A new report says “Yu-Gi-Oh!” Creator Kazuki Takahashi’s death in July came after he tried to save a child, a woman and an American soldier from a treacherous rip current off the coast of Japan.
On Wednesday, Stars and Stripes reported that Takahashi did not die while snorkeling as early reports claimed. Instead, Takahashi attempted to assist Major Robert Bourgeau in the rescue, “unbeknownst to the American, and drowned in the process,” a pained Bourgeau told Stars and Stripes on October 3. “
“You play this game of ‘what if’ a lot,” Bourgeau said. “This guy had a huge impact on the world.”
Bourgeau managed to physically save the woman and child and was able to verbally guide the soldier to safety, reports the New York Post.
The body of Takahashi, 60, was found floating about 300 meters off Okinawa by someone running a boating leisure business, according to an official at the Naha Coast Guard Station in Nago.
The body showed signs of attack by a sea creature, possibly sharks, the official said.
Takahashi was identified after police from another part of Okinawa contacted the Coast Guard, saying a rental car had been found abandoned on a beach. The car had a driver’s license, confirming identity. Takahashi’s real first name was Kazuo. His family have been contacted and identified him, the coastguard official said.
“Yu Gi Oh!” debuted in Shonen Jump magazine in 1996, became a hit, selling over 40 million copies in manga form, although the number of cards released worldwide was much larger, numbering by billion.
The official card game went on sale in 1999. A television show and video games, as well as action figures and toys, were also part of the franchise.
The success of “Yu Gi Oh!” in the West was similar to that of other Japanese animations and games like Pokémon.
“He’s a hero,” Bourgeau said of Takahashi. “He died trying to save someone else.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.