"The Heart of the Cards", known as "The Terrifying Blue-Eyes White Dragon" in Japan, is the first episode, and premiere, of the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime. It is the first episode of the Duelist Kingdom arc. It first aired in Japan on April 18, 2000 and in the United States on September 29, 2001.
Seto Kaiba overhears Yugi Muto telling his friends that Solomon Muto, Yugi's grandfather, has a rare card, the "Blue-Eyes White Dragon". Obsessed with owning them all, Kaiba challenges Solomon to a Duel and when his holographic arena technology proves too much for the old man, Yugi steps in to Duel to avenge his grandfather's defeat.
The narrator explains how in Ancient Egypt, when the pyramids were young, ancient Kings played Shadow Games, which erupted into a war that threatened to destroy the world. However a Pharaoh sealed the magic away, imprisoning it in the Millennium Items.
3000 years later (5000 in the dub), Yugi Muto unlocked the secrets of the Millennium Puzzle infusing him with ancient magical energies. Destiny has chosen Yugi to prevent the return of the Shadow Games, just like the Pharaoh did.
At Domino High School, Yugi is teaching his friend, Joey Wheeler, how to play Duel Monsters, while Tristan Taylor, Téa Gardner and Bakura Ryou watch. Tristan jokes that Joey looks cute when he is thinking. Joey shows Tristan the cards, explaining that they're playing Duel Monsters. Tristan looks at him blankly and asks "Drooling Monsters?" Joey pushes him away and Téa says that they have been at it for hours; Joey's starting to get the hang of it, but Yugi's an expert.
As Joey plays "Kagemusha of the Blue Flame", Téa explains to Tristan that each monster has an ATK number and a DEF number and the first Duelist to eliminate their opponent's Life Points wins the Duel.
Joey's pleased with his move. Although Yugi agrees it was good, he plays "Blackland Fire Dragon", which is powerful enough to defeat Joey. Tristan teases Joey's skill, but Yugi assures Joey that he played alright. Yugi just has better cards, he tells them, which is because his grandfather owns a game shop, where he gets all his good cards. Joey gets fired up to visit the shop and Yugi talks about a super rare card his grandfather has.
A few tables across, Seto Kaiba is reading Also Sprach Zarathustra. (In the dub, the cover of the book is blank.) He overhears Yugi's conversation and wonders if the rare card is the one he has been searching for.
After school, Yugi and his friends, Joey, Tristan and Téa arrive at his grandfather's shop. He asks his grandfather if he could show them his rare card. Solomon thinks about it, laughs and says "how can I refuse?". He produces a decorative box and tells them that they are in for a treat and he does not usually take this card out.
He holds up the "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" card, telling them it is so rare and powerful that he never lets it leave his hands. The kids are impressed apart from Tristan, who grabs the card from Solomon's hand, remarking that he does not see anything special about it. Solomon snatches it back, insisting that the card is priceless; there are only four of them in the world.
As Joey prepares to trade for other cards, Kaiba enters the shop. Solomon asks if he can help him and Kaiba says if he cannot, it would not surprise him. The kids are surprised to see him here, as he has a big company to run. Kaiba says he is here to see the card. Joey is glad to hear that Kaiba plays Duel Monsters too and suggests that they could all Duel together.
Kaiba mocks the idea, saying he would have more of a challenge playing solitaire; he is the number 1 ranked Duelist in the country and the favorite to win the Duel Monsters World Championship. Joey is intimidated and suggests they settle this with fists instead of cards. Yugi steps in between them and tries to calm Joey down.
Kaiba sees the "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" on the table in its case. He rushes over to it, pushing Yugi aside. Solomon takes the card away and asks if there is anything else he can help him with. Kaiba slams his briefcase on the counter and opens it, showing it is full of Duel Monsters cards. He offers to trade all of them for the "Blue-Eyes White Dragon". To everyone's surprise, Solomon declines.
Kaiba then attempts to buy the card, asking Solomon to name his price, he can pay anything that he asks. Solomon refuses and explains that he does not want to give it away because it was given to him by a dear friend, so he treasures the card. Kaiba leaves, realizing it is useless trying to get it peacefully.
As Kaiba leaves in his limousine, he is sickened by Solomon's attitude about the Heart of the Cards. He believes the cards are all about power and one way or another, the Blue-Eyes White Dragon card will be his.
At the KaibaCorp building, Kaiba tells his employees that he wants them to pick up something at the game shop. The next morning, Hobson and two other goons arrive at the game shop. Hobson tells Solomon that his master, Seto Kaiba, challenges him to a Duel. He asks "And if he was to decline?", Hobson says they must insist. Solomon thinks that Kaiba does not understand, but he will teach him a lesson about the Heart of the Cards.
Yugi and his friends arrive to find his grandfather missing. Suddenly the phone rings and Yugi answers it only to find out that it was Kaiba, telling Yugi that his grandfather is not feeling well and needs picking up. (In the dub, the words "Now Printing" are removed from a box near the phone.)
Yugi and his friends make their way to KaibaCorp where they find Solomon seriously injured. Solomon tells Yugi that he failed; he had tried to teach Kaiba a lesson about the Heart of the Cards but he lost.
Kaiba appears in the room and says that he defeated Solomon in a Duel, with each of them putting up their most valuable card as the prize. He guesses that playing against a champion like himself was too much stimulation for Yugi's grandfather. Téa accuses Kaiba of cheating, which he denies. In the dub, she tells Kaiba he should be ashamed of himself.
Kaiba holds up the "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" then tears it in two and Yugi protests that it was his grandfather's most "treasured card". Kaiba says that since a Deck can only hold three copies of each card, the fourth could become an enemy. In the dub, he says that he did not want anyone to use it against him.
Solomon hands Yugi his Deck, saying that he put his soul in these cards and taught Yugi everything he knows. He instructs Yugi to take them and teach Kaiba respect for the Heart of the Cards. Yugi insists that he needs to take him to a doctor but Kaiba remarks that it sounds like an excuse. Yugi's friends offer to take Grandpa to the hospital, while Yugi faces Kaiba.
Yugi is unsure, but the others offer support. Joey says "I used to love fighting, but it was you who changed me, Yugi. You can do it." In the dub, Joey says Yugi's the best Duelist he has ever seen and he has the Millennium Puzzle. He knows Yugi can do it.
Before Yugi leaves, Téa uses a marker to draw a smiley face symbol of friendship on everyone's hands. She says that even though the ink will wash away, they will always remember the circle of their friendship. (In the dub she says that when Yugi's Dueling, he will know that he is not alone. They will all be right there with him.)
As Téa, Tristan and Joey take Solomon to the ambulance, Téa suggests that Joey stay behind to support Yugi.
Kaiba takes Yugi to a virtual stadium. Kaiba says he designed the stadium himself and he thinks Yugi will agree that it will add a bit more life to the game. Kaiba says they'll play using the Kaiba Special Rules. In the dub he says that they each begin with 2000 Life Points and the first player to hit 0 loses.
Yugi activates the Millennium Puzzle and changes into Yami Yugi. Kaiba is slightly startled by Yugi's change in attitude. Yugi says "Now Kaiba, it's time to Duel".
Kaiba goes first and Summons "Hitotsu-Me Giant". A hologram of the monster emerges onto the field. Yugi is surprised to see the monster come to life. Kaiba explains that it is his virtual simulator; it creates life-like holograms of every Duel Monster. Yugi realizes that this is how Kaiba beat Solomon.
Yugi starts his turn and Summons "Winged Dragon, Guardian of the Fortress". At this point, Joey arrives at the Duel and is shocked by the presence of the monsters. The two monsters get ready to battle and Yugi commands "Winged Dragon, Guardian of the Fortress" to use its "Fireball" attack. "Winged Dragon, Guardian of the Fortress" launches a fireball at "Hitotsu-Me Giant", destroying it and lowering Kaiba's Life Points to 1800.
Mokuba Kaiba rushes into the room, asking his brother if he is okay, while Joey celebrates on Yugi taking out 1 of Kaiba's monsters.
Kaiba says that he should have started with a handicap this size anyway. In the dub, he says "Well played... for a beginner". He asks how Yugi will stand against this and Summons "Saggi the Dark Clown" in Attack Position.
Yugi is puzzled, as the monster has only 600 ATK but Kaiba combines it with the Magic Card "Negative Energy Generator", tripling its ATK. ("Negative Energy Generator" has different artworks in the dub and Japanese versions.)
"Saggi's" ATK goes up to 1800. Kaiba orders Saggi The Dark Clown to attack "Winged Dragon, Guardian of the Fortress" with "Dark Light". "Saggi" launches a ball of energy at its target and destroys it. Yugi's Life Points drop to 1600.
Yugi thinks Kaiba's good, he knows every aspect of this game, but his Grandpa put all his gaming knowledge and his heart into this Deck so he must believe it holds some secret strategy. He draws "Right Leg of the Forbidden One". (This has different artworks in the dub and Japanese versions.) Yugi thinks the card is useless as it cannot defeat "Saggi" so he Sets a monster card in Defense Position to protect his Life Points.
Kaiba says he can practically hear Yugi's grandpa's dying breath coming from those cards. In the dub he says Yugi's not doing any better than Solomon did; his Deck is just as weak and feeble as his grandfather.
Yugi argues that his grandfather is a great man and a better Duelist than Kaiba will ever be. He can feel his heart in this Deck and doubts Kaiba has that kind of faith in his cards. Saying he believes in his grandfather's Deck, Yugi draws his next card. He tells Kaiba that his faith has rewarded him with "Gaia The Fierce Knight".
Yugi Summons "Gaia" and uses it to attack and destroy "Saggi The Dark Clown", lowering Kaiba's Life Points to 1300. Joey compliments Yugi, who invites Kaiba to make his move.
Kaiba laughs that the Duel will be over sooner than Yugi thinks and draws a card. He Summons "Blue-Eyes White Dragon". Joey is surprised again and states that it is impossible; they saw Kaiba tear that card in half.
Kaiba says Yugi's grandfather was not the only one to possess a "Blue-Eyes White Dragon". "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" attacks and destroys "Gaia The Fierce Knight", dropping Yugi's Life Points to 900. Kaiba says that, faith or no faith, Yugi will fall before his superior monsters; faith is for losers, like his grandfather.
As more of Yugi's monsters are destroyed by "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" including "Horn Imp" and "Beaver Warrior", Kaiba states that there is not a card in Yugi's Deck that can stand up to a "Blue-Eyes White Dragon". He asks Yugi what hope he has against two, as he Summons another "Blue-Eyes White Dragon".
Meanwhile, Solomon is being rushed through the hospital on a bed with Téa and Tristan at his sides. Solomon calls to Yugi, encouraging him not to give up.
Back at the Duel, Yugi refuses to give up. He draws and plays "Swords of Revealing Light", which prevents all of Kaiba's monsters from attacking for three turns. Kaiba calls the move desperate and asks Yugi "what good will a three-turn delay do you?".
Yugi thinks Kaiba's right and looks at the cards in his hand: "Left Arm of the Forbidden One", "Right Leg of the Forbidden One", "Left Leg of the Forbidden One" and "Rude Kaiser". (The dub mistakenly shows the "Right Arm of the Forbidden One" instead of the "Left Arm". All "of the Forbidden One" cards have different artworks in the dub and Japanese versions.) He cannot figure out what to do with these cards; they are just pieces.
Yugi then hears Solomon's voice. It says to him, for someone who claims to have faith, he is giving up too easily and that sometimes the cards are like a puzzle and you must put all the pieces in their proper place. "Like the Millennium Puzzle?", Yugi asks. "Exactly", Solomon replies, "Each piece helps build a greater entity, like the pieces of a puzzle".
Yugi starts to ponder on this and remembers his grandfather telling him about Duel Monsters only unstoppable monster, "Exodia". However "Exodia" can only be Summoned by gathering all 5 parts; a feat that, to this day, no one has ever accomplished.
Kaiba claims that Yugi can draw whatever card he wants but it will not change a thing. Although his two "Blue-Eyes White Dragons" are frozen, his new monster is under no such spell. (At this point in the series, the effect of "Swords of Revealing Light" was different than its real-life counterpart. It only affected monsters that were already on the field when it was activated.) Kaiba Summons "Judge Man" who takes-out Yugi's face-down "Rude Kaiser".
Yugi draws "Dark Magician". He thinks he can use this to attack, but it will not stand a chance once Kaiba's dragons are free. He goes ahead and Summons "Dark Magician" and uses it to destroy "Judge Man". Kaiba's Life Points fall to 1000.
Kaiba considers that to be a sacrifice which does not even faze him. Although his dragons cannot attack, he Summons his third "Blue-Eyes White Dragon", which can attack. It attacks and destroys "Dark Magician", dropping Yugi's Life Points to 400.
Kaiba asks Yugi how his faith is now; with his three "Blue-Eyes White Dragons" free to attack next turn, there is nothing Yugi can do; Yugi was never a match for Kaiba. Joey urges Yugi not to listen to him. Yugi realizes that Kaiba wanted the fourth "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" just so he would have them all, then tore it up so it could not be used against him.
He realizes that he must draw the last piece of "Exodia", but the odds are against him. He tries to draw but his Deck seemingly moves away from him. Yugi wonders if the cards are moving away from him but thinks, no, it is just himself and he is afraid to draw. In the dub, he says the Deck senses his doubt so he tells Yugi to concentrate and not lose faith. He notices the mark Téa drew on his hand and imagines his friends standing there with him.
Kaiba tells Yugi to draw his last "pathetic" card, so he can end this Duel. However Yugi says his grandfather's Deck has no pathetic cards but it does have the unstoppable "Exodia", as he draws "Exodia the Forbidden One".
Kaiba recoils in horror, remarking that it is impossible. Yugi places the five pieces on the field and a large star appears. (In the dub, the star has been given more points.) The complete "Exodia" emerges from the star. Kaiba steps back once again, calling it impossible, as no one has ever managed to call "Exodia" before. Yugi orders "Exodia" to "Obliterate". "Exodia" destroys Kaiba's dragons and drops his Life Points to 0.
Joey cheers and Mokuba looks up in surprise, since his brother never loses. Yugi tells Kaiba that he plays only for power and that is why he lost but if you put your heart in the game, there is nothing you cannot do.
Kaiba wonders how he could have lost. The Eye of Anubis appears on Yugi's forehead. Yugi tells Kaiba that he will crush the evil in his heart and taps into the power of the Millennium Puzzle, granting Kaiba a "Mind Crush". In the dub, Yugi tells him if he wants to know to open his mind, he needs to do it; "Kaiba, if you truly want to know, open your mind!". Kaiba falls to his knees.
Over at the hospital, Solomon wakes up, knowing that Yugi won the Duel.
Items in bold debuted here.
Yugi Muto vs. Joey Wheeler
Duel already in progress.
Yami Yugi vs. Seto Kaiba
Turn 3: Kaiba
Kaiba draws. He then Normal Summons "Saggi the Dark Clown" (600/1500) in Attack Position. Kaiba then activates "Negative Energy Generator" to triple the ATK of "Saggi" as it is a DARK monster ("Saggi": 600 → 1800/1500). "Saggi" attacks and destroys "Winged Dragon" (Yugi: 2000 → 1600 LP).
Turn 5: Kaiba
Kaiba draws. "Saggi" attacks and destroys Yugi's Set "Sangan" (1000/600).
Turn 6: Yami Yugi
Yugi draws. He then Sets a monster.
Turn 7: Kaiba
"Saggi" attacks and destroys Yugi's Set "Battle Steer" (1800/1300).
Turn 8: Yami Yugi
Yugi draws. He then Sets a monster.
Turn 9: Kaiba
"Saggi" attacks and destroys Yugi's Set "Torike" (1200/600).
Turn 10: Yami Yugi
Yugi draws "Gaia The Fierce Knight" and subsequently Normal Summons it (2300/2100) in Attack Position. "Gaia" attacks and destroys "Saggi" (Kaiba: 1800 → 1300 LP).
Turn 11: Kaiba
Kaiba draws "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" and subsequently Normal Summons it (3000/2500) in Attack Position. "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" attacks and destroys "Gaia" (Yugi: 1600 → 900 LP).
Turn 12: Yami Yugi
Yugi draws. He then Sets a monster.
Turn 13: Kaiba
"Blue-Eyes White Dragon" attacks and destroys Yugi's Set "Horn Imp" (1300/1000).
Turn 14: Yami Yugi
Yugi draws. He then Sets a monster.
Turn 15: Kaiba
Kaiba draws. "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" attacks and destroys Yugi's Set "Beaver Warrior" (1200/1500). Kaiba then Normal Summons another "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" (3000/2500) in Attack Position.
Turn 17: Kaiba
Kaiba passes. The effect of "Swords of Revealing Light" will expire in two turns.
Turn 18: Yami Yugi
Yugi's hand contains "Rude Kaiser", "Left Leg of the Forbidden One", "Right Leg of the Forbidden One" and "Left Arm of the Forbidden One". Yugi draws "Right Arm of the Forbidden One". He then Sets a monster.
Turn 19: Kaiba
Kaiba Normal Summons "Judge Man" (2200/1500) in Attack Position. Since "Judge Man" was Summoned after "Swords of Revealing Light" was activated, it can attack. "Judge Man" attacks and destroys Yugi's Set "Rude Kaiser" (1800/1600). The effect of "Swords of Revealing Light" will expire in one turn.
Turn 20: Yami Yugi
Yugi draws "Dark Magician" and subsequently Normal Summons it (2500/2100) in Attack Position. "Dark Magician" attacks and destroys "Judge Man" (Kaiba: 1300 → 1000 LP).
Turn 21: Kaiba
Kaiba draws his last "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" and subsequently Normal Summons it (3000/2500) in Attack Position. The newly Summoned "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" attacks and destroys "Dark Magician" (Yugi: 900 → 400 LP). At the End Phase, the effect of "Swords of Revealing Light" expires.
Turn 22: Yami Yugi
Yugi draws "Exodia the Forbidden One". Since Yugi also has "Left Arm", "Left Leg", "Right Arm" and "Right Leg" in his hand, he automatically wins. For dramatic effect, "Exodia" is Special Summoned (∞/∞) in Attack Position. "Exodia" attacks and destroys every monster Kaiba controls (Kaiba: 1000 → 0 LP).
- When Yugi places a card in face-down Defense Position and Kaiba destroys it with "Saggi the Dark Clown", it is shown to be "Sangan". However, in the pre-commercial fadeout immediately following this scene, "Saggi" is shown destroying "Torike".
- Two copies of "Right Arm of the Forbidden One" are shown. One was in Yugi's hand and the other when he drew the same piece.
- The kanji for "DARK" is missing on the Attribute of the "Blackland Fire Dragon" card in the dub.
- When Kaiba is seen in his limo, a piece of Japanese OST is briefly heard in the dub.
Differences from the TCG/OCG
The Duels in this episode followed the earlier Duel Monsters rules, so 2000 Life Points were used instead of 8000, Tributes were not required for Level 5 or higher monsters and players could only attack with 1 monster per turn.
Differences in individual cards included:
- "Sangan" did not have an effect in this episode.
- The effect of "Swords of Revealing Light" could not prevent monsters after its activation from attacking.
- Rather than instantly winning once all 5 "Exodia" pieces were in Yugi's hand, "Exodia" was Summoned as a monster who attacked Kaiba and his monsters, lowering his Life Points to 0.
The following cards appeared in this episode. Cards in italics debuted here.
The Cards with Teeth
Kaiba came to the shop, not particularly looking for the "Blue-Eyes White Dragon". He didn't have the other 3 at this point and wanted Sugoroku's to become more powerful, rather than to stop it from being used against him.
Yugi Dueled Jonouchi at school after visiting the shop. Rather than "Kagemusha of the Blue Flame", Jonouchi had a Zombie monster, which was not shown. They had the attention of much more people in the class, but not Honda or Bakura.
At school, after Kaiba told Yugi that his grandfather had taught him how to love the cards, Kaiba asked to see the "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" again. Yugi showed him the card, but Kaiba exchanged it for a counterfeit. When Yugi tried getting the real one back, Kaiba struck him with his briefcase, causing Dark Yugi (Yami Yugi) to come out.
Dark Yugi Dueled Kaiba in a Shadow Game of Duel Monsters to win back the card. Kaiba cheated and slipped the "Blue-Eyes" into his hand. However the "Blue-Eyes" remained loyal to Sugoroku and betrayed Kaiba, by destroying itself. After Kaiba lost, Yami inflicted a Penalty Game, where Kaiba imagined he was sent to the Duel Monsters Spirit World and repeatedly killed by Duel Monsters.
Death-T is an arc in the manga, where Yugi is forced to play in Kaiba's theme park of death.
Kaiba invites Yugi to his mansion the night before the opening of his KaibaLand theme park. At the grand opening, he reveals he has kidnapped Yugi's grandfather and Duels him. They Duel using Battle Boxes rather than the large Dueling Arenas. Sugoroku uses "Blue-Eyes White Dragon", but is overwhelmed by the holograms and Kaiba's 3 "Blue-Eyes White Dragons".
Kaiba tears up Sugoroku's "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" and subjects him to an artificial Penalty Game. In order for him to be released, Yugi is coerced into swearing he will face Kaiba's Death-T.
Like in the anime, Sugoroku gives Yugi his Deck to use against Kaiba.
Much of the stages of Death-T are skipped in the anime.
Some of the conversation used at the start of Death-T 3 is used in the anime, shortly before Yugi faces Kaiba. Jonouchi tells his friends that he changed after meeting Yugi. That is used in the Japanese version of this episode. Honda says he always wanted to pick a fight regardless of who or what it was with, but realized the person he wanted to hit was himself. The anime has Jonouchi say something similar "I used to love fighting, but it was you who changed me". Shortly after hearing this, Anzu draws the smiley face on their hands.
After Death-T 3, Yugi admits to thinking there is another Yugi to his friends. He does not disclose this until much later in the anime.
Yugi's Duel with Kaiba in this episode is based on their Duel in Death-T 5. A number of changes were made, including:
- The cards Yugi played in face-down Defense Mode were all played face-up in the manga.
- After "Winged Dragon, Guardian of the Fortress" defeated "Hitotsu-Me Giant", Kaiba Summoned "The Wicked Worm Beast". The two monsters were equal in ATK, but since "Winged Dragon, Guardian of the Fortress" could fly it had a 35% chance of evading, so it dodged the attack from "The Wicked Worm Beast", but "The Wicked Worm Beast" got hit by "Winged Dragon, Guardian of the Fortress" and was destroyed. This move was skipped in the anime.
- After the above move, Yugi played an unnamed monster in Defense Mode.
- "Dark Energy" had been used to triple the ATK of "Saggi the Dark Clown" ATK. In the anime, it was changed to "Negative Energy Generator".
- "Saggi" destroyed the unnamed monsters mentioned above and two other unnamed monsters. In the anime, these were replaced with "Battle Steer" and "Troike".
- While Kaiba's two "Blue-Eyes White Dragons" were unable to attack, due to "Swords of Revealing Light", Kaiba played an unnamed monster in Defense Mode.
- "Beaver Warrior" was destroyed by Kaiba's "Judge Man". In the anime, "Beaver Warrior" had been previously destroyed by "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" and "Rude Kaiser" was the monster destroyed by "Judge Man".
After receiving the Mind Crush, Kaiba is left in a coma for six months.
Differences in adaptations
- In the English dub, Téa mentions that Joey and Yugi have been playing Duel Monsters for hours and that she thinks Yugi is an expert at the game. In the Japanese version she explains some of the rules of the game.
- The book Kaiba is reading near the beginning of the episode is Also sprach Zarathustra in the Japanese version (though it spells sprach as spracha). In the English version, the book's cover is blank.
- In the English dub, the bottom row of cards in Kaiba's briefcase are shifted one card to the left, bringing "Anthrosaurus" into view.
- In the Japanese version, a box next to the phone in the game shop has the word "Printing" on it, while in the English version the writing is not there.
- In the Japanese version, Kaiba reveals that he ripped up the fourth "Blue Eyes White Dragon" card because only three are allowed in a single person's Deck.
- When Joey is encouraging Yugi to Duel Kaiba, in the English dub he tells him he is the best Duelist he has ever seen while in the Japanese version, he reminds Yugi that he was the one who helped him turn his life around (a reference to the manga).
- The "Negative Energy Generator" card has a different design in the English dub. In the Japanese version it depicts an eye while in the English version it depicts the letter E.
- The pentagram that "Exodia" emerges from has more points in the English version to remove religious connotations.