Published On: Thu, Dec 26th, 2019

Best Of 2019: From Astral Chain To Zetman: The Story Of Masakazu Katsura

Astral Chain

From now until a finish of 2019 we’ll be celebrating a entrance year by looking behind and republishing some of a excellent facilities from a past twelve months, in further to a unchanging output. This essay initial seemed on a site behind in August. Enjoy!

Although he’s a famous manga artist in Japan, there’s a good possibility you’ve substantially never listened of Masakazu Katsura – and if we have, it substantially wasn’t until unequivocally recently. He’s a impression engineer for Astral Chain, a latest movement pretension from PlatinumGames. In expectation of Astral Chain’s release, we’re holding a debate by some of his prior work so we can spin improved proficient with his outlay (if you’re not one of a propitious people who’s already a fan, of course).

Masakazu Katsura was innate in Japan in 1962. Growing up, he was always good during drawing, yet amazingly, he never wanted to be a manga artist and had small seductiveness in a medium, preferring cinema and novels. He entered a manga competition when he was in high propagandize utterly so he could lift a supports to buy a stereo with a esteem money; celebrity was not during a forefront of his mind during that time. As it incited out, he finished adult winning a endowment and it launched his career.

Katsura has combined several strange manga array that have sole millions of copies worldwide and many have been blending into other party mediums, such as anime array and live-action movies. He has even finished collaborations with his good friend, Akira Toriyama, a creator of Dragon Ball and impression engineer for Dragon Quest and Chrono Trigger.

Grab a box of tissues and get prepared to helper those damaged hearts as we take a demeanour behind during some of Katsura’s career-defining titles.


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Kenta is so spooky with superheroes that he invents his own: Wing-Man. He spends his days behaving out fantasies about being Wing-Man. His wish is postulated when Aoi, a princess from a dimension Podreams, is means to spin him into a favourite he has combined regulating a book called Dream Note, that (as we can substantially guess) can make dreams come true. Turns she needs his help, too; Kenta, Aoi, and Kenta’s crush, Miku, contingency work together to save Podreams from Rimel, an immorality tyrant who wants to take it over regulating a Dream Note.

This was Katsura’s initial large strike and laid a grounds for many of his career. Wing-Man was a birth of his singular impression of storytelling, that focuses on thespian adore triangle stories for teenage boys that underline a clever comedic sci-fi or anticipation element. While a art might seem a small general ‘80s, keep in mind he was still fine-tuning his style.

The 13 volumes of Wing-Man were serialized from 1983 to 1985. There was also a 47-episode anime TV array that aired from 1984 to 1985.

Video Girl Ai


“Dateless” Yota is in adore with his classmate, Moemi. The usually problem is, Moemi’s in adore with his super-cool best friend, Takashi. Heartbroken, Yota rents a videotape featuring a flattering lady named Ai who’s ostensible to hearten him up. When Yota plays a fasten on his damaged VCR, Ai literally comes out of a TV and creates it her goal to comfort him and assistance him pursue Moemi. The usually thing is, since her fasten was played on a broken VCR, Ai glitches and eventually develops feelings for Yota herself.

While Video Girl Ai facilities a lot of sci-fi elements, a array takes a unequivocally genuine demeanour during unrequited adore and how people understanding with it. It focuses on a precocious characters and takes their feelings and relations seriously. Few artists can constraint a youth annoy of being in adore utterly like Katsura can. His signature art impression starts to unequivocally take figure here, and his courtesy to fact is jaw-dropping. His early array like Wing-Man and Video Girl Ai helped to settle tropes and templates that would be used frequently by other manga artists in successive “shonen” romcoms.

The 15 volumes of Video Girl Ai were serialized from 1989 to 1992. There was a six-episode anime OVA array expelled in 1992, along with a live-action film expelled a same year. Additionally, there was a 12-episode live-action TV array that aired in 2018, with a 12-episode supplement array that aired in 2019. Video Girl Ai has spin one of Katsura’s fast hits.


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Karin is from 100 years in a future. She comes behind in time to stop Junta from apropos a Mega-Playboy; a masculine who possesses DNA that creates him overwhelming to women and ends adult carrying 100 children who lift a same gene, who have another 100 children who lift a gene, eventually causing a outrageous overpopulation problem. Present-day Junta has a “girl allergy” that creates him puke anytime he is aroused. The usually lady who doesn’t means this greeting is his childhood friend, Ami. Karin incidentally triggers Junta branch into a Mega-Playboy early and afterwards devises a devise to offshoot him adult with Ami to repair her mistake and save a future. Now that’s a plot.

DNA² is substantially Katsura’s many violent (and problematic) series. At a core, it’s a adore story between dual childhood best friends, with healthy servings of teen drama, time travel, scholarship fiction, action, and fan use piled on top. While it seems like many of these elements would be during contingency with any other, a ability to intersect them and make them all work together to emanate something special is a covenant to Katsura’s strength as a storyteller.

The 5 volumes of DNA² were serialized from 1993 to 1994. It was also a 12-episode anime TV array that came out in 1994, with a 3-episode supplement anime OVA array that followed in 1995.

Love Destroy

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Astral Chain isn’t Katsura’s initial time doing impression designs for a video game. He also did a designs for Love Destroy, a Japanese-only PlayStation diversion expelled in 1999. The diversion was a hybrid between a third-person mech shooter and a dating sim, where a masculine commander had to build a regretful attribute with a 3 womanlike drudge navigators between a shooter missions. Hey, it was a ‘90s.

Keeping in a area of video games for one moment, it’s value observant that a OVA array Iria: Zeiram a Animation – whose lead impression was designed by Katsura – spawned a Super Famicom pretension Hyper Iria.


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Shy Ichitaka is in adore with his beautiful swimsuit indication classmate, Iori. He only can’t seem to tell her. While he tries to pattern adult a courage, his childhood friend, Itsuki, comes behind from America and ends adult relocating in with him – and Itsuki isn’t bashful about her feelings for Ichitaka.

I”s was a bit of a depart for Katsura as it contained no sci-fi or anticipation elements. It’s a loyal teenage regretful comedy that didn’t have any mind-bending or singular hook. It proves that he could tell a good story though a need for choice dimensions, time travel, or enchanting video stores. I”s is as loyal to life as a Katsura array gets.

The 15 volumes of I”s were serialized from 1997 to 2000. There was a two-episode anime OVA array expelled from 2002 to 2003, a six-episode anime OVA array expelled from 2005 to 2006, and a 13-episode live-action TV array that aired from 2018 to 2019.


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Jin and Kouga were once childhood friends, though now they’re a opposition superheroes, ZET and Alphas. They both work to strengthen amiability from superhuman monsters famous as Players. Coming from unequivocally opposite backgrounds, a dual have resisting definitions of probity and what it means to be a hero.

Zetman was even some-more of a depart for Katsura. Instead of another teenage regretful comedy, it’s a dim and formidable deconstruction of a superhero genre. It includes unequivocally mature themes and striking violence. His adore for Batman and other superheroes can be seen in many of his past works and Zetman done it apparent that Katsura had a lot to contend about a genre. Though vastly opposite than his prior works, if we have a stomach for grittier content, Zetman doesn’t disappoint.

The 20 volumes of Zetman were serialized from 2002 to 2014. There was also a 12-episode anime TV array that aired in 2012.

With his graphic art impression and prolonged story operative within a scholarship novella genre, Katsura was a ideal choice for Astral Chain’s impression design. From fantasy-infused regretful comedy to steely superhero deconstruction, there’s no doubt that he has done a name for himself in a Japanese cocktail enlightenment world. His fans are already anxiously available his subsequent project, whatever that might be.

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