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‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’ Creator Kazuo Takahashi Died a Hero

Rest in Peace.

yu-gi-oh in sunset. Image: Gallop.

In early July 2022, news broke that Kazuo Takahashi, the creator of Yu-Gi-Oh!, was found dead off the coast of Okinawa. Few details were known at the time, other than that he had some snorkeling gear on his person, and Japanese authorities put his death down as a drowning. However, a recent article by the U.S. military newspaper Stars & Stripes shed new details on Takahashi’s passing and his last selfless actions.

Maj. Robert Bourgeau told Stars & Stripes that on July 4, a woman came to him pointing 100 feet out in the water, where another soldier was saving her 11-year-old daughter from a riptide. He and some students (Bourgeau worked as a scuba instructor) went to help rescue her. Bourgeau stated that he saw Takahashi trying to help others struggling due to the tide, but barely got out himself and couldn’t help bring him back. Takahashi was found and reported dead two days later.

Between his statements to the newspaper and official witness statement, Bourgeau said letting another man go to survive was the hardest thing he had to do and called Takahashi a hero. This whole circumstance honestly sounds terrifying and heartbreaking. Outside of once criticizing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe‘s 2012 reelection (which … fair), Takahashi’s public image was always about storytelling and art. Now, we can add a selfless hero to that.

As the creator of one of the most popular trading card games, manga, and anime of all time, the 60-year-old’s passing means a lot to lots of different people. While Yu-Gi-Oh! wasn’t my first anime, it was something I returned to several times in my life (across mediums) and one of the first shows that made me cry. This was the moment Serenity Wheeler (Joey’s sister) got her bandages taken off. I don’t remember the full context of the story, but I was about eight when it came on WB Kids, and despite Joey’s annoyingness, he really cared for his sister.

Like many other protagonists in the various Yu-Gi-Oh! stories and Takahashi himself, selflessness and service to others remained a top priority.

(via Stars & Stripes, featured image: Gallop)

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(she/her) Award-winning artist and blogger with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. Starting as an Online Editor for her college paper in October 2017, Alyssa began writing for the first time within two months of working in the newsroom. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3. Still trying to beat Saxon Farm on RCT 3 (so I can 100% the game.)