Yugi Mutou was a boy who was constantly bullied – until one day he managed to put together an ancient and mysterious puzzle that no one has been able to solve for two hundred years. Now, whenever Yugi's friends are threatened, a strange transformation occurs, and Yugi seems to become an entirely different person. This transformed Yugi is a master of games, and uses these spontaneously-invented games to trap and to punish the bad guys. At the end of each game, his opponent appears to suffer a painful death; but it is soon revealed that this was all in their minds – or was it?
Ahh yes, this is Yu-Gi-Oh! this is what Yu-Gi-Oh! was meant to be. This is the King of Games. Yu-Gi-Oh! the original Manga is everything the later Manga series isn't, dark, moody, character based, intriguing in it's own mythology and not all about Card Games. Story: The story basically follows Yugi's adventures as he tries to live a normal life, the first chapter is about him first completing the puzzle and, unbeknownst to him, gaining the power to get possessed by an ancient spirit who smites anyone who dares to harm him or his friends. It starts out very episodically, Yugi encounters a villain who does harm to him or his friends, Yugi gets angry and is possessed by the Spirit of the Millenium Puzzle, who then proceeds to challenge them to a Shadow Game, in which when the villain loses, they are subjected to a "Punishment Game", keep in mind, that they play several different games and not just the Card Game the later series focuses on, even though the Card Game does show up in only 2-4 chapters. The story is formulaic, but enjoyable, it kind of has the same thrill that One Piece has, you always look forward to when Yugi punishes the villains and dishes out their just-desserts. Overall really well done for the first 7 Volumes, and it adds up to 2 very intriguing Story Arcs, called the Death T Arc and The Monster World Arc. Even if it does leave you a bit unfulfilled at the end (the series is then conitinued into the Yu-Gi-Oh! Duelist Manga and trust me it's pretty lackluster, when compared to the first Manga series) you still won't regret reading it. 8/10 Art: The Art style, by Kazuki Takahashi is very traditional Manga-esque, but it has it's own breadth and feel to it. It as a very Tim Burton feel in it's style, even though the character designs look rathe off-putting to some i.e. Yugi's hair, the many monster and demon designs are fun and cool to look at and are very detailed and well thought out. 9/10 Characters: This is kinda the weakest point of the series for me, don't get me wrong, Yugi and Jounochi have great chemistry together and Kaiba is a ver thrilling, almost scary villain, but it's the supporting cast that's the problem, Anzu is just a typical Shounen love interest and Honda is just comic relief and also, Yami Bakura is less intresting in this series he's just 'the bad guy', although Ryou Bakura is a lot more interesting in this series. 6/10 Overall: Some great Art Work, mixed with an intriguing plot and has an interesting mythology to it, only let down by some lackluster characters. 8/10
On the surface, the premise sounds really cool. It's a story about a gamer, Yugi Motou, who plays a variety of games with stakes higher than just winning or losing (using the magical powers of the Other Yugi who has gained residence within him). The problem is that the way that Yugi wins the games is rarely exciting, because it's almost always based on his opponent's incompetence or just plain old luck or spirituality overriding the game rules. Especially in the early chapters, it has more the feel of Yugi conning his opponents than playing a game. And throughout the series, cheating feels more prevalent than playing by the rules. Initially, the world was set up so that when the Other Yugi started a shadow game, it would invoke spirituality and illusions and stuff into the game and bring game pieces to life. But then this line started getting blurred when we see the digital pets presumably being alive (even without a shadow game) and the grandpa's cards pulsing in Yugi's hands. So now the entire purpose of the shadow games is undermined by the implication that all games inherently have spiritual aspects to them. My favorite storylines are the dragon cards, the card bomber, and some parts of Shadi's story. My least favorite storyline is easily the Death-T arc. It's filled with lazy writing and multiple plotholes. For example, why are there exactly four hand guillotine holes prepared when Seto Kaiba didn't know there would be four people competing? And why is Seto displaying his immoral behavior to huge crowds of people, and why don't the crowds notice the hostages being held at gunpoint? It's also annoying how they have Seto aim to break the fragile bonds of Yugi's friendship just so they can have friendship win the day in the end (and it's stupid that Exodia is meant to be a representation of their bonds). They also had Shadi do this same type of thing, and that was one thing that frustrated me about his storyline. Because neither Seto nor Shadi should actually have any reasons to care in the slightest about Yugi's relationships or their strength or potential lack thereof. And this constant friendship drama found throughout the manga can be pretty...corny...to put it mildly. Everyone has giant, pudgy hands. Yugi's hair looks like spiders are crawling out of his head. The villains of each chapter are easily identifiable from their evil grins and shadowed eyes. As can be seen from my score, I didn't care for the art all that much.
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