An Absurdly Deep Dive into the History of 4Kids | Part 5: I Summon Yu-Gi-Oh! in Attack Mode! (2001 cont.)

In 2001, the anime market was quite limited in the US. Despite Pokemon being one of the key reasons behind the biggest anime boom in the west, eventually leading to anime more or less becoming mainstream years later, there still wasn’t a lot of anime being offered on TV at the time. Some anime was being offered on niche cable channels, and others were offered on VHS and DVD, but weren’t really advertised or pushed all that much in stores. There wasn’t much anime that was shown on TV on easily accessible channels, but the titles that were out there had their loyal fans, even if it had been extremely westernized.

One of the most notable examples being Sailor Moon, which debuted in North America back in 1995 by DiC Entertainment. They later got the rights to also show the second iteration, Sailor Moon R, in 1997. However, DiC did not pursue future series because it was not deemed financially viable after the first two series underperformed. DiC also didn’t seem particularly interested in the anime market, having only two other anime dub jobs under their belt after Sailor Moon’s first two series – Speed Racer X in 2002 and Knights of the Zodiac in 2003.

Speed Racer X, originally known in Japan as Mach GoGoGo was a flop in every sense of the word. Not only did it only air on a block on Nickelodeon that was so obscure even I, who was a complete Nickelodeon obsessed nut at the time, don’t remember at all, SLAM!, but it also failed to get an audience because they were only able to air 13 episodes before needing to pull it due to a lawsuit between DiC and the American company Speed Racer Enterprises – a company dedicated entirely to the American licensing and management of Speed Racer.

Knights of the Zodiac, originally known in Japan as Saint Seiya, also didn’t do very well, leading DiC to give up on the series after 40 episodes, despite having the authority to dub at least 60 of the episodes. Knights of the Zodiac and Sailor Moon would contend with 4Kids for having some of the most butchered dubs in existence, and Knights would also go down in history as having what I believe is the most confusing English dub theme song change ever by having Bowling for Soup do the opening theme – a cover of the A Flock of Seagulls song, ‘I Ran.’

In the other corner, you had Nelvana, who had dubbed another beloved shoujo anime in the states – Cardcaptors (Cardcaptor Sakura) – in 2000. Nelvana would fare a bit better with their dubs, despite being similarly butchered, specifically Cardcaptors, and even more specifically the Kids WB airing, which had somehow taken the butchered series and required broadcast edits that made it even worse. The directive in this situation was an effort to do everything in their power to make the series more oriented towards young boys instead of girls.

Nelvana would go on to dub Medabots, almost the entire Beyblade franchise (until 2016 when ADK Emotions NY, Inc. would obtain the rights), and the entirety of Bakugan.

4Kids’ seeming biggest rival in the anime industry, kids’-wise anyway, at the time was Saban Entertainment, who had been dubbing old anime since 1985 – over a decade before 4Kids would throw their hats into the ring. Since 1980, Saban had been making a huge name for itself in children’s media – whether producing it in-house or localizing anime and foreign live-action shows, particularly tokusatsu shows.

Saban had already become quite famous with its breakout hit, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, which was both an in-house live-action production and a localization since a lot of the footage used was from the tokusatsu show, Super Sentai.

In addition, they enjoyed a good degree of success by being the distributor of the first two seasons of Dragon Ball Z, which was being dubbed by Funimation and Ocean Productions, and was supposedly the reason why the Ocean dub was so mangled. Still, Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z had staked claims for themselves as being some of the most popular anime series in the west in the late 90s and 2000s and helped make Funimation one of the most successful English dubbing companies around.

Saban had many imported titles that were financially successful. In 1999, Saban launched the English dub of one of Pokemon’s biggest competitors – Digimon – even though the company reported in 1998 that were intending on leaving the children’s television syndication business.

If 4Kids really wanted to reap the full benefits of anime in North America as a whole, and if they really wanted to stake a claim as being the top dog in the world of licensed children’s media, they needed more than Pokemon. Whatever they chose would have to have comparatively similar levels of success locked in. Luckily for them, a new cash cow would wander onto their farm soon enough.

Yu-Gi-Oh! was a manga written and illustrated by Kazuki Takahashi in 1996. While it took quite a while for the manga to find its footing, it skyrocketed in success when it did, especially once it toned down its horror elements and became more geared towards kids while still keeping a darker mystique about it that made it more appealing to slightly older audiences.

Yu-Gi-Oh! already had one anime under its belt in 1998, fan-titled as Season Zero, but that was based more on the stories told when Yu-Gi-Oh! was more horror/older audience oriented. Not only did 4Kids never pick it up, but it and the 1999 movie that was produced from it were never dubbed at all. When the manga had a soft reboot to better fit this lighter-hearted and kid-oriented new direction, titled Yu-Gi-Oh!: Duelist, a new anime series was launched in Japan in 2000 to mirror it, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters.

The series was the perfect target for 4Kids. It was already becoming a major franchise in Japan, it obviously had massive marketing potential for not only toys but also a nearly endless supply of trading cards, and it was geared towards only a slightly older audience than Pokemon’s – meaning that they could keep many of their old Pokemon fans, particularly older boys, hooked into their shows for a while longer if they had started growing out of Pokemon. Likewise, the Japanese consortium who controlled Yu-Gi-Oh! in Japan, TV Tokyo and Asatsu-ADK, the latter of which owning the subsidiary, Nihon Ad Systems, which produced and owned the anime, found 4Kids to be a preferable dubbing company to take the series to North America, considering its good merchandising numbers, general demographic and their success with Pokemon.

And so, on September 29, 2001, already having been primed with a slue of teasers and early access Yu-Gi-Oh! cards in select hobby stores, 4Kids launched the premiere of Yu-Gi-Oh! and a new surge of success for 4Kids started. Yu-Gi-Oh! quickly became an insanely successful hit, especially alongside trading card sales that were only increasing in demand every single day.

The anime required more editing than Pokemon to make it suitable for their intended audiences. They removed darker themes, anything sexually suggestive in the slightest and any instance of implied nudity, even skimpy clothing, instances of violence, gambling, guns and alcohol and any references to death. It was also the dub that spawned the popular meme of saying someone who had died had really just been ‘sent to the Shadow Realm.’ as that was a common method 4Kids used of covering up nearly any death or threat of death in the show.

However, Yu-Gi-Oh! would enjoy a brief and rare stint where they had uncut DVD releases, not only with a full English dubbed version of the uncut and unaltered episodes, but also with an uncut Japanese version with subtitles. The only other 4Kids show to get this treatment was Shaman King.

Even when they did release uncut DVDs, they still tended to be bungled a bit. For example, they changed Katsuya Jonouchi, who was changed to Joey Wheeler in the cut dub, to Katsuya Joey….Yeah, his last name is Joey. What’s even funnier is Serenity. Her name, at least the first, is kept, which begs the question of if her name is Serenity Joey. Also, during her video tape message to Joey, she calls him Joey, which means she’s calling her brother by their last name?

Every other character kept their English names, like Tristan and Tea. Joey’s situation would imply that they changed half the names of characters to be both of the versions’ first names, which might mean Tristan is supposed to be Hiroto Tristan and Tea is Anzu Tea, but as far as I saw Joey’s the only character whose name changed at all. Mai Valentine, Weevil Underwood, Rex Raptor, Maximillion Pegasus – everyone’s names are their Americanized versions, which is quite weird because the uncut dub was also noted as being almost too direct of a translation of the original script, creating some awkward dialogue and speaking patterns, but for some reason they didn’t find it worth it to revert anyone’s names back to their Japanese version, except Joey’s, and that’s only kinda?

According to Mark Kirk, Senior Vice President of Digital Media for 4Kids starting in 2007, the reason they kept the card names as their American versions was for the sake of consistency. It was a business decision, as he put it, so that people could follow along with the duels more easily with their own cards. Fair enough, but why did they keep the character names the same as their cut dubbed versions? Why does that matter? Did they think audiences would get confused?

Sadly, however, while the cut version eventually got a full DVD release, the uncut DVD releases would stop at volume three, ending on episode nine. According to rumors, this was due to 4Kids’ concerns about having the DVD releases clash with the releases of the cut version DVDs. It’s true that Al Kahn at one point said they staggered the DVD releases of the uncut and cut versions to not affect the separate sales, but if that was in place then that would indicate that their sales didn’t clash and wouldn’t be the cause of the eventual cancellation. Even if they didn’t stagger the releases, I wouldn’t see how clashing release dates would affect sales. Anyone who wants the uncut version will buy the uncut version, and anyone who wants the cut version or doesn’t care will just buy the cut version or either one.

I think the real reason they stopped releasing uncut DVDs after a while was because it was expensive to call everyone back to rerecord nearly every line. For the most part, 4Kids was paying to have the same episodes recorded twice while also paying to have the script rewritten. I don’t know how much money the uncut DVDs were bringing in, but I doubt it was enough for them to justify continuing to do that.

This is all speculation on my part, however. The best I can come up with as support for this theory is that the 2005 report does note that television and film production/distribution sales were down 17% partially due to Yu-Gi-Oh!’s domestic home video sales decreasing, but that’s about it.

Lance Heiskell, a representative at Funimation, who was helping 4Kids with the distribution of the DVDs, reportedly said there were legal issues preventing the uncut release (something corroborated by Mark Kirk in 2010, but he wasn’t with the company when this happened so I’m not sure it’s 100%). What these rights issues were, I have no idea. Future fans speculated that there were contract issues with Yugi’s original Japanese voice actor, Shunsuke Kazama, but that doesn’t make much sense.

Yes, it’s true that the Japanese episodes were removed from 4Kids’ Youtube page because Kazama decided not to renew his contract with ADK, and they accidentally caused a bunch of rights issues with the show as a result. However, this went down in 2009. The DVDs were canceled in 2005. They even had two more volumes set to release in April and May of 2005 with cover art and a release date out for volume four, but they just never released them or continued the project.

There was another claim that it was because the relationship between 4Kids and Funimation was dissolving at that point, but why it was dissolving, I don’t know, and why that fully matters, I don’t know. They could just find another company to help with the distribution and whatnot. Maybe it was a combination of all of these factors – they all seem to have a degree of validity to them. We’ll never know for certain.

The projected success of Yu-Gi-Oh! coming after the success of Pokemon was not only good for 4Kids in that they had a whole new franchise to piggyback off of for years, but it was also a positive sign that anime was indeed on the rise – meaning they were interested in seeking out more titles to dub.

For instance, in that same year, 4Kids dubbed Tama of Third Street: Have You Seen My Tama?, which they titled Tama and Friends.

Never heard of Tama and Friends? Neither have I.

Part 6: 4Kid—

Oh fine. There really isn’t a lot of information on this show, either original or dub. It’s a show about a bunch of chibi cats and dogs doing random things. In 1999, 4Kids just rather randomly got the rights to dub it, they did, it ran in syndication in the US in 2001, never on Kids WB or anything, never got a home video release, and I never remember seeing it all.

Still, their interest in dubbing new titles would spawn an entire catalog of anime that would impact the world of anime and anime fans….4Ever.

….Get it? Because the next part is 2002, and that’s when…Pokemon……4…..*cough* Nevermind.

Part 6: 4Kids 4Ever (Coming Soon)


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero Episode 12: The Extremely Lucky Enemy – The Undefeated Legend/Manga Chapter 42

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.

Shadow Game

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.

The end.

————————————–

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.

Winner: Manga

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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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero Episode 11: The Rumored CapuMon’s New Arrival (Placeholder + Notes on Chapter 24)

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Plot: Miho is gifted a gacha machine from a college student named Warashibe, who has a crush on her. The machine is filled with Capsule Monsters – toys used to play the latest gaming craze of the same name. Warashibe is friends with Yugi since they play Capsule Monsters together, and he helped Warashibe set all of this up.

Miho is flattered, so she sends him a nice letter and a Capsule Monster, stating that she’s starting to get into the game too.

Problem is, Warashibe is a massive creeper. Even Yugi, one of the friendliest souls in the world, is put off by his overly dramatic and obsessive behavior both in regards to Capsule Monsters and Miho. He has a ‘secret base’ that is actually an old warehouse loaded with every Capsule Monster you could ever dream of, and he spends a lot of his time playing with them in the dark. He had a chance encounter with Miho a short while before and was so enamored with her that he dubbed her his Capsule Monster Goddess.

In another effort to win Miho over, Warashibe traps Yugi into helping him with a ploy. Yugi pretends to be an attacker threatening Miho and Warashibe fights him off. However, the plan fails. Miho freaks out at Warashibe’s advances and even yells that she knows really nothing about Capsule Monsters, much to Warashibe’s dismay.

The next day at school, Jonouchi, Anzu and Honda mock Warashibe for what he did. However, they don’t realize that he’s in the cafeteria with them in disguise listening to their every word. Seeing them as a threat to his and Miho’s relationship, Warashibe poisons Anzu, Jonouchi and Honda with glasses of raw water, giving them stomachaches.

A note in her locker leads Miho to the revelation that Warashibe was behind this. Pissed off, she grabs Yugi and they head to Warashibe’s secret base to chew him out. However, he posits a challenge – Miho will face him in one game of Capsule Monsters. If she wins, he’ll leave her alone forever. If she loses, she has to give herself over to him.

She accepts, and they start the game. Using a gacha machine, they select their Capsule Monsters. However, Miho’s picks are horrible. She has three level ones, the lowest level, one level two and a level four. Warashibe has two level fours and three level fives, the highest level you can use.

Miho doesn’t even get two turns into the game before she becomes frustrated at the one-sidedness and Warashibe’s attitude. Yugi accidentally knocks the gacha machine over and reveals a hidden mechanism designed to give Warashibe the best Capsule Monsters.

They try to run out of the building, but Warashibe uses a trap gate over the door to stop them. He also unveils a giant capsule in which he plans to keep Miho forever. The beam which is holding the gate crumbles, however, and knocks Miho out. Yami emerges from the dust holding Miho’s unconscious body and challenges Warashibe to a game himself.

Yami decides to use the Capsule Monsters that Miho used in their game instead of picking a better batch, and they’ll simply pick up where Miho left off, not clear the board and start a new game. He has also declared that this game will be a Shadow Game.

Warashibe accepts and the battle starts. Warashibe easily starts picking off all of Yami’s creatures one by one, and he’s quickly left with only one on the board. However, Yami points out that he was luring him into a trap. Warashibe has lined up all of his monsters into a diagonal line in front of Yami’s last creature, who, despite being a lowly level two, just so happens to have the ability to insta-kill any monster, even level fives, as long as they’re diagonal to it.

Yami activates the ability, destroying all of Warashibe’s monsters and winning the game. Yami reminds Warashibe that Capsule Monsters aren’t about collecting – they’re about battle and using even seeming disadvantageous creatures to their full potential to win.

Warashibe has a hissy fit about the loss, but Yami delivers his punishment game – locking Warashibe in a giant level one Capsule Monster capsule.

Back with a now recovered Anzu, Jonouchi and Honda, the group talks about what happened. Miho runs up yelling about the new Capsule Monster she got, but trips and falls, dropping a slue of Capsule Monsters everywhere.

Breakdown: Oh my god. Fuck this episode with a spork made of porcupine needles.

This episode is a perfect storm of annoyingness and bad writing decisions.

Miho being given the focus is already bad enough, but Warashibe is one of the creepiest yet lamest piece of shit antagonists I’ve ever seen. The guy tries to act all menacing while he sucks on a striped lollipop 24/7, sits at gacha machines for hours basically emptying them out to get the best Capsule Monsters, sits in the dark in his little den of Capsule Monsters just playing by himself somehow, and when he doesn’t get what he wants he collapses on the ground crying and has a tantrum.

Funnily enough, the subber pointed out during his last tantrum that his name translates to ‘Child.’

He also has a super-villain-esque trap set up in this warehouse and has that ridiculous life-sized Capsule Monster capsule that he plans on storing Miho in? What the actual hell?

Not to mention that he likes to pepper in English words into his speech, and they’re always just pet names for Miho like ‘Baby’ ‘Sweetheart’ and ‘My darling.’ Plus, his creepy little smiley expression can go die in a hole.

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While I do commend Miho for stepping up during this episode, she’s also a complete dumbass for the entire run. Creepy college student she barely knows gifting her a gacha Capsule Monsters machine loaded with Capsule Monsters? Better write him what was basically a love letter and include a little gift for him so he’s lead on even more. Have physical evidence that would link him to the poisoning of your three friends? Better not call the cops and instead confront him yourself with your only defense being a four foot tall spiky haired game enthusiast who is so innocent his mind is literally a child’s playroom. Guy who is obsessed with Capsule Monsters, has a warehouse full of rare Capsule Monsters (that Miho’s currently in) and spends his days playing Capsule Monsters whenever he can? Meanwhile you admit that you know little to nothing of the game and have only started practicing by yourself a day ago? Better accept his Capsule Monsters challenge where the stakes involve you handing yourself over to him if you lose.

I thought they would pull a 180 on me. I thought they’d have Miho take Yami’s place in this Shadow Game and actually manage to impress everyone with how skilled she is, secretly being a Capsule Monsters nut or something. It would’ve been a good twist, a great (and much needed) moment for Miho and it would have added something to her character.

But nope.

She makes stupid moves, basically quits after two turns and then is knocked out, and Yami has to swoop in and save her ass. Then she becomes obsessed with Capsule Monsters for a quick end tag joke, but I guarantee this will never be brought up again. She ends the episode with no development or anything – she’s just ditz-ass Miho as usual.

What’s even worse is they kinda imply that Yami was just employing a strategy that Miho started – a brilliant but also completely luck based strategy that instantly won the game. I can’t believe for a minute that that would be the case. Even little Yugi pointed out that she was making bad moves, and it was never implied that she might have been up to something. Plus, if she really did have this brilliant strategy in mind, why did she quit after two moves? Even in her inner monologue, she admits that she has no idea what she’s doing.

I’m want to believe this is poor wording and that Yami was really taking advantage of a situation and monster that Miho didn’t realize she had….but I can’t.

The reason for this being the only actual AniManga Clash note I have for this episode. I mentioned in the review of chapter 24 that the Shadow Game part of that chapter was the only part adapted in Season Zero. And, yeah, it is. Just replace Warashibe with Mokuba, replace a weird love obsession motive with one of vengeance and remove Miho entirely and it’s the same game. He even cheated the same way and got the same punishment.

Remember how I mentioned that, in that chapter, they foreshadowed Yami’s strategy by having his bird monster off on its own while the other monsters were bunched up together? He was clearly planning that BS move from the very beginning.

Well…..Miho’s side of the field is set up the exact same way…..

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So even though she herself admits that she has no clue what the hell she’s doing, she still managed to think up and create this miracle winning opening formation and perfectly set up the BS win. Yami basically just noticed what she was planning and went through the motions, I guess. Miho’s an unwitting Capsule Monster prodigy.

OR, and here’s the more likely theory, the artists mirrored this game without it clicking in their minds that this opening formation was the perfect setup for Yami’s BS plan and didn’t realize what it would be implying to anyone paying attention.

This is another reason why it would have made more sense for Miho to take Yami’s place here. Have her hustle Warashibe and even trick Yugi. Act like the simple annoying moron she always is, but slowly reveal that she’s secretly a badass Capsule Monster player who has been playing in private for a long time. She just doesn’t tell anyone because it’s viewed as a game for younger children and she doesn’t want to get made fun of. She can even claim she told Warashibe that she didn’t know anything about Capsule Monsters because she thought he was creepy and wanted him to go away.

Then her opening formation would make perfect sense, and she’d be winning her own freedom instead of Yami doing it for her.

But again, nope. Just have her be a complete idiot who accepted a challenge that clearly wasn’t in her favor, even in spite of the rigged capsule selection.

And how, after all of that, is she suddenly obsessed with Capsule Monsters? I’d think if a guy stalked me, poisoned my friends, nearly kept me as a human Capsule Monster for his own sick enjoyment, and gambled my life on a rigged Capsule Monster game, the last game I’d ever want to play would be Capsule Monsters. But, nope nope nope. Miho does things just cuz.

Is this the last Miho-centric episode? Please say it is. They never do anything worthwhile with her and she’s like sandpaper on all of my senses, so why bother?

Go away, Miho.

Next time, Jonouchi tries to win big on a local game show, but certain people aren’t willing to let him get the prize money so easily.


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 10: The Approaching Beautiful Teacher’s Secret Mask/Manga Chapter 7

(Normally I would custom-make a header image, but this chapter title card was way too cool.)

This is our first instance of a plot revolving around Honda in the anime (and…pretty much ever, manga-wise) and the only instance of Miho existing in the manga. Why she was specifically chosen to be main girl character #2 in the anime is beyond me, but just be thankful she’s not in the 2000 anime.

I suppose it might have simply been because she is really the only other female student that is ever given even a modicum of focus in the manga, which is pathetic to say the least. Usually, the main girl in a group of mostly guys in an anime will have one or two girls who are barely-there side friends just to prove that the girl doesn’t only hang out with guys or something. But nope. Manga!Anzu’s in a sausage fest.

Jonouchi brings Honda to Yugi to help him with a problem – Honda is love sick for a girl named Miho, whom he’s nicknamed Ribbon-chan because she wears a ribbon (the amount of cleverness is high.) He needs advice on a gift to get her attention. Honda doesn’t want Yugi’s help at first and is quite rude and threatening to him about it, even strangling him a few times. However, Yugi, being a precious cupcake, decides to help him anyway. And, again, being Yugi, they go to his grandpa’s game shop to find a present.

Sugoroku hears his plight and grabs a blank puzzle, citing it as the gift he used to woo Yugi’s grandma. It’s weird, I never once thought about Sugoroku’s wife before. I wonder why they never bother talking about her….then again this show really doesn’t like explaining where anyone’s parents are or who they are, so it’s probably asking too much to think they’d include information on grandparents. Though, oddly, the one person on Yugi’s family tree that we do get the most info on is Sugoroku.

Anyhoo, the blank puzzle is used for messages. You write a love note on the puzzle and break it into pieces. Your loved one will complete the puzzle, see the message and, if all goes well, return your feelings. It’s a bit convoluted, especially if the person doesn’t want to do the puzzle or doesn’t return the confessor’s feelings, but it is fairly romantic.

Honda gets Yugi to write the note for him, which takes him all night, and they put the puzzle in Miho’s desk.

You might be wondering why I haven’t so much as mentioned episode ten yet. That’s because the adaptation of this episode had to be drastically changed since Honda and Miho’s dynamic is so different in the anime, and she’s an actual main character there. They could have had an episode like this where Honda decides to confess his love for Miho through a puzzle. It’s not that difficult to change up a few things and make that plotline work.

Maybe if he was actually shot down he’d stop being such a pathetic doofus around her. But why bother trying to think about how you could adapt the story properly and maybe even develop Honda’s character a little when you can pretty much just cheat in a manner we’ll talk about shortly.

The next scene in the manga is basically adapted just fine, though. Chouno-sensei is an incredibly beautiful teacher at their school, fawned over by many of the boys, but she’s also an incredibly strict devil woman. In the anime, she merely takes some girl’s charm off of her bag since it was against the rules, but in the manga she’s known as The Expelling Witch, having expelled 15 students in six months. She’s also very egotistical and wears gobs of makeup. In the anime, she’s so strict that she is trying to coerce (Read: seduce) the vice-principal into banning all personal items from school and increasing penalties for rule breakers.

Can I take the time to point out that the show is trying to torment my eyes again? What the hell is Chouno wearing? For someone who supposedly puts so much time and effort into their appearance, she chose a butt-ugly skirt suit.

The main plot starts here in the anime, and it’s pretty much the same plot as the Honda/Miho plot from the manga with the main difference being that the one with the crush is a completely new girl named Mayumi, who has hair that matches Chouno’s gross green skirt suit, yay. She likes Jonouchi and wants to confess to him. Anzu and Miho recruit Yugi to help her confess to Jonouchi, and he suggests going to the game shop where they get the same type of message puzzle.

There is a small running gag in the anime episode where, whenever someone asks what Jonouchi would like for a gift, they respond by saying he likes lewd videos. I thought that was pretty funny.

Believe it or not, even though they didn’t really have to change this plot so much, the anime’s arrangement makes more sense. At least it’s canon that Jonouchi likes games. Who’s to say Miho would like the puzzle or even try to complete it? This would make the most sense if Yugi was the recipient, but no one his age ever seems to have an actual crush on him – and that includes Anzu….

In the anime, Mayumi is the one who writes on the puzzle, not Yugi. I guess this makes more sense because she barely knows Yugi. (Then again, Honda barely knows him in the manga too…)

In the manga, we only hear about Chouno’s marriage interview when she’s discussing it with the vice principal. She says he didn’t deserve her and walks away.

In the anime, we actually see her marriage interview, and she mostly seems to use it to fish for compliments on her appearance. A little boy is playing around the area where they’re having their interview and accidentally runs into her. Chouno knocks the boy down and chastises him for dirtying her kimono, calling him a brat. He runs off crying, and Chouno laments on how terribly kids are brought up these days. Then her date dumps her after the spectacle – understandably so.

The thing about this change is that it’s not just adding the marriage interview, it’s also changing her character a tiny bit. In the manga, she’s a pure cold-hearted bitch who is toying with men and punishing them for no reason.

In the anime, while she’s still just a bitch, they inadvertently make her a little sympathetic. Fishing for compliments makes her seem like she has severe self-esteem issues, and having her be the one who got dumped leaves the door open for sympathy.

The conversation later when the vice principal asks her how her date went is kept the same as the one at the start of the manga chapter, but it’s made different because they showed the interview. Likewise, the following scene where she smashes the bathroom mirror and goes off about how she was planning on dumping the guy anyway and that she only uses marriage interviews to toy with men is also kept the same, but they add in a slight bit of her being extra insulted because the guy dumped her.

In the manga, for all we know, she did just toy with the guy and dumped his ass like old mop water so she could relish in his humiliation. But in the anime we know she was dumped, and nothing in inner monologue suggested she was going to dump him, though she was obviously using him for an ego boost. Now it just seems like she’s embarrassed and she’s trying to make excuses to save face….hehe, save face…That joke will sense a bit later.

Bear in mind that I’m not saying anything the anime is adding is making her someone to root for or feel sorry for, especially when you consider the later events, but they did add a slight bit more depth to her character by making subtle changes. It’s not big change or anything, but it’s better than just making her fully two-dimensional.

In the manga, Chouno, being pissed off, decides to calm herself by springing a surprise inspection on the class. She wants them to empty their bags and their desks and will be thoroughly punished if she finds anything out of line. Funnily enough, when she’s listing off items that are against the rules, she mentions condoms – and they’re the most prominently displayed word in the text. I never thought I’d ever see the word ‘condoms’ in anything Yu-Gi-Oh related, but here I am.

To make this even funnier, she thinks this with such a creepy look on her face, and she’s yelling it.

Miho brings out the present, and Chouno takes it away, shocking everyone and embarrassing Miho.

In the anime, Chouno just tells them to get out their textbooks. Jonouchi finds the present on accident while trying to get his book.

In both versions, Chouno rips the wrapping paper off of the gift and starts slowly trying to humiliate Miho/Jonouchi by putting the puzzle together and revealing the message.

In the manga, Yugi and Jonouchi stand up and try to claim the puzzle as their own to prevent Honda from being embarrassed or getting punished. Touched by their gesture, Honda decides to take the rap anyway and admits that it was his message and puzzle. Chouno can’t know for certain which boy is actually telling the truth, so she decides to complete the puzzle to see who signed it. She’s very close to revealing the name when Yami emerges and turns the puzzle into a Shadow Game.

In the anime, Anzu decides to take the heat for it, believing she can merely tell Jonouchi it was a prank. She’s told to go to the advisor’s office later. She debates with Chouno on the ethical nature of the strict rules that she loves to enforce, particularly those of ‘distractions’ like a harmless puzzle or a part-time job. She tells Chouno that she believes many other students are on her side on this issue, so Chouno tells her to prove it by gathering the signatures of other students.

As Anzu prepares to do that, Chouno lies to the other teachers acting as if Anzu is a threatening troublemaker who is looking to appeal all the rules in the school.

Anzu starts putting up posters and gathering signatures. She admits that doing this is both for the sake of the students’ happiness and for allowing her to work her part-time jobs without worrying about getting caught.

Apparently, Chouno was able to convince the other teachers of Anzu’s misdeeds, especially with her posters up everywhere, so they start harassing her. Her posters get vandalized, and she starts getting unfairly targeted by her teachers in class. Despite this, Anzu keeps trying her best, though apparently she has zero signatures? I thought Jonouchi was going to sign it, and wouldn’t Miho, Yugi and Mayumi sign it immediately? Maybe Honda wouldn’t because he’s all about school rules, even if he doesn’t support Chouno’s behavior, but he’s pretty loyal to his friends. Surely he’d do it if Miho asked him, anyway.

Miho explains that there’s a rumor going around school that anyone who has signed has been targeted by Chouno and her fellow teacher cronies, which either isn’t true because she has no signatures or isn’t true because it hasn’t happened, as Anzu attests.

Anyway, pre-soft-reboot Yu-Gi-Oh being what it is, of course Anzu and Yugi get bullied. Three assholes mock her and take her sign-up sheets. They push Yugi to the ground and tear up the papers. Jonouchi comes over to confront the guys, one of them ironically calling him a rule-breaker. Jonouchi, unable to stomach this abuse to his friends, tackles the guy to the ground and punches him to face.

Obviously, this a big no-no, so Chouno brings them all to the advisor office for punishment. Anzu tries to take the full blame again, and Chouno threatens her with expulsion. She releases them all, explaining that the staff will decide Anzu’s fate tomorrow. She brings the three assholes into the room for their ‘punishment’ next.

They all leave, barring Yugi, who listens in at the door. Not surprisingly, Chouno was the one pulling the strings behind the three assholes. In exchange for expunging their records, they were told to harass Anzu and Yugi and get them to break the rules.

Shocked at this revelation, Yugi triggers Yami’s emergence.

Shadow Game

So, here’s the deal. In the manga, the Shadow Game really isn’t a Shadow Game so much as Yami utilizing the power of the Puzzle to warp Chouno’s face into a crumbling jigsaw puzzle (Though, oddly, we never get to see her ‘ugly’ face) and never allowing her to complete the puzzle to find out the confessor’s name. Chouno runs off in terror and uh….that’s it. The end. Of the Shadow Game anyway. Chouno is never seen again, either.

In the anime, Yami confronts Chouno in the hall and offers to play a game. If he wins, Anzu and her friends don’t get any punishment. If he loses, he’ll keep quiet about her using the students to further her own twisted plans, and he’ll willingly be her pawn. She accepts.

Yami throws two mirrors up into the air. Each falls on their respective sides of the table and shatter into pieces, which was a really sick move. Yami always knows how to do these games in style. Whomever puts the mirror back together first wins. However, there’s a catch. They each have to be wearing blindfolds.

Chouno accepts, and the game starts. Before they actually get into it, however, Yami offers Chouno a pair of gloves to keep her from getting cut. How kind.

They start putting the mirror back together, but of course Chouno just takes the blindfold off because she knows Yami won’t see her. As they work, Yami reveals that this is actually a Shadow Game – if she cheats, there will be dire consequences. Chouno doesn’t think anything of it, but keeps up her blindness act as they continue to work. He’s halfway done, but she only has one more piece. She completes the puzzle, but Yami knows she has cheated.

He calls her out on her misdeeds and starts her penalty game. Her face turns into a crumbling puzzle, and beneath the pieces lies an old ugly sagging face. Chouno runs off in horror, but that’s, surprisingly, not the full end for her. Later, we see that she’s still preoccupied with her looks and vehemently supports stern rule enforcement, but now, whenever she goes too far with it, she hallucinates her face cracking away and excuses herself. Apparently, she’s even caking on more makeup than usual because she’s trying to cover the cracks and it won’t stick.

Meanwhile, at the end of the manga chapter, Honda formally confesses to Miho and gets shot down. However, Yugi points out that his friendship with Jonouchi and Honda has grown as a result of their ordeal.

At the end of the anime version, Chouno’s plans seemingly fall apart, but it’s very unclear if Anzu got her wish to lighten up the rule on part-time jobs. Jonouchi asks Anzu what was up with the puzzle message, and, like she claimed she’d do earlier, she just says it was a prank and he brushes it off. Miho tells Anzu it’s all okay because, get this, during this whole fiasco, Mayumi fell for an upperclassman and confessed to HIM, so they’re dating now.

……Mayumi, you were barely a character…but FUCK OFF. Anzu, Yugi and Jonouchi went through all of this bullshit because of you, and not only do you not help Anzu with her goal, but in the two days this was all going down you just decide you don’t like Jonouchi anymore, fall for someone else, confess to them and start dating them? What a bitch. The only reason they wrote this in is because they didn’t want this character to return and they were too lazy to write a proper resolution to that plotline.

———————————-

The anime definitely has the edge over the manga in pretty much every respect this time. In both scenarios, there’s a one-off character I couldn’t care less about (Though Mayumi is more of a bitch than Manga!Miho. At least she let Honda down gently), but the story is much more fleshed out in the anime version.

By the end, even though they added a layer or two to Chouno’s character, she was still extremely hateable. That guy who dumped her might as well be named Neo because he dodged a bullet.

I like how they showed that, even though she technically escaped the Shadow Game illusion, she’s still trapped seemingly forever, and it’s forcing her to keep changing her ways. It makes me think that this might be the case for everyone else, though considering Manga!Kaiba and Mokuba, probably not.

Having Anzu take the stage with this story was also a lot better than focusing on Honda. She’s a more interesting character, she already has a bone to pick with Chouno in regards to the rules being a hindrance on her, and I felt really bad for her when she was being harassed.

They obviously greatly improved on the manga’s Shadow Game, which wasn’t even really a game. And, like I mentioned, despite the punishment being the same between versions, we never see the ‘ugly’ face everyone, including Chouno, hallucinated at the end. Considering how scary this art can be when it’s just trying to be normal, they could have had a field day trying to make a purposefully ugly face, but Takahashi couldn’t be bothered. I get that there’s a certain advantage in not showing us her face because, like in horror stories, what you imagine tends to be worse than what’s shown to you, making the impact stronger, but I felt like that wasn’t the intention. I could be wrong, though.

The game itself was really cool. Yami even broke the mirrors in a cool way and put on his uniform in that badass manner where he uses his jacket as a cape. The broken mirrors also had symbolism in reflecting her ugly insides and being a sendup to her breaking the mirror earlier.

It’s subtle, but there are some cute little hints of Yugi’s crush on Anzu peppered throughout the episode. This was a good way to keep the theme of romance throughout, even if it was just slightly. However, it does bother me a little because, even in the soft-rebooted series, Anzu is definitely more romantically attracted to Yami than Yugi, if she even has an iota of feelings for Yugi at all. It’s just sad. The only reason they’d ever get together is if she waited about ten years when Yugi magically becomes a carbon copy of Yami, as far as we were able to tell from that one shot in GX anyway.

That’d be an uncomfortable situation. Imagine them in bed and her being like ‘Can I call you Yami or Atem?’

Overall, a decent story on the manga side and a pretty good episode on the anime side.

Winner: Anime

Next time, Miho and Yugi enter the world of Capsule Monsters.


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Yu-Gi-Oh! Episode 13: Trap of the Metamorph Pot! Flame Swordsman in Danger | Sub/Dub Comparison

Plot: Bakura, suddenly appearing from nowhere, challenges Yugi to a duel using his friends’ favorite cards shuffled into his deck. He accepts, but not before Bakura reveals something shocking – he has his own Millennium Item – the Millennium Ring. He uses its powers to separate the group’s souls from their bodies and inject them into their favorite cards.

What’s more is that Bakura is not really Bakura. He’s an evil spirit inhabiting Bakura’s Millennium Ring who forcibly takes over Bakura’s body whenever he pleases in order to collect the Millennium Items for himself. He believed he could easily steal the Puzzle if he removed Yugi’s soul, but he was wrong. Yami takes over Yugi’s body after Yugi’s soul vanishes and vows to win back his friends’ souls during a Shadow Game.

———————————————

Honda is actually a gun buff in the original series, which explains why his favorite card is the Cyber Commander. However, I’m shocked they let Tristan actually have a gun. He’s a CYBER Commander, so it’s probably a laser gun or something, but still. Maybe 4Kids was still in that weird phase where they would allow guns on screen but only under certain circumstances, like with Pokemon.

Tristan: “According to this tombstone, I’M DEAD!“ First a gun now a reference to death? Walking on the wild side today, eh 4Kids?

Also, the tombstone is edited to show Tristan’s name instead of Honda’s.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

When a duelist suffers a loss of life points in this Shadow Game, they suffer physical pain. When Jonouchi beats Bakura’s White Magical Hat, Bakura clutches his chest and groans in pain. In the dub, he suffers no pain and only scowls.

Regular Yugi doesn’t have any inner monologue running during the duel because his soul is supposed to be in the deck. Only Yami is in Yugi’s body during the duel. In the dub, Yugi’s talking in his head like nothing is different.

Fairly minor, but in the original, Yugi and Yami have been keeping the spirit a secret from the group. Yugi knows that there’s a spirit in the Puzzle in the Japanese version. In the dub, he just says he doesn’t really know about the spirit, but that he feels a voice calling out to him when he duels sometimes. Nice try, Yugi. Trying to cover up your cheating ways.

Yugi: “Wait a minute, Joey, I was just played so I have to move.” Just because you summon a monster doesn’t mean they’re obligated to move at all during that turn. Any monster currently on the field, unless otherwise restricted by spells, traps or effects, can act. This is true even in Duelist Kingdom. Yugi really, seriously should’ve known that….In addition, Bakura also had a face-down spell or trap card out, so it would’ve been really dangerous to attack right then….No wonder Yugi always needs to use Yami. He sucks at this.

The Just Desserts card is way overpowered in this season. Since the duelists only have 2000 LP each, you could easily end a duel in a few turns if your opponent has four monsters out.

Yugi attacks a face down monster AGAIN just because Joey said Yami was cooler than him.

Not only does 4Kids get the card information wrong on T’ea’s card when she activates her effect (I think they used the template for the Dark Magician) but they also made the card upside down…Which is weird, because they had it the right way when she started to glow….It was still the wrong CARD, but it was at least facing the right way.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Also, uhm….Huh?….The Magician of Faith’s card effect activates when it’s flipped face-up. She may have come out of hiding, but her card was never flipped face up/put in attack mode. Unless Yami did this without announcing his move.

In the original, Bakura said the merchant also sold his father a Duel Monsters card. In the dub, Bakura just says the merchant said the Millennium Item had something to do with the game.

——————————-

I like this duel arc. Seeing the group as Duel Monsters is a lot of fun even if their lives are on the line because of it. Isn’t it so coincidental that all of the group’s favorite cards have human traits? Yami Bakura was always the best enemy in Yu-Gi-Oh to me, even if I feel really bad for poor Bakura. I don’t know why he was destined to have such an awful Millennium Item when he’s so kind.

Next time, the Shadow Game ends. Can Yami keep his friends out of the graveyard until the last life point depletes?

….Previous Episode


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero Episode 3 (Chapters 9-10)

YGOEP3

Plot: Duel Monsters is a trading card game that is quickly gaining popularity across Japan. Kaiba, heir to the powerful and massively successful Kaiba Corp., is a champion of the game and is always looking to ‘acquire’ rare cards. He sets his sights on Sugoroku’s extremely rare Blue-Eyes White Dragon card, but his means of acquiring it lead him into the clutches of Yami and a Shadow Game.

Breakdown: The manga did not include a scene where Kaiba has his goons viciously beat up a student at a school for the sake of getting his Dark Magician card, which he was vehement in not handing over because it was a memento of his father. Kaiba has apparently been doing this or similar things to everyone else at this school that has rare Duel Monster cards and has possibly wiped out other schools in the same manner.

I don’t think there are enough super-special-awesome cards out there rare enough to warrant this. Considering, in the 2000 anime, Yugi has a Dark Magician card by default, there is a duelist who specializes explicitly in Dark Magician cards, Dark Magician has several variations and is one of the easiest to get strong cards ever, I sincerely doubt that card is worth strong-arming from someone, especially when Kaiba’s one of the richest mothereffers in the world. (I’m aware that the stuff from the 2000 anime was nowhere near a thought when this came out, I’m just pointing out how weird it seems from that standpoint.)

In the manga, the story starts out with Yugi, Jonouchi and Anzu talking about the upcoming craze, Duel Monsters, at the game shop with Sugoroku. It has been popular in America for a while, but is just gaining traction in Japan. Sugoroku shows the kids his precious Blue-Eyes White Dragon card. It’s extremely rare because they stopped production on the card since it was deemed too powerful to use in the game.

Kaiba suddenly enters the card shop, and he makes no effort to hide his assholery as he looks at the cards Jonouchi just bought and calls them garbage before flippantly chucking them back at him. He also makes it clear that he’s a champion Duel Monsters player and wouldn’t sully his good name to play with an amateur, but gracefully offers to have Jonouchi duel him when he’s collected at least 10,000 cards.

If you know of the 2000 anime, you likely know how the rest goes in the manga. He sees Blue-Eyes, desperately wants it, offers Sugoroku an entire briefcase filled with rare cards for it, but Sugoroku refuses because it was a gift from a treasured friend, so Kaiba begrudgingly leaves. A very similar scene does happen a bit later on, but in Season Zero Kaiba makes a clear effort to get on Yugi’s good side first, believing he might have rare cards.

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Jonouchi was originally extremely interested in Duel Monsters. In Season Zero, he spends a little time brushing it off as a childish game.

Honda is not in this chapter at all. In the anime, he goes on a tangent about protecting the students from unlawful card maniacs who will obtain Duel Monsters cards through illicit means.

Even though we’ve never seen him before this chapter, Yugi and the others act as if Kaiba has been a classmate for quite a while. In the anime, Kaiba just now transfers to their school for the sake of finding kids with rare cards and stealing them.

If you know Season Zero, you know it takes quite a bit for me to say this – This episode’s animation quality is noticeably worse than usual….and that’s just upsetting.

The anime is setup rather poorly, if you ask me. While the manga doesn’t make it a secret that Kaiba’s a douche, the anime goes to the trouble of establishing that he’s an even bigger douche than his manga counterpart, and then they try to pull off the ol’ ‘Forget what my clearly evil character design implies – I’m a good guy! Hey protagonist, let’s be pals! Wanna come to my really cool house? Invite your friends! I’m a good guy!’ to ‘Psych, I was really a bad guy! Muahahaha!’ switcheroo. In the anime, all you’re doing is waiting for the other boot to fall because we know Kaiba’s a bad guy who steals cards.

They could’ve pulled this off cleanly if they simply didn’t have the opening scene with Kaiba stealing the Dark Magician card, which is a scene that turns out to be entirely pointless outside of showing us prematurely that Kaiba’s a jerk.

Speaking of him pretending to be Kindba (hahah, I make the puns. They are funny) anime!Kaiba invites Yugi over to his house to check out his Duel Monster card collection. Yugi brings everyone else along, and Kaiba basically says ‘the more the merrier.’ Jonouchi hates him because he’s rich but also super nice because he translates that as being snobby. Honda later hates him because Miho starts fawning over him for giving them free tickets to his amusement park.

Kaiba conveys his Duel Monsters Champion status when he reveals his card collection room which also displays several of his trophies from Duel Monsters tournaments.

Kaiba asks Yugi if he has any rare cards, and Anzu remembers that Yugi said his grandpa has a really rare card. Kaiba asks if he could see it and Yugi agrees. Despite the other setup being poor, I like this particular setup because at least now Kaiba has a reason to visit the card shop. In the 2000 anime, Kaiba overhears Yugi talking about his grandpa’s rare card when they’re in class, which he just assumes might be the Blue-Eyes. The manga just has him randomly arrive.

I find it even weirder that Kaiba would do all of this without the belief that Yugi has a rare card. Kaiba is a complete ass. He wouldn’t play Mr. Nice Guy unless he knew he’d be able to get something out of it.

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Somewhat minor, but the anime neglects to mention that, supposedly, people have killed each other over Duel Monsters cards before. Yikes.

Miho: “What!? I thought it would have diamonds or jewels attached to it!”……You thought a rare trading card for a children’s card game would have diamonds and jewels on it……Miho, please go be stupid somewhere else.

Also fairly minor, but the anime calls it Blue-Eyes Dragon not Blue-Eyes White Dragon. It’s not an issue with the subs either, I can hear it.

They point out that this next bit doesn’t make sense, but still—Honda claims it’s too dangerous to hold such a rare card and that Sugoroku should hand it over to the beautification club. Sugoroku asks why a beautification club member would care and Honda doesn’t have any response to that.

The beautification club stuff was silly enough at school, mostly because Honda keeps equating being a beautification club member to being a school prefect or something, but even if the beautification club had any say in these matters, why would he ask to confiscate a card that someone off school grounds is holding?….That an elderly man off school grounds is holding?……That an elderly man who owns a game shop off school grounds is holding?

I don’t think it’s a matter of him wanting to take the card for himself because Honda’s such a goodie-two shoes (well…kinda. He beats people up in the name of justice with Jonouchi sometimes) and I don’t think he even plays the game in the first place (His first match seems like it’s in the next scene). This whole sequence is just strange.

While the scene at the game shop plays out basically the same outside of those Honda and Miho moments, Kaiba continues to play the nice guy when he gets shot down. In the manga, he basically has a big huff and leaves.

The next scene in the manga has Yugi playing a friendly game of Duel Monsters with Jonouchi. In the anime, Jonouchi’s playing with Honda. The duel is changed up slightly, though. Honda plays the card manga!Jonouchi originally played, Zombie, and places it in the graveyard zone. The manga doesn’t have any sort of field advantage mat like the anime does, so the card just gets played regularly. Anime!Jonouchi plays the Dark Dragon card – the same one manga!Yugi played. It’s 1500 vs. 800, so Jonouchi declares himself as the winner, as manga!Yugi did, but anime!Yugi stops him. Since Honda played Zombie in the graveyard field, its attack points double, making it 1600, so Honda wins.

I find this increasing entertaining the more I think about it, because it’s almost like Yugi is retroactively cheating between versions for the sake of not letting Jonouchi win.

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Also, DOUBLE ATTACK POWER for undead creatures in the graveyard? Are you insane? I know Zombie only had 800 attack points, but even slightly stronger creatures would be ridiculously overpowered in there.

Honda and Jonouchi both get into Duel Monsters for the sake of beating Kaiba. I find this disappointing because manga!Jonouchi was genuinely excited about the game itself and even challenged Kaiba before he started thinking he was a jackass. Having his one drive be defeating Kaiba, and pawning off that same drive on Honda, just feels lazy and uninteresting. Granted, they never play the game again after this, in this continuity anyway.

In the manga, Yugi randomly brings Blue-Eyes to school for the day after asking his grandpa if he could borrow it….for…some reason. In the anime, Kaiba specifically calls Yugi the previous night and asks if he can borrow the card from his grandpa so he can see it up close again.

I have problems with both versions. In the manga, why would he take such a rare card with him to school? His friends have already seen the card, and carrying around such a rarity just makes him a target for ‘maniacs.’

In the anime, why wouldn’t Yugi find it odd that Kaiba would ask him to do such a thing? His grandpa’s a reasonable guy. Surely he’d let Kaiba keep seeing it. Maybe not hold it again, but he’d be able to see it. Yugi’s a bit naive to believe Kaiba would ask something like that without having ulterior motives.

By the way, why is Kaiba allowed to wear such a drastically different school uniform? Every other boy has a blue uniform, but Kaiba is allowed to wear a pure white one in the anime. Is it just because he’s rich? (Just for the sake of noting this, he only wears his school uniform in a few episodes of the 2000 version, but his uniform is the proper color there.)

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Literally just realized how gross the color scheme in his hallway is. Is there any place in this anime that has pleasant colors?

The manga only goes so far as to show Kaiba pulling the fake Blue-Eyes out of his pocket to make the switch while the anime decides to show him dropping the card to make the switch too. I like this change because it bugged me a little that we don’t see how Kaiba swapped the cards right in front of Yugi’s face.

In the manga, Yugi is the only one who notices that Kaiba swapped the cards. In the anime, Jonouchi and Honda notice and take action against Kaiba after school without telling Yugi. They promptly get their asses kicked by Kaiba’s guards.

I can’t really decide how much this bothers me. Anime!Yugi does later reveal that he noticed Kaiba take his card, but he thought Kaiba would reconsider and gave him the chance to return it. He was heading home with the fake and I guess hoped Kaiba would come to the shop later and confess or something. Manga!Yugi, on the other hand, confronted Kaiba after school about it, begged him to give him the card back since it’s so precious to his grandfather and got beat up by Kaiba in return.

I prefer the manga side in that regard because, while it is realistic that Yugi would give Kaiba the chance to own up to what he did and make things right, I don’t think Yugi would return home with the fake Blue-Eyes card and possibly have to break the bad news to his grandpa, who may notice it’s a fake.

Also, I’m a tad annoyed because so many episodes/chapters include the main characters getting beaten up. It starts to wear thin.

After school, Yugi walks home and is confronted by Anzu who tells him she thought he’d be with Honda and Jonouchi because they decided to challenge Kaiba. Yugi somehow puts it together that Honda and Jonouchi are back at school, on the roof no less, physically confronting Kaiba.

The rest of the exchange goes the same, essentially, but since the guards are in the picture in the anime, Yami has to beat them up before going to confront Kaiba.

Shadow Game

The manga and Season Zero share the 2000 anime’s original default life point count of 2000, which will later get bumped up to 4000, though rarely, if ever, do they mirror the real life TCG’s default life point count of 8000.

Make fun of the game in later days all you want, it is a million times more complex and entertaining than the game in the manga and Season Zero. I would’ve been really bored playing the game like this. Most of the moves are drawing and playing whatever you’ve just drawn then attacking with whatever monster you summoned. Also, there’s only magic cards, no traps, though you can put magic cards face down and have them act like traps, I think?

Oh my god, the animation for the Dark Dragon falling! That is too hilarious. It was literally like someone knocked down a cardboard cutout. Is this a rough draft version of the episode? Wow.

It’s interesting seeing the beta versions of some of the more well-known Yu-Gi-Oh cards like Holy Elf/Mystical Elf and Minotaurus/Battle Ox.

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Apparently Season Zero wants to channel Bakugan in the future for a minute here as they play a magic card, but only say it makes the monster stronger. They don’t explain how much stronger or for how long. In the manga, they explain that Growth increases Minotaurus’ attack by 20%.

In the manga, once Minotaurus is powered up, Yugi suffers several losses in a slight montage where his life points are eventually whittled down to 500. His next card has to be strong or else there’s a high chance he’ll lose, which is where Demon Summon/Summoned Skull comes into play a la heart of the cards.

What’s that? You say you thought the heart of the cards was some 2000 version bullshit? Haha, you’re silly, reader.

In the anime, Yugi only suffers the loss of Holy Elf. His life points stay the same, since she was in defense mode, and he instantly draws Demon Summon.

I don’t really mind this too much because the manga makes Yugi out to be a complete idiot who keeps throwing out weak monsters in attack mode instead of defense.

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Also, have another aged chuckle, because Kaiba notes that Demon Summon is one of the five strongest monsters in the game. Wow.

Here’s where Kaiba really differs from manga and Season Zero to the 2000 anime. In the manga and Season Zero, Kaiba cheats by pulling a Blue-Eyes out of his jacket pocket, palming it and pretending to draw it on his next turn.

2000!Kaiba, as much of a jackass as he is, would never sully his good name or his honor as a duelist and cheat (The ‘summoning a bunch of monsters on one turn’ thing doesn’t really count because that was technically in the Duelist Kingdom days where half the moves were technically cheating or making shit up.) The closest he ever got was threatening to commit suicide if Yugi chose to defeat him, but that was only because Mokuba’s life/soul was on the line. If he lost that match, he’d have lost his only chance to challenge Pegasus and save his last remaining family and one of the only beings he loved.

Either Kaiba loses another monster off-panel in the manga or they did some bad math. Kaiba went down to 1500 LP when his Gargoyle was defeated. His 2040 Attack Minotaurus was his next monster to be downed, and it was by a 2500 Attack monster, which means he should be at 1040 LP. However, the next time we see his LP counter, it’s at 800.

I want to believe the anime did this wrong as well because Kaiba’s LP only go to 1200 when Minotaurus is defeated there. However, since the anime didn’t tell us Minotaurus’ exact power boost with Growth, I can only assume it’s wrong. It’s not either 800 or 1040, so unless they changed the card effect, it has to be wrong.

A small bit of text above Kaiba’s head in the manga implies that he also cheated to win those aforementioned tournaments, so this isn’t a new thing for him.

Oh, oh….oh retro Blue-Eyes and its animation…..Wow….just..wow.

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What the…? Blue-Eyes isn’t even attacking and is, in fact, in the process of destroying itself, but anime!Yami’s life points are going down to 50? Whaaa?????

I would call BS on Blue-Eyes not attacking because he’s not Kaiba’s card, thus he doesn’t have his heart in it, Yugi’s grandfather does, but I think this is just the embodiment of Kaiba’s cheating so I’ll give it a pass.

I get that it’s poetic justice for Yami to revive Blue-Eyes to fight for him, but he could’ve just attacked Kaiba’s life points directly with Demon Summon. Or are direct attacks not allowed in this version, like it wasn’t in the first season of YGO? Also, when anime!Yami revived Blue-Eyes, why did he not attack with either?

Now when it’s anime!Kaiba’s turn, like Yami, his life points start going down for absolutely no reason. What the hell is happening?

Even more weirdness because, in the manga, Kaiba loses this duel, and the subsequent penalty game has a lasting effect on him that will herald in the biggest arc of the manga. Yami attacks with Blue-Eyes and wins.

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In the anime….I have no clue what the hell happened. Kaiba draws a Gremlin, which, even with 2000 attack, isn’t enough to defeat either Demon Summon or Blue-Eyes. However…Kaiba summons him on a mountain range, I think, which, I guess, grants the card the ability called Split the Land….which automatically ends the duel in a draw…I suppose?

…..HUH!? Why did Kaiba not get defeated here? He not only should’ve lost, he should’ve got a well-deserved penalty game for cheating. But the anime decides, nah, let’s have it end in a draw? Even 2000!anime Kaiba lost. And where did Kaiba vanish to after the duel ended? What is going on!?!?

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It also makes the setup for the Kaiba arc so much weaker than the manga. Instead of Kaiba, the champion, being pissed about being defeated and basically being forced to go through hell, instead he’s just butthurt that he got a tie.

I’m a bit surprised that manga!Yami was lenient on Kaiba in his penalty game. It’s horrible to be trapped in a card and experiencing something ‘close to death’ as all of the fallen creatures torment him, but he clearly says it’s only for one night whereas we’re left to assume most of the other people who got penalty games were punished indefinitely.

If they weren’t, then why haven’t people like Ushio come back to get their revenge on Yugi? Are they just too scared of him now? Have they changed their ways because of their punishment? Tetsu got straight-up killed for sure, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think most of the other penalty games stuck unless stated otherwise so…..??

Kaiba beat up numerous people, stole god knows how many Duel Monsters cards and tried to steal Yugi’s grandfather’s precious treasure. I’m not saying all of that is worth eternal torment or death, I’m saying Yami’s done worse to some people for much less. Why is Yami so inconsistent with how he punishes people?

Also, the anime ends with a few tags – Kaiba trashing his trophy room in anger at getting a mere draw in a duel, Yugi, Anzu and Jonouchi being glad Yugi got Blue-Eyes back (somehow) and an overly long really stupid sequence of Miho riding on the back of Honda’s bike and them spending a ridiculous amount of time on the ground in a daze after crashing.

———————-

I thought this was a good introduction to Duel Monsters, for the most part. I don’t think they do an adequate enough job explaining the rules (The manga does a lot more than the anime, but they have an advantage in being able to display fairly detailed text boxes that convey that type of info. Still, a good anime would be able to convey the information naturally), and both versions have a serious problem with keeping track of life points, but the anime moreso because both of their life points went down so far for literally no reason. Nothing was happening at the time, but they were losing points. I feel like they only did that so it would be more viable for the duel to end in a draw.

I already expressed how I also didn’t care much for the nice guy act they put on Kaiba in the anime. Like I said, that would’ve been perfectly fine if they didn’t ruin the act in the first place by showing Kaiba’s guards beating up a kid for a Duel Monsters card and establishing that he does that stuff all the time.

Kaiba’s design has been noted throughout the years as being the funniest manga/Season Zero design of all of our well-known characters because, while the Kaiba we know and love has brown hair, manga/Season Zero Kaiba…well.

Again, what is up with the screwed up colors in this show?

Do I even need to bring up the janky animation in this episode? This series has always been poorly animated, but this is lower than shoestring budget. It’s like…..off-brand floss budget. It reminded me of those old Filmmation cartoons from the 70s on occasion.

Kaiba is a good antagonist, of course, and I’m glad they left the door open for him to return in the future, but that draw wasn’t earned in the anime. He may not have been able to do anything with Blue-Eyes once he was on the field, but he still cheated. He deserved to lose. There’s honestly no reason he shouldn’t have lost either. It’s like the writers were cheating FOR them. What was wrong with the manga’s ending that they felt the need to change it? Just wanted it to seem more like Kaiba and Yugi/Yami were on the same level? That’s just silly.

Winner: Manga

Next time, some filler on the anime’s part and some not really filler but never adapted chapters in the manga.


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Yu-Gi-Oh! (Manga) Chapters 2 and 3 Review (AniManga Clash! Season Zero Placeholder)

Preface: I typically don’t do this, but the more series I cover in AniManga Clash, the more I might find the need to do so. Since Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero didn’t cover these chapters of the manga, I’m going to simply do a regular review on them instead.

Chapter 2: Lying Eyes

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Yugi and Jonouchi are talking about a dirty video that is floating around. Jonouchi has seen it, but since Japan has strict censorship laws, he couldn’t make out anything in the mosaic censoring. Times sure were different before the Internet, eh?

A filmmaker comes to Domino High to film a documentary about bullying. When he sees Yugi, he assumes he must be bullied, so he decides to make him the star of their show. I guess just following a kid who seemingly must be bullied isn’t good enough, so he asks his assistant director to dress up like a student and beat the piss out of Yugi so they can film it and make a good scene for the documentary.

The assistant lures Yugi out back with the promises of seeing an idol he believes is hanging around the school. With the cameras in place, he beats the crap out of Yugi. Jonouchi comes to his rescue (Noticeably holding a camera, so I think he was snooping to catch a picture of the idol who’s not there.) He tries to attack the director, but he says they’ll catch it on tape if he does. Jonouchi doesn’t realize the cameras are actually off, so the director takes that opportunity to beat him up.

As the director walks away, he says they shouldn’t worry because their faces will just be mosaiced out.

Angered by the injustice, Yugi transforms into Yami.

That night, the director muses that, next time, they should try killing someone on camera…..This guy is so ridiculously over-evil. You were pushing it having someone, a minor no less, beaten up on camera for the sake of a public feature. You want to KILL someone for a public video? Do you want to never see anything but the inside of a jail cell?

Shadow Game

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Yami arrives and challenges the director to a simple dice game. He’ll roll the die once. If the director can roll a die of equal or lower value, he’ll win. Yami rolls a six, and even though the director proclaims that this automatically makes him the winner, Yami insists he roll anyway.

The director then throws the die at his face, seemingly…trying to kill him? When it lands, he states he won since the die seemingly landed on a one, but Yami declares a penalty game for the attack and reveals that the die broke in half. One half landed on one, the other landed on six, equaling seven.

Yami punishes the director with Illusion of Mosaic, which alters his vision to make everything look like it’s being put through a mosaic filter. Yami’s reasoning was that he warped the reality of his subjects on camera, so he shall be damned to seeing everything through a warped mosaic filter.

The next day, Jonouchi delivers the tape to Yugi, but it ends up in Anzu’s hands and the final panel is of them chasing her to get it back.

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I gotta say, this chapter was kinda dumb. The bad guy setup was a little too ridiculous, the porn tape was an odd side plot, and the Shadow Game was kinda boring (even his rule breaking was lame. Did he really think he could throw a die so hard he’d kill Yugi?)

Chapter 3: Hard Beat!

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It wouldn’t be Yu-Gi-Oh without Yugi being bullied, so the chapter starts with Yugi being bullied.

A…uh…’music lover’ named Souzouji threatens Yugi into selling tickets for his monthly live karaoke show. No one ever comes to these events because his singing voice is inhumanly awful. Yugi can’t sell any of the tickets and doesn’t want to get Jonouchi or Anzu involved.

He comes across a small, timid boy named Hanasaki who was also bullied into selling tickets for Souzouji. He tries to sell Yugi a ticket, but Yugi decides instead to take the task of selling the tickets off of Hanasaki’s hands so he’ll be free from Souzouji. Problem is, Souzouji watched Yugi take the tickets and he’s none too happy about this.

Later, Yugi’s the only one at Souzouji’s show, and Souzouji’s very mad. He pulls a curtain to reveal Hanasaki, badly beaten as punishment for giving the tickets away.

Shadow Game

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Yugi is so filled with anger at Souzouji’s actions, that he transforms into Yami and challenges Souzouji to a game of silence.

In the karaoke room are Sound Pierrot dolls, which dance upon hearing any noise, even noise as light as moving your foot. The game is simple, one of these dolls will be placed in front of them. First one to dance, IE hear sound, loses.

Oddly, Yami makes no statement about what Souzouji will get if he wins, just that Yami will give his life if he loses and Souzouji will suffer a penalty game if he’s the loser.

The no-sound off starts, and Souzouji notices that Yami left the jack to his headphones perched on top of a glass. If it falls, he’ll win. It’s only a matter of time. Souzouji anxiously watches the jack, waiting for it to fall when the doll suddenly starts dancing.

It wasn’t triggered by the jack falling, however. Souzouji had left his microphone on high and never put it down. He was so amped up waiting for the jack to fall that his heartbeat increased substantially and was audible through the speakers. Yami wins, and Souzouji suffers the punishment game of Beat Festival.

Now his heart perpetually beats so loudly, to him anyway, that he can’t escape the noise.

Yami picks up Hanasaki and heads for home.

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This chapter was pretty interesting. The shadow game was a little boring because it was literally a game of doing nothing. I get how it connects back to Souzouji’s desire to be as loud and irritating as possible, but this is basically the game your parents made up to get you to shut up for long periods of time.

I like that Yugi has a new friend, even though I’m not quite certain if he’ll stick around.

I’m also enjoying Jonouchi, even if his part in this chapter was small. He was funny and he keeps showing how dedicated he now is to protecting Yugi and making sure he’s okay.

And now to get back on the anime track.

Episode 2/Chapter 4


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Yu-Gi-Oh Episode 8 Sub/Dub Comparison

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Plot: Mokuba has been kidnapped by Pegasus in order to take over Kaiba’s company. Desperate to save the company and his brother’s reputation, Mokuba escapes and steals a duelist’s deck and star chips to challenge Yugi so that Pegasus can’t duel him and win control over the company. Yugi and the others have thirty minutes to help the theft victim or he will be forced to leave the island with the other people who lost their star chips.

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The words “Funny Rabbit” were edited off of the comic Pegasus has. Because English is evil too. Oddly, though, they also add a picture of Funny Bunny to the cover.

Subbed:

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Dubbed:

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Pegasus’s wine was dialogue changed to fruit juice. Because alcohol doesn’t exist…I can understand editing out smoking and alcohol if a good character is doing it (prevent kids from imitating their favorite characters) but doesn’t a villain doing those things insinuate that they’re bad?

Original version says it’s been nine hours since the tournament began. The dub says six.

Both versions clearly state that those without star chips must leave the island…Again, why is no one bothering to take away Anzu/T’ea, Honda/Tristan and Bakura?

I love how Pegasus obviously has cameras all over the island yet he can’t/won’t catch cheaters. Anyone could steal star chips this way as Bandit Keith and Mokuba show…Then again, Pegasus is a cheater too…

I also love how they arrange a luxury cruise liner to bring them to the island, but only have a rowboat to get them off.

They edit out Jonouchi telling the kid that if he finds his chips that he has to give him half. Makes the entire scene where it transitions from heroic to exasperated groans incredibly awkward.

Yugi needs Yami….to beat a kid half his age at a game he’s supposedly awesome at….I just….geez.

Jonouchi doesn’t insinuate anything about Yugi’s Millennium puzzle in the original. It’s like 4Kids is constantly dropping hints at the fact that there’s a different spirit in there. As if the transformation sequences every episode weren’t a freakin’ clue.

They impose a Millennium symbol on Yugi’s head right after Mokuba puts his chips down, and T’ea follows it up by saying it’s like Yugi is looking into his soul….We get it, 4Kids, the damn necklace is magic. We’re picking up what you’re slamming down. In the original version, Anzu just says that Mokuba doesn’t have a duel glove, thus he must be the criminal.

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In the flashback, original version, Kaiba says he needs to learn of the heart of the cards in order to be as good as Yugi. Then he gives Mokuba a secret key card that allows access to numerous company files and secrets that he’s meant to protect while he’s away. (Yeah, leave a little kid in charge of a multi-billion dollar company. That’s smart. Hope he doesn’t get kidnap—oh wait.)

In the dub, they strangely omit this. Kaiba just says he’s not himself and needs time away to think. He gives Mokuba a card claiming it was his favorite, never showing what it is, and then leaves. I also don’t like how Kaiba’s constantly calling his brother “kid” here. They’re closer than that.

This is kind of a big deal, because that card is the whole focal point behind Mokuba’s kidnapping. They kidnapped him to find out where the key card was. In the dub, he’s kidnapped because they want to control him because only a Kaiba can give orders in his company. The original version makes more sense, but I guess they didn’t want to associate cards with kidnapping…No wait, cards are associated with all sorts of bad crap in this show, so I guess it’s just pointless.

I find it hard to believe that a kid who was brought up in a company that focuses on Duel Monsters and is the brother of the world champion of Duel Monsters doesn’t know the main basics of Duel Monsters. If a monster’s attack points are lower than your opponent’s monster’s, you lose. You had to have picked up at least that much just by watching Kaiba duel once or twice.

Again, they impose a Millennium symbol on Yugi’s head to insinuate that he’s using his powers in the dub, when in the original, he’s not. Because Yugi’s so stupid he needed magic to figure out that was Mokuba. What with his clever disguise of wearing the exact same clothes he was wearing the last time Yugi saw him, pulling his scarf over his mouth and wearing a hat, he should be in the CIA.

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In the original, the Big Five, as they’ll later be called, says they’ll talk with Kaiba about the arrangement with Pegasus. In the dub, they want Kaiba out of the picture, AKA killed.

Dub!Mokuba: “If I can’t beat you *grabs two of Yugi’s star chips* I’ll have you disqualified!”

…..Because Yugi losing two of his five star chips means he’ll be disqualified? What?

I don’t know why, but they edited in a scene of Mokuba looking down and sad just to say “Let’s do it” right before they transition back to the boat.

Kaiba’s scene at his hideaway is edited in to before when Yugi and the others arrive at the docks.

4Kids edited in the goons knocking at Kaiba’s door by basically cutting out the door and quickly animating a zoom-in and out a few times. Because it’s rude not to knock dammit! They do this twice, by the way. Once after Kaiba glances at the door and another before he places the duel disks in the briefcase.

The infamous guns changed to pointing fingers scene. And yes, it still looks ridiculous. They also edited out the scene where he fires the gun at Kaiba, and they edited out the shot of Kaiba falling. I do have to say Kaiba saying “You’ll never take me alive” still tickles my funny bone. I will admit, their cut of Kaiba blocking the bullet is impressively done. You’d never notice there’s a (literal) shot missing from that.

Subbed + Extras: YGOSDCEP8screen7YGOSDCEP8screen9YGOSDCEP8screen10YGOSDCEP8screen12YGOSDCEP8screen14YGOSDCEP8screen15YGOSDCEP8screen17YGOSDCEP8screen18YGOSDCEP8screen19YGOSDCEP8screen20

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Dubbed: YGOSDCEP8screen8YGOSDCEP8screen11YGOSDCEP8screen13YGOSDCEP8screen16YGOSDCEP8screen21

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They splice in a closeup shot of the ocean after the initial shot of the window.

I don’t think I have to tell you that fake-Kaiba doesn’t make puns in the original version. In the original, he just says “I have to have revenge” over and over.


This episode was okay. I think it was a little bit of an excuse to get rid of some of Yugi’s star chips to give him more duels to compete in. However, it does show how dedicated Mokuba is to his brother and introduces us to one of the weirder duels of the show.

Next episode, Yugi duels ‘ghost’ Kaiba or Kaiba’s evil shadow realm counterpart as he’s known in the dub.

…Previous Episode


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