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Yu-Gi-Oh! (Japanese for "King of Games") is a popular Japanese anime and manga franchise from Kazuki Takahashi that mainly involves characters who play a card game called Duel Monsters (originally called "Magic and Wizards" (M&W) in both the English and Japanese versions of the manga) wherein each player purchases and assembles a deck of Monster, Magic and Trap Cards in order to defeat one another. Duel Monsters is believed to be a spinoff of the popular American trading card game Magic: The Gathering.

Begun as a manga in Japan in 1996, the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise has since grown to an immensely successful global brand, spawning various manga and anime series, a real-life version of the card game featured in the story, video games, toys, and many other products.


Japanese Manga

Yu-Gi-Oh! (Original Manga)

Run from 1996 to March 8, 2004, the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga was one of the most popular titles featured in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump. The manga originally focused on Yugi Mutou (Yugi Moto in the English anime) as he uses games designed by himself to fight various villains, and goes into several misadventures with his friends Katsuya Jonouchi (Joey Wheeler in the English anime), Anzu Mazaki (Téa Gardner), and Hiroto Honda (Tristan Taylor). The plots start out as fairly episodic and there are only three instances of the card game Magic and Wizards (later renamed Duel Monsters in the English version of the manga) in the first seven volumes. Starting around the eighth volume, the Duelist Kingdom arc starts and the plot shifts to a Duel Monsters-centered universe.

Yu-Gi-Oh! R

Drawn by Akira Itou and supervised by Kazuki Takahashi, Yu-Gi-Oh! R (?????R) is a spinoff of the original Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, with most of the same characters in a new plotline. It was first published in Shueisha's V-Jump on April 21, 2004.

Japanese Anime

Yu-Gi-Oh! (First Series Anime)

Produced by Toei Animation, this 27-episode anime is based on Yu-Gi-Oh! manga volumes 1-7, which do not focus much on Duel Monsters (known as Magic & Wizards in the original manga). It is not connected in any way to the Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters series, another Yu-Gi-Oh! anime made by Nihon Ad Systems (NAS), but is often referred to as the "first series" to distinguish it from the latter. It was first aired on TV Asahi on April 4, 1998 and it ended its run on October 10, 1998.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Second Series Anime (Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters)

Titled Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters (?????????????) in Asia and Yu-Gi-Oh! elsewhere, this so-called "second series" of the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime is the series that introduced Yu-Gi-Oh! to the Western world. Produced by NAS, it was first aired on TV Tokyo on April 18, 2000 in Japan, and later became popular in Japan and other places around the world. The series ended its 224-episode run on September 29, 2004.

Yu-Gi-Oh! GX

Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, known in Japan as Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters GX (?????????????GX), is an anime spinoff of the original Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, with newly-designed characters in a new plotline, focusing on the life in a duelist academy. Also produced by NAS, the series was first aired on TV Tokyo on October 6, 2004.

English Adaptations

English Anime

The English Yu-Gi-Oh! LogoSee: Yu-Gi-Oh! (Second Series Anime)

Produced by 4Kids Entertainment, the English version of the Yu-Gi-Oh! second series anime is broadcast on many channels. In the United States it is broadcast on Kids WB and on Cartoon Network. In Canada, Yu-Gi-Oh! is broadcast on YTV. In the United Kingdom and Australia, it is broadcast on Nickelodeon. Like many anime shows originally created for the Japanese market, a number of changes were made when the Yu-Gi-Oh! television show was released in the United States.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters GX has been licensed by 4Kids and is set to air in 2005 in North America.

4Kids has not translated the 27 episodes produced by Toei that make up the first series Yu-Gi-Oh! anime. The English version only consists of the second series made by NAS. Some people mistake Toei's series for a lost first season of the TV show.

English Manga

The English version of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga is released by Viz Communications in both the Shonen Jump magazine and in individual graphic novels. 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 few characters (e.g. Maximillion Pegasus) and the Duel Monsters cards. Published in its original right-to-left format, the manga is largely unedited, especially compared to the English anime.

Viz released volumes 1 through 7 under the original manga name Yu-Gi-Oh!. The Duelist Kingdom and Battle City arcs is released as Yu-Gi-Oh! Duelist, while the Egypt arc is released as Yu-Gi-Oh! Millennium World. Currently, April 2005, the Egyptian arc can be found in Shonen Jump magazine.

The translator of the English manga is Anita Sengupta.


First Yu-Gi-Oh! Movie

Produced by Toei Animation, the first movie of Yu-Gi-Oh! is a 30-minute movie released only in Japan. It was first released on March 6, 1999. The characters here are from the 1st series Yu-Gi-Oh! anime. Toei once had a site at but it is no longer there and did not archive it.

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid Of Light

The second movie, referred to as simply "Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie" in North America and known in Japan as Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters: Pyramid of Light, was first released in North America on August 13, 2004. The characters here are from the 2nd series Yu-Gi-Oh! anime. The unedited Japanese remade version of the movie premiered in special screenings in Tokyo on November 3, 2004 and normal theaters on Christmas Eve, 2004. The movie was aired on TV Tokyo on January 2, 2005. In the movie, Yami Yugi faces Anubis, his arch-rival from his time. People who attended the movie during its U.S. premiere got free Yu-Gi-Oh! cards.


The main characters of Yu-Gi-Oh! anime and manga series are Yugi Mutou (Yugi Moto in the English anime), a shy, pure-hearted high school student and gaming expert who possesses the mystic Millennium Puzzle; and the nameless Pharaoh, otherwise known as Dark Yugi, or Yu-Gi-Oh (Yami Yugi), a darker personality hold in the Puzzle. Yugi's best friends Katsuya Jonouchi (Joey Wheeler), Anzu Mazaki (Téa Gardner), and Hiroto Honda (Tristan Taylor) are also primary characters, as well as Dark Yugi's main rival, Seto Kaiba.

The main character of Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters GX is Judai Yuki, an energetic boy who possesses great talents in Duel Monsters, but stays in the worst dormitory of duelist academy, Slifer Red (Osiris Red in Japan).

The Duel Monsters themselves, as the primary battle agents in the series' card duels, can also be considered major characters, especially the three Egyptian God Cards: Obelisk the Tormentor a.k.a. The God of the Obelisk ("God of Obelisk" in the Japanese version), the Winged Dragon of Ra a.k.a. Sun Dragon Ra, and Slifer the Sky Dragon ("Osiris" in the Japanese version).


  • Millennium Items
  • Duelist Kingdom
  • Battle City


Yugi's three best friends are in this picture. From left to right: Anzu Mazaki (Téa Gardner), Hiroto Honda (Tristan Taylor), Katsuya Jonouchi (Joey Wheeler)The real-life Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game is based on the fictional Duel Monsters game played by the primary characters. Unlike other television shows, books, games and films which have spawned card games (such as those for Pokémon, The Lord of the Rings, Star Trek and Star Wars), the Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters TV show features the game, and viewers of the show learn how to play the game along with the characters. The behavior of some cards in the real-life game are not the same as the behavior of the card in the TV show. After the Duelist Kingdom season of the Duel Monsters anime, the card game became real, and the characters started to play the game by the rules outlined in the real card game. Related starter decks released in North America include Yugi Starter Deck, Kaiba Starter Deck, Pegasus Starter Deck, and Joey Starter Deck.

Other collectible games that were originally created as fictitious games for the series but were later turned into real games include Capsule Monster Chess, a sort of pre-Mage Knight collectible miniatures game, and Dungeon Dice Monsters, a dungeon crawl boardgame where the tiles are created by unfolding the faces of 6-sided dice, and which is a variant on an earlier, non-collectible Japanese game called simply Dungeon Dice. Also, the Duel Disc featured in the later anime has been made available.

The merchandising of Yu-Gi-Oh! products and games has drawn criticism from adults and anime fans, and the series is widely described as toyetic. The original manga did not include Duel Monsters as a regular plot vehicle for the first seven volumes. In those seven volumes, which were released in the American Shonen Jump, there are only three instances of the game Magic and Wizards, which was changed to Duel Monsters in the English version of the manga as the plot went on. After Yu-Gi-Oh! become popular, Kazuki Takahashi was asked to modify the storyline to feature more of the card game.

Yu-Gi-Oh!-Related Books (Not Including Manga)

Several books based on the manga and anime have been released in Japan and outside of Japan.

Released In English

Yu-Gi-Oh!: Monster Duel Official Handbook by Michael Anthony Steele - ISBN 0439651018 - Published by Scholastic Press - A guide book to Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and characters
Yu-Gi-Oh! Enter the Shadow Realm: Mighty Champions by Jeff O'Hare - ISBN 0439671914 - Published by Scholastic Press - A book with puzzles and games related to Yu-Gi-Oh!

Not Released In English

All books are published by Shueisha and credit Kazuki Takahashi as the author.

  • Yu-Gi-Oh! (novel) - ISBN 4-08-703086-5 - This is a novelization of the first two story arcs of the manga.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Card Game Duel Monsters Official Rule Guide -- The Thousand Rule Bible - ISBN 4-08-782134-X - This is a rule book and strategy guide for the Junior and Shin Expert rules. This also has a Q & A related to certain cards, and the book comes with the "multiply" card.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Card Game Duel Monsters Official Card Catalog The Variable Book - This is a collection of card catalogues.
    • Volume 1 ISBN 4-08-782764-X
    • Volume 2 ISBN 4-08-782041-6
    • Volume 3 ISBN 4-08-782135-8
    • Volume 4 ISBN 4-08-782047-5
    • Volume 5 ISBN 4-08-782053-X
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Character Guide Book - The Gospel of Truth (Yugio Kyarakutazu Gaido Bukku Shinri no Fukuin) - ISBN 4-08-873363-0 - This book is a character guide related to the manga.

Yu-Gi-Oh!-Related Video Games

Konami produces all Yu-Gi-Oh!-related video games. The English version video games generally use the 4Kids English anime names, as opposed to the Viz English manga names.

Released In English

Nintendo DS

  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Nightmare Troubadour

Game Boy Advance

  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Destiny Board Traveler (Yu-Gi-Oh! Sugoroku no Sugoroku in Japan)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Dungeon Dice Monsters
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Eternal Duelist's Soul (Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters 5 Expert 1 in Japan)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction (Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters 8: Reshef of Destruction in Japan)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Worldwide Edition: Stairway to the Destined Duel (Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters 6 Expert 2 in Japan)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Sacred Cards (Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters 7: The Duelcity Legend in Japan)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship Tournament 2004 (Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters 9: Expert 3 in Japan)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 7 Trials to Glory: World Championship Tournament 2005 (Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters International 2 in Japan)

Game Boy Color

  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Dark Duel Stories (Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters III: Dark Duel Stories)


  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Falsebound Kingdom (Yu-Gi-Oh! Falsebound Kingdom in Japan)


  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Power of Chaos: Joey the Passion (North America and Europe only)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Power of Chaos: Kaiba the Revenge (North America and Europe only)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Power of Chaos: Yugi the Destiny (North America and Europe only)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Online


  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Forbidden Memories (Yu-Gi-Oh! Shin Duel Monsters in Japan)


  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monster Coliseum
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Duelists of the Roses (Yu-Gi-Oh! Shin Duel Monsters 2 in Japan)


  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Dawn of Destiny

Not released In English

Game Boy

  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters Beginners Pack
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters I

Game Boy Color

  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters II
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters 4: Battle Record of the Strongest Duelists
    • Jonouchi Deck
    • Kaiba Deck
    • Yugi Deck
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Monster Capsule GB
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