Yu-Gi-Oh! (1998 TV series)

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Genre Action, adventure, fantasy, supernatural
Anime television series
Directed by Hiroyuki Kakudou
Written by Joel R. Lonsinski
Music by BMF
Studio Toei Animation
Network TV Asahi (1998)
Original run April 4, 1998October 10, 1998
Episodes 27 (List of episodes)
Anime film
Directed by Junji Shimizu
Written by Yasuko Kobayashi
Music by BMF
Studio Toei Animation
Released March 6, 1999
Runtime 30 minutes
Anime and Manga portal

Yu-Gi-Oh! (遊☆戯☆王 Yū-Gi-Ō!?, lit. "King of games") is a Japanese anime television series produced by Toei Animation based on chapters 1–59 (Volumes #1–7) of the manga of the same name written by Kazuki Takahashi. The series aired on TV Asahi between April 4, 1998, and October 10, 1998,[1] replacing the timeslot for Ninja Penguin Manmaru. An animated film based on the series was released in Japanese theatres on March 6, 1999. The opening theme is "A Cry of Thirst" (渇いた叫び Kawaita Sakebi?) by Field of View whilst the ending theme is "Even If You Break Tomorrow" (明日もし君が壊れても Ashita Moshi Kimi ga Kowaretemo?) by Wands. The series was followed by a different adaptation produced by Nihon Ad Systems and Studio Gallop, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters, which began airing in 2000 in Japan. Many people outside of Japan have referred to this series as "Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero."

The series has only been released on VHS in seven volumes, and had no further re-broadcasts on Japanese anime stations. Because of this, it's difficult to find this series outside of the internet without finding bootlegs.


Loosely adapting the first seven volumes of the manga series, while also introducing some original storylines, the story follows a boy named Yugi Mutou, who is timid and often bullied. One day, he manages to solve a mysterious item known as the Millennium Puzzle, said to grant a wish to whomever solves it. Upon completing the puzzle, however, Yugi is possessed by a spirit residing in the puzzle. From that day forth, whenever someone with a dark heart threatens Yugi's friends, the spirit appears and challenges these people to Shadow Games, games of incredible risk that reveal a person's true nature.

Differences with the manga[edit]

  • Certain plot elements and characters are redone/removed/toned down because they were considered disturbing, such as the Chopman or the fatality of the Penalty Games; his punishments being turned into illusions for the most part. The Four Heavenly Game Masters appear as part of filler and replace most of the original aspects of the Death-T story arc.
  • Many character designs are different from manga and the Duel Monsters anime. For example, the female school uniforms are orange, and Seto Kaiba's hair is green instead of brown.
  • In addition to the manga's original cast, Miho Nosaka is added to the mix. She was originally a one-shot character appearing in a chapter that depicts Honda first forming a friendship with Yugi, being a one-shot crush. With her becoming a main fixture, Honda's story and personality were greatly altered for the anime, becoming a beautification member instead of Jonouchi's fellow delinquent and his obsession with Miho is played for comedy.
  • The Magic & Wizards card game is first renamed Duel Monsters in this anime and appears more frequently than it does in the original story, along with Seto Kaiba.
  • Out of seven volumes, less than a quarter of them were adapted and placed out of order, with many of the episodes being original stories. Furthermore, plot elements not introduced until the Duelist Kingdom arc of the manga are incorporated, such as the "field power bonus" and Jonouchi's sister, Shizuka, who appears as a sickly patient.
  • Despite appearing in the opening, the Dark Magician doesn't appear in Toei's anime outside of the movie, even though it appeared during the Death-T arc in the manga.

Main characters[edit]

Yugi Muto / Yugi Mutou (武藤 遊戯 Mutō Yūgi?) /
Voiced by: Megumi Ogata
The series' main character, a timid boy who likes to play games. One day, he solves the Millennium Puzzle and inhabits the spirit residing it. Whenever someone cruelly mistreats his friends, this 'Other Yugi' takes over and challenges them to a Shadow Game, life threatening games that reveal a person's true nature. For those who fail his Shadow Games, Dark Yugi punishes them with a Penalty Game.
Joey Wheeler / Katsuya Jonouchi (城之内 克也 Jōnouchi Katsuya?)
Voiced by: Toshiyuki Morikawa
Yugi's friend. He used to pick on Yugi for always playing games by himself, but after Yugi risks himself to protect him from a bigger bully, Jounochi befriends him.
Tristan Taylor / Hiroto Honda (本田 廣戸 Honda Hiroto?)
Voiced by: Ryotaro Okiayu
Yugi and Jonouchi's friend who is head of the beautician department (or simply the janitor.) He has a crush on Miho Nosaka, but can never seem to win her heart.
Téa Gardner / Anzu Mazaki (真崎 杏子 Mazaki Anzu?)
Voiced by: Yumi Kakazu
Another one of Yugi's friends and Miho's best friend. After being first saved by Dark Yugi, she becomes interested in this side of Yugi and will occasionally put herself in danger in order to bring him out.
Miho Nosaka (野坂 ミホ Nosaka Miho?)
Voiced by: Yukana Nogami
A one-shot character in the manga, she is more featured in this series. Miho is Anzu's best friend. Although Honda is in love with her, she herself seems to get a crush on Bakura. She is very kind and caring and will always stand up for her friends.
Seto Kaiba (海馬 瀬人 Kaiba Seto?)
Voiced by: Hikaru Midorikawa
President of Kaiba Corporation and the producer of games. After first facing Yugi in a Shadow Game of Duel Monsters, in which he brought the game's monsters to life, Kaiba becomes inspired to build a holographic system to replicate that feeling. He constructs the deadly theme park, Death-T, to test Yugi and his friends. Unlike other media in which he is depicted, Seto is shown with green coloured hair in this adaptation.
Shadi (シャーディー Shādī?)
Voiced by: Kaneto Shiozawa
An Egyptian man who possesses the Millennium Key, used to see into people's minds, and the Millennium Scales, which weighs a person's sins. When he becomes aware of Yugi's possession of the Millennium Puzzle, Shadi puts Yugi's other self through a series of tests to see if he is worthy.
Mokuba Kaiba (海馬 モクバ Kaiba Mokuba?)
Voiced by: Katsue Miwa
Seto's younger brother who is an expert at Capsule Monsters Chess (though will often rig games in his favor).
Ryo Bakura (獏良 了 Bakura Ryō?)
Voiced by: Tsutomu Kashiwakura
A transfer student with an interest in role playing games. He wears the Millennium Ring, which possesses a spirit who has the power to trap people's souls into Bakura's games.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "番組表." TV Asahi. May 23, 1998. Retrieved on June 1, 2009.

External links[edit]