Yu-Gi-Oh!: An Anime Review

Dedication to gaming can lead to many rewards. Besides leveling up there is friendship, acquired skills, the satisfaction of finishing the game, and becoming possessed by the spirit of an ancient being from a puzzle. While that last one is not the norm for most gamers, it is a pretty lucky thing to happen to the protagonist of this anime! 

The first volume of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga was released in 1997. Kazuki Takahashi had a hit on his hands with Yu-Gi-Oh.  Takahashi had been honing his craft for years in the manga industry. His hard work clearly paid off with Yu-Gi-Oh! The manga would be adapted into an anime in 2000 and would run until 2006. It is so loved that it is still running on streaming services. 

Young Yugi Moto loves games and puzzles. He also enjoys teaching his friends how to play a dueling game that utilizes cards. One day after school, Yugi is telling his friends about rare cards that his grandfather has. They plan to go to his grandfather’s shop to see them. Little do they know that a classmate is listening in and making plans to visit as well. This interaction changes Yugi’s and his friends’ lives, forcing them to enter a more competitive world of the game. Yugi puts his faith in the cards, but they aren’t his only source of power if a duel starts to go south. Could it be that the puzzle around his neck has a larger role in his life then he knows? 

Yu-Gi-Oh! is very much a product of the times it was created. The designs for the characters are archetypical of the late 90s and early 2000s in anime. That does not mean that they are bad, just different from the more fluid style of animation that most of today’s anime utilizes. Their design gives the audience clues about the characters. The designs for the cards and their monsters are unique, and were impressive when the anime was released. The theme song is also a banger — one which will live in the hearts of fans for years. 

English dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! is, like many anime dubs of the time, changed from the manga –and even the subbed Japanese series. Season one takes a lot of liberties with the story, including leaving some big parts of the manga story out. Re-watching as an adult I can see this now. There are times when the anime feels like it is lacking something in the plot. However the story is still interesting and the characters are neat. The series was the first of its kind for many of us then-young, American viewers. Despite its flaws, Yu-Gi-oh! holds a special place in the hearts of many English-speaking viewers. 

I recommend the manga or the subbed version of season one if you want to get the original story. However, I have to say that I love the original dubbed version as well. Part of it is nostalgia, but isn’t that an aspect of anime-viewing that we all love? 



Published by thiathebard

Lover of games, writer of articles and member of Real Women of Gaming. Thia the Bard has been writing from a young age and has always been a fan of the fantastic. She grew up playing video and board games. She loves trying different table top and role playing games. Thia is a proud geek and member of many fandoms. She is also interested in cosplay and Steampunk. Thia is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. Time not spent gaming or running around in garb is usually spent writing. Always keep sparkling!

One thought on “Yu-Gi-Oh!: An Anime Review

  1. My partner got me into Yugioh and we watched the dub together because I’m dyslexic. I then read the manga and watched bits of the anime. We both agree that if the dub improved anything, it’s Seto Kaiba 😂


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