KYOTO–A self-taught computer graphics animator won the grand prize at the 2021 Kyoto International Manga Anime Awards.

Mizuki Ito, who lives in Yawata, Kyoto Prefecture, received the honor for “Takano Intersection,” a short film that runs 6 minutes and 30 seconds, whose story begins when three misfits accidentally meet at a real-life intersection in Kyoto.

Judge Yutaka Kamata described the 30-year-old as “a talent who will outshine Makoto Shinkai,” the director known for such works as “Your Name.” and “Weathering With You.”

“I have been organizing a CG animation contest for more than 30 years, and this was the first time I ever saw all three judges give perfect scores,” Kamata, head of the CG animation promotion entity Project Team Doga, said during an awards ceremony held at the Kyoto city hall on Oct. 8.

Ito said he is thankful for the award and hopes it will raise his profile as an artist.

“Even if a film is posted on YouTube, no one will watch it unless it wins an award,” Ito said. “I want to keep working on my projects as much as I can.”

The contest covers works of manga, illustration and CG animation, with the aim of finding young talent and supporting their professional debuts.

Ito’s work also received the award for excellence in the CG animation category.

Past winners in the category include Shinkai, “Patema Inverted” creator Yasuhiro Yoshiura, and Tatsuki, director of the 2017 TV anime series “Kemono Friends.”

Director Mizuki Ito with the certificate for the grand prize at the Kyoto International Manga Anime Awards at the Kyoto city office on Oct. 8 (Photo by Kazuhito Suwa)

Ito started working on “Takano Intersection” about five years ago.

He created the drawings mostly on his own while he taught himself CG animation.

After graduating from a vocational school for designers, Ito provided drawings for animated TV shows. He has focused on his own projects over the past few years.

The CG animation category started in 1989 as a stand-alone contest organized by a private entity. It has been jointly organized by the city government since 2020.

This year, a total of 2,632 works were submitted from 97 countries and regions, reaching a record high.

The award for excellence in the manga category went to Taiwanese artist Nigou, while Charmaine Lee from Malaysia won in the illustration category.

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