Amano, Junta Momonari, Wingman, some
of the characters created by Masakazu Katsura. But
who is he?
Masakazu Katsura was born in the
Japanese prefecture of Fukui on the 10th of December
1962. As a child, he turned out to be very talented
as a drawer. He decided to become a mangaka, a manga-author,
after a friend had congratulated him on one of his
drawings. A few years later, he won the Osamu Tezuka
(Astroboy's creator) contest.
His name became famous throughout his native country
in 1983, when was published his first series, a manga
called "Wingman". 13 volumes were drawn and the TV
series derived from it was broadcast in Japan. As
Katsura himself confesses, this series wasn't exceptional,
but thanks to it, Katsura had forged himself a name.
In 1989, he launches a new manga,
"Video Girl Ai", who tells the sentimental story of
a young student, Yota Moteuchi, who gets the help
of Ai Amano, a video girl, who comes out of his TV
set. This time, 15 volumes were edited, including
short stories with the same guideline. Video Girl
Ai is Masakazu Katsura's master piece and placed him
among the most famous mangakas.
Then later, in 1994, a new series
is born: DNAČ. In the future, overpopulation has become
a crucial problem, that must be resolved. We learn
that around our time lived a "Mega-playboy", a boy
called Junta Momonari, who made a hundred girls pregnant.
Since it has become so important to regulate births,
a DNA operator, Karin Aoi, is sent in the past to
alter Junta's DNA, to turn him back into a normal
boy. This series was shorter than the previous two:
only 5 volumes were drawn.
In 1995, Katsura tells the story
of a "Batgirl" in Shadow Lady. 3 volumes were published.
Two years later, he starts another long series called
I"s, that tells the story of three young people: Iori
Yoshizuki, Ichitaka Seto and Itsuki Akiba. Ichitaka
is a boy in love with his classmate, Iori. After hard
times, he finally succeeds in getting a little closer
to Iori. But this is the moment when Itsuki, a childhood
friend of Ichitaka, comes back from the United States...Of
course, this is not all of Katsura's work. But his
other mangas, like Vander and Present from Lemon,
weren't as successful as those above. Many OAVs derived
from the series.
Katsura's main theme is the internal
conflicts that torture those who are in love. The
characters make a triad of young people, in which
the boy can't figure out which one of the girls he's
in love with. The main character is tortured by his
hesitations and can't guess what his feelings are,
despite they're evident. Katsura is very successful
in this field, and reading Video Girl Ai/Len or yet
some passages of DNAČ immediately reveals how talented
he is in describing human questions raised by love.
The feelings described are universal, so that everyone
can find a part of himself in it.