Update: Konami, the developer and publisher behind the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game and video game franchises, has issued an official statement regarding Kazuki Takahashi's death. The company says it is "shocked and saddened" to hear of his passing, and that it is "deeply grateful" to him for creating the Yu-Gi-Oh! universe. Konami also pledges to "carry on the Yu-Gi-Oh! legacy with all the love and care it deserves". Given Konami's patchy history, one has to wonder if that intent is entirely benevolent, but it's a nice sentiment anyway. Original story follows below.
Original story: Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi has died aged 60. The manga author's body was found 300 meters (about 330 yards) off the coast of the Okinawan city of Nago, and the circumstances surrounding his death are currently being investigated by the Japanese police.
How did Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi die?
According to Japanese news publication NHK (note: article is in Japanese and we're using machine translation), Takahashi was found at about 10:30AM local time on July 6th. The person who spotted him reported to the Japanese coast guard that he was "drifting face down"; he was wearing snorkeling equipment and appeared to have traveled to Okinawa alone. The coast guard also reports that a rental car hired by Takahashi was found around 12 kilometers (about 7 and a half miles) away from where his body was found. His driver's license was inside the car.
We don't currently know exactly how Takahashi died. The Japanese coast guard says that there were no noticeable wounds on his body, but no other cause of death has been released yet. We'll likely learn more about the reason behind his death in the coming weeks. Takahashi's loss is a tragedy; Yu-Gi-Oh! is one of the most influential and well-liked media franchises of all time, spawning several video games, tabletop adaptations, and plenty of other media. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time.
Yu-Gi-Oh!: Kazuki Takahashi's legacy
Takahashi leaves behind a legacy in the form of Yu-Gi-Oh!, a manga and anime series based around the fictional Duel Masters card game. The franchise began in 1996, but it's still going strong today; in January this year, Konami released the video game Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel, and the Switch game Yu-Gi-Oh! Rush Duel made its way to the West just last year. The anime is still going strong, too, with the latest iteration, Yu-Gi-Oh! Go Rush!! airing its first episodes back in April.
Perhaps Yu-Gi-Oh!'s most lasting legacy in the gaming world, though, is the trading card game, which launched in 1999. A trading card game is a pretty natural fit for Yu-Gi-Oh!, and it proved just as popular as you'd expect, with players still enthusiastically playing it and talking about its mechanics to this day. Although Kazuki Takahashi might not directly have been part of the gaming industry, he's had a huge impact on it nonetheless, and his presence will be sorely missed.