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"HERO" monsters are often based on comic, cartoon, or movie style heroes.
The "HERO" archetype is the second largest archetype in the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, behind "Number".
This archetype was originally divided into "Elemental Hero", "Evil Hero" and "Destiny Hero", "Masked Hero" and "Vision Hero", but were later unified as the "HERO" archetype (with Problem-Solving Card Text renaming these archetypes "Elemental HERO", "Evil HERO" and "Destiny HERO", "Masked HERO" and "Vision HERO"). "HERO's Bond" is the only Spell Card that is part of the "HERO" archetype. "Contrast HERO Chaos" and the Illegal Match winner "E☆HERO Pit Boss" are the only "HERO" monsters not to be part of any of the five sub-groups by name alone, though the former is always treated as an "Elemental HERO" monster.
Prior to the Problem-Solving Card Text rename to distinguish between cards in this archetype and cards that simply include "Hero" in their name, cards that support this archetype in the OCG instead supported "Elemental Hero", "Destiny Hero" and "Evil Hero" as a group in the TCG ("Masked HERO" and "Vision HERO" had not been released in the TCG at that time). This was done in the old texts of "Elemental HERO Stratos", "Elemental HERO Ocean", "Elemental HERO Divine Neos", "Evil HERO Infernal Prodigy", "Elemental HERO Absolute Zero", and "HERO's Bond".
The Japanese cards use 「
The Korean cards use "히어로" to indicate "HERO". "Elemental HERO" and "Evil HERO" monsters are denoted by "엘리멘틀 히어로", and "Destiny HERO" monsters are denoted by "데스티니 히어로". However, "엘리멘틀" doesn't mean "Elemental", it is a transcription that is pronounced "Ellimenteul". Furthermore, the only card that shows "Evil HERO" translated into Korean properly is "Evil HERO Inferno Wing" and only in the Ultra Rare version of this card. So the proper translation of "Evil HERO" is "이블 히어로".
In English, originally text supporting them specified "Elemental Hero" and "Destiny Hero" monsters without acknowledging the archetype itself. However, after the TCG release of "Evil Heroes", errata for HERO support cards was issued to include them. With the Problem-Solving Card Text, in anticipation of the Masked HERO and Vision HERO sub-archetypes, "Elemental Hero", "Destiny Hero" and "Evil Hero" were renamed "Elemental HERO", "Destiny HERO" and "Evil HERO", respectively; they were first printed this way in Generation Force. From this booster pack onward, in English HERO has been supported as an archetype rather than a collection of the three archetypes. "HERO" is rendered in all capital letters to distinguish these cards from cards such as "Oscillo Hero" and "Hero Kid", who have "Hero" in their names but are not part of this archetype.