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Cover of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Volume 1 as published by Shueisha featuring Yugi Mutou
|Genre||Action, Adventure, Fantasy|
|Written by||Kazuki Takahashi|
|English publisher||VIZ Media
|Magazine||Weekly Shōnen Jump|
|English magazine||USA: Shonen Jump|
|Original run||December 1996 – June 2004|
|Volumes||38 (List of volumes)|
|Anime and Manga Portal|
Yu-Gi-Oh! (遊戯王 Yūgiō?, lit. Game King) is a Japanese manga series created by Kazuki Takahashi. It was serialised in Shueisha‘s Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine between December 1996 and June 2004. Two anime adaptations were produced; one by Toei Animation which aired in 1998 and another produced by Nihon Ad Systems which aired between April 2000 and September 2004. The series has spawned a franchise that includes multiple spinoff manga and anime series, a trading card game and numerous video games. Most of the incarnations of the franchise involve the fictional trading card game called Duel Monsters (originally known as Magic & Wizards), where each player uses cards to “duel” each other in a mock battle of fantasy “monsters”. The Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game is the real world counterpart to this fictional game on which it is loosely based.
Yu-Gi-Oh! tells the tale of Yugi Mutou, a timid young boy who loves all sorts of games, but is often bullied around. One day, he solves an ancient artifact known as the Millenium Puzzle, causing his body to play host to a mysterious spirit. From that moment onwards, whenever Yugi or one of his friends is threatened by those with darkness in their hearts, this ‘Dark Yugi’ shows himself and challenges them to dangerous ‘Shadow Games’ which reveal the true nature of someone’s heart. As the series progresses and its focus shifts to the fictional card game known as Duel Monsters, Yugi and his friends learn that this other Yugi inside of his puzzle is actually the spirit of an unnamed Phaoroah from Egyptian times who had lost his memories. As Yugi and friends attempt to help the Pharaoh regain his memories, they find themselves going through many trials and facing off against others wielding the mysterious Millenium Items.
The early chapters of Yu-Gi-Oh! feature a variety of different games; but from the Duelist Kingdom arc onwards, the focus is shifted to a card game called Duel Monsters. Duel Monsters is played using a holographic image system created by Seto Kaiba (following his first match with Yugi). In the manga and first series anime, these were initially performed on tables, using holographic tubes, while the second series anime uses huge holographic fields. Starting with the Battle City arc, (as well as the series that followed), duels are performed using portable Duel Disks, invented by Seto Kaiba, which allows duels to happen anywhere.
Kazuki Takahashi said that the card game held the strongest influence in the manga, because it “happened to evoke the most response” from readers. Prior to that point, Takahashi did not plan to make the series about a card game.
When an interviewer asked Takahashi if he tried to introduce younger readers to real life gaming culture referenced in the series, Takahashi responded by saying that he simply included “stuff he played and enjoyed”, and that it may have introduced readers to role-playing games and other games. Takahashi added that he created some of the games seen in the series. The author stressed the importance of “communication between people,” often present in tabletop role playing games and not present in solitary video games. Takahashi added that he feels that quality communication is not possible over the Internet.
Takahashi said that the “positive message” for readers of the series is that each person has a “strong hidden part” (like “human potential”) within himself or herself, and when one finds hardship, the “hidden part” can emerge if one believes in him/herself and in his/her friends. Takahashi added that this is “a pretty consistent theme.”
The editor of the English version, Jason Thompson, said that the licensing of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga had not been entirely coordinated, so Viz decided to use many of the original character names and to “keep it more or less violent and gory.” Thomspon said that the manga “was almost unchanged from the Japanese original.” Because the core fanbase of the series was, according to Thompson, “8-year-old boys (and a few incredible fangirls),” and because the series had little interest from “hardcore, Japanese-speaking fans, the kind who run scanlation sites and post on messageboards” as the series was perceived to be “too mainstream,” the Viz editors allowed Thompson “a surprising amount of leeway with the translation.” Thompson said that he did not “abuse” the leeway he was given. In a 2004 interview, the editors of the United States Shonen Jump mentioned that Americans were surprised when reading the stories in Volumes 1 through 7, as they had not appeared on television as a part of the second anime series. Takahashi added “The story is quite violent, isn’t it? [laughs]“
The original Yu-Gi-Oh! manga by Kazuki Takahashi was serialized in Shueisha‘s Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1996 to March 8, 2004. The plot starts out fairly episodic and includes only three instances of Magic and Wizards in the first seven volumes. In the eighth volume, the Duelist Kingdom arc starts, making the plot shift to a Duel Monsters-centered universe. The editors were Yoshihisa Heishi and Hisao Shimada. Kazuki Takahashi credits Toshimasa Takahashi in the “Special Thanks” column. The English version of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga is released in the North America by Viz Media, running in Shonen Jump magazine between 2002 and December 2007. The original Japanese character names are kept for most of the characters (Yugi, Jonouchi, Anzu, and Honda, for instance), while the English names are used for a minor number of characters (e.g. Maximillion Pegasus) and for the Duel Monsters cards. Although it is published in its original right-to-left format, the manga is largely unedited. Viz released volumes 1 through 7 of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga under its original title. The Duelist Kingdom and Battle City arcs are released under the title; Yu-Gi-Oh!: Duelist, while the Egypt arc is released as Yu-Gi-Oh! Millennium World.
A spin-off manga titled Yu-Gi-Oh! R was illustrated by Akira Ito under Takahashi’s supervision. The story takes place between the Battle City and Egypt arcs where Yugi and his friends must stop a man named Yako Tenma who plans to use Anzu Mazaki’s body to revive Maximillion Pegasus. It was serialized in V-Jump between June 2004 and January 2008 and was compiled into five tankōbon volumes. Viz Media released the series in North America between 2009 and 2010.
Yu-Gi-Oh! (Toei series)
The first Yu-Gi-Oh! anime adaptation was produced by Toei Animation and aired on TV Asahi between April 4, 1998 and October 10, 1998, running for 27 episodes. Often referred to by fans as “the first series” or “season zero”, the series adapts the first seven volumes of the manga, focusing less on Duel Monsters, and is different in tone from NAS’ adaptations. This adaptation was never released outside of Japan.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters
Yu-Gi-Oh!, known in Japan as Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters (遊☆戯☆王 デュエルモンスターズ Yūgiō Dyueru Monsutāzu?), is the second adaptation of the series produced by Nihon Ad Systems. Adapting the manga from volume eight onwards, the series features several differences from the Toei produced series and largely focuses around the game of Duel Monsters, tying in with the real life Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game. The series aired in Japan on TV Tokyo between April 18, 2000 and September 29, 2004, running for 224 episodes.
In 2001, 4Kids Entertainment obtained the merchandising and television rights to the series from Konami, producing an English language version which aired in North America on Kids’ WB! between September 29, 2001 and June 10, 2006, also releasing in various countries outside of Japan. The adaptation received many changes from the Japanese version to tailor it for international audiences. These include different names for many characters and monsters, changes to the appearance of the cards to differentiate them from their real-life counterparts and various cuts and edits pertaining to violence, death and religious references to make the series suitable for children. An uncut version featuring the original Japanese version and an all-new English dub track began release in October 2004 in association with Funimation Entertainment, but only three volumes comprising the first nine episodes were ever released. 4Kids also began releasing the uncut Japanese episodes of the series to YouTube in May 2009, but were forced to stop due to legal issues with ADK and Yugi’s Japanese voice actor, Shunsuke Kazama. A different English dubbed adaptation was produced by A.S.N. and aired in South East Asia.
On March 24, 2011, TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad Systems filed a joint lawsuit against 4Kids, accusing them of underpayments concerning the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchises and allegedly conspiring with Funimation, and have allegedly terminated their licensing deal with them. This led to 4Kids filing for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy code. Although 4Kids had managed to win the case in March 2012, 4Kids sold the rights to all Yu-Gi-Oh! assets to Konami‘s 4K Acquisition Group.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monsters
Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Mosters is a twelve-episode spinoff miniseries commissioned, produced and edited by 4Kids Entertainment, which aired in North America between September 9, 2006 and November 25, 2006. It is set before the end of the second Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series, apparently somewhere during season 5, and involves Yugi and his friends being pulled into a world filled with real Duel Monsters they can summon using capsules. It is similar to the Virtual RPG arc in many respects, but it does not seem to have anything to do with the early Capsule Monster Chess game featured in early volumes of the original manga. It is currently the only animated Yu-Gi-Oh! media not to be released in Japan, though it is referred to as Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters ALEX.
Based on the Toei animated series, the thirty-minute movie revolves around a boy named Shōgo, who is targeted by Seto Kaiba after obtaining a powerful rare card; the legendary Red-Eyes Black Dragon. The movie was released on March 6, 1999 and, like the TV series, was not released outside of Japan.
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light, often referred to as simply Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie, was first released in North America on August 13, 2004. The movie was developed specifically for Western audiences by 4Kids based on the overwhelming success of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise in the United States. Warner Bros. distributed the film in most English-speaking countries. Its characters are from the second series Yu-Gi-Oh! anime. In the movie, which takes place following the Battle City arc, Yugi faces Anubis, the Egyptian God of the Dead. An extended uncut Japanese version of the movie premiered in special screenings in Japan on November 3, 2004 under the title Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters: Pyramid of Light. The movie was then aired on TV Tokyo on January 2, 2005. Attendees of the movie during its premiere (U.S. or Japan) got 1 of 4 free Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game cards. The cards were Pyramid of Light, Sorcerer of Dark Magic, Blue Eyes Shining Dragon and Watapon. The Home Video Release also gave out one of the Free Cards with an offer to get all 4 by mail (though the promotion ended in December 2004). In Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the United Kingdom, free promotional cards were also given out, however, they were given out at all screenings of the movie, and not just the premiere.
Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bonds Beyond Time
Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bonds Beyond Time, known in Japan as Yu-Gi-Oh! Movie: Super Fusion! Bonds that Transcend Time (劇場版 遊☆戯☆王 ～超融合！時空を越えた絆～ Gekijō-ban Yūgiō ~Chō-Yūgō! Jikū o Koeta Kizuna~?), is a 3-D film released on January 23, 2010 in Japan. The film was released in North America by 4Kids on February 26, 2011 with additional footage, where it also received an encore screening in Japan. The movie celebrates the 10th anniversary of the first NAS series (as opposed to the anniversary of the manga) and features an original storyline involving Yugi Muto, Jaden Yuki (Judai Yuki) from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX and Yusei Fudo from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s, fighting against a new enemy named Paradox. It was first teased with short animations featured at the start of episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s during the third season. The film was released on Blu-ray Disc and DVD in July 2011, with the UK release by Manga Entertainment being the first bilingual release of the franchise since the Uncut Yu-Gi-Oh! DVDs.
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, known in Japan as Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters GX, is the first spin-off anime series produced by NAS which ran for 180 episodes from October 6, 2004 and March 26, 2008. Taking place a few years after the events of the original series, the series follows a boy named Jaden Yuki as he attends a Duel Academy in the hopes of becoming the next King of Games. Like the previous seasons, 4Kids Entertainment licensed the series outside of Japan and aired it in North America between October 10, 2005 and July 12, 2008, though the fourth season was not dubbed.
A manga adaptation by Naoyuki Kageyama was serialized in Shueisha’s V-Jump magazine between December 2005 and March 2011. The manga differs from that of the anime, featuring new storylines and monsters, as well as some personality changes in some of the characters. The series is published in North America by Viz Media.
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s is the second main spin-off series, which aired for 148 episodes between April 2, 2008 and March 30, 2011. It was later licensed by 4Kids and aired in North America between September 13, 2008 and September 10, 2011. This series focuses around a motorcycling duelist named Yusei Fudo and introduces new concepts such as Turbo Duels, duels which take place upon motorbikes called Duel Runners, and Synchro Monsters, which were also added to the trading card game.
A manga adaptation by Masahiro Hikokubo and Satou Masashi began serialization in V-Jump from August 2009 and, like the GX manga, differs from the anime in storyline and characterization. The manga is also published in North America by Viz Media.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal is the third main spin-off series which aired in Japan between April 11, 2011 and September 24, 2012. The story revolves around a boy named Yuma Tsukumo who, joined by an interstellar being known as Astral, must gather the 99 Numbers cards that make up his memory. The series adds yet another monster type, Xyz Monsters, which were also added to the trading card game. 4Kids licensed the series and began airing the series in North America on The CW‘s Toonzai block from October 15, 2011. After a legal battle with TV Tokyo and NAS caused 4Kids to file for bankruptcy, Konami received the rights to the series. The series is currently airing on Saban‘s Vortexx block, with Konami setting up a new studio to produce future episodes of the series. A second series, Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal II, began airing in Japan from October 7, 2012.
The manga adaptation written by Shin Yoshida and illustrated by Naoto Miyashi, began serialization in the extended February 2011 issue of Shueisha’s V Jump magazine, released on December 18, 2010. Unlike the GX and 5D’s manga adaptations, this manga follows the storyline of the anime more closely.
Trading card game
The Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game is a Japanese collectible card battle game developed and published by Konami. Based on the Duel Monsters concept from the original manga series, the game sees players using a combination of monsters, spells and traps to defeat their opponent. First launched in Japan in 1999, the game has received various changes over the years, such as the inclusion of new monster types to coincide with new anime series, and is currently the top selling trading card game in the world.
There are several video games based on the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise which are published by Konami, the majority of which are based on the trading card game.
John Jakala of Anime News Network reviewed the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga in 2003 as part of reviewing the U.S. Shonen Jump. Jakala said that while the commercials for the second series anime made the anime appear “completely uninteresting,” the comic “is unexpectedly dark and moody.” Jakala added that at one moment the series “reminded me of Neil Gaiman‘s work: Yugi finds himself drawn into a magical world of ancient forces where there are definite rules that must be obeyed.” Jakala concluded that the fact the series uses games as plot devices “opens up a lot of story possibilities” and that he feared that the series had the potential to “simply devolve into a tie-in for the popular card game.” In December 2002, Shonen Jump received the ICv2 Award for “Comic Product of the Year” due to its unprecedented sales numbers and its successfully connecting comics to both the television medium and the Yu-Gi-Oh! collectible card game; one of the top CCG games of the year. In August 2008, TV Tokyo reported that card game series has sold over $18 billion worldwide. Jason Thompson, the editor of the English manga, ranked Yu-Gi-Oh! as number three of his five personal favorite series to edit.
- ^ a b c Shonen Jump. Volume 2, Issue 9. September 2004. VIZ Media. 8.
- ^ Shonen Jump. Volume 2, Issue 8. August 2004. VIZ Media. 140.
- ^ a b “To All the Manga I’ve Edited Before.” Comixology. May 22, 2008. Retrieved on July 8, 2010.
- ^ Yu-Gi-Oh! Millennium World Volume 7. VIZ Media. 218.
- ^ In volume 1 of the Yu-Gi-Oh! R manga, Akira Ito explains the manga, which describes a hidden story that does not appear in the original Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, as a “reverse” (リバース ribāsu?) of the original one, in an effort to expand the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise.
- ^ http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-02-08/viz-adds-yu-gi-oh-r-boys-over-flowers-epilogue
- ^ “Official Japanese Yu-Gi-Oh! Episodes Removed from YouTube, Never to Return Again”. Word Press. 2009-08-21. Retrieved 2010-09-29.
- ^ “TV Tokyo, Nihon Ad Terminate Yu-Gi-Oh! Deal, Sue 4Kids”. Anime News Network. March 29, 2011. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
- ^ “4Kids Files Shareholders’ Report on Yu-Gi-Oh! Lawsuit”. Anime News Network. March 31, 2011. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
- ^ “4Kids Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy”. Anime News Network. April 6, 2011. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
- ^ http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2012-03-01/adk-tv-tokyo-amicably-settle-yu-gi-oh-suit-with-4kids
- ^ Konami to Get 4Kids’ Yu-Gi-Oh! Assets Under Proposed Deal – News – Anime News Network:UK
- ^ 4Kids Sells Yu-Gi-Oh!, CW Network-Related Assets Jointly to Konami, Kidsco – News – Anime News Network:UK
- ^ http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2012-07-30/konami-explains-transition-of-4kids-yu-gi-oh-assets
- ^ “Yu-Gi-Oh! 3D’s U.S. Theatrical Run Dated for February–March”. Anime News Network. November 22, 2010. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
- ^ “Toriko, Yu-Gi-Oh! 10th Special Anime Shorts Announced”. Anime News Network. July 5, 2009. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
- ^ http://twitter.com/#!/MangaUK/status/60965090953932800
- ^ “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Anime, Manga Revealed”. Anime News Network. December 13, 2010. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
- ^ “Japanese Firms Pitch New Yu-Gi-Oh! at Licensing Expo”. Anime News Network. May 10, 2011. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
- ^ “4Kids Files to Prevent Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Licensing”. Anime News Network. May 17, 2011. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
- ^ Judge orders hold on U.S. Yu-Gi-Oh! anime license
- ^ VEGAS 2011: 4Kids Entertainment outlines portfolio | Licensing Industry | News by Licensing.biz
- ^ http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/23540.html
- ^ http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2012-09-02/yu-gi-oh-zexal-ii-to-debut-on-october-7-in-new-timeslot
- ^ “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal TV Anime’s Promo Video Streamed”. Anime News Network. December 17, 2010.
- ^ Jakala, John (January 2, 2003). “Shonen Jump Volume 1 Review”. Anime News Network. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
- ^ “ICv2 2002 Comic Awards, Part 1”. ICv2. 2002-12-29. Retrieved 2008-07-01.
- ^ “18.1 Billion ‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’ Cards”. ICv2. 2008-08-14. Retrieved 2008-11-26.