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Yu-Gi-Oh! Creator Kazuki Takahashi Dies at 60

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Kazuki Takahashi

Japanese public broadcaster NHK has reported the passing of Kazuki Takahashi. The Yu-Gi-Oh! manga creator was found by local firefighters floating off the coast of Nago in Okinawa Prefecture in southern Japan on Wednesday morning at around 11:27 am. Takahashi’s body was identified on Thursday after the country’s coast guard linked him to a white rental car that had been abandoned about seven miles away.

According to the Coast Guard, Takahashi was traveling alone in Nago, a popular tourist town with beaches. The manga artist was discovered in snorkeling gear and no signs of apparent injury have been reported. The cause of death is currently unknown, and an investigation is underway. He was 60.

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As news of his passing became known, Takahashi fans took to social media to express their sadness and dismay, with many calling him a “genius” and thanking him for being a big part of their childhoods. Studio Dice, Takahashi’s agency, turned the manga artist’s web page black.

Takahashi, whose real name was Takahashi Kazuo, was born in Tokyo in 1961. In his early 20s, he began working as a manga artist. His rise to global success began in 1996 with Yu-Gi-Oh! The manga told the story of Yugi Mutou, whose alter ego awakens when solving conflict through magical card games.

The serialized manga would go on to become an international phenomenon spawning multiple television series, iconic card game, films, and video games. The first TV series based on the manga started in 1998, with the first anime film following shortly after in 1999. The English version of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga was released in North America, running in Shonen Jump magazine from 2002 until late 2007.

The Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game is a collectible card battle game based on the Duel Monsters concept from the series. The card game launched in Japan in 1999. Guinness World Records called it the top-selling trading card game in history in 2011. To date, Yu-Gi-Oh! is one of the most successful media franchises of all time. The franchise has reportedly made over $17.1 billion since its inception.

In 2015, Takahashi was the recipient of the Inkpot award from Comic-Con International for outstanding contributions to comics. In 2018, the manga artist published The Comiq, a mystery crime thriller limited series. Just this year, the artist released Marvel’s Secret Reverse, a manga that teams up Iron Man and Spider-Man.

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