Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters
Cover of the first DVD volume, featuring the protagonist Yugi Mutou and the Duelist Kingdom arc's antagonist, Maximillion Pegasus (Pegasus J. Crawford).
(Yūgiō Dyueru Monsutāzu)
|Genre||Action, Adventure, Fantasy|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Kunihisa Sugishima|
|Written by||Kazuki Takahashi|
Nihon Ad Systems
|Original run||April 18, 2000 – September 29, 2004|
Yu-Gi-Oh!, known in Japan as Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters (遊☆戯☆王デュエルモンスターズ Yūgiō Dyueru Monsutāzu?), is a Japanese anime series produced by Nihon Ad Systems and Studio Gallop, based on the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga series written by Kazuki Takahashi. It is the second anime adaptation of the manga following the 1998 TV anime series produced by Toei Animation, and begins from the Duelist Kingdom arc. Like the manga and the first anime series, this series revolves around a boy named Yugi Mutou who battles opponents in various games; in this version, the main game played is the Duel Monsters card game.
The series originally aired in Japan on TV Tokyo from April 2000 to September 2004, running for 224 episodes. A remastered version highlighting certain duels began airing in Japan in February 2015. An English-language adaptation of the series by 4Kids Entertainment aired in North America from September 2001 to June 2006 on Kids' WB, and was also released in other countries. Based on the success of the series, 4Kids also commissioned an animated film, Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light, and a mini-series, Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monsters. The series has spawned four main spin-off anime series: Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V.
The story follows Yugi Muto, a boy who completed an ancient Egyptian artifact known as the Millennium Puzzle, which led to him to inherit a spirit known only as Pharaoh. After defeating his rival, Seto Kaiba, in a game of Duel Monsters, Yugi is approached by Maximillion Pegasus, the creator of Duel Monsters, who uses the power of another Millennium Item, the Millennium Eye, to kidnap the soul of Yugi's grandfather. Joined by his friends Joey Wheeler, Tristan Taylor, and Téa Gardner, Yugi enters Pegasus' Duelist Kingdom tournament, battling against many opponents in order to defeat Pegasus and free his grandfather's soul. After the tournament, Yugi battles Duke Devlin in Duke's new game, Dungeon Dice Monsters.
Yugi learns that the spirit dwelling within him is a nameless Pharaoh from Egyptian times, who doesn't remember his past. Yugi enters Kaiba's Battle City tournament in order to obtain the three Egyptian God cards needed to unveil the Pharaoh's past. Along the way, Yugi encounters even stronger opponents and more Millenium Items, including Marik Ishtar, the wielder of the Millenium Rod.
Yugi and his friends get sucked into a virtual world run by Noah, the legitimate son of Kaiba's adoptive father, Gozaburo. After defeating Noah and the corrupt former KaibaCorp executives known as the Big Five, their minds are returned to the real world, and the finals of the Battle City tournament commence. Yugi defeats Kaiba and Marik to gain all three Egyptian God cards.
The order of Orichalcos drains the power from the Egyptian God cards and begins gathering souls in order to revive the ancient dragon, Leviathan. Yugi, Joey and Kaiba are each given a legendary dragon card to fight the Orichalcos. Pharaoh faces Dartz, the leader of the order of Orichalcos, to release all of the stolen souls, including those of Yugi and Joey.
Yugi and his friends battle in the Kaiba Grand Championship. Yugi wins the championship, and they all finally return home. Meanwhile, Ryo Bakura, the owner of the Millennium Ring, is overcome by the dark spirit within the Ring, which possesses his body and begins collecting the Millenium Items. Yugi and his friends go to Egypt, where Yugi presents the Egyptian God cards in front of a stone tablet related to the Millenium Items and finds himself sucked 5,000 years into the past, to the time when the Pharaoh lived. Pharaoh and the dark spirit of Bakura battle, and the Pharaoh discovers more about his life in Egypt. Finally, Yugi and Pharaoh together discover the Pharaoh's true name, Atem, and summon the three Egyptian Gods to defeat Bakura's evil, returning them to the present day. With all the Millenium Items gathered, Yugi and Atem duel. Yugi defeats the spirit so that Atem can return to the afterlife.
Differences from the manga and original anime series
Starting from the point in the manga where the first anime series left off, Duel Monsters at first appears to serve as a continuation of the earlier series, but there are differences between the two adaptations that cause them to overlap. In particular, the Death-T fight between Yugi and Seto Kaiba and the entire Monster World RPG arc from the original series are both redone as single games of Duel Monsters. Miho Nosaka, a main character in the original anime series and a character from a one-shot in the manga, does not appear in Duel Monsters. While the first series introduces the characters individually, including the stories of how they met and of Yugi obtaining and solving the Millenium Puzzle, Duel Monsters begins with the characters already together. It skips the first fifty-nine chapters (seven volumes) of the manga, and several scenes and plot points from chronologically earlier events in the manga are redone.
Another notable change is that unlike the manga, the Duel Monsters anime, as the title suggests, focuses almost exclusively on the Duel Monsters card game. Many Duel Monsters scenes that were not in the original manga itself are added, often changing parts of the plot to fit around added duels. The Duelist Kingdom, Dungeon Dice Monsters, and the Millennium World arcs of the anime feature heavy differences from their manga counterparts, often to the point where the plots are completely distinct between the two mediums. Certain aspects of the plot that were considered disturbing in the manga were also toned down for television.
Because of the difference in speed between the manga and anime releases, three filler story arcs that are not found in later volumes were added to Duel Monsters: the Virtual World arc, Waking the Dragons, and the Kaiba Grand Championship.
There are two English adaptations of the Duel Monsters anime. A United States adaptation by 4Kids Entertainment aired in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, and a Southeast Asia version by Odex aired in Singapore and the Philippines. Both versions have edits from the original Japanese animation, most of which are content edits.
United States version
In the 4Kids Entertainment adaption, names such as Hiroto Honda, Katsuya Jonouchi, and Anzu Mazaki were Americanized into Tristan Taylor, Joey Wheeler, and Téa Gardner respectively. Though the series originally takes place in Japan, the setting was changed to the United States. All the characters' origins are American as well, rather than Japanese. The Japanese sound effects were replaced with familiar and newly created American effects, and the background music was changed from the slightly more upbeat Japanese soundtrack to melodramatic synth music. The opening and ending themes were changed from J-Rock and J-Pop songs from various artists to an instrumental song done with a synthesizer.
The appearance of the cards was changed to a new design only featuring the card art, attribute, level, and stats (ATK/DEF) rather than showing the real-life product. In an interview with Anime News Network, 4Kids Entertainment's Senior Vice President of Digital Media Mark Kirk claimed that the reason for editing the appearance of the cards was because U.S. TV broadcast laws dictated that the cards were not allowed to look exactly like the real cards that are sold; otherwise, the show would legally be considered a commercial rather than a cartoon, and the cost to air it would be exponentially higher. Because this law does not apply to motion pictures, though, the Pyramid of Light movie retains the identical real-world appearance of the cards.
Most of the dialogue and several elements of the plot were changed for offensive content, time constraints, and marketing reasons. Visual edits include removing blood and reducing the amount of violence, changing some monster designs due to occult or sexual themes, and rearranging scenes to make previous content edits make more sense. Because of these edits, several continuity errors occur in the English version. A separate "uncut" DVD release was commissioned between 4Kids Entertainment and Funimation, featuring a new adaptation that is more consistent with the original. It uses the original music and sound effects, has no edits, and follows a script closer to the original. Each uncut DVD contained 3 episodes available both in an uncut English dub and the original Japanese format with English subtitles, and 3 DVDs were released, for a total of 9 uncut episodes. A fourth DVD containing episodes 10-12 was finished, but after a series of constant delays the DVD was listed as unavailable, with sites stating that it was not known if or when it would be available again. 4Kids later said in an interview that the uncut DVDs were 'competing' with the edited ones, so they decided to 'indefinitely delay' the uncut DVDs to promote sales of the fully edited episodes. As of the release of the final edited DVDs, the project was never restarted, and the current status of the uncut project is unknown. Lance Heiskell, a FUNimation representative, noted legal rights as the reason for cancellation.
The 4Kids dub has been marketed across several English speaking countries, and the movie and special Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monsters were made for the American market.
In March 2009, 4Kids started adding episodes to their official YouTube channel. These included both the English episodes and the original Japanese episodes with English subtitles. Viewing was initially restricted to the United States, but in April it became viewable everywhere except Asia. The subtitled episodes became available in April 2009, although some episode titles were given as the English version rather than the Japanese one in translation, and the characters are still referred to by Americanized names in the subtitles, for legal reasons.
In July 2009, 4Kids stated that they would be uploading the entire first season subtitled, and added that they planned to release the entire series subtitled on their YouTube channel in the near future. However, an announcement in August 2009 stated that all the Japanese episodes were to be removed due to legal issues with ADK (one of the primary producers of the anime) and Shunsuke Kazama, the original Japanese voice of Yugi. The English dub is still available, and 4Kids still plans to release subtitled versions of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX and Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's along with their English counterparts.
4Kids, under the name 4KMedia, began uploading episodes of the original Japanese format with English subtitles on Crunchyroll on July 11, 2015, starting from season 1, closely following an announcement that the site would be streaming subtitled episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX on August 1.
Southeast Asia version
As with the 4Kids adaption, names of characters were Americanized. However, the series setting remains in Japan, as it is in the original. The original background music, opening music and ending music are kept intact as well. There is also mild profanity, which was edited out of the 4Kids version.
Card game mechanics
Duel Monsters is heavily centered around the card game, with plot details revealed between game turns. However, there are several differences between the rules as presented in the series and the rules of the real-world Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game.
The real-world rules essentially correspond to the "new rules for experts" set out by Kaiba at the start of the Battle City story arc. Prior to this point in the anime, a simplified version of the rules, reflecting that of the manga, is utilized, where monsters are summoned without tributes, a player's life points can't be attacked directly, only one monster could attack per turn, and certain types of monsters are stronger or weaker against other monsters of a logical type. These earlier rules are depicted with considerable artistic liberty. For example, monsters can be "partially destroyed", or played as magic cards.
At times, duels feature unusual events which can only occur because the field and monsters are represented by holograms, allowing for exciting or dynamic visuals that accompany events which could never be realistically employed in the real-life card game. A prime example of this is Yugi's two-part duel against Panik in the Duelist Kingdom arc, in which, among other things, the light from the manifestation of the Swords of Revealing Light dispels the darkness obscuring Panik's monsters, and the flotation ring that is part of the Castle of Dark Illusions is destroyed, causing it to fall on and destroy Panik's monsters.
Throughout the series, other inconsistencies appear, some more drastic than others. Some cards are in classified differently in Duel Monsters than the real-world game; for example, Flame Swordsman is a normal monster in the series, but is a fusion monster in the real-world game, and Spellbinding Circle was notably entirely redone as a "trap with spell card properties", complete with a different function. Duelists are shown normal-summoning their monster cards in face-up defense position, while this is only possible in the real-world card game when permitted by the effects of certain spell or trap cards. Additionally, duelists often place their cards face-down in the graveyard, as opposed to face-up. In the Battle City story arc, the "advanced rules" also prevent Fusion monsters from immediately attacking when summoned, while there is no such provision in the real game. To avoid this rule in the anime, the spell card Quick-Attack was created. From the Waking the Dragons story arc onwards, no such provision exists, and the only difference from the real-world game rules is the starting amount of life points, which is reduced for brevity. Sometimes during a single duel a rule will seemingly be changed or ignored, usually for plot, dramatic, or in a few cases comedic effect. The same rules are continued into and updated for the follow-up series, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V.
Several cards were created exclusively for the anime, including unique cards that are tied to story elements, such as the Legendary Dragons of the Waking the Dragons arc, and others created specifically for a single duel. Also, certain cards like Dark Magician and Blue-Eyes White Dragon are not nearly as rare in reality as they are in the anime.
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- TV Tokyo Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters site (Japanese)
- NASinc. Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters site (Japanese)
- Nicktoons US website
- Nickelodeon UK Yu-Gi-Oh! webpage