Astral and Yuma Tsukumo
The fourth series in the Yu-Gi-Oh!
franchise. (The title is pronounced "zay-al" in the Japanese version and "zek-sul" in the English dub.)
The story takes place in the futuristic city of Heartlandnote
, where duels are conducted using the latest Augmented Reality
technology. This is the home of Yuma Tsukumo, a thirteen-year-old middle school student
who tackles life and dueling with everything he has, despite his lack of skill at either.
One day, Yuma is forced to duel the school bully, Ryoga "Shark" Kamishiro. In the middle of their battle, Shark is possessed
by a strange Duel Monster known as a "Number" which cannot be destroyed by traditional means. However, Yuma receives help in the form of Astral, a mysterious blue spirit who lacks his memories
but is an outstanding strategist.
It turns out that Astral's memories have been split into the ninety-nine "Number" cards that have scattered around Heartland, carrying with them the threat of Demonic Possession
. As "Numbers" can only be destroyed by other "Number" cards, Yuma agrees to help Astral in retrieving his lost memories and saving the citizens of Heartland. But it's not quite that simple, as there is stiff competition from other factions who wish to amass the "Numbers" for their own reasons, such as "Numbers Hunter" Kaito Tenjo
, and the sinister Tron Family.
Replacing the D-Wheels of the previous series and Duel Disk models are the brand new D-Gazers and D-Pads, an eyeglass piece along with the new model of Duel Disk for Augmented Reality
duels, which allow for more visual destruction of the environment, giant score cards for life points
, and an overall enhanced dueling experience. They still use real cards, instead of virtual ones, for some reason.
The dub was originally produced by 4Kids Entertainment
(later by Konami
after 4Kids went bankrupt) and airs on Vortexx
in the U.S. Both the dub and subtitled versions are available on Hulu
The anime was rescheduled on September 24, 2012 and was rebranded as Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal II
on October 7, 2012. However, it is not a new series - NAS' website lists the series as ongoing, with no reset of episode numbers to go along with the rebrand. Likewise the dub of second season, which began airing on August 17, 2013, doesn't change the title.
Taking place shortly after the events of the World Duel Carnival, life seemed to go back to normal for Yuma and his friends. However evil forces from the Barian World seek to obtain the "Number" cards to destroy the Astral World. Now Yuma, Shark, and Kaito along with all their friends must band together and face this new threat.
Has the distinction of being literally the last Saturday Morning Cartoon
ever broadcast, on September 27, 2014. For now, anyway.