±Lost Dueling Grounds±
Kazuki Takahashi

Enter subhead content here


Card Page | Card Checklist | Episode Previews | Kaiba's Page | Character Bios | Wallpaper | Gallery | Video and Audio clips | God Cards | Kazuki Takahashi | Yugioh Deck Rules | Millenium Items | Yu-Gi-Oh Movie | Game Reviews | Card Database

This is something that i found on Time.com while looking for stuff on Kazuki Takahashi. It states in this that this is only his second interview but im sure since Yu-Gi-Oh is going crazy here, he'll have another one.

TIME MAGAZINE, JUNE 4, 2001, VOL.157 NO.22

Crouching Lizard
Step aside, Pikachu. The 'King of Games' has stolen your crown in Japan and is poised to conquer America

The white dolphin heads to battle. She is a water-borne soldier who can swim to swift escape but has inadequate fighting skills. Her opponent materializes: the Armored Lizard. Damn! My dolphin is no match for its steely jaws and impenetrable skin. Next, I set loose the Blade Fly, whose razor pincers make for nasty weapons. I prepare for a fight. But this enemy is too clever: he has set a hidden trap that swallows the fly. "Game over," says Hiroaki Namikata. "You suck." I consider wringing his neck but decide this would upset his mom. "You'll get better in time," Hiroaki says, as he slurps down his lemon soda.

We're playing Yu-Gi-Oh, the game that has replaced Pokémon as Japan's No. 1 fad and is expected soon to enter the global lexicon. Yu-Gi-Oh, which means "King of Games," stars a seemingly normal boy named Yugi who gains extraordinary powers when playing a card game. The boom began when it was introduced as a plot twist in the Yu-Gi-Oh manga-comic series, which then spawned an actual card game, as well as Game Boy and PlayStation software, an animated TV show, action figures, pencil boxes and countless other money-sucking doodads. Yu-Gi-Oh is already a $2 billion industry; it caused a riot at a Tokyo games convention and has been banned from Bangkok schools. Its U.S. kickoff is slated for the fall.

Hiroaki, an outspoken eight-year-old, has gathered two other Yu-Gi-Oh freaks at his family's condo in Chiba to challenge me in electronic battle. By wiring our Game Boys together with a cable, we assess one another's "cards" and send our own characters off to war. Each of the 700-some characters has unique traits and powers, which are rated by points. Illusionist No-Face, for instance, is a magician who can instantly shift appearances. His 1,200 points of offensive strength are no match for the 1,400 of the Mecha-Falcon, but the magic man's 2,200 defensive points far outnumber the jet-powered bird's 1,200. Got it?

Kazuki Takahashi, the creator of the comic series, and games producer Konami appear to be following the Pokémon formula to fuel the Yu-Gi-Oh craze. Like Pokémon, the animated TV show brings the characters and plot twists to life. Like Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh demands careful strategy to decide which cards to pit against one another. Because you need 40 cards to play the game (players download characters into a Game Boy by inserting the codes printed on real cards), it also plays to kids' penchant for collecting. And though the Game Boy version can be played alone, it's more fun to challenge someone else. "Japan used to be a place where all the neighborhood kids played together," says Hideo Takayama, president of the Children's Research Institute. "But today's kids spend most of their free time studying for exams, so it's harder for them to make friends. Games based on trading cards, like Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh, force kids to interact; that's why they're such a hit."

But Yu-Gi-Oh is not such a hit with parents. Nearly everyone likes Pokémon's cute figures, but Yu-Gi-Oh's dark story lines, leggy girls and terrifying monsters make Satomi Namikata, Hiroaki's mother, cringe. As her young daughter hugs a talking Pikachu, the best-recognized Pokémon character, mom frets: "The rules are so complicated and the drawings so scary that I'm sure Yu-Gi-Oh is meant for teenagers."

Which is exactly why younger boys love it. The craze isn't limited to fad-mad Tokyo; in a large toy store on the southern island of Shikoku, every Yu-Gi-Oh card and Yu-Gi-Oh Game Boy game is sold out. "I get swarms of kids from the elementary school next door," says Mitsuaki Muraoka, the shop's manager. "On weekends, parents come in with pieces of paper on which they've written the word yu-gi-oh." Since Konami introduced them in 1999, the company has sold 3.5 billion cards; 7 million computer games have been sold since its release in late 1998. With the U.S. launch due before Christmas, Konami is predicting a 65% jump in Yu-Gi-Oh-driven profits over the next two years.

It's the cards and not the video game that still drive Japanese kids' interest. "The funny thing about these games is that they have reminded kids how fun it is to play with each other, instead of at home alone with a video console," says Macoto Nakamura, a Tokyo game designer. Are interactive games promoting interactivity of the retro, Old Economy kind? Could be: the toy fad currently sweeping Japan is Bei Blade, an updated version of spinning tops.

'I've Always Been Obsessed With Games'
TIME's exclusive insight into the world of Yu-Gi-Oh creator Kazuki Takahashi

Kazuki Takahashi is famous. As the creator of the Yu-Gi-Oh comic series -- the game that has replaced Pokemon as Japan's No. 1 fad and is expected soon to enter the global lexicon -- Takahashi has sparked a boom that is echoing around the world. So far, the manga has spawned a megahit card game, GameBoy and PlayStation video games, and an animated TV series. But while the comic's spike- haired hero, Yugi, appears on pencil boxes and T-shirts and countless other doodads, Yugi's creator has remained a mystery. Because Takahashi, 39, never speaks to the press, few of his fans know much more about the artist than his name -- and as he has never been photographed, he walks the streets in total anonymity.
With the TV show and the card game set to launch in the U.S. this fall, Takahashi gave TIME an exclusive peek into his suburban Tokyo studio. In an apartment building surrounded by grand old estates, Takahashi and five staff artists -- all young men -- scratch out 19 pages every week for publication in Shonen Jump, the weekly manga magazine where Yu-Gi-Oh (which means "King of Games") has appeared since 1996. The studio is crowded with racks of CDs and toys from children's shows like Wallace and Gromit, Pokemon, and, of course, Yu- Gi-Oh. Here's our interview (his second ever) with Takahashi, the imaginative creator of the explosive hit.

TIME: How did you get your start in manga?
TAKAHASHI: As a kid, I always liked to draw. But it wasn't till high school that I tried to actually put a manga together. I published my first one 20 years ago. It was a cartoon comedy about a high school, and it was a total flop. Then I followed with one about pro-wrestling, which was also a failure. I don't really like to think about it.

TIME: How did the idea for Yu-Gi-Oh come to you?
TAKAHASHI: I've always been obsessed with games. Certainly as a kid, and even today, I like blackjack and board games like Scotland Yard. In a game, the player becomes the hero. And that's the basic premise for Yu-Gi-Oh. The main character, Yugi, is a weak and childish boy who becomes a hero when he plays games.

TIME: In the early episodes, Yugi plays a whole variety of games, some with toys, others with gadgets. But the manga didn't take off until you introduced the card game.
TAKAHASHI: That's right. Originally, I'd planned to phase out that particular game in two episodes. But the reader response we got was enormous. Shonen Jump started getting calls from all these kids who wanted to know more about the game -- how to play it, where they could get it. At the time, kids didn't really play card games; they were way into video games. But it's much more thrilling to battle against a human being while looking them in the eye than playing with a machine. I realized I'd hit on something, so I began to concentrate on the card game.

TIME: Is it hard to come up with unique creatures for the cards, each with their own set of strengths and weaknesses? I heard you've created something like 700.
TAKAHASHI: I stopped counting, but I think it's more like 1,000. And, yeah, it's hard. I'm not sure how many more I've got left in me. But all boys love monsters, and I'm no different, so it's also really fun. What I try to do is fit the creature to the characteristics of the character playing the card. For instance, Kaiba, Yugi's archenemy, is mean and vicious, so his cards tend to be that way, too.

TIME: What's your favorite?
TAKAHASHI: Blue Eyes White Dragon. It's the very first card I introduced, so it has special significance.

TIME: Yu-Gi-Oh has been called the next Pokemon. What has turned it into such a monstrous hit?
TAKAHASHI: The thing about the card game is that you can't play by yourself. You have to play with friends. That's how it spread: one kid saying to another, let's play Yu-Gi-Oh. As far as the manga story goes, I think all kids dream of henshin -- the ability to turn into something, or someone, else. Yugi's henshin into a savvy, invincible games player is a big appeal [to children]. There's also the mystery surrounding the games and the characters on the cards. Kids like that, too.

TIME: How do you think Americans will respond to Yu-Gi-Oh?
TAKAHASHI: The story centers on the life of a normal Japanese schoolboy, so I'm not sure they'll understand all of it. But here's the main thing I want them to understand: if you combine the "yu" in Yugi and the "jo" in Jounouchi [the main character's best friend], you get the word yujo. Yujo translates to friendship in English, but it's actually more powerful than that. If American kids get a strong sense of friendship among the characters in the story, I'll be happy.

<BGSOUND balance=0 src="http://video.enigmathic.com/yugioh_american_theme.mp3" volume=0 loop=infinite>

Enter content here

Enter supporting content here