Copyright 1996 Kazuki Takahashi
Do you remember meeting up with friends to duel during recess, or sitting at a table with like-minded duelists during lunch? I certainly do. Yu-Gi-Oh was a source of popularity among those who knew what those crazy monsters were about and a source of criticism among those who were confused by the whole thing.
Yu-Gi-Oh, for those of you who don’t know, is an anime series based around a card game involving monsters aptly named as “Duel Monsters.” The series follows a young duelist by the name of Yugi Muto. Young Yugi possesses the “Millennium Puzzle,” one of seven “Millennium Items,” that empowers him with an ancient spirit that helps Yugi during his duels.
What I just described is a very general summary of what Yu-Gi-Oh is about. As the series progresses, the story of the ancient spirit that inhabits Yugi, as well as the rest of the millennium items, gets complicated, but interesting.
Just recently, this cartoon series that marked the golden age of my childhood was added to Netflix. After watching The Office for the twelfth time, I decided to jump right into season one of Yu-Gi-Oh. Now don’t get me wrong, I still love this series to death, but after watching it again nearly ten years later, I found some flaws.
To start off, I finally understand why my Catholic school teachers didn’t like me bringing these cards to school. The depiction of these demon-like creatures, spells, and some sexualized female creatures can be understandably looked down upon in that sort of environment. Other than that, the central story for Yu-Gi-Oh is all about friendship. It was great for kids, and taught me a lot, but watching it now, everything just seems corny.
Yugi barely pulled through by believing in “the heart of the cards” to win EVERY duel. Not to mention the duels take about three to four episodes each. If Yugi was the greatest dueler, why did he barely win? If he was so good, he should’ve blown through the armature duelists.
The number one moment that made me feel pure embarrassment was toward the end of season one when Yugi and his friend Joey duel. The writers of Yu-Gi-Oh do a fine job making a kid-friendly song about friendship that will make music lovers cringe at the ridiculous lyrics, but air guitar along to the epic guitar solos. Listen here if you don’t remember or want to find out for yourself.
The series take a surprising turn for the better during season two however. With the story line for “Battle City,” new rules and a new style of dueling were introduced which made everything so much more interesting. Even though the writers weren’t very creative with introducing new characters, the new cards and a new way to duel made up for it.
The problem I had with season two was the abrupt ending during the last battles of the season. The season seems to pack all these epic battle toward the end, and ends before the three most anticipated duels start. It’s been a while since I’ve seen beyond the second season, but friends tell me that the third season starts with a filler arc and doesn’t loop back to Battle City ‘til later in the season. This can be somewhat expected if you’re a friend of anime because this seems to happen fairly often (aka Bleach).
The series is still going on with a whole new world of rules and cards that I don’t even have the time to deal with. As for the 1st generation of this series, all in all, Yu-Gi-Oh is still a great series that brings back so many childhood memories. If you haven’t seen Yu-Gi-Oh, be wary in starting this series. I believe Yu-Gi-Oh is best for the ones who spent their Saturday mornings watching the episodes as they originally aired in the U.S. If you want to see Yu-Gi-oh in a raw format, I suggest watching the English subbed version. I hear that 4Kids did some major editing.
I would like to take this time to thank all the mothers of Yu-Gi-Oh fans for spending ridiculous amounts of money on simple cards with monsters on them just to make us happy. They mean the world to us.
My millennium necklace tells me that my next blog post will be about Ed, Edd n Eddy. Until then, believe in the heart of the cards and stay tooned.