Win a Trip to Japan from Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links

October 24, 2019 at 6:00 pm | Posted in Konami, Other Stuff, Yu-Gi-Oh! | Leave a comment
Tags: ,

Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links Win a Trip to Japan sweepstakes ad image featuring Kaiba and Mokuba

To celebrate the addition of The Dark Side of Dimensions to Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links, Konami wants to send one lucky duelist to Japan in an awesome sweepstakes. The winner and a guest will receive round-trip airfare to Tokyo and a four-night stay at a hotel in the city. To enter, simply submit your email address and a screenshot of your favorite Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links card.

This sweepstakes is open to all residents of the 50 United States and Washington, D.C., who are the age of majority. The winner must have a passport valid through 2021, and the trip must take place sometime in 2020. Check the official rules in the above link for more details. This sweepstakes ends on October 30.

(News from Konami mobile, shared by Yu-Gi-Oh! Fan Page)

Yu-Gi-Oh! Event Host, Translator Loses Job After Giving Interviews

September 8, 2019 at 6:00 am | Posted in Konami, Other Stuff | Leave a comment

Yusei grimacing in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 47

A popular host at Konami’s Yu-Gi-Oh! events has lost his job after participating in online discussions where he provided details about his work and Konami’s Yu-Gi-Oh! business.

Oliver Gehrmann, a freelance contractor for Konami based in Berlin, Germany, has been a host for Konami EU’s major Yu-Gi-Oh! events for the past five years. Yu-Gi-Oh! fans will recognize him from numerous YCS, European Championship, and National Championship live streams. Additionally, Gehrmann worked with the German Yu-Gi-Oh! translator to review the content of Konami’s trading card products.

In July, Gehrmann participated in two conversations with the Yu-Gi-Oh! community where he spoke in depth about the history of his work with Yu-Gi-Oh! and about the organization and execution of Yu-Gi-Oh! events. The first was a live streamed interview with prominent Yugituber Nadhir “Farfa” Mazouni. The second was a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) discussion. In addition to offering his opinions, both positive and negative, about Yu-Gi-Oh! and his employer, Gehrmann’s discussions touched upon some financial information about the events, unrealized Yu-Gi-Oh! business endeavors, and other potentially market-sensitive information.

Yesterday, Gehrmann revealed that Konami’s Japan office was none too happy about these interactions with the community and doesn’t want the 35-year-old freelancer involved with Yu-Gi-Oh! any longer.

Oliver Gehrmann will not be at any more Yu-Gi-Oh! events for the rest of 2019, and “very likely” will not be at any events next year either, he explained in a video posted to the Zodiac Duelist Facebook group. (Note: Admin approval is necessary to view this group.)

“A little while ago, I got a phone call. And in that phone call with the [Konami] U.K. office, I had been told that I will not be booked for any more events this year,” said Gehrmann.

“The truth is I don’t know who kicked me out. I don’t know who made the final call. What I had been told is that someone in Japan did not like the things that I did.”

What did he do that warranted his removal?

“The thing is, I’ve been told that in the Ask Me Anything on Reddit and in the interview I did on Farfa’s stream, I came across too much like a Konami employee,” said Gehrmann. “That’s it. […] And that’s a crime, especially when you’re doing this for 16 years. And I disagree with that.

“I have been in the industry for long enough to know that doing something like this interview could backfire, so what I did is I checked with the U.K. office before I did the interview. Nadhir knows this. Nadhir had to wait for that confirmation when I first told him, ‘Hey, I would be interested in doing the interview but let me check.’ He knew this. I was very transparent with him about that. And the same thing with Reddit. Both times I checked with the U.K. office and they said, ‘You can do those things. Just make sure that you make it clear that you’re not a Konami employee.’ And both times I did.”

After learning the reason for the Japan office’s decision, Gehrmann, rightfully upset, again approached the U.K. office, who acknowledged giving him permission to do the interview. However, “they basically said, ‘Yeah, we know. But someone in Japan doesn’t like it.'”

“Everything gets decided in Japan, apparently,” Gehrmann laughed.

Furthermore, Gehrmann has lost his job as one of Yu-Gi-Oh!’s German translators. The translation process is coordinated in Japan, so he asked his Japanese colleagues if there was something wrong with his work.

“They said, ‘It’s not always deadlines and work. Sometimes it’s other things.'”

Gehrmann pressed for an answer, knowing full well that his audacity would seal his fate with this Japanese company. Ultimately, he was only told that “it’s for business reasons.”

The writing may have already been on the wall for Gehrmann even before his July interactions with the community. Gehrmann noted that back in February or March, he received a phone call confirming that he would be hosting this year’s World Championship. However, two months prior to the event, he learned that someone in Japan decided against this and wanted different hosts.

Oliver Gehrmann began playing Yu-Gi-Oh! in 2003, then moved on to judging, eventually advancing all the way up to the World Championship level as a head judge. He began providing written coverage for Yu-Gi-Oh! in late 2004. Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of his debut as a live stream host.

(h/t A11sopp)

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)

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid Author Responds to New Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards

June 16, 2019 at 6:00 pm | Posted in Other Stuff, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 4 Comments

Preview of the artwork of Dragon Maid Husky from the Yu-Gi-Oh! OCG

New cards coming to the Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Card Game have caught the eye of a popular manga author. Today, the official Japanese Yu-Gi-Oh! news hub unveiled three new card themes debuting this August in Japan. One of the themes is called Dragon Maid and features — you guessed it — a human woman with dragon horns, wings, and a tail who is dressed as a maid.

The announcement included pictures of two cards from this theme. Dragon Maid Husky (shown above) is a charming dragon maid ready to serve you. Dragon Maids’ Kindness (below) has Husky and four other dragon maids busily prepping a dining room.

This news quickly made it to coolkyousinnjya, the creator of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, who took an immediate liking to the cards.

Dragon maids are in Yu-Gi-Oh!!” tweeted coolkyousinnjya. “I want to build a deck with them!”

C’mon, Konami, you can make it happen. Send some cards to coolkyousinnjya!

Any fans of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid out there? What do you think of these cards?

Check out the Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid manga from Seven Seas Entertainment and the anime on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

Preview of the artwork of Dragon Maids' Kindness from the Yu-Gi-Oh! OCG

Konami Hires Former Bandai Namco Community Manager as New Yu-Gi-Oh! Digital Marketing Coordinator

June 11, 2019 at 6:00 am | Posted in Konami, Other Stuff | Leave a comment

Yugi vowing to show Pegasus no mercy in episode 38

Social media maven, gamer, and Twitch streamer Edwin “TalesOfMrE” Chuah announced on Monday that he is the new Yu-Gi-Oh! digital marketing coordinator at Konami’s U.K. office. Previously, Chuah worked at Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe as its events and community manager, where he handled the company’s social media initiatives, PR, and events execution. He was with Bandai Namco for over five years.

You can give Chuah a warm welcome on Twitter, @TalesOfMrE, and also catch him streaming on Twitch with the same username.

Chuah replaces longtime Yu-Gi-Oh! marketing coordinator PJ Tierney, who left Konami on May 24. Tierney, an artist and writer who played Yu-Gi-Oh! for over 10 years, worked freelance for Konami for four years before being hired full-time in 2013. In addition to interacting with fans on Yu-Gi-Oh! EU’s social media channels and helming its live streams, Tierney was also responsible for the production of numerous playmats and online projects, like the Noble Knights Showcase.

Funimation Acquires Manga Entertainment UK

May 29, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Posted in Other Stuff | 2 Comments
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Yugi shaking hands with Joey while their friends watch in episode 135

Funimation today announced that it has acquired Manga Entertainment UK, a London-based anime licensor and distributor. Manga UK is the current distributor of all Yu-Gi-Oh! anime on home video in the United Kingdom and has also brought Yu-Gi-Oh! movies to theaters throughout the country. The company offers some Yu-Gi-Oh! Blu-ray and DVD products that are not available in other markets, like the remastered version of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light and Yu-Gi-Oh! movie bundles.

Manga UK confirmed that there will be no changes to its Manga UK brand and that its employees still remain with the company.

Funimation was the distributor of Yu-Gi-Oh! on home video in the United States until 2009.

(News from Funimation, h/t ANN)

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)

Kazuki Takahashi at MAGIC 2019, Part 5: More Photos

April 28, 2019 at 2:00 pm | Posted in Other Stuff, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 3 Comments

At MAGIC 2019, Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi was more than happy to pose for photos and take part in videos, giving fans an opportunity to share highlights of his rare public appearance. In this final look at MAGIC 2019, here are some more photos of Takahashi and Yu-Gi-Oh! from me and from MAGIC’s organizer, Shibuya Productions.

Advertisements for MAGIC 2019 could be found all over Monaco, from banners hanging on light posts to posters in the shopping malls. Here are two digital screens in the Monaco-Monte-Carlo train station, where a video advertisement showcased the event’s guests.

MAGIC 2019 video ad showing artwork of Yugi and Kaiba by Kazuki Takahashi at the Monaco-Monte-Carlo train station

MAGIC’s Facebook page shared a photo of Cédric Biscay, the president and CEO of Shibuya Productions, posing with Takahashi the day before the convention.

Cédric Biscay and Kazuki Takahashi
Photo by Shibuya Productions

Later that evening, all of MAGIC’s guests and VIPs attended a gala dinner at the Fairmont Monte Carlo hotel. Here’s a photo from cosplayer Elisa Kotori of one of the tables. That’s Takahashi seated at 3 o’clock, decked out in a dark grey suit and a maroon necktie.

Kazuki Takahashi's table at the MAGIC 2019 gala dinner
Photo by Shibuya Productions for Elisa Kotori

Also at this table is Leiji Matsumoto, creator of Captain Harlock (seated at 1 o’clock); Yu Suzuki, writer and producer of the Shenmue games (at 5 o’clock); and Christopher Lambert from the Highlander movies (at 9 o’clock).

Some of the guests signed and doodled on a copy of the menu. There’s Yugi in the upper-right corner. What a cool keepsake!

Menu from the MAGIC 2019 gala dinner with signatures and sketches from some of the guests
Photo by Shibuya Productions

March 9 — MAGIC’s big day! Here’s a shot of Takahashi speaking at the opening ceremony with Shueisha editors Yoshihisa Heishi and Naoki Kawashima behind him.

Kazuki Takahashi, Yoshihisa Heishi, and Naoki Kawashima at the MAGIC 2019 opening ceremony

“Hello, I’m Takahashi. Thank you for inviting me to gorgeous Monaco and this marvelous event. I’m so happy to meet you all,” he said to the audience.

Here’s Takahashi next to parapsychology researcher Alexis Champion and sci-fi manga legend Leiji Matsumoto at the opening ceremony.

Kazuki Takahashi, Alexis Champion, and Leiji Matsumoto at the MAGIC 2019 opening ceremony

And here’s Takahashi with action movie star Wesley Snipes of Blade and Demolition Man fame.

Kazuki Takahashi and Wesley Snipes at the MAGIC 2019 opening ceremony

On Facebook, MAGIC posted a few photos of Takahashi’s Q&A and live drawing sessions. Here’s a wide shot of the stage and Yugi on the big screen.

Kazuki Takakashi on stage at his panel at MAGIC 2019
Photo by Fabbio Galatioto for Shibuya Productions

In addition to the menu doodle and his live drawing session, Takahashi drew at least one more time while he was in Monaco. Biscay tweeted this small picture of Yugi signed by Takahashi. The text says “To Cédric-san!”

Kazuki Takahashi's drawing of Yugi for Cédric Biscay at MAGIC 2019
Photo by @CedricBiscay

Based on the date on the drawing and the presence of booze in the background, I’m guessing this photo was taken at the MAGIC after-party. And the fact that Biscay tweeted this at 1 a.m. the day after MAGIC, haha.

Last Thursday, Shibuya Productions uploaded a video highlighting the awesomeness that was MAGIC 2019. How many times can you spot Takahashi in the video? (He’s in more than ten shots!)

Here he is speaking with MAGIC’s TV presenter, Shellee Nicols.

Kazuki Takahashi talking with MAGIC 2019 TV presenter Shellee Nicols
From video by Shibuya Productions

And here’s Takahashi posing with some DC Comics statues at the MAGIC after-party held at the La Rascasse bar and nightclub.

Kazuki Takahashi posing with some DC Comics statues at the MAGIC 2019 after-party
From video by Shibuya Productions

I hope you had fun in Monaco, Mr. Takahashi!

* * *

Back to the beginning:
Kazuki Takahashi at MAGIC 2019, Part 1: Manga Contest Judge

Kazuki Takahashi at MAGIC 2019, Part 4: Live Drawing

* * *

If you enjoyed reading about Kazuki Takahashi’s appearance at MAGIC 2019, please check out my coverage of San Diego Comic Con 2015, which includes a narrative of Takahashi’s hour-long panel about his career and the unveiling of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions.

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 4: Live Drawing

April 18, 2019 at 10:00 pm | Posted in Duel Monsters, Other Stuff, Series 1, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 2 Comments

Kazuki Takahashi preparing to draw live at MAGIC 2019, with Sahé Cibot

After his question-and-answer session, Kazuki Takahashi had one more treat for attendees at MAGIC 2019.

“As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words,” said Matthieu Pinon, the panel’s moderator. “So, Mr. Takahashi will now draw in front of you to thank you for the support you have given him during his career.”

On the table in front of Takahashi was a large wire-bound drawing pad. Takahashi dried his hands on a handkerchief as a photographer set up a camera beside him. An image of the drawing pad appeared on the big screen above the stage. Before he even picked up a pen, the loudspeakers began blaring a fast-tempo song with choric chanting and raucous percussion.

Kazuki Takahashi drawing Yugi's eyes during his live drawing session at MAGIC 2019

It was the tail end of the song “Symphonic Suite DEVIL, Third Movement: eXORCiST” by Hiroyuki Sawano from the first Blue Exorcist soundtrack. And honestly, I found the music to be extremely obnoxious. Its blazing fast pace made it feel like this would be a speed drawing event. Certainly the convention wanted epic music to accompany this epic moment, but I remembered that when Takahashi participated in a live drawing session at San Diego Comic Con 2015, he had requested quiet from the audience. I felt bad for him.

Kazuki Takahashi drawing Yugi's face and head during his live drawing session at MAGIC 2019

But Kazuki Takahashi is a master of his craft. If he was bothered by the music, it certainly didn’t show. He soldiered on with an intense focus, beginning his illustration with Yugi’s eyes.

Kazuki Takahashi drawing part of Yugi's shirt collar and the outline of his hair at his live drawing session at MAGIC 2019

At SDCC 2015, Takahashi had described the importance of Yugi’s eyes in determining his look, and that the first part of Yugi he draws is always his eyes. This was still true here at MAGIC.

Kazuki Takahashi drawing more of Yugi's hair and his chain at his live drawing session at MAGIC 2019

Eventually, the music changed to “Darkness” from the Thunderbolt Fantasy soundtrack, also by Hiroyuki Sawano. Its slower, but nonetheless grand, melody was a welcome change.

Kazuki Takahashi drawing and shading more of Yugi's clothes at his live drawing session at MAGIC 2019

Takahashi didn’t make any sketches using a pencil; he immediately began inking. He was using Mckee oil-based marker pens by Zebra, which have a nib on each side, thick and thin. He started with the thinnest point has he drew Yugi’s eyes and face, then switched to a thicker point as he drew the outlines of Yugi’s hair.

Kazuki Takahashi drawing more of Yugi's hair and adding layers at his live drawing session at MAGIC 2019

Takahashi used the thickest point of his pens to shade Yugi’s clothes and add layers to Yugi’s hair.

Kazuki Takahashi shading more of Yugi's clothes at his live drawing session at MAGIC 2019

In just six short minutes, he was finished. Truly a master of his craft. He signed and dated his illustration.

Kazuki Takahashi signing his name on his completed illustration of Yugi at his live drawing session at MAGIC 2019

Then he posed for pictures.

Kazuki Takahashi posing with his illustration of Yugi at his live drawing session at MAGIC 2019, with Matthieu Pinon and Naoki Kawashima

Close-up of Kazuki Takahashi posing with his illustration of Yugi at his live drawing session at MAGIC 2019

Later, on Twitter, Cédric Biscay, the president and CEO of MAGIC’s organizer, Shibuya Productions, posted a close-up of Takahashi’s drawing.

Close-up of Kazuki Takahashi's Yugi illustration drawn live at MAGIC 2019
Photo by @CedricBiscay

Voilà! A stellar performance and a masterpiece from Kazuki Takahashi, the creator of Yu-Gi-Oh!, at MAGIC 2019.

* * *

Kazuki Takahashi at MAGIC 2019, Part 5: More Photos

Kazuki Takahashi at MAGIC 2019, Part 3: Interview

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