes place in a dystopian world where mysterious “strings” can dissolve anyone who touches them. In such world lives Lisa, the most naive and yet cute mail-delivery person that has ever worked in the highly protected Gate Town. However, Lisa’s naiveness will be put to the test when her friend Mana disappears, and Lisa will need to face her fears in order to find her…!

A page from “My Friend Mana” – go on the bottom of this article to read the English version of this manga!

  In the latest Monthly Comic ZENON, a special illustration and exclusive interview with visionary montone_ink was featured in the issue, which we have translated!
1. What are your feelings towards your award?

I’m both grateful and overwhelmed: I did my best to make it as high-quality as possible, but I was surprised to see it win the highest award for this round, so for that, I’m eternally grateful!

2. What was the creative process behind this entry?

My editor and I did a lot of back and forth to come up with ideas: after settling on one, we came up with an overarching plot for the entry, and then I went on to draft and draw the whole thing. A lot of the research also involved collecting a lot of photos to decide what kind of setting I wanted the story to take place in.

3. In your opinion, what is the best part of this entry?

The part when Lisa runs around town looking for her friend Mana – it’s a bit mean of me to say about Lisa, but I thought her panicked expressions and actions were pretty funny. The scene also gave me a chance to draw various locations in the city and create a sense of place for the story.

4. What was the hardest part in drawing this entry?

Drawing the backgrounds – I know so little about architecture and I’ve always had trouble drawing buildings and man-made landmarks, so I hope to improve on that aspect!

5. What aspect of character creation did you put more effort in?

I’m not sure, maybe her roundness? I wanted her to be kind of cute. Originally she was wearing this weird jumpsuit sort of outfit, but then I looked for historical examples of old postmen and I liked their coats and boots, so I just took those. I added the cape to make her extra cute – it reminds me of little red riding hood.

6. Please tell us what manga you are reading recently.

I recently re-read this nice little manga called “Laika no Hoshi” by Mayuri Yoshida. It’s a short one-volume read, but it made me quite emotional unexpectedly. Besides that, I also recently discovered “Bouken Erekitetou” by Kenji Tsuruta – it’s about a girl trying to search for this wandering island that seems to appear and disappear mysteriously. The art is extremely beautiful, I’d like to draw something like it one day!

7. What would be the first Kyushu tourist spot you would like to visit in the future?

I want to fly around the ocean to find the wandering island, haha. If that doesn’t work though, I’d love to at least visit Battleship Island. I’ve always been interested in ruins, especially with how nature manages to overtake them. If I could, I would gather up a bunch of people to play tag there, but that’s probably not allowed – oh well!

8. What manga do you want to create next?

Something dark and gritty maybe – and most importantly, something with cooler backgrounds.

9. Please leave a message for our readers.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed it!

  monotone_ink’s work is only one of the manga created by the SMA MasterClass that won an award in Monthly Comic ZENON’s manga awards; with the support of the SMA Editorial Department, the MasterClass members are showing year after year their potential to the Japanese readers.

Learn more about the MasterClass and the SMA projects!



SMA Editorial Dept.

SMA Editorial Dept.