Anime & Comics

Kazuki Takahashi: The life and work of a Japanese treasure

Yu-Gi-Oh! was an integral part of many childhoods, with the franchise spawning a trading card game and a popular anime. However, none of that would have been possible without manga artist Kazuki Takahashi, who sadly passed away recently.

Soon after the news of his passing spread, fans from all corners of the world shared their condolences and memories online.

Takahashi is reported to have died in a snorkeling accident off the coast of Nago, Okinawa Prefecture in Japan.

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Takahashi’s success as a mangaka

Takahashi began his career as a manga artist, or mangaka, in 1982 in Japan, creating his first manga Toki? no taka (Fighting Hawk) and publishing it in 1990.

1991 and 1992 saw Takahashi debut Tennenshoku Danji Buray (BURAY), which reached publication and only lasted two volumes.

The creation of his most popular series Yu-Gi-Oh! made Takahashi a staple artist in Japan and still serves as a successful franchise today.

Later years saw the artist collaborating with other creators and branching into the world of video games, where new one-shot manga Drump was published based on a game created by the artist, followed by the limited series The Comiq.

Takahashi won the Inkpot award issued by Comic-Con International in 2015 for his contribution to the comic genre.

It’s time to duel

1996 was the year that Takahashi created Yu-Gi-Oh!, which received 343 published chapters that were later reprinted into 38 volumes.

It’s no secret that the success of Takahashi’s manga spawned the development of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game, first published by Bandai, then Konami.

The manga was originally called Magic and Wizards – inspired by the long-running card game Magic: The Gathering – and the artist received so many requests to continue the story that Takahashi made the decision to extend the narrative past its Weekly Sh?nen Jump run.

But that’s not all, Takahashi’s manga also spawned the anime adaptation Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters by Studio Gallop, which ran from 2000 to 2004 in Japan and 2001 to 2006 in Western regions.

The anime series also produced a number of spin-offs in its own metaseries, including The Dark Side of Dimensions and Sevens.

Takahashi’s dog Taro inspired a monster card in Yu-Gi-Oh!

Outside his professional life, an archived magazine from Shonen Jump confirmed that Takahashi enjoyed playing popular Japanese games shogi, mahjong, and tabletop RPG games.

Additionally, Shonen Jump also confirmed that the artist was a big fan of the American comic book character Hellboy.

Takahashi also had his dog Taro – a shiba inu- who ended up inspiring the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG monster card Shiba-Warrior Taro, and Takahashi made sure to personally draw the card’s artwork. 

By Jo Craig – [email protected]

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Jo Craig
@shingeekyjo

Being a pop culture writer and a proud geek of all trades, Jo loves to dissect fandoms and marvel at their insides. The entirety of The Lord of the Rings, superhero origins, the Ghost of Tsushima score, the Wings of Freedom, and the endless search for a sleepy Tyranitar are but a few of Jo's passions, with a penchant for contributing to the geek culture community.

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