Adds Dark Magician SDCC 2019 Exclusive Shirt

June 13, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Posted in Duel Monsters, Konami, Yu-Gi-Oh! | Leave a comment
Tags: ad showing the exclusive SDCC 2019 Dark Magician shirt design

Dark Magician and San Diego Comic Con fans unite! Today, added an exclusive T-shirt just for you. The ultimate wizard in terms of attack and defense is posing staunchly in this new design on a heather grey short-sleeve T-shirt. The accompanying Japanese text says “Dark Magician,” with “SD 2019” beneath it.

As always,’s exclusive shirts are only available for a limited time online (and not at SDCC). Get yours today in a unisex or women’s cut starting at $23.95.

SDCC 2019 kicks off with preview night on July 17 and runs through July 21. Look for Konami in the exhibit hall at booth 3713, where there will be fun activities, previews of upcoming products, and goods for sale all weekend long. Keep your eyes on the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG events page for more details, coming soon.

The Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Mark of the Dragon exclusive shirt for Anime Expo 2019 is also still available for sale online. Grab these shirts now before they disappear forever. Adds Exclusive SDCC 2018 Blue-Eyes White Dragon Shirt

July 3, 2018 at 8:00 pm | Posted in Duel Monsters, Konami, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 2 Comments
Tags: banner ad showing the exclusive SDCC 2018 Blue-Eyes White Dragon shirt design

The summer convention season is in full swing! Today, 4K Media unveiled an exclusive new T-shirt design on, its official Yu-Gi-Oh! merchandise store, just in time for San Diego Comic Con. The black San Diego 2018 T-shirt features Kaiba’s three fearsome Blue-Eyes White Dragons, ready for battle. The shirt is available in men’s and women’s cuts with prices starting at $23.95.

You’ll only find this shirt on for a limited time, not at SDCC, so don’t miss it!

San Diego Comic Con 2018 will take place from July 19 to 22. Konami will be exhibiting at booth 3713. Keep an eye on the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG events page to see what activities and products will be available there this year.

Previously: Gets Revamp, New Shirt Designs, Movie Exclusives Adds Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions SDCC 2017 Shirts

July 14, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Posted in Konami, The Dark Side of Dimensions, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 1 Comment
Tags: ad showing the new Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon shirt design — 4K Media’s official online Yu-Gi-Oh! merchandise store — has added a new Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions shirt design to celebrate this year’s San Diego Comic Con. Kaiba’s Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon graces the front of the newest shirts, available in both short- and long-sleeve varieties for $24 to $26. The design says “San Diego 2017” and also has the name of the monster written in Japanese. These shirts are available for everyone to purchase online, not just SDCC attendees.

If you’ll be at the event, stop by Konami’s booth (#3713) to pick up a discount code for the online shop. While you’re there, you can also make your own free SDCC token and buy the exclusive SDCC playmat featuring Yami Yugi and Yugi Muto.

San Diego Comic Con 2017 takes place from July 20 to 23.

Previously: – The Official Yu-Gi-Oh! Merchandise Shop

SDCC 2015 Photo: Kazuki Takahashi & Comic-Con’s Inkpot Award

August 19, 2015 at 6:17 pm | Posted in Other Stuff, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 3 Comments
Tags: ,

Image removed. See update below.

Kazuki Takahashi is a real person and not an imperceptible, mythic deity. If anyone doubts this, let the rumors be shattered. San Diego Comic Con today published a photo gallery of this year’s recipients of the Inkpot Award on its website. All 25 recipients are pictured, including the beloved creator of Yu-Gi-Oh!.

Kazuki Takahashi was presented with the Inkpot Award at the end of his SDCC 2015 panel, where he delighted fans with an interview and presented new details about the upcoming Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions movie. Fans were not allowed to take photos or videos at the panel.

Since 1974, SDCC’s prestigious Inkpot Award has honored “individuals for their contributions to the worlds of comics, science fiction/fantasy, film, television, animation, and fandom services.” Today, SDCC also updated its complete list of recipients of the award with 2015’s honorees.

Update (October 15, 2015): A representative from the company that helped bring Kazuki Takahashi to the U.S. has requested that his photo be removed. “Comic-Con has removed the Inkpot Award pic of Sensei Takahashi from its official site, as it was never approved to be posted,” she said. “[W]e want to honor his request to not post any photos.”

This is disappointing, but if the photo was posted without Takahashi’s authorization, then I support the decision not to share it. Guests agree to come to conventions like SDCC with the expectation that organizers and attendees will respect their wishes. If they see otherwise, they will view that as a sign of disrespect and won’t want to accept future guest invitations, which is a lose-lose for everyone. So, if you have also posted Takahashi’s photo elsewhere, please consider taking it down. Be kind and respectful to the man who has given us so much.

Related posts:
Yu-Gi-Oh! at San Diego Comic Con 2015 – Master Post

Yu-Gi-Oh! at San Diego Comic Con 2015 – Master Post

July 19, 2015 at 11:25 pm | Posted in Site Updates, Yu-Gi-Oh! | Leave a comment

Comic Con banners hanging in the San Diego Convention Center

For Yu-Gi-Oh! fans, San Diego Comic Con 2015 might as well have been called Yu-Gi-Oh! Con. It was a historic event for the franchise that warranted special attention and was worthy of a more comprehensive level of coverage. This post contains a list of all things Yu-Gi-Oh! at SDCC 2015 that I covered.

SDCC 2015 Coverage:

* Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi held an hour-long panel, his first ever in the United States. This is my rundown of the extraordinary gathering, from start to finish.

* Epic TV anime news! Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters will finally be released in its entirety in Japanese with English subtitles. It’s available now on Crunchyroll.

* Epic movie news! Takahashi gave SDCC attendees the exclusive scoop on the new movie, Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions.

* Takahashi was awarded SDCC’s prestigious Inkpot Award for his contributions to the worlds of anime and manga.

* Takahashi signed autographs for the luckiest of his fans.

* After much confusion and uncertainty, UDON Entertainment announced a release date for Takahashi’s Duel Art Yu-Gi-Oh! book at its panel.

* Yu-Gi-Oh! had a strong presence in SDCC’s exhibit hall and beyond.

Pre-SDCC 2015 Posts:

* Kazuki Takahashi is announced as a special guest at SDCC 2015. This is what started it all.

* Takahashi will be on a panel about the new Yu-Gi-Oh! movie.

* There will be a limited number of copies of Duel Art available for sale at SDCC.

* Hype machine, activated! The trailer for the new Yu-Gi-Oh! movie will premiere at SDCC.

* Have your questions for Kazuki Takahashi answered live on stage at his panel. 4K Media launches its #‎yugiohQA‬ Twitter campaign.

It’s hard to believe that Comic Con 2015 ended one week ago, and that everyone has since returned to seven days of normal life. It felt like it was only yesterday that the Yu-Gi-Oh!-sphere was abuzz with excitement about the news from Takahashi’s panel. Will the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise ever again see another event of this caliber?

While it is ultimately up to the Japanese and the American Yu-Gi-Oh! rights owners, don’t underestimate the power of the fandom. Keep supporting Yu-Gi-Oh! and who knows what the future might bring!

[SDCC 2015] ‘Spotlight on Yu-Gi-Oh! & Creator Kazuki Takahashi’ Panel

July 18, 2015 at 9:43 am | Posted in English dubbed, Japanese, Konami, The Dark Side of Dimensions, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 5 Comments
Tags: , ,

Schedule posted on the door of room 7AB at San Diego Comic Con 2015
Sadly, photography and videography were prohibited during the panel.
But I assure you, with all my heart, that the panel that took place beyond this door was nothing short of a magical experience.

On the afternoon of Saturday, July 11, around 480 people packed into a corner room at the San Diego Convention Center. They had come to see one of the most influential and beloved artists and storytellers in the world of Japanese manga and anime, a man who rarely makes public appearances. His name is Kazuki Takahashi and he is the creator of Yu-Gi-Oh!.

“This is going to be a very special presentation. This is going to be a panel that you will not forget,” promised an excited middle-aged gentleman standing at the lectern. He was this panel’s moderator and this was his first emcee job. “This is the very first time — the very first time — that Takahashi-sensei has been to the United States and will address the fans at Comic Con.

“I’m going to tell you what. The timing couldn’t be any better because next year, 2016, is the 20th anniversary of Yu-Gi-Oh!. And that success we share with you fans. And this panel today is our way of saying thank you to each and every one of you for your support in making Yu-Gi-Oh! truly a global franchise.”

And with that, the historic “Spotlight on Yu-Gi-Oh! and Creator Kazuki Takahashi” panel of SDCC 2015 was underway. The room was filled with fans from around the globe, eager to see the man who has made such an extraordinary impact on their lives with his stories of epic gaming and themes of bonds and friendship.

But before the panel could really begin, the moderator needed to make sure that the audience was really ready for what was to come. And what better way to pump up the crowd than with some chanting?

“We all want to make Takahashi-sensei feel a warm U.S. welcome,” said the moderator. “Now, as many of you probably know, he doesn’t speak a whole lot of English, but there’s four words that he does know. Anybody want to take a guess?” The audience of course knew the answer.

“It’s time to duel!”

The moderator led the crowd for two rounds of synchronized “It’s time to duel!” shouts. Neighboring rooms probably wondered what sort of madness was taking place on the other side of their walls. All the while, a Japanese camera crew working with the Yu-Gi-Oh! licensors was on hand, capturing every thunderously loud moment. The footage and photographs from this panel would be used to market the new Yu-Gi-Oh! movie and maybe even air on Japanese television.

“You guys are going to become international superstars,” the moderator joked.

Press Conference

The panel kicked off with a short press conference. Five of the top Yu-Gi-Oh! business and production experts were on hand to offer their knowledge about the franchise. They were:

  • Shoji Dewa, corporate officer at Konami Digital Entertainment
  • Takahiko Aikawa, editor of Shueisha’s V Jump magazine (“I am a duelist!” he proclaimed, with cheers from the audience.)
  • Arthur “Sam” Murakami, producer at 4K Media and the panel’s translator (“My favorite monster is Kuriboh.”)
  • Teruaki Jitsumatsu, producer at NAS and of the new movie (he is also a producer of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s and was present at the SDCC 2008 panel where that show premiered)
  • Shane Guenego, producer at 4K Media, who was sporting a Duel Disk (he, too, was at the SDCC 2008 panel)

The moderator did not introduce himself, but noted that he’s the Hollywood PR agent for Yu-Gi-Oh! and had business cards at the ready for potential new clients. Who knows whether or not he was serious.

Kazuki Takahashi’s seat on the panel was empty. He was not in the room.

V Jump Editor Takahiko Aikawa began the press conference by providing a brief history of the Yu-Gi-Oh! property. Yu-Gi-Oh! began running in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1996 and became a huge sensation in Japan, he said. In 2001, the TV series began airing in the United States and would subsequently be broadcast in over 65 countries across the world. Aikawa later tweeted two photos of the panel and the excited crowd.

Next, 4K Media Producer Shane Guenego reminded the listeners that a big Yu-Gi-Oh! announcement was made at Anime Expo the prior week: English-subtitled episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX were coming to Crunchyroll. He then dropped a bombshell that no one saw coming: the original Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters series was now available in Japanese with English subs! The first five episodes would be posted immediately after the panel, he said, and new episodes would be added each month.

Konami executive Shoji Dewa next lauded the success of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game, which has sold over 25.1 billion cards in over 60 countries, and which entered the Guinness Book of World Records in July 2009 as the best-selling card game of all time.

Yu-Gi-Oh! has also been branching off into other products aside from trading card games, added Guenego, and the franchise is looking at new opportunities down the line. Already available are the miniature figures game Yu-Gi-Oh! Heroclix and the dice-rolling game Yu-Gi-Oh! Dice Masters, he said. Both products are produced by WizKids.

“Wow, that’s a lot of stuff, a lot of success there,” said the moderator. “Why don’t we introduce the person behind it?”

The original Yu-Gi-Oh! theme song began to play…

Kazuki Takahashi Enters

“I’m sure you all realize what a rare occurrence that this is today,” the moderator further teased. “To actually see and hear our sensei, who still prefers to walk among us without being seen or recognized, perhaps to get honest reactions to his art, or maybe he’s just terribly shy. But we can all recognize his work in a heartbeat, can’t we?

“We know his characters, his storylines as if they were part of our own story. That’s why he has risen from being an unknown manga artist to our hero and teacher. The success was not overnight. It took a lot of sketches and projects before he finally found a voice that would resonate with all of us.

“And like that voice, he never game up, he never stopped trying, and he always believed that he would find the voice that would touch us all and that would launch a truly global phenomenon. Ladies and gentlemen, Sensei Tashahaki [sic].”

Yes, this was the moderator’s first emcee gig. And now, possibly his last. Some of the audience giggled at the gaffe, but that was quickly forgotten as everyone rose to their feet and shouted exhilaratingly as the man of the hour entered the room.

Kazuki Takahashi was wearing Cospa’s black “Start the Game of Darkness” T-shirt, a black blazer, and a stylish white sports watch. His jet-black, wavy hair was neatly cut. The stubble on his face was greying. His kind eyes and shy, gentle smile reminded me of Yugi. He took a seat next to 4K Media Producer Arthur Murakami.

“Thank you so much for coming,” said the moderator. “I know this is the first time you’ve been here on a panel in the United States and we are extremely happy to have you here hosting us today. How do you feel about seeing this crowd and witnessing the popularity of Yu-Gi-Oh! in the United States?”

“I’m very thankful to all you fans from the bottom of my heart for bringing me to Comic Con here in San Diego,” Takahashi responded. “The fact that Yu-Gi-Oh! has spread worldwide and everybody has supported Yu-Gi-Oh! and kept me propped up and supported me and showed me love, I’m very thankful from the bottom of my heart.”

Questions and Answers with Kazuki Takahashi

At the end of June, 4K Media launched the #yugiohQA Twitter campaign, amassing questions from fans to ask Kazuki Takahashi on the panel. Takahashi said he welcomed the questions.

The moderator started off by asking what Takahashi’s inspiration was in creating the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga.

“I really love American comics, especially fighting comics,” said Takahashi to the delight of the Comic Con attendees. He recounted his earliest experiences working on manga and how this influenced the development of Yu-Gi-Oh!.

Takahashi had been working a part-time job at a game company and submitting manga to Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine. He had been trying different story concepts but none of them were successful. When he was suddenly fired from his job, he no longer had an income and everyday life became a struggle. Takahashi used that as a catalyst to try doing manga again.

During that time period, there was a lot of fighting and martial arts-types of manga. And though Takahashi loved the genre, “I felt that I could not defeat Dragon Ball.”

The listeners understood and laughed ecstatically.

“So, I thought that incorporating fighting and incorporating gaming together and combining them into one — maybe that will create a new kind of genre, a new kind of fighting genre, that hasn’t been explored before,” explained Takahashi. “And that’s how Yu-Gi-Oh! was created.”

* * *

“There’s a lot of fans out there that want to know what you’re particularly careful about,” the moderator stated. “What are your sensibilities when you’re looking and you’re creating manga?”

“For Weekly Shonen Jump, I had to draw 20 new pages every single week,” said Takahashi. “So the very most important thing, the most important first thing is to have a good idea. And if that idea can surprise and shock the audience, that’s what makes it really good.

“Also, are the characters fully lively? Are they brought to life on the page? Are the monster battle scenes drawn really coolly? Those are the things that I focused on.”

* * *

“A big milestone for you and the characters was when it became an animated TV series. How did you feel when your manga became an animated TV series?” asked the moderator.

“I was very excited to see that what I created on the page was now moving around on the screen,” replied Takahashi. “Because there’s also voices, there’s also the sound, there’s also the music.

“When I draw my manga, it’s always in black and white. There are times when I looked at the show and said ‘Oh, that’s what it looks like in color!’ for the first time.”

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions Unveiled

A lot of people on Twitter and in the room want to know what’s next for Yu-Gi-Oh!, said the moderator.

“Are you asking about the movie?” Takahashi asked with a slightly suggestive smile on his face. They audience started to cry out. They wanted to know anything and everything.

“Takahashi-sensei is going to be the executive producer,” revealed the moderator. The audience erupted in cheers.

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions was the name of the new movie. Producer Teruaki Jitsumatsu used this opportunity to reveal the movie poster on the projector screen, explaining that Takahashi personally created the image himself specifically for the film.

“Sensei, how did you feel when you drew this image for the movie?” asked Jitsumatsu.

“If you look at the image, Kaiba is at the center of the image,” replied Takahashi. “So in this story, Kaiba is going to do a lot of things.”

The audience cheered approvingly.

“The storyline for this movie takes place after the end of the original manga,” he continued. “Because of the manga ending, what I couldn’t draw then, I can write about now. I left the series with a lot of mysteries still open so I want to answer some of those.

“It might be hard to see this image but Kaiba is wearing a new Duel Disk. So in that way, I think I can show new types of dueling.”

Takahashi’s Roles in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions

“I have written a script for this movie,” explained Takahashi. “Also, new character designs, new monster designs. Pretty much everything.”

“And we’re assuming there’s new monsters, right?” the moderator asked.

“Yes, there is,” Takahashi replied. “Without getting too specific, I did a lot of new monster designs. For example, a new Blue-Eyes.

“The sponsors were saying, ‘Hey, I want to see Blue-Eyes evolve even more.’ [But I replied] ‘I can’t anymore, I can’t anymore!’ […] With that back and forth, that’s how it progressed. I also designed very powerful-looking monsters for the new villain.”

Konami executive Dewa chimed in with some welcome news for Yu-Gi-Oh! card game players and collectors.

“For the new monsters that are going to appear, I’m of course looking to turn them into cards for you to have,” said Dewa. The crowd cheered.

“He’s the sponsor,” Takahashi stated, drawing laughs from the listeners.

The Return of the Original Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters

“So are our favorite Duel Monsters characters coming back too?” asked the moderator.

“Yes,” Takahashi replied. “Of course Yugi will come back. Of course Kaiba will come back. And also some of our favorite characters will come back.”

A line drawing appeared on the screen and the crowd burst into cheers. It was Yugi Muto — a more mature-looking Yugi Muto — that Takahashi had created for the movie.

“When I was asked to draw Yugi again, I was just naturally drawing him. When I was designing the character, he naturally became more older,” Takahashi explained, referring to Yugi’s slightly more sophisticated facial features. “Since the story takes place six months after the end of the original manga, that’s why he looks a bit older, or more mature.”

* * *

Line art of another fan favorite character drawn by Takahashi appeared next: Seto Kaiba.

“Kaiba kind of looks a bit villainous,” said Takahashi. “Kaiba plays a very prominent role at the center of the storyline of this movie.”

Line art of Kaiba wearing a new type of Duel Disk followed. It has multiple small parts covering the forearm, shoulder, and side of the face (similar to the Duel Gazer seen in Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL). The functionality of the Duel Disk is complex, said Takahashi, and he didn’t want to get into it at the moment.

* * *

Next, new line art of Téa was shown. She is sporting a new hairstyle and has a rather particular update to her wardrobe.

“Téa is now a bit, um, more sexy. In Japan, socks that go above the knees are kind of trendy,” said Takahashi, with some giggling and applauding from the audience. “She’s more powered up than what she was in the past.”

* * *

The crowd broke out in cheers and screams when line art of Joey appeared next.

“For Joey, to be honest, his personality hasn’t changed very much,” said Takahashi. The crowd whooped with approval.

“He’s very passionate about friendship,” Takahashi continued. “In the past, it was hard to kind of animate him, so I kind of drew him with less lines so he could be animated better.”

* * *

As amazing as these line illustrations were, Takahashi felt that they wouldn’t be enough to satisfy the audience, so he brought some “top secret information” with him. The audience would be the first people to see the storyboards for the new movie created by the director!

In the storyboards, Yugi is shown drawing his cards. Then, Kaiba is shown facing off against Yugi. Bright lights and mysterious, obscured characters are shown. What could it all mean?! The audience wouldn’t be handed the answers so easily.

World Premiere of the Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions Trailer

At any other venue, being the first to see just the line art from the new movie would have been incredible. And not only had Kazuki Takahashi and the other panelists brought the line art, they also brought the storyboards. Still, they knew that the storyboards would not satisfy the thirst of the crowd. This was Comic Con, and Comic Con just wouldn’t be Comic Con without its incredible exclusives. But they were ready.

As an exclusive world premiere, the audience would get to see the trailer for the new movie! The room erupted into the loudest screams since the panel began.

The audience turned its gaze to the screen and saw the Blu-ray player firing up… but nothing happened. Everyone mumbled anxiously. You could almost hear the pounding hearts of the fans.

Hopefully get to see the trailer,” quipped translator Arthur Murakami. People laughed, and within a few seconds, the disc was playing.

A loud boom startled some of the audience. Suddenly, here it was. Ominous music. Strings. Choric chanting. Large text filling the screen. Yugi and Kaiba gesturing dramatically as they dueled. Yugi’s friends looking on in a crowd. A door opening suspensefully. Footsteps. Bright lights. Long shadows. The animation was gorgeous and so fluid. The shots were so theatrically styled. Shrieking throughout from the audience. Then silence. And more cheering.

One minute later, it was over.

4K Media and everyone else had been calling this a “trailer,” but it was really more of a teaser. Still, it was no less impactful or meaningful to the viewers that wanted to see all of their original Yu-Gi-Oh! friends in a new adventure. Clearly, great things are coming, and they are coming from creator Takahashi himself.

It took a few moments before the room settled down.

“We promised you a very special presentation so we’re going to continue to keep going at it here and reveal even more information about the new movie, if that’s okay with you guys,” stated the moderator. Of course it was. The room quickly composed itself.

Great Expectations

“The title is The Dark Side of Dimensions, so what can we expect to see in the movie? Can you give us a hint?” the moderator asked Takahashi.

“Like I said previously, this story takes place after the end of the original manga,” responded Takahashi. “And this story is going to be a little bit dark. There will be Kaiba, Yugi, and a mysterious third person. In this current dimension that we all live in, this person is going to kind of cause a disturbance within it. I think it’s going to be quite impactful. Please look forward to it.”

The other panelists confirmed that the film will be released in the Spring of 2016 in Japan. Outside of Japan, they are targeting a late 2016 release but the exact date is going to vary from country to country.

Takahashi concluded by reminding fans that they’ll get to meet their favorite characters in the movie and asked everyone to look forward to it. The moderator thanked Takahashi for bringing so much information about the new film, then returned to doing more Q&As.

A Special Request

“Takahashi-sensei, when you draw manga, can you tell us a little about your work process?” asked the moderator. “For example, can you tell us what your workroom or desk looks like and how it’s changed over the years?”

“My desk is not clean,” Takahashi stated unabashedly, prompting laughs from the listeners.

“When I was working on the manga, when the manga was being serialized, I was working with my staff,” he continued. “But I have switched over to digital so, more often than not, I work alone.”

“So does that mean that you won’t draw in front of a crowd?” the moderator asked. The crowd gasped.

“You know, since you’ve come all this way.”

What’s this now…?!

“It’s one of the most requested questions/comments from our fans, if you could please draw Yugi for them,” the moderator added.

The crowd gasped again. They knew something very special was about to happen.

“Yes,” Takahashi answered. The room erupted with screams.

Kazuki Takahashi Draws Live

A member of Comic Con’s tech support staff brought out a camera that had been hiding beneath the panel table. Takahashi took out his canvas and pens. He had brought two boards with him to draw on, he said, in case he messes up during his first attempt. The crowd laughed, but quickly quieted down as Takahashi put his pen to paper and began to draw.

For the first time since the panel began, the audience was almost completely silent. They recognized the significance of the event that was unfolding right in front of them.

“You might be surprised but when I draw Yugi, I start with the eyes,” explained Takahashi as he worked.

“Is that because that’s the hardest part to draw?” asked the moderator.

“Yugi is pretty much determined by his eyes, so if I mess up on the eyes, then I will start over,” he replied. “So when I draw the eyes, please don’t say anything because I have to really focus.”

Takahashi continued to work on the eyes, then paused and gazed thoughtfully at his progress.

“When I’m looking at it right now, I’m thinking, ‘These look like Yugi’s eyes,'” he said.

“Next is the nose,” he said as he continued drawing. “Next of course is the hair. A lot of people ask, when it comes to Yugi’s hair, why is it so wild? I thought of this hair because I wanted to create an impactful character.”

There are two sides to Yugi’s design, explained Takahashi. One, the good side, is that Yugi is identifiable just from his silhouette. But the bad side is that his hair is so unique. Too unique. When Takahashi needed to design enemy characters’ hairstyles, he had to make them even more outrageous.

So with every new Yu-Gi-Oh! series that is developed, “the hairstyles have to get more and more impactful,” said Takahashi. “Therefore, I’m willing to take submissions on hairstyles from you.”

* * *

“I’m curious who your favorite characters are to design and draw,” asked the moderator.

“My favorite character to design is Yami Yugi,” answered Takahashi.

At this point, Takahashi had been drawing Yugi’s hair. The design of the hair is enormous and the audience chuckled as he drew in the long, pointy lines.

“I have to be careful about this section right here,” said Takahashi. “When I draw the hair up like this, sometimes I extend out of the paper. Today, I was barely able to fit it in.”

The audience got a kick out of that, but Takahashi smiled and appeared genuinely relieved, commenting that he thought “it went really well this time around.”

More Questions and Answers with Kazuki Takahashi

Time flies when you’re having fun. The end of the panel was fast approaching, so the moderator used the last remaining minutes to squeeze in a few more questions for Takahashi as he continued to work.

“Which do you prefer to draw,” he asked. “The Blue-Eyes or Dark Magician?”


The audience laughed and applauded.

* * *

“What do you think your favorite part of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga storyline is to write?” the moderator continued.

“It wasn’t in the animated series, but in the manga, there was a storyline called Death-T,” Takahashi replied. Many people howled enthusiastically.

“In that storyline, Yugi’s Exodia clashed against Kaiba’s Blue-Eyes. I believe that that’s what determined the style of Yu-Gi-Oh! at that point.”

* * *

“What character do you identify with the most? Or which character do you think you have the most in common with?” asked the moderator.

“I really love Yugi but I wanted to be Joey,” Takahashi said. “I feel that as I get older, I would be like Grandpa Muto.”

The listeners laughed adoringly.

* * *

“And how long did it take for you to come up with the idea of Yu-Gi-Oh!?”

“[From] when I first started conceptualizing the idea to when it started being serialized, it took about a year,” said Takahashi. “I worked alongside my editor to make that happen.

“The original concept was that [Yugi] would defeat all these enemies with all these different types of games, but then this became a lot of work. So when I had this image of monsters emerging out of cards, that’s when I felt like a new type of Yu-Gi-Oh! style had been determined, and then the structure of Yu-Gi-Oh! suddenly formed from all this.

“There’s times when I was just writing stories and then new ideas would just come to me.”

* * *

The moderator wrapped up with one final question: “How much research did you do about ancient Egypt when working on Yu-Gi-Oh!?”

“I learned, when I was studying the history of games, that games originated 5,000 years ago in ancient Egypt,” Takahashi explained. “I went to Egypt once before I started this series, and then I was inspired by all of it.”

San Diego Comic Con’s Inkpot Award

As Takahashi put the final touches on his drawing, the moderator used the remaining time to announce some good news.

In recognition of his contributions to the worlds of anime and manga, San Diego Comic Con had selected Kazuki Takahashi as a recipient of its Inkpot Award this year. The award is bestowed upon “individuals for their contributions to the worlds of comics, science fiction/fantasy, film, television, animation, and fandom services” and has been awarded to the biggest names in the industry since 1974.

Adam Liest, the assistant to the director of programming at SDCC, presented the award to Takahashi. A photographer accompanying him asked Takahashi to stand in front of the SDCC backdrop banner to be photographed. A deluge of blinding flashes emanated from his camera while the audience cheered.

Takahashi looked painfully uncomfortable from all of the attention, but did his best to smile. He then held the award in one hand and gave the camera an awkward thumbs up with his other.

The announcement, presentation of the award, and photographing drew the longest and greatest amount of applause from the audience out of the entire panel. The Japanese camera crew seized the moment to record the enthusiastic crowd one last time.

Farewell, Kazuki Takahashi

No sooner had Takahashi been presented with the award than the panel was called to an end.

“Fans, fans, they’re kicking us off the stage,” said the moderator. The audience wailed disappointingly, then gave the panelists a big hand.

The attendees were asked not to rush the stage and directed to a side exit door. On the way out, everyone received a small Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions poster.

Kazuki Takahashi exchanged a few quick words with the panelists, members of his entourage, and the American execs who were accompanying him. As the next panel began to fill the room, they filed out quickly and disappeared into Comic Con’s massive crowds.

[SDCC 2015] Yu-Gi-Oh! Aplenty at Comic Con

July 16, 2015 at 11:09 pm | Posted in Konami, Other Stuff, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 2 Comments

Kazuki Takahashi and his panel and autograph session might have been the focal points for many Yu-Gi-Oh! fans attending San Diego Comic Con 2015, but the franchise could be found all over the convention center and beyond. This post highlights the many other places where Yu-Gi-Oh! made an appearance during the five-day extravaganza.

Konami’s Booth

Just as it does every year, Konami set up an imposing booth in the exhibit hall, complete with displays of new and upcoming products, a Token green screen station, video games, and a store with SDCC exclusive deals.

The Konami booth at San Diego Comic Con 2015

Banner hanging above the Konami booth at San Diego Comic Con 2015

Different views of the Konami booth at San Diego Comic Con 2015

Posters announcing the custom Token card event and Kazuki Takahashi's events at SDCC 2015

In addition to displaying recently-released items like Duelist Pack: Battle City and Crossed Souls: Advance Edition, Konami also showcased its upcoming products, including the Dragons of Legend 2 (coming July 17), Clash of the Rebellion (August 7), High-Speed Riders (October 2), and Dimension of Chaos (November 6) sets.

Dragons of Legend 2, Clash of the Rebellion, High-Speed Riders, and Dimension of Chaos booster packs

Also coming soon are the Synchron Extreme (August 28) and Master of Pendulum (December 4) Structure Decks, as well as the Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon and Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon Mega-Tins (September 18).

The Synchron Extreme and Master of Pendulum Structure Decks, and the Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon and Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon Mega-Tins

The Yu-Gi-Oh! chibi (super deformed) items were a big hit. The Yami Yugi, Seto Kaiba, and Joey Wheeler Duelist Kingdom Chibi Game Mats were all sold out by the end of the con.

Duelist Kingdom Chibi game mats and their boxes

The adorable Chibi Card Case attracted a lot of attention as well. It is lavishly designed (more so than many of Konami’s other card cases) and will go on sale on August 28.

Chibi card case

Konami’s SDCC 2015 exclusive was a game mat featuring Yami Yugi and Exodia the Forbidden One. Only 500 mats were produced. Some leftover stock of the 2013 exclusive double mat featuring Yuma and Kite were also available for sale at a special price.

Konami displays its deals for the SDCC 2015 exclusive game mat

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist, the upcoming new PlayStation 4 and Xbox One game, was available for play. Konami is aiming to have the game ready by the end of the month.

Duelists trying out the Legacy of the Duelist game at the Konami SDCC 2015 booth

Also available was Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Dash, a Kinect game that gave duelists a full-body workout as they raced through a virtual obstacle course as Kuriboh.

Duel Dash game and Kuriboh wall decal at the Konami booth at San Diego Comic Con 2015

Konami’s master duelists were on hand taking on any and all comers. Challengers who bested the masters were rewarded with prizes.

Duel The Master events at the Konami booth at San Diego Comic Con 2015

NECA’s Booth

NECA/WizKids showed off two of its Yu-Gi-Oh!-licensed games at its booth. The first was a gravity feed of the newest Yu-Gi-Oh! HeroClix set, Series 3. The figures from this set on display were Aqua Madoor, Seiyaryu, Gagagigo, Z-Metal Tank, Kamionwizard, and Man-Eater Bug.

Banner hanging above the NECA booth at San Diego Comic Con 2015

Yu-Gi-Oh! HeroClix Series 3 gravity feed display at San Diego Comic Con 2015

The second and larger of the two displays was for Yu-Gi-Oh! Dice Masters. WizKids displayed a gravity feed box for the game and laid out a playmat and the contents of a starter set.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Dice Masters starter set, playmat, and gravity feed display at San Diego Comic Con 2015

Both Yu-Gi-Oh! HeroClix Series 3 and Dice Masters are available for purchase now.

UDON Entertainment’s Booth

Yes, Kazuki Takahashi’s Duel Art book was available for sale… but only on Saturday, July 11, and only for a small number of people who knew to look for the book. Why? Read the linked post for the whole story…

VIZ Media’s Booth

At the booth of Yu-Gi-Oh! manga licensee VIZ Media, the first volume of the Yu-Gi-Oh! 3-in-1 omnibus was prominently displayed next to many exclusive and pre-street items. The book also had its own wall display case.

Yu-Gi-Oh! 3-in-1 omnibus manga displayed next to some exclusive and pre-street items at SDCC 2015

Yu-Gi-Oh! 3-in-1 omnibus manga displayed in its own wall display case

VIZ also had the Frightfur Tiger Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG card in hand (barely noticeable to the right of the rolled-up Naruto mat). VIZ was ready to distribute the newly printed card to anyone who bought a Weekly Shonen Jump subscription. Frightfur Tiger has yet to be mailed out to current subscribers of WSJ.

Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG at the Hyatt

Down the street from the convention center at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego hotel, Konami set up an organized play room where duelists could take part in various tournaments. As usual, the locale was decked out with Yu-Gi-Oh! banners and decorations.

Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG banners at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

The play room was small, seating only around 70 people at maximum capacity. This was great news for duelists playing in the two most popular events — the 2016 Regional Qualifier and Attack of the Giant Card tournaments — as the competition was not nearly as deep as at Konami’s major tournaments.

Konami’s giant card prizes were Blue-Eyes White Dragon, Dark Magician, and Dark Magician Girl from the Duelist Pack: Battle City set.

SDCC 2015 Souvenir Book: Kazuki Takahashi’s Introduction and Image

Kazuki Takahashi’s introduction in the Comic Con 2015 Souvenir Book is slightly longer than the one SDCC provided online when he was announced as a guest. Though it is available on, I’ve included it below for the sake of completion:

Kazuki Takahashi is the world-renowned manga artist and creator of Yu-Gi-Oh!, the global phenomenon that has captured the hearts of millions of fans for nearly two decades. His creative vision spans five animated TV series broadcast in over 65 countries as well as two theatrical movies. The newest series Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V will premiere in the United States later this year, along with a new feature-length movie scheduled to hit theaters in 2016. The Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game holds the Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling trading card game of all time with over 25 billion cards sold.

Kazuki Takahashi’s passion for illustration, design and gaming has him continually bringing new ideas to pen and paper. As he creates new manga and games, his projects always center on the value of friendship—the core idea that runs throughout the world of Yu-Gi-Oh! and inspires fans to this day.

Kazuki Takahashi thanks Yu-Gi-Oh! fans of all ages for their continued passion and is excited to meet them at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con!

In lieu of providing a photograph of himself, Takahashi submitted an original illustration — a profile of Yami Yugi. The same image was used on SDCC’s website.

Profile of Yami Yugi by Kazuki Takahashi

SDCC 2015 Souvenir Book: Remembering Roger Slifer

Although Roger Slifer is best known among comics aficionados for co-creating the DC Comics character Lobo, Yu-Gi-Oh! fans will forever remember him for his namesake, Slifer The Sky Dragon. Roger Slifer, who was a producer of the Classic Yu-Gi-Oh! series at 4Kids Entertainment, was the victim of an unsolved hit-and-run crash in 2012 that left him permanently bedridden. He passed away in March 2015.

Slifer was remembered in the SDCC 2015 Souvenir Book, which included two pieces penned by his close friends. Both recognized his work on Yu-Gi-Oh! and praised him as a strong personality and as someone who embraced both his audience and trade.

Two articles in the San Diego Comic Con 2015 Souvenir Book honor and remember Roger Slifer's life and achievements

Former DC Comics President Paul Levitz called Slifer “one of the silent soldiers working to make comics and animation good, whether that was a good story, a good business transaction, or just a good place to hang out.”

Marvel and DC Comics writer and editor David Anthony Kraft recalled Slifer’s most enduring traits: “The wit. Keen. The unique viewpoint and willingness to go his own way. Unique. The commitment and the unyielding character. Vexing sometimes, to be sure, but sincere.”

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

[SDCC 2015] Kazuki Takahashi’s Autograph Session

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

[SDCC 2015] Kazuki Takahashi Receives Comic Con’s Inkpot Award

July 13, 2015 at 10:28 pm | Posted in Other Stuff, Yu-Gi-Oh! | Leave a comment
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San Diego Comic Con's Inkpot Award on display at an art exhibit at the San Diego Central Library
San Diego Comic Con’s Inkpot Award at an art exhibit at the city’s Central Library

At his panel on Saturday, Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi was awarded San Diego Comic Con’s Inkpot Award.

As described by the panel’s moderator: “Given his tremendous contributions to the worlds of manga and anime, Comic Con is recognizing Sensei [Takahashi]’s achievements with its prestigious Inkpot Award. […] The Inkpot Award was started back in 1974 and it’s given to individuals for their contributions to the worlds of comics, science fiction/fantasy, film, television, animation, and fandom services. Sensei joins a long list of esteemed recipients, including Steven Spielberg and Jim Henson, as well as top animators Chuck Jones, Stan Lee, and Charles Schultz.”

The award was presented by Adam Liest, the assistant to the director of programming at SDCC. The markedly shy Takahashi did not give an acceptance speech and smiled awkwardly when he was showered with camera flashes from SDCC’s photographer. He released a statement today about the award in a press release.

“I am deeply honored to receive Comic-Con’s Inkpot Award and am humbled to be held in the same regard as the revered animators, authors, filmmakers and artists that have been recognized for their passion and contributions to the arts,” Takahashi said.

The Inkpot Award is presented annually during San Diego Comic Con. Other notable Japanese content creators who have received the award include Ryoichi Ikegami, Kazuo Koike, Tite Kubo, Hayao Miyazaki, Osamu Tezuka, Rumiko Takahashi, and Naoko Takeuchi. SDCC offers a full list of recipients of the Inkpot Award from 1974 through 2014 on its website.

Further coverage of Kazuki Takahashi’s SDCC 2015 panel is forthcoming.

[SDCC 2015] Duel Art Targeted for August 2015 Release

July 12, 2015 at 10:26 pm | Posted in Yu-Gi-Oh! | Leave a comment
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Photo of Duel Art Kazuki Takahashi Yu-Gi-Oh! Illustrations English art book cover

At its San Diego Comic Con 2015 panel on Saturday, UDON Entertainment announced that it is expecting to release Kazuki Takahashi’s Duel Art Yu-Gi-Oh! art book this August. For those who have been following the roller coaster ride that has been Duel Art‘s scheduled release date, this news will hopefully bring some much needed relief.

As previously reported, UDON did end up providing a limited number of Duel Art books for sale at SDCC. As it turns out, the decision to offer the book at SDCC came very suddenly, so it is not unusual that some of UDON’s staff weren’t in the loop about the status of the book, which led to incorrect information being conveyed on Twitter about the book’s non-availability at SDCC.

As explained by numerous UDON staff over the last few days, it is true that Duel Art was not initially scheduled to be available at SDCC. However, Kazuki Takahashi was a guest at the convention and had expressed interest in stopping by UDON’s booth to take a look at the book display. Duel Art was not even intended to be printed yet, but UDON “forced production” of the book and had them rushed overnight by FedEx. Only one case (approximately 20 books) was printed, and the books would only be available on Saturday. Still, not all of the books could be sold immediately; some needed to first be reserved for display at the booth for Takahashi to see.

Ultimately, Takahashi was too busy to stop by UDON’s booth, but a few copies of Duel Art were still placed on display at his autograph signing table on Saturday afternoon. And a few lucky fans were able to buy copies at UDON’s booth as well. ;)

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

Duel Art Update: Limited Number to be Sold Early at SDCC 2015

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