Ever since Yugi Mutou completed the Millennium Puzzle his life has changed; he's made friends, learned how to play the card game Duel Monsters and has gained more confidence in himself. After his grandfather is beaten in a duel he is challenged by Seto Kaiba, ranked number two in the world, but Yugi beats him regardless. Now, as a result of his victory, Yugi has attracted the attention of the game's creator, Pegasus. Yugi is then challenged to a dual in an alternate reality where magic brings the monsters to life, but is beaten and his grandfather's soul is taken. In order to retrieve it Yugi must now participate in a tournament against the best duelists in the world, defeat the game's creator, and learn more about the secrets within his Millennium Puzzle!
Although it is by no means the greatest anime ever, I have to pay homage to Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters as the anime that got me into anime. It's up there with Sailor Moon, although it came slightly later. I can remember watching badly dubbed episodes of Sailor Moon as a very small child, which eventually drew me back to anime as a teenager, but it was Yu-Gi-Oh! that was on pretty much constantly between the ages of 6 and 12, by which time I had turned off the kiddie channels it played on. I watched them all as a kid; Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Avatar: The Last Airbender (though technically not anime), Sailor Moon. If it was on Cartoon Network, Boomerang or Jetix, I watched it. And the score was boosted by two just for Yugi's hair. The reason I have rated Yu-Gi-Oh! so highly is because I can't not like it. Although it is extremely generic, every single episode is pretty lame, and it's a show about a children's trading card game with added evil spirits from Ancient Egypt, I found the plot compelling at the time. I was never a trading card fan and I never owned my own deck, but I loved the anime passionately. I must have watched the series at least five times over. The tales of friendship and loyalty stuck with me to this day, and although it is incredibly cheesy to admit, I still watch it sometimes. I even tried watching Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal recently, but I can't bare the raping of the franchise any more. Of course, half the 'modern' allure to Yu-Gi-Oh! is from LittleKuriboh's fantastic Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged, possibly my favourite thing to grace the internet since it's creation. If you haven't seen it, go watch it now. Of course, it was great to realise that I wasn't the only person over the age of eight who likes Yu-Gi-Oh!
I consider Yu-Gi-Oh to be two different animes at times (perhaps and a Yami Anime and an Anime. Hehe.) Earlier in the story, very childish most of the time. They were playing a game, yay games. And Tea is far too chipper all the time in the first few episodes. But the story gets much darker and that is when it gets great. The darker the part of the anime the better it was. Maybe that is just me but the more Yugi was the Pharoh the more enjoyable the anime was. The antagonists get darker too as the story progresses. Well other than Von Forgot his name. He was kinda lame. Marik wanted the power of the Gods, Bakura wanted power greater than that and then in between those two power hungry dark souls, Kaiba's arch rival just wants to sell some games. I feel as though it could have been left out and the story would not have suffered much, if at all. Back on point, if you start this show I recommend you finish it, because the end is by far the best portion of the anime and the first season, maybe two seasons, do it almost no justice at all.
I'm writing this review for the entire Yu Gi Oh franchise because I'm too lazy to write all of them. So a bunch of kids are going around with cards with special powers instead of going to school. Oh joy! I wanted to make that comment first to describe the mood of the show. It's not supposed to be super logical, like pokemon. I mean, you're not really supposed to wonder if you're allowed to just leave your home at age 10 to wander around with stranger kids who are just like you trying to catch magical creatures. Same thing here; everybody plays this epic card game. apparently it is extremely important because of their bonds with the cards and their friends. Next characters. For each different Yu Gi Oh show, we are introduced to a differnt group of friends who like to play cards together. For now, Ill be focusing mainly on the Duel Monsters, GX, and the 5D series because those are the ones I've watched. For this type of show, don't expect the main character to loose very much. Sure, they may loose one or two major battles throughout the entire show, but usually, it's almost certain that our hero will make a comeback at the last minute every time. For this show, instead of being caught up with who is going to loose, you just enjoy watching the main character win. The story as I have said, is mainly repetitive and predictable. Major themes are quite easy to understand, like friendship, trust, and hope. Well, for each show in the franchise the theme and story may vary a little, with varius evil beings trying to either destroy or control the world. Out of them, the show with the lightest, least heavily dark plot is GX, since they are never serious in Duel Academia, and the theme is more about learning to have fun playing and good sport. Duel monsters on the other hand starts out silly but soon goes down very dark, even though the fact that we all know our Pharaoh will prevail, and centers it's theme more on the friendship between the duelers. 5D's dystopian world of card games is also more similar to the Duel Monsters's overall tone. Maybe darker, but I haven't finished that show yet, so Ill just end this review here.
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