Plot: Jonouchi becomes a contestant on a game show in order to win one million yen to pay off his father’s gambling debts. He’s excited for the opportunity, but those behind the scenes are more intent on simply making good TV, no matter if they have to torment poor Jonouchi to do it.
Breakdown: This is another one of those episodes where the plot is only loosely adapted to the anime. Most notably, the antagonist this time around is entirely changed, they added A LOT of stuff to the story to pad it out, and the game show aspect is played down quite a bit.
Starting out with the manga chapter, Jonouchi is super excited because he got accepted to be a contestant on a game show where you can win one million yen or roughly 10,000 USD because it will allow him to pay off his father’s gambling debts. Jonouchi’s currently working a bunch of part-time jobs to help them scrape by, but winning this game show will help him immensely. He also hopes that, with the debt gone, he and his father can put the past behind them and finally act like a true father and son.
This is really heartwarming and sweet, and, later, every game he wins gives him a bright smile and a sparkle in his eye. He’s not being a greedy person here – he’s legitimately hoping this money will help him and his father and make them closer. He’s not even really damning his father for getting them into debt in the first place. He just wants to make things better….which is why the ending is such a bummer, but we’ll get to that down the line.
The producer behind the show has no intention of letting him win this money, however. He just heard Jonouchi’s ‘sob story’ and knew it’d increase ratings.
When Jonouchi gets on the show, cheered on by his friends, he works very hard to ensure that he’ll make it far enough to get the million yen, and he aces numerous games. There’s a commercial break before the final game for the million yen starts, and Yugi excuses himself to the restroom. Along the way, he overhears the unnamed producer speaking with an employee about how they’re rigging the roulette wheel to ensure Jonouchi doesn’t land on the million yen. He’s laughing about how they’ll rake in viewers who will desperately want to see this ‘pauper’ win the money for his father’s debts and then feel despair when he loses. But who cares as long as he makes bank.
Because, yeah, it totally makes sense for a producer to just yell out his evil plans in a space where it seems anyone is allowed to walk around and overhear them, possibly ousting their cheating and destroying their show, perhaps even sending them to prison.
Yugi won’t stand for these scumbags ruining his best friend’s dream.
In what is probably the clunkiest dialogue ever, and I’m pretty sure it can’t just be attributed to the translators, we get this moment when Jonouchi is about to spin the wheel.
Employee: “I’ll hit the red button! There may be a lot of buttons, but you can’t miss this one! Pressing this makes it impossible for the roulette wheel to land on ‘million yen’!”
BOY THIS SURE IS SOME CHEATING WE’RE DOING, SIR!
IT SURE IS, EMPLOYEE! JUST REMEMBER TO CHEAT BY HITTING THAT RED BUTTON! YA KNOW, THE ONE THAT’S RED!
SURE IS A GOOD THING I CAN’T MISS THIS CLEARLY RED BUTTON – THE ONE THAT WILL LET US CHEAT AND COMMIT THE CRIME WE’RE DOING!
YES, IT SURE IS! THAT’S THE RED BUTTON THAT WILL MAKE IT SO THE CONTESTANT CAN’T WIN! THAT THING THAT’S ILLEGAL! BY THE WAY, I HAVEN’T FILED TAXES IN 30 YEARS AND I RAN OVER A CHILD ON MY WAY TO THE STUDIO!
YOUR SECRET’S SAFE WITH ME, PRODUCER OF THIS SHOW!
Yami walks in and starts the Shadow Game, which we’ll get to after I catch you up on the anime’s side of things.
In the anime, the producer guy doesn’t exist, and he’s not rigging the show. Instead, we get some guy named Ryuichi Fuwa who is the seven-time reigning champion of the game show. He’s a cocky little twat who wins yet again.
With Yugi and the others, they discuss Ryuichi’s win streak. While Jonouchi gushes over the possibility of the grand prize reaching 100,000 yen, which is about 1000 USD, Miho also gushes about Ryuichi’s money, but Honda halts her, claiming it’s better to get money a little bit at a time. Someone who gets a lot of money at once will be driven from society and killed by a guillotine? Honda, have you been huffing cleaning products again?
I mean, granted, he does have a slight point. Stumbling into a lot of money, such as from inheritance or through the lottery, does tend to lead people into despair more often than not. But that’s, like, huge amounts of money. Not a measly 1000 USD….People with money in general tend to have it easy. Also, Ryuichi is getting his money bit by bit considering his prize goes up in increments in each episode. His last prize was 10000 yen, which is only 100 USD…
Jonouchi gets pissed off by Honda’s words because he claims he can pay off his father’s gambling debts with the money and possibly even run away….I think that’s going a bit far, but alright. Like in the manga, he’s been working since he was young to pay for his school and living expenses on his own since his dad’s such a deadbeat. Jonouchi also snaps again at Honda, claiming he truly lives bit by bit while Honda has the nerve to say such things while ‘leeching’ off of his parents. Ouch.
He definitely has a point, though. I know Honda’s just saying these things because Miho likes Ryuichi and Honda’s jealous, but he should still have enough awareness to know that saying things like that in front of Jonouchi would be offensive.
When class starts, they’re introduced to a new transfer student who just happens to be Ryuichi. He’s a complete asshole, let’s just get that out there. He speaks like a thug, says he doesn’t give out autographs without anyone asking in the first place, and tells all the girls in the class that he just instantly knows are drooling over him that they have no chance of being his girlfriend and that he doesn’t have any interest in having kids.
Miho, being a stereotypical ditzy moron, swoons over Ryuichi after he gets done saying the terrible stuff to the girls. I really, really, really need some evidence that Miho is in any way likable. I’m not even halfway through the series yet. This is getting ridiculous.
Honda also starts hating Ryuichi the instant Miho starts gushing over him because of course he does.
Ryuichi selects his desk by chucking his bag at an empty seat, because we’re really doing everything in our power to drive home the fact that this guy is obnoxious. His teacher tries to get him in line, but Ryuichi offers a game instead. A simple coin flip. Whoever wins gets to determine where he sits. The teacher loses, so Ryuichi goes off to the seat he selected while the teacher just sulks, because that’s totally what a teacher would do. He wouldn’t just, ya know, tell him ‘I’m the teacher. Go to your seat, before I send you to the principal.’ and then probably mutter under his breath ‘and then shove that coin up your ass.’
He’s sat down right next to Yugi, who, being the sweet little muffin he is, politely introduces himself to this human kidney stone.
After class, everyone, including Miho, is still clamoring over Ryuichi, and he’s still being a tractor trailer load of douche. He gets asked if he meets actors since he appears on TV, and he says he does but they’re all stupid and he has no interest in them….Dude, you’re on some two-bit game show. I sincerely doubt you meet actors on the reg. He also gets asked how much money he’s won so far, but he says he doesn’t know because he spends it immediately. You can still, ya know…do math. Unless you’re a dick AND an idiot….which…yeah, that tracks.
Someone bursts into the room yelling about a surprise test they’re going to have tomorrow, and everyone panics. Yugi just becomes depressed because he believes there’s no way he’ll pass at such short notice. Ryuichi, however, lends a helping hand by flipping to the pages in his textbook that he believes are the only things they have to study for the test, even though he should have no idea what the test is on, especially considering he’s a brand-new student.
Turns out, he was spot-on, which baffled Yugi. Despite knowing what section to study, however, Ryuichi turns in his test blank because he doesn’t want to waste his life on stupid tests…..Why are you even in school then?
He’s a ‘chosen one’ and normies wouldn’t understand…..I’m not joking about that last statement. He basically says that straight out.
Also, it should be noted that apparently the teacher with the vanity issues from a few episodes ago didn’t quit. She is right here. I was wondering if it was her for a second and then Ryuichi proved it by telling her her makeup was off, which caused her face to crack and break apart again (at least in her mind?) So….I guess penalty games really are permanent, but only to a certain extent?
After school, Miho proves to be even more annoying and cringey than ever before by trying to grab Ryuichi’s hand as he’s walking. The first things that come out of her mouth are “Hi. Miho is a virgo, AB blood type. How about you, Fuwa-kun?”
It seems like Miho is somehow making this little jackoff nervous for some reason so he invites them out for a meal, his treat. When they walk through the door, he’s congratulated as being the 10,000th customer, earning him a free meal for him and the others.
Also, after Miho gushes about it, Ryuichi gives this expression for some reason.
Honda’s been watching Jonouchi this entire time because he thinks he’s been stewing in anger and is mere moments away from punching Ryuichi out. As he eats the free unlimited meal Ryuichi gave him, he snickers that it looks like Jonouchi’s going to punch him out any second. I may hate this kid, and he may be a complete douche, but if he’s treating you to a meal and is seemingly being civil right now, it just makes you look like the dick to be gleefully hoping he gets his ass handed to him, especially as you’re stuffing your face. And considering the main reason Honda is so upset is because Miho is lusting after his money and not really because he’s an asshole, it just makes this situation look worse.
After the meal, they go to one of those lottery booths. Ryuichi presents Yugi with a challenge. If he gets the A prize, he wins. If he gets anything lower, Yugi has to do whatever he says. Yugi agrees, and apparently he didn’t believe in the heart of the lottery ball roller drum because he loses. Ryuichi steps up and, surprise, he finds the golden ball and wins a trip to Italy.
Jonouchi finally snaps, much to Honda’s delight. He confronts Ryuichi, though instead of punching him out he gets on his hands and knees and begs him to take him in as a pupil….because he wants to learn how to have good luck like him. Do I even need to point out how stupid that is?
I guess I don’t because Ryuichi does that for me.
Ryuichi leaves, though Jonouchi stalks him in order to increase his luck so he can get on that show and win big. A bunch of kids follow Ryuichi, wanting his autograph…..I don’t get his fame. He’s a returning champion on a local luck-based game show that, in all likelihood, probably would have accused him of cheating by now. The fact that a bunch of little kids want this dude’s autograph is just a bit much to swallow.
The kids nearly get hit by a car as they cross the street, leaving them on the ground in a heap crying out for Ryuichi to help them. He tauntingly holds out his hand but then moves it away quickly explaining he doesn’t want to be tainted by unlucky hands.
Jonouchi rushes over to console the kids and check for injuries, all the while stewing in anger over Ryuichi’s callous actions.
As Ryuichi continues to walk, he’s stopped by someone in a limo telling him that Kaiba has summoned him. Turns out, Ryuichi is Kaiba’s second Shitennou. He told Ryuichi to transfer to Domino High so he could face Yugi. Ryuichi, however, is neither impressed with Yugi nor entertained. He once again gives us an example of his otherworldly luck by guessing the combination to the lock for a gun case on Kaiba’s wall on the first try. He also loads five bullets into the revolver, puts the gun to his head and pulls the trigger, but nothing happens. Geeeezzz, dude. I kinda have to imagine how funny it would’ve been if it went off, though.
Ryuichi is incredibly bored. He desperately wants a life or death duel, which Kaiba will provide for him at the game show. (Spoiler alert – he doesn’t for some reason.)
In the meantime, Ryuichi takes advantage of Yugi doing whatever he says to play a sadistic game with him. They both take turns shooting pool balls at each other. I say ‘take turns’ but Yugi seemingly never actually gets a turn. He just….*snicker* *giggles*….he keeps taking balls to the face….*snort*
I don’t even know how this is physically happening. He’s not shooting the pool balls any harder than he would be in a regular game, yet they’re bouncing around like ping-pong balls.
Jonouchi and the others rush in, but Ryuichi is so lucky that Jonouchi and Honda can’t do anything against him and end up thwarting themselves instead.
Back home, Yugi is wincing at getting his wounds treated with antiseptic but uh….he didn’t get cut or scraped. He got clocked with pool balls. Honda finds a letter on the counter from the TV station requesting Yugi’s participation in the game show. Yugi’s confused, but Jonouchi begs Yugi to let him take his place. He desperately wants the chance to show Ryuichi up and pay off his dad’s debts.
Yugi agrees, and Jonouchi takes his place as Ryuichi’s opponent while the others cheer from the audience.
The first game played in the manga is a simple game of darts where he can instantly win 100,000 yen as long as he doesn’t hit the spot that says “loser.” He wins.
In the anime, the first and only game is a concentration matching game. Each player takes turns selecting two cards on a board in hopes of matching their numbers. If they match all of the cards, they win. If they find the joker card, all of their matches go to the opponent. As another hitch, whenever a match is found, the opponent gets an electric shock.
Jonouchi misses on his turn, so obviously Mr. Luck over there gets the rest of the matches in one go, tormenting poor Jonouchi and causing him to lose because apparently this entire game show hinges on one game that lasts about one minute. (The game at the start of the episode also implies this. He only played one game after being introduced (which lasted even less time – about thirty seconds) but he was still declared an eight-time champion immediately after. How long are these episodes?)
In the manga, there were other games. The second was a game in which Jonouchi had to walk through a pathway with a special helmet on. The helmet had a rod attached to it that needed to be threaded between two electrified pipes all the way to the goal. If he got to the end without electrocuting himself, he’d win 500,000 yen, which he does.
The final game was the roulette wheel I mentioned before, but I’ll revisit that in the Shadow Game portion.
Back in the anime, backstage, Jonouchi tries to recover (I think if a game show made someone this ill from repeated electric shocks, they’d be facing legal action, but whatever. Kaiba has his hands in this place, so I’m not surprised.) and Ryuichi bursts in mocking him about his backstory.
Ryuichi: “I suppose ya want me ta cry for ya. That kind of story is what I hate the most. How lazy! I’m disgusted!” Wha….what?! How LAZY? Dude, you couldn’t be bothered to fill in one answer on a test and expect luck to solve all of your problems, but you’re calling a guy who works his ass off to get by lazy? Fuck you.
Yugi tries to defend his friend, but Ryuichi, pissed that Yugi’s a disappointment too, kicks him in the back of the head and starting crushing Yugi’s skull with his foot. Ryuichi even says in inner monologue that he’ll take the skin off Yugi’s face to see the ‘other face’ he supposedly has, if he needs to. This guy’s such a psychopath.
Apparently he stopped eventually and didn’t go through with his skinning threat because he’s later seen walking away through the darkened studio and, as he wanted, Yami comes out to play.
In the manga, the Shadow Game involves two cans of paint seated on top of a ladder above Yami, the producer and the employee. Two ropes hang from the top of the ladder. One is attached to the paint can and the other isn’t. Yami will tie one rope to his arm, and the employee will select the other. On the count of three, they’ll tug. Whomever knocks over the paint can loses.
Yami wins, and the employee knocks red paint everywhere. The producer doesn’t care about his game, so he scrambles to push the button anyway. However – GASP! THE PAINT IS RED! AND ALL OVER THE EQUIPMENT! BUT THE CHEATING BUTTON WAS RED. AND NOW THE OTHER BUTTONS ARE RED TOO! GOLLY GEE WHIZ WE’LL NEVER FIND THE CHEATING BUTTON THAT CHEATS NOW!
And he doesn’t.
So Yami starts his penalty game, Mind on Air, which basically makes the producer money crazy, like Ushio in the first chapter. (Shouldn’t the employee get the penalty game since he played the Shadow Game?)
Meanwhile, Jonouchi actually does manage to land the wheel on one million yen. The producer rushes out and jumps the cameras, telling everyone watching the show to give him money.
This end is very bittersweet, if not a total downer, because, despite winning the million yen, the show got canceled and went bankrupt because of the producer’s actions. Jonouchi never saw a dime of his winnings, which absolutely sucks. They play it off rather comically with just one panel explaining this.
Jonouchi is shown…..I don’t even know what he’s doing. He looks like he’s yawning, but he might be crying. He also looks like he’s either kicking something that’s not there or he’s just kicking his leg out for some reason. He also nonchalantly has his hand in his pocket. He’s yelling ‘DAMMIT!’ but I really thought he was goofily yawning in this panel when I first saw it, indicating he really didn’t care about losing the money.
What a weird way to react to all of his dreams being shattered. I felt so bad for Jonouchi when I first read this. He was so happy and hopeful, and he won fair and square, but he was screwed out of his money and we’re just meant to laugh in the end, I guess. It’s kinda messed up.
In the anime, Yami propositions Ryuichi with the same concentration matching game, only this time the shocks are a lot worse. Ryuichi agrees, fully confident in his luck, and the fact that he already won this game earlier makes him even more sure of himself.
He starts the game, and Yami keeps getting the match wrong while Ryuichi keeps getting his right. However, this time, even if Ryuichi gets the match correct, Yami gets his turn anyway for some reason. After a point, Yami keeps choosing the same two unmatching cards over and over, causing Ryuichi to become incredibly confused.
The power goes out due to the electric shocks tripping the breaker, but the backup system kicks on. Ryuichi makes his selection, which just happens to be one of the cards Yami kept unsuccessfully choosing before, so he chooses that selection and then….gets a Joker.
Apparently, the cards on the board change when the power goes out. Yami knew Ryuichi would be so cocky about his selection that he’d choose Yami’s spot, not realizing the cards flipped around. Yami smirks claiming Ryuichi isn’t the only lucky one.
Uh, yeah. But your luck doesn’t negate his insane supernatural levels of luck no matter how many heart of the card……matching boards you believe in. His luck would probably override Yami’s plan to have the power go out. How did Yami even know the board worked like that? In addition, his entire plan hinged on the Joker taking the spot of one of the two spots Yami kept choosing over and over, specifically the one that previously yielded the card that Ryuichi needed. Otherwise, Yami would lose no matter if he found a match or not because Ryuichi had more matches.
For that matter, how do the cards change when the power goes out? They seem to be physical plates that are simply rotated on a board not electronic displays that would reset when the system is rebooted. It would make sense for the board to be reset, as in all of the plates get returned back to their default face-down position, but I think the only way they’d swap or change at all would be if someone physically swapped the plates.
Anyway, despite the fact that the entire board reset (seriously, look at the board after the power comes back on. None of the cards are flipped over even though, before, Ryuichi was just one match away from victory) Ryuichi getting the Joker means all of his previous matches go to Yami, which means Yami wins and Ryuichi gets the strongest electric shock. I’d think his luck would prevent him from getting shocked, but whatever.
The following night, the group watches the game show’s latest episode, dreading Ryuichi getting his tenth win. However, he loses immediately by getting the lowest number on the roulette wheel and his chair even falls apart. Yugi notes that it seems like Ryuichi’s luck has finally run dry. Womp womp.
….Wait, did Yami honestly take his luck from him? It’s unclear whether that game was even really a Shadow Game, to be honest. Is this just a coincidence? Where did his luck even come from in the first place? There’s a difference between being lucky and being an anime version of Domino.
While the anime definitely had more to it than the manga did, the manga has more emotional impact. Jonouchi’s backstory, his face as he goes through the games and wins all of the money, and finally the terrible realization that all of his dreams were crushed in the end, even if the manga doesn’t adequately reflect this, was a pretty good backbone for this story. Likewise, the producer was a good enough antagonist, even if he was way too obvious with his evil plans.
I really wish Jonouchi could have actually won, though. Maybe it wouldn’t fix all of his problems like he thought it would, but it would still be money he could use to live a little better. Though, maybe it would still end badly with his dad continuing to wrack up debt once the previous one was paid off.
He’s almost to the point of graduating. Maybe he could have just saved up the money for himself….
The Shadow Game there was fine, though kinda boring, but also wouldn’t have worked if the producer just knew which button was the right one from memory. The penalty game was also a bit disappointing because, as I pointed out, we basically saw this one before.
As for the anime, it’s just a shitton of padding. It’s a non-stop cavalcade of ‘Look at me! I’m Ryuichi and I’m a lucky piece of shit. Watch as I do a bunch of shitty things and basically get the most modest of comeuppance for it!’ and it is beyond obnoxious. Literally everything about this character is a pain in the ass, and we’re never told why he has this ridiculous level of luck. I was thinking they’d reveal he was cheating the whole time, but nope. He’s just a lucky duck.
The Shadow Game payoff was not worth it at all, either. I guess if you were ridiculously lucky your entirely life and it was suddenly ripped away from you, that would be terrible, but maybe imply that he’s ridiculously unlucky now or something. Just having his chair break isn’t enough for me to say ‘YEAH! Haha, that’s what you get!’
I also don’t think they handled the Jonouchi aspect well enough. They kinda just gloss over the points about his situation with his dad’s debt. I will give them a lot of props for the scene with Jonouchi yelling at Honda, but otherwise it’s either not really brought up or Ryuichi’s just mocking his story. Jonouchi doesn’t even lament on the loss of the money after he loses the game.
Miho jacked up her annoyance levels here, but at least she also dropped her crush on Ryuichi when she realized how much of an asshole he really was. I think she should have realized that in the first place instead of waiting until he’s wailing on Yugi with pool balls, but it’s better than nothing. I still think his status as a moderately successful game show contestant wouldn’t have trumped his terrible personality for any of them, though. Yugi’s Yugi, so of course he’ll be nice, and Honda didn’t like him for stupid reasons, but Anzu liked him just fine when, in any other world, she’d think he was an ass. Also, considering he said he doesn’t want a girlfriend and spends all of his winnings as soon as he gets it, why was Miho even pursuing him at all?
The Shadow Game here was boring as hell because it was purely luck-based, even moreso than usual. You can’t have Ryuichi’s main characteristic be that he’s insanely god-like in his luck and then have him lose because Yami’s somehow luckier. Ryuichi’s cockiness is what ultimately made him lose, but he was stupid to not realize the board had reset, and it only reset because he had the BAD LUCK to suffer from a power outage due to Yami’s electric shocks.
Next time, we head back a bit in the manga to finally go over chapter five with the creepy as hell psychic.
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