[SDCC 2015] Kazuki Takahashi’s Autograph Session

July 15, 2015 at 11:16 pm | Posted in Other Stuff, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 8 Comments

Only at San Diego Comic Con will you find die-hard fans who are willing to spend an entire day and night waiting in line for a chance to enter a random lottery drawing. So when Yu-Gi-Oh! fans found out that Kazuki Takahashi would only be signing a limited number of autographs, and that the attendees who would receive autographs were determined entirely by a lottery, many of them did exactly that.

A winning ticket for Kazuki Takahashi's limited signing session at SDCC 2015
The most valuable Yu-Gi-Oh! item at SDCC 2015.

At SDCC, anyone interested in attending a limited autograph signing needed to draw a winning ticket from a bag. Each bag contained numerous losing tickets, but only a tiny number of winners. Attendees who don’t draw a winner could return to the end of the line to try again until all of the winners have been drawn. But while the winning tickets were removed, the losing tickets were returned back into the bag after each draw, decreasing the odds of success as time went on. Winning tickets (pictured above) were marked with a special sign and attendees exchanged them for wristbands labeled with the date and time of the signing. Only those who wore a wristband could receive an autograph.

Kazuki Takahashi’s drawings were scheduled for 9:00 am on Saturday, July 11. Many people had camped out all night to be among the first in line. The drawings were held in four separate lines to accommodate all of the attendees and each line had its own bag, which further diluted the odds of drawing a winner. A Japanese camera crew working with the Yu-Gi-Oh! licensors was on hand to interview the fans who managed to make a lucky pull.

Schedule for Kazuki Takahashi's signing session at SDCC 2015

Kazuki Takahashi’s autograph session took place at 4:00 pm that afternoon. He arrived completely surrounded by his entourage. Many of the reps from the Japanese licensing companies and 4K Media who were present at Takahashi’s panel earlier in the day were there with him. UDON Entertainment’s Chief Eric Ko had also come to greet Takahashi and to deliver a stack of Duel Art books for display at the signing table.

When Takahashi’s reps announced that he would not be signing anything that fans had brought themselves, there was a nervous hum of disappointment among those waiting in line. But the letdown quickly changed into amazement when the reps revealed what Takahashi had in store for the lucky fans. He had brought a shikishi — an elegant hard paper board with a gold border often used in Japan for paintings and calligraphy — printed with an original drawing of Yami Yugi. And not only that, he was also going to personalize each shikishi.

Chibi Yami Yugi asks attendees not to take photos or videos at Kazuki Takahashi's autograph session
There were two standing Yami Yugi cutouts placed by both ends of the autograph table. Not only did they make great displays, they also blocked people from taking photos of Takahashi if they snuck off to the side of the autograph area.

A member of Takahashi’s crew handed each attendee an index card, on which the attendee wrote his or her first name. She then transcribed the name into katakana — the Japanese writing system used for foreign words — so Takahashi could write the name more quickly and easily.

Kazuki Takahashi smiled jovially as each fan approached his table. 4K Media Producer Arthur “Sam” Murakami sat next to him, translating what the fans had to say and his responses. Takahashi signed each shikishi very quickly. The movements of his pen were so brisk and appeared heedless, yet the result was impeccable. As expected of the master himself.

Afterwards, each fan was promptly whisked away from the autograph table and led to an open area off to the side. The Japanese licensors’ camera crew was corralling the attendees and handing out release forms. They wanted to take photos to use in their marketing materials. Takahiko Aikawa, editor of Shueisha’s V Jump magazine, later tweeted two of those photos showing the autograph session line and some of the luckiest Yu-Gi-Oh! fans in the world holding up their shikishi.

Kazuki Takahashi autograph

More coverage of Yu-Gi-Oh!-related news at SDCC 2015 is forthcoming, including details about Kazuki Takahashi’s Saturday panel.


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  1. AHHH those lucky fans! It is kind of a bummer that fans couldn’t get at least one personal item autographed, but that shikishi board… *_____*

    The Yami cut-outs are hilarious and adorable. Reading about the lottery system gives me a little comfort that I couldn’t be at SDCC… I probably would have cried if I hadn’t drawn a winning ticket haha.

    Thank you so much for writing about this amazing, once-in-a-lifetime (it seems) event. May I ask where you got all the information from? Where you there??? :D

  2. Yup, I was there and took those photos. :D

  3. Where you lucky enough to get something signed or am I just blind.

  4. I sure was. The autograph board pictured is mine. When I was planning this post, I decided that I didn’t want the attention to be “Hey, look at me and what I got!” Instead, I wanted to focus on the attendees’ experience of being a part of a special event, know what I mean? So, I downplayed my own participation in it and slipped in a photo of the autograph only at the very end.

  5. Aw, congratulations! It must have been a very special day for you! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences — I’ve been wondering what the panel/autograph signing was like.

  6. Wow congratulations! You must be very happy that you own what will be one of the most rarest Yu-Gi-Oh! items ever. Where you featured in that photo on V JUMPS Twatter? Will we EVER see the REAL OG ravegrl?

  7. Thanks, guys. The 30 seconds I spent one-on-one with Kazuki Takahashi were beyond incredible. I will never, ever forget it.
    @Jo I will post a write-up about his panel soon. I’ve been saving it for the climax of my SDCC coverage and to coincide with the online release of the movie teaser.
    @realcomptoncityg No comment about whether or not V Jump featured me. ;)

  8. Real G’s would in my opinion ;) Anyway glad you got this opportunity.

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