This morning I woke up to the news that Kazuki Takahashi - the creator Yugioh - has passed away. So, most folk probably don't know that I was - and still am - a fan of the manga and anime Yugioh - I would have gotten into the card game as well, but I always considered myself to 'dumb' to play it. I wished, so much though, that I could have played it, I think I'd actually have been pretty good. And I remember going to the game shop and looking the tournament times and wishing with all my heart that I could attend just to watch. If only someone would take the time to patiently explain the rules to me, so I too, could play.
But I never did.
So, here is a special edition of The Stories that Made Me: Yugioh.
While I never was able to play the card game, I was greatly inspired by the art. I loved how the colours popped, how the lines were harsh and strong, and everything felt secure and in their allocated place. This included the art of the manga and the anime as well.
I still recall waking up early in the morning and running down stairs to our old box television to catch the latest episode of Yugioh. Mum basically had no idea what the anime was about - which is good - at the time she wouldn't have approved of it at all.
I have no idea how I managed to sneak Yugioh past her.
Basically yes, it is about saving the world through a 'children's card game' (that's a joke by the way) but the overarching plot goes a lot deeper if you bother to get into it. It is the quintessential 'friendship' anime, in which the power of friendship wins everything and that is what I adored about it.
I wanted friends like Yugi. I felt alone. I didn't have a place to belong. But here was an anime all about finding a place to belong and discovering your place in the world through a nerdy card game.
In brief summary, Yugi is a teen who finds himself possessed by the spirit of an ancient pharaoh, this pharaoh has no recollection of who he was, or why he was sealed within the Millilumen Puzzle - but he's very good at games - and so - over the journey of the anime, Yugi learns through the Pharaoh and his friends who he is, and the Pharaoh discovers his own identity as well.
In a way, Yugioh did give me friendships and community for a time, a time when perhaps I really needed it. It crafted some of the best years of my life on the web through my involvement in fanfiction, a time in my life that I look back on as honestly, when I was at my happiest as I interacted with a group of people who loved things as much as I loved them. Indeed, I met one of my dearest friends through this online world.
Unfortunately I lost pretty much all of my fanart and fanfictions to the Great Harddrive Death of 2010. Everything just - gone. Its a huge shame, because I was actually pretty proud of the comic book work I did on this Star Wars Yugioh crossover I put together. Yeah - yeah - I'm showing my true colours here. I know. But I think I've gotten to the point in my life where I'm tired of feeling embarrassed for loving the things I love.
My sister said to me the other day that if I love the colour pink, then I should just embrace the pink. I think she was onto something.
I recall when Yugioh: Dark Side of Dimensions - a movie, for those of you who don't know - came out in 2016. I really - really - REALLY wanted to go and see it, but - obviously no one was going to see Yugioh with me. Frankly, I don't think anyone in my family even knew I liked Yugioh. So I felt really weird about it - being a woman going into a movie theatre for a "kids" movie.
And the last anime film I'd gone to see on my own - well - THAT is a story guys - THAT is a story. Let's just say it hadn't gone well and resulted in some nasty insults being thrown at me as well as a considerable amount of popcorn.
So I was nervous to go on my own again.
But I did.
I really had to see it.
I plucked up the courage and picked a time in the middle of the day when I figured no one would be there. When I arrived the ticket master beamed at me brightly as he held my ticket, "Ah, a Yugioh fan!"
"Yeah..." I awkwardly shuffled about.
"You're lucky, we're almost out of cards." He handed me what became my very first Yugioh card, one especially released for the movie and given out to those who went to see it. Don't think it can be used in the card game, but who cares, I loved it. I stuck it in my journal when I got home.
I was the only person in the entire theatre, and frankly, it was totally worth it. I went home feeling like the world was worth living in, because it contained fun stories.
I think we still have a game shop - somewhere - I donno. The one I used to visit closed and I've never bothered to find out where it moved too. But back when it was easily accessible for me I was a frequent visitor, and it is there that I purchased my first treasured item:
This is my mint condition Dark Magician figure - someday I hope to have a proper display shelf for him and all my other collectables, so I can appreciate them better, but for now, he's tucked away in a corner being all mysterious.
I followed him up with - Yami Yugi - or the Pharaoh, if you'd prefer. Sadly, not mint condition, as the package got damaged in the post, and he was the last one available.
Yes - that's right - they've never been removed for their boxes. When it comes to Yugioh, I get serious. XD
But, like I said, I've never been able to play the card game - which continues to disappoint me to this day.
Yet ever since hearing that first opening sequence of the anime, and feeling the happy rush of running down the stairs and landing in front of the television with my little brother - I have continued to love this story of a boy, his friends, their card game, and a pharaoh who found his name again.
To the power of friendship.
Thanks Kazuki Takahashi - for inspiring me to write - and believing that friendships can happen.