This is another in a series I seem to be doing. Hopefully there’s not another for a long while. Just a memorial, a sign post, something to remember the ones who really got me to where I am now.

Kazuki Takahashi was only 60 years old when he died. That feels too young.

You might know him best as the creator of Yu-Gi-Oh!, that card game that got popular right around the time “Japanime” was taking over the country. Maybe your kids or little siblings played it, or maybe you got annoyed by how many spiky haired characters there were in the stores you had to keep track of.

I’ll always remember him as a man dedicated to his craft, who loved hobby culture and games, Egyptian mythology and horror, and made something wonderful to honor all of it. If you look at Yu-Gi-Oh!, the original manga not just the anime, you’ll see track prints of his interests, his passions, and they shine through every page.

I said this yesterday, but the entire series is cheesy, over the top, and super melodramatic in terms of the “friendship as a power” concept, but it’s damn earnest, unrelenting in its message, and proof you don’t have to be the strongest to be the best. He was a guy who wanted the message that through gaming we see each other’s hearts, and within those hearts we learn more about each other.

King. Of. Games.

There’s a brilliant thread here that shines a brighter light on it than I can. Worth clicking on and reading the whole thing. If you think Yu-Gi-Oh! is only about card games, you only know part of the story:

It’s a shame we don’t realize the impact people had on us until they’re gone, until they can no longer keep creating that impact in real time. Suddenly, their influence becomes past tense, and the world gets a little darker. It doesn’t mean the wonders they created when they were here are gone forever, and in fact you can draw on those creations even more to shine a light in this new darkened state.

Thank you, Kazuki Takahashi, for opening my eyes at the right age to what a story could be, what a hero could be, and what our hearts should be.

Thanks for reading,

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