"The Violent Battle - A Game of Darkness" is the first episode of the Yu-Gi-Oh! first series anime. It first aired in Japan on April 4, 1998.
Yugi Muto is a student, who is bullied by his classmate Katsuya Jonouchi. The hall monitor Ushio forcibly becomes Yugi's bodyguard, beats-up Jonouchi and Hiroto Honda and then says that Yugi owes him money. Ushio later beats-up Yugi but Jonouchi and Honda help him and are beaten up too. Yugi solves the Millennium Puzzle and the Games of Darkness begin.
A group of archaeologists enter an Egyptian tomb. One man referred to as Professor approaches a gold box, saying that if he becomes numb and faints, it is a sign of a Game of Darkness. The professor begins to suffer pains and falls to his knees. As the others rush to his aid, he tells them it is the puzzle of darkness.
The scene cuts to Domino High School, where it is lunch time. The boys decide to play basketball and let the girls play too. Someone calls Yugi. Yugi loses concentration, causing his card tower to collapse. He tells Yugi to come play rather than play games by himself. Yugi declines saying "Yeah... but what if the team I join loses".
Yugi tidies up his cards wishing there was a game he could play with everyone else. He then cheers up reaching for something in his bag, saying that today he will solve it. He then pulls out the box from the Egyptian tomb. Yugi begins to talk about the secret puzzle inside the box, "It’s something that you see, but have never seen before". He begins to open the box saying, "the answer is...", but Jonouchi suddenly swipes the box from Yugi.
Jonouchi asks Yugi what he's looking at and talking about by himself. Yugi asks him for the box back, but Jonouchi hurls it across the room and runs over to catch it. He tells Yugi that he’s going to teach him to be a man. Holding up the puzzle Jonouchi says, "You want this box back, right? Then Gimme all you got." Yugi protests shouting "I hate fighting and violence!"
Hiroto Honda appears telling Jonouchi to hold it. Jonouchi mocks Honda saying that as president of first year students Honda wants to fulfill his duty as soldier of comfort and become the janitor. Honda protests, "not a janitor, an honor student". Honda begins to talk about his authority. Jonouchi ignores him by asking Yugi what's inside the box, while Honda speaks. Yugi tells Jonouchi that its okay to look, if he doesn't tell anyone, because its really valuable. Honda who had still been talking to this point tells them to listen to someone when they are talking. Jonouchi peeks inside the box and pulls a dull face, saying that it's dumb.
Anzu Mazaki then appears swiping the box from Jonouchi telling him to give it back if he thinks it's dumb and that bullying those weaker than you makes you look dumb. Jonouchi objects that he's not bullying the weak, he's teaching Yugi to act like a man. Anzu tells him to be quiet, just as Miho Nosaka appears. Miho tells them that the cafeteria line is long and she has had nothing for lunch. Honda immediately volunteers to get her lunch. Jonouchi says he'll go with him, so he could escape from Anzu.
Jonouchi tells Honda about how Anzu "pisses him off". As he says "Who's bullying the weak" both of them bump into Ushio who asks them what they were saying about bullying. Jonouchi says "nothing at all" and begins to say something else, but Honda quickly restrains him and forces a smile saying "nothing at all, really". Ushio announces that bullying is not good. Honda quickly agrees. After Ushio leaves Honda tells lets go of Jonouchi, who starts to rant about that hurting. Honda calls him an idiot and tells him that that was Ushio, he enforces all the regulations and is very powerful. Jonouchi is unconvinced and remains bitter to Ushio.
Back in the classroom, Yugi thanks Anzu, who informs him that they get worse if you keep quiet and insists that Yugi should stick up for himself once in a while. Yugi replies that Jonouchi isn't so bad. Anzu reminds him that saying things like that is why people make fun of him. Yugi starts to look slightly depressed, so Anzu changes the subject by asking him about the box, Yugi gets excited and offers to show her, if she promises to keep it a secret. Anzu is impressed by the sparkling gold pieces. Yugi says that it's a puzzle. He's never finished it so he doesn't know what it looks like. "Something you see, but haven't seen before". Yugi explains that his family owns a game shop. He found the puzzle in a corner of the shop hidden under dust. It's supposed to be a strange puzzle discovered in the ruins of Egypt. He shows her something written on the front of the box. According to his interpretation, it says "Whoever solves the puzzle, can ask me to fulfill one wish". He laughs saying that he might have been a bit over-dramatic. His head drops in shame and he asks Anzu if she's making fun of him. Anzu laughs friendly saying that's not true and asks Yugi what his wish is. Yugi winks. That is too secret to tell.
Back in the corridor, Jonouchi slips his hand into his pocket and reveals a piece of Yugi's puzzle, he managed to swipe from the box earlier. He grasps the piece and grins, saying how Yugi won't be able to solve it if he's missing a piece. Honda tells Jonouchi that he is truly helpless. He should try to give wings to his heart's beauty (meaning lighten up). Jonouchi reminds Honda that he's supposed to be buying lunch. Honda quickly rushes off and Jonouchi throws the piece out the window into a canal. he thinks to himself, Yugi is such a child, that's what makes Jonouchi sick.
Later, Ushio is training the disciplinary group. While Yugi walks past, Ushio calls to him. He asks him if he's being bullied by people in his class. Yugi replies that he doesn't think so. Ushio tells him that just because he's a nice person he doesn't have to answer like that. Ushio then anoints himself Yugi's bodyguard saying Yugi does not need to worry. Yugi insists that that isn't necessary as he leaves.
Yugi meets Anzu when he arrives home. His grandfather, Sugoroku says that Anzu has told him Yugi hasn't given up on the puzzle. He informs Yugi that the puzzle is for an intellectual person, impossible for Yugi to solve and that the team of archaeologists which took it from a Pharaoh's tomb entirely died of mysterious deaths. The last said with his dying breath "The Games of Darkness". Whoever solves the puzzle will get knowledge of the Games of Darkness. Anzu gets worried, but Yugi gets interested. He intends to solve the puzzle no matter what now. Sugoroku makes an attempt to grab the puzzle, saying he has a buyer for it.
At night Yugi works hard on the puzzle in his room. Sugoroku looks through the keyhole at Yugi. He has faith in Yugi, but is concerned about the consequences of solving the puzzle. Regardless he decides that he'll let Yugi finish it.
At school, Ushio greets Yugi, wanting to show him something. He leads Yugi to Jonouchi and Honda where they lie beaten up. Yugi tells Ushio that this is too much and asks Jonouchi and Honda if they are okay. Jonouchi grunts and asks Yugi if he's satisfied. Yugi explains that it's not true, he didn't ask Ushio to do this. Ushio continues to attack Jonouchi, but Yugi protests, he won't let Ushio do this to his friends. Ushio jokes about Yugi calling them his friends and imposes a bodyguard fee of ¥200,000.
That night while Yugi was trying to work out what was to be about Ushio and his fee, he couldn't help but work on his puzzle. Unlike other days solving the puzzle seemed a lot easier that day. Yugi quickly began assembling the puzzle until there was one piece left. He is shocked to find that the last piece is missing.
While Jonouchi and Honda are walking home, they talk about Ushio. Jonouchi looks into the canal where he threw the piece of the puzzle and remembers Yugi sticking up for them and calling them his friends. He jumps into the canal to retrieve it.
Meanwhile Yugi dashes to school, hoping he can find the missing piece of the puzzle there. He meets Ushio, who asks if he has the bodyguard fees. Yugi says that he's just come to the school to get something he forgot. When Ushio realizes Yugi can't give him money, he thinks he should punish him.
Back at the canal, Jonouchi recovers the piece. Honda throws him a towel and notices Ushio leading Yugi somewhere. They run up to Ushio who is after attacking Yugi and Yugi gets knocked unconscious. Jonouchi gives Yugi the piece while Honda tells Ushio that until today he had respected him, but he wouldn't get away with this. Jonouchi and Honda attack Ushio but get beaten-up again. Ushio announces that this is what becomes of those who oppose him. Yugi gains consciousness and sees the two fall. He then realizes he has the missing piece and reaches to the puzzle, inserting it. The puzzle glows and a large shadow appears behind Yugi. The Eye of Anubis flashes on the shadow.
Yugi with a more confident voice calls Ushio to play a game.
The Game of Darkness
Ushio is suddenly suspended by rope from a dome. He looks up and sees Yugi at the other end of the rope. Yugi tells Ushio that he has the money, but just handing it over is boring and suggests that he and Ushio play a game for it, a Game of Darkness. Ushio agrees saying that he has never lost a game. Yugi jumps down so that the rope hangs freely from a pole at the top of the dome, leaving both players suspended from the rope at equal height. As he jumps he spreads a deck of cards face-down along the dome. He explains the rules.
- They both take turns picking up cards
- A player can only climb up the number indicated on the card, while the other player lowers the same amount.
- First to the top gets the money.
Ushio goes first, turning over the 10 of Diamonds. Yugi turns over the King of Diamonds, allowing him to climb 13 spaces. Ushio turns over the 2 of Spades. Yugi turns over the Queen (12) of Spades. Ushio, the three of Diamonds, Yugi the 9 of Hearts, Ushio the 6 of Clubs, Yugi, the Jack (11) of Spades. Yugi is one step from the top. Ushio says that he can turn the game around if he draws the next card. Ushio then draws a Joker. Yugi explains that Joker is the end of the line. As Yugi begins his turn, Ushio says that Yugi must have planned this from the start. Yugi turns the Ace of Diamonds. Ushio gets furious and climbs up to Yugi. Yugi informs him that breaking the rules results in very bad consequences. He attempts to punch Yugi and breaks the rope attaching them. Yugi falls from the dome. Ushio proceeds to take the money, but finds it's only a deck of cards. The Eye of Anubis lights up on Yugi, who is hanging from the building. Yugi punishes Ushio for cheating. Ushio falls from the building, and Yugi creates the illusion that there are monsters in the water Ushio is falling into.
The next day a group of people find Ushio curled up scared. Word spreads that he suffered a massive shock. Yugi, who has no recollection of the game with Ushio, is greeted by Jonouchi. Jonouchi says that he also has a treasure and asks Yugi if he wants so see it. Yugi nods. But Jonouchi says that his treasure too is something you can show, but can't see. Yugi wonders and Jonouchi tells him that the answer is friendship. Jonouchi dashes off to class, thinking, how could he say such corny stuff. Yugi runs after him calling him back saying he forgot his shoe.
|Committee member||Tamotsu Nishiwaki|
|Committee member||Masaya Takatsuka|
|Male student||Jin Domon|
|Female student||Saori Kaneda|
|Female student||Rika Komatsu|
|Female student||Sayuri Fujita|
Differences from the manga
Instead of playing Kurohige Kiki Ippatsu (Pop-up Pirate), Yugi is building a card tower. Each activity foreshadows the Shadow Game about to be played.
In the manga, the boys invited the girls to play basketball, in the hopes of seeing under their skirts as they took shots. The motive is not mentioned in the anime.
Honda is not Jonouchi's crony, but a rejected candidate for class president and junior custodian. He is not entirely in favor of how Jonouchi treats Yugi and even tells him off at times.
Miho Nosaka becomes a main character in this series. In this episode, Jonouchi and Honda use buying her lunch as an excuse to leave after Anzu appears.
Jonouchi returns the piece of the Puzzle to Yugi after Yugi gets beaten up by Ushio, rather than give it to his Grandpa to pass on.
The Shadow Game with Ushio was completely changed and involved reaching the top of a dome, by turning over standard playing cards.