In the midst of his San Diego manga marathon, Ed Chavez handed out the Yomis, the first-ever manga awards, to the lucky recipients.
And they are (drumroll please):
Best manga series: Fullmetal Alchemist
Best global manga: Dramacon
Best short or one-shot: Sexy Voice and Robo
Best publisher: Viz
Congratulations to the winners! As one of the judges, I have to say that the nominees were so strong that it was difficult to choose a winner. Everyone else must have felt the same, because Ed says the voting was close.
The results are close to a clean sweep for Viz, with Tokyopop bringing in only one title. I think there would be more diversity if there were more categories, however. I really spent a lot of time thinking about whether to vote for Viz or Del Rey for best publisher. Del Rey does a lot of quality work, but they’re still small. When I thought about all the manga I read, and which manga I like the most, it had to be Viz. All four nominees for best manga were Viz titles, because while they do publish their share of mediocre stuff, they also pick up a lot of really good titles.
One more thing: While readers of traditional comics continue to complain about the lack of female creators (there’s some big dust-up on the other side of the blogosphere right now about this Joe Quesada guy), two of the three winning manga series are by female manga-ka. Despite the accusations of sexism in the storylines, it seems that manga really are more egalitarian.
Many thanks to Ed, who put a lot of work into making this happen. I know it wasn’t easy, but I think this is a real milestone for manga in the U.S. What we’re seeing is that the medium here has matured to the point where not only is something like this possible, it’s very, very competitive.