National quiz is a Japanese manga released in 1993, written by Reiichi Sugimoto and drawn by the inimitable Shinkichi Katoh.
To be frank national quiz is quite the unusual and weird manga with a really bizarre setting, and that’s what made it so special, In
an alternate reality where Japan has control over nuclear power and reins supreme over the world, Japan implemented a unique
form of a dictatorship government that depends on a quiz show called The national quiz where citizens can get any kind of wish
granted if they win, but if they lose they will be considered war criminals.
The story focuses on K-I K-Ichi, The host of the show who originally participated in the National Quiz and lost. Even though He was really loved by the fans, the government still treated him like a criminal.
What I loved about this manga is that the author didn’t waste his efforts on creating an utopia. He had a clear messages to share and brought a lot of political questions. He didn’t focus on how the national quiz works, But rather the implications of this system and it’s effect on the people. The manga shows and explores every aspect of the world like education, economy and the state of various government bureaus.
And this wad due to the time when Reiichi Sugimoto started writing the story: after the cold war, Japan’s economic bubble was at its peak and personal greed and ambition ruled all. He said in an interview that his manga base lies on Machiavelli‘s view on human nature, Human personality is ruled by impulse and reflex to maintain endless greed and ambition which creates a society that pits every man against each other and that’s what National quiz is all about. Aren’t we all greedy and hypocrites after all!
Usually for a manga that wants to have in depth talks about corrupt governments and society, it will be boring as hell but that was not the case for National quiz, you couldn’t see what’s coming next and it had a lot of twists. But we also should praise Shinkichi Katoh for the superb job he has done: His excessive art meshed well with the surreal setting, There was plenty of detail and his art had a comedic and a satirical effect.
Overall National quiz is a brilliant manga with an astonishing art that will surely entertain you, so if you’re looking for a solid satirical work and you’ve had enough of shonen manga, Pick this up!