Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions Comes to Duel Links

September 26, 2019 at 11:00 am | Posted in English dubbed, Japanese, The Dark Side of Dimensions, Yu-Gi-Oh! | Leave a comment

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions playmat in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links

In Yu-Gi-Oh! Transcend Game, the Duel Links World is a creation of Seto Kaiba’s that he uses to elevate his mind to a higher plane of consciousness in hopes of crossing over to the realm of the dead. And although Kaiba’s undertaking fails, he is given another chance to pursue this experiment and find Atem in The Dark Side of Dimensions.

…Even though that is merely a story from the mind of Kazuki Takahashi, today, Seto Kaiba has transcended the boundaries of fiction to come to our real-life Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links game. Wild! And quite meta. Are we all just pawns fueling Kaiba’s creation?

Yu-Gi-Oh! fans can now journey to the world of The Dark Side of Dimensions, where they can meet Kaiba, Mokuba, Scud, and other duelists from the movie. To unlock the DSoD Duel World, you, as Yugi Muto, need to win a very special duel against Yami Yugi using a very special deck. For your victory, you will receive a DSoD playmat (pictured above), sleeves, a prismatic Dark Magician card with the DSoD artwork, and more. Once you visit the new DSoD World, you will also unlock the DSoD version of Kaiba and his Blue-Eyes White Dragon.

In Japan, the Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions movie is returning to theaters starting in October for a limited run to promote the game. Yu-Gi-Oh! fans in the West can still buy the movie on Blu-ray and DVD and numerous digital platforms. American Yu-Gi-Oh! fans can also stream the movie on Hulu.

Today’s Duel Links update follows the addition of the 5D’s world almost exactly one year ago.

Yugi Muto and Yami Yugi fight in the Ceremonial Duel in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links

Seto Kaiba and the Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions logo in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links

Seto Kaiba and Blue-Eyes White Dragon in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links

Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS Voice Actors Bid Viewers Farewell

September 20, 2019 at 11:00 am | Posted in Japanese, VRAINS, Yu-Gi-Oh! | Leave a comment

Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS's Japanese voice actors posing for a photo after their final recording session

Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS will air its final episode next week on September 25. Today, the cast released a group photo from their final recording session and discussed their favorite memories from working on the anime.

Shouya Ishige (Playmaker) cherishes the relationship his character had with Ai, especially how this relationship changes in the pivotal moments of the show. He’s very happy to get to meet his character, this series, and everyone who worked on it.

Takahiro Sakurai (Ai) enjoyed meeting his character and his castmates. He felt so much passion from Yu-Gi-Oh! fans and is pleased to be able to take part in such a historic franchise.

Yuki Kaji (Soulburner) found it tough to choose just one favorite memory. Soulburner’s first duel, fighting alongside Playmaker, meeting and parting with Flame, and getting to settle the score with Revolver are all unforgettable for him. Plus, he cherishes the time he spent with his castmates — having lunch together, birthday and wedding celebrations, his bond with Ishige, and the kind words he exchanged with Sakurai.

Subaru Kimura (Kusanagi) enjoyed having lunch with his castmates every week after recording and growing closer to them through their conversations. He hopes that viewers, from watching the show, felt these same emotional ties that he felt with his castmates.

Shunsuke Takeuchi (Revolver) is happy to have met so many people, especially Ishige and his rivals. His time on the show has been an irreplaceable experience thanks to the wonderful cast, staff, and Yu-Gi-Oh! fans.

Viewers will get to hear all of the major human characters’ voices one last time in episode 120. TV Tokyo’s summary of the final episode shows that all of them are included in the cast list in this final episode.

(News from Animedia)

Animedia Magazine Confirms Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS Ends on September 25

September 10, 2019 at 12:30 am | Posted in Japanese, VRAINS, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 7 Comments

Ai, dejected as he looks at Playmaker's lifeless body in Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 94

The October issue of Gakken’s Animedia magazine confirmed today that Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS will broadcast its final episode on September 25. The series will end with its 120th episode.

Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS’s time slot will be filled on October 2 by a new anime, Ahiru no Sora.

Voice actor Yuki Kaji, who plays Takeru Homura (Soulburner), announced that he had recorded the final episode of a “certain show” on August 12. Although he did not name the show, fans noted that the only show that fit the bill was Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS. Coincidentally, Kaji has been cast as the lead character in Ahiru no Sora.

(News from ANN)

Kazuki Takahashi Authors New Story for Marvel, Shonen Jump+ Collaboration

September 2, 2019 at 6:00 pm | Posted in Japanese, Other Stuff | 3 Comments

Announcement banner for Marvel and Shonen Jump Plus collaboration
Marvel x Shonen Jump+
Super Collaboration!!
Japan and America’s two mega giants present a miraculous collaboration!!!
Seven Jump authors will draw their own Marvel story!!
Tuesday, September 3 >>> Wednesday, November 27

This fall, Marvel and Shueisha’s online publication Shonen Jump+ are partnering to produce several original manga stories that feature Marvel characters. Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi is participating in this collaboration with his work, SECRET REVERSE, a two-parter that will be published on September 4 and November 27.

The full line-up for this collaboration is as follows:

* September 3: Interview with Marvel’s Editor in Chief by Takeshi Sakurai (The Right Way to Make Jump)

* September 4: SECRET REVERSE, Part 1, by Kazuki Takahashi

* September 18: Gag Reel by Hachi Mizuno (Akuten Wars illustrator)

* October 2: Interview with Heroes by Ken Ogino (Lady Justice)

* October 16: SAMURAI by Sanshiro Kasama and Hikaru Uesugi (Tsugihagi Quest author and illustrator)

* October 30: Halloween Avengers by mato (The Emperor and I)

* November 13: Ant-Man+ by Toyotaka Haneda (Vocchi-men)

* November 27: SECRET REVERSE, Part 2, by Kazuki Takahashi

These stories are free to read in Japanese on Shonen Jump+ (click the red 読む!!! arrow beneath each title). There’s no word on whether they will see an English release in the future.

(h/t Bleeding Cool)

Ahiru no Sora Anime Takes Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS Time Slot on October 2

August 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm | Posted in Japanese, VRAINS, Yu-Gi-Oh! | Leave a comment

Ai flailing his arms in Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 50

Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS is losing its Wednesday, 6:25 pm JST, time slot on TV Tokyo on October 2.

An advertisement released today for the upcoming anime Ahiru no Sora reveals that this new show will premiere in Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS’s current time slot on October 2.

There is not yet any confirmation whether this means Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS will be ending the week prior or seeing a schedule change.

(h/t Starlight Breaking News)

Inside Gallery1988’s Yu-Gi-Oh! Art Show, Part 4

July 22, 2019 at 6:00 am | Posted in Japanese, Konami, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 2 Comments
Tags: ,

A tease of Kazuki Takahashi's Gallery1988 Yu-Gi-Oh! art show pieces included in this post

Even though Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi didn’t attend the opening of Gallery1988‘s Yu-Gi-Oh! art show himself, he nevertheless made his presence felt by leaving a special message for visitors along with a stunning set of never-before-seen artwork.

At the center of the exhibition was an acrylic display that featured a quote from Takahashi and a brief history of Yu-Gi-Oh!. The display also spotlighted Takahashi’s recent illustrations of Yugi and Kaiba from V Jump and his upgraded versions of Magician of Black Chaos and Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon, coming soon to the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG.

Kazuki Takahashi's message and art display at the Gallery1988 Yu-Gi-Oh! art show

Kazuki Takahashi's V Jump Yami Yugi illustration at the Gallery1988 Yu-Gi-Oh! art show

Kazuki Takahashi's illustration of Magician of Black Chaos MAX at the Gallery1988 Yu-Gi-Oh! art show

Takahashi’s message reads:

For the past 20 years since the creation of Yu-Gi-Oh!, I have been given the opportunity to interact with fans worldwide via manga, anime, and card games. Now, I am delighted to hold this Yu-Gi-Oh! art exhibit.

When creating new works, my focus is to design a universe in which story, characters, and monsters interact with each other.

Since Yu-Gi-Oh! spans a wide variety of mediums, many creative people work together to create a world filled with countless characters and monsters — in which to draw inspiration for new artwork.

In this exhibit, I am excited to see how these talented artists depict their own views of the Yu-Gi-Oh! universe.

From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank you for visiting the Yu-Gi-Oh! art exhibition today.

Kazuki Takahashi's V Jump illustration of Seto Kaiba at the Gallery1988 Yu-Gi-Oh! art show

Kazuki Takahashi's illustration of Blue-Eyes Alternative Ultimate Dragon at the Gallery1988 Yu-Gi-Oh! art show

The paragraphs detailing the history of Yu-Gi-Oh! describe its origins as manga to its prominence today as a global hit:

Kazuki Takahashi created and serialized the manga “Yu-Gi-Oh!” in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1996 to 2004. Through these eight years, Yu-Gi-Oh!’s uniquely original storyline and rich characters fascinated and entertained fans around the globe. Its theme of gaming and friendship appealed to all ages and cultures, forming the backdrop of the eternal rivalry between Yugi Muto and Seto Kaiba.

Celebrating 20+ years since its initial launch, the world of Yu-Gi-Oh! continues to wow fans and audiences around the world.

The animated TV series “Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters” began airing in 2000, with five successful spinoffs to follow. The 6th TV series — Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS — currently airs worldwide.

The feature-length animated film “Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions” was released in theaters on April 23, 2016. Mr. Takahashi played multiple roles in its production, serving as chief executive producer, screenplay writer and character designer. This effort was richly rewarded, with longtime fans not only praising the movie for its cinematic beauty but also for its endearing storyline — one filled with action-packed adventures, mesmerizing monsters and friendships that know no bounds.

The “Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game” is based on “Magic & Wizards,” a card game introduced in the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga. The Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG sparked a card game revolution not only in Japan, but throughout the world. New cards and game mechanics are still being released to this day.

Ever working, Mr. Takahashi’s passion for illustration, design and gaming can be seen as he continues to express his creativity on new artistic pieces — based on Yu-Gi-Oh! and other interests.

As exciting as it was seeing Takahashi’s V Jump and card illustrations enlarged for the exhibition, the bigger attraction was undoubtedly the four new pieces of artwork that he created specially for this art show.

Mixing digital art with paint, Takahashi presented his new takes on the classics: Yugi, Black Luster Soldier, Kaiba, and Blue-Eyes White Dragon.

Kazuki Takahashi's new artwork of Yugi at the Gallery1988 Yu-Gi-Oh! art show
Untitled, 2019, by Kazuki Takahashi
Paint on digital print
12 x 20 inches

Close up of Kazuki Takahashi's new artwork of Yugi at the Gallery1988 Yu-Gi-Oh! art show

Kazuki Takahashi's new artwork of Black Luster Soldier at the Gallery1988 Yu-Gi-Oh! art show
Untitled, 2019, by Kazuki Takahashi
Paint on digital print
12 x 20 inches

Close-up of Kazuki Takahashi's new artwork of Black Luster Soldier at the Gallery1988 Yu-Gi-Oh! art show

Kazuki Takahashi's new artwork of Seto Kaiba at the Gallery1988 Yu-Gi-Oh! art show
Untitled, 2019, by Kazuki Takahashi
Paint on digital print
12 x 20 inches

Close-up of Kazuki Takahashi's new artwork of Seto Kaiba at the Gallery1988 Yu-Gi-Oh! art show

Kazuki Takahashi's new artwork of Blue-Eyes White Dragon at the Gallery1988 Yu-Gi-Oh! art show
Untitled, 2019, by Kazuki Takahashi
Paint on digital print
12 x 20 inches

Close-up of Kazuki Takahashi's new artwork of Blue-Eyes White Dragon at the Gallery1988 Yu-Gi-Oh! art show

Close-up Blue-Eyes White Dragon's body in Kazuki Takahashi's new artwork at the Gallery1988 Yu-Gi-Oh! art show

Beautiful, breathtaking, and inspiring!

That’s it from me. Special thanks to Konami and Gallery1988 for putting on a stellar show and for providing additional information about the event that made this series of posts possible.

There are still a few limited edition screen prints available for sale from Gallery1988, so don’t miss out on those.

If you could own any piece of art from Gallery1988’s Yu-Gi-Oh! art show, which would you choose?

* * *

Back to the beginning:
Inside Gallery1988’s Yu-Gi-Oh! Art Show, Part 1

Inside Gallery1988’s Yu-Gi-Oh! Art Show, Part 3

New Yu-Gi-Oh! Anime Series Coming in 2020

July 21, 2019 at 2:00 am | Posted in Japanese, Konami, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 6 Comments

Screenshot from Konami's new Yu-Gi-Oh! anime announcement video at Konami's Jump Victory Carnival 2019

A new Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series is in the works and will premiere in 2020! That’s the word from Konami, who presented a teaser at its Jump Victory Carnival panel today with the announcement.

The voice-over in the teaser states: “The soul of the duelist has been inherited. Now, the history of the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series is changing. The 20th anniversary of the anime. Production on a new anime series has begun. Scheduled to premiere in 2020.”

The announcement does not provide any further information about the series.

Jump Victory Carnival is an annual exhibition sponsored by Shueisha that highlights the publisher’s many Jump properties and their latest developments. A recording of Konami’s full hour-long live streamed panel, which includes the teaser, is available for viewing.

(News from @yugioh_anime)

Yu-Gi-Oh! Among Top Anime Properties for TV Tokyo in 2018

May 14, 2019 at 11:00 am | Posted in Japanese, Other Stuff | 1 Comment

Seto Kaiba clenching his fist in episode 108

Yu-Gi-Oh! licensor TV Tokyo today announced its financial results for its 2018 fiscal year (March 2018 through March 2019). TV Tokyo is a massive enterprise whose businesses include television broadcasting, content licensing, and video streaming, among other things.

TV Tokyo’s anime properties generated ¥19.7 billion (about $180 million) in sales over the year, with nearly 70 percent of that coming from overseas.

The company revealed that its anime titles accounting for the highest number of sales were:

  1. Naruto
  2. Boruto
  3. Yu-Gi-Oh!
  4. Black Clover
  5. Bleach

Additionally, the titles generating the highest gross profits were:

  1. Naruto
  2. Boruto
  3. Pokemon
  4. Black Clover
  5. Yu-Gi-Oh!

Overall, TV Tokyo recorded a net profit of ¥3.2 billion (about $29 million), a 46.6 percent drop from the previous year. Its sales increased 1.4 percent, to ¥149.2 billion (about $1.36 billion). The company noted that its overseas and streaming businesses were vital to its income outside its domestic broadcasting businesses.

(News from TV Tokyo Holdings 2018 Financial Results Supplementary Materials, h/t The Nikkei)

V Jump 2018 Reader Demographics

April 22, 2019 at 6:00 am | Posted in Japanese, Other Stuff | Leave a comment

Reiji Akaba asking Adam who he is in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V manga chapter 32

Japanese publisher Shueisha recently uploaded its 2019 media kit, which includes readership statistics for its numerous magazines, including V Jump, the home of the Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V manga. The media kit compiles data from January 2018 through December 2018.

V Jump, a monthly magazine focused on gaming, trading cards, and manga and anime news, reported a circulation of 187,500 with 90 percent male readers and 10 percent female readers.

The age range of its readers are as follows:

  • Elementary school students (1st-3rd grade): 20%
  • Elementary school students (4th-6th grade): 25%
  • Middle school students (7th-9th grade): 24%
  • High school students (10th-12th grade): 12%
  • College students: 4%
  • Adults: 15%

Its readers also reported owning the following video game consoles:

  • Nintendo 3DS: 90%
  • Nintendo Switch: 40%
  • PlayStation 4: 35%
  • Other: 40%

The top three regions in Japan where V Jump was sold are the Kanto region at 33.2 percent, Kansai at 17.6 percent, and Tokai at 10.8 percent.

(h/t Nemesis162)

Kazuki Takahashi at MAGIC 2019, Part 3: Interview

April 10, 2019 at 2:00 pm | Posted in Duel Monsters, Japanese, Konami, Series 1, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 2 Comments
Tags: , , ,

Sahé Cibot and Kazuki Takahashi at MAGIC 2019 at Takahashi's Q&A panel

Kazuki Takahashi did more than judge a manga contest and sign autographs at MAGIC 2019. He also participated in a question-and-answer session where, for 25 minutes, he entertained the audience with candid insights about himself and his creations. Takahashi spoke about his start as an artist, the importance of creating dramatic cards and moments, the origin of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon, and even about a game he invented that failed to take off.

At MAGIC, all panels were conducted on stage in French. For attendees who only speak English, this wasn’t a problem if the guests were also English speakers. But for a panel like Takahashi’s, which was conducted in French and Japanese, the convention’s technology came to the rescue. Attendees could rent a pair of earphones and a receiver that allowed them to listen to an English interpretation of all the French dialogue spoken on stage.

Takahashi’s panel was the last one of the day, scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Sadly, it started very late and the auditorium, which could seat 400 people, was only about a quarter full. Nevertheless, the true fans in the room were all very enthusiastic. They made sure Takahashi could hear their cheers when he arrived on stage, even as the French Yu-Gi-Oh! theme song thundered from the loudspeakers as he entered.

Takahashi was accompanied on stage by his interpreter, Sahé Cibot, the general manager of Shibuya International and one of the manga contest’s judges. They were joined by Naoki Kawashima, deputy editor in chief of Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump and fellow manga contest judge, although Kawashima did not speak during the panel. The moderator was Matthieu Pinon, a journalist and author who specializes in manga and anime topics.

This post contains a full transcript of Kazuki Takahashi’s Q&A panel.

Matthieu Pinon, Sahé Cibot, Kazuki Takahashi, and Naoki Kawashima at Takahashi's Q&A panel at MAGIC 2019
Left to right: Matthieu Pinon, Sahé Cibot, Kazuki Takahashi, and Naoki Kawashima

Matthieu Pinon: Good evening, everyone. Thank you for waiting for this grand moment, this extraordinary meeting with Mr. Takahashi, the author of the manga Yu-Gi-Oh!, whom you all know because you are all passionate about manga and Japanese pop culture. To begin this conference, we will first ask Mr. Takahashi, what manga did you read when you were a child? What manga did you like to read?

Kazuki Takakashi: Honestly, I liked to watch Japanese tokusatsu [special effects] TV shows where kaiju appear, like the Ultraman series and Kamen Rider. These are what led me to want to draw.

Pinon: So drawing is all well and good as a hobby, but at some point you decided to become a professional. What motivated you to move in this direction?

Takahashi: Since I loved to draw, I wanted to make it my career. Before I was a manga author, I was an illustrator and also worked on video games. Then I started developing manga.

Pinon: You just talked about video games. At the time Yu-Gi-Oh! launched, video games had exploded in popularity in Japan. Then you came along with Yu-Gi-Oh!, which was a table-top game, something that might seem a bit old-fashioned compared to the current trend. Was your editor surprised when you presented this project?

Takahashi: No, not at all. Back when I was working at a game company, it was an era of martial arts video games where players could take control of characters and make them fight. So, it was less interesting to create a manga about martial arts. It was more special, more different to make a manga about table-top games, which are analog and more traditional.

Pinon: There are many table-top games in the world. And when Yu-Gi-Oh! first debuted, the manga included several categories of games. When you launched the card game, that’s when the manga became a success. This success is thanks to you [the audience] and the editors. How did public interest in the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game manifest itself?

Takahashi: When the manga began, the original concept was to show various ways of battling using games each week. At first, I wasn’t even thinking about a card game. Cards were just one of those games. After drawing them for two weeks, there was such an overwhelming reaction from the readers that I decided to make the manga into a series about cards as a response to their request.

Kazuki Takahashi speaking at his Q&A panel at MAGIC 2019, with Sahé Cibot and Naoki Kawashima

Pinon: To first explain how readers can express their interest, we have to remember that the magazines contain a small postcard in that back that readers can mail to the publication to specify which series they prefer. And it was right at the moment that the card games appeared in Yu-Gi-Oh! that the manga climbed further and further into the top 10. Speaking of cards, you didn’t just make these cards by happenchance; you actually developed rules for the game. Could you explain to us your process of creating a card? How did you determine its characteristics while taking into account the increase in the number of cards as the game progresses?

Takahashi: First, I created the story and decided how a character would play an active role in that story. Then I asked myself, what card would be the most dramatic when used by the protagonist while fighting against an opponent? Are fan-favorite characters playing an active role? From there I created each card.

Pinon: Could you tell us, briefly, how many cards you created for the game? Do you remember?

Takahashi: I’ve… Never counted before. Quite a lot, I guess. Like… A thousand.

Pinon: Around a thousand! I think that deserves a round of applause because a thousand cards is so–

[The audience applauds, drowning out Pinon.]

Pinon: And among these one thousand cards, the most famous is the Blue-Eyes White Dragon. But why a white dragon with blue eyes? Why not, say, a black phoenix with red eyes? Why did you choose this animal with this color and specifically this eye color?

Takahashi: I wanted to design a mystical and cool monster for Yugi’s first rival, Seto Kaiba, when he appeared for their first battle. That monster became the Blue-Eyes White Dragon. In a black-and-white world [of manga], I wanted its name to evoke a feeling that would allow readers to conjure up its colors. Ultimately, the Blue-Eyes White Dragon turns out to be a woman — a woman with white hair, white skin, and blue eyes who is revealed in the story to be a spirit.

Pinon: Does anyone out there have the Blue-Eyes White Dragon card?

[Many people in the audience raise their hands.]

Takahashi: Ah. [Nods.]

Pinon: Congratulations, you can show off to others.

[The audience laughs.]

Pinon: And when you watch Game of Thrones, you will get to see your card.[1]

[A few more chuckles from the audience.]

Pinon: Quite often, a duel in Yu-Gi-Oh! is more than a simple face-to-face confrontation between two players. Through the strategy of the opponents, players get to know one another better. It’s almost as if they are communicating through the cards. Was this important to you in your manga?

Takahashi: Yes, that’s right. Because the protagonist, Yugi, is a character that readers are rooting for, I always thought about how to give him a dramatic victory. For example, his trump card gets destroyed and he needs a come-from-behind win. I always thought about how to make such dramatic developments possible in narrative terms.

Kazuki Takahashi speaking at his Q&A panel at MAGIC 2019, with Matthieu Pinon and Sahé Cibot

Pinon: As we all see, MAGIC invites not only famous manga authors but also authors of [non-Japanese] comics. We know that you are a particular fan of this medium. What comic series do you read? Which do you follow with great interest?

Takahashi: I really like Mike Mignola. When it comes to BD, I really like Moebius.[2]

Pinon: Those of you who have been to Japan before might know that production of Japan’s own homegrown comics is quite important, so much so that foreign comics, whether French or American, are not well represented. Where did you find them, and how did you enter the world of comics?

Takahashi: There actually are places in Japan that sell American comics and I occasionally visit them to shop. I’ve always been a fan of American comics, especially stories about superheroes. I love the impactfulness of the artwork, a style that can’t be found in Japanese manga.

Pinon: You mentioned Mike Mignola. You had the opportunity to meet him and exchange drawings. He drew Yugi and you drew Hellboy. Could you tell us a little about this meeting? Because, when we see the drawings, it must have been quite the interesting encounter.[3]

Takahashi: I actually haven’t met him. I was excited to meet him at a comic convention but it didn’t work out. But we did end up collaborating. I drew Mike Mignola’s Hellboy while he drew Yugi.

Pinon: [You exchanged your drawings] through your publishers?

Sahé Cibot: Right.[4]

Pinon: For those of you who don’t know how Yu-Gi-Oh! ends, we aren’t going to spoil it for you, but you really should read the manga to the end because it’s quite exciting. The conclusion of Yu-Gi-Oh! is particularly successful. There are many manga that will simply stop, with publishers stating that their popularity is declining and that this is where they would draw the line. But you took great care to make a well-prepared ending. How did you plan this with your editor? Without revealing the ending to the reader, could you tell us how you prepared this well-developed, thoughtful ending?

Takahashi: When serialization of Yu-Gi-Oh! began, I had already decided that Yugi would meet the other Yugi — that he would meet his, umm, double — and that the two would fight in the end. I decided from the very beginning that Yugi would win.

[Cibot translates Takahashi’s answer into French, but leaves out his last statement that Yugi would win.]

Cibot: This is a huge spoiler, isn’t it?

[The audience laughs.]

Pinon: The ending is from 2004 so those who got spoiled are 15 years behind. We won’t blame you.

Cibot: Well, I didn’t say who won.

Pinon: This is so– Anyway.[5] Why was it important to you that he meet his double?

Takahashi: Well, it’s kind of like a multiple personality. The idea is that when the protagonist finds himself in trouble, a stronger version of himself appears. As the story progresses, he learns more about that other self and realizes that he must defeat him in order to become independent. Eventually, he does defeat his other self, grow, and become independent. This is the theme of the story.

Pinon: Sometimes, our greatest adversary is none other than ourselves. Two years ago, I believe, Yu-Gi-Oh! was developed into a smartphone mobile app. There was a monstrous promotional campaign in Tokyo where you could see billboards all over the Yamanote [railway line], the likes of which is completely unimaginable over here.[6] How did it make you feel seeing the analog game that you had designed shift into a video game?

Takahashi: Sure enough, in the manga, there was a rule that the game should absolutely not be taken in a digital direction. But we’re talking about Konami Digital Entertainment here, so…

[Takahashi and Naoki Kawashima laugh.]

Kazuki Takahashi glancing to his left and laughing at his Q&A panel at MAGIC 2019

Pinon: Time has moved on of course and video games are now available on smartphones that everyone can have in their hands. So time passed and in 2004, you stopped the manga. And for ten years, you supervised everything that was developed after that. Then, in 2013, you returned with a one-shot called DRUMP. What motivated you to create this manga?

Takahashi: I had the opportunity to do a one-shot. I thought of making the theme about card games. The Yu-Gi-Oh! card game is incredibly extensible, with rare cards and powerful cards constantly being introduced–

Pinon: It’s quite the catalog. I think some people have one or more binders that are stuffed full of cards.

Takahashi: On the other hand, I thought I could make an interesting game using playing cards, which are limited to 52 cards, so I created a manga based on that concept.[7]

Pinon: So in DRUMP, if you have a deck of 52 cards and a pencil, you can build and rebuild a [DRUMP] deck. You will only ever need 52 cards. Did this constraint help you create a crazy new concept? Or was it a barrier?

Takahashi: I did a lot of play-testing and found it to be a well-rounded game, so I created a story around it. I had fun drawing it and making the cards. It was interesting to play. I really wanted it to become popular, but compared to the power of Yu-Gi-Oh!, it paled in comparison. [Laughs.]

Pinon: As you may have noticed, we’re running a bit late so we’re going to have to cut this short. However, to finish, Mr. Takahashi, you don’t often have the opportunity to meet a Monacan or French audience. Perhaps you have something you would like to tell your fans, who have come and waited until the end of the day to see you. So if you have anything you would like to say, now is the time. Seize the moment.

Takahashi: More than 20 years have passed since Yu-Gi-Oh! began serialization. I am so grateful to be able to come to Monaco to interact with fans. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for supporting Yu-Gi-Oh!.

Sahé Cibot and Kazuki Takahashi looking at the audience at MAGIC 2019 at Takahashi's Q&A panel

Interview Notes

1. ^ See Game of Thrones, season 7, episode 7.

2. ^ BD (bédé) is short for bande dessinée, a term describing comics of French or Belgian origin. Jean “Moebius” Giraud was a famous creator of BD.

3. ^ Takahashi’s and Mike Mignola’s illustrations were printed in VIZ Media’s September 2004 issue of Shonen Jump magazine.

Kazuki Takahashi's Hellboy artwork and Mike Mignola's Yugi artwork from VIZ Media's Shonen Jump, September 2004

As described in this issue, VIZ Media had asked Takahashi to draw his favorite American comic book character with Yu-Gi-Oh!-style hair, so he created the Hellboy drawing on the left. VIZ then contacted Mignola and he agreed to draw Hellboy clad in Yu-Gi-Oh! apparel. The two artists then exchanged these drawings.

4. ^ In this awkward exchange, the interpreter, Cibot, did not translate into Japanese the first part of Pinon’s statement about how Takahashi had exchanged drawings with Mignola. Instead, she asked if Takahashi had ever met Mignola before. That’s why Takahashi repeated the same information in his response.

5. ^ Another awkward exchange. Nothing was lost in translation here though. Takahashi ignored the no-spoiler request, hahaha.

6. ^ The mobile app that Pinon mentions is of course Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links. The Yamanote Line is a circular railway loop that connects Tokyo’s major city centers. The Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links billboards described by Pinon appeared in March 2017 and were well documented on social media and in Konami’s own video ads.

7. ^ The game Takahashi created is called DRUMP and uses a standard deck of 52 playing cards. The manga, also called DRUMP, was published in 2013 in Shueisha’s 49th issue of Weekly Shonen Jump magazine. It was not published in English or French.

(Questions and answers have been edited for clarity and readability.)

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Kazuki Takahashi at MAGIC 2019, Part 4: Live Drawing

Kazuki Takahashi at MAGIC 2019, Part 2: Autographs

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