We all know that one anime where it takes a game too seriously, but we can’t help but love it. Yu-Gi-Oh! is a nostalgic and cool anime that has an interesting history. It appeared in Weekly Shonen Jump, where a lot of anime we are familiar with are also in like Naruto and Dragon Ball Z. Due to its huge popularity, Yu-Gi-Oh! would later get spin-offs, and are still going strong to this day.
It might seem like a simple children’s card game played by older teenagers and adults, but this franchise can get really, really strange. Surprisingly, that makes the series more intense than it should be. If you grew up watching the 4Kids dub of Duel Monsters and so on, you might notice at an older age that there are some plot lines that seem to be watered down. Watching the Japanese version tells a similar story for each series, but they go all out to make each show more strange and intense. It is not a bad thing, but just imagine what would have happened if the shows were unedited and were made for kids.
However, it is always fun to see another adaptation of an anime we enjoy, even if we do not like some of the changes made here in the west. There are even some behind the scene controversies that managed to become news for the big fan community. Here are some dark facts that you probably did not know from the Yu-Gi-Oh! main series and spin-offs!
20 Managed To Reverse Time
Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bonds Beyond Time is the movie that brought three of the protagonists from each series so far and paired them together to have an epic duel with the antagonist of the film, Paradox. The movie starts off with Yusei and his friends riding around town, only to encounter the villain. He then stole Yusei’s Stardust Dragon, and due to this, the Crimson Dragon helped Yusei go back in time to where Jaden was fending off the monsters Paradox stole. Then the two would later join Yugi and made it in time to where everyone except Yugi didn’t make it when Paradox came to his timeline and attacked.
With that said, Paradox was responsible for taking so many lives from Yusei, Jaden, and Yugi’s timelines. Unfortunately, we do not know that much about Paradox’s backstory, so his reason for wanting to create an apocalypse while going back in time was not explored. Still, the lengths he went to eliminate the past and the people that were in the moment was rather spooky. Who didn’t get a bit sentimental when Yugi was looking for his grandfather? At least that the trio were able to defeat Paradox and restore time before he could go further back.
19 If It Weren't For Those Cards...
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s is one of the most intriguing and well-written spin-offs the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise has made, at least around the Dark Signers arc. Season two introduced us to a new character named Crow, who grew up alongside Yusei and Jack in the Satellite. He is the type of person who would be there when you need him. He is somewhat similar to Yusei, but he can be hotheaded and impulsive, which can get the better of him. So, when the end of the second season was nearing, something would have happened if the writers have not rewritten the original story.
Crow was originally going to be the last Dark Signer that Yusei, Jack, and Akiza would face.
Since Crow never became one, what happened that made the story change? It was the Blackwing cards. Due to his popularity and his deck, Crow was spared in becoming the final villain in the Dark Signers arc and he would later obtain a Signer mark on his right arm while facing Rex Goodwin alongside Yusei and Jack. This would have changed everything in 5D’s and even help Akiza get more great character development. Would you have preferred if Crow was the final boss, or are you happy that he is still hanging around with his friends?
18 The Duel That Never Happened?
Before Bonds Beyond Time was created, we were ecstatic to know that Jaden eventually got to meet Yugi, albeit older since time did pass by in the first episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX from Duel Monsters. The last episode was truly something special, as it went back to square one with Jaden seeing Yugi again and dueling him to close off the second spin-off. Even though we do not know who won, that type of fanservice was a nice send off as we wait for the next Yu-Gi-Oh! spin-off. It is pretty odd though
It is possible that the duel never actually happened, but rather in Jaden’s dreams.
The last episode of GX never aired in the west, so there were some clues that can back up the fact that the duel between Yugi and Jaden was a dream. There were a lot of events that did not make sense, such as Jaden being able to go back in time with his Winged Kuriboh card. For more information, look up the video titled, “Yu-Gi-Oh Theory: Yugi VS Judai NEVER HAPPENED” and watch the last episode of GX again to fulfill your own conclusions. Whether the theory is confirmed or not, speculating of how the duel came to be is very intriguing.
17 A Certain Company Tried To Dub It
Localization is always somewhat of a controversy, especially if there are some major changes that would tick off the fanbase that watched the original Japanese dub of a show. Since 4Kids bought the rights to dub it in English, there were some fans that were so not happy. However, there was another dubbing company that eventually got around to localizing Yu-Gi-Oh! to its original source material. It is important to note that Funimation actually dubbed Duel Monsters years ago, but due to legal reasons, they could not continue dubbing it. Not to mention, 4Kids was not going to let the show go.
This was not the only time a dubbing company tried to dub a season of Yu-Gi-Oh!.
There is a video that actually shows another English dub of the third spin-off Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal, recorded at Bang Zoom Studios. You might hear some familiar voices like Johnny Yong Bosch and Vic Mignogna. It would be a saving grace to have a Yu-Gi-Oh! anime that has not been butchered by 4Kids, but knowing that 4Kids has been bankrupted due to a lawsuit, 4K Media is now responsible for localizing the ongoing Yu-Gi-Oh! spin-off VRAINS. Perhaps in another world, we would have gotten this new dub of Zexal instead.
16 An Alternate Universe?
Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V had its moments compared to the main series and the spin-offs, but what is the most memorable part is the number of cameos from the spin-offs except for Duel Monsters. In fact, they are important characters in the show and are not there just for fanservice. Names like Jack Atlas and Crow Hogan are from 5D’s and though they are not the main characters, they do have important roles in the story of Arc-V. Yet, they have differences from their main counterparts so that they are not just exact copies. Other characters like Alexis Rhodes and Aster Phoenix from GX also make an appearance in Arc-V.
It is, in fact, true that these characters are from a different universe from the shows they debuted in. The ones we are familiar with come from diverse dimensions depending on the type of Extra Deck Special Summons procedures. The characters that appeared in GX came from the Fusion Dimension, the 5D’s characters are from the Synchro Dimension, and so forth. Arc-V has a lot of world building and it makes it one of the most compelling spin-offs to date for the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise. It is a shame that no characters from Duel Monsters appeared.
15 Be Careful What You Get Into
It was rather unfortunate that, even though 5D’s is an amazing spin-off, there were so many rewrites that it affected the storylines and characters. Carly was an interesting side character who helped Jack develop from a selfish man to a caring one. Their relationship was one of the best we have seen from Yu-Gi-Oh! and it was disappointing to see Carly’s character get shafted after the Dark Signers arc ended. The reason for this is incredibly disturbing, and it doesn’t have to do with Carly’s character, but her first seiyuu Li-Mei Chiang.
That resulted in her being fired and replaced by another voice actress, but it also completely removed any traces of the Arcadia Movement, which was known to be a cult in the show. Iliaster was also one but were changed to time travelers to avoid 5D’s being associated with any cult. In the end, Carly’s first seiyuu ended up being a victim along with other members who joined the cult, but it is mind-blowing how one voice actress can end up affecting the show’s writing and pacing. It was unfortunate, but at least there was no harm done for both her and the show.
14 How To Make A Duel Interesting
If you compare the original version of Duel Monsters and the 4Kids dub, it is like comparing apples and oranges. The story is the same, albeit, done differently, but the circumstances in some duels were heavily changed in the English dub. Take for instance Yami’s duel with Arkana (side note: this is where you see Dark Magician Girl for the first time). It was a very memorable duel, but for more reasons than you would expect. This episode is unforgettable due to how insane Arkana is, and he also has a Dark Magician deck, a very iconic archetype in the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game.
Remember that the duelists’ legs were chained to the floor? The circumstances for whoever loses would actually end up not walking, to put it very mildly. The 4Kids dub claimed that the loser of the duel would go to the Shadow Realm from a Dark Energy Disc. The original is just actual buzzsaws. As Yami and Arkana lose life points, the buzzsaws would get closer until it hits zero. How Yami was able to remain calm and try to get both of their legs intact is something we will never know. The duel was very intense to get through and we were relieved that none of them got to go through something so bad.
13 Such A Creep
Yu-Gi-Oh! might be known for its duels and characters, but there are some situations that were cut off from the English localization. Some are annoying to go through, but then there are moments that would be too creepy to keep in. This occurs in Duel Monsters with one of the main characters Tea Gardner. In the episode “Face Off, Part 1,” Tea hopes to earn enough money to go to New York to become a dancer. To save up money, she works at Burgerpalooza despite a part-time job being against school rules. She then receives a note in her locker stating that her secret of working will be revealed if she didn’t go to the school’s gymnasium.
Out of nowhere, a mugger appears and had the nerve to videotape Tea, and when she gets attacked by him, leaving her unconscious, he films her. What could have happened is spooky, but thankfully Yami Yugi saves the day before the mugger could even try to do something worse to her. It is one of those changes that 4Kids drastically changed and thankfully not show any of the animation involving the creep video taking her. We can thank Yami’s mind crush ability to stop the mugger for good.
12 When Something Goes Really Far
Unfortunately, unless you were lucky to watch all of the episodes of GX, we never get to see one of the craziest moments in Yu-Gi-Oh!. There was an interesting relationship that we got to see but never see its closure. Whose relationship? It is no other than Jaden and Yubel. Jaden had her card in his possession, and due to that, she has grown to like him to the point where she would hurt anyone that threatens him. That sounds kind of crazy, right?
If you watched Bonds Beyond Time, you might be confused as to why Yubel resides in Jaden. Season four was never dubbed, therefore, we did not get to see Yubel change ever since she fused her spirit with Jaden’s. Think of it as being parallel to Yami residing inside Yugi, since those two have the same partnership as Jaden and Yubel. Initially, Yubel was manipulative, but she later turned into a calm and more mature partner for Jaden. Despite the uneasy feeling of a having another spirit inside him, Jaden also can use Yubel’s abilities, such as enhanced strength. Whenever he does this, you would see his eyes turn from brown to heterochromia consisting of Yubel’s eye colors.
11 Someone's Greedy
It is crazy how even a voice actor from Japan can get annoyed with how a dubbing company like 4Kids can intervene with treating Yu-Gi-Oh!. That might not sound unusual, but here is some interesting behind the scene coverage. The original voice actor for Yugi and Yami Yugi, Shunsuke Kazama, and ADK got involved with preventing episodes of the uncut Japanese dub from being released on 4Kids’ YouTube account. While 4Kids do have the right to upload the uncut episodes since they do own the rights to Yu-Gi-Oh!, we also see why Yugi’s seiyuu and the parent company of NAS would not approve of this. The reason behind this is that Shunsuke felt he was not getting paid for his performances in the anime whenever a video of it is online.
The videos were removed ever since then, but sites like Crunchyroll can stream the original Japanese version legally and profitably, which are still up today. It is not just Duel Monsters, but GX, 5D’s, and the others are also available for streaming. It is all a mess, but thanks to streaming services today, voice actors from Japan will be able to benefit from them. Be sure to watch any anime legally!
10 Written Off Much Sooner
Pegasus was one of the most entertaining villain-turned allies the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise has created. He is overdramatic yet sophisticated, something that would make a character like him captivating. While he does have some moments in the Duelist Kingdom arc that are downright evil, he amazingly managed to redeem himself. Before then, his goals were to gain control of KaibaCorp and defeat Yugi so that he could get his Millennium Puzzle while restoring his company’s reputation. After his defeat, he is relevant when needed as an ally.
In the manga, Pegasus dealt with a lot of sad events after sad events, making his villainous motives just as sadistic. Like in the anime, he lost the love of his life from an illness. Because of that, we went into a deep depression. He then sacrificed his eye to obtain the Millennium Eye. However, unlike the anime, Pegasus does not live longer. Yami Bakura eventually took Pegasus’s life by literally taking his Millennium Eye off. It is interesting how the manga is vastly different from the anime and how two versions of Pegasus were conceived. One was able to redeem himself and be an ally, while the other faced a doomful demise so awful.
9 Quite An Outfit You Got There, Yugi
When it comes to designs in the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, they are all over the place. After all, the hair for each main character is all over the top and crazy, but it is an integral part of their character design. Outfit designs are also interesting, helping make the characters stand out while also reflecting their personalities. After all, we can’t just have our main characters stay in one casual outfit and school uniforms. So how does this have to do with one of the characters? It turns out that Yugi’s outfit in the Battle City arc is… questionable by the looks of it.
So add this up altogether: Yugi is wearing a collar, a leather belt, and wears his Millennium Puzzle with a chain. Does that ring any bells? Even the abridged version of Yami thinks so too. Yugi does look good in his Battle City outfit, but a small number of fans who partake in that activity will question Yugi’s favorite hobbies other than dueling. The fact that the creator Takahashi Kazuki confirmed the influence for Yugi’s outfit makes his thought process mindboggling. It is cool how a Tim Burton movie influenced the outfit, but the other reason is strange.
8 A Strange Fate
The Dark Signers in 5D’s were one of the most compelling and complex villains. Not just in the show they are in, but in the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise as a whole. They did not start off as evil, which makes them more interesting and kept our eyes glued to what their intentions are once they became Dark Signers. Carly, who is a fangirl of Jack, wanted to get the scoop on the Arcadia Movement, but when Sayer intervenes, that led to her demise. She also wanted to be closer to Jack, so seeing her struggle and try to obtain her goal was heartbreaking.
The others got it really bad too.
Misty was so distraught over her brother’s passing that she ended up driving off a cliff. She wanted revenge on Akiza since she believed she was responsible for her brother’s passing. Kallen starved since the prison guards would not feed him, and Grieger wanted to save his village, so he ended up getting lynched as a result. While the four mentioned were not the only Dark Signers, they had it tough due to wanting to save someone they care about or try to reach out to someone. In the end, they were thankfully brought back to life.
7 The Victim
Referring back to Misty, her demise was extremely sad. She was a beloved model that cared deeply for her brother Toby. As a kid, her brother developed psychic powers similar to Akiza, so he went to the same school as she did. Misty disapproved of him going to the Arcadia Movement due to hearing negative reception, but he still went regardless to help control his psychic abilities. Before then, Toby gave Misty a golden heart-shaped locket, which would become her last offering of him. Following Akiza’s advice, Toby went to Sayer so that he could control his powers.
He had met with a strange fate making that decision.
Because of that, Toby went through excruciating painful tests that included him being electrocuted. The procedure was too much, and it ended up stopping Toby’s heart. Hearing the news of her little brother passing literally drove Misty to her bereavement, driving off a cliff without realizing it until it was too late. She would later be revived by an Earthbound Immortal, and motivate her to take down the one she believed was responsible for her brother now gone: Akiza. It was an uncomfortably sad moment and it is one the most emotional moments in Yu-Gi-Oh! history.
6 A Haunting Past
Vector is one of the most sad but creepiest villains in all of Yu-Gi-Oh!. Appearing in Zexal, he is an emperor from Barian World. His corruption led him to become an insane emperor and be manipulative and unpredictable. As to how he ended up the way he is, we would have to delve into his past. Vector was a sun of a warrior king, and he received a card named Number 65: Djinn Buster. As his father became ill and a bit insane in the head, Vector took it upon himself to create a peace treaty with those that they were at war with.
His father did not take it well.
His father attempted to attack Vector with a sword, but his mother came in and took the hit herself, ending her life. Vector’s father would later pass on seconds later due to his illness. The fact that his mother protected him from his father while taking the blow must have been bad for Vector, along with his father leaving him as well. Because of the trauma, it corrupted Vector, leading him to become just as sadistic as his father. While a very sad backstory, Vector has one of the best ones out there.
5 Dang Bakura, You're Spooky
As much as we love Bakura, whenever he turns dark, it can make us shiver in fear. Yami Bakura is a huge contrast to normal Bakura, which kind of acts as a parallel to someone else in a season that never aired in the west, but we will talk about that later. In the Battle City arc, there were three duelists by the name of Bonz, Sid, and Zygor. They were up to no good in their own way, such as tricking people into giving them their Locator Cards. Yami Bakura intervened and challenged them to a duel, and it was that moment where they wished they have not done it.
One of the duelists, Bonz, lost the duel against Bakura and due to that, he sent the three to the Shadow Realm. If you watch the Japanese version, they were sent to the underworld. Those that were sent there managed to escape, but these three were never seen or heard from again. Having to go through something like that is just spooky, especially when someone is so young. If Bakura was not spooky then, then we do not know how anything can compete with that creepy scene from Duel Monsters.
4 A Huge Destruction
Even before the show started, some intense events were going on in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s, one of them being called Zero Reverse. The show takes place in New Domino City, which shows how much time has passed since it was originally named Domino City. Seventeen years early, a huge amount of dark energy was overloaded in the Ener-D system, which ultimately caused to tore New Domino City in half. What is also bad is that a lot of innocent civilians have passed away during this event, such as Yusei’s parents. Another big shock: Rex Goodwin and his brother Roman were responsible for this event, making their villainous intents the more evil.
It makes us think of who survived and who did not.
Due to the destruction, that is how we know the two sections of the torn city, with the more populated and civilized section being called New Domino City while the poorer and harsh section is called Satellite. We do know that Tetsu Trudge survived, and he was the same guy we saw in Duel Monsters. When it comes to Yugi and his friends, that is debatable. Tea might have lived in New York due to her dream of being a dancer, but she might have to be in her fifties at least.
3 Arguably The Best Spin-Off
When it comes down to what is the best spin-off of Yu-Gi-Oh!, it would have to be 5D’s. The story was unlike its predecessors and the characters were three-dimensional and compelling. Yusei Fudo went through so much and managed to remain unbroken despite living under difficult circumstances. His parents passed away from Zero Reverse, which offed a ton of innocent people as well. Some say that he is a Gary-Stu, but not everything goes his way, and he has lost so much than we could compare to other characters in all of Yu-Gi-Oh!. Plus, you can never say no to card games on motorcycles.
It is also rather flawed too, especially once the Dark Signers arc ended.
Even with the rewrites, there is no denying that the story of 5D’s was one of the best. It was darker and edgier, but also had a lot of heartfelt moments that made us feel bad for the characters. The music was also the best, capturing every moment perfectly and making each duel engaging and epic. We all have different opinions, so we shall ask you this question: Which spin-off do you prefer? Or is your favorite always going to be Duel Monsters?
2 The Anime That Started It All
If you are a casual fan of Yu-Gi-Oh!, be prepared to know that there was a season before the one we were accustomed to in the west. It is the very first season to ever air in Japan, but we all know it as season zero. The animation, while outdated, was done by Toei, the same company that did the Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon franchise. A lot of fans believed that it was a prequel to Duel Monsters, but that is actually incorrect. Since Yu-Gi-Oh! is originally a manga, the first series was based on the manga.
If you think 5D’s or Zexal was really dark, you have not seen how far season zero goes.
Yugi didn’t start out being good friends with Joey and Tristan, as the two actually bully him. The real kicker here is the depiction of Yami in the first season. He is incredibly sadistic and punishes his opponents after winning a duel. In his defense, the opponents he would face have done pretty messed up things that are just indescribable. While there are not any episodes that can be watched legally, an abridged version by a certain internet sensation can at least fill in what you are missing.
1 Localization At Its Worst
As we all are very aware, 4Kids was the localization company that dubbed Yu-Gi-Oh! ever since the first show, not counting season zero, up until it got bankrupt and 4K Media took over to do Arc-V. It was very cheesy and overly dramatic, but we cannot help but tolerate it since we would not have gotten into the series if it were not for 4Kids. However, there were at times where censorship was a bit too much for the dubbing company. Remember when Pegasus’s guards came to Seto Kaiba and pointed at him? Apparently, they have invisible guns since 4Kids got rid of them amazingly.
It doesn’t stop there. There were other moments from the spin-offs that were heavily covered up by the magic of 4Kids. For example, if a woman has a chest, it is toned down completely. When a person falls from a building or anything like that, you can expect some mist or fog covering the scenery up so that kids will think that they managed to survive the fall. We get it, Yu-Gi-Oh! here in the west is catered to kids, but if they can watch a Disney movie and know that they see a character pass away, that just shows how ridiculous covering up that concept is. Thankfully, we are able to see the shows uncensored and know what the plots were really like.