[[quoteright:196:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ygogroupzero_4870.png]]
[[caption-width-right:196:Toei's version of the [[TitleDrop King of Games]] and his TrueCompanions!]]

The first Franchise/YuGiOh anime series (also misleadingly known as [[FanNickname Season 0]]) was a 27-episode adaptation of the first seven volumes of the [[Manga/YuGiOh Yu-Gi-Oh! manga]], produced by Creator/ToeiAnimation. It loosely covers the story of Yugi completing the Millennium Puzzle up to the Monster World RPG arc of the manga. However, it skips many chapters of the manga in favor of original scenarios and features a one-shot character from the manga, Miho Nosaka, as a main character. Many chapters were reworked to fit the length of an entire episode, and a number of the original games were either imported or replaced. It also borrows plot elements that aren't introduced until Duelist Kingdom, such as the early introduction of Shizuka, Jonouchi's sister. Because of its lack of success, this adaptation was cancelled before it got to Duelist Kingdom. It was replaced by [[Anime/YuGiOh the second anime series]], which was made by Creator/StudioGallop and dubbed by Creator/FourKidsEntertainment.

Because the second series was done by a different studio and re-imagined some of the manga chapters that this anime also covered, Toei's Yu-Gi-Oh! is considered an alternate adaptation of the manga rather than a prequel to the second-series anime. It's also for this reason that this series was never [[NoExportForYou dubbed]] along with the second series anime, as it's a completely different license.

Some of this series' manga-to-anime alterations were carried over by Studio Gallop when producing the second series anime, such as calling the "Magic & Wizards" card game "Duel Monsters" and having Yami Yugi grow taller when he transforms. This series' incarnation of Seto Kaiba inspired the BigBad from an arc of the [[Anime/YuGiOh second anime]], Noah Kaiba, whose outfit was inspired by Kaiba's Death-T outfit and had green hair, a ShoutOut to this Kaiba's neon green hair.

It spawned a 30-minute movie, a few video games and [[TabletopGame/YuGiOhCarddasVersion a card game by Bandai]], which would later be replaced as well by [[TabletopGame/YuGiOh Konami's card game]].

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!!"Come... it's trope time!"

* AbandonedWarehouse: The setting for confrontations with the yo-yo gang, Warashibe, and Kujirada.
* AbusiveParents: Jonouchi's alcoholic father is implied to beat him.
* AbortedArc: Because this adaptation was canceled before it got to Duelist Kingdom, among other things we never see Toei's version of Kaiba put together the last pieces of his shattered heart and become nicer.
* AdaptedOut: Several manga characters, such as Hanasaki, Sozoji, and Yugi's mother, don't appear in this anime, nor do their respective stories.
* AdaptationDyeJob:
** Kaiba is depicted with bright green hair and gold eyes, in contrast to his dark brown hair and blue eyes in the manga. It's subverted in the movie where he has brown hair and light blue eyes, which is closer to his usual appearance.
** The school uniforms for the girls are orange instead of pink, with green bows and skirts instead of blue.
** Bakura's hair is blue and he has green eyes (purple when Dark Bakura takes over), as opposed to his white hair and blue or purple eyes in the manga.
** Shadi's eyes are amber as opposed to the dull blue in the manga.
** Yugi's purple eye color changes to red whenever he's taken over by Dark Yugi. While the colored manga covers and pages aren't consistent with their eye colors, Yugi and Dark Yugi's eyes stayed the same regardless.
** Shizuka/Serenity's hair color was brown or blonde in the manga. In the anime, she has lavender hair.
** Averted with the Blue-Eyes White Dragon as it is true to its description (being white with blue eyes) whereas the second anime gave it a blueish tint most of the time.
* AdaptationExpansion: Some of the battles from the manga get stretched out to fill a thirty minute time slot.
** The tenth episode with [[SadistTeacher Ms. Chono]]. In the manga her story takes place entirely in the classroom and solely involves her solving the puzzle Honda left for Miho. In the anime, the puzzle aspect leads to Anzu formally protesting Chono's extreme rules and starts a petition, which Chono then sabotages by using some older students to steal it for her. The shadow game aspect turns into Dark Yugi challenging her to a jigsaw puzzle contest involving mirrors and blindfolds.
** Seto Kaiba also makes more appearances than he does in the manga with an ongoing subplot to defeat Yugi through his Game Masters; it's only when they all fail that he decides to build Death-T and fight Yugi himself.
** The rules of Duel Monsters have been expanded, resembling those used in the Duelist Kingdom arc of the manga.
* AdaptationInducedPlothole:
** Instead of bullying Yugi like his manga/second series counterpart, Honda was trying to help Yugi get his puzzle box back. For some reason, Ushio [[GuiltByAssociation beats him up along with Jonouchi]].
** In the manga, Yami Yugi's first duel with Kaiba ends with the latter losing and being subjected to the Experience of Death Penalty Game. In the anime, it was a draw, and Kaiba didn't get a Penalty Game, making it a mystery how he came up with the idea for Death-T (in the manga Yugi inspired him to recreate it as a form of revenge).
** Nothing of what Gozaburo put Kaiba through from the manga is shown aside from 'losing equals death' being the former's catchphrase, and he's even shown having fun as a child after being adopted. The only conclusion is that Kaiba changed on his own rather than from suffering abuse.
* AdaptationNameChange: While not the focus of the show, the card game is referred to as "Duel Monsters" rather than its early manga title of "Magic and Wizards".
* AdaptationPersonalityChange:
** In the manga Honda was a tough guy who was VitriolicBestBuds with Jonouchi, while here he's a dorky hall monitor [[DoggedNiceGuy with a hopeless crush]] on Miho.
** In the manga Miho was a shy, quiet librarian, while here she's an extroverted, shallow girly girl.
** Kaiba's butler Daimon was a sadistic torturer in the original manga, but here he is a kind yet loyal ParentalSubstitute for Kaiba as well as the final Game Master.
* AdaptationalBadass:
** Mokuba got all the high scores in every arcade game, while Seto did in the manga.
** In the manga Jonouchi and Honda defeat the Death-T shooters, while in the anime they wound them both and lose because of Miho panicking.
* AdaptationalEarlyAppearance:
** Ryou Bakura appears before Monster World, where he was introduced in the manga. Dark Bakura watches from afar during the Death-T arc, and once Kaiba is dealt with, he decides to make his move against Yugi.
** In the manga, Shizuka didn't appear until Duelist Kingdom, which this anime never got around to. Here, she appears in episode 16, where she's in the care of a negligent doctor.
* AdaptationalHeroism:
** Mokuba is more tame in comparison to his manga counterpart. He doesn't poison Joey or duel Yugi in Capsule Monsters with the threat to cut his fingers off beforehand, and carries no grudge against Yugi or his friends.
** In the water park chapter of the manga, Anzu pretends to be in danger all day to no avail, hears about the bomber's warning, and goes on the Ferris wheel deliberately to make Yami Yugi come out. In the anime she pretends to be in danger to no avail, goes to the Ferris wheel before the warning's put out to sulk over not seeing Yami Yugi, and is targeted by happenstance.
** At the start of the Death-T arc in the anime, Yugi's friends get together and promise to help him face the challenges as a team. In the manga only Jonouchi accompanied Yugi to face Death-T; Honda (plus his nephew) and Anzu happened to be at Kaibaland by coincidence and decided to help Yugi at the last minute.
* AdaptationalNiceGuy: In the manga, Imori was a devious student who sought to usurp the power of Yugi's puzzle using the Soul Jar but in the anime, Imori is portrayed as a victim who has been corrupted by the Dragon Block. In the manga, his [[FateWorseThanDeath soul ends up being taken by the jar]] as punishment effectively killing him, whereas here the Dragon Block only absorbs his dark side [[BroughtDownToNormal thus bringing him back to normal]].
* AdaptationalVillainy:
** In the manga Ms. Chono was only interested in humiliation, but in the Toei series she's a sadistic control freak willing to go to extreme lengths to break Anzu's spirit just for questioning her authority.
** In the manga, Kujirada's mean behavior was a result of him being hounded by his virtual pet. In the anime, he becomes a bully after Haiyama pays him to take orders, enjoying the idea of BribingYourWayToVictory.
** In the manga, Mr. Karita picks on Bakura having heard about his troublesome reputation. In the anime, he picks on Bakura as well as Yugi and co. just because he enjoys being mean to students.
** Seto Kaiba here is even worse than his manga counterpart. After tying a game with Yugi and ''not'' suffering a Penalty Game, he sends his Game Masters to kill or defeat Yugi and goes on to build Death-T for the purpose of killing Yugi ''and'' his friends. The flashbacks in episode 20 of him as a child further this, as nothing of what Gozaburo put him through from the manga is shown. While Daimon's tutelage in games could be taken as Kaiba going to the logical extreme to surpass everybody, it implies that Kaiba changed on his own rather than from suffering abuse.
* AdaptationalWimp:
** Honda went from a tough guy in the manga to a rules-posturing student council member.
** In the manga, Jonouchi did very well in fights and was instrumental in winning Death-T. In this anime, he was the ''only'' one injured during Death-T 1 and Miho saved the day, was beaten up by Kaiba's guards, Ryuichi Fuwa, the model Aileen Rao, and the Kageyama Sisters, and rolled a 99 in Monster World out of fear that he'd be turned into a figurine.
** Yugi is worse at gaming than in the manga, only beating [[TheDitz Miho]] in Duel Monsters in episode 8, losing to a puppet of the school nurse and being mocked for his lack of strategy, and even Dark Yugi saying the one move he played in his duel with Ridley Sheldon was dumb. He's also on the losing end of a duel against the Kageyama Sisters in episode 15, though there [[WorfHadTheFlu he was sick and separated from the Puzzle]]. He also loses to Daimon in episode 20, and though the consequences aren't as drastic he's chided for playing too straightforwardly.
** In the manga's Monster World arc, to stop the spiked ceiling trap Yami Yugi's last roll was 33, the correct number. In the Toei anime he rolls 66 on his last turn when the correct number was 99, which would have ended with everyone dead if Miho's fairy merchant powers hadn't changed it to the right number.
* AdmiringTheAbomination: During Kaiba's first duel with Dark Yugi, the latter turns the match into a Shadow Game where the monsters appear to be real and the losing cards are completely destroyed. Rather than be intimidated like most of Yugi's foes, Kaiba instead becomes more excited than ever stating it's the ultimate game he'd been searching for.
* AdultFear: Episode 11 has Miho deal with a creepy stalker who wants to imprison her inside a giant Capmon capsule. Miho is about 15 and her stalker is at least 18.
* AgentScully: In the fortune-telling episode, Yugi's skepticism from the manga at Kokurano's predictions is given to Anzu, but eventually she gives in after thinking she can meet the other Yugi.
* AintTooProudToBeg: Even though he was cruel to him earlier, Mr. Karita begs Jonouchi for help after getting turned into a doll.
* AlphaBitch: Kaoruko Himekoji is a spoiled beauty who tries to sabotage Anzu and Miho in a popularity contest by sabotaging Anzu's acts, destroying Miho's clothes. When that doesn't work she ''drugs'' Miho, tears up her clothing, and leaves her unconscious in an alley.
* AnimationBump:
** Shadi's episodes boast some of the best animation in the series, particularly when he calls Shadow Games.
** The movie boasts even better quality than the main series, especially when Yugi and Kaiba duel.
* AmbiguouslyBrown: Shotaro Akaboshi the watch collector.
* AmusementParkOfDoom: Death-T is a theme park solely designed to kill Yugi and his friends. Though in this series, Kaiba presents it as more of a [[OnlyTheWorthyMayPass test to see if Yugi is truly worthy of dueling him]] rather than an outright deathtrap. Unlike the manga, Kaiba gives Yugi [[FairPlayVillain a reasonable chance of winning each challenge]] and at no point does the team require underhanded tactics to win.
* ArmorPiercingQuestion: During Death-T, Kaiba asks Mokuba why he's so determined to beat Yugi when he has no reason to hold a grudge against him. Mokuba ponders for a moment before insisting it's to earn his big brother's respect. In the manga, Mokuba had lost to Yugi beforehand but here they had yet to even met in person.
* ArtifactOfDoom: Aside from the Millennium Items, there's the Dragon Block game which has powers similar to that of Yugi's puzzle. What's more is when the Dragon Block game is played, natural disasters will affect the real life locations represented on the game map.
* ArtifactTitle:
** The cards have "MW" on the back standing for "Magic and Wizards," the manga title of the game, even though the card game is consistently named "Duel Monsters" throughout the show.
** Averted with the show title of "Yu-Gi-Oh," meaning "King of Games," as Dark Yugi is shown to be very skilled at a wide variety of games besides Duel Monsters.
* AscendedExtra: Miho Nosaka was only used in one chapter in the manga as a love interest to Honda, and she promptly shot him down when he asked to be her boyfriend. She was used more in the anime to help fill out the girl quota, though at best she's a SatelliteCharacter.
* AssimilationBackfire: During the Monster World game, Dark Bakura had Dark Master Zorc assimilate Ryo Bakura's figurine to increase his defense, however since they are two halves of the same being, when Zorc's arm took damage, Ryo Bakura was able to manifest himself in Dark Bakura's arm thus interfering with the game.
* AudienceSurrogate: Shougo Aoyama serves this role in the movie, being a young Duel Monsters fan who's friends with Yugi.
* AxCrazy:
** Dark Yugi can become this if you make him mad enough.
** Dark Bakura is also this, especially when he starts losing.
* BadassNormal: Seto Kaiba is the only non-millennium item user that Dark Yugi considers a WorthyOpponent. To emphasize this point, Kaiba is the only character to tie with Dark Yugi in a Shadow Game, something even Shadi and Dark Bakura never accomplished.
* BaitAndSwitchCredits: The opening animation shows Yugi playing the Dark Magician against Kaiba but he never actually uses it in this series (with the exception of TheMovie).
* BecauseYouWereNiceToMe: Daimon's [[UndyingLoyalty immense loyalty]] to Kaiba stems from the fact that Kaiba was [[UsedToBeASweetKid nice to him as a child.]] Even though he does not like what Kaiba has become, he continues to serve him in the hopes that he will some day make a HeelFaceTurn.
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: Bakura always wanted to be surrounded by friends. Dark Bakura ensured that would always be the case by sealing the souls of his friends within figurines for his collection.
* BelievingTheirOwnLies: Kokurano, a PhonyPsychic, starts to believe he does have powers when having them would be the only way to win a Shadow Game.
* BewareTheNiceOnes:
** Ryou Bakura is a very sweet, shy, quiet, polite guy with a SuperpoweredEvilSide that he's only vaguely aware exists.
** Yugi is kind, trusting, and shy, until his psychotic side wakes up.
* BitchInSheepsClothing: This plot point is used a lot, even in manga-adapted episodes where it didn't happen originally.
** Kaiba befriends Yugi over their common interest in Duel Monsters. But when Yugi's grandfather's refuses to trade/sell Kaiba his Blue-Eyes Dragon, Kaiba tricks Yugi into switching it with a fake. When Yugi calls out Kaiba on the switch, Kaiba loses the facade and whacks Yugi in the face with a briefcase.
** Haiyama acts timid and easily scared, but it's revealed he's an even worse bully than Kujirada and uses a whip to punish him.
** Ryuichi Fuwa acts personable around Yugi and his friends and uses his luck for their benefit initially, but he turns out to be a superstitious, cocky jerk who only cares about himself and winning.
** Risa Kageyama pretends to befriend Yugi in order to get her hands on the rare Violet Hecate card he had.
** Aileen Rao befriends Yugi and Anzu and invites them to her apartment, where she hypnotizes Anzu and threatens her with a tiger to force Yugi to play a game with her.
* {{Bowdlerise}}: Many of the death-related Penalty Games from the manga were turned into illusions, and several storylines were made less violent and disturbing. The most notable altered storyline is Death-T, which replaces the guillotine trap with a huge robot and excises the rest of level 2 completely. Kaiba's butler dying from electrocution is also removed, as was Honda's breast-grabbing perverted baby nephew.
* ButNotTooForeign: Aileen Rao is Canadian-Indian but she speaks perfect Japanese with no GratuitousEnglish.
* TheCameo: Dinosaur Ryuzaki makes a brief cameo in the movie as one of the duelists Kaiba defeats.
* CanonForeigner: Three of Kaiba's Game Masters were created exclusively for this version of the anime, including [[EvilBrit Ridley Sheldon]], [[TheFashionista Aileen Rao]] and [[BornLucky Ryuichi Fuwa]]. Many other characters are also Toei-exclusive, such as [[SameSexTriplets the Kageyama sisters]], the school nurse, and [[AlphaBitch Kaoruko Himekoji.]]
* CatchPhrase: Dark Yugi usually makes his presence known by stating "It's game time." And when he punishes the loser of a Shadow Game he states "The door of darkness has been opened."
* CharacterExaggeration: Since the anime was made before early character traits were downplayed, many of the characters' personalities are exaggerated compared to later on in the manga and the second-series anime.
** Jonouchi is much more focused on manly things and being a real man, which in the manga was only in early chapters.
** Yugi's childishness is more overt, especially when it comes to games, leading to annoyance from Anzu at times.
** Anzu in this series is a full-on Type B {{Tsundere}}. While Anzu in the manga could have quite a temper, it was never so frequent.
* ChekhovsGag: Miho's hidden talent for fighting games becomes important in the final stage of Death-T.
* CherryTapping: Dark Yugi tends to win his Shadow Games this way, even making a hole in one with a ''stethoscope'' against a {{Jerkass}} doctor in episode 16.
* ClarkKenting: Aileen Rao is a world-famous model, but when she comes into the game store wearing sunglasses nobody recognizes her until she takes them off.
* ClockPunk: The Shadow Game between Yugi and Shotaro Akaboshi, a collector/thief of rare watches, takes place around a huge clock pendulum.
* ColorWash: Toei's anime has an incredibly supersaturated neon palette.
* CompellingVoice: Aileen uses a hypnotic suggestion to freeze Anzu solid, and it's revealed that she also hypnotized anyone who lost to her to make them think they lost whatever's important to them.
* ComplexityAddiction: It's implied Dark Yugi could easily use his powers to hurt antagonists directly (e.g. how Kaiba's guards end up beaten and unconscious in episode 3) but instead he prefers to let fate decide by challenging them to Shadow Games.
* CompressedAdaptation:
** Only a handful of chapters from the first seven volumes of the manga were animated. In comparison, a lot more chapters from the manga were left out than there were animated, making the anime significantly shorter than the manga even if you don't count Volume 8 onwards.
** Death-T is shorter than in the manga, particularly level 2, and Yugi and Kaiba's duel at the end is trimmed down slightly.
* ContinuityNod: Ms. Chono makes a cameo appearance in the episode dealing with Ryuichi. Upon trying to scold him her makeup crumbles away again, a consequence she received from losing a Shadow Game to Yugi in a previous episode.
* ConspicuousCG: The first series had this a few times, such as in the opening, or in episode 6 with the stairs.
* CruelToBeKind: Hirutani blackmails Jonouchi into rejoining his gang by [[ShameIfSomethingHappened threatening to hurt Jonouchi's friends]]. For their own safety, Jonouchi acts coldly towards them in the hopes that they would stay away. When Hirutani goes back on his word, Jonouchi decides to settle things using GoodOldFisticuffs.
* CrypticBackgroundReference: Dark Bakura mentions how he and Dark Master Zorc (his Monster World character) are the same being. The story behind Thief King Bakura being fused with Zorc Necrophades to make the spirit of the ring is elaborated upon during the Millennium World arc of the manga, but this anime never got to that point so it's only seen as Bakura having synchronization with his game piece as the Game Master.
* DarkerAndEdgier: While it's not as dark as the manga, it's darker than the second anime in terms of Dark Yugi's Penalty Games. The virtual pet chapter is also darker than in the manga, with Kujirada's pet's role being taken by Haiyama, who treats other humans as pets and whips them when they disobey.
* DarkLordOnLifeSupport: Kaiba's elderly butler Daimon, who is kept alive through [=KaibaCorp's=] [[CyberneticsEatYourSoul advanced technology]]. He can only leave the Kaiba Medical Castle for short periods of time but he finds playing games for Kaiba WorthLivingFor.
* DeathTrap: Kaiba's sadistic amusement park, Death-T, is a long series of increasingly difficult death traps designed to defeat and kill Yugi.
* DecompositeCharacter:
** The role of Prisoner 777 from the manga is split up between two characters: Tetsuo Sasaki and Jiro the Jorogumo.
** Rather than Mokuba, Yugi's first Capumon opponent is changed to Warashibe. Yugi even defeats Warashibe using the same strategy he used against Mokuba in the manga.
* DecoyProtagonist: In the movie, while Yugi duels Kaiba again, most of the focus and character development is given to Shougo Aoyama, an original character.
* DemotedToExtra:
** The Dark Magician only appears in the opening, in episode 3 as a card Kaiba steals but doesn't use, and briefly in the 30-minute movie.
** In the movie, aside from Jonouchi none of Yugi's friends have a big role or do much of anything.
* DesignatedVictim: Many villains will either beat Yugi up or put Anzu or Miho in danger, which brings out Dark Yugi.
* DidntThinkThisThrough: When Miho confronts Warashibe about endangering her friends, he challenges her to settle things through a game of Capumon. Miho accepts with much bravado only to realize once the game has begun that she doesn't actually know how to play.
* DisguisedInDrag: In episode 19, Jonouchi puts on a Marilyn Monroe costume so that he could enter the school popularity contest that was aimed towards girls.
* DisproportionateRetribution:
** Kaiba and Yugi's first duel is changed into a draw, so neither side wins and he doesn't get a penalty game. Kaiba becomes ''so furious'' at the duel ending in a draw that he sends his Game Masters to kill/defeat Yugi and his friends, stalks Yugi to see if anyone else is trying to beat him in a duel first, and builds Death-T for the purpose of killing Yugi and his friends.
** In the movie, Shougo is too scared to go to Kaiba's tournament and Yugi also refuses, so Kaiba's goons beat them up and steal the Red-Eyes card and Puzzle.
** Shotaro Akaboshi beats a guy unconscious just for bumping into him while stating that if his watches had gotten damaged [[ImpliedDeathThreat the man would be dead.]]
* TheDitz: Miho is very spacey most of the time and usually is the last to realize things are dangerous.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness:
** The Blue-Eyes White Dragon is called the Blue-Eyes Dragon in its first appearance, and in the movie the Red-Eyes Black Dragon is similarly called the Red-Eyes Dragon.
** Dark Yugi's eyes are purple and red in his first appearance when afterward they're usually just red.
** This series uses the manga's early explanation of how the Puzzle was found by a team of British archaeologists who all died mysteriously before passing the Puzzle to Yugi's grandpa, rather than Yugi's grandpa himself conquering a series of Shadow Games to find the Puzzle.
* ElectronicMusic: Unlike the orchestrated tracks of the second adaptation, this anime used synthesized tracks for background music.
* EvasiveFightThreadEpisode: Yugi and Kaiba's first duel is reworked into a draw, so neither side wins.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Yami Yugi isn't evil, but he's not a pure hero either. He does put his foot down when something doesn't sit right with him.
** Yami Yugi may have rigged his mind so that Shadi wouldn't find his true room, but he wasn't about to let the man die.
** When Mokuba is put through Kaiba's penalty game, Yami Yugi pulls him out before the illusions take full effect on his fragile mind.
* EvilCounterpart: Aileen Rao is one to Anzu and Dark Yugi. Like Anzu, she's a dancer and achieved her dream of being an idol, and like Yugi, she prefers reading her opponents and psyching them out over luck-based games.
* ExactWords:
** During his Shadow Game with Kaoruko, Dark Yugi states whomever draws the last rose in her possession would lose the game. Just when Kaoruko thinks she has won with only one flower left in her bouquet, Dark Yugi plucks the rose embedded in her hair, as he never explicitly stated they could only draw from the bouquet.
** When Jonouchi confronts the "Impostor Dragon" man, the latter challenges him to a fight atop a steel pipe across a river where whoever falls first loses. When the man realizes Jonouchi is stronger than he thought, he pulls out a pair of nunchaku stating he never forbade the use of weapons. As such Jonouchi defeats the guy using his soda can as an ImprovisedWeapon.
* ExcitedTitleTwoPartEpisodeName: "Desperate Situation! Passionate Battle for Friendship" and its ilk are very common. The format varies, but titles usually follow the Excited Exclamation! More Calm Description of Events format.
* GameOfNim: Dark Yugi challenges Kaoruko to one, using flowers as matchsticks.
* GottaCatchEmAll: Subverted when Miho talks about collecting Capsule Monsters, but Yugi's Grandpa says that Capsule Monsters is not a collection game, but the epitome of a fighting game. Dark Yugi later echoes this in delivering a Penalty Game to the obsessive collector Warashibe.
* GracefulLoser:
** Aileen Rao accepts defeat well, releasing Anzu as promised.
** In the movie, Kaiba calmly admits defeat to Yugi but states that [[{{Determinator}} the battle between them is not yet over.]]
* GratuitousEnglish: Unguard Magic (the Toei equivalent of Stop Defense) is the only card written in English.
* HardLight: Kaiba's Solid Vision is truly solid here, as it can form solid boxes around opponents that vanish in an instant, project realistic monsters with attacks that damage the surroundings, and also create battle suits.
* HealingFactor: Played with. When Yugi transforms to Dark Yugi any injuries he received disappear, but when he transforms back the injuries are still there, and anything Dark Yugi suffers also remains.
* HeelFaceRevolvingDoor: Aileen seems to turn good after Yugi defeats her, but come Death-T she's working for Kaiba again and is [[TookALevelInJerkass even worse than before]].
* HeroicSacrifice: During Monster World, Ryo Bakura (and their sidekick Pokki) sacrifices himself in order to stop Zorc. But by working together [[PowerOfFriendship against all odds,]] Yugi and friends are able to defeat Dark Bakura and save Ryo Bakura (plus Pokki) and win the game.
* HeroicSecondWind: During his mecha-suit battle with Aileen Rao, Jonouchi's life points are depleted leaving him powerless until he sees a vision of his friends helping him stand up. Remembering that [[PowerOfFriendship he isn't fighting alone]], [[BeyondTheImpossible his life points magically restore themselves]] giving him the strength needed to defeat Aileen.
* HorribleJudgeOfCharacter: Yugi towards Kaiba. When Jonouchi and Honda confront Kaiba about stealing Yugi's card, he has his bodyguards beat them up. When Yugi arrives, Kaiba continues to bluff until Yugi reveals he ''knew'' Kaiba stole the card but was hoping [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone he'd realize his mistake]] and return it. When Yugi begs him for the card back Kaiba finally shows his TrueColors.
* HumansAreBastards: Yugi can't even go to the arcade with his friends for a good time without being beaten up by some random asshole who rages over the fact he lost a video game, [[SoreLoser and blames innocent bystander Yugi for the loss]]. In fact, just about every foe Yugi encounters is either a smug asshole or from a broken home. [[BreadEggsBreadedEggs Or in Kaiba's case, both.]]
* HypocriticalHumor: Anzu points out how Miho is critical of Kujirada's lazy approach to raising his pet when Miho herself got Honda to raise her pet for her.
* IKnowMortalKombat: Jonouchi plays a live-action fighting game during Death-T using battle suits. Since the controls are like an arcade fighting game, Miho is able to execute a special attack from her experience with games.
* InLoveWithYourCarnage: Hirutani really enjoys watching Jonouchi go wild during a fight. To invoke this, Hirutani forces him to fight off a rival gang by himself and is seen smiling when Jonouchi manages to defeat them all. And later on when Jonouchi threatens to kick his ass for his betrayal, Hirutani is only delighted to see Jonouchi's rage hasn't vanished.
* IllGirl: Shizuka, but rather than going blind she has a generic illness.
* InnocuouslyImportantEpisode: While episode 19's main plot is unrelated to the overarching story, Ryou Bakura appears, causing Yugi to wonder about himself and his other self, and Mokuba cameos at the end to signal preparation for the Death-T arc.
* InSeriesNickname: Dark Yugi is usually referred to as the Other Yugi.
* InsistentTerminology: When Shadi refers to Yugi as a kid he is quick to assert [[OlderThanTheyLook he is a highschooler.]]
* JerkassHasAPoint: Mr. Karita warns Yugi and the others not to make acquaintance with Bakura because all his previous friends had strangely fallen into comas. Even though Karita was just seizing the opportunity to be mean, he was right that it was no mere coincidence and later on Yugi and friends do meet the same fate... for a while.
* JustToyingWithThem: When Kaiba duels the Kageyama Sisters he allows them to add Yugi's Violet Hecate to their deck as a huge advantage, letting them deal damage to him before surprising them with a Blue-Eyes White Dragon. While their Gorgon is stronger than one of his Blue-Eyes, two Blue-Eyes overpower Gorgon with ease, winning him the duel.
* {{Keet}}: According to Anzu, Yugi acts like a child whenever he gets excited about games.
* KillerGameMaster: Dark Bakura. Tabletop {{Role Playing Game}}s are supposed to be adventurous, not scary.
* KingOfGames: This is the title Yugi has for his mastery of gaming.
* LetsFightLikeGentlemen: Jonouchi detests the idea of using weapons in a fight, preferring to beat his enemies with his own to fists.
* LeftHanging:
** The anime ends after the Monster World arc and never got around to doing any other chapters, so among other things, Kaiba never wakes from his coma and we never see other Millennium Item users besides Yugi, Shadi, and Bakura.
** Individual episodes tend to end this way due to a rushed climax, such as the Kageyama sisters never getting punished since the episode ends right after Kaiba defeats them or Yami Yugi just leaving after explaining the Mind Crush to Mokuba.
* {{Leitmotif}}: [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYPI0bfUx3Q Dark Yugi has one]] to signify his arrival. It is also the only music track featured in both the series and the movie.
* LeotardOfPower: Aileen Rao strips down to one before donning her battle gear. Additionally Aileen's battle gear [[BareYourMidriff leaves her midriff bare]] while Jonouchi's doesn't.
* LighterAndSofter: It's noticeably toned down compared to the manga. Any death-related Penalty Games that occurred in the manga are changed to hallucinating or being knocked out, and there's little blood.
* LuckBasedMission: The format of Dark Yugi's Shadow Game against Ryuichi. Knowing that Ryuichi's supernatural luck would assure him victory, Dark Yugi tricks him into making one false move so that he could beat him in one single turn.
* TheManBehindTheMan: In the virtual pet episode, it's revealed that the timid Haiyama that Yugi befriended before was ''controlling'' the larger Kujirada. What's worse is that he was treating him like a pet.
* ManChild:
** Warashibe does not handle setbacks well, and even throws a tantrum when Yugi is unsure about helping him. He's also scared of the dark. To drive it home, his name means "child."
** While not as bad as Warashibe, Shotaro's fairly immature and asks for a do-over during his Shadow Game. He doesn't take losing a second time well.
* MindRape: Most of the manga's death Penalty Games were replaced with illusions.
* MundaneMadeAwesome: Hirutani and his gang's weaponry revolves exclusively around yo-yos.
* NamedByTheAdaptation: The kung-fu champion was named Dragon One in the anime, and Kaiba's butler was named Daimon.
* NewRulesAsThePlotDemands: In regards to Duel Monsters. Many cards and their effects were made for the anime, including a doll-themed dueling field, the Hecate Sisters and Gorgon, and the Evil Chains card from the movie.
* NightmareFetishist: At the museum, Miho finds the mummy display cute much to the others' confusion.
* NonSerialMovie: Toei made a 30 minute movie after the cancellation of the anime. It features the same voice actors that appeared in this series and features the same songs, but the character designs are more accurate to the manga. The [[BroadStrokes plot is contradictory to the Toei anime]] as well. Bakura and Mokuba aren't present, [[SelfServingMemory Kaiba only seems to remember Yugi tying him when he lost to him at Death-T and got Mind Crushed]], Yugi and Kaiba use the first version of the Duel Disks, etc. It ''could'' take place before [[AlternateTimeline this anime's equivalent]] of Duelist Kingdom [[CrypticBackgroundReference that never aired]], because Jonouchi doesn't recognize the Red-Eyes Black Dragon (but is aware of Dark Yugi's presence) and Saruwatari is still working for Kaiba.
* NotUsingTheZWord: Subverted. While Daimon lies unconscious in a hospital bed, a doctor remarks to Yugi how Daimon [[NormallyIWouldBeDeadNow should technically have died]] years ago yet somehow he still manages to cling on to life with his artificial organs. Daimon wakes up and indifferently admits "So I'm a zombie then?"
* OOCIsSeriousBusiness: Jonouchi being absent for school immediately alerts Honda that something is wrong, given his perfect attendance.
* OffscreenInertia: Since the show was canceled before making it to Duelist Kingdom, if you don't count the 30-minute movie Seto Kaiba has been in a coma since 1998.
* OhCrap: The default reaction to Dark Yugi's Shadow Game victims. Dark Bakura has an OhCrap moment when he realizes the real Bakura regained control of his left hand.
* OneWingedAngel: During the Monster World game, after losing White Mage Bakura, Dark Master Zorc shifts into his more powerful form as a last resort. While this form is powerful, it's also when Zorc is [[GlassCannon at his most vulnerable]].
* TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou: Kaiba stalks Yugi for an entire episode because he suspects someone ''else'' is trying to defeat him in a duel and refers to his rival as bound by the red string of fate.
* OrderedToCheat: Kaiba secretly gives Daimon the ability to [[FixingTheGame see his opponents card hand]] during his duel with Yugi but Daimon refuses to use it stating he would rather [[LetsFightLikeGentlemen beat Yugi fair and square]].
* OutOfFocus: Bakura, whom despite appearing in the opening doesn't really do much until the final few episodes.
* OutsideGenreFoe: Ryuichi is the only antagonist whose "supernatural" powers aren't the result of a magical item. [[BornLucky He's just really lucky.]]
* PrideBeforeAFall: Dark Yugi's opponents are typically very confident that they'll win the Shadow Game that their hubris proves to be their undoing.
* PoliceAreUseless: The police get involved in episodes 2 and 14 to deal with the respective villains of week but they prove to be ineffective.
* PlotHole: In episode 13, Anzu notices that Yugi has the same cut on his hand as her rescuer does, but from the angle Yami Yugi was carrying her it should have been impossible for her to see it.
* PottyEmergency: In episode four, after waiting in line all morning for a rare watch, Honda asks Yugi to fill in for him because he needs to pee.
* ThePowerOfFriendship: A major recurring theme of the anime. As Yugi explains to Shadi "True strength does not come from oneself but from believing in one's friends."
* ThePunishment: Dark Yugi subjects those who lose or cheat during a Shadow Game to [[CoolAndUnusualPunishment a fitting punishment.]]
* TheRealRemingtonSteele: In episode 8, Count Sheldon impersonates the school nurse using a life-size puppet. In episode 11, the nurse appears for real when treating Yugi's friends.
* RealityWarper: A major difference between this and the manga/second series anime is that the Puzzle seems to give Dark Yugi reality-warping powers. In contrast to the manga where Dark Yugi challenges Ushio to a knife game on the spot, Dark Yugi in this anime transports Ushio to a tower, tied to a rope which appears out of nowhere. Dark Yugi also seems to make the [[ArtisticLicensePhysics playing cards stay in place on the wall]]. And in the watch thief episode, he transports them to a dimension of clock gears and in general can conjure up anything needed for his Shadow Games.
* RedEyesTakeWarning: Dark Yugi has red eyes in this series, and this is played straight for anyone who harms Yugi.
* SafetyInIndifference: In the movie, Shougo is terrible at card games so when he obtains the rare Red-Eyes Dragon he prefers to just brag about it because he's scared he will lose even if he does use it in a duel.
* SatelliteCharacter: Miho doesn't get a lot to do in manga-adapted arcs, usually only doing things in original episodes. When she ''does'' do things it's usually at the expense of someone else who did what she does in the manga events.
* SchoolUniformsAreTheNewBlack: Besides Yugi constantly wearing his uniform, Kaiba also does, and his Death-T outfit is very similar to it.
* SchmuckBait: During the Monster World game, Yugi and friends find a painfully obvious trap inside a tower. When Dark Yugi realizes it's a trap he tells them to get out... and finds they're already inside the tower.
* SetPiecePuzzle: The door to Imori's basement contains one of these as a lock. Naturally Yugi has no trouble solving it.
* ShadowArchetype:
** Imori represents how Yugi would have turned out had he not made any friends and used the dark powers of the puzzle for his own gain.
** Bakura, who like Yugi also possessed a Millennium Item and wished for to make friends. Unfortunately the Spirit of the Millennium Ring twisted Bakura's wish to how it saw fit.
* ShoutOut: The Kageyama sisters and the Hecate cards they are attempting to gather are a rather blatant reference to ''Theatre/{{Macbeth}}'', which gets lampshaded by Kaiba.
* SmugSmiler: This incarnation of Seto Kaiba is seen smiling quite often, even compared to his manga self.
* SnapBack: Aileen Rao, despite parting on good terms with Yugi and admitting he is a better gamer than Kaiba, returns to battle Jonouchi in the Death-T finale expecting Yugi to lose.
* SparedByTheAdaptation:
** Most of the characters in the anime are spared from their particularly nasty demises, especially Prisoner 777 who was ''burned alive'' in the manga and was given a MindRape Penalty Game in the anime.
** Gozaburo Kaiba is alive in the present day, though it's implied he dies via heart attack when Kaiba cements control over [=KaibaCorp=] in episode 20.
* StalkerWithACrush: Warashibe is this for Miho. His obsession with Capumon and her merge and he becomes a {{Yandere}}, determined to claim her by any means necessary.
* StalkerWithoutACrush: Kaiba is so determined to beat Yugi that he follows him around town, waiting to jump him.
* StrawHypocrite: Kaiba in regards to the Kageyama sisters. Kaiba criticizes the sisters for obtaining rare cards by any means necessary, which includes deception or flat out stealing. Yet at the same time, Kaiba employs the exact same approach to obtaining rare cards as shown in his debut episode.
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: In the movie, the card Evil Chains allows for the creation of Blue-Eyes White Dragon's 3-Body Connection, which is highly reminiscent of the Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon. The most likely reason for not featuring the latter was to put emphasis on Yugi defeating Kaiba through fusion summoning.
* TinyGuyHugeGirl: Jonouchi lampshades this dynamic between Anzu and Yugi when they visit the amusement park.
* ThirdPersonPerson: Miho often refers to herself in the third person.
* TwoGirlsToATeam: Due to Miho being upgraded to a main character from her one-off status in the manga, she and Anzu are the main female characters.
* UnwinnableByDesign: Averted with Death-T 1. Unlike the manga, Kaiba does not rig the game so that Yugi's team are given ineffective weaponry though he still has them face opponents who are professionals.
* VillainousRescue: In episode 15, Yugi has had the Puzzle stolen so he can't transform, has a cold, and is on the losing end of a duel with three witch sisters. Kaiba intervenes and defeats them so that [[TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou he can beat Yugi later down the road]].
* WeirdnessMagnet: Yugi can't even walk down the street eating ice cream without getting threatened. He gets beaten up almost OnceAnEpisode.
* WellDoneSonGuy: Mokuba's obsession with defeating Yugi in Death-T stems from his belief that doing so will finally earn his big brother's respect.
* WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue: During the credits of the movie, Shougo for the first time is shown having fun playing Duel Monsters with Yugi and friends, so much so that he even challenges the three guys that teased him earlier to a friendly duel.
* WickedToyMaker: Ridley Sheldon, who owns the castle of dolls and is an expert MarionetteMaster.
* WidgetSeries: Even by ''Yu-Gi-Oh'' standards this series can get bizarre at times, including episodes about an English count who collects dolls, can change his voice, and can control life-size puppets, a trio of witch sisters who play Duel Monsters and wield whips, and a supermodel with hypnotic powers and a pet tiger.
* TheWorfEffect:
** Jonouchi is generally a tough fighter, so antagonists--usually in anime-original episodes--will beat him up to show how dangerous they are.
** Yugi loses or almost loses duels more often in this anime, with Dark Yugi (and Kaiba in one instance) defeating his opponent later.
* WouldHurtAChild: Kaiba towards his own brother no less. Mokuba was genuinely horrified to learn he would face a punishment game for losing against Yugi, as per the law of Death-T.
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness: Kaiba leaves Daimon to die after he loses to Yugi, particularly because Daimon disobeyed his order to cheat during their duel. He also subjects Mokuba to the Death-T punishment after he loses to Yugi.
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