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Yu-Gi-Oh: the immense legacy of master Kazuki Takahashi

by Harry Brown

Kazuki Takahashi, known mainly for having created Yu-Gi-Ohwas an artist and a creative with an innate talent, always looking for new ideas to develop within his works, and capable of transmitting the enormous passion he put into his work to others, making it boundless and possibly eternal.

The discovery of his body on the morning of July 6, 2022 on the coast of Nago, in the prefecture of Okinawa, shocked the entire community of enthusiasts. But although the master has left us, his imagination continues to pervade various sectors of entertainmentand for this we want to remember the importance of his work by retracing the fundamental stages of his career.

Born October 4, 1961 in Tokyo, Takahashi began to approach the world of Japanese comics as a mangaka in the early 1980s. In 1990 you published the one-shot short story Fighting Hawk on Weekly Shonen Jump, returning the following year with Tennenshoku Danji Buray, then published in two tankobons. While reaching Weekly Shonen Jump is an incredible milestone, Takahashi has always considered his early works to be a “total flop”.

In 1996 the turning point will come, with the release of the first chapter of Yu-Gi-Ohwhich would remain on the pages of WSJ until 2004. Over the course of eight years Takahashi was overwhelmed by an impressive success, becoming involved in many projects, which also led him to radically change the tones and themes of the series.

In the first 59 chapters, in fact, the Yu-Gi-Oh manga was not centered around the card game, originally called Magic & Wizards, but it also developed around other games. It was only following the myriad of requests sent by fans to WSJ that Takahashi was asked to learn more about the rules of that card game that had so interested readers. For this the series moved from chapters focused on adventures, sometimes even with horror tonesto a succession of Duel Monsters battles and tournaments, like the famous narrative arc of the Kingdom of Duelists.

Season 0 of Yu-Gi-Oh, which aired from April to October 1998, faithfully proposed some of the manga’s opening chapters, and although it was very popular in Japan, it never left those borders due to the presence of violence. , and for the absence of references to the card game. In 2000, however, the first, historic, series arrived which generated a real world phenomenon, which was followed by the production of other seasons, and the immense popularity of Konami’s card game.

According to data updated to January 2021, the Yu-Gi-Oh card game would have sold more than 35 billion cards worldwide, recording stellar revenues also thanks to video games such as Duel Links and the most recent Master Duel, and to the competitive scene. A life full of successes that unfortunately ended prematurely, and that we will always remember through the incredible art and imagination of the great Takahashi.

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