“IT’S TIME TO….. D-D-D-D-D-D-DUEL"
AT COMIC CON 2015
The power of the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime and trading card franchise is undeniable. Yu-Gi-Oh! holds the Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling trading card game of all time with more than 25 billion cards sold. The Yu-Gi-Oh! animated TV franchise now has more than 650 episodes over five installments, and these series have been translated and broadcast in 65 countries on leading networks around the world.
It’s no wonder anime and manga fans went “bonkers” when Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi stepped into the jam-packed ballroom at Comic Con International: San Diego to start an unprecedented panel discussion on July 11, 2015. His mission: to address fans about the brand new movie -- “Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions” -- that will be coming to theaters in 2016.
Traveling from his home in Japan, Mr. Takahashi made his first public appearance in the United States at Comic-Con. Fans stood in line for the panel and an autograph session that followed it to catch a rare glimpse of the creative superstar and get a behind-the-scenes look at the Yu-Gi-Oh! phenomenon through the eyes of Mr. Takahashi. As one fan posted on Twitter, “He really does exist!”
Priority PR took charge of all the event planning and media relations for this extraordinary appearance, which we had also pitched and secured. Working closely with Comic-Con organizers for months in advance, Priority PR--led by our veteran anime-manga expert Kristien Brada-Thompson--ensured that every detail (ranging from accommodations to security to publicity) was handled and executed properly.
Priority PR founder Jeff Pryor acted as the Master of Ceremonies for the panel and pumped the room full of energy and excitement by asking fans to yell as loudly as they could, “It’s Time To Duel!” The popular catch phrase comes in the opening Yu-Gi-Oh! theme song when the music stops and title character Yugi utters those famous words.
Audience participation is always tricky at open forums such as these, but the fans wasted no time responding as Japanese television crews captured every boisterous moment.
The wildly anticipated movie features an original story by Mr. Takahashi and is set six months after the events of the manga, depicting a duel between Yugi and Kaiba, as well as a new adversary. The film will be released during 2016’s Golden Week in Japan, followed by an international release later that year.
In addition to revealing the movie’s title, Mr. Takahashi gave fans a first-look at the film’s poster.
Mr. Takahashi also brought along storyboards which he shared with the audience, but the most exciting thing shown at the panel by far was a teaser trailer for the new movie.
The packed room of fans continued to delight as more surprises were in store. Taking questions from social media sites, Pryor noted that one of the most popular requests was whether Mr. Takahashi could draw Yugi for the audience. Once again, the audience burst into a thunderous round of hooting and hollering, inspiring him to comply. Priority PR had worked with Comic-Con’s tech team to secure a special projected sketchpad called ELMO, which was then placed in front of the beloved creator, bringing the room to silence as fans watched in awe how every line and detail of Yugi was created.
As the panel session went into overtime, there was one more surprise. Given his tremendous contributions to the worlds of manga and anime, Comic-Con recognized Sensei Takahashi’s achievements with its prestigious Inkpot Award, which was presented at the very end. The Inkpot Award program was started back in 1974, and the honors are now bestowed upon individuals for their contributions to the world of comics, science fiction-fantasy, film, television, animation and fandom services. Mr. Takahashi joins a long list of esteemed recipients including Steven Spielberg and Jim Henson, as well as top animators Chuck Jones, Stan Lee and Charles Schulz.
As he creates new manga and games, Mr. Takahashi's projects always center on the value of friendship – the core idea that runs throughout the world of Yu-Gi-Oh! and continues to entice fans to this day. The Comic-Con appearance was also an opportunity remind fans that the Yu-Gi-Oh! brand will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2016.
Like we said, this property has rightly earned its keep as an anime and manga institution.