Yu-Gi-Oh Creator Just Died Trying To Save Three People

Yu-Gi-Oh creator Kazuki Takahashi has died trying to save three people from drowning in a riptide.

By Matthew Creith | Published

In terms of Japanese manga comic series and graphic novels, there may be no more popular incarnations than that of Yu-Gi-Oh! in the last few decades. Spawning a hit franchise comparable to Pokémon and consisting of anime series, video games, trading card games, and spin-offs, Yu-Gi-Oh! was originally written and illustrated by Kazuki Takahashi, who sadly lost his life recently trying to save three people from drowning when they were caught in a rip current. The franchise owes a great deal of gratitude to Takahashi, who passed away on July 4, 2022 while snorkeling near Nago, Okinawa, according to Kotaku.

When Kazuki Takahashi’s body was originally found back in July of this year, it was not determined at the time exactly how the Yu-Gi-Oh! creator died. It was assumed he drowned as snorkeling gear was found, but not until this week was it revealed Takahashi died while attempting to save three people caught in a rip current. The 60-year-old created Yu-Gi-Oh! in the 1990s, centered on a boy named Yugi Mutou that solves ancient puzzles like that of the Millennium Puzzle.

Kazuki Takahashi saw his original creation morph from a serial in Japanese magazines to a full-fledged media franchise and extremely popular trading card game. The trading card game of Yu-Gi-Oh! in particular has become a global sensation, and is regarded as the most successful of its kind, landing in the Guinness Book of World Records due to the fact that the game has sold over 25 billion cards to date, as reported by Anime News Network. These total sales for the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading cards portion of the franchise is more than other similar games of its kind, including Pokemon and Magic the Gathering.

The popularity of Yu-Gi-Oh! trading cards created a new opportunity for game maker Konami to profit off of a new wave of media, including video games and anime series that eventually became popular in their own right. Multiple television shows and spin-offs were created, and an entry into television and film in American households became a reality with the introduction of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light in 2004, a movie distributed in the United States by Warner Bros. Kazuki Takahashi lived long enough to witness his creation become popular internationally, a feat accomplished by just a few writers of his generation.

However, Yu-Gi-Oh! was just the beginning for Kazuki Takahashi, as he took his talents to other franchises after the success of his initial creation. Released in 2019, he wrote a two-part manga series entitled Secret Reverse, which was a collaboration between Shōnen Jump+ and Marvel Comics called Marvel × Shōnen Jump+ Super Collaboration, featuring many Marvel characters. Prior to his death, Kazuki Takahashi had confirmed that his favorite manga series written by others included Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo and Dragon Ball by Akira Toryama, while his favorite comic book from the United States was Hellboy, all of which earned their own media franchises on a global scale after the popularity of their initial creations reached new heights.