Katsushi Niwa (Kanji: 丹羽克史) was a mangaka whose work was frequently adapted into anime by Studio XYZ.
Katsushi Niwa was born on July 20, 1954 and started his manga career at the age of 25, when he penned his first work, Chisa-chan to Koneko no Awatan (千沙ちゃんと子猫のあわたん, Awatan the Cat), to Shogakukan's Shogaku Sannensei in 1979. The manga proved an early success for Niwa, and received a drama adaptation two years later.
This wasn't was Niwa wanted, however. Having grown up watching anime, he had always wanted to see his work adapted into one. It was not until 1986 that this wish would finally come true for him, thanks to New Air and their first TV anime, Usakuma, based off of a 4-koma manga he had penned two years prior. This motivated him to continue drawing manga, and in 1989, he was brought on board by the same studio to design characters for their next TV anime, Yowamushi Krupper, an adaptation of the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! television series. Niwa based his designs off of an earlier, unsuccessful manga he had penned in 1981.
In 1990, Katsushi Niwa switched from Shogaku Sannensei to CoroCoro Comic, also by Shogakukan. His first work for the magazine was KataTen, followed by Majutsu-shi Tanuki, which received a TV anime adaptation from Studio XYZ, New Air's parent company. In 1993, Niwa finished the Majutsu-shi Tanuki manga, with the ending involving protagonist Makoto draining all the air out of his human friend Eri, killing her in the moment. This ending was deemed too gruesome for a children's magazine, and Shogakukan gave Niwa the boot, marking the dawn of his "dark age".
Unable to find a magazine where his ideas could be accepted, Katsushi Niwa started publishing doujin manga under the label Comic Garden (コミックガーデン), a play on his own last name, since にわ could also be kanjified as 庭 (garden). Between 1994 and 2003, Niwa published works that portrayed dark themes ranging from a girl joining the Aum Shinrikyo cult in 1997's Aum Girl to domestic abuse in a chapter of 2000's Lucid, all without leaving behind his "cute" art style.
It is at the end of this time that Katsushi Niwa, with help from longtime friend and Afghan history researcher Masakatsu Takahashi, would pen his best known work: Mehran, which portrayed the life of a young boy in the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
Later in 2004, Katsushi Niwa found a new home for his work: Kadokawa Shoten. After having Kadokawa publish Kanzenban versions of his doujin work, Niwa started penning new manga for Shounen Ace. In the meantine, Niwa penned a shoujo manga for Asuka: Fukakyon in Wonderland (Kanji: 不思議の国の深キョン), a fantasy manga starring a character based off of actress Kyoko Fukada, who was reportedly Niwa's unrequited crush.
He died from prostate cancer on March 9, 2021.
Anime Staff Positions
- Yūrei Yashiki Yūgi (2003) - Original Creator
- Gulzar (2013) - Original Character Design / Setting Manager
- Hankō (2003) - Story / Script / Character Design
- Usakuma (1986) - Original Creator
- Yowamushi Krupper (1989) - Character Design
- Majutsu-shi Tanuki (1992) - Original Creator
- KataTen (1993-1994) - Original Creator
- Jungle Tanuki (2001-2003) - Original Creator
- Yōkai Miko (2005) - Original Creator / Theme Song Lyrics (ED)
- Awatan the Cat (1979) - Shogaku Sannensei
- Cowardly Crooper (1981) - Shogaku Sannensei
- Usakuma (1984-1986) - Shogaku Sannensei
- KataTen: My Shoulder Angel (1990) - CoroCoro Comic
- Magician Tanuki (1991-1993, 18 issues) - CoroCoro Comic
- Doraemon X (1996) - Comic Garden
- Aum Girl (1997) - Comic Garden
- 2100 AD (1998) - Comic Garden
- Haunted Mansion Challenge (2000) - Comic Garden
- Lucid: When Dreams and Reality Collide (2000) - Comic Garden
- Jungle Tanuki (2000-2003, 23 issues) - Comic Garden
- Ex-Magician Tanuki (2001) - Comic Garden
- Mehran (2002-2003, 2 issues) - Comic Garden
- Monster Maiden (2004) - Comic Garden (Published by Kadokawa Shoten)
- Sonic the Hedgehog: Memories of Tails (2005) - Shounen Ace
- Fukakyon in Wonderland (2008-2010) - Asuka
- Zayazaya Nichijou (2016-2021) - Zayazaya Club
- Moonlight Warriors Usaranger (2017-2018, 6 chapters) - Shounen Ace