Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Episode 28: "Grave Risk, Part 2"
|Video game debut|
Nightshroud, known as Darkness in the Japanese version, is a malicious spirit and the progenitor of the World of Darkness in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. He has the ability to possess humans, and is partially responsible for the Abandoned Dorm incident. He briefly appears as a minor adversary in the first season and second season, and later returns as the main antagonist in the fourth season and final threat of the GX series. He shares many similarities with Yami Bakura, in that he initially requires a host, and is a recurring villain who eventually turns out to be the series' final antagonist.
Nightshroud's character design was overseen by Kenichi Hara. While possessing a host, Nightshroud wears a tight-fitting overcoat with raised shoulders and waistline and gold and green trimmings.
His dark dragon mask, similar to that worn by his signature monster "Red-Eyes Darkness Dragon", is completely black with the exception of its blue eye-pieces and a red stone in the center of the forehead. In this incarnation, the bangs closest to his face are positioned in front of the mask.
Immediately before Yusuke's fall, Nightshroud's energy form is glimpsed as an immaterial spirit, with a body swathed in black smoke. He has two long, gangly arms ending in claws, and no legs. His true form is a cloaked skeleton with glowing blue eyes resembling a Grim Reaper. He wears grey and red robes with gold trim, and has a dragon-shaped skull for a head with horns at the back of it, with the same shape as the mask his previous hosts wore. In this form he does not use a Duel Disk - instead, he grows five wings, each serving as one Monster Card Zone and one Spell and Trap Card Zone apiece. His cards materialize directly into his hands - his Deck is unseen.
Nightshroud is introduced as the first of the Shadow Riders to challenge Jaden (Nightshroud showed a desire to gain the Sacred Beasts, but it wasn't explained why), and the owner of the other half of the Shadow Charm pendant in Jaden's possession. Nightshroud sets a Shadow Game in which the loser would have his soul sealed in a card. When defeated, Nightshroud's soul which represented by the mask is sealed away, and Atticus, who had been the dark personality's vessel, is freed.
During the Genex Tournament, Atticus uses Nightshroud's Deck in hopes of convincing his friend, Zane, that the dark path taken by a Duelist is a terrible course. As a result of playing his Red-Eyes Darkness Dragon, Nightshroud's influence that lay dormant within the card is once again able to take control of Atticus, only to be banished back following his defeat.
However he makes a subsequent return in the fourth season after Jaden accepts Atticus' offer of a rematch to discover Nightshroud's secrets. Atticus also has nightmares about the day he became Nightshroud's host, which reveal he was not the first or only person to take up Nightshroud's soul. Adding to the mystery, while visiting the arena underneath the Abandoned Dorm, Atticus is attacked by the Duel Monster Spirit Honest, which is disguised as Yusuke Fujiwara, knocking him unconscious in the process. After he recovers, Jaden visits Atticus in the nurse's office and Atticus comes up with the idea of having Jaden Duel Nightshroud (despite the obvious dangers) in order to uncover the entity's origins, which he does (Jaden wins again so Atticus stays free from Nightshroud); turns out, Yusuke had learned about the entity before the incident at the Abandoned Dorm, heading to the Dorm's subterranean Duel arena in order to perform a ritual to free it and gain its power. However, Atticus, Yusuke's friend, followed him and interrupted the ritual, which fatally injured Yusuke and forced the boy to make Atticus its host in vengeance. Atticus resisted Nightshroud's influence from then on, until he was forced to embrace it and become its host in order to survive the Dorm's events.
Nightshroud later appears to Atticus during the siege at Duel Academy, still in Fujiwara's body, who has completely fallen under Nightshroud's influence and adopted its doctrine. He revealed himself as the mastermind behind the Trueman attacks and is thus the main antagonist of the season. Here, too, his true intentions and motivations are revealed. Nightshroud wanted all humans to be taken into the World of Darkness where they will ultimately give up on their own lives, because while in the dark world, they would be mentally tortured by visions of failing at their hopes and dreams. They would then become a single entity, sharing all joy and all suffering. Nightshroud claimed his actions are justified in that, with no more individuality, humanity's suffering will finally end.
Nightshroud is then challenged to a Duel by Jaden and Jesse Anderson. He accepts on the condition that it be a Battle Royal. Though he defeats Jesse, Jaden summons "Rainbow Neos" to purge Nightshroud from Fujiwara's body and destroy it. However, this did nothing to stop Nightshroud, as only part of it was destroyed, and Nightshroud then appeared in its true form. Nightshroud revealed that it created an artificial eclipse over the planet with its own dark world, blocking out the sun and pulling all humans into the dark world. This left Jaden, Pharaoh the cat, and the immaterial Lyman Banner as the last lives on Earth. Nightshroud challenges Jaden to a final Duel, viewing Jaden as a "foreign object" that didn't belong in either world because he held a human spirit and a Duel spirit (referring to Yubel), and thus should be removed. Nightshroud reveals its origins, saying that in every person there is insecurity and inner turmoil: hopes and dreams failing before fear and guilt, creating "darkness", and itself as well. Nightshroud adds a justification to its actions, saying that it's natural for its world to replace the human world. During the Duel, Jaden reaches out to the humans trapped in the darkness, and reminding them of all of their bonds with each other. The trapped humans eventually free themselves, after which Jaden defeats Nightshroud. Though beaten, Nightshroud claims that as long as there's darkness in humans, it would surely return, but Jaden counters by boasting that as long as there are bonds between humans, Nightshroud's return would never come.
In the Japanese version, Darkness uses the word ware (我) to refer to himself and waga (我が) as a possessive pronoun, a very polite and business-like way of doing so. This also speaks to the age of Nightshroud, as this way of speaking is no longer widely used and has not been since Japanese Feudal times.
Nightshroud plays a variety of Decks in the anime. While possessing Atticus Rhodes, He plays his "Red-Eyes" Deck, with which focuses on the Summoning and powering up of "Red-Eyes Darkness Dragon and its upgraded form "Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon".
Nightshroud's true deck is a "Darkness" Deck while in his true form, which focuses on field control through a combo of "Zero" and "Infinity", which link out to "Darkness Destroyer" and "Darkness Neosphere" as offense.
- When Nightshroud describes the origin of the world to Jaden, he uses a single card as a metaphor. In Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, the Numeron Code, a card said to have created all of reality, is a major plot point, possibly what Nightshroud was referring to.
- In addition, the ruined future world that he briefly shows Jaden closely resembles the alternate future in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's that Z-one, Antinomy, Aporia and Paradox hail from.