Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters

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Yu-Gi-Oh! DVD vol 1.jpg
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)
GenreAdventure, fantasy, science fiction[1][2]
Anime television series
Directed byKunihisa Sugishima
Produced byHidetaka Ikuta
Naoki Sasada
Noriko Kobayashi
Written byJunki Takegami (eps 1–121)
Atsushi Maekawa (eps 122–144)
Shin Yoshida (eps 145–184, 199–224)
Akemi Omode (eps 185–198)
Music byShinkichi Mitsumune
Licensed by
Original networkTXN (TV Tokyo)
English network
Original run April 18, 2000 September 29, 2004
Episodes224 (List of episodes)
Anime television series
Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monsters
Directed byEric Stuart
Produced byKatia Milani
Lloyd Goldfine
Written byMichael Pecerlello
Norman J. Grossfeld
Music byGil Talmi
Studio4Kids Entertainment
Licensed by
4Kids Entertainment (2006–2012)
Konami Cross Media NY (2012–present)
Original network
Original run September 9, 2006 November 25, 2006
Episodes12 (List of episodes)
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and manga portal

Yu-Gi-Oh!, known in Japan as Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters (Japanese: 遊☆戯☆王デュエルモンスターズ, Hepburn: Yūgiō Dyueru Monsutāzu), is a Japanese anime series animated by 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 anime television series produced by Toei Animation. The series revolves around a young high school boy named Yugi Mutou who battles opponents in the Duel Monsters card game. The series begins from the end of volume 7 before adapting the remaining chapters of the original manga.

Yu-Gi-Oh! 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.[3] An English-language adaptation of the series by 4Kids Entertainment aired in the United States from September 15, 2001, to June 10, 2006, on Kids' WB.

The series has since spawned its own metaseries. Duel Monsters would be succeeded by Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal, Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V, Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Sevens. Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monsters, an American-produced miniseries, aired exclusively in the United States in 2006. Three animated films based on the series have also been produced: Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light, Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bonds Beyond Time and Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Dark Side of Dimensions.[4]


Season 1[edit]

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. 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 (Katsuya Jounouchi), Tristan Taylor (Hiroto Honda), and Téa Gardner (Anzu Mazaki), Yugi enters Pegasus' Duelist Kingdom tournament, battling against many opponents in order to defeat Pegasus and free his grandfather's soul.

Season 2[edit]

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 Millennium Items, including Marik Ishtar, the wielder of the Millennium Rod.

Season 3[edit]

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.

Season 4[edit]

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, Joey, Kaiba and Pegasus.

Season 5[edit]

Yugi and his friends battle in the KaibaCorp 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 Millennium Items. Yugi and his friends go to Egypt, where Yugi presents the Egyptian God cards in front of a stone tablet related to the Millennium 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 Millennium Items gathered, Yugi and Atem duel. Yugi defeats the spirit so that Atem can return to the afterlife.

Differences from manga and Toei anime series[edit]

Starting from the point in the manga where the Toei 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 tournament 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 one-shot character from the manga who became a main character in the Toei series does not appear in Duel Monsters, while Ryo Bakura, who is part of the main cast in the manga and often accompanied Yugi and his friends on their adventures, has a recurring role in this series, and is formally introduced in the middle of the Duelist Kingdom saga, despite joining the group an arc prior in the manga and at the end of the Toei series. While the Toei series introduces the characters individually (including how they met) and shows Yugi obtaining and solving the Millennium Puzzle, Duel Monsters begins with the characters already together. Also, prior development involving that of Yugi knowing Atem (Yami) is seemingly reset, now having the relationship develop anew as the Duelist Kingdom tournament progresses. It skips the first fifty-nine chapters (seven volumes) of the manga, although several scenes and plot points from chronologically earlier events in the manga are reworked.

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:

  • Virtual World (24 episodes; first section of Season 3)
  • Waking the Dragons (40 episodes; Season 4)
  • Kaiba Grand Championship (14 episodes; first section of Season 5)


The English Yu-Gi-Oh! logo

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[edit]

In the 4Kids Entertainment adaptation, 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, some sounding like or similar to the Japanese sound effects, and the background music was changed from the slightly more upbeat Japanese soundtrack, composed by Shinkichi Mitsumune, to melodramatic synth and rock music. The opening and ending themes were changed from songs by various popular recording artists to an instrumental song done with a synthesizer. Along with that, the English version adds it own collection of lyrical songs during certain moments of the show.

There are none of the original Japanese musical score and original Japanese sound effects heard in the English dub. The sound effects which are believed by American viewers to be the sound effects from the original Japanese version are the North American English dub sound effects made by 4Kids sounding like the original Japanese sound effects.

The appearance of the cards was changed to a new design only featuring the card art, attribute, level, and stats 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.[5] However, two of the movies do contain the original card designs as they do not have to comply with these regulations.

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 (such as censoring guns), 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.

Despite the Americanization of the TV show, many elements of Japanese culture such as Japanese coins, books being read from right to left (even when their Japanese titles are removed), cars driving on the left and views of Japan are left out unedited and many monsters and cards that have English names in the original Japanese version are given Japanese names in the English dub.

Despite having their origins changed to Americans and changed from Japanese characters to American characters, many Japanese characters (American characters in the dub) keep their Japanese names in the English dub.

Some other character names in the English dub such as Isis Ishtar are the Nihon-shoki romanizations of their original Japanese names.

Some other character names are syllable changed such as Malik to Marik and some Japanese characters (American characters in the dub) are given different Japanese names in the English dub such as Kajiki Ryota to Mako Tsunami.

Vivian Wong keeps her Chinese origin and Chinese heritage in the English dub despite the Chinese writing and references to Chinese culture removed in the English dub.

A separate "uncut" DVD release was commissioned between 4Kids Entertainment and FUNimation Productions, featuring a new adaptation that is more consistent with the original. Each uncut DVD contained 3 episodes available both in an uncut, unedited English dub and the original Japanese format with English subtitles, and 3 DVDs were released, for a total of 9 uncut, uncensored and unedited episodes. A fourth DVD containing episodes 10-12 was finished, but after a series of constant delays the DVD was listed as unavailable.

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 July 2009, a 4Kids statement was released indicating that the entire first season would be released with subtitles, and that there were plans to release the entire series subtitled on the company 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 (NAS' parent company) and Shunsuke Kazama, the Japanese voice of Yugi.[6][7]

On July 11, 2015, subtitled episodes of the series were uploaded on Crunchyroll.[8][9] The news came over a week after an earlier announcement that streaming of subtitled episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX would begin on August 1, 2015.[10]

Voice cast[edit]

Character name (Japanese) Character name (English) Japanese voice cast English voice cast
Yugi Muto/Pharaoh Atem
Shunsuke Kazama Dan Green[11]
Katsuya Jounouchi Joey Wheeler Hiroki Takahashi (teen); Mariko Nagahama (child) Wayne Grayson[12]
Anzu Mazaki Téa Gardner Maki Saito Amy Birnbaum
Hiroto Honda Tristan Taylor Takayuki Kondo (Episodes 1-51); Hidehiro Kikuchi (Episode 52 onwards) Sam Riegel (Episodes 1-10); Greg Abbey (Uncut dub EPs 1-10; Episode 11 onwards)
Seto Kaiba
Kenjiro Tsuda (adult); Kiyomi Yazaki (child) Eric Stuart
Ryo Bakura Bakura Ryou Yo Inoue (Episodes 1-40); Rica Matsumoto (Episode 50 onwards) Ted Lewis
Sugoroku Muto Solomon Muto Tadashi Miyazawa Maddie Blaustein (Elderly, main series and Pyramid of Light); Wayne Grayson (Elderly, Bonds Beyond Time); Marc Diraison (adult)
Mokuba Kaiba
Junko Takeuchi Tara Sands (Seasons 1-4 and Pyramid of Light); Carrie Keranen (Season 5)
Pegasus J. Crawford Maximillion Pegasus Jiro Jay Takasugi Darren Dunstan
Mai Kujaku Mai Valentine Haruhi Terada Megan Hollingshead (Seasons 1-3); Bella Hudson (Seasons 4-5); Kathleen Delaney (uncut English dub)
Shizuka Kawai Serenity Wheeler Mika Sakenobe Lisa Ortiz
Dinosaur Ryuzaki Rex Raptor Kin Fujii (Seasons 1-2); Yuichi Nakamura (Seasons 3-5) Sam Riegel (Seasons 1-3); Sebastian Arcelus (Season 4); Anthony Salerno (Season 5)
Insector Haga Weevil Underwood Urara Takano Jimmy Zoppi
Ryota Kajiki Mako Tsunami Daisuke Namikawa (adult); Yuki Nakao (child) Andrew Rannells
"Bandit" Keith Steve Howard Bandit Keith Hajime Komada Ted Lewis
Nozomu Sasaki Wayne Grayson
Rebecca Hawkins
Kaori Tagami Kerry Williams
Arthur Hawkins
Saburo Kodaka Mike Pollock
Ryuji Otogi Duke Devlin Ryō Naitō Marc Thompson
Ishizu Ishtar
Sumi Shimamoto (adult); Sakura Nogawa (child) Karen Neill
Marik Ishtar
Tetsuya Iwanaga (adult); Akiko Kimura (child) Jonathan Todd Ross
Rishid Ishtar Odion Ishtar Konta (adult); Sakura Nogawa (child) Michael Alston Bailey (adult); Ted Lewis (child)
Noah Kaiba
Chisa Yokoyama Andrew Rannells
Gozaboro Kaiba
Tetsuo Komura David Wills (Seasons 3-4); Ted Lewis (Season 5)
Yu Emao Wayne Grayson
Saruwatari Kemo Masahiro Okazaki Eric Stuart
Isono Roland Masami Iwasaki Wayne Grayson (Episodes 128-148); David Wills (all other appearances)
Mr. Morita Coach Morty Eiji Takemoto

Card game mechanics[edit]

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 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, Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V, Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Sevens.

Several cards were created exclusively for the anime, including unique cards that are tied to story elements, such as the fairy tale themed cards and the Golden Castle of Stromberg of the Grand Championship 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.


  1. ^ Wolf, Ian. "Yu-Gi-Oh! Volume 1". Anime UK News. Archived from the original on February 3, 2019. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  2. ^ Ulstein, Stefan (August 13, 2004). "Yu-Gi-Oh!". Christianity Today. Archived from the original on February 3, 2019. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  3. ^ "2016 Yu-Gi-Oh! Film Teaser Recaps 20 Years of Manga, Anime". animenewsnetwork.com. Archived from the original on July 16, 2015. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  4. ^ "Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie Pyramid of Light". YuGiOh! World. Archived from the original on December 16, 2018. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  5. ^ Bertschy, Zac. "Kirk Up Your Ears". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on October 11, 2010. Retrieved September 27, 2010.
  6. ^ "Removal of Yu-Gi-Oh! Episodes was due to Nonrenewal of Japanese Voice Actor's Contract by ADK". Word Press. August 24, 2009. Archived from the original on January 4, 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
  7. ^ "Official Japanese Yu-Gi-Oh! Episodes Removed from YouTube, Never to Return Again". Word Press. August 21, 2009. Archived from the original on November 4, 2010. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
  8. ^ Luster, Joseph. "Crunchyroll Adds "Yu-Gi-Oh!" Season 1 with English Subtitles". Crunchyroll News. Archived from the original on August 21, 2015. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  9. ^ "Crunchyroll Adds English-Subtitled Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters Anime". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on July 29, 2016. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  10. ^ Guest Author. "Crunchyroll To Stream English Subtitled "Yu-Gi-Oh! GX"". Crunchyroll News. Archived from the original on August 12, 2015. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  11. ^ "I want to be a voice actor! A surprise interview with Dan Green". otakujournalist.com. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  12. ^ "Konami Digital Entertainment Brings Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series to Origins Game Fair". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on January 8, 2017. Retrieved December 8, 2016.

External links[edit]