Kazuki Takahashi was born on October 4, 1961 in Tokyo. As a child, Kazuki Takahashi loved to draw. He was inspired to draw by Kamishibai, which is old men telling stories with pictures. Takahashi started putting manga together in high school. At age 16, he won a Shonen manga competition and considers this to be his debut as a Mangeka – someone who writes Japanese comics.
In 1990, Takahashi created a manga story with 100 pages of writing and 200 pages of sketches, but the editor was bothered by the size of his submission and the manga idea was rejected. His first work was Tokyo no Tsuma in 1990 and then he wrote Tennen Shoku Danji Buret from 1991-1992. Kazuki wanted to write a battle story, but realized it was hard to come up with something original because of all the fighting manga that already existed. He also tried to create a story where the main character doesn’t hit anyone, but found that idea difficult to work with. Then the word “game” came to mind. Takahashi was obsessed with games as a kid and still enjoys them as an adult. His favorite are Shogi, Mahjong, and tabletop role playing games. Takahashi did not find success until 1996 when he created Yu-Gi-Oh!
Yu-Gi-Oh! is the story of a boy named Yugi Muto who loves to play games. One day, he receives an ancient Egyptian artifact called the Millenium Puzzle. Inside is a mysterious spirit who helps Yugi bring justice to those who would do harm. Yu-Gi-Oh! means “Game King” or “King of Games.” As such, the manga series features a variety of different games, most of which are created by the spirit on the spot. However, some games featured are spin-offs of real-life games. One of which was a spin-off of the trading card game Magic the Gathering. The card game in the manga is called Duel Monsters, but was formerly know as Magic & Wizards – a reference to Magic the Gathering and its company Wizards of the Coast.
Eventually, Takahashi struggled to create ideas for new games, however so many fans wrote to Takahashi asking him about the Magic & Wizards card game, that he decided to focus the series entirely on this trading card game.
“Henshin” is the ability to transform into someone or something else. Takahashi believed that every child dreams of henshin, so he considered Yugi’s henshin, Yami Yugi, to be a big appeal to kids. Seto Kaiba was based on an arrogant collectible cards player that Takahashi met as a kid. As the story goes, Takahashi asked the cards player to teach him how to play a card game, and the cards player said, “Come back after you collect 10,000 cards.” Before writing the Shadi story arc, Takahashi visited Egypt. He was impressed by how nice the people were. Yu-jo means friendship. This is what you get when you combine the first two letters of Yugi’s name with the first two letters of Yugi’s best friend’s name, Jounochi. While writing the pharaoh’s memory arc, Takahashi was ill and in the hospital. He reluctantly cut short the relationship between Priest Seto and Kisara, as it would have explained Kaiba’s passion for the Blue Eyes White Dragon. He also joked that the design of Zorc Necrophades was due to his grogginess at the time.
- “Yugioh Trivia: Kazuki Takahashi – Episode 100!” YouTube, uploaded by TGS Anime, 3 Aug 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyWmvonWIuE
- “Kazuki Takahashi” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazuki_Takahashi
- “Kazuki Takahashi” Yu-Gi-Oh! Wikia, http://yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Kazuki_Takahashi
- “Yu-Gi-Oh!” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yu-Gi-Oh!
- “101 Yu-Gi-Oh! Facts That You Probably Didn’t Know (101 Facts) | Yugioh” YouTube, uploaded by 2Spooky, 25 Jul 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Riz_XcDL8GE