It’s all about the super cool hair, THE voice, and of course, the heart of cards. Sounds familiar? Yes, we are talking about the one and only … YU-GI-OH!
With over 200 episodes, the Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters franchise unexpectedly spawned into a pop-culture hit that remarkably reached the Western audience — thanks to 4Kids Entertainment’s dub in 2001. Just like any other successful franchise, Yu-Gi-Oh!’s popularity then evolved into other areas including merchandise, video games, trading card games, films and spin-off series such as Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal and 5D.
For those who don’t know, Yu-Gi-Oh! is a gaming shonen series written and illustrated by Kazuki Takahashi. It tells the tale of a timid young boy, Yugi Muto, who loves all sorts of games. One day, he solves an ancient artefact called the ‘Millennium Puzzle’ where he awakens a mysterious spirit within him also known as ‘Yami Yugi’.
After losing to the notorious Maximillion Pegasus in a short battle via video, Yugi’s Grandfather’s soul gets trapped and Yugi is forced to enter the Duel Monsters tournament. Along with Yami and his friends, Yugi embarks on a dangerous journey where they constantly put their lives on the line. Battling strong opponents who possess Millennium Items and the dark power of the Shadow Realm, Yugi and his friends learn that they must work together, and believe in the heart of the cards in order to conquer evil.
Yu-Gi-Oh! is hands down nothing without Yami Yugi. From Yami’s androgynous look to his fierce hair to his voice (voiced none other than Dan Green himself), Yami is a distinctive shonen character who will no doubt cause fans to fangirl/fanboy. But if we put Yami aside, what makes Yu-Gi-Oh! interesting? After all, it is merely just a show about a card game involving bloodthirsty villains and vicious-looking monsters. So how on earth can it be good?
Yu-Gi-Oh! is one of those shows where you simply cannot judge the book by its cover. It may look like a basic series with a repetitive formula like Pokemon, but Yu-Gi-Oh! is so much more than you’d think.
As we delve further into the story, Yu-Gi-Oh! is unexpectedly dark and overridden with themes such as life, corruption, and death. Yugi and Yami’s relationship is also rather interesting as one cannot live without the other, and the fact that mangaka Takahashi has incorporated ancient Egypt as part of the story makes the series highly unique than your standard anime. And of course, we can’t forget about Yu-Gi-Oh!‘s awesome-looking monsters such as Obelisk, The Winged Dragon of Ra, Dark Magician, Blue Eyes Shining Dragon, and many more.
Although Yu-Gi-Oh! is not a series that you can easily marathon again, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters is definitely a must-watch on every young otaku’s anime-viewing list. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to d-d-d-d-DUEL!