[[caption-width-right:320:''[[LampshadeHanging Who's the kid with]] the [[SpikyHair spiky hair]]?'']]

Following the original ''Franchise/DuelMasters'' manga, which used cards from ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' instead of the ''Duel Masters'' cards (which were created for this series, thus explaining the similarities), the anime is what helped the Duel Masters franchise to hit the mainstream.

As explained on the Duel Masters main article, the anime is completely different whether you are looking at it from the Japanese version or the North American version. While the former is a serious series about a children card game ([[Franchise/YuGiOh not unlike the series which inspired it]]), the latter is the UrExample of TheAbridgedSeries in all but longevity.

The story revolves around Shobu Kirifuda, an enthusiast of the titular card game who is exposed for the first time to a higher level of play (referred to in the North American release as Kaijudo, literally "the way of monsters"; in the Japanese series, it was called "Duel of Truth"), in which actual monsters serve the will of their summoners. As his father had mastered the game before him, Shobu [[ToBeAMaster feels a certain need to live up to his family's reputation]].

The series consists of the following seasons. Note that after the first two seasons, the anime was discontinued in America. The Japanese version, instead, continued to run for many more seasons with ToBeAMaster as a central point. Shobu was later exchanged as a protagonist with his smaller brother.

!!! Original series
* ''Duel Masters''
** Shobu, a young duelist with high prospects, is visited by the mysterious [[TheObiWan Knight.]] who introduces him to The Temple, an organization that trains duelists such as himself. Shobu's desire to duel The Temple's top duelist, Hakuoh, leads him to fight against the four guardians and eventually learns a secret conspiracy involving his role.

* ''Duel Masters Sacred Lands''(Exclusive to America)
** After his loss against doctor Root, a confused Shobu is troubled by nightmares and his emerging kaijudo abilities, which allow duelists to summon creatures into their plain of existence. After getting out of his funk, he finds his missing father's diary and embarks on a journey to the five civilizations, lands populated by creatures being threatened by the '''P'''owerful'''L'''oyal'''O'''rder'''O'''f'''P'''rinces. Due to it's nature, the information presented in this season is [[CanonDiscontinuity non-canon.]]

* ''Duel Masters Charge'' (The first 26 episodes were edited down and presented as the final 13 of the American series)
** Shobu and his friends enter the [[TournamentArc Duel Masters Battle Arena]], A regional tournament where they hope to prove their skills after three years of training with Doctor Root. Unfortunately for them, two individuals have their eyes set on disrupting the tournament for unknown reasons...

* ''Zero Duel Masters''
** [[WhatIf In an alternate universe]] where Shobu lost against Hakuoh at the end of season 1, he receives a deck that turns out to be an invitation to a tournament. When Shobu and Rekuta enter, they learn that Hakuoh is also participating.

* ''Duel Masters Flash''
** A spinoff set in [[WhatIf an alternate future]] where Shobu no longer exists. Teru Yuemi, his older sister Cocoro, and his friends help Rei Kukami and her family guard a mysterious pendant that holds the Great Spirit of Duel Masters. Card battles in ''Flash'' are done in an advanced virtual reality system.

* ''Duel Masters Zero''
** Continues the storyline after ''Charge''. Shobu continues his fight against the Fua Duelists.
* ''Duel Masters Cross''
* ''Duel Masters Cross Shock''
** Shobu and his friends use new legendary cards to fight against Diabolos Zeta, Temporal Ruler, who wants to destroy the creature world.

!!! Victory
* ''Duel Masters Victory''
** The first Duel Masters series to feature Shobu's brother, Katta Kirifuda as a protagonist.
* ''Duel Masters Victory V''

!!! Versus
* ''Duel Masters Versus''
** Two years after ''Victory'' V, Katta has lost his passion for battling. He gets back in the game after an encounter with Hokaben, an expert baseball player, and reuniting with his childhood friend Lulu Takigawa.
* ''Duel Masters Versus Revolution''
** Katta finds himself involved in a conspiracy involving a mysterious team of duelists and a legendary card when he visits the Duel Masters Land theme park.
* ''Duel Masters Versus Revolution Final''
** When Katta's V-shaped seal on his head is opened, mysterious events start happening like the appearance of a transfer student group called the Rare Hunters and hamsters like his pet, Hamukata, starting to talk.

A new Duel Masters season will air in Japan in 2017, focusing on Joe Kirifuda, the son of Katta, who made his first appearance in the final episodes of ''Versus Revolution Final''.

Please note that most (though not all) of these tropes are either common to both versions or are otherwise based on the North American version. The original Japanese, while still having comedy, played it straight for the most part.

!!List of tropes used in the anime:

* ActionGirl: Mimi. Sometimes even PlayedForLaughs, see CharlesAtlasSuperpower.
* AllCGICartoon: Beginning with Zero, the series exclusively used CGI animation until Versus.
* AllWomenAreLustful: The number of times Saiyuki and Mimi don't instantly fall for a hot guy at a drop of a hat can be counted on one hand.
* AntiHero: Kokujo is a Type V.
* AnimatedActors: Appears in a gag dub, particularly in a notable scene where Shobu asks Mimi and Boy George if they'll make any more appearances that season.
* AnimeHair: Referenced in the dub's theme song and the subject of many a LampshadeHanging, though Shobu's hair could probably support an ''actual'' lampshade. Hair is SeriousBusiness second only to the card game itself, especially among Shobu, Hakuoh and Kokujo.
* BackToBackBadasses: Shobu and Kokujo; in a children's card game, no less.
* BadassLongcoat: Kokujo.
* BecomingTheMask: [[spoiler:Mimi is TheMole, don't you know.]]
* BrainwashedAndCrazy: Yu Fua, also known as Yumama in the GagDub. [[spoiler:Later, Hakuou in Duel Masters Charge, when he became "White" and joined the Fua Duelists, lead by Yu Fua's older brother.]]
* BreakingTheFourthWall: Being a GagDub, it comes with the territory.
* BreastExpansion: Mimi's breasts get larger from episode to episode in the first season. The American first season actually ''toned this down''. By the way, she's underage. Though the dub did make reference to it in a late first season episode when, as the girls were expressing relief that [[BreakingTheFourthWall a possible cancellation of the series]] had been averted, Mimi commented that she was enjoying her new curves. To a lesser extent, Sayuki also gets noticeably bigger as the series progresses.
* CardCarryingVillain: Pardoning the pun, Kokujo is a self proclaimed "Evil Genius" in the dub.
* CardGames
* {{Catchphrase}}: Anything about "owning the zone", as well as a number of overused traditional Japanese phrases.
* CharlesAtlasSuperpower: Mimi demonstrates on several occasions that she is quite proficient in martial arts and far stronger than she looks.
* CombinedEnergyAttack: In the American-only second season, the five creatures Shobu recovers are invoked by his friends to defeat the P.L.O.O.P.
* CulturalTranslation: The GagDub, as well as the North American-only second season. Eventually, later card game expansions started using flavor text based on said GagDub.
* CrossOver: The Duel Masters movie (''Curse of the Death Phoenix'') saw a release in tandem with the Anime/MegaManNTWarrior movie (''The Program of Light and Darkness'') ([[NoExportForYou only in Japan]]). In ''Program'', Netto and company are at an expo, where they catch Shoubu summoning the Bolmeteus Steel Dragon; in ''Curse'' the same crew are in the tournament stadium, cheering him on more directly. While in the movies themselves only contained brief snippets of the other's footage, both Shobu and Netto (as Rockman R) worked together in the opening cinema. Also, VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork 5 saw a set of Giga Chips with the powers of the Eternal Phoenix (just named "Phoenix" in game) and the Death Phoenix, whereas [=Forte.EXE=] got a pair of cards in the [[http://duelmasters.wikia.com/wiki/Forte,_Brave_Fear_Lord DM game]]. (Same card, different artwork, technically).
** Here, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ojmRCBvwOY educate yerself]].
* DeadpanSnarker: Knight and Kokujo.
* DefeatMeansFriendship: Every protagonist except Sayuki and Mimi. Rekuta's been defeated enough times to be Shobu's best friend.
** Averted hilariously by Kokujo in episode 20
* DidYouDie: In a flashback, Shobu loses a [[strike:Kaijudo]] duel, and possibly dies. In the dub, the person listening to his story wonders if he might be a zombie.
-->'''Shobu''': What do you want me to do? Not eat a brain?
* DistressedDude: Hakuoh, as shown in 'Duel Masters Charge'. Also Rekuta throughout the subsequent series.
* DisappearedDad: Shori Kirifuda. It turns out [[spoiler:he's the guardian of the Fire Civilization]].
* DoorRoulette: A sequence with Mimi walking through the temple became this type of scene in the dub.
* DownerEnding: [[spoiler:Charge ends with Shobu losing the final duel, Zakira obtaining the awakening cards, and Hakuoh now part of the Fua duelists.]]
* EvilTwin: Subverted and lampshaded; both twins are evil, and both try to convince Shobu that the other is their evil twin.
* FigureItOutYourself: Lampshaded by Knight in the dub. "That will keep him guessing."
* FunWithAcronyms: The antagonists of Sacred Lands, the Powerful Loyal Order of Princes
* GagDub: It's hard to tell sometimes, as it does try to tell a story, but still.
* GamingAndSportsAnimeAndManga
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: Surprisingly averted for the most part. Other than a moment that mocked Mimi's unexplained [[BreastExpansion breasts]], the gag dub was pretty clean, even going so far as to prevent a potential one with the L in the [[FunWithAcronyms Powerful Loyal Order of Princes]]
* GratuitousJapanese: The dub keeps some actual Japanese phrases in the script, presumably because they sounds cool.
* HeroicBSOD: After [[spoiler:Dr. Root defeats Shobu]]).
* HotBloodedSideburns: Mikuni, later renamed Johnny Coolburns in the dub's third season.
* HumongousMecha: Used by Benny Haha. During an escape sequence in Charge, he builds a miniature mecha [[ThisIsADrill with a massive drill]]
* IAmNotWeasel: In the dub, Fritz the bitter goblin is not a squirrel.
* IconicItem: No matter how many times Shobu changes his deck, he is always associated with the Bolshack Dragon.
* KnightOfCerebus: Kokujou and Hakuou.
* LikeFatherLikeSon: Shobu and his father Shori. They even have the same spiky hair and clothing.
* LightheartedRematch: After Shobu defeats Hakuoh.
* LittlestCancerPatient: Parodied ([[GagDub like everything else]]); Benny Haha uses this as an excuse to trick Shobu into forfeiting.
* LoveMakesYouCrazy: Mimi is a Hakuoh fangirl.
* LuckyTranslation: The English dub had Benny Haha claim that Mimi was his little sister, completely unaware that they would actually show his sister (possibly unrelated in the original) in a (fake) flashback. As chance would have it, Benny's sister looked exactly like a young Mimi. WordOfGod from a post on the Toon Zone Forums.
** The shades-wearing pajama-clad baby is named Jouji in Japan. This was easy to translate to George for the dub, and plenty of Boy George references quickly followed.
* MeaningfulName: Shobu (勝負) means "challenge" or "game"; Kirifuda (切り札) means "trump card".
* MundaneMadeAwesome: Shobu often draws his big final card with a "flaming hand up in the air".
* MusicalEpisode: Dub-specific. Kokujo is nonplussed.
* MusicalSpoiler: The dub is the source of the page quote.
* TheMusicMeister: Remarkably for a Japanese work (where {{Musical Episode}}s are uncommon in the first place), ''Duel Masters Victory V3'' has an episode about a wannabe singer whose magical companion causes others to break out into spontaneous shouts, and eventually, singing and dancing. The main characters even sing the jingles during the eyecatches.
* NoFourthWall: The Gag dub, of course.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Mimi and Rekuta.
* TheOneWith: Where Shobu duels Hakuoh, specifically.
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: And since Shobu specializes in the Fire civilization, we get to see most of them.
* ParentalAbandonment: Again, parodied in the dub:
--> '''Mimi:''' We have parents?
** Despite the heavy use of DisappearedDad, Shobu's mom and Rekuta's dad are regular characters.
* PublicDomainSoundtrack: In the dub, Fritz's choice of karaoke. Lampshaded in a few episodes, including one instance where he couldn't get the rights to a song he wanted to do.
* RapunzelHair: Oddly enough, it's ''guys'' who seem to have this. Hakuoh,Kokujo, and Zakira let their hair grow ''crazy'' long. Though, Yu Fua also gets in on the action.
* TheRival: Redeemed rival Hakuoh, dark rival Kokujo, and wannabe rival Jamira.
* SeriousBusiness: Especially once the P.L.O.O.P. organization gets involved in the American season.
* ShoutOut: Even in a GagDub, no one expected ''Greg The Bunny'' to cameo. ''Ever''.
* SoLastSeason: Shobu is a chronic deck changer. Also lampshaded in the dub when an antagonist mocks Mimi's new voice.
* TakeThat: From the dub: "[[Anime/YuGiOh That show with that Egyptian guy]] is so lame!"
* ThemeTuneCameo: From the dub when Knight runs across Mimi in her cloak while on his way to help Shobu in a duel.
-->'''Knight''': ''(inner monologue)'' "She's so mysterious... who knows ''what'' is going on inside her head...?"
-->'''Mimi''': ''(thought, singing)'' "Who's the kid with the spiky hair? Shobu! Flaming hand up in the air, yeah!"
* TimeSkip: Charge picks up after a three year gap. Not that [[NotAllowedToGrowUp Boy George got any older.]]
* ToBeAMaster: Shobu wants to be the best duelist in the whole world. In the English dub, they translated that as to become a true "Kaijudo" master.[[note]]The term "Kaijūdō" is not used in the Japanese anime series. Kaijudo duelists are referred to as "True Duelists" and Kaijudo battle as "Duel of Truth".[[/note]]
* ATwinkleInTheSky: A running gag with Rekuta. Plastic Cow's [[GagDub localization]] also takes this to some illogical conclusions.
* WhiteHairBlackHeart: During his tenure as the temple champion in the first season, Hakuoh sports bluish-white hair and a very sour attitude. spoilerOnce he undergoes a HeelFaceTurn, his hair shifts to blond.
* WildTake: Baby-like George actually has to change his diaper after every surprising twist. Several dub seasons edited this character quirk out.
* YouGottaHaveBlueHair: Hakuoh. Later, his hair color was changed to blond as seen after his first battle with Shobu.
* YouKilledMyFather: When [[spoiler:Zakira reveals to Shobu that he had fought and killed Shori Kirifuda.]]