Yu-Gi-Oh!遊☆戯☆王デュエルモンスターズYu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters
Studio Gallop, Nihon Ad Systems
April 18, 2000 — September 29, 2004
|No. of episodes||
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Yu-Gi-Oh!, known in Japan and the rest of Asia as Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters 遊☆戯☆王デュエルモンスターズ Yūgiō Dyueru Monsutāzu is an anime based on the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga. It is produced by Studio Gallop and Nihon Ad Systems, and the English adaptation is distributed by 4Kids Entertainment.
Duel Monsters is not to be confused with the earlier series of the same name. As the series is the second to be based on the manga, it is often referred to by fans as the "second series". Some sources state erroneously that the first series produced by Toei Animation is a "lost first season", although the two series are unrelated aside from plot continuity.
The success of Duel Monsters was one of the main factors in creating a real-world version of the game that served as the focal point of the series, the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game.
The series began its 224-episode run in Japan on April 18, 2000 and U.S. on September 29, 2001. The series ended its run on September 29, 2004 in Japan and on June 10, 2006 in America. In Japan, the series aired on TV Tokyo. The English version is broadcast on many channels. In the United States it is broadcast on Kids WB, Nicktoons, and on Cartoon Network. (debuting on 4Kids TV in September 2006). In Canada, Yu-Gi-Oh! is broadcast on YTV. In the United Kingdom, Mexico and Australia, it is broadcast on Nickelodeon. In Hong Kong, it is broadcast on ATV from July 13, 2002.
Like the earlier series, Duel Monsters is mainly about the various battles of a high school freshman named Yugi Muto through a card game known as Duel Monsters (Magic and Wizards in the original, although Duel Monsters is also used). However, Duel Monsters picks up its focus from where the earlier series leaves off, roughly corresponding to the eighth volume of the manga series.
The plot of the series is divided into several story arcs:
- Duelist Kingdom (Season One): Duelist Kingdom is the second story arc in the manga and the first in Duel Monsters, and involves a tournament hosted by the game's creator, Maximillion Pegasus (Pegasus J. Crawford in the original version), on his own personal island. Pegasus, using the power of the Millennium Eye, manages to seal the soul of Solomon Muto (Sugoroku Mutou in the English-language manga and the Japanese versions) away, and it is up to Yugi to save him. Meanwhile, Joey Wheeler (Katsuya Jonouchi) enters the tournament in order to pay for his sister's surgery, and Pegasus and several top executives at KaibaCorp plot to remove Seto Kaiba from the head of his company.
- Legendary Heroes: In a continued attempt to remove Seto Kaiba from his position as head of KaibaCorp, KaibaCorp's former executives trap Kaiba in a virtual reality game based on Duel Monsters. Yugi and his friends enter the game to save him. The video game Yu-Gi-Oh! The Falsebound Kingdom was loosely based on this storyline.
- Dungeon Dice Monsters: When a new game shop opens to compete with Solomon Muto's game shop, Yugi is challenged by its owner, Duke Devlin (Ryuji Otogi) in a game of his creation, with the title of "King of Games" on the line.
- Battle City (Season Two): When Kaiba hears of the three legendary God Cards, Kaiba believes that with the three cards in his deck, he will be able to defeat Yugi. In order to obtain the God Cards, Kaiba hosts a tournament to take place in the streets of Domino, with the rule that each person that enters the tournament must ante up a card for the winners of the duels to keep. Meanwhile, Yugi hears of the three God Cards and how they are tied to an ancient Egyptian legend - one that involves the nameless Pharaoh. At the same time, Marik Ishtar, guardian of the Pharaoh's Tomb, wants the Pharaoh's power for himself, and seeks to defeat Yugi. In the Japanese version, he actually wishes to torture and kill Yugi for revenge and to free his family from serving the Nameless Pharaoh.
- Virtual World (Season Three): As Yugi, Kaiba, Joey, and Marik are travelling to the destination of the Battle City Finals, the airship they are riding in suddenly takes an unexpected turn. The main characters find themselves trapped in a virtual reality simulation, in which the former executives of KaibaCorp plan to take their revenge against Yugi and Kaiba.
- Waking the Dragons (Season Four): When an ancient organization known as Doma (not named in the English anime, although the name Paradius was used in both versions as a front for their operations) steals the God cards and begins to seal the souls of people and duel monsters in an effort to revive a monster thought to have lead to the destruction of Atlantis 10,000 years ago, it is up to Yugi and friends to stop them. To do so, Yugi, Joey, and Kaiba join forces with the three legendary dragons, Timaeus, Critias, and Hermos, and take on Doma's leader, Dartz and Doma's three hentchmen: Rafael, Valon and Alister
- Grand Championship (Season Five): With Dartz's group defeated and no money to return home to Domino, Yugi and company enter a tournament hosted by Kaiba, in his new amusement park, in return for a ride home. With Kaiba Corporation crippled because of Doma's activities, one tournament entrant seeks to finish the job and take down KaibaCorp for good.
- Dawn of the Duel (Millennium World): With all three God Cards in his possession, Yami Yugi (Dark Yugi in the English Manga and Japanese anime) is ready to find all his lost memories. However, he's in for more than he bargains for when he is thrust into the World of Memory, an alternate reality inside the Millennium Puzzle based on the events that occurred in Egypt 5,000 (in the manga and English anime, 3,000 in the Japanese anime) years ago. There, the Pharaoh must relive the last days of his previous life, fighting his old enemies and reuniting with his old friends. But his new friends have not forgotten about him, and Yugi and his friends travel inside the Millennium Puzzle to find the World of Memory and help the Pharaoh recover all his memories. However, Yami Bakura (Dark Bakura in the English Manga and Japanese anime) won't let the Pharaoh gain all his memories just yet, as he plans on using the information gained in the World of Memory to gain the powers of the Millennium Items and reawaken an ancient evil that has remained dormant for the past 5,000 years...
- The Final Duel (The Ceremonial Battle): Most of the quest is complete. Pharaoh Atem has obtained all seven millennium items, acquired all three Egyptian God Cards, defeated Zorc Necrophades in the Memory World, and has found out all about his past, including his name. Now, the pharaoh can quietly leave the mortal world, and join his faithful priests in the afterlife. However, the doorway to the afterlife can only be opened if the pharaoh is defeated in a duel. Yugi takes on the challenge, dueling Atem to let Atem go. Even though Atem would very much want to go to the afterlife, he has a good pride in his skills, and will never let anybody beat him easily.
Differences between the versions
Duel Monsters serves as a continuation of the earlier series in terms of the story, yet there are differences in the two series where they overlap. In particular, the Death-T fight which is held by Yugi and rival Seto Kaiba, is redone, and Miho Nosaka, a main character and good friend of Yugi Mutou, Jonouchi Katsuya, Hiroto Honda, Anzu Mazaki, and Ryou Bakura in the earlier series, does not appear in Duel Monsters. Whereas the earlier series introduces the characters (by virtue of being adapted from earlier volumes of the manga), Duel Monsters assumes that the viewers are familiar with the characters from the onset, and scenes referring to chronologically earlier events are redone. Because of the relative speed between the manga and anime releases, three extra (non-canon or filler) story arcs that are not found in later volumes have been added for Duel Monsters: Virtual World, Waking the Dragons, and Grand Championship. One of the other most notable changes is that, unlike the manga, the Duel Monsters anime, as the title suggest focuses on the Duel Monsters card-game more than the manga, and adds many Duel scenes that were not in the original manga itself, often changing parts of the plot to fit around addition of the duels.
As the two series are based on the same manga (albeit different parts therein), and the fact that only Duel Monsters was adapted into English, there has been some controversy regarding Yu-Gi-Oh! as a whole. Some have regarded that the fact that the earlier series was not adapted into English creates a large plothole in Duel Monsters, as they believe that the earlier series provides the necessary support and development of the series' main characters. Those opposing this view note the various clear differences between the plot and artwork style would also confuse viewers.
The English adaptation is also widely criticized for the way it is adapted. The changes that were made were frequently done to make the series more understandable and to remove material which may be considered inappropriate or too mature for its English-language demographic, considered to be younger than its original. In addition more of the background is explained in the English version than in the Japanese version; the Japanese version assumes that the viewer has read the manga series. The changes made in the English-language versions of the second-series anime include:
There are two adaptations of the second series in English: a United States adaptation by 4Kids Entertainment aired in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, and a Southeast Asia version by A.S.N. for Singapore and the Philippines.
- Americanization of character names (e.g. Katsuya Jounouchi, Hiroto Honda, and Anzu Mazaki became Joey Wheeler, Tristan Taylor, and Téa Gardner, and Miho Nosaka became Melody in the Dungeon Dice Monsters video game respectively)
- Replacing the background music to suit a Western demographic (e.g.: Darker, more "Hollywood" sounding tracks in contrast to the much more eastern score of the original Japanese soundtrack)
- Replacing each of the Japanese opening themes (Rock/Pop songs by various groups) with a single (occasionally altered) instrumental song done on a synthesizer. The Japanese ending themes are also replaced with a similar version of the US Opening.
- Removing all reference to blood
- Reworking the plot in certain parts of numerous episodes and story arcs, mostly for censorship reasons, but also for unknown reasons.
- Removing all instances of weapons (like guns and knives, which are often prevalent).
- Removing scenes where two or more characters are fighting.
- Removing or obfuscating many references to religion, such as the pentagram or hexagram. The Seal of Orichalcos, a fantastic version of an actual occult symbol, the unicursal hexagram (popularized by Aleister Crowley), continues to play a central role in many episodes. Other occult references have remained.
- Removing or rewriting scenes where characters die or are in real danger of death (In the English anime, characters are instead threatened with the possibility of going to the Shadow Realm, or in some cases they are "captured").
- Removing or editing scenes where monsters undergo some form of violent death (such as being eaten or being stabbed)
- Removing scenes where characters make obscene gestures
- Editing scenes where a female (or male) character or Duel Monster appears to be nude or might be wearing something too revealing.
- Removing assorted sexual innuendo.
- Removing much writing in Japanese and English (this resulted in the unusual design of the Duel Monsters cards in the English version of the series).
- Removing any kind of references that could be accused of causing children to develop bad habits (truancy for example).
- To get around FCC rules concerning advertising in shows, as well as to make the show more marketable in non-English countries, all the cards in the show have been painted over to feature only the card illustration, card element and the attack/defence of the card if it is a monster card.
- Domino City is set in North America.
As a response to these critics, a separate "uncut" DVD release was commissioned between 4Kids Entertainment and FUNimation, with a new adaptation that is more consistent with the original. The uncut DVDs were pulled from solicitation after Volume 3 "Stolen - Blue-Eyes White Dragon" for no apparent reason, with a variety of explanations coming from, upon cross-examination, invalid sources with little elaboration. Lance Heiskell, a FUNimation representative, has noted legal rights as the reason for cancellation, although he was unable to expand on it. This appears to be the most likely possibility, given the DVDs' reportedly successful run.
Kids' WB! also edited episodes 4 and 5, and later episodes 14 and 15, fusing these episodes that were originally two-part episodes into half-hour episodes. 4Kids did dub them separately, but they were only seen in other countries and on DVDs. Later, when 4KidsTV rebroadcast the series, they eventually aired episodes 4 and 5 separately. It is unknown whether or not they will air episodes 14 and 15 separately.
As of recent, 4Kids had been uploading the original Japanese episodes, albeit unsubbed, to their YouTube channel, alongside the first Japanese opening and closing. The first 37 episodes had been uploaded; the first three have been subbed. If 4Kids will continue uploading the original episodes or if they have any plans to subtitle them is unknown. Whilst the episodes are encoded to the US region, Youtubers outside the US could view them if they set their region to 'Worldwide'.
With a legal issue brought about by failing to renew Shunsuke Kazama's (Yugi's Japanese voice) contract for rights to his work, 4Kids has removed its Japanese episodes from YouTube, at least until a resolution is made with Mr. Kazama.
Southeast Asia version
- Americanization of character names (e.g. Katsuya Jonouchi, Hiroto Honda, and Anzu Mazaki became Joey Wheeler, Tristan Taylor, and Téa Gardner, respectively) The same goes for other characters including Marik, Mako etc. However, Rishid is sometimes referred to as Rishido, other times as Odion.
- The original background music is kept, along with the original opening and endings.
- There is mild use of profanity.
4Kids/Funimation uncut DVDs
A series of uncut DVDs were made by 4kids Entertainment and FUNimation. This adaption stuck closer to the original Japanese in dialogue and events. Text is not removed, and as such Japanese cards from the original version are used. Some original names such as Sugoroku Mutou are kept. Some characters names are a mixture of their original and English anime names, such as Joey Katsuya and Téa Mazaki.
Duel Monsters is heavily centered around the card game, with plot details frequently added between game turns. However, there are several main differences between the rules found therein and the rules of the real-world card game:
- The real-world rules correspond to the "new rules for experts" set out by Kaiba at the start of the Battle City story arc - prior to this, a older version of the rules based off the original card set were played, where monsters could be summoned without the use of tributes, but in which a player cannot be attacked directly and only one monster per turn can attack. These earlier rules take considerable artistic liberty in their depiction - for example, allowing monsters to be "partially destroyed", monsters to be played as magic cards, and traps and magic cards to be disabled as a result of monster effects. Another rule was that certain types of monsters were resistant to a logical element. Also, players start with 2000 life points instead of 4000 or 8000.
- Some cards are in different classifications in Duel Monsters as compared to the real-world game - for example, Flame Swordsman is a normal monster in the series, but is a Fusion monster in the real-world game. Spellbinding Circle was notably entirely redone as a "trap with magic-card properties", complete with a different function.
- Also, throughout the series duelists are shown normal summoning their "monsters" in face up defense position, while no such thing is allowed in the real game unless Light of Intervention is in play. If Light of Intervention is not in play, the only Monsters that can be summoned in face-up Defense position are those put into play via "special summons" (such as Monster Reborn) or those changed due to their own or exterior card effects (such as Summon Priest or Stumbling).
- In the Battle City story arc, the "advanced rules" also prevented Fusion monsters from immediately attacking, where there is no such provision in the real game. To avoid this rule in the anime, the Spell card Quick Attack was created. From the Doma story arc onwards, no such provision exists.
- Several other cards were made exclusively in the anime, not only story-based cards such as the Legendary Dragons, but also a few cards like Defense Paralysis, which would prevent the opponent from playing monsters in Defense Mode, and is basically a trap-card version of Stop Defense. However, such cards are usually seen only for one duel, though the fairy tale cards Leon had and the Valkyrie cards Siegfried had are also not seen in the real card game (yet).
- Another difference between the anime and TCG is the position of cards in the graveyard. In the anime, the duelists place the cards face-down in the graveyard, while in the TCG, the duelists place their cards face-up in the graveyard.
- Application of realistic physics that would violate the rules of the normal TCG was included in certain episodes (especially in Season 1) as a plot element: Winning Through Intimidation features one of the most famous instances of this, in what is known to some fans as the "Catapult Turtle Flying Castle Gambit".
- Other rules would be changed here and there, usually for dramatic (or in some cases, comedic) effect.
As of Saturday, September 4, 2010, the original Yu-Gi-Oh! has been airing reruns of the Battle City arc. This time however, this part of the series has been repackaged as Yu-Gi-Oh! Rulers of the Duel.
This is the only Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series to have all its episodes dubbed in English, as the 4th seasons of GX and 5D's were skipped or cut short (respectively) due to 4Kids wanting to dub the next series early or because of lack of demand (respectively).
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Episode Listing (Season One)
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Episode Listing (Season Two)
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Episode Listing (Season Three)
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Episode Listing (Season Four)
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Episode Listing (Season Five)
- Yu-Gi-Oh! (second-series anime) DVD listing