Yu-Gi-Oh: Duel Monsters

Title:Yu-Gi-Oh: Duel Monsters
Keywords: , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Music - MITSUMUNE Shinkichi
Yu-Gi-Oh is the story of Yugi, a young duelist in the incredible game, Duel Monsters. Yugi has the Millenium Puzzle, a mystical artifact that helps him win duels. One day Seto Kaiba, in search of the Legendary Blue Eyes White Dragon, meets Yugi and everything changes. Kaiba is the Duel Monsters Champion and after defeating Yugi's grandpa in a duel and shredding his Blue Eyes, Yugi challenges him. They duel and after Kaiba brings out all three of his Blue Eyes White Dragons, it is pretty aparent Yugi is no match for him. But somehow Yugi summons Exodia, the only unstoppable monster and defeats Kaiba. This draws the attention of Maxamillion Pegasus, The Creator of Duel Monsters, and owner of another Millenium Item, The Millenium Eye. He wants all of the 7 Millenium Items because of the legend of great power for the person who brings all seven items together. He is kind of the bad guy. To get Yugi's puzzle, he uses his item to steal Gramps's soul. He then makes Yugi come to Duelist Kingdom to see if he can win his tournament there and save his Grandpa. This is where his story really begins....

(TV show, 224 episodes, 2000-2004)

Based on the manga series from Kazuki Takahashi. See movie sequel, Yu-gi-oh!: The Dark Side of Dimensions.
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Watch 6 6 5 5 5 4 Ggultra2764 [series:516#1552]
(Watch-/ Avoid+)

Yu-gi-oh: Duel Monsters was one of the very first anime titles I got hooked on in high school and the trading card game that it promoted was also something that I was a casual player of during my time in college. Focused on teenager Yugi Moto possessing an Egyptian artifact called the Millennium Puzzle that lets an ancient spirit possess him to take on enemy threats in Duel Monsters games, I mainly was hooked on the series since it offered a more darker alternative to the more popular and light-hearted Pokemon franchise. Looking back on it now though, I have come to realize that Yu-gi-oh has many issues that plague it throughout its 224-episode run.

The most obvious issue that comes with the series is that it mostly exists as a promotion for said mentioned trading card game. Before I go into more depth with this issue, I should provide some quick history. Before the card game took off, the Yu-gi-oh manga source material created by Kazuki Takahashi was more focused on the ancient spirit of the Millennium Puzzle punishing evil characters encountered by Yugi and his friends with Penalty Games that inflicted ironic and often lethal punishments on the mentioned evil-doers. There is even a late-1990s anime adaptation of said series that Toei created covering these early parts of the manga. The card game end of the series came about in some episode arcs where Yugi and his friends got into the card game craze and crossed paths with diehard collector and game champion Seto Kaiba. This part of the series grew so popular that Konami started up their own version of the trading card game that continues to be popular to this day and said popularity led Konami to persuade Kazuki Takahashi to change up his title's story direction to focus more on the trading card game.

The influence of Duel Monsters' product promotional influence is rather obvious with the good majority of its title focus. In the same vain as Dragon Ball Z does for shounen battle anime, many of Yu-gi-oh's trademark card game duels often drag out for several episodes at a time and characters often get in the annoying habit of shouting out their moves, what the effects of their cards are, bragging that their strategies are flawless, and our heroic characters lucksacking (for non-card game players, lucksacking means luckily drawing the right card needed by chance) far too often when it appears they are down for the count. The mentioned lucksacking often involves the enemy duelist having some overpowered card or strategy that makes whatever our heroic characters are doing having them struggle to stay in the game until the hero conveniently draws just the card(s) they need to turn the tide of the duel.

Even with the card game promotion it does, the Yu-gi-oh anime also obviously does not properly follow the rules of the game that you would follow in real life. I will avoid getting into a long-winded rant about what rules are bent by the anime since it is not relevant for the sake of this review. But obviously, the anime will bend things with the rules of the actual game for the sake of plot convenience and advancement. A number of the overpowered cards from the anime when released in a physical format often have their effects altered or nerfed for the sake of gameplay balance in the real-life trading card game. Also, the rules used for playing the game in the anime are often quite different from the actual game and makes the following the anime not the most reliable means of learning to play the card game, especially with the rampant lucksacking and many of the character decks not being tournament caliber. Western players of the card game will obviously notice this with the Duelist Kingdom arc with gimmicks like land stat boosts and no tributes needed to summon higher-level monsters, while anything from Battle City arc and later is played more closely to the current card game rules albeit with lesser Life Points and some additional rules not found in the real-life game. However for those unaware, Duelist Kingdom arc follows an older version of the card game in Japan that is based on gimmicks following similar rules that the arc plays by.

Now let us move on to plot and characters. The gist of the plot involves the adventures of Yugi and his friends as they learn more of the origins of the seven Millennium Items, powerful Egyptian artifacts that possess various magical effects, and the ancient spirit that possesses Yugi's Millennium Puzzle. While the anime offers exploration of these story elements at points throughout the series, they are mostly overshadowed at points by the show's large focus on the card game duels and mostly feels like a backdrop to have a reason for the card games to exist at all. The characters do not get much fleshing out either as they mostly follow standard anime archetypes and exist either as cheerleaders supporting Yugi or other characters during their duels or as opponents built up to be threats until they are inevitably defeated by any major character in the series. Pretty much, plot and characters in this series are nothing but a hollow shell for this series to have its trading card game matches.

Many Western audiences will also be familiar with the infamous heavy editing done to the series by 4Kids. Obviously, many of the changes done to the series were done to make Yu-gi-oh appropriate and accessible to younger American audiences with character name changes, objectionable content such as violence and nudity being edited or removed, additional spoken lines of dialogue added that are not found in the original Japanese version, and removing any trace of Japanese dialogue found onscreen. Yet at the same time, these changes can make the series even more of a chore to watch through as they can be insulting to the intelligence of viewers. Mentions of the Shadow Realm are, in many instances, used for the series to get around cases where characters are in life-threatening situations or just got killed. Removing all traces of Japanese onscreen dialogue makes things ridiculous during the card game duels since the original version of the series had all the card text for the cards on them, while the 4Kids version only has the card graphics, stats, and level of each card played thus leaving some to wonder how characters could even know the effects of their own cards. But perhaps the most annoying addition to the series was its incessant habit of talking about friendship constantly throughout the series (the Japanese version also did this to a degree, but not as rampant) and made the character of Yugi's gal pal, Anzu (or Tea for viewers of the 4Kids version), a very hated character among many of the show's fanbase since she was the biggest offender of being so needlessly preachy with discussing friendship.

Overall, Yu-gi-oh: Duel Monsters pretty much has all the typical flaws you can find with an anime title being a source of product placement with its plot and characters being thinly veiled excuses to promote the trading card game that is a regular sight throughout the series. Unless you are a younger fan who also enjoys the trading card game, I wouldn't even recommend watching through the 224 episodes of this series as there is little memorable to get out of it beyond the game duels.

Last updated Friday, December 23 2016. Created Sunday, April 13 2008.
Buy 10 10 10 10 Violet D [series:516#1393]
I just watched the movie and it wasn't that bad. You know it is kind of like the book you read when you were a kid Green Eggs and Ham. Try it you will like them Sam I Am. Well I tried it and I did like it. At the grade school I work at there were the Yugi cards being passed around and I like to keep up with what is going on. Some of the kids were showing them or passing them around. But since I have watched it I know a little more about what is going on. Fantasy and mystery are what happen with Yugi and his friends who stick by him. I think this is a good one for young kids to watch and I also see some lessons that are thrown in there too. It is on cartoon network 7:30 AM every morning and yes I watch that too after Adult Swim is over.

Last updated Thursday, June 30 2005. Created Thursday, June 30 2005.
Watch 7 7 7 6 8 8 Tammi [series:516#1732]
Yu-Gi-Oh is proably one of the hardest animes to rate. The story is fairly good, but when we get bored of people throwing cards at each other? I thought some things throughout the whole series were pretty silly (i was questioning it quite a bit) for instance. How could you possibly send someone to the 'shadow realm' without getting sued? And why don't you ever see police anywhere?
Just some thoughts.
Other then that, the art was okay- the wacky hair yugi has just makes the series more enjoyable ^^;
The Egyptian themes made the series perk up after a while (i must admit, the beginning of the series wasnt too interesting) the egyptian god cards seemed more like a cheap way to beat your opponent, but the designs were really interesting.
the card/ creature designs were amazing. the animation was okay, but the card designs were awesome! quite fun to draw ^^
Just watch the series. by no means is it worth buying or renting. just flip on the tv and see if its on. if its not, tough. the series wasnt very good on my list (heck, its really low) but its still amusing to watch once in a while XD

Last updated Thursday, December 16 2004. Created Thursday, December 16 2004.
Buy 10 10 10 10 9 9 Anonymous #1495 [series:516#1495]
another awsome anime that is unfotunately screwed over the morons who dubbed this. what happened to stuff like rashid's rocket launcher and malik's knife? not to mention all the stuff they edited out..and the names have been totally messed up.the voice acting in dubb also has some terrible voice casting...jonuchi's voice been transformed into some mafia guy..it completely disgraces the REAL yu gi oh anime. its scary imagining what the show will be like when dubbers finally get ahold of the KC grand prix and ancient egypt saga..well im here to review the REAL yu gi oh. The art is just as good as the manga and as the seasons progresses, the animation becomes much better. Character designs are also well done...different but very well done..the music is also very good..(not the english soundtrack) those of you who saw yu gi oh on the dubb channels should try and give it a second chance but this time in Japanese.. The dialogue is sadly replaced in many cases and detracks from the true story and many things are taken out from the dubbed version that devastates the show itself..Although some sources only offer the show in Japanese, you may be able to find some with subs as well.. i highly recommend that those of you who have missed out on the original version, go and watch it

Last updated Monday, October 25 2004. Created Monday, October 25 2004.
Buy 10 10 10 10 10 10 Kaitou Sindbad [series:516#1542]
hehe, this series needs serious following to fully enjoy. The story is very complex and nice if you get the puns and all. the game is a little harder to follow but still entertaining. The overall storyline moves very slowly from school days to duelist kingdom to battle city, then to virtual world (Noah ish sooo cyute!), back into battle city, then to the doom saga with atlantis, and then to the KC Grand Prix which introduces Kaiba's childhood nemisis, and finally to Anciet Egypt. I'm obsessed with the story, so i would know ~_^

Last updated Friday, August 13 2004. Created Friday, August 13 2004.
Watch 10 10 10 10 10 Princess Atlantica [series:516#1469]
I AM SO INTO IT! And I'm saying this as a girl: the ONLY reason I catch it every day is because of the cute boy characters! *starry eyes* Anyway, I'm not really trippin over the whole dubed thing because I heard two of the greatest things: 1) They're releasing a Yu-gi-oh movie August 13th and 2) Websites say FUNimation is releasing the uncut Yu-gi-oh and Shaman King DVDs around this fall. These guys have SO made it my year!

Last updated Saturday, July 10 2004. Created Sunday, July 04 2004.
Buy 10 10 10 10 10 Curi [series:516#1429]
Okay, let's forget that this series even came out in English, just for the sake of this review, because I don't want to bitch about what a mess it's become. Here's what it is supposed to be:
Yu-Gi-Oh is creepy, which is what makes it so great. It's like if Pokemon suddenly became sexy and violent. The villians are super-cool, and there's quite a bit of blood at some points. And yes, most of the episodes revolve around the card game Duel Monsters (not to be confused with Duel Masters, a cheap, shameless ripoff).
You will have to suspend your belief that 1. Duel Monsters is important (if you don't already love it) and that 2. A card game can inflict emotional and physical damage on the participants. Okay, you'll have to suspend your disbelief on that last one even if you do love the game.
The anime closely follows the manga, except the manga is more violent and bloody. Time will tell if they edit the American manga or not, but it's probably a better option if you like Yu-Gi-Oh and you don't speak Japanese.

Last updated Saturday, June 12 2004. Created Saturday, June 12 2004.
Watch Stretch [series:516#628]
I think Yu-Gi-Oh is perfectly suited to the "watch" category. Whenever it happens to be on while I'm watching TV (actually more a case of "listening" to the TV while I concentrate on some other project), I watch it. Is it all a series of half-hour commercials for a card game? Well, kinda. But they do manage to keep the matches fairly interesting. What turns me off the game is that apparently everybody provides their own card deck, so whoever spends the most on cards is most likely to win--very convenient for the people who sell the card packs. The show's excuse is that in fact it's whoever is most pure at heart who will inevitably win. But the TV show has some interesting points. I thought basing it all on ancient Egyptian magic was unusual (though I haven't noticed many cards with Egyptian themes). There does seem to be some sort of long-term plot unravelling--it's too early to say how good it will be. Sometimes I'm surprised at how humorous episodes become--for example, Yugi and Joey find themselves in a four-player game against the "paradox brothers", two strange men who always rhyme with each other. Joey responds "allright brothers paradox/Yugi and I are gonna clean your clocks!" (I hear there is no subtitled version of this show available, and the scripts of the dubbed version has been completely rewritten). I just watched an episode in which I swear the ideas for the charachters on cards must be coming not from The Lord of the Rings, but rather from Roger Rabbit. Anyway, for now, I watch Yu-Gi-Oh when I stumble across it, and tape it when I remember, (to watch once, then tape over) and though I haven't expected much, neither have I been particularly disappointed. Here's hoping it continues to take itself less seriously!
My favorite line: "No card in my hand can defeat the deranged rabbit!"

Last updated Wednesday, April 28 2004. Created Tuesday, October 21 2003.
Buy 10 9 9 7 8 8 Anonymous #927 [series:516#927]
This, is one of my favorite animes.(not including dub)
The art is good, mostly the monsters and some of the characters, though some character deseigns can be a bit weird.(though prefferably I like how most characters are drawn, especcially seto kaiba, ><;)
Music, is fairly good. Though not the best, I prefferably like Shuffle.The disk, 'music to duel by' how do you say this, stinks? to me I dont like it so take that english dubbers >=P
The plot is good,though they tend to talk too much. Other than that it's pretty good and the duels dont take son long. Maybe 1-3 episodes, but it could be shorter.
oh yeah, dub sucks, though if you cant get japaense subtitled versoin. Just watch the dub, and make the changes in your head(wich is hard) ><, 4kids suck at dubbing, and most of the charaters voices are like, BAD kaibas is okay but jap. Version is better.
Now, for the rating i'd say young teens.For it contains, fight(non-graphhic) some psychopath cutting himself, licking his blood licking others blood, though mybe only twice.
little blood scenes that dont really matter, guns that are not used. Some monsters that dont have clothing o.0(or really little clothing that reveals too much)
minimal swearing, ugh. Alot of death situation ex.falling down to your doom on building,getting your legs cut off,and yeah.basiclly it.
SO Overall, I'd say this is a buy,(NO do not buy the english dub videos, waste of money)a good buy, if it's the japanese subtitled.so yeah, what are you waiting for? BUY IT!!!!

Last updated Tuesday, August 19 2003. Created Tuesday, August 19 2003.
Rent Lonely Lockheart [series:516#801]
The dub on TV killed a beatiful show. Other than their names staying pretty much the same, they tore a lot out of it. If you watch the original, it grows on you fast.
Even if you watch the dub, it still grows on you (makes you happy there is forms of it that are even better). The show is pretty different from you Pokemon and such. The manga is much more informative compared to things in the anime, and the art isn't exactly normal, but it's one thing that I love about the anime. I'd suggest renting a few episodes before buying anything to see if it grows on you.
The actual dueling scenes are rather done well (sometimes a little too much talking between characters, but that just clears things up I suppose.) Like Pokemon, there is probably a card that everyone can love. And unlike Pokemon, you can actually play the game yourself.(No big consequences for losing a duel unless you say so youself). Overall, it's a really good show inside and out.

Last updated Friday, June 27 2003. Created Friday, June 27 2003.
Unevaluated 10 10 10 7 5 5 Anonymous #728 [series:516#728]
The next big thing after Pokemon, or at least 4Kids thinks so, and as such can it really be called a dub? Or a hack?
Death, blood, violence, you know all the good stuff, is gone in the dub. A quote from last week's episode: "Oh no! Lumis will fall 50 feet into the shadow relam!", all the while he opens a parachute inside a building. WHAT. THE. HELL. Not that the oringinal version is the best anime ever, but one must wonder why the cards are so damn important. Wouldn't it have made MORE sense if the monsters CAME to life instead of a hologram? Given the Egyptian theme and all.
Also, you'd have thought that dub companies can make MORE money selling the uncut versions. Hey, it did with CardCaptor Sakura and Dragon Ball Z after FUNimation got it from Saban. Silly 4Cash, er 4Kids.

Last updated Tuesday, May 27 2003. Created Tuesday, May 27 2003.
Buy 8 7 7 6 9 8 Jynx [series:516#546]
I really liked this show. I thought it was imaginative, which I like. The whole idea was cool. Though I thought they really overdid the whole friendship relationship. Kinda mushy. Although the story was cool, and so where the characters for the most part.

Last updated Tuesday, February 18 2003. Created Tuesday, February 18 2003.
Rent 8 9 9 8 9 8 Ori [series:516#466]
Well here's the next big hit in America after the arrival of Pokemon, Digimon, and Dragon Ball. Actually I would not exactly compare Yugioh with those shows because this is quite different. Like Dragon Ball Z this show is based on a Shounen manga from Jump. Like Dragon Ball Z when this anime is dub for America the age of the audience the show is market for dropped.
Believe it or not, Yugioh is actually a bit violent in the original Japanese version due to the fact that the show is marketed for teen boys. There are guns, blood and swearing.
The dub totally mess up the anime... in many aspect, especially because the dub took away 20+ shows in the first 60 ep of the series. Also of course all those little scenes which suggested violence are cut or editted out... And nice deep speeches are replaced by boring friendship speeches.
But one thing I must admit the dub did pretty well was keeping most of the original names... so there's changes here and there but it's nothing like Digimon or Pokemon...
And I admit the Consequences of loosing a card duel in the show is quite rediculous and lame, but you can look at those duels as metaphors of things that matters in real life. This series is something you would either like or hate, the art is not really what I call normal, so some people might not like it, but I myself like it and learned to love it after a while.
Give the series sometime, if you a are new to Yugioh, this show really grows on you.

Last updated Friday, September 26 2003. Created Monday, December 30 2002.

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