Tohru Sakurai, writer for “Arcana Heart” series, has passed away

We are sad to report that Tohru Sakurai, the creator and writer of the Arcana Heart fighting game series, has passed away.

At the beginning of the week, publisher ArcSystemWorks released a Twitter post conveying their respects to those loved and cherished by Mr. Sakurai. ArcSystem specializes in anime-styled fighters including Arcana Heart, Guilty Gear and so on. We thank him for his work and will miss him dearly.

Arcana Heart was initially created by Tohru Sakurai and released in arcades in 2006. Unlike other established fighters, this series comes with a cast that includes only female fighters. Eventually a console edition would be ported to the Playstation 2 in 2007, despite that the Playstation 3 had launched a year beforehand.

Before it came to the PS2 console, a patch had been released in mid-April of 2007 to better balance out the cast. However, a controversy arose when a price tag was attached to the patch, since such adjustments tend to be released for free unless a different edition of the game is released (for instance, Guilty Gear XRD Revelator and Revelator 2). It took months before the outrage subsided and the game was finally ported to the PS2 in Japan.

Eventually the game came to North America, but with only Japanese voiceovers instead of English. Additionally, the publishers introduced a feature that allowed players to choose between the post-patch and pre-patch versions of the characters, similar to how the Edition Select feature functions in Ultra Street Fighter 4.

Since its creation in 2006, the series has expanded into multiple games including its latest release, Arcana Heart 3: Love MAX which came out in May 2013. It also comes with a manga adaptation written by Mr. Tohru Sakurai. The series was developed by Examu Inc. and published by a collection of companies including Arksys and ArcSystemWorks.

Visit the franchise’s official website at www.atlus.com/arcanaheart to learn more about the game and the manga.

In spite of Mr. Sakurai’s death, his plan for the story has already been completed according to the Comic Clear editorial department. As such, the manga series will continue on. The future of the game series, however, is unclear.

His contributions to the anime and gaming communities will be honored forever. Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Tohru Sakurai as well as all of his loving fans.

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