Yu-Gi-Oh! is an American adaptation of the original Japanese anime series Yūgiō Dyueru Monsutazo. The series originally ran on American television from 2001 to 2006, spanning five seasons and 224 episodes. The story was originally produced as a Japanese manga series, written by Kazuki Takahashi, before it was adapted for television.
Who Is Yu-Gi-Oh!
Yu-Gi-Oh! is the epic story of Yugi Mutou, a young boy who learns to play the game of Dual Monsters from his grandfather. His grandfather, a local Dual Monsters game shop owner, teaches him to respect a traditional philosophy of the game known as the “heart of the cards.” After solving an ancient riddle surrounding an Egyptian artifact known as The Millennium Puzzle, young Yugi inherits the spirit of an ancient Pharaoh who goes by the name Yami. Thus begins Yugi’s new friendship and long journey to help Yami recover his memory about his past. If you did not catch the original run of the show, you can watch Yu-Gi-Oh! online and get caught up on this enthralling tale that brings together elements of Japanese and Egyptian culture.
After solving The Millennium Puzzle, Yugi faces off with rival Seto Kaiba, the reigning Dual Monsters champion, defeating him in a game of Dual Monsters to avenge his grandfather’s honor and belief in the heart of the cards. But this only starts trouble for Yugi when a more menacing threat, Maximillion Pegasus, hears of the defeat of Kaiba, forcing Yugi to enter into a duel with Pegasus in the shadow realm. Losing the dual, due to the time running out before Yugi’s last strike could be made, causes Pegasus to up the stakes, forcing Yugi to enter his up-and-coming Dual Monsters tournament. Using his Millennium Eye to steal Yugi’s grandfather’s soul, Yugi is compelled against his will to join Pegasus’ tournament in order to free his grandfather from Pegasus’ control. With his close friends Joey Wheeler, Tristan Taylor, and Téa Gardner, Yugi heads off to prepare for the Duelist Kingdom tournament that Pegasus is sponsoring. As events progress, Yugi learns more about Yami and how he was an ancient Pharaoh struggling to remember his name as well as his past. After a boat ride and numerous battles, Yugi finally makes his way through the ranks of dualists and faces off with Maximillion Pegasus for the title of “King of Games.” After a lengthy battle, Pegasus loses to Yugi. The dual ends, and later Pegasus eventually releases the souls of Yugi’s grandfather and the Kaiba brothers before facing off with Bakura who is in possession of the Millennium Ring. Within the Millennium Ring exists a dark spirit that often takes over Bakura’s mind. An already weakened Pegasus loses the encounter with Bakura, and Bakura steals Pegasus’ Millennium Eye.
The next tournament that Yugi and his friends are involved in is sponsored by Seto Kaiba, entitled the Battle City tournament. This time around, the three Egyptian God cards are up for grabs. Yugi and his friends meet newer and much stronger opponents — especially the Egyptian who possesses the Millennium Rod artifact, Marik Ishtar. During the turn of events, Gozaburo, the father of Kaiba, traps Yugi and his friends inside a virtual world, forcing them all to engage in Dual Monster matches with the big five, the board members of Kaiba Corp who attempted to usurp the company from Kaiba. Eventually, Yugi wins the Battle City tournament and obtains all three Egyptian God cards, at which time the series takes off in a much darker direction, exposing how the world of Dual Monsters begins to emerge as a much more dangerous game for Yugi and his friends.
Before long, Yugi and his friends run into a Dual Monsters cult calling themselves “The Order of Orichalcos,” who seek to awaken the great Leviathan by dueling in order to steal the souls of others to feed the sleeping dragon. Yugi’s soul is taken by the cult, leaving Yami to dual with Yugi at one point, helping Yami to confront himself. Eventually, the leader of the cult, Master Darts, is temporarily defeated in a dual and fed to the Leviathan. The Leviathan awakens but is eventually destroyed along with Master Darts.
Next, Yugi and friends face the Kaiba grand championship. After some computer problems and a number of duels, Yugi beats a cheating rival of the Kaiba family and his brother to take the championship.
Having obtained the Millennium items, Yugi, Yami and their friends are transported back to ancient Egypt to face their final threat in the past. As Yami relives past events, his archenemy of old, Bakura, emerges hoping to change history and employing the power of the evil Zorc. In this ancient Egyptian time, the dual monsters emerge as real entities. With the help of his friends, Yami learns that his real name is Atem. Atem then defeats Bakura and engages Yugi in one last dual to help return Atem to the afterlife.
After the Series
The original series came to an end in America in 2006. However, the Yu-Gi-Oh! name lived on in popular culture — especially concerning anime fans watching the series in its original Japanese form. Many fan sites for the show chronicle the numerous differences between how things played out in the Japanese versus the American television versions. Since the finish of the original series, the Yu-Gi-Oh! story has been extended by a number of other spin-off stories related to the original series.