A very prolific and well-known mangaka, Yuu Watase (born March 5, 1970) is best known as the creator of Ceres, Celestial Legend and Fushigi Yuugi, both of which have been adapted into anime. She made her debut in 1989 with the oneshot Pajama de Ojama (An Interlude in Pyjamas) and is predominantly a writer of Shoujo series, although she has recently begun branching out into other demographics, including shounen (Arata: The Legend) and yaoi (Sakura Gari). She has also written some novels as well, according to The Other Wiki.
Her first works were typically characterized by love triangles, high levels of melodrama (specially during the original Fushigi Yuugi era), drawn out, almost laughably sappy love scenes, and of course, plenty of Bishōnen.
On the other hand, when Watase does decide to go Darker and Edgier, she does so hardcore: Sakura Gari, Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden and Ceres, Celestial Legend have plenty of bishonen, melodrama and love triangles, but with utterly twisted and psychologically driven storylines.
In May 2019, Watase came out as X-gender, a Japanese term for non-binary gender identities. However, an editor from Viz Media's Shojo Beat has stated that Watase still prefers to be referred to with she/her pronouns in English.
Some of Watase's manga works include:
- Shinshunki Miman Okotowari (1991)
- Shishunki Miman Okotowari Kanketsu Hen (1992–1994)
- Fushigi Yuugi (1991–1996)
- Epotrans! Mai (1994-1995)
- Ceres, Celestial Legend (1996-2000)
- Appare Jipangu (1998–2003)
- Imadoki! (2000-2001)
- Alice 19th (2001-2003)
- Absolute Boyfriend (2003-2005)
- Sakura Gari (2007-2010)
- Arata: The Legend (2008-2023)
Tropes Commonly Associated within Watase's works:
- Anyone Can Die: Just don't get too attached to any character apart of the lead. Just in case. Literally half the cast of Fushigi Yuugi are dead by the end.
- Art Evolution: Big time. The biggest development was done during Ceres Celestial Legend. Her characters, though still similar to each other, have become more rounded. And she deliberately changed her style for Sakura Gari and Arata: The Legend respectively.
- Can't Have Sex, Ever: Watase loves this trope with a passion! In half of her works, there's always some reason for the two leads not hooking up. Either the female lead needs to stay a virgin, or one of the characters is cursed, or not a real human, and so on, so on.
- Costume Porn: First, we had the Miko clothes in Fushigi Yuugi. Then we had Aya's pretty school uniform in Ceres Celestial Legend. Then we have the Amawakuni clothing in Arata: The Legend.
- Darker and Edgier: Watase's career went this way starting with Ceres Celestial Legend. Case in point, Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden is much more serious and dramatic than the original Fushigi Yuugi. And then there's Sakura Gari...
- Love Dodecahedron: She is the master of this.
- Only Six Faces: Take a look at some of the major male characters from her works, spanning from early series Fushigi Yuugi to her more recent Absolute Boyfriend. Most of them have the same exact face, and their hairstyles are also very similar. Same goes for her female characters, although they're a bit more distinguishable (usually). Although as stated above, she has improved over the years. The type of face and hair that repeats more often is the male leads... and since in her free talks she always mention she think these characters look handsome, it's pretty clear there's a lot of Author Appeal involved.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Her Official Couples must go through LOTS of shit to stay together. And even then, they don't get the guarantee that they won't be separated.
- Yaoi Fangirl: Watase been known to ship her own male characters in the comments sections of her various manga and claimed to be disappointed at not seeing fanfics featuring her preferred couplings. Watase's foray into actual yaoi surprised no-one.