AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 9: Explosion! Yo-Yo Ultimate Technique/Manga Chapters 48-49 (Notes on 11-12)

Plot: Jonouchi is showing off his awesome yoyo skills, but he’s halted when a boy named Nezumi rains on his parade. He hates yoyos because a group of thugs with yoyos attacked him the previous day. Jonouchi and Yugi declare that they’ll help him get revenge on the yoyo-ing thugs, but quickly find out that it’s a trap laid by Jonouchi’s old comrade turned enemy, Hirutani.

He wants Jonouchi back on his side, and he’s willing to do anything to achieve his goals, including trying to kill Yugi.

Breakdown: In typical fashion, anything involving Miho is 100% anime exclusive. This week, she expresses interest in the yoyo, but Honda tells her not to do it because he’s afraid she’ll…get hurt and die?

However, Honda is actually in the first scene where Jonouchi is messing around with his yoyo. Like always, manga-wise, though, he’s just kinda there. In the anime, he catches Jonouchi’s yoyo to make him stop. In the manga, Nezumi made him stop by yelling at him and explaining his story.

Nezumi doesn’t seem to exist in Season Zero, unless he’s that guy who gets attacked in the cold open, but he doesn’t look a thing like he does in the manga if it is meant to be him.

Let me get this out of the way, yes, the concept of this story is super goofy even for Yu-Gi-Oh. The concept of a yoyo gang is about as silly as the bicycle gang in Pokemon, but at least they were plausible, especially since they were on a stretch of road that was meant only for bikes. A gang that mainly uses yoyos as a weapon? I mean, yeah they’d hurt if they hit you, but they’re certainly not the most efficient weapons in existence – most notably because, once they hit their target they usually stop spinning, meaning you have to manually yank them back and manually wind the string back up to throw it again.

Can someone please explain to me why they live in a world where elementary school students are whipping out switchblades and uzis but one of the most feared near adult age gangs in town wields a bunch of yoyos?

Since Nezumi doesn’t exist in this version, the reason Jonouchi wants to go out to challenge the yoyo gang is because they’ve just been harassing people in general and he wants to put a stop to it. I kinda don’t mind this change because Nezumi gets away at the end of this arc in the manga and ultimately vanishes entirely. It’s clear that he was a willing participant in this, not threatened or blackmailed into luring them down there, so it’s a little disappointing that he never got comeuppance.

A very short scene of Yugi at home worrying about Jonouchi is not present in the manga.

From this point until the commercial break, pretty much everything is adapted from chapters 11-12, which I covered in the review of that arc. If you haven’t already, please go read that review. Not a ton is changed between versions, but it’s still a good idea to read that and check back here afterward.

This is still technically in regards to chapters 11-12, but Honda interrogates one of the Rintama gang members outside of the bar before going in. That’s not present in the anime. Additionally, when Yugi and the gang entered the bar, they found the gang member that hit Yugi on the ground, but Jonouchi is nowhere to be found. Fearing the worst, they all split up, but Yugi finds Jonouchi by asking the Puzzle to help him.

In the anime, they ask the bartender what’s up. He tells them that, if the gang is not at the bar, they’re likely either in a fight on the streets or in the warehouses, since that seems to be their base. The bartender notices that they’re Domino High students and tells them to avoid the Rintama gang because they recently coerced a Domino High student into joining them.

Yugi proclaims, out loud, that the bartender must be talking about Jonouchi and that he really was forced into joining back up with the gang.

Then possibly one of the stupidest things they ever could have done happens. Honda lies to the girls…again…and says Jonouchi is probably just hanging out with old friends. Miho happily agrees and says he’ll probably be back in school tomorrow. Anzu also agrees and says he’ll be back to swing around his silly yoyo like he was before. Then they leave.

……Are Anzu and Miho braindead? Are they deaf? They’ve been right next to Honda and Yugi during this whole conversation. They just heard the bartender say that the gang coerced a Domino High student to join them and Yugi proclaiming Jonouchi was forced into being a gang member….but Honda brushes it off like he’s just hanging around with old buddies and Miho and Anzu are like ‘Oh phew, that’s a relief. Let’s go home!’

Even if they, for reason, ate up this excuse without question, are they also forgetting that they saw Jonouchi being entirely complacent with the gang beating up some poor guy, the fact that Jonouchi said he didn’t know Yugi and the others and that he both said and did nothing when one of the gang punched Yugi in the face? You’re either ignoring or forgetting ALL of that and are just expecting him to be at school tomorrow like nothing happened? What the hell is wrong with you two?

The only reason I can see for them doing this is that they wanted the girls out of the picture so they could head to the warehouses and get Jonouchi back, but it was entirely unnecessary. What was wrong with the manga version where they split up to find Jonouchi and Yugi manages to find them with the Puzzle? If you need Honda to be there in the anime, just have them split up in teams of two and tell them to not engage with Hirutani and the gang without getting the others first, as they did in the manga.

This scene just serves to make Anzu and Miho look like oblivious idiots and all for the purpose of ‘gurlz kant b envolvd n sumthing soooo danguriss!!’ Even though they have been involved in a multitude of dangerous things, so this just seems pointless even in canon.

When Honda and Yugi arrive at the warehouse, they try to convince Jonouchi to come with them, explaining that they know he was forced to join the gang, but Jonouchi stands firm against their claim and says he’s with them by choice and is sick of his life adhering to rules and pretending to be their friend.

Honda presents the band to Jonouchi, pleading with him to remember their friendship. Jonouchi drops the band on the floor, steps on it and punches Honda in the stomach.

The next day, Honda and Yugi head to Rintama High. Honda challenges Hirutani to a fight – if he wins, Jonouchi goes free. Hirutani agrees and whips out his yoyo….his yoyo with retractable spikes…. Ya know, between this episode’s gimmick and the last episode with the fully realistic adult woman marionette being controlled by a dude behind a curtain with two pieces of wood, I’m really just finding my footing in the marvelous insanity of this series. I’m not kidding, it’s a hilariously fun ride when it’s not being miserable.

By the way, Hirutani doesn’t even have his own yoyo in the manga.

Honda gets felled rather quickly, and when Hirutani throws his yoyo for a final blow, Yugi steps in the way. His Puzzle deflects the yoyo back at Hirutani, cutting his face.

Hirutani is not happy about this, so he ties up Yugi in the warehouse and has his goons relentlessly wail on Yugi. In the manga, both Jonouchi and Yugi (With Nezumi) had entered the warehouse and when Yugi got jumped they literally hung him by his Puzzle. Jonouchi had to concede to Hirutani or else Yugi would die.

Jonouchi enters the warehouse and tells Yugi once more that he shouldn’t keep pursuing him. With a flick of his yoyo (….That sounded dirty) he seemingly tries to attack Yugi, but ends up hitting one of the guys who was beating him up instead. Jonouchi challenges Hirutani for going back on their deal. He said if Jonouchi joined their gang, he’d leave his friends alone, but now that he’s broken that promise, Jonouchi wants to take Hirutani down.

The other gang members surround Jonouchi with their yoyos, which is also what happens in the manga. I assume all of their yoyos are metal and not plastic, so they’d definitely hurt being hit by them, but in each version Hirutani’s acting like it’d be absolute torture to walk through the hail of yoyos. Yeah, it’d hurt, but again, once they’d hit their target, they’d fall. And, really, how insulting would that be to their friendship? “Yeah, I love ya, Yug, but I ain’t getting smacked with a few yoyos to save yer life. Deuces!”

Admittedly, it is extremely sweet when, in both versions, Jonouchi braves the yoyo storm and tries to protect Yugi, but you really have to focus on the fact that he’s being nearly beaten to death and ignoring the fact that the weapon of choice is a bunch of yoyos. The manga is more dramatic and sweet, in my opinion, though.

In the manga, Jonouchi saves Yugi by giving him a boost and allowing the Puzzle’s rope to gain enough slack to be removed from the hook. Jonouchi then asks to borrow the Puzzle and spins it in front of the yoyos, getting the strings tangled up with the Puzzle and stopping their assault. He then takes their yoyo strings and hooks them up to the hanging hook, lifting them up in the air by their fingers, which is insanely dangerous, but also quite easy to get out of.

In the anime, Hirutani tries to shoot his spiked yoyo at Jonouchi, which gives Jonouchi the opening he needs to throw his own yoyo, deflecting Hirutani’s yoyo and….somehow…Jonouchi’s yoyo slices the rope and frees Yugi.

Sooo….is Jonouchi’s yoyo super sharp or is this just stupid?

Once Yugi is freed, Jonouchi is knocked down by a swift strike to the back of his head via one of the bigger gang members. This finally prompts Yugi to transform into Yami. Jesus, Yami, what took you so long? It took him the same amount of time to transform in the manga, but still, why did it take so long?

In both the anime and the manga, the other gang members chase after Yami, who has escaped to the roof. Yami reveals that he also, for some reason, has a yoyo, and he has some rad skillz with it.

Shadow Game (Kinda)

Yami challenges the thugs to a game. Whoever is the last one on the roof wins. Yami runs from the gang, simply grazing the roof with his yoyo as he runs around and dodging the strikes of the gang, who are also frequently hitting the roof when they miss Yami. They corner Yami on the roof and proclaim that they’ve won. However, Yami turns the table on them and directs their attention to the roof below their feet. It’s rusted and old metal, easily punctured with a yoyo, but it will soon crumble beneath their weight. Yami is supported on the corner beam of the warehouse, but the thugs aren’t so lucky and fall through the roof.

This game is exactly the same as it is in the manga….and yes, it’s just as silly. I mean, if the roof were THAT weak, they never should have been able to stand on it in the first place, let alone run around like it’s a basketball court.

Meanwhile, Jonouchi challenges Hirutani to a fist fight. Jonouchi is getting the better of Hirutani, but he plays dirty and throws BROKEN GLASS INTO JONOUCHI’S EYES. Geez. You’d think that would leave Jonouchi with lasting vision problems and maybe even blindness, but nope. He’s temporarily blinded but perfectly fine by the end of the chapter/episode…

In the manga, after Jonouchi struck Hirutani, causing him to hang from the ledge, Jonouchi was just fine. However, in the anime, he also falls for some reason. Honda saves him by throwing him the band, which he used to hang from the hook and return to the ledge. That sure was necessary.

In both versions, Jonouchi uses ‘Walk the dog’ (Or Jonouchi’s version “Let the Dog Out.”) on Hirutani’s fingers, causing him to fall. By the way, in Season Zero, you can clearly see that Jonouchi’s yoyo has ‘Made in USE’ written on it. Quality products always come from the United States of ‘Erica. (In the manga, it says ‘Made in the USA’)

In the manga, Jonouchi reunites with Yugi and proclaims that he’ll kick Nezumi’s ass if he ever sees him again and that’s the end of the chapter. In the anime, he thanks Honda for saving his life and Yugi happily returns affirming that Jonouchi would never change like that.

Meanwhile, back in school, Jonouchi tries his variant on ‘Around the World’ again, but this time he does it so fast that the wind causes Anzu and Miho’s skirts to fly up. They get pissed and Jonouchi runs off. The end.

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Well, that was a bit complicated to compare, but as a whole….The manga does both stories better than the anime’s combination of the two. It’s to be expected. They’re not only merging four chapters but two stories into one episode, but it’s not just that. The little changes that they made that didn’t need to happen just made the story worse off, if you ask me.

That scene with Anzu and Miho is still irking me, and, overall, I feel like Honda’s presence was poorly written in this entire episode. It’s like they’re having Honda and Yugi struggle for the spot of Jonouchi’s best friend but no one will point out that Yugi’s obviously winning. It’s like they adapted the manga chapter pretty well and then the anime writers wrote on the script ‘Oh yeah, and Honda’s there too.’

The backstory they made for Jonouchi and Honda was just stupid. He passed off a band to Jonouchi in a track meet, which he was meant to do, Jonouchi won and they’ve been buddies ever since?….But they also don’t seem to be all that close? In the anime, Honda may fight people if need be, but he’s not a fellow ex-bully like Jonouchi. He’s a rule-abiding, strict goodie-two-shoes. The only thing we really know about Honda’s past is that he aimed to be class president but didn’t get the role.Those two would never hang out pre-Jonouchi’s attitude change, but yeah, I totally believe that pink track band is a huge emotional symbol of their friendship.

In the manga, it makes more sense because Honda is an ex-thug like Jonouchi and hung around with him because he liked picking fights. He’s still a superfluous character, if you ask me, but his story makes more sense. In neither story does Honda play a big role outside of explaining Jonouchi’s family situation, for the most part, and Jonouchi’s past with Hirutani, and that’s all he really needs to do.

Instead, he’s jammed in here like broken glass in Jonouchi’s non-blind eyes. Reading the manga alongside watching the anime really makes that moment when Honda saves Jonouchi stick out like a sore thumb as something that felt like it was tacked on. Did he even need that band? Wouldn’t it have been easier and more realistic to just grab the hook itself? How did he have time to both catch it and loop it on the hook without having time to just grab the hook? Would it even support his weight? How did Honda even throw it up that high? It’s a frickin’ band of fabric.

In addition, the more emotional moments were better in the manga, and I liked that it was moreso a great moment for Jonouchi and Yugi’s friendship instead of having Honda butt his nose into it. Like I said before, Honda can exist and Jonouchi can have more than Yugi as a friend, but Honda doesn’t have any purpose being as prominent as a character as he is in the anime.

I know this tirade seems contradictory given my statement in the review of chapters 11-12 where I praise them for giving Manga!Honda more story to work with, but that’s mostly because his presence so far in the manga has been to be set dressing. It’s nice to see him get a bit of an actual role in their dynamic, but as I’ve pointed out here, he doesn’t need to be anymore prominent than that. If Hanasaki, an objectively much better character, has to be dumped almost entirely, Honda can be mostly in the background too. Either that or give him more independence and agency as a character. Stop making him entirely reliant on those around him.

The yoyos make this whole story rather goofy, of course. I do think yo-yos are a fun weapon idea, and I’ve seen before in Yu Yu Hakusho and HunterxHunter, but there they were enhanced/created with supernatural abilities, not bought at Target in a three-pack for $9.99. They really easily could have just adapted the first story and been all the better off for it. It’s a much more dramatic story, and it’s pretty much the one they adapted outside of all the yoyo stuff and the psuedo-shadow game.

Or, here’s a thought, maybe try keeping both stories. Hirutani’s return, barring the silly yoyos, was well done. We needed a reprise for this storyline where Jonouchi actually comes out on top over his former comrade. The first story provided the backbone and the last story provided the payoff. It’s not like they don’t have filler episodes they can lose to squeeze it in there.

Another thing I didn’t care for was the way Jonouchi acted. In the manga, he has to struggle to restrain himself when Yugi is punched. He doesn’t even make it more than 10-15 minutes before he punches the guy who did it. That punch was more than enough to break their deal, and Jonouchi knew that.

In the anime, Yugi gets punched by the same gang member and he deals with it, even though that should have broken their deal. He socks Honda in the stomach, sending him to the ground and thinks nothing of it, which makes no sense. I get that he’s trying to convince them that he’s bad and to leave him alone, but he’s trying to save his friends from getting hurt and here he is punching one of them.

Next time….

Final Notes: Hirutani never once makes an appearance in the 2000 anime, nor is he referenced, but he does make an appearance in one of the video games. And when I found this out, I was kinda floored.

Hirutani is in the Dungeon Dice Monsters video game for the Game Boy Advance, only his name in that version, in the American release, is Diesel Kane. I love the Dungeon Dice Monsters video game, and I actually remembered that dude. It’s really cool that he’s not just some generic thug made for the game, but I wish they had explored this dynamic more in the actual game. All I remember and all the Wiki says is that the guy has a vendetta against Jonouchi, but you never find out what it is.

All of his gang members, both from the taser story and the yoyo story, are also in the game but they’re never given names.

Coincidentally, Nezumi also exists in the DDM game……..And his name is changed to…..Nibbles. Look, I get that both names are a reference to West Side Story, but that name is just as silly as a gang using yoyos as weapons.

Apparently, a ton of manga-exclusive characters are in DDM with funny names. For example, the escaped convict from the Burger World story is Jackpot, the old bald guy who owned the store Mokuba stole a Capsule Monsters machine from is Egger Baldwin, Kokurano (fortune-telling character we’ll meet later) is named Fortuno,Kujirada is named Beluga (Get it?! Because whale! He’s fat!….Again!) Sozoji is named Fender Shrill, and Hanasaki is named Lint Greendale…….LINT. His name is LINT! Hasn’t this kid been through enough without naming him Lint?

….Also, Yugi’s mother’s in DDM, which I didn’t remember at all. She doesn’t get a goofy name, but she is merely called ‘Yugi’s Mother.’ Like, guys, I assume she has a real name. At the very least, she’s Mrs. Muto…..


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Yu-Gi-Oh! (Manga) Chapter 24 Review (AniManga Clash! Season Zero Placeholder)

Hey guys, who remembers that short Yu-Gi-Oh! Spin-off thinger – Capsule Monsters? I sure do!….Kinda!…I remember it existing. I remember watching some of it and being rather bored.

Fun fact: The Capsule Monsters anime, despite being based on an actual game in this old-ass version of the manga (No idea if it’s played the same way, though), wasn’t something the original anime creators wanted to make. In fact, the series never released in Japan.

Also, apparently, according to the Fandom Wiki anyway (I really question whether this is true), despite never once airing in Japan, there is a Japanese version of it. Why they dubbed it and never released it is beyond me.

Who was actually behind this spin-off no one asked for, no one paid much attention to and amounted to nothing but basically being a money sink? Why, who else but the donut bakers themselves, 4Kids?

Yup, 4Kids, for some inexplicable reason, ‘commissioned, produced and editedCapsule Monsters when Yu-Gi-Oh’s original run was reaching its final season. They also did the kinda skeevy thing of re-editing the series into a movie (Two movies, I guess, technically?) and treating it like it was a new movie based on the series. Because that’s never sketchy or annoying, especially when you’re dealing with something aimed towards kids.

At least they released the movie for free for one day on their website for some reason so some people could be made aware that it wasn’t new content….No idea why they did that, but they did.

I really have to review Capsule Monsters at some point, but back to the topic at hand….Uh…well, more Capsule Monsters.

I brought up the anime because, even when that aired, I didn’t really understand how the game was played nor did I feel very compelled to learn because the anime, to my recollection, was quite boring.

Capsule Monsters, otherwise known as Capsule Monster Chess/Capmon in the manga (sometimes) is Mokuba’s niche game in the manga. I could’ve sworn he was also a player of the game in the anime. I would have bet a substantial amount of money on that….but he’s not. Mokuba not only isn’t an avid Capsule Monster player in the Capsule Monsters anime – he’s not even in the anime. Poor Mokuba. Were you too busy being kidnapped to be in the anime?

What of the first depiction of Capsule Monsters in the manga? Let’s find out.

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The manga actually explains fairly well how this version of the game is played. Capsule Monsters are dispensed in gashapon machines, which I just learned are supposed to be called ‘blind boxes’ in America, but I have never once heard that ever. They’re also called ‘gacha’ machines, and if you play pretty much any MMO or mobile game in existence, that word awakens something visceral in you.

Yugi explains how the game is played, for the most part. The capsules all have one number between one and five on them – this indicates their attack power. Within the capsules are….the uh…well, the monsters, of course. Each player unleashes five monsters onto an 8×8 game board, of which there are 50 different types. This game area mimics the planet of ganastar….I’m not sure why that matters, but okay.

All of the monsters stay within the capsules when they’re setting the game up, so each side starts the game mostly blind to the monsters the opponent is playing, outside of their attack strength. Monsters all have their own ranges, types of attacks and effects, so strategy comes into play when moving the pieces and battling the monsters. Whoever destroys all of the opponent’s monsters wins.

Yugi’s in line to get some capsules when, in typical Yu-Gi-Oh manga fashion, he comes across an asshole. This asshole kid cuts in front of him in line then says Yugi’s too old to play the game, being in high school. This game is equated to chess and yet it’s aimed squarely at middle school and younger?

He lets Yugi get his capsules eventually, though, but Yugi’s money gets lost in the machine. He, strangely, loses his shit and starts swearing at the machine, shaking it violently. Bit of an OOC moment for him. I know he’s passionate about games, but he’s never one to have a temper like that. The old man who owns the candy store that the machines are in starts screaming at him.

Suddenly, Mokuba Kaiba makes his debut appearance, looking just as frightening and creepy as you’d expect in this manga’s art. Apparently he’s such a Capsule Monsters baller that the other kids go silent in his presence. Like Seto is a champion in Duel Monsters, Mokuba is a champion in Capsule Monsters.

So, did you guys forget that you’re reading Yu-Gi-Oh’s early manga days? You did? Oh, let me remind you by showing you this scene where Mokuba, the small child, orders these small child children of the kid nature to attack Yugi. They have a taser………..a switchblade……………..And….I’m not kidding…..A fucking Uzi.

What kind of world does this manga take place in?! Not even the chapter with an actual murderer involved a fucking UZI.

Mokuba wants to fight for his big brother’s honor, so he’s kidnapping Yugi and taking the candy shop’s gashapon machine (After throwing the owner a stack of money to pay for it.)

They bring Yugi to their secret base, which is just a warehouse, so they can play. Beforehand, though, Mokuba’s little goons try to intimidate him some more, saying stuff like he’s wimpy and they’ll burn down his house. Ya know, typical schoolyard stuff.

They cross the line when they try to touch Yugi’s Puzzle, however, because, under threat of smashing it and trying to grab it from him, Yugi instantly shifts to Yami, who flips his shit and screams at them to let go of his Puzzle.

The goons are shocked at this change, but, surprisingly, Mokuba’s not because apparently Seto told him about Yugi’s ability to transform. *shrug*

Mokuba says he stole the gashapon machine to make the capsule picks completely blind so he wouldn’t have an unfair advantage using his own capsules…..then he reveals in inner monologue that he rigged the machine, paid off the candy shop owner from before Yugi even got there and rigged the machine to give him the better capsules anyway, so….I don’t know why he even bothered trying to act like this was fair.

Also, again with making the Kaibas cheaters. Granted, in the 2000 anime, the one and only time you see Mokuba duel, against Yugi, he cheats by trying to steal some of Yugi’s star chips in the middle of the duel, but that was in desperation to keep Kaiba Corp from being sold to Pegasus.

Yugi’s capsules result in attack strengths of 1-1-1-2-4 while Mokuba’s are 4-4-5-5-5….I think anyone with a single brain cell could have deduced that Mokuba rigged the machine just on this result alone without him immediately telling us, but okay.

Before they start, Mokuba lays a bet down. Now, you’d imagine that, considering he’s playing for his older brother’s honor, his wager would be something like Yugi would have to kiss Kaiba’s feet or give him all of his Duel Monster cards or something, right?

……His wager is, if he wins, he’ll CUT OFF ONE OF YUGI’S FINGERS! He’s even holding a folding knife as he says it. What the hell is wrong with this manga?!

Yugi says, if he wins, Mokuba will suffer a penalty game.

Anyway, as expected, even though they laid out the rules at the beginning, much like with the part with Duel Monsters, they just pretty much do whatever without explaining anything. Like, what determines which piece moves how far and when? Why do formations matter all that much if you can move freely? If attack level is all that matters in battles, then doesn’t that mean the match can be decided before they even get on the board? If monsters have effects or abilities, like duel monster cards, where is this information held? In some sort of book or something? Because there’s no text on the capsules or in them.

Yami gets pummeled, only managing to kill one of Mokuba’s creatures on a stalemated attack, so he had to sacrifice his most powerful creature for that.

He’s down to his last monster, and it seems all is lost until, luck of all lucks, Yugi reveals that he was luring all of Mokuba’s monsters into a diagonal line, and his last monster, which is level one, just so happens to have the ability to literally insta-kill any monster with its attack, even if it’s level five. And it shoots this ability in a diagonal pattern, meaning all of Mokuba’s monsters are defeated in one shot.

If you think this situation stinks at all, it’s because Yugi totally pulled this win out of his ass.

Mokuba may be a cheat, but he’s still a Capsule Monsters champion. And even if he cheated in those championships (We don’t know that, but he cheated here and it’s suggested that Seto cheated in his championships, so it’s not a far cry to say Mokuba did too) he definitely knows the game well enough to play the part. He’s making observations about strategy and formation as if he’s a veteran, so he has to be pretty skilled. All of the monsters get revealed at the start of the game, meaning he had to know what that monster was and what ability it had, so he should have been very careful to not do anything dumb like line up literally all of his monsters in a perfect diagonal line right in front of him.

How does this low-level creature have such an awesome ability anyway? If it’s a simple straight diagonal line of insta-kill damage, he could kill a monster from the other side of the board if he aimed carefully. And it insta-kills even the strongest monsters, too?

Granted, they did set this up visually. As you’ll note in the first shot of the game board when they’re done setting up, the bird thing that has this ability is off on its own, further back than his other four creatures, which were meant to cut off Mokuba’s creatures on the way there and set up this line.

The problem is, though, he gambled a hell of a lot here. I know the Heart of the Cards thing has basically become a meme by now, but come on – this isn’t even Duel Monsters. Is there a Heart of the Capsules? The luck in play here is insane. What if Mokuba caught on to his game and avoided the diagonal line? What if he sent one monster off to approach from directly ahead or off to either side? Or what if he spread out his monsters even a tiny bit more? If he didn’t get all of those monsters in one shot, he definitely would have lost. And Yami never once seemed the slightest bit concerned that his plan wouldn’t work. He was sporting a cocky smirk the whole time like his plan was foolproof when it was about as airtight as a moth’s nylon stocking.

I feel like this is the anime version (Season Zero) of the duel with Seto where Seto just pulled a sudden ‘It’s a draw lol’ card out of nowhere at the last minute, right as he was about to lose.

Anyhoo, Yami sentences Mokuba to a penalty game, which is being trapped in an illusion of being sealed in a Capsule Monster capsule (and it has a level one mark on it – nice shade, Yami.) But before it’s closed, Mokuba teases that this isn’t over. Seto is setting up for his revenge against Yugi with something called Death T.

Also, this chapter ends with a pretty cool illustration of a little dice game you can play to try and beat Kaiba. I might try it for myself sometime. It’s a neat little addition.

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So, uh, this chapter was pretty messed up, wouldn’t ya say? Uzis and switchblades and threatening to cut off people’s fingers – all brought to you by elementary school students. Fun fun.

The story is alright. I still think that ending was complete bullshit, but it’s not like this series is a stranger to bullshit wins. Mokuba’s a friggin’ psychopath in this version, and I can’t really tell if I love that or hate it. In the 2000 anime, he’s kinda Seto’s morality pet more or less, but, on his own, he’s really not all that interesting. He’s basically Tristan just with more of a purpose (behind the scenes anyway) and 10000% more kidnappings. He’s a nice little kid with a good sense of justice and very strong loyalty to Seto, and he’s very forgiving, but he’s just not that interesting.

Can I even say this version of Mokuba is more interesting, though? Because he’s just a nutcase. There’s nothing likable about this future mob boss besides his desire to avenge his brother’s honor, and that’s kinda watered down by the fact that he doesn’t even try to face Yugi/Yami properly before cheating. The little prick cheated before he even MET Yugi.

I actually like the concept of Capsule Monsters here, even if I’m still kinda confused about it. I hope it becomes a little clearer when we revisit the game later (at least in Season Zero. We might revisit it again in the manga, I’m not sure. The manga and anime will stray away from each other quite a bit in the future.) I’m not holding my breath, though because even the Wiki page for it says some concepts are just flatout poorly explained, like abilities.

I thought I remembered Capsule Monster toys being a thing when I was younger and turns out I was right. It was very shortlived, obviously, and didn’t get a lot of distribution in stores, but apparently they pushed it enough for me to remember it being in my local Walmart for probably a month before it faded in obscurity.

Also, it seems like this version of the game is played differently from both the manga and anime versions.

Not only that, but apparently there was a video game version of Capsule Monsters made for the Playstation in 1998 called Yu-Gi-Oh! Monster Capsule: Breed and Battle that was only released in Japan. Golly, a video game released in 1998 where you collect monsters in small balls and raise them to help them evolve into stronger monsters that you will use to battle other monsters. How did that not immediately take off?

To my surprise, there was another video game that came out in 2004 based on Capsule Monsters for the PS2 titled Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monster Coliseum. I had followed the Yu-Gi-Oh video games pretty well when I was a kid, but I didn’t have much money to buy many of them, and I never once remembered seeing this game in stores. Maybe I did – the box art is just the slightest bit familiar – but, again, they didn’t seem to push this game very well. I remember them pushing the Dungeon Dice Monsters game, and I bought that, but the Capsule Monsters game is a blur at best.

Also, it’s weird that they spelled ‘coliseum’ like that, isn’t it? You don’t typically see it spelled that way. It’s usually spelled ‘Colosseum.’ Ya know….like, uh, hm what’s a good example?…..Uhm….Oh, how about Pokemon Colosseum….the game that was also released in 2004?

I’m just poking fun at the Pokemon connection, really, because Capsule Monsters does seem like a fun game and honestly isn’t a ripoff of Pokemon, given the board game aspect and chess-like strategies. I just think it doesn’t do a good job of explaining how different it is out the gate. You hear ‘capsule monsters’ and see that the blurb is just ‘collect, raise and battle monsters in small balls’ and you can’t help but think ‘Pokemon rip-off.’

And, to be completely fair….the concept name of Pokemon was literally Capsule Monsters, so they’re kinda asking for it.

I think if it had taken off more I would’ve definitely gotten into it. Maybe not so much because I was spending enough money on Yu-Gi-Oh cards without buying packs of small toys that probably cost even more. It just seems like, no matter how much they tried, they couldn’t get this game off the ground. They really hit their stride with Yu-Gi-Oh/Duel Monsters, but I think you could still make something great with Capsule Monsters. It’s a shame, really. Seems like a missed opportunity. Maybe the timing wasn’t right or something.

Final Notes: This episode is only extremely lightly referenced in episode 11, and that’s because the Capsule Monsters game played there is basically a mirror of the one played here. Literally everything else is different, including there being a different opponent.


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Yu-Gi-Oh! (Manga) Chapters 22-23 (AniManga Clash! Season Zero Placeholder)

This is another story I’m sorry didn’t make it into Season Zero. It’s weird because this a two parter, so it easily could’ve been adapted into the show without needing to write anything new, but I guess they just didn’t like the story enough.

Hanasaki, the timid kid from chapter three, makes a reappearance. He is a huge fan of the American comic book hero, Zombire – which is literally a fusion of a zombie and a vampire. His father makes sure to get him some cool Zombire merch, like masks, model kits etc. every time he returns from a business trip from America.

His father feels bad for not being around much, especially considering Hanasaki has rather poor health and has spent a lot of time in the hospital. Hanasaki doesn’t have a lot of friends or self-confidence, so his father is happy whenever he can put a smile on his face by getting him Zombire stuff. He’s especially happy that Hanasaki has found some new friends in Yugi and the gang.

(Can I just point out how crazy rude it is to unbox something you find in someone’s room? Let alone if it’s a model kit and choosing to assemble it right there just because you assume the person doesn’t have the time to do it. Even if he didn’t just want to collect it and preserve the box, he still would have wanted to have the fun of putting it together himself. For god’s sake, Jonouchi. Get a clue.)

However, his father’s a bit of an idiot. A well-meaning idiot, but an idiot nonetheless.

To help boost Hanasaki’s confidence, he pretends to be a stranger getting attacked by some goons in the middle of the night. Hanasaki rushes out in his new Zombire costume that his father just bought him and ‘defeats’ the goons with ease.

This plan works wonderfully as Hanasaki pretty much believes he can do anything now. However, I really, really, really need to point out how misguided this plan is.

It’s great that his dad wants to boost his confidence. It’s great that he wants to give him a chance to be a hero like Zombire. But making your scrawny, physically weak, child who has a history of health problems believe he can easily beat up thugs twice his size, especially when he has a hero complex, is not the smartest thing in the world. He may gain confidence, but he may also gain overconfidence and a desire to continue challenging huge people who would wipe their asses with his mangled remains.

What’s even worse is that, 1) These jerks aren’t people Hanasaki’s dad knows well or is friends with – they’re just random thugs he found on the street and 2) when Hanasaki’s dad pays them off, they ask for Hanasaki’s full name and WHERE HE GOES TO SCHOOL so they can supposedly do this again…..And he just gives them that information. There’s a difference between being misguided and being an idiot. I know the 90s were a different time in regards to child safety, but this is too much even for then.

Predictably, the goons arrive at their school and they threaten Yugi, knowing he’s a friend of Hanasaki, so Hanasaki can come in to save him. They run off, and Hanasaki is once again emboldened by his heroism. However, the real reason they did that was so they’d know Hanasaki’s face too, since he was masked the first time they saw him….doesn’t really make a difference because knowing his face doesn’t mean you know where he lives, but either way, they find out where he lives, throw a rock through his window claiming they’ve kidnapped Yugi and to come face them if he ever wants to see him again.

Hanasaki dons his Zombire costume and heads out to save his friend.

Meanwhile, Yugi is getting into Zombire model kits thanks to Hanasaki, but he’s run out of spray paint and can’t color his newest creation. Since all the shops are closed, he runs to Hanasaki’s house to borrow some paint. However, all he finds is his father in a panic, holding the note the goons left for Hanasaki. They call him up and tell him they’ve got Hanasaki and are holding him hostage for 500,000 yen, which is about 4500 USD. If he doesn’t pay, they’ll hurt Hanasaki. And even though they haven’t given his father enough time to do anything, they’re still beating up Hanasaki and even spraying spray paint into his eyes. Yikes…

Yugi, who soon becomes Yami, rushes off to save him, vehement in saving the friend who was only trying to protect him in the first place. Hanasaki’s father is close behind and retrieves Hanasaki while Yugi takes care of the goons.

Before we head on to the Shadow Game portion, let me point out one final bit of idiocy in Hanasaki’s dad. He tells Hanasaki that they should just…go home. *lip smack* First of all, you’re just gonna leave poor Yugi alone with three thugs who have knives? Real nice. Why aren’t you helping him or calling the cops? Yugi’s a kid too. What are you thinking? Second, your child has been beaten and had spray paint shot directly into his eyes. Maybe take him to a hospital first? You’re a terrible parent.

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It’s honestly not much of a game. The thugs chase Yami around as he draws lines on the ground with spray paint. Eventually, they realize he was drawing a maze around them and a discarded cigarette is set to ignite it. As the lines burst into flames, the thugs run away into the water of the dam.

That’s it. That’s all. They don’t even actually go through the maze, they just run away.

Hanasaki refuses to go home, sheds his Zombire mask and heads off to help Yugi fight the goons. He doesn’t get to actually do anything, but the fact that he rushed in either way proved to himself and his father that he doesn’t need some silly costume or some fake super strength to be a hero – he had it in him all along.

This is a pretty sweet couple of chapters. I really liked Hanasaki when we first met him in chapter three, so I’m glad we got more time with him and got to explore his character more. I really wish he was made into more of a regular character, to be honest. He’s very likable, brave and sweet. I think he’d make a great addition to the group – especially in this series loaded with jerks around every corner. The ending explaining that he had the heart of a hero and plenty of courage all along was predictable, but not as much as you’d might think. I was more worried they’d do worse damage to him than they did, just because so many people in this manga are ridiculously evil.

This plot is interesting, even if the choices made by the father are just stupid sometimes. It’s also weird that he decides to do this confidence boost plot thing right as he learns Hanasaki has a group of friends. Isn’t his confidence the highest it’s ever been right now?

Though I do have to say….isn’t he a tad old to be believing he’s randomly acquiring super powers? He’s meant to be the same age as Yugi and the others, which is at least 16, right? Yet he’s leaning into the make-believe so much it’s almost delusional.

The Shadow Game is boring too, but that’s not really the point. The point is, Hanasaki has found a strength within himself that has nothing to do with Zombire, and he has a big heart that allows him to fight for his friends no matter what, even if the enemy outnumbers him and are twice his size. That’s just as good, if not better, as any comic book hero.


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 7/Manga Chapter 21

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Plot: Evil sentient Tamagotchis!

Breakdown: So this story is really….strange, even for Season Zero. Today’s episode centers around digital keychain pets – more commonly known as Gigapets, Tamagotchi and Nanopets. They’re the latest craze in school. Everyone has them – even the Yu-Gi-Oh gang.

All this talk about the digital pets is truly nostalgic, and boy does it make me feel old. The rough pixel animations, the LCD screen, the 8-bit sounds. It’s just so….outdated. I can bet any kid watching this today would laugh at it. Granted, these pets are a little cooler than the ones we had in real life in that they, somehow, take on the characteristics and physical traits of their owners.

It’s actually even weirder than you might think. In the Yu-Gi-Oh world, they’ll soon develop a holographic system meant to create projections so real that you can feel air pressure and even smell them (And stand on them sometimes….) This technology is designed for use with a trading card game. And yet these little pixel-y games are popular in the same couple of years.

Originally, our very clear antagonist was a boy named Kujirada. Kujira means ‘whale’ and just guess why he’s named that. Yes, he’s fat. But he’s not just fat – he’s ridiculous in his design too. His face is about ten sizes too small for his head and he has ears that could easily cover his entire face.

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In the anime, they add in that he’s also rich and literally throws money at any problem that he usually creates.

The manga chapter is actually pretty uneventful, so a lot of the anime episode is loaded with subplot and an extension of the original plot. Honda is bummed because Miho missed first period, and he shows extra grumpiness about it by going on about how much of a waste of time the digital pets are. He’s not going to waste time cleaning up digital pet poop when he is dedicated to cleaning up the real world. I’m not gonna say he doesn’t have a point, but he’s being a real ass about it. Digital pets are no more a ‘waste of time’ than any other game. It’s called fun, Honda.

Miho shows up before second period starts, and she explains that she missed first period because she was so busy taking care of her digital pet last night that she slept late. She’s been trying really hard to raise a good pet because the company that makes them is having a pet competition. The owner of the best pet will win a trip to Australia.

Miho shows her manipulative bitch ways again by oh so subtly wishing that someone could take care of her pet for her so she could win the trip without having to…ya know…do the work herself. Just like in that episode where she manipulated Honda into standing in line for an unreasonable amount of time so she could get some fancy watch.

They act like she’s an airhead, but she knows exactly what’s she’s doing to poor, pathetic Honda – especially when she mentions that the trip is for two. And, for God’s sake, Honda. You may be boring in the 2000 show, and you may have a similar patheti-sad puppy love for Shizuka there too, but this is just upsetting.

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At this point, I really don’t know why Honda or Miho exist. I mentioned last time that I thought Honda having a past with Jonouchi was at least interesting, but the focus was still purely on Jonouchi and Yugi’s friendship above all else. You could’ve made it so Yugi used to be friends with Jonouchi at a young age, but then he fell in with a bad crowd when his parents started getting divorced and then he just turned into an asshole until he made up with Yugi.

Even in the 2000 anime, I find it hard to justify Honda’s presence. He doesn’t do anything on his own, and if his role is simply ‘Jonouchi’s good friend’ Yugi already takes that role in an exemplary fashion. Their friendship is legendary. Not saying Honda has no right to exist at all or that Jonouchi can’t have more than one friend, but he should’ve been a much more minor character if they weren’t going to bother trying to make him interesting.

Honda then has to be two-faced when Jonouchi calls him out for accepting the task by explaining that he suddenly realized the digital world and reality are the same….Uh huh.

He even takes the next day off at school so he can care for the digital pet. Also, Honda’s definitely not a pure puppy dog about this, because he clearly shouts that he’s thinking about having sex with Miho (Though feels he can’t as he and Miho aren’t married yet. He’s enjoying the thought of her in a swimsuit, though. Guess that will have to tide him over.)

At least Anzu kinda calls out Miho’s manipulation later, especially when she shows her hypocrisy in saying Kujirada is wrong for using pets other people have raised to win the contest….

Another addition to the anime version is a new character called Haiyama. He’s a very shy and lonely boy who reminds Yugi a lot of himself before he made friends with the others. Yugi’s worried about him since he’s very reserved and seems to be paying off Kujirada for something in private. He tries to make friends with him and tells him he can always talk with him whenever he wants. Yugi also gives Haiyama a spare digital pet he has in order for him to join in on the fun.

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I said that Kujirada was originally the obvious main antagonist of the manga chapter of which this episode’s story derived from because, in the anime version, while he is the antagonist for a while, it’s eventually revealed that the main enemy all along was Haiyama.

But before we get to Haiyama, let’s talk about Kujirada’s role in the manga. Originally, he was just a big brute who used his limited edition ‘hidden character’ pet (and you know it’s limited edition because it has a star on it) to bully the pets of Jonouchi and Yugi through the linking capability (They call it dating/mating, but it’s really just linking) Outside of the star, nothing else makes the pet special besides that it has a longer life span than other pets.

Apparently, all digital pets die after 20 days, which is reasonable considering, from what I’ve read, the average lifespan of a real-life digital pet was around 12 days with the maximum being 25 days. Apparently, the world record is 89 days, which kinda confuses me because these pets are designed to die by old age, so I have no clue how they managed to work around that to keep one alive for 89 days, but that’s cool anyway.

When Kujirada went home, he realized his pet had become sentient and evil. The pet demanded more food, but he wasn’t satisfied with the pittance that the game itself offered so he demanded to be fed other people’s pets.

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The next day at school, Kujirada fed his pet Jonouchi and Anzu’s pets. His pet was was about to eat Yugi’s pet, Yuu-2, but it suddenly evolved (thanks to the data exchange from Jonouchi’s pet from earlier) and just…kicked the evil sentient digital pet’s ass and….that’s it. The end.

You see what I meant by this chapter being strange? Yugi never turns into Yami, there’s no shadow game nor is there any explanation as to why and how this digital pet became sentient and evil, and after his pet is defeated, Kujirada just walks away literally going ‘Oh well, at least I can sleep now.’ The chapter ends with Yugi watching Yuu-2 eating because he knows he’ll vanish the next day due to the life span limit.

What is even this story?

In the anime, as I mentioned before, Kujirada is super rich now. They make it a point a few times to say he used to be a kind kid but then his family fell into money and he suddenly became a massive asshole. He smashes the window to some shop selling an incredibly rare golden digital pet device for 50,000 yen (Around 500 USD) and takes it from the display, then he rains a bunch of cash on the owner to cover the cost of the pet and the window….He could’ve just walked in and bought the thing, but this is Season Zero where 99% of people who aren’t the main characters are cartoonishly evil super villains.

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Also, there’s no reason this dude is so happy right now. Kujirada said that was enough money to cover the pet and the damage, meaning he’s breaking even right now. Plus, he has the headache of having to cover the window, clean up all the broken glass, looking bad in front of customers and having to get a repair service down to replace the window….

The pet is apparently not sentient or evil in this version, it’s just a monster because its owner is a dick. And it’s only eating pets because that will make it more impressive, which will make Kujirada a shoe-in to win the contest.

In the anime, before Kujirada’s pet, DevilMaster can try to eat Yuu-2, Honda shows up with Miho’s new and improved pet that he’s been slaving over called Ichigo. Since he’s been so attentive of the pet, it adopts Honda’s traits and becomes a cleaning fiend. Honda challenges DevilMaster with it and I don’t understand why he’s doing this.

He’s just spent two straight days tirelessly raising this thing for Miho, the girl he’s obsessed with and would do anything for. Why would he see pets being destroyed by Kujirada’s pet and then openly declare a challenge to him with Miho’s pet? Even if he didn’t have a thing for her, he’s still risking her pet on a gamble.

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And then…..

…..Honda actually wins.

He has trained Ichigo to be the ultimate beautification club member, and it eliminates all trash. DevilMaster’s evilness, I guess, makes it constitute as trash, so it was deleted. I actually don’t care about this change because, in all honesty, it’s not much better or worse than what the manga gave us.

Later, Kujirada supposedly kidnaps Miho and writes a ransom note to Honda telling him to meet him in a warehouse. When Honda arrives, however, he finds Kujirada unconscious with his back covered in whiplashes. Out from the shadows emerges Haiyama, who looks 1000% different than he did in the last scene he was in. His eyes are now crazy and about 500x bigger than they were before, his mouth is equally enlarged, and his hair went from black and blunt to purple and spiky. He actually reminds me of a weird version of Weevil.

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Haiyama reveals that Kujirada was his real-life pet this whole time. Like they feed digital pets to make them stronger, he ‘fed’ the weak-willed Kujirada loads of money to make him stronger. Haiyama’s abuse is what made Kujirada have such a change in character from the kind, timid boy he supposedly was before.

Also, apparently, before Haiyama got to him, Kujirada wasn’t overweight at all. I don’t know if they’re making some sort of symbolism here in regards to the fact he was ‘feeding’ Kujirada a lot of money, and he overdid it, which made him fat. (Also, it seems to have changed his hair color too?)

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Yugi arrives, having followed Haiyama because he was worried about him coming across Kujirada again. Haiyama throws the digital pet Yugi gave him on Kujirada’s back and calls Yugi a fool before whipping him aside. Honda tries to fight him, dodging his whip strikes, but his all-nighter starts getting to him so he just passes out.

Haiyama reveals the real reason he called Honda there – he wants Honda as his newest pet. Kujirada has proven a failure since he couldn’t even win at a digital pet game. Honda’s ‘feed’ will be…I guess….holding Miho captive and stripping her in front of him? What the hell?

Yugi transforms into Yami who challenges Haiyama to a shadow game.

Shadow Game

There’s nothing to compare here since the manga chapter didn’t have a shadow game, but the shadow game is, more or less, exactly the same as Yuu-2’s battle against Kujirada’s pet in the manga. Yuu-2 evolves because of the data exchange with Jounouchi’s pet from earlier and he wins. Here, it’s a little unfair, at least by logic in the writing, because Haiyama has clearly not been using that digital pet so Yuu-2 would obviously be, by default, stronger than Haiyama’s pet.

At the end of the match, Haiyama’s pet “eats” him, but it’s soon revealed that it was just an illusion and Haiyama is freaking out on the floor.

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The last scene of the episode shows Miho and Honda passed out on the floor and Miho says ‘Let’s go to Australia…Mama’….So yeah, Miho wasn’t even going to go to Australia with Honda in the end if she won – after all of that. Manipulative. Bitch.

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While this story as a whole is pretty strange, I will say this much – the anime is much better than the manga in this circumstance. The manga just feels so incomplete. Why was the digital pet sentient? Why was it evil? I guess it could’ve just been because Kujirada was evil, but that still doesn’t explain its sentience. How was the evil sentient pet defeated by a regular digital pet without any interference by the Millennium Puzzle? Why was there no shadow game? Why did Yami not appear? Why did Kujirada just give up after his pet was defeated? It’s a confusing mess.

The anime shifting focus to Honda and Miho while introducing a new antagonist in Haiyama was actually quite genius to help extend the episode. While I disagree with Honda bending over backwards for Miho and I hate Miho more with every new episode, their story did create an interesting new structure to expound upon what was there.

Haiyama was actually a pretty interesting antagonist. I was a little shocked to see that this little timid kid was managing to control such a huge brute like Kujirada, and his influence was so powerful he drastically changed Kujirada’s personality and basically turned him into a monster. I think the visible transformation of Haiyama into evil super villain Haiyama was a bit much though. The huge whip did not help. It would’ve been a bit more intimidating if he kept his regular design and mannerisms because there is certainly something very haunting about someone who seems innocent and reserved turning into a psychopath.

The shadow game was a little short and uninteresting, but hey….at least the anime had one. Although, maybe I should take points off anyway because the shadow game was really just the match Yugi had with Kujirada just with an added bit where he gets ‘eaten’ in the end.

I should also bring up that this episode certainly has a Digimon vibe to it. However, I’m not entirely certain I can say it had any influence on the story in the manga. Digimon as a brand started out in 1997. Yu-Gi-Oh’s manga run originally started in 1996, but the volume that contains this chapter was released in mid-1997. It’s a little too close for me to say it had any influence on this story, but it’s kinda interesting to think about.

Next time, we got some anime-exclusive stuff going down. Kaiba sends his Shitennou after Yugi for revenge.


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 6/Manga Chapters 15-20

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Plot: Shadi is desperate to draw out Yugi’s other personality from the Millennium Puzzle. Still having unfinished business with Yoshimori, who excavated the artifacts Shadi believes should have stayed in their resting places, Shadi decides to use him as a puppet to corner Yugi. Also utilizing Anzu as a puppet and risking her life in a twisted Shadow Game, Shadi gets his wish and Yami emerges. Will Shadi regret what he has wished for, or will Yami pay the price?

Breakdown: This lone episode covers SIX chapters of the manga, so prepare for a lot of cuts.

In the manga, Kanekura was murdered by Shadi. In the anime, he just loses consciousness. They’re attributing that to the pharaoh’s curse, but that’s hardly newsworthy.

In the manga, Shadi entered Yoshimori’s mind room and found it full of artifacts and other items connected to archaeology. He also has a photo of his family collecting dust off to the side, symbolizing his neglected family due to his work. The mind room at the moment is dark and gloomy, symbolizing anxiety and dread. However, there’s a spark of light amongst the darkness – Yugi and the others, who are coming to visit him to help comfort him after Kanekura’s death. (Likewise, there’s a scene at school where the kids read about Kanekura’s death and they all decide to visit Yoshimori to comfort him, though Yugi has a bad feeling about it.)

Shadi takes this opportunity to draw out Yugi’s other self and challenge him on a more level playing field than last time. Using the power of his Millennium Ankh, he reorganizes Yoshimori’s mind room to make him into a puppet. When Yugi and the others arrive, they’re tricked by the INSANELY CREEPILY DRAWN Yoshimori (I swear to god, the way Yoshimori is drawn here is scarier than a good chunk of horror manga) who claims he killed Kanekura and tries to attack them.

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He starts by strangling Jonouchi. However, Anzu knocks Yoshimori over the head with a globe, freeing Jonouchi from his grasp, and she leads him away from the others. Yoshimori will not stop no matter what, per Shadi’s orders and powers, so Jonouchi tries to lead Yoshimori away while everyone else scrambles. Realizing he needs more than one puppet, he targets Anzu’s mind next. Her mind room is filled with mirrors and items relating to dancing and New York, symbolizing her confidence and her dreams of becoming a dancer in New York.

Oh and there’s also this picture….

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I have no idea what the hell that is. It’s a faceless ripoff of Superman? What does the G stand for?

Also, take a look at Anzu’s interpretation of the Statue of Liberty. It’s holding a dancing shoe, has ribbons around it and is holding a drink.

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Shadi feels more guilty screwing around with Anzu’s mind room since it’s so innocent and full of light, so he decides to make Anzu into a silent puppet instead of a crazed zombie like Kanekura.

Did you guys get all that? Because hardly any of it is in the anime. In that version, all we see is Shadi approaching Yoshimori, him freaking out, the Millennium Ankh glowing and then, as Sugoroku arrives to visit his friend, he sees Yoshimori busting through the window and falling to the ground below.

His injuries aren’t fatal, but we never see his mind room (which means we lose out on learning more about him, even if it is small. It also makes the point to show that, while Yoshimori is obsessed, he’s not greedy and uncaring like Kanekura was) he never turns into a crazed zombie or has a really long chase scene with Jonouchi, and he spends the rest of the episode in the hospital. Yugi and the others visit him in the hospital when they find out what happened, which is when Shadi catches onto Yugi’s presence again.

The group’s talk on the way back from the hospital might as well be a replacement for the discussion at school in the manga, I suppose.

As they walk home, Shadi plans his rematch with Yugi by targeting Anzu, who has split off from the group to head home. Shadi enters Anzu’s mind room to turn her into a puppet. They actually mirror (hehe, get it?) her mind room pretty well, even if I think the room should be much brighter. They don’t make the same alterations to the picture of lady liberty, however, yet they nearly perfectly match the very confusing picture of the G-man with no face.

In the manga, Anzu doesn’t really do much as Shadi’s puppet. She follows him to where he needs to place her and puts her in the Shadow Game trap almost immediately, after telling Yugi about it to prod Yami to come out, of course. He does trigger the shift by claiming that he can make Anzu do anything, even die, if he so wills it.

In the anime, Shadi doesn’t make himself known to Yugi for quite some time. He has secretly taken over Anzu and is using her as a silent puppet at school to try and trick Yugi into shifting into Yami by putting his life at risk – nearly causing a bunch of pipes to fall on him, making him fall down the stairs by dropping a basketball down them as he ascends (??????) and finally trying to strangle him in the infirmary.

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THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP

Yugi is saved by Jonouchi and the rest of the group, and Anzu runs off. Everyone tries to find her, though they’re concerned she’s affected by the pharaoh’s curse and that any one of them could be next. They split up, and Yugi manages to spot Anzu. He follows her to the roof and we get the Shadow Game portion here.

(Side Note: Throughout all of this, Honda is taken over by Shadi and he basically takes Yoshimori’s place in the long chase scene. The only real difference is that now Miho is here. We also didn’t get to see Honda’s mind room, which is a shame….but I worry it might have been filled with pictures of Miho and rulebooks or something. Zombie!Honda is actually pretty frightening, but not as creepy as Yoshimori was. Miho is the one who sprays the zombie with the fire extinguisher whereas it was Jonouchi in the manga.)

Shadow Game

Anzu is on a plank over the edge of the roof. It is being held up by five ropes connected to the fence. Shadi holds her life and mind in his hands, and he will kill her if Yami doesn’t show up and play his game.

(The only real difference here is that the plank had a bunch of ancient Egyptian designs on it in the manga, but this didn’t transfer to the anime.)

Shadi’s ploy works – Yami emerges from the Puzzle to confront Shadi. Before he explains the rules, Shadi tells Yami that the Millennium Puzzle did not end up in his hands and was not solved by him through pure coincidence. He was chosen by the Puzzle after 3000 years of waiting. Shadi’s family was chosen by the Millennium Items as well. Yami doesn’t want to hear anymore, though, and just wants to know the rules. Shadi points out, however, that the game is well since underway.

The ropes connected to Anzu’s ‘bridge of life’ are connected to the fence through six items – five ushabti or ‘answerer’ figurines, four belonging to Yami and one belonging to Shadi, and Shadi’s Millennium Ankh.

One of the figurines suddenly breaks – this was due to Yami showing his inner fright over the powers of the Puzzle. Each ushabti will break whenever he has a weakness of heart. If all four of his statues break, Anzu will fall to her death.

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However, if Yami can somehow break Shadi’s lone ushabti, it will cause the Ankh to slide down the rope and into Anzu’s hands. The only thing that can break her trance without Shadi’s interference is by Anzu holding the Ankh.

The first proper trial starts. The ground breaks apart under Yami’s feet, revealing a slue of zombies grabbing for him. Shadi presents a riddle to Yami – “It crawls out of the earth and clings to a pillar – what am I?” After calming himself down, Yami correctly answers that it’s his shadow.

Yami passes the first test, which, logically, would mean he wins the whole thing because all three of those ushabti need to break in order for the platform to fall, but whatever.

In the anime, they skip ahead to the second test for the first test and completely omit the manga’s first test.

Everything about this test is kept the same, but the anime omits that the monster holding Yami, Amemit, might still be full from eating the soul of Kanekura since, in the anime, he was only left unconscious not killed.

This game has Yami being held in place by an alligator-like monster named Amemit. Before him is a shinkei suijaku game – a game where you turn over one tile at a time and try to find matches. However, this one is different. There are nine tiles, not eight, meaning the middle tile stands alone. Yugi only has one opportunity to guess at what the slates show. The only clue he gets is that the slates are mirrors that reflect Amemit.

Yami eventually figures it out – The slates reflect Amemit’s appearance, meaning it has several pairs on its body: eyes, nostrils, hands, ears, which account for eight slates, but the lone feature, the middle slate, reflects its mouth.

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He passes this test, and we move onto the final round, which, of course, puts all three ushabti at risk of breaking because Shadi’s a cheating dick.

The final round, which is only the second but still final round in the anime, involves an illusion of Bully!Jonouchi from Yugi’s memories. Shadi is pitting Yami against the illusion in a game to the death. The floor falls around them, leaving only a small section to stand on. Using the Millennium Puzzle as a pointer, each person will roll the Puzzle like a die. Whichever direction it points to is the direction in which the other will have to take two steps. If Yugi can make Jonouchi fall first, he wins the game. If Jonouchi makes Yugi fall, he loses the entire Shadow Game and Anzu will fall to her death.

Yugi, not Yami, is the one being more harshly tested here because not only does Yami/Yugi not really know for absolute certain that this is not the real Jonouchi under a spell, possibly putting his best friend in mortal danger, but the memory of his friend as his old bully is revealing weaknesses in Yugi.

Just one line of mocking from the fake Jonouchi is enough to make two of Yami/Yugi’s sshabti’s shatter, leaving one to hold Anzu.

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Also, for some reason, the Puzzle sounds like it’s made of hollow plastic in the anime.

Jonouchi rolls the Puzzle, making Yami step forward. It’s Yami/Yugi’s turn, but he refuses to play this game with Jonouchi. Taking Yami’s turn as passed, the fake Jonouchi rolls the Puzzle again, making Yami take two more steps. Once again, Yami refuses to take his turn.

Shadi asks him if he’s forfeiting the game. Afterall, this challenge is about facing his past, the bully Jonouchi, and overcoming it by destroying it. Refusing to play and letting this memory push him over the edge must be a declaration of defeat. Yami, however, corrects him. He’s not conceding defeat – he just believes in his friends too much. He trusts Jonouchi, whether he be real or not, to not kill him like this.

Scoffing at this ideal, Shadi points out that such a mindset is what makes him weak. In order to truly show strength in this ordeal, he needs to only believe in himself. However, he’s not giving Yami any leeway either way and commands the fake Jonouchi to roll the Puzzle one more time, which would surely send Yami over the edge and end the game.

The illusion, however, refuses and eventually smiles and fades away. Yami/Yugi’s faith in his friend and his trust that Jonouchi has become a changed man since his days as a bully showed Yami/Yugi’s true strength and allowed him to win the game.

ANIMANGA CLASH YGO Ep6 screen8

Another problem arises when the lone rope holding Anzu starts breaking. Yami panics, but finds Jonouchi, the real one, holding up the plank Anzu is standing on.

Shadi watches in confusion. He’s shocked that Yami/Yugi’s friends are supporting each other. Yami declares that true strength doesn’t come from standing on your own – it comes from believing in your friends.

This actually shatters Shadi’s ushabti, sending the Ankh down to Anzu’s hand and freeing her from the trance. Jonouchi and Yugi help Anzu back up, though Honda is climbing up Jonouchi. In the manga, Yami is still the dominant one in Yugi’s body through the rest of this finale, but in the anime he switches back to Yugi when Anzu starts falling.

In the manga, Yami directs Jonouchi to touch Yoshimori’s hand to the Ankh to free him. In the anime, the plank holding the Ankh just conveniently smacks Honda on the back of the head, freeing him.

Yami has one last confrontation with Shadi before he leaves in the manga. He says he finally understands the power of the Puzzle. It’s the power of unity. He was able to connect with his friends and overcome these illusions and challenges because his friends were connected with him through it. Suddenly, all of Yugi’s friends, Yoshimori and his grandpa appear beside him. Then Jonouchi tells Shadi to stay out of their territory, which in this case is Yugi/Yami’s heart and mind, though I’m not sure how Jonouchi knows Shadi was responsible for all of this.

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Shadi grabs his Ankh and leaves, telling Yami he’s happy to have found people like him in possession of more Millennium Items and even asks if he can ‘Open the door.’

Jonouchi and Anzu wonder why Yugi looked so different, but when he turns around he’s back to normal so they just brush it off. Yoshimori’s fine, barring some soreness and loss of teeth thanks to Anzu, and they all go off to get something to eat, which is silly to do considering the teeth thing.

In the anime, Shadi leaves without confronting Yami again, though he does explain in voiceover that they’ll meet again and now Yugi has the mission to draw out the true power of the Puzzle.

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Overall, I really liked this arc and episode, even if the finale was a tad on the cheesy side. The rematch with Shadi was really unfair since the odds were so highly stacked against Yami, but the challenges were pretty good and the stakes were high.

I’m not quite sure how much I care about Yoshimori literally being thrown out of this episode. Though, given the narrative they’ve made in the anime, I suppose it is more impacting to have Honda be the crazy zombie here. They pretty much left Yoshimori’s fate up in the air, though. For all we know, at this point, the poor guy will be in a coma forever like Kanekura.

They did match the creepiness factor of Zombie!Yoshimori pretty well, though. Not perfectly, but they did a good job.

I understand why they erased the first game, but at the same time I kinda don’t. If they had removed all of those parts with Anzu trying, in a really pathetic fashion barring the strangulation, to assault Yugi, they probably would have had time to include it. They were already pushing it, trying to include six chapters worth of material into one episode, why add filler?

Next chapter/episode, hey guys, remember Gigapets/Nanopets/Tamogotchi? Time to fly down a nostalgia hole within a nostalgia hole!


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 5/Manga Chapters 13-14

Animanga Clash YGO Ep5

Plot: The gang wants to head to an Egyptian exhibit at the Domino art museum where a friend of Yugi’s grandpa, Professor Yoshimori, is revealing some artifacts he found.

Before they enter the exhibit, they, along with Yugi’s grandpa, meet Yoshimori and the financial backer of the expedition that heralded many of the artifacts being presented today, Kanekura. In awe of Yugi’s Millennium Puzzle, he asks if he can put it in the exhibit, to which Yugi hesitantly agrees.

The gang goes to see the rest of the exhibit when Yoshimori explains that archaeologists don’t get to keep the items they discover since it’s illegal in Egypt. This surprises Yugi and the others since they believed archaeologists got rich off of the artifacts that they found and were typically greedy individuals.

Yugi spots an Egyptian man (Shadi) crying at the exhibit and asks him what’s wrong. He states that these tears are not his own – they’re those of the pharaoh who is mummified before them, unable to find rest in this state. Shadi pats his head and calls him a nice boy, which irritates Yugi. He also notes that the man carries around a scale, so he might be crazy.

Surprisingly absolutely no one, Kanekura is secretly a bad dude who wants to sell the Millennium Puzzle behind Yugi’s back, but not before Shadi targets him for a shadow game for his role in excavating all of these artifacts and looking to profit off of it.

Kanekura loses his shadow game, and, ultimately, his mind.

He grabs the Puzzle and leaves, bumping into Yugi, who notices the Puzzle in his hand and remarks on it. Upon learning that Yugi is the one who solved the Millennium Puzzle, he enters Yugi’s mind, which actually contains two rooms – one that is so innocent and child-like it almost seems like a baby’s room, and another that is frighteningly ominous. He meets Yami at the door, and he allows him into his room, which is a massive maze filled with hundreds of doors.

Yami posits a game, if Shadi can find the ‘true room’ in his mind’s room, then he can obtain the ‘treasure’ that awaits there. If not, he’ll be lost in his mind forever. Shadi’s is pretty confident he can do it because his Ankh/Key/Cross allows him to also alter the mind rooms of others, but the massive maze of Yami’s mind is too much to allow him to do this, so he opts to just visit each room individually, resulting in him finding a plethora of traps.

Yami saves Shadi from falling to his death (Or…mind death?) in one room, finally allowing him to leave. Shadi returns the Puzzle to Yugi and warns him of the power of the Puzzle as well as his other personality. Shadi reveals his name to Yugi before departing, aiming to test Yoshimori next.

Breakdown: Oh good. Anime!Honda wants to go to the Egyptian exhibit to scare Miho so she’ll fall into his arms. Nice…

Wait a second, so in 1922 the Egyptian government passed a legislation that made it so whatever ancient Egyptian artifacts were found in the country stayed in the country and did not belong to the person who discovered them (This isn’t something I researched independently – this was said in the manga and the anime.)

….But….Sugoroku found the Millennium Puzzle in the Valley of the Kings in the 1960s. Doesn’t that mean that, technically, the Puzzle doesn’t belong to him and he’s had an ancient Egyptian artifact illegally for over 40 years? How did he even get that out of the country?

Also……..Excuse me…..What?! Miho finds this mummy…this…dead person….CUTE? Because it has a bald head so it looks like a baby to her? Someone please get this increasingly difficult to watch character off of my screen.

They omit a small part in the manga where Kanekura goes off to display the Millennium Puzzle and Yugi thinks to himself that he feels like a worried parent. I’m not sure why, but the parent comment seemed very intriguing. It could be general unease at being away from something that is precious to him, but it could also be an anxiety brought on by his connection to the Puzzle, telling him something’s wrong.

Considering the bond between owner and item seems to stay intact no matter if the item isn’t on their person, this is very possible.

Both Manga and Anime!Yugi yell that he’s a high school student when Shadi calls him a ‘nice boy’ and pats his head, and he follows that up with calling him a weird Egyptian. The main change here is that Manga!Yugi says all of this in his head (thought balloon) whereas Anime!Yugi yells all of this out loud. The reason I bring this up is because that’s a really rude thing to yell and an even ruder and somewhat racist thing to say out loud, even if Shadi was already walking away by then. He didn’t yell out either of those things in the manga because Yugi’s not such a rude person, even if it is still in poor taste for him to think that ‘weird Egyptian’ comment.

Also, yeah Yugi, he must be insane because he carries around a scale. Now go walk around with a giant golden upside-down pyramid hanging from your neck you sane boy, you.

Why is that even seen as odd? He’s carrying around an Egyptian artifact in an Egyptian exhibit. For all Yugi knew, he was just moving the thing.

Speaking of which, the owner of the Millennium Scale kinda gets the raw end of the deal in regards to convenience, doesn’t he? Every other item can easily be carried on your person – the Puzzle, Ring, Key and Necklace are all worn around the neck, and the Rod can be holstered easily. However, the Scale has to be carried around by hand. The Eye is carried around in the user’s head, but I think we can all agree that the Eye is the worst item to actually obtain or have taken from you because it needs to be jammed into your eye and then plucked out.

Shadow Game

27

This Shadow Game is based entirely on the functions of the Millennium Scale. Shadi asks Kanekura questions, and the scale tips one way or another depending on how much sin he’s revealing, which is technically how much he’s lying in his responses.

Shadi’s first question is kept mostly the same, but the manga says the girl dropped money on the ground before she fell into the well, not a gold ring. Truth be told, though, I prefer the anime version because a gold ring is more valuable and more realistic to covet than ‘Oh yeah, I would let a girl die for whatever cash she just got from her piggy bank.’

In the end, Kanekura is ‘eaten’ by a demonic representation of the greed and evil in his mind’s room, as seen by Shadi’s Millennium Key/Cross/Ankh.

Manga!Yugi doesn’t think Shadi would know where his Puzzle would be, but in the anime, he noticed Shadi carrying the Puzzle and remarks on it. Small change, honestly, but the anime makes him look a little better because in the manga he’s, again, thinking Shadi is crazy for really no reason this time.

There are many more traps in the anime version of Yami’s mind than there are in the manga, which is fine, in my opinion.

——————————-

This episode covered two chapters this time, and I think it did a really good job reflecting the manga material. I like how we technically got two Shadow Games in this episode as a result – one run by Shadi and the other by Yami. The initial Shadow Game was a great intro to Shadi, and the second was a very interesting and intense start of the conflict between Shadi and Yami. It was also a really intriguing way of depicting Yami’s mind’s inner secrets.

Also, this panel:

Animanga Clash YGO Ep5 2

lolwut?

Final Notes: The 2000 anime did basically keep in the entirety of chapter 14/the second half of episode 5. The sequence in Yami’s mind room is almost exactly the same except three crucial details.

First, in the manga and Season Zero, Shadi and Yugi meet by chance at this Egyptian artifact exhibit. In the 2000 anime, they meet when Shadi comes to Pegasus’ castle looking to investigate a criminal who stole the Millennium Eye. (2000Anime!Shadi can also use portals because reasons.) Yugi happened to be there after the events of Duelist Kingdom concluded.

Second, the one who saves Shadi from Yami’s room is Yugi – not Yami. The reason for this, supposedly, is that Yugi recently realized and acknowledged that he had another spirit living within him and was able to save him. He was thereby able to learn more about the history of the items whereas in the manga and Season Zero he wasn’t all too aware of this for most of the run. However, the 2000 anime really makes Yami look like a dick who was going to let an innocent man lose his mind forever.

Finally, the 2000 anime adds an entirely new sequence. Yami supposedly lets both Yugi and Shadi out of his room, but it leads to a mysterious new room that seemingly showcases more things related to the backstory. They’re attacked by Yami’s mind’s guardian, Dark Magician, which is weird because Yami should have control over this place, despite not having his memories, and Dark Magician should instinctively know not to attack Yugi, but whatever.

Shadi tries to summon Blue-Eyes from a tablet on the floor, claiming it’s the only monster who can beat Dark Magician, but Yugi stops Dark Magician by merely talking to him, which shocks Shadi. (I’m fuzzy on the details of this arrangement, if it’s ever explained. If Seto always lost to Yami, then why is Blue-Eyes an instant win over Dark Magician even in the card game?) Dark Magician then releases them both from the mind room.

Next time, continuing on with the Shadi plot – we got a lot to cover in the next episode.


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero Episode 4 (Placeholder Review)

YGOS0EP4SCREEN1

Plot: Miho convinces Honda to stand in line for a limited edition D-Shock watch that she desperately wants. Honda, needing to use the restroom, asks Yugi if he’ll stand in his place. Yugi manages to snag the last watch, but he’s suddenly harassed by a teenager named Shotaro. He’s an avid watch collector and he wants the D-Shock for himself. He tries to steal it from Yugi right in the store, but Honda manages to fend him off.

Miho is extremely happy with her new D-Shock and Honda, but quickly becomes furious when Honda reveals that he lost the watch somewhere in an arcade.

Yugi notices that Shotaro is in the arcade and instantly becomes suspicious that he stole it. While the others are trying to control Honda in his watch-searching rampage, Yugi goes to confront Shotaro. He receives a vicious beating in return. Before Shotaro can leave, Yugi transforms into Yami and challenges Shotaro to a shadow game.

Yami is victorious and returns the watch to Honda, who can now face Miho again.

While Miho is happy about her watch, she tells Honda of a new perfume they’re coming out with and convinces him to stand in line for that as well. Some things never change….

Breakdown: This is our first anime-exclusive filler episode and it’s….really goddamn annoying.

At face value, the story is really no different from what we’ve come to expect. Douchebag has a run-in with Yugi and the gang, shadow game happens, douchebag loses, all sunshine and roses for everyone but douchebag.

However, there are two things about this episode that really rub me the wrong way. First of all, can we please just get rid of Miho altogether? We’ve established that she’s stupid, immature and annoying, but now we can add lazy and manipulative to that list. It’s not like Miho has a pressing engagement and can’t stand in line herself. She just doesn’t want to do it so she gets Honda to do it, at the ass crack of dawn, mind you.

Then, when he loses it and is clearly upset at this ACCIDENT, Miho slaps Honda and runs away yelling that she hates him. (Granted, he did strip down to his skivvies to search for it, so maybe that’s why she slapped him, but it was clearly more about finding the watch. Also, her animation when running away was literally nonexistent. They didn’t want to actually animate her leaving, so they showed her running animation for about three seconds then just fade transitioned the character’s layer away.)

Then when he gets it back, she implies that she wants him to wait in line for something else…….Does Miho have any redeeming traits?

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Second, Honda is equally annoying in this episode. Between his pathetic behavior around Miho and his yelling for 90% of his screentime, he was insufferable. At least he protected Yugi from Shotaro that one time, but still.

He’s also incredibly stupid. Like, “Golly, the guy who was super obsessed with watches at the watch store, to the point where both of his forearms were covered in watches, and tried to steal the D-Shock from Yugi is not only in the same arcade as I am, but he also stepped on my hand and purposely tried to confront me after the watch mysteriously went missing…….Well, back to looking around on the floor for the watch. “

The only two redeemable aspects of this episode are that the interactions with Jonouchi and Anzu are kinda funny, mostly in regards to the facial expressions they gave them, and the shadow game was good.

Shadow Game

Yami was really digging the clock motif because the shadow game is all about clock gears, coo-coo clocks and pendulums. A coo-coo clock bird steals the watch from Shotaro and locks itself in its little room. Upon the game start, the bird will emerge and the stopwatch will start. The goal is to reach out and stop the timer as close to ten seconds as possible without going over. If they stop it too late, the giant pendulum will swing by and smash the player’s hand.

If Yami wins, he gets the watch. If Shotaro wins, Yami will acknowledge him as the watch’s rightful owner and he can leave.

Shotaro agrees and he loses, but he claims it was a practice run. Believing Yami has the better angle to make a quick escape, he demands they switch sides. He’s ready to go again, more confident that he can last longer, but the pendulum also switches sides and he smashes his hand. Yami proclaims himself winner, but Shotaro won’t let that go.

Sporting an incredibly freaky and scary look, Yami forces a penalty game on him.

His smashed hand is revealed to be filled with clock gears. His watches have all merged with his skin and even his eyes have turned into clocks.

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In an odd turn of events, they even decide to followup on what happened to Shotaro later, after Yugi returned the watch that night to Honda and they returned it to Miho the next morning at school. Shotaro went home in a complete daze and viciously smashed his watch collection while his mother yelled for him to snap out of his trance. The end…..

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Despite the shadow game and punishment being pretty good, I don’t think it makes up for all of the annoyingness that is the first half of this episode. Shotaro’s a confusing bad guy to start with. He’s so obsessed with watches but he wasn’t first in line to get this D-shock watch that even Miho technically got up early to get? (She got up early to meet with Honda to ask HIM to do it…) He loves his watches so much he wears as many watches as he can on his forearms, but the instant anyone even brushes them or annoys him, he comes out swinging. That’s obviously putting your precious watches at risk of damage.

I’m surprised he even agreed to the shadow game without removing his watches first, to be honest. He beat up some dude for nudging one of his watches while walking by, but he’s fine putting his arm in the way of a massive metal pendulum when he has all those watches on?

And, of course, this is yet another story where Yugi has to get beaten up because why not?

Next time, it’s back to the adaptation – Shadi appears and we learn more about the Millennium Puzzle!


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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.

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.

7

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 proclaims 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, which promptly gets 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 he’d reconsider and give 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 own up 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 who refused to cater to his wishes.

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, his 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 th 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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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh Chapters 11-12 (Notes on Episode 9 Comparison)

Animanga clash YGO Chapters 11-12Animanga clash YGO Chapters 11-12 1

Plot: Jonouchi mysteriously goes missing. When his friends find him, he’s hanging out with a gang of thugs from Rintama High, lead by Jonouchi’s old partner in crime, Hirutani. Yugi and the others confront him about what he’s doing with these guys, but Jonouchi pretends he doesn’t know them and is even complacent when one of the gang socks Yugi in the stomach.

Yugi refuses to lose faith in his best friend, however, and believes there must be a good reason for his behavior. He’s right – Jonouchi was coerced into joining Hirutani’s gang by threatening to hurt his friends if he didn’t. Unable to keep a lid on his rage for too long from one of the thugs hitting Yugi, Jonouchi attacks the gang member. Having shown insubordination, Hirutani aims to ‘educate’ Jonouchi on who’s top dog. Can Yugi, Honda and Anzu save him from this gang before it’s too late?

Episode 9 Notes: This is a bit complicated. Season Zero never fully adapted the story that this arc is focusing on. However, they did take the first half of this arc and staple it onto the anime’s adaptation of Jonouchi’s second encounter with Hirutani, which is way down the line in the manga in chapters 48 and 49, and episode nine in Season Zero.

Namely, they realize that Jonouchi is absent, which is strange for him, go to his house to investigate and find his drunken pile of crap of a dad (The first and only time we ever see him, though we never see his face) yelling about Jonouchi being missing all night, not even realizing Honda, Yugi, Miho and Anzu are at the door. We learn that Honda and Jonouchi have known each other since middle school, longer than Anzu and Yugi have known him. His dad is a loud, obnoxious, possibly abusive drunk, which is why he doesn’t invite friends over to his house. Since his father mentioned Jonouchi never came home last night, Yugi, Honda, Anzu and Miho search all over town for him.

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The anime also adapts the parts where Jonouchi initially joins up with Hirutani’s gang, Yugi tries to talk to Jonouchi, he pretends he doesn’t know him, one of the gang punches Yugi, but they add the yoyo aspect of the seconds story arc to it (For a second. They don’t even hit the guy with the yoyos.) They don’t put Jonouchi in the Rintama uniform as they do here (Which I’m okay with because, what, did he get a transfer overnight?) and they remove the fact that the Rintama gang were all smoking in the manga.

Also, they changed Hirutani’s design a little. His hair is meant to be blond, and he’s thinner in the manga. In the anime, he’s taller, bulkier and his hair is a murky blue/purple color.

They also adapt Jonouchi’s backstory with Hirutani, but they kinda had to in order for the second story to make sense.

In the manga, since Honda was basically Jonouchi Lite, he also used to brawl a lot in middle school, but he didn’t like Hirutani and his gang because they’d pick on weaklings a lot (Which actually creates a bit of a contradiction because the first time we met Honda in the manga he was helping Jonouchi pick on Yugi….)

Yugi has very strong faith in Jonouchi, however, so he proclaims that he hasn’t changed. Whereas Honda immediately chose to believe Yugi’s words and believe in Jonouchi in the manga, Honda denounces Jonouchi entirely and claims that he’s always been rotten and always will be in the anime. He then leaves and tells the others to not associate themselves with Jonouchi anymore.

Meanwhile, in an anime exclusive scene, Hirutani and his gang clash with the gang of some other school. He specifically sends out Jonouchi to fight alone since he stated that fights should be done with fists, not yoyos. Jonouchi actually does manage to fight off every single one of their gang, alone, and off-screen.

Later, Anzu, Miho and Yugi head to J’z (which is the same bar they visit in the manga) to see if they can spot Jonouchi, but Honda shows up wearing some pink band across his torso. He’s about to go into J’z to confront the gang and Jonouchi when the trio spots him and point out that he was lying about what he said earlier about Jonouchi….Why he said that at all, I don’t know. Does he not want to seem like he cares about Jonouchi?

In the manga, Anzu, Yugi and Honda go to J’z together, and Honda confronts one of the Rintama gang members leaving the bar.

The anime also adds in Honda explaining what the band means. When he was in middle school, they had a track meet. The band was used as a baton, basically, and Honda, in second place, passed it off to Jonouchi, who won them the meet. Ever since that day, they’ve been friends, and that band is a sign of their friendship. While Yugi and Miho love the story, Anzu says it sounds fishy.

Since the commercial break hits there and the rest of the episode is not really related to this arc, I’ll stop there for now and continue when we get to episode nine’s review.

———————————–

Jonouchi has gone missing, and Yugi, Honda and Anzu are very concerned about him. They go to his house to see if he’s there, but only catch a glimpse of his irate drunk father lazing about on the couch. He throws a beer bottle at the door as it opens, complaining about Jonouchi being gone all night, not even realizing the three are at the door.

As the group investigates Jonouchi’s disappearance further, they spot a gang of thugs from Rintama High School beating on some guy. The gang from Rintama, particularly their leader, Hirutani, are known for being some of the most ruthless thugs in the area; Honda showing a particular distaste for them. They decide to move on, but then they notice Jonouchi with the thugs, wearing Rintama High’s uniform.

He pretends to not know the group and blows them off, which angers Honda. Yugi tries desperately to get him to come back, only to have one of the other thugs punch him in the face. Jonouchi and the Rintama gang then leave.

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As Honda and Anzu tend to Yugi, Honda expresses his disappointment in Jonouchi for joining up with those jerks, especially his old partner in crime, Hirutani. But Yugi proclaims that he’s sure there’s a logical reason. He’d never believe Jonouchi would turn into someone like that. Honda happily agrees and they go off once more. They overhear the gang wanting to head to an American-style dive bar called J’z so they head there next.

They catch one of the gang members outside, and Honda threatens him into telling them what they’ve done to Jonouchi. The thug explains that Hirutani wants to expand his gang’s influence, and for that he needed Jonouchi. However, Jonouchi had been reformed, so Hirutani threatened him by saying he’d attack his friends from Domino High if he didn’t comply.

Meanwhile, Jonouchi finds he can’t restrain himself for long after the attack on Yugi, so he punches the gang member who delivered the punch and knocks him out cold. Hirutani likes Jonouchi’s spirit, but doesn’t accept his rebellious attitude. He calls on all of his thugs to beat the hell out of Jonouchi. He manages to stand his ground for only a few seconds before being felled. Hirutani then demands that they take him to the Execution Grounds.

Sooo….yeah, another group of people so evil they’re literal murderers without a care in the world.

They tie up Jonouchi in some warehouse or hangar and give him a thorough beating. Hirutani explains their relationship in middle school. Jonouchi was his underling, but he also called him his partner and they thought exactly the same way. However, as his underling, Hirutani made the mistake of not properly ‘educating’ Jonouchi, which I take to mean he never put him in his place to make him always remember that he was the underling, not an equal.

He plans to rectify that by having his whole gang relentlessly assault him with stun guns. Before they’re able to do so, however, Jonouchi manages to knock one of them out by kicking them in the head. This doesn’t stop the others from assaulting him, and Jonouchi’s eventually brought to a state of catatonia from all the shocks. But it’s still not enough for Hirutani. He commands his thugs to shock him until he dies.

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Back with Honda, Anzu and Yugi, they rush into J’z only to find the place wrecked because of the fight. Only the gang member that Jonouchi knocked out is still in the room. They decide to split up and look for Jonouchi and the remaining gang members. Honda tells Yugi and Anzu to not confront the gang if they find them and get him first.

Yugi, left all alone worrying in the rain and seemingly able to sense Jonouchi crying out in pain at the stun guns, asks the Millennium Puzzle if it will show him where Jonouchi is. It hears his plea and shows him where to go. He finds Jonouchi in his near-death state and gets so upset he turns into Yami.

The gang notices Yami outside and go punch him in the face, knocking him to the ground next to the thug who was knocked out by Jonouchi.

Shadow Game

When he stands up, Yami proclaims that it’s now his turn. He challenges the group to a game. He claims that he’s surrounded the group with land mines, but they seemingly can’t see them. If they can find the switch for the land mines, they win and they can kill Yami if they want. If they lose, they’ll suffer the penalty game and be at the mercy of the land mines.

One of the thugs doesn’t want to play Yami’s game and just wants to shock him with his stun gun, but Hirutani stops him in a panic. He seemingly realizes Yami’s game. He lured them outside where it’s pouring rain. They’re all soaked and so is the ground. If they use their stun guns, they’ll all get a massive shock.

Seemingly having found the trigger, Hirutani declares himself the winner, but Yami just smirks and says he lost. He points to the actual trigger – the unconscious thug Jonouchi knocked out. While he was on the ground after being punched, Yami propped up the thug’s arm with a metal bar and put the stun gun in his hand…seemingly being triggered this whole time I suppose (I’d imagine the battery would die fairly quickly).

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The thug is waking up, meaning he’ll soon knock his arm off the bar and put the active stun gun into the water. Hirutani and his gang look on in terror as the thug wakes up, the stun gun hits the water and they’re all electrocuted……and….disintegrated? They literally go from them being shocked to Yugi tending to Jonouchi and Honda and Anzu reuniting with them. No bodies on the floor or anything, they’re all just gone.

However, as I already mentioned earlier, Hirutani and his gang returns, soooo….I dunno where they went at all.

Yugi and Jonouchi have a very touching reunion, though. You could really feel the emotion jump right off the page – it was so sweet.

I am going to nitpick the shadow game a little here. While the basic concept is good, the fact that they used stun guns really damages it, in my opinion. They act like stun guns have such massive voltage or amperage that there’s no doubt they’d all be seriously injured or killed if they were shocked by a stun gun hitting water, but that’s really not the case.

As far as my research led me, if a stun gun was used on someone who was wet, it might amplify the effects a little, but that’s about it. If you shock a body of water with a taser and you’re standing in it, there’s a chance you’d feel tingly, but, again, that’s about it. You certainly wouldn’t get such a massive jolt of electricity that you’d severely injure or kill yourself, even though stun guns, by default, have the risk of death simply due to heart issues.

What electricity it is dispersing through the nodes would be dissipated over the wide area, so the effects would be minimal. This isn’t like lightning striking a lake you’re swimming in where it might seek you out as an outlet and you’d get a lot of the shock, if you’re close enough, or like a downed power line sitting in a puddle – it’s a taser in the rain.

I would usually just chalk things up to typical Yu-Gi-Oh exaggeration, but this one felt like one of those times I had to go investigate since the entire shadow game was dependent on it. I did like the little detail that Yami was standing on a tire that entire time, though.

——————————————

Overall, despite some odd details in the shadow game, this was a great two-parter. It gave strong focus to Yugi, Jonouchi and even Honda, which is welcome since this entire time he’s been little more than a goofy brutish side character. It’s cool to see his dedication to Jonouchi is on the same level as the Honda we get in the 2000 anime.

Jonouchi was willing to suffer for his friends, and Yugi showed that he’d never give up on Jonouchi. He’s a true friend, and he deserved the benefit of the doubt.

I feel really bad that Jonouchi has such a bad home life, but at least he has real friends now to help him through.

I do feel awkward that four chapters worth of manga, two different Jonouchi arcs, are mushed into one episode of Season Zero, however. They don’t technically do a bad job combining the two, but I’d much rather the series have adapted both stories separately instead of taking the first half of this arc and the second half of the other arc and making one episode.

Next time, we talk about the first filler the anime has that has no manga basis.


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