Some things can never truly die. Examples of such are Gods, immortals, and the Yu-Gi-Oh fandom (if duels on bikes didn’t kill it nothing can). The original franchise of Yu-Gi-Oh is about a young boy named Yugi Mutou. He is an unpopular midget with crazy weird hair who’s entire life seems to revolve around his Grandpa’s game shop. He is extremely good at games, doesn’t even matter which one, Yugi is a game master…but he doesn’t have any friends until theday he solves the ancient egyptian Millenium Puzzle which is said to be able to grant any one wish upon completion.
Yugi Mutou: Yugi is the main character in this shonen megalith. He’s sixteen years old which is not betrayed by his size and stature. He’s actually a very shy, honest, and innocent individual. He’s lonely and only wants to have one true honest friend.
Pharoah/ Atem/ Yami Yugi: Atem is the amnesiac spirit of a 3000 year old pharoah who inhabits the Millinium Puzzle. He is the first possible answer to the wish made by Yugi on the Millenium Puzzle. Atem is amazing, his gaming prowess is unequaled. For the first seven volumes of the franchise he penalizes anyone who harms one of his allies with a penalty Shadow Game. His memories show that while he is ruthless in his penalties, he does regret the things that he’s done.
Jounouchi Katsuya/ Joey Wheeler: Jou is the second answer to Yugi’s wish. He is an honest young man who was once quite the bully. He stole a piece of the Millenium Puzzle from Yugi back when the young gamer was trying to solve it, but when Yugi protects Jou from another bully, the delinquent has a change of heart. He is a tried and true friend, honest to a fault, and completely devoted to those around him. As gamer he is the character who progresses and grows the most.
Hiroto Honda/ Tristan Taylor: With Jounouchi of course comes fellow delinquent Honda. Both were gang members before meeting Yugi and deciding to turn their lives around. Honda is extremely loyal and has quite the sneaky nature which in this group isextremely useful with all the trouble they get into.
Anzu Mazaki/ Tea Gardner: Anzu is cheerful, and honest. She wants to be a dancer and to study in New York. She has a one sided crush on Atem. Even managing to score one date with the ancient egyptian pharoah.
Mai Kujaku/ Mai Valentine: Mai is an older duelist, she’s 24 years old. She uses different perfumes on the backs of her cards so she can tell which card is next. This is to unnerve her opponent and convince them that she is psychic. The first and only person to sniff through this strategy was Jounouchi. Mai and Jou became good friends over the course of the manga. Despite the age difference between the two they have a strong attraction to eachother.
Seto Kaiba: Kaiba is the teenage CEO of the infamous Kaiba Corp. He is a rich, obnoxious jerk, who at first glance doesn’t seem to care about anyone. This turns out to be fallacy however as he would do anything to save his little brother Mokuba. Life and limb, you know the jist. Kaiba is said to be one of the best duelists in the world having only lost to Yugi Mutou.
Ryou Bakura: Is another friend that they picked up somewhere along the way. This kid holds onto another Millenium item, but this one is The Millenium Ring, it holds the spirit of the ancient Egyptian thief Yami Bakura. On his own Ryou is an innocent character, honest and lovable.
Yami Bakura: He is a spirit of ancient Egypt, the sole survivor of the village of thieves Kul Ellna. He is a cruel, uncaring indiviual, who has no regard for human life. He will use anything and anyone to get what he desires.
Story: Yu-Gi-Oh has a series of main plots. The first being recovering Yugi’s Grandfather’s soul from the dark clutches of the creator of the Duel Monsters game Maximillion J. Pegasus. Pegasus in a bid to gain control of Kaiba Corporation must do what no other can do, he must defeat Yugi Mutou in a duel. So he calls together the best duelists in the world to battle, including blackmailing Yugi into joining the battle by stealing his Grandpa’s soul. Also in this story arc is Jounouchi trying to earn the money to be able to afford his Sister Shizuka’s eye surgery. As well as Seto Kaiba trying to save his company and retrieve his brother Mokuba from Pegasus’ clutches.
The second main plot is Battle City where after recieving a God card (Obelisk the Tormentor) Seto Kaiba calls together the best duelists to participate in an all out card war. Of course this leads to the fated duel between Atem and Kaiba. A duel that has been 3000 years in the making. Seto Kaiba like Pharoah Atem existed in ancient Egypt all those years ago. He was a priest in the Pharoah’s court, however he was corrupt, desiring to create a monster that could rival the power of the gods controlled by the Pharoah. Also in this story arc is the battle against Marik who seeks revenge against Pharoah Atem. Marik was from a family of tomb guardians, because of his family’s fate Marik became a bitter enraged soul. He is also possesed by the spirit living in the Millenium Rod.
Major plot three is when they have recovered the three god cards, and all seven Millenium items. These items seem to be the keys to unlocking the Pharoah’s memories. So with the use of the items the Pharoah falls into the world of his memories. His friends decide to follow him (of course) though they can’t influence the world of memories due to not being apart of these memories. You learn the history of the cards, and meet some of the people who were the true nature of the cards. (Mahodo the Dark Magician, Mana the Dark Magician Girl, Kisara the Blue Eyes White Dragon, etc) You also remeet thief Bakura, who is trying to steal the Millenium items so that he can harness the power in them to get revenge for the destroyed village of Kul Ellna the village of thieves.
And lastly is the duel between Atem and Yugi, a fated battle that leads to an inevitable conclusion. Sad, heartbreaking, and above all a great ending to a series that left me on the edge of my seat for quite a run.
Art: The art in Yu-Gi-Oh is nothing if not original. It stands out against everything that has tried to recreate it’s fan base over the years. Be it Cardfight Vanguard or Duel Monsters, the art is truly one of a kind. The hair styles are quirky, bordering on weird. The outfits that they wear are borderline ridiculous. The cards were designed with each individual characters hearts in mind, a true honest character has normal monsters from the cute fluffy Kuriboh, to the fame swordsman. Whereas characters with evil intentions have some down right scary cards like Bakura’s Dark Necrofear or Marik’s Helpoemer. It’s a nice touch.
Characters: 8/10 Overall they are a very enjoyable cast that you want to see win!
Story: 8/10 I’ve had varying degrees of feelings behind the Yu-Gi-Oh story arcs, I mean I always thought Pegasus was kind of weak but I did really love Battle City and Millenium World a lot.
Art: 9/1o I love the art in Yu-Gi-Oh it’s an amazingly fun/ dark and creepy style that stands out against the art of other shonen.
Overall: 8/10 Yu-Gi-Oh is a fun ride. It always has been and always will be.