|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2010)|
Cover of the first volume as published by Shueisha featuring Yugi Mutou
|Genre||Action, Adventure, Gambling, Fantasy, Supernatural|
|Written by||Kazuki Takahashi|
|Magazine||Weekly Shōnen Jump|
|Original run||September 30, 1996 – March 8, 2004|
|Written by||Katsuhiko Chiba|
|Illustrated by||Kazuki Takahashi|
|Imprint||Jump J Books|
|Published||September 3, 1999|
Yu-Gi-Oh! (遊☆戯☆王 Yū-Gi-Ō！ , lit. "Game King") is a Japanese manga series about gaming created by Kazuki Takahashi (Studio Dice), and the inspiration for the trading card game of the same title. It was serialized in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine between September 30, 1996 and March 8, 2004. The plot follows the story of a boy named Yugi Mutou, who solves the ancient Millennium Puzzle, and awakens a gambling alter-ego within his body that solves his conflicts using various games.
Two anime adaptations were produced; one by Toei Animation with the same name which was based on chapters 1-59 (volumes 1-7) and aired in 1998 and another produced by Nihon Ad Systems titled Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters which was based on chapters 60-343 (volumes 8-38) and aired between April 2000 and September 2004. The manga series has spawned a franchise that includes multiple spinoff manga and anime series, a trading card game and numerous video games. Most of the incarnations of the franchise involve the fictional trading card game originally called Magic & Wizards and now called Duel Monsters, where each player uses cards to "duel" each other in a mock battle of fantasy "monsters". The Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game is the real world counterpart to this fictional game on which it is loosely based.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Development
- 3 Media
- 3.1 Manga
- 3.2 Anime
- 3.3 Novel
- 3.4 Other books
- 3.5 Films
- 3.6 Spinoffs
- 3.7 Other Media
- 4 Reception
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Yu-Gi-Oh! tells the tale of Yugi Mutou, a timid young boy who loves all sorts of games, but is often bullied around. One day, he solves an ancient artifact known as the Millennium Puzzle (千年パズル Sennen Pazuru ), causing his body to play host to a mysterious spirit with the personality of a gambler. From that moment onwards, whenever Yugi or one of his friends is threatened by those with darkness in their hearts, this "Dark Yugi" shows himself and challenges them to dangerous Shadow Games (闇のゲーム Yami no Gēmu , lit. "Games of Darkness") which reveal the true nature of someone's heart, the losers of these contests often being subjected to a dark punishment called a Penalty Game (罰ゲーム Batsu Gēmu ). Whether it be cards, dice or role-playing board games, Dark Yugi is the king of them all and will take on all competition. As the series progresses, Yugi and his friends learn that this other Yugi inside of his puzzle is actually the spirit of a nameless Pharaoh from Egyptian times who had lost his memories. As Yugi and his companions attempt to help the Pharaoh regain his memories, they find themselves going through many trials as they wager their lives facing off against gamers that wield the mysterious Millennium Items (千年アイテム Sennen Aitemu ) and the dark power of the Shadow Games.
The plot of the English version of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga is split into several major arcs, which are the following.
Trial of the Mind
A mysterious man named Shadi arrives in Domino City to pass judgement on those who trespassed and pilfered from an Egyptian tomb, targeting the Domino City Museum. He meets Yugi and finds out that he has completed the Millennium Puzzle and has awakened a second personality within himself. Desiring to discover the Millennium Puzzle's true power, with the Millennium Scales and the Millennium Key, Shadi summons deadly Shadow Game trials that, if Dark Yugi can't successfully pass them, will kill his best friends.
One of the early villains that Dark Yugi faced, Seto Kaiba, comes back with a vengeance. The young president of Kaiba Corporation, who lost a Shadow Game of Magic & Wizards (changed to Duel Monsters in the English version of the manga) to Dark Yugi for stealing his grandfather's precious Blue-Eyes White Dragon card, suffered a Penalty Game in which he experienced a sensation similar to death, and suffered nightmares from it thereafter. Begrudged over the loss and humiliation, he decided to build a deranged theme park called Death-T, designed to enact revenge on Yugi by killing him with deadly games. Luring Yugi's grandfather, Sugoroku Mutou, into a virtual Duel Monsters game, he defeats the old game master with three Blue-Eyes White Dragons and tears up his precious card. When Kaiba tortures Sugoroku with an artificial Penalty Game and threatens his life, Yugi and his friends are forced to partake in Kaiba's deadly games in order to save him. However, Yugi also has to overcome the fear of his new-found "other self" and reveal his secret to his friends in order to survive.
Ryo Bakura, a fan of tabletop role-playing games, is a new transfer student at Domino City High, and quickly befriends Yugi Mutou and the rest of his friends. However, Bakura has a dark secret, he is also the owner of a Millennium Item, the Millennium Ring, and like Yugi, has another personality dwelling within him called Dark Bakura, who has been turning every game he plays into Shadow Games and putting Ryo's friends in a coma by putting their souls within miniature figures using Penalty Games; causing Ryo to constantly transfer schools and lose friends. Fearing for the safety of his new friends, he insists that they shouldn't play games together. Despite his plea, Yugi and his other pals come to Bakura's house to play his favorite Monster World game in order to cheer him up. Desiring to take Yugi's Millennium Puzzle, Dark Bakura turns this friendly tabletop RPG into a Shadow Game, trapping the souls of Yugi and his friends into their RPG miniatures. However, Dark Yugi takes over Yugi's body at the last second and the battle to free their new friend and their souls commence as they adventure into the Monster World campaign.
Following Seto Kaiba's defeat during the Death-T arc and Dark Yugi's Mind Crush Penalty Game, which puts him in a coma, Pegasus J. Crawford (changed to Maximillion J. Pegasus in the English version of the manga), the creator of the Duel Monsters card game and president of the gaming company I2, kidnaps Mokuba Kaiba and plans to usurp control of Kaiba Corporation. In order to do this, he must solidify his status as number one gamer among all the duelists in Japan and prove himself worthy by beating Yugi Mutou, the gamer who defeated Seto Kaiba, in an official Duel Monsters match. In order to do this, he organizes the Duelist Kingdom tournament and invites Yugi Mutou. The wielder of the Millennium Eye, Pegasus beats Dark Yugi on a technicality during a timed Shadow Game through a video tape, and takes his grandpa's soul as a Penalty Game, sealing it in inside the video tape, and forces Yugi to partake in his contest. Not long after, Jonouchi receives a video tape from his sister, Shizuka Kawai, informing him that she will soon go blind. Yugi, along with Jonouchi, Honda, Anzu, and Bakura must travel to Duelist Kingdom in order to free Yugi's grandfather and win the prize money to pay for Shizuka's eye operation.
A new game shop called the Black Clown opens across the street from Yugi's house, the Kame Game shop. Advertising a new game abbreviated "DDD" (changed to "DDM" in the English version of the manga), Yugi and his friends decide to try out the new game on their free time. But unbeknownst to Yugi, Jonouchi, Anzu, Honda, and Bakura, the owner of the new shop is Mr. Clown, who lost a Shadow Game called the Devil's Board Game to Sugoroku Mutou long ago, losing his youth and becoming disfigured as a Penalty Game in a competition for the Millennium Puzzle. Raising his son to be a master gamer in order to enact revenge by beating Sugoroku's grandson, new classmate Ryuji Otogi starts causing trouble for Yugi and his friends with his bar bet games as he plans to take revenge for his father using a game of his own creation, Dragons, Dice & Dungeons (changed to Dungeon Dice Monsters in the English version of the manga), in order to take the title of "Game King" as well as the Millennium Puzzle.
One day, Seto Kaiba meets Ishizu Ishtar, holder of the Millennium Tauk, at the Domino City Museum and learns that the game of Duel Monsters was based on a Shadow Game played long ago by an Egyptian Dynasty ruled over by a nameless Pharaoh who resembled his rival Yugi Mutou, and that an organization of thieves and bootleggers ("the Ghouls of the gaming underworld") robbed Ishizu of two of three God Cards that were made to be the strongest monsters in the game by Pegasus, based on the gods depicted on the stone tablet. In order to lure them out, Ishizu gives Kaiba the "God of Obelisk" and manipulates him into opening the Battle City tournament to lure them out. At the same time, Dark Yugi finally learns of his true origins, that he is the spirit of an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh trapped in the Millennium Puzzle for thousands of years, and that the key to regaining his lost memory is to fight in the Battle City tournament. However, the owner of the last Millennium Item, the Millennium Rod, is the leader of the Ghouls, and has a vendetta against the nameless king and plans to kill him.
After conquering Battle City, Dark Yugi has obtained all three God Cards and now requires all seven Millennium Items to unlock his lost memories. Dark Bakura once again feigns allegiance with Yugi and relinquishes the Millennium Eye which he took from Pegasus before his death, promising the Millennium Ring later. A mysterious man named Bobasa offers to act as a guide for Dark Yugi under orders from their old enemy Shadi, promising him Shadi's Millennium Key and Scales. When Dark Yugi and his friends arrive at the museum to present the God Cards in front of the Memory Tablet, Dark Yugi seems to disappear into the Memory World, where Yugi and his other friends (except Ryo Bakura, who is excluded because Bobasa had sensed an evil presence in his heart) decide to enter the Millennium Puzzle to find the true room to the Memory World using the Millennium Key, guided by Bobasa, in order to find the other Yugi. However, Dark Yugi was actually transported to the back of the Domino City Museum to play against Dark Bakura in the Shadow RPG, a tabletop role-playing reenactment of history powered by the Millennium Puzzle's memories, with his player character being his past self, the young Pharaoh aided by his six priests. In order to stop Dark Bakura from resurrecting the evil god Zorc and save the souls of his friends who are trapped in the game world, he must defeat Dark Bakura in the RPG. At the same time, Yugi and his friends must search for Dark Yugi's true name as NPCs in the Ancient Egyptian game world that resembles the past, ravaged by the vengeful Thief King.
Significance of Magic & Wizards/Duel Monsters
The early chapters of Yu-Gi-Oh! feature a variety of different games; but from volume 8 onwards, the most common game that appeared as a plot device was the Duel Monsters card game through the Duelist Kingdom and Battle City tournament arcs; receiving elevated plot relevance in the latter arc. Other games still appear during the Dungeon Dice Monsters and Millennium World portions of the manga and gaming in general is often referred to; the modern card game being a recent fad in Japan imported from the United States within the original story.
However, NAS/Studio Gallop's Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters anime promotes Duel Monsters as the story's main premise as well as in filler, shifting its universe to a more Duel Monsters-centric universe. Duel Monsters is played using a holographic image system created by Seto Kaiba (following his first Shadow Game match with Yugi). In the manga and Toei Animation's Yu-Gi-Oh! anime, these were initially performed on tables called Duel Boxes, using holographic tubes, while the second series anime uses huge holographic fields called Duel Rings. Starting with the Battle City arc (as well as the series that followed), duels are performed using portable Duel Disks, invented by Seto Kaiba using Solid Vision technology, which allows Shadow Game—esque games of Duel Monsters to happen anywhere.
In the initial planning stages of the manga, Takahashi had wanted to draw a horror manga. Although the end result was a manga about games, it was clear that some horror elements influenced certain aspects of the story. Takahashi decided to use "battle" as his primary theme. Since there had been so much "fighting" manga, he found it difficult to come up with something original. He decided to create a fighting manga where the main character doesn't hit anybody, but also struggled with that limitation. When the word "game" came to mind, he found it much easier to work with.
When an interviewer asked Takahashi if he tried to introduce younger readers to real life gaming culture referenced in the series, Takahashi responded by saying that he simply included "stuff he played and enjoyed", and that it may have introduced readers to role-playing games and other games. Takahashi added that he created some of the games seen in the series. The author stressed the importance of "communication between people," often present in tabletop role-playing games and not present in solitary video games. Takahashi added that he feels that quality communication is not possible over the Internet.
Takahashi had always been interested in games, claiming to have been obsessed as a kid and is still interested in them as an adult. In a game, he considered the player to become a hero. He decided to base the Yu-Gi-Oh! series around such games and used this idea as the premise; Yugi was a weak childish boy, who became a hero when he played games. With friendship being one of the major themes of Yu-Gi-Oh!, he based the names of the two major characters "Yūgi" and "Jōnouchi" on the word yūjō (友情), which means "friendship". Henshin, the ability to turn into something or someone else, is something Takahashi believed all children dreamed of. He considered Yugi's "henshin" Dark Yugi, a savvy, invincible games player, to be a big appeal to children.
Kazuki Takahashi said that the card game held the strongest influence in the manga, because it "happened to evoke the most response" from readers. Prior to that point, Takahashi did not plan for the card game to make more than two appearances.
Takahashi said that the "positive message" for readers of the series is that each person has a "strong hidden part" (like "human potential") within himself or herself, and when one finds hardship, the "hidden part" can emerge if one believes in him/herself and in his/her friends. Takahashi added that this is "a pretty consistent theme."
The editor of the English version, Jason Thompson, said that the licensing of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga had not been entirely coordinated, so Viz decided to use many of the original character names and to "keep it more or less violent and gory." Thomspon said that the manga "was almost unchanged from the Japanese original." Because the core fanbase of the series was, according to Thompson, "8-year-old boys (and a few incredible fangirls)," and because the series had little interest from "hardcore, Japanese-speaking fans, the kind who run scanlation sites and post on messageboards" as the series was perceived to be "too mainstream," the Viz editors allowed Thompson "a surprising amount of leeway with the translation." Thompson said he hoped that he did not "abuse" the leeway he was given. In a 2004 interview, the editors of the United States Shonen Jump mentioned that Americans were surprised when reading the stories in Volumes 1 through 7, as they had not appeared on television as a part of the second anime series. Takahashi added "The story is quite violent, isn't it? [laughs]"
The original Yu-Gi-Oh! manga by Kazuki Takahashi was serialized in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump from September 30, 1996 to March 8, 2004. Unlike the succeeding anime shows, it also features games unrelated to the Duel Monsters card game (known as Magic & Wizards in the Japanese manga). The plot starts out fairly episodic and the first seven volumes includes only three instances of Magic & Wizards. In the eighth volume, the Duelist Kingdom arc starts and instances of Magic & Wizards becomes fairly common, and after the Dungeon Dice Monsters arc, it reappears again and becomes part of an important plot point during the Battle City arc. The last arc of the manga focuses on a tabletop role-playing game that replicates the Pharaoh's lost memories, in which the battle system is based on an ancient Shadow Game played in his kingdom (stated in-series to be the precursor of Magic & Wizards and the indirect precursor to card games in general). The editors were Yoshihisa Heishi and Hisao Shimada. Kazuki Takahashi credits Toshimasa Takahashi in the "Special Thanks" column.
The English version of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga is released in the North America by Viz Media, running in Shonen Jump magazine between 2002 and December 2007. The original Japanese character names are kept for most of the characters (Yugi, Jonouchi, Anzu, and Honda, for instance), while the English names are used for a minor number of characters (e.g. Maximillion Pegasus) and for the Duel Monsters cards. The manga is published in its original right-to-left format and is largely unedited, although instances of censorship appear such as editing out the finger in later volumes. Viz released the first volume of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga up to the end of the Monster World arc under its original title. Starting from the last chapter of the seventh Japanese volume, the Duelist Kingdom, Dungeon Dice Monsters, and Battle City arcs are released under the title Yu-Gi-Oh!: Duelist, while the Memory World arc was released as Yu-Gi-Oh! Millennium World.
A spin-off manga titled Yu-Gi-Oh! R was illustrated by Akira Ito under Takahashi's supervision. The story is of disputed canonicity and takes place in the original manga's universe, between the Battle City and Millennium World arcs, where Yugi and his friends must stop a man named Yako Tenma who plans to use Anzu Mazaki's body to revive the deceased Maximillion Pegasus. It was serialized in V-Jump between June 2004 and January 2008 and was compiled into five tankōbon volumes. Viz Media released the series in North America between 2009 and 2010.
1998 TV series
The first Yu-Gi-Oh! anime adaptation was produced by Toei Animation and aired on TV Asahi between April 4, 1998 and October 10, 1998, running for 27 episodes. Often referred to by fans as "the first series" or "season zero", the series loosely adapts stories within the first seven volumes of the manga, focusing less on Duel Monsters, and is different in tone from NAS' adaptations. This adaptation was never released outside of Japan.
This series is heavily abridged from the manga, skipping many chapters, and often changes details of the manga stories it does adapt, featuring several key differences from the manga. It also adds a new regular character to the group, Miho Nosaka, who was originally a one-shot minor character in the manga. This adaptation is not related to any other works in the franchise aside from the first Yu-Gi-Oh! movie.
Duel Monsters (2000 TV series)
Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters (遊☆戯☆王 デュエルモンスターズ Yūgiō Dyueru Monsutāzu ), later released outside of Japan as simply Yu-Gi-Oh! is the second adaptation of the series produced by Nihon Ad Systems and Gallop. Loosely adapting the manga from volume eight onwards, the series features several differences from the manga and the Toei-produced series; largely focuses around the game of Duel Monsters, tying in with the real life Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game. The series aired in Japan on TV Tokyo between April 18, 2000 and September 29, 2004, running for 224 episodes.
In 2001, 4Kids Entertainment obtained the merchandising and television rights to the series from Konami, producing an English-language version which aired in North America on Kids' WB! between September 29, 2001 and June 10, 2006, also releasing in various countries outside of Japan. The adaptation received many changes from the Japanese version to tailor it for international audiences. These include different names for many characters and monsters, changes to the appearance of the cards to differentiate them from their real-life counterparts and various cuts and edits pertaining to violence, death and religious references to make the series suitable for children. An uncut version featuring the original Japanese version and an all-new English dub track began release in October 2004 in association with Funimation Entertainment, but only three volumes comprising the first nine episodes were ever released. 4Kids also began releasing the uncut Japanese episodes of the series to YouTube in May 2009, but were forced to stop due to legal issues with ADK and Yugi's Japanese voice actor, Shunsuke Kazama. A different English dubbed adaptation was produced by A.S.N. and aired in South East Asia.
On March 24, 2011, TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad Systems filed a joint lawsuit against 4Kids, accusing them of underpayments concerning the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchises and allegedly conspiring with Funimation, and have allegedly terminated their licensing deal with them. This led to 4Kids filing for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy code. Although 4Kids had managed to win the case in March 2012, 4Kids sold the rights to all Yu-Gi-Oh! assets to Konami's 4K Acquisition Group.
A novel adaptation revolves focuses on some of the beginning parts of the manga and the Death-T arc, written by Katsuhiko Chiba. It was published in Japan by Shueisha on September 3, 1999 and has four sections. The fourth section is an original story, occurring only in the novel. Two weeks after Yugi's battle with Kaiba in Death-T, Yugi gets a call from Kaiba, who tells him to meet for a game at the top floor of Kaiba Corporation. Yugi accepts, and when the game begins, they use a special variation of Magic & Wizards called the "Bingo Rule," which prevents the used of a specific card in each player's deck. Mokuba stumbles in on them, and tells Yugi that Kaiba has not yet awoken from his catatonic state. It turns out that the Kaiba that Yugi is playing against is a "Cyber Kaiba", controlled by the KaibaCorp computer, using all of Kaiba's memories.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Character Guidebook: The Gospel of Truth (遊☆戯☆王キャラクターズガイドブック―真理の福音― Yūgiō Kyarakutāzu Gaido Bukku Shinri no Fukuin ) is a guidebook written by Kazuki Takahashi related to characters from the original Yu-Gi-Oh! manga universe. It was published in Japan on November 1, 2002 by Shueisha under their Jump Comics imprint and in France on December 12, 2006 by Kana. The book contains profiles for characters, including information which has never been released elsewhere, including birth dates, height, weight, blood type, favorite and least favorite food. It also contains a plethora of compiled information from the story, including a list of names for the various games and Shadow Games that appear in Yu-Gi-Oh! and the various Penalty Games used by the Millennium Item wielders.
An art book titled, Duel Art (デュエルアート Dyueruāto ) was illustrated by Kazuki Takahashi under the Studio Dice label. The art book was released on December 16, 2011 and contains a number of illustrations done for the bunkoban releases of the manga, compilations of color illustrations found in the manga, and brand new art drawn for the book. It also contains pictures by Takahashi used for cards with the anniversary layout, pictures he has posted on his website and a number of other original illustrations.
The Theatrical & TV Anime Yu-Gi-Oh! Super Complete Book (劇場&TVアニメ『遊☆戯☆王』スーパー・コンプリートブック Gekijō & TV Anime Yūgiō Sūpā Konpurītobukku ) was released on May 1999 following the release of Toei's Yu-Gi-Oh! movie earlier that year. The book includes episode information and pictures regarding the first Yu-Gi-Oh! anime and movie, some pictures with the original manga with a section covering the making of certain monsters, and interviews regarding the first film. It also features an ani-manga version of the Yu-Gi-Oh! movie and is the only supplemental work released for Toei's version of the anime.
The Yu-Gi-Oh! 10th Anniversary Animation Book (遊☆戯☆王 テンス アニバーサリー アニメーション ブック Yūgiō! Tensu Anivāsarī Animēshon Bukku ) is a book released to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the NAS adaption of the anime (as opposed to the manga), released on January 21, 2010. The book features scenes from the crossover movie, Yu-Gi-Oh! 3D Bonds Beyond Time, a quick review of the three Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters series, character profiles, duels and interviews with the staff of the movie. A fold-out double-sided poster is included with the book.
Based on the Toei animated series, the thirty-minute movie revolves around a boy named Shōgo, who is targeted by Seto Kaiba after obtaining a powerful rare card; the legendary Red-Eyes Black Dragon. The movie was released on March 6, 1999 and, like the TV series, was not released outside of Japan.
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light, often referred to as simply Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie, was first released in North America on August 13, 2004. The movie was developed specifically for Western audiences by 4Kids based on the overwhelming success of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise in the United States. Warner Bros. distributed the film in most English-speaking countries. Its characters are from the second series Yu-Gi-Oh! anime. In the movie, which takes place following the Battle City arc, Yugi faces Anubis, the Egyptian God of the Dead. An extended uncut Japanese version of the movie premiered in special screenings in Japan on November 3, 2004 under the title Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters: Pyramid of Light. The movie was then aired on TV Tokyo on January 2, 2005. Attendees of the movie during its premiere (U.S. or Japan) got 1 of 4 free Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game cards. The cards were Pyramid of Light, Sorcerer of Dark Magic, Blue Eyes Shining Dragon and Watapon. The Home Video Release also gave out one of the Free Cards with an offer to get all 4 by mail (though the promotion ended in December 2004). In Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the United Kingdom, free promotional cards were also given out, however, they were given out at all screenings of the movie, and not just the premiere.
Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bonds Beyond Time
Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bonds Beyond Time, known in Japan as Yu-Gi-Oh! Movie: Super Fusion! Bonds that Transcend Time (劇場版 遊☆戯☆王 〜超融合！時空を越えた絆〜 Gekijō-ban Yūgiō ~Chō-Yūgō! Jikū o Koeta Kizuna~ ), is a 3-D film released on January 23, 2010 in Japan. The film was released in North America by 4Kids on February 26, 2011 with additional footage, where it also received an encore screening in Japan. The movie celebrates the 10th anniversary of the first NAS series (as opposed to the anniversary of the manga) and features an original storyline involving Yugi Muto, Jaden Yuki (Judai Yuki) from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX and Yusei Fudo from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, fighting against a new enemy named Paradox. It was first teased with short animations featured at the start of episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's during the third season. The film was released on Blu-ray Disc and DVD in July 2011, with the UK release by Manga Entertainment being the first bilingual release of the franchise since the Uncut Yu-Gi-Oh! DVDs.
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, known in Japan as Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters GX, is the first spin-off anime series produced by NAS which ran for 180 episodes from October 6, 2004 and March 26, 2008. Taking place a few years after the events of the 2000 anime series, the series follows a boy named Judai Yuki as he attends a Duel Academy in the hopes of becoming the next Duel King. Like the previous seasons, 4Kids Entertainment licensed the series outside of Japan and aired it in North America between October 10, 2005 and July 12, 2008, though the fourth season was not dubbed.
A manga adaptation by Naoyuki Kageyama was serialized in Shueisha's V-Jump magazine between December 2005 and March 2011. The manga differs from that of the anime, featuring new storylines and monsters, as well as some personality changes in some of the characters. The series is published in North America by Viz Media.
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's is the second main spin-off series also taking place in the 2000 universe, which aired for 148 episodes between April 2, 2008 and March 30, 2011. It was later licensed by 4Kids and aired in North America between September 13, 2008 and September 10, 2011. This series focuses around a motorcycling duelist named Yusei Fudo and introduces new concepts such as Turbo Duels, duels which take place upon motorbikes called Duel Runners, and Synchro Monsters, which were also added to the trading card game.
A manga adaptation by Masahiro Hikokubo and Satou Masashi began serialization in V-Jump from August 2009 and, like the GX manga, differs from the anime in storyline and characterization. The manga is also published in North America by Viz Media.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal is the third main spin-off series which aired in Japan between April 11, 2011 and September 24, 2012. The story revolves around a boy named Yuma Tsukumo who, joined by an interstellar being known as Astral, must gather the 99 Numbers cards that make up his memory. The series adds yet another monster type, Xyz Monsters, which were also added to the trading card game. 4Kids licensed the series and began airing the series in North America on The CW's Toonzai block from October 15, 2011. After a legal battle with TV Tokyo and NAS caused 4Kids to file for bankruptcy, Konami received the rights to the series. The series is currently airing on Saban's Vortexx block, with Konami setting up a new studio to produce future episodes of the series. A second series, Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal II, began airing in Japan from October 7, 2012.
The manga adaptation written by Shin Yoshida and illustrated by Naoto Miyashi, began serialization in the extended February 2011 issue of Shueisha's V Jump magazine, released on December 18, 2010. Unlike the GX and 5D's manga adaptations, this manga follows the storyline of the anime more closely.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monsters
Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monsters is a twelve-episode spin-off miniseries commissioned, produced and edited by 4Kids Entertainment, which aired in North America between September 9, 2006 and November 25, 2006. It is set before the end of the second Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series, apparently somewhere during season 5, and involves Yugi and his friends being pulled into a world filled with real Duel Monsters they can summon using capsules. It is similar to the Virtual RPG arc in many respects, but it does not seem to have anything to do with the early Capsule Monster Chess game featured in early volumes of the original manga. It is currently the only animated Yu-Gi-Oh! media not to be released in Japan, though it is referred to as Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters ALEX.
Trading card game
The Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game is a Japanese collectible card battle game developed and published by Konami. Based on the Duel Monsters concept from the original manga series, the game sees players using a combination of monsters, spells and traps to defeat their opponent. First launched in Japan in 1999, the game has received various changes over the years, such as the inclusion of new monster types to coincide with new anime series, and is currently the top selling trading card game in the world.
There are several video games based on the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise which are published by Konami, the majority of which are based on the trading card game, and some based on other games that appeared in the manga. Aside from various games released for consoles and handheld systems, arcade machines known as Duel Terminals have been released which are compatible with certain cards in the trading card game. Outside of Konami's titles, Yugi appears as a playable character in the crossover fighting games, Jump Super Stars and Jump Ultimate Stars, released exclusively in Japan for the Nintendo DS.
John Jakala of Anime News Network reviewed the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga in 2003 as part of reviewing the U.S. Shonen Jump. Jakala said that while the commercials for the second series anime made the anime appear "completely uninteresting," the comic "is unexpectedly dark and moody." Jakala added that at one moment the series "reminded me of Neil Gaiman's work: Yugi finds himself drawn into a magical world of ancient forces where there are definite rules that must be obeyed." Jakala concluded that the fact the series uses games as plot devices "opens up a lot of story possibilities" and that he feared that the series had the potential to "simply devolve into a tie-in for the popular card game." In December 2002, Shonen Jump received the ICv2 Award for "Comic Product of the Year" due to its unprecedented sales numbers and its successfully connecting comics to both the television medium and the Yu-Gi-Oh! collectible card game; one of the top CCG games of the year. In August 2008, TV Tokyo reported that card game series has sold over $18 billion worldwide.
Jason Thompson, the editor of the English manga, ranked Yu-Gi-Oh! as number three of his five personal favorite series to edit, stating that he thinks "the story is actually pretty solid for a shonen manga" and that "you can tell it was written by an older man because of the obsession with death, and what might come after death, which dominates the final story arc," enjoying all the RPG and card gaming terminology found within the series.
At the time when the manga series started to garner more popularity among Japanese children with the second series anime, video games, and trading card game, because of its somewhat "dark story lines, leggy girls, and terrifying monsters", the series wasn't popular among Japanese parents, who believed that Yu-Gi-Oh! was more meant for teenagers than the young kids that make up the audience for franchises such as Pokémon.
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- Yu-Gi-Oh! Dotcom (Japanese website) (遊☆戯☆王ドットコム Yūgiō Dottokomu)
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- Yu-Gi-Oh! (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia