Favorite manga: There are tons of manga I love, but if I were to choose the ones that really made an impact on me, I’d have say “Nodame Cantabile” and “Watashi Tachi no Shiawase na Jikan”. These two have a very special place in my heart.
Favorite movie: Definitely Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away”. I’ve watched it more than 50 times… my mom thought I was insane lol! The beauty of that movie couldn’t be described with words. It captivated me so much.
Favorite quote: “There may be people who have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do” – Derek Jeter, former professional baseball player.
“I’ve learned more and experienced so many wonderful things through joining [the SMA].”
1. How does it feel to win a SILENT MANGA AUDITION award?
It felt unreal. Honestly, until now I couldn’t believe it. It was a dream come true. When I found out I’d won, I couldn’t contain myself and screamed out loud. It was midnight then, so I accidentally woke up my mom and my siblings, almost giving them heart attack. It was quite a funny scene now that I recall it.
2. What were your first impressions of the theme?
The theme was ‘Promise’ and the first thought that came to my mind was two words, ‘delicate’ and ‘poignant’. I had a hard time coming up with a story since every time I ponder about ‘promise’, I always end up thinking of the famous quote, ‘promises are meant to be broken’, which for me was quite true and really does happen a lot.
I initially drafted a sad story about a promise being broken but I thought that this was not it. Something was missing and it felt like I hadn’t truly grasp the essence of the theme. Fortunately I changed everything in the end, made the story light-hearted with a humorous tone, and decided to go with a positive vibe instead. Thankfully, it worked out well.
3. What was the inspiration behind your winning work?
Myself I guess? haha. I’ve had a bit of a similar problem with my character from ‘AIM!’ since we were both overweight. I had my weight loss journey last year so I know it’s really really hard to lose weight. I was only able to do it when I finally made a commitment to myself. I believe the most important promise to keep is the promise you made to yourself. That was the inspiration I had behind the work.
4. What challenges did you face making your manga? How did you overcome them?
Definitely time. As an artist, I’ve always been aware of my pace, and honestly speaking, I draw with the speed of a slug. I really struggled with the time. I believe I had about less than a month at the time to draw all of the pages and I was almost discouraged to continue. I was real close to giving up. It was only through perseverance and grit that I made the deadline. Thank God I didn’t lose hope. I was grateful to my entry’s protagonist. As I was working on her story, she inspired me to continue to get to the goal. She reminded me that people don’t achieve big things by accident. Win or lose, I was determined to finish the manga no matter what. I’d rather try and fail than not try at all.
5. What did you learn from making your manga? Did you pick up any new skills or technique?
It’s crazy but it was the first time I drew a chubby protagonist for my story. I guess I didn’t have the opportunity before, so this was a first for me. I initially thought that I would have a hard time, and I did some research first. Surprisingly though, I enjoyed drawing her a lot. I think I will draw more chubby characters from now on. They just look cute and cuddly. I love them!
6. How important is entering the SILENT MANGA AUDITION in relation to your professional goals?
I believe the Silent Manga Audition is one of the most prestigious auditions for manga artists around the world. When I first learned about it through a friend, I remember reading about the rules to not use dialogues but only drawings to tell a story and that really piqued my interest. From then on, I’ve aspired to enter and to prove my skills through it. I’ve learned more and experienced so many wonderful things through joining such contest.
7. What advice would you give to people entering the SILENT MANGA AUDITION?
Never give up! I know a lot of people have entered more than once and maybe some failed (like I did too). It was tough but keep on going, eventually you will catch a break. You will succeed.
Read Rori’s SMA11 EXCELLENCE AWARD winning manga, “AIM!” by clicking the image!