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Anime: Yu-Gi-Oh! GX
"Get your game on!"

The main characters... at least, some of them.

Ten years after Yu-Gi-Oh!, Duel Monsters has skyrocketed in popularity all around the world, to the point where dueling is a professional spectator sport of equal importance to politics and the economy. Like any other athletes, duelists start training at a young age, and a good place to start is Seto Kaiba's boarding school, Duel Academia, a high school where kids come to learn how to duel with dreams of becoming the next King of Games.

Not only that, but the game has also gained more importance in dealing with the structure of the universe itself. There are now some Mon-like counter-parts to the cards called Duel Spirits and a Spirit World where these spirits live. Under these circumstances, new Big Bads appear every now and then trying to Take Over the World by making use of these powers.

Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is the story of a group of Duel Academia's Students thwarting the plans of these new threats while dealing with the dueling school in general. It particularly focus on Juudai Yuki (Jaden Yuki in the dub), a Osiris Red student note  who happens to be The Hero and Yugi's replacement protagonist, and his friends and rivals.

For more details, see the Character Sheet.

Remember character related tropes go in that page.

Before going any further, readers should know that the manga completely differs in plot and Character Development (especially Juudai) from the anime that came before it.

The Anime seasons go like this:
  • Season 1 (Seven Stars arc): It's revealed that the school was built over the hiding place of 3 powerful, Evil Counterparts of the Egyptian God cards and that its purpose is to raise students strong enough to defend them (the gate sealing the cards can only be opened if its 7 keys are won in a duel). Naturally, Jaden and co. are entrusted to guard said keys from the Hidden Agenda Villain's henchmen.
  • Season 2 (Society of Light arc): Sartorius, possessed by the Eldritch Abomination the Light of Ruin, comes to the school to recruit members for his cult, the Society of Light. Jaden meets his Anti-Hero counterpart, Aster Phoenix, whose best friend and manager Sartorius uses to brainwash his victims by putting a Defeat Means Friendship spell on Aster's deck.
  • Season 3 (Dimension World arc): When things started to get... strange as the show headed down a slow but steady path from lighthearted comedy to Neon Genesis Evangelion levels of disturbing, angst, and creepiness. Jaden becomes close friends with Jesse Andersen when students from Duel Academy branches around the world come to compete in a tournament. When an unknown Hidden Agenda Villain's actions get Johan Trapped in Another World, Jaden becomes dangerously obsessed with finding him. His journey eventually leads to: the apparent deaths of all of his friends, his discovery of his Superpowered Evil Side and the past life of his Reincarnation, and meeting his Stalker with a Crush Yubel, a horrifying card he had as a child that harmed anyone who defeated him, prompting him to launch her into space. Now she's back and she's not too happy about that...
  • Season 4 (Darkness arc): The Story Arc that was made on drugs... okay, it was technically just rushed because the protagonist's voice actor apparently had to leave early, but that alone does not account for how Mind Screw-y the once relatively normal Gaming and Sports Anime and Manga suddenly became. Each character's individual Coming of Age Story as they choose careers and carve paths for themselves (Chazz wants to make a name for himself in the Pro League without relying on his family's fame or fortune, Alexis has to choose if she'll accept a job as a teacher in America...) is interwoven with an Assimilation Plot executed by the personification of all despair and Darkness, and the resolution of the mystery of Atticus's Enemy Within introduced in Season 1.

Season by season, as Story Arcs pass, the cast grows into Loads and Loads of Characters, as different students graduate or arrive and villains are defeated and replaced. The manga, which came after the anime, uses the same characters and the same setting but includes none of the arcs covered in the anime. So far, it's not entirely clear whether this will turn out to be a good thing or not.

The anime has a very Post Modern-esque tone, blending elements of Gaming and Sports Anime and Manga, Mind Screw, and Deconstructor Fleet. The absurdity of the Serious Business of Duel Monsters is taken Up to Eleven, with entire educational and athletic industries centered around the game, to make you repeatedly say, "You have got to be kidding me." Meanwhile, the plot has serious, painful, traumatic psychological effects on everyone involved, particularly Jaden, whose psyche collapses under the pressure and power and responsibility he's burdened with. "I've lost a card game! I have no reason to live!" suddenly isn't funny anymore, particularly for the Marufuji brothers. In short, it's a very self-aware Genre-Busting series that plays some tropes absurdly straight and others painfully realistically.

The things that fans love about the show tend to be the same things critics hate about it, from the lack of anything in common with the original series (aside from the card game) to the utter lack of Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends. Many fans also feel the existence of Yami no Games Ret Cons the end of the first series and the destruction of the Millennium Items. The dub was, predictably, as badly Macekred as the original, with severe awkwardly censored references to death. There's also a strangely sharp similarity in the Lampshade Hanging and fourth wall breakage of some episodes in the dub's third season to that of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series. Observe — a parody of a parody of your own work.

The manga has its own page.

The dub is available on Hulu, but it's... well, the dub. There's also the fact that the fourth season was never dubbed into English due to the issues 4Kids had with bankruptcy and the Yu-Gi-Oh! license.

Called Yu-Gi-Oh DMX by Abridged Series creator LittleKuriboh, who rarely takes anything seriously.
"Honestly, who'd want to watch a show about a bunch of rap artists playing card games?"

It was followed by Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds. Jaden also appears in the Yu-Gi-Oh! Tenth Anniversary Movie that teams him up with Yugi and Yusei.

Note: If you see a character referred to by their Japanese name, please help out by changing it to their English dub name.

Also, all spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

This show provides examples of:

  • Academy of Adventure: Duel Academy. No kidding.
  • The Ace: Jaden, mercilessly deconstructed. Also Zane, who is also deconstructed.
  • Adults Are Useless: Prevalent in Season 3 and Lampshaded. The students resign themselves to the fact that the remaining teachers have mentally lost it and won't be of any help. Chancellor Sheppard may be a Deconstruction, as constantly burdening his students with the task of defending the Artifact of Doom and saving the world causes in a great deal of inner anguish.
  • Aerith and Bob: Mostly in the dub, see the Dub Name Change trope below for examples.
  • Alchemy: Professor Banner teaches Alchemy at the Duel Academia, while Amnael sports an Alchemy deck. Banner (who is also Amnael) is also an actual alchemist, helping out Kagemaru to regain his youth.
  • Alien Animals: The Neo Spacians.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: Tanya duels Bastion because she's absolutely smitten with him and wants to get hitched. For a while, at any rate...
  • Almost Dead Guy: Zane in season 3 searching for a Worthy Opponent to duel before he dies from his heart trouble.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song
  • Always Someone Better: Several Examples
    • Zane Truesdale to Jaden, being the first duelist to defeat him as well as the best duelist at the academy until he leaves.
    • Aster Phoenix becomes the first duelist to defeat Zane as well as defeat Jaden.
    • Many of the exchange students in Season 3 are strong enough duelists to give the protagonists a hard time. Adrian and Jim defeat Chazz and Hassleberry respectively, and Jesse and Axel manage to give Jaden a good duel. Jesse could have even won his duel if he didn't cut Amethyst Cat's attack points in half in his last turn and Axel willingly lost because he was told to hold back by Viper.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Neo Space.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Jaden ends the last episode with him starting a new journey to help those who might require his abilities to connect with spirits.
  • Another Dimension: In season 3, duel academy is transported to another dimension inhabited by duel monsters because of Yubel. Later, the cast visits another dimension to search for Jesse who was left behind previously. In total there were 12 dimension stated to exist.
  • Anti-Hero: Aster Phoenix was designed to be the Anti-Hero to Jaden's Ideal Hero, using a Destiny Hero deck that countered Jaden's Elemental Hero one. It's even lampshaded when Aster jokingly notes that they (he and Kaiser Ryo) are heroes too, but they're jerk heroes. Right before killing the mooks they were threatening for information.
  • Anti Hero Team: Aster and Zane during the dimension arc in season 3. Axel joins them to attack the Supreme King's castle.
  • Anyone Can Die: Several characters are killed in duels in season 3, but are later revealed to be Trapped in Another World instead and return to Duel Academy at the end of the season.
  • Apocalypse Cult: The Society of Light's true purpose.
  • Artifact of Doom
  • Ascended Extra: Blair was brought back for season 3 after making only a brief appearance in season 1. This may have had something with not having enough prominent female characters on the show.
  • Asshole Victim: Dr. Collector, the prisoner dueling against DD.
  • Assimilation Plot: Does This Remind You of Anything?? It should.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Chumley, and several other guest of the week duelists.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: Makes up a lot of the soundtrack of the English dub.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Quite a lot of the duel disks in the third season, including The Supreme King's (which spins like a buzzsaw), Jesse's (which appears to be ... made of giant razorblades), and Yubel's (which is actually an extension of her arm). The question many a cosplayer has moaned over is: How do you actually build and use any of these?
  • Ax-Crazy: Yubel, until the end of the third season.
  • Back from the Dead: Most of the cast at the end of Season 3, since Death Is Cheap.
  • Back To Back Bad Asses: Sho and Hassleberry after they settle their differences and start working as a team against Frost and Thunder. Hassleberry does another one with Axel as they hold the line against Duel Ghouls long enough for Jesse and Zane to open a portal to deliver the "Rainbow Dragon" card.
  • Badass Biker: Sartorius on a Yamaha is pretty damn epic. Then Jaden tries it and crashes it a few episodes later.
  • Badass Longcoat: Several characters wear long coats as part of their school uniforms, as do a couple of villains.
  • Be Yourself: A common theme in the show is to always use your own deck and never someone else's. Examples include Dimitri using Yugi's deck in season 1, Syrus attempting to master Zane's deck in season 4, and later on Chazz, Alexis and Syrus pass up a chance to win a copy of the King of Game's deck in favor of their own.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Sartorius in Season 2.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Zane in the underground duels in season 2.
  • Better than a Bare Bulb: The dub.
  • BFS: In the second episode of season 2, one character plays Gilford the Legend and equips him with four different swords, each of which gradually increase the size of Gilford's already largish sword. Ultimately the sword ends up about five to six times as long as he is tall. Heavily lampshaded in the English dub.
  • Bi the Way: In the original, various characters assume Jaden has something going with Johan (and O'Brien also wonders about Jaden and Jim), and the hints are spread pretty thickly on the ground. Meanwhile, Jaden's "girlfriend" turns out to be a hermaphroditic duel monster, and before she turns up, he does spend some time blushing while in close proximity with a (fully female) Duel Monster.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Zane with Syrus, and occasionally Syrus with Zane in later seasons (a rare brother-brother example).
  • Black Best Friend: Axel, to a point.
  • Black Knight: The Supreme King.
  • Bond Creatures: Some characters have spirit partners, which can be very helpful to a person.
  • Book Ends: Jaden's adventure in Duel Academy started by meeting Yugi, the King of Duelists himself, and giving him the Winged Kuriboh card. It ended with Jaden going back in time and dueling Yugi himself as his true Graduation Duel. Jaden lost, but not before realizing that the whole point of the duel was to return his lost passion for dueling.
  • Brainwashed: The members of the Society of Light and Atticus in Season 1, as well as Yubel. In some cases also ties into the next trope.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Several of the villains.
  • Brainwash Residue: After being freed from the Society of Light's mind control, members no longer had memory of ever being brainwashed.
  • Break the Cutie: This series provides what is quite possibly the most brutal and realistic Deconstruction of The Ace ever.
    • The duel with Brron is a huge version of this. Jaden breaks and it does not turn out well for Brron.
  • Break the Haughty: Chazz, Zane and Aster all go through this to some degree. All are Expyies of Seto Kaiba. This is not a coincidence.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Much more so than its predecessor, especially in the English dub's third season, where Syrus and a few others do this.
    • In one example, the new professor is organizing a system where students' grades will depend on them dueling one another over and over again.
    Syrus:"Oh, man. Something's not right about this."
    Jaden: "Man, I could sit here and have flashbacks all day!"
    • In one episode in season 3, Jaden asks Syrus to go find some water, for some reason, while Jaden duels against someone. After the duel, Jaden says the water isn't needed anyway, to which Syrus just says "Aw man. And I've been carrying that water for three whole episodes."
    • "The sooner I beat you, the less bad dialogue I have to hear."
      • "And speaking of walking clichés..."
    • "Man, was that a weird episode."
    • That time when Jaden started singing the show's theme song.
  • Broken Aesop: The copycat duelist Dimitri stole Yugi's deck and challenged Jaden to a duel with it. He lost, but allegedly it was because he didn't put any heart into his deck. There is a Truth in Television...well, gameplay anyway that there is very few wrong ways to construct a deck and that if you do build your deck your own way, you can have fun with it and use whatever combination of strategies that best suit your style of play. That lesson would have been great to teach in this episode. However, the events of the episode display a stark contrast. Dimitri was doing wonders with Yugi's stolen deck. Despite not having the heart of the cards, Dimitri was sure using it very effectively enough to strengthen the argument for netdecking. This can cross over into Family-Unfriendly Aesop as well; teaching duelists that some strategies will always work better than others.
  • The Cameo: Several of the original series characters, among them Pegasus, Kaiba, the Paradox Brothers and Yugi's grandfather. Also, Yugi himself in the first episode, although his face isn't seen.
    • Then Yugi shows up again both as his faceless older self then his younger self as Jaden's last opponent of the series.
  • The Casanova: Atticus. He even has a little black blue book. In one of the last episodes of Season 1, Chazz/Manjoume Jun tries to be this. The English version of the episode is even named "Chazz-anova". He subsequently fails at beating Alexis in a duel and thus (through some strange logic that doesn't even apply in most anime) fails to win her heart. Instead, he loses while having all the Spirit Keys in his possession and thus lets the Sacred Beasts/Phantom Demons free.
  • Cain and Abel: Chazz and his brothers. Also a non-sibling related example with Jaden and Johan. Yusuke Fujiwara tries to tempt Johan to defeat Jaden, so Johan can be the best and he proceeds to attack Jaden. Subverted because it was all an act and both Johan and Jaden reveal they don't carry any ill will in trying to out do each other in dueling.
  • Card Games: Duh.
  • Catch Phrase: Lampshaded in the dub at least, during Aster and Jaden's third duel, when the former summons Destiny Hero Dogma, Jaden's scooby gang reacts with shock, saying things like "Aww, man!" (Syrus), "Great Scott!!" (Bastion), and "Sam Hill!!" (Tyranno). Then Alexis asks why she doesn't have a catchphrase.
    • "Great Scott!!" isn't Bastion's catchphrase, but it is a catchphrase. One of his more common phrases is "Good show."
  • Cerebus Syndrome: About one-third of the way through Season 3.
  • Character Development: More or less everyone gets some character development, but most noticeable are Jaden's, Syrus's, and Chazz's development.
  • Character Focus: Switches from Jaden's friends to the 4 new Transfer Students in season 3.
  • Chaste Hero: Jaden. Debatable as to whether he's oblivious or uninterested.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The Phantom Demons/Sacred Beasts that constantly seem to be sealed up or lost and then suddenly be broken out and used again. And then ultimately never mentioned again after their last use, with it not even being made clear they were sealed again.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: Averted. The volcano is featured prominently in far-off shots and is the site of several duels. But it never erupts.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: Atticus in season 1.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Jaden, who naturally saves people via dueling.
  • Class Trip: To Domino City in season 2 for a handful of episodes, where the academy students visit the iconic sites of the first Yu-gi-oh series.
  • Clingy Jealous Hermaphrodite: Yubel.
  • Clip Show: Episodes 66, 105, and 156.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: An interesting incidence of color-coding with a bit of Fridge Brilliance: there are two boys in GX, and only two, with brown hair and brown eyes (Jaden and Atticus). Jaden has light brown hair/eyes, and is the embodiment of the Gentle Darkness (of creation). Atticus's hair and eyes are dark, and in the first and last seasons, he appears as the Darkness of Nihility, which goes around destroying things.
  • Club Stub: A small storyline of season 2 revolves around the Slifer Red dorm being in danger of demolition with only Jaden and his friends there to defend it.
  • Color-Coded Stones: The anime has the Crystal Beasts, a group of monsters that are based on the following Gemstones:
    • Ruby Carbuncle: Red
    • Amber Mammoth: Orange
    • Topaz Tiger: Yellow
    • Emerald Tortoise: Green
    • Sapphire Pegasus: Blue
    • Cobalt Eagle: Indigo
    • Amethyst Cat: Violet
  • Combat Commentator: It's Yu-Gi-Oh, so someone has to be there on the sidelines to make sure the audience didn't miss anything. In some Season Four duels where there's nobody left alive to commentate, the duelist currently representing the protagonist side of the fight will serve as his own commentator.
  • Combining Mecha: VWXYZ-Dragon Catapult Cannon.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: Inverted, as Satou observes—Juudai's great responsibility gave him great power, since those who see him as an All-Loving Hero want to help him.
  • Contest Winner Cameo: the "Rallis the Star Bird" card was a fan design.
  • Continuity Nod: The series first tag duel is played against the Labyrinth Brothers, who were also the opponents in the first tag duel featured in Duel Monsters. In Season 2, Sho and Kenzan tag duel two opponents on top of the same building that Yugi and Kaiba did in the original, and in Season Four, the dock Juudai and Johan meet on in Domino is the one Yuugi and Jonouchi dueled on in Battle City of the original YGO. Then there's the various nostalgic appearances of Black Magician and other signature monsters of the Duel Monsters characters, including a replica being offered as a prize in Season 4.
    • Then there's the second episode, where Sho speculates that maybe he and Juudai were destined to meet, with them being reincarnations of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh and his loyal priest, Seto. Juudai considers the whole scenario to be ridiculous.
    • In season 4, O'Brien's list of Trueman's victims include numerous characters from the original Toei anime.
  • Cooldown Hug: At the end of the Jaden vs Yubel duel, the pair embrace as Yubel's Brainwashed and Crazy finally comes to an end.
    • Though Yubel was the only one doing the hugging; Jaden was unconscious by this point.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Has elements of this with 2 major villains.
  • Cue the Sun: The end of The Supreme King's reign and after Juudai vs Darkness.
  • Cult: The Society of Light
  • Cute Little Fangs: Yubel.
  • Cute Machines: Syrus's Vehicroids.
  • Dad the Veteran: O'brien's father.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Sartorius makes Yu-Gi-Oh! history by ordering a Brainwashed minion to activate his Kill Sat and destroy the world before defeating the protagonist in their duel! In fact, he wasn't going to bother dueling Juudai in the first place, because he managed to trick him into giving up the MacGuffin. He only did duel Juudai because he absolutely had to, and began said Kill Sat firing the moment Neos was out of the way.
  • Darker and Edgier: Seasons 3 and 4, compared to the first two seasons.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Jaden's Superpowered Evil Side is actually supposed to be the "gentle darkness" and in reality might not have been that bad of a guy if Jaden hadn't crossed the Despair Event Horizon.
    • Atticus uses a Red-Eyes Black Dragon deck and can use his Darkness Mask (which is very evil) to explore his opponent's mind. He's otherwise a good guy, but Evil Is Not a Toy.
  • Dark Is Evil: Darkness/Nightshroud, on the other hand is most definitely NOT the above, and HOLY SHIT how.
  • The Dark Side: Jaden's Super-Powered Evil Side convinces Jaden that the only way to defeat evil is to become evil himself. Considering being good did nothing that season but get his friends killed and his taking of all of The Reason You Suck Speeches to heart, Jaden gives in, and a Split Personality Take Over ensues.
  • Deal with the Devil: Many, all of which overlap with What an Idiot.
  • Death Is Cheap: Hello, all you people who sent Jaden over the Despair Event Horizon halfway through Season Three. Good to know you were all just trapped in another dimension.
  • Death Is Dramatic: Season Three. At least until you find out Death Is Cheap.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: The way the Society of Light recruits their members is seen as a reversal to the standard Defeat Means Friendship plot point of the original series, while Juudai's Heroic BSOD in Season 3 is a more realistic look at what would happen to a person's psyche if they were forced to play a card game for the fate of the world and/or their friends' lives.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: The 4th season starts with Jaden a changed person from the Break the Cutie events of the previous season, and he appears a much more cynical person for it. As the season ends however his previous optimistic traits return as he's determined to convince everyone trapped in the World of Darkness they can move past their doubts of either past mistakes or the fear of the future in his duel with Darkness. And finally at the very end with his duel with Yugi, after 2 seasons of life and death duels, he rediscovers his passion for dueling again.
  • Defied Trope: When Jaden faces down Yubel, he admits that there's no point giving Yubel what we call a Kirk Summation. (For the record, Kirk Summations practically never work even when they are given...). Yubel is also surprised she can't get a reaction from Jaden as she continues to taunt him.
  • Demonic Possession: The Light of Destruction possessed Sartorius during the whole 2nd season. Yubel possesses Marcel and Jesse in season 3.
  • Demoted to Extra: Bastion who, again?
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Drillago's attack name is Drilling Drill. In addition, there's a trap card called Entry Forbidden! No Entry!. The dub shortened this to No Entry!, which was actually a well-received change.
  • Deprogram: In season 2, Jaden saves both Chazz and Alexis from being brainwashed by the Society of Light by defeating them in duels. Chazz deprograms the entire white dorm at the end of the season. Subverted with Zane that season.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Juudai, from about midway through his duel with Brron. Also, Zane in episode 65.
  • Destruction Equals Off Switch: Kenzan learns (slightly too late) that technology does not work this way in the climax of the Society of Light arc.
  • Determinator: Several duelists in the show. Notably Jaden, Zane, Jim, etc.
  • Deus ex Machina: But many examples fall straight into Ass Pull territory.
  • Digital Bikini: Done very obviously in episode 4 when several of the girls are in a hot tub. Even without the obvious edit, nothing even remotely suggestive would have been visible.
  • Disney Death: Done with several characters in season 3.
  • Doing in the Scientist: After extended use of dueling using shock-collars, Kaiser develops heart problems. Initially explained as overuse of the shock collars, this reason was done away with in favor of the dark power of his deck, which he stole from his mentor.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: In the dub, while Jaden is dueling Saiou, Jaden not only tells an incredibly lame joke, but he explains it immediately afterwards, making it even less funny than it already was. It seems 4kids was aware of this, as Ed points out the failness of the joke immediately after.
    Jaden: You said I was the puppet, but it looks like you're the dummy. Get it? Puppet, dummy?
    Sho: Oh, yeah. Good one, J.
    Ed: A joke's not funny when you have to explain it.
  • Double Entendre: Most people, when they summon a monster, say "I summon (insert monster's name here)". Johan, on the other hand, does things like "Rainbow Dragon! COME OUT!" (And yes: "come out" means in Japanese exactly what it means in English).
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: Rei may have passed for eight years old in the first season, but not in the second.
  • Dub Name Change: Being dubbed by 4KidsEntertainment, nearly every character. For exceptions, we have Jim "Crocodile" Cook, the distinctly Japanese-sounding villain Kagemaru, and his underlings Camula, Abidos, Titan and Amnael. Princess Rose, Prince Ojin, Yubel, The Alien of Light, Alice, Doctor Collector and The Supreme King also retain their original names (in Supreme King Juudai's case, the perceived "name change" is actually just a translation, with the word "Haou" meaning "Supreme King"). Though Americanization runs rampant, there are some odd cases of reverse Americanization such as Jim's crocodile Karen becoming Shirley and Sara becoming Yasmin. To avoid confusion since both names for a given character may pop up, here's a list.
    • Juudai Yuki > Jaden Yuki
    • Sho Marufuji > Syrus Truesdale
    • Hayato Maeda > Chumley Huffington
    • Asuka Tenjoin > Alexis Rhodes
    • Jun Manjoume > Chazz Princeton
    • Daichi Misawa > Bastion Misawa
    • Daitokuji-sensei > Professor Lyman Banner
    • Ryo Marufuji > Zane Truesdale
    • Fubuki Tenjoin > Atticus Rhodes
    • Edo/Ed Phoenix > Aster Phoenix
    • Tyranno Kenzan > Tyranno Hassleberry
    • Cronos de Medici > Vellian Crowler
    • Rei Saotome > Blair Flannigan
    • Johan Andersen > Jesse Anderson
    • Austin O'Brien > Axel Brodie
    • Amon Garam > Adrian Gecko
    • Debuted in Season 1:
      • Prinicipal Samejima > Chancellor Sheppard | Emi Ayukawa > Fonda Fontaine | Momoe and Junko > Mindy and Jasmine | Tome-san > Ms. Dorothy | Kumazo Maeda > Mr. Huffington | Chosaku and Shoji Manjoume > Slade and Jagger Princeton | SAL > Wheeler | Takadera > Torrey | Ayanokouji Mitsuro > Harrington Rosewood | Ohara and Kohara > Brier and Beauregard | Taira Taizan > Damon | Kagurazaka > Dimitri | Kousuke Kunisaki > Gerard | Mokeo Motegi > Belowski | Yuri Edogawa > Czar | Principal Ichinose > Chancellor Foster | Sara > Yasmin | Taniya > Tania | Anacis > Admiral | Darkness > Nightshroud | Mitsuo > Pierre
    • Debuted in Season 2:
      • Takuma Saiou > Sartorius | Napoleon > Jean-Louis Bonaparte | Houzan Gokaido > Reginald van Howell III | Ran Kouchou > Missy | Kabayama > Sarytr | Monkey Saruyama > Mr. Shroud | Inukai > Mad Dog | Gin Ryusei > Lorenzo | X > Howard X Miller | Kourimaru > Frost | Ikazuchimaru > Thunder | Honomaru > Blaze | Iwamaru > T-Bone | Mizuchi Saiou > Sarina | Kabukid > Orlando | Tsugio Kanda > Bob Banter | Frantz > Franz | Sombre Guerro > Elroy Prescott | Sommelier Parker > Maitre'D | Tachibana Ikaku > Lucien Grimley | Albert Zweinstein > Eisenstein | DD > The D
    • Debuted in Season 3: Professor Cobra > Professor Thelonius Viper | Karen > Shirley | Professor Kouji Satou > Mr. Stein | Geise Hunt > Trapper | Rick > Pierce | Martin Kanou > Marcel Bonaparte
    • Monster spirits also receive names changes, though most of them were made into TCG cards with name changes first..
      • Hane Kuribo > Winged Kuriboh | Android - Psycho Shocker > Jinzo | Ally of Justice - Kaibaman > Kaibaman | Birdman > Harpie's Brother | Devil Dozer > Doom Dozer | Skull Bishop > Skull Knight | Sea God's Priestess > Maiden of the Aqua
  • Dub Text: Sho gets it worst. "Jaden, I want you to be my shipmate!" and "Jaden's my best friend! He's my hero! He's the hot fudge on the sundae that is my life!"
  • Duels Decide Everything: Naturally.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Aster enters a plot important duel to the death with Adrian to save Echo from him in season 3. This even confuses him, not just the viewers.
  • Dumb Is Good: For two-and-a-half seasons, at least...
  • Dysfunction Junction: Most of the villains have a Freudian Excuse, and don't get started on Juudai himself.
  • Egomaniac Hunter: Trapper the spirit hunter in season 3.
  • Elaborate University High: Duel Academia
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Oops, that's the end of the universe.
  • Empathic Weapon: Any monster card known to have a spirit. Actually, all the cards, period.
  • Enemies with Death: The Reaper
  • Engrish: Jim. Oh god, Jim. All over the place. Yubel's VA does a great job correctly pronouncing her German card names. It's a shame the German itself is completely ungrammatical.
  • Even the Guys Want Him Juudai, though it's not surprising considering the show only has two female characters that even begin to qualify as "main characters."
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: Jesse and his Rainbow Dragon—no, just Jesse's deck in its entirety.
  • Evil Counterpart: Elemental Heroes/Evil Heroes, Gem Beasts/Advanced Gem Beasts, Cyber Dragon/Cyber Dark Dragon, Egyptian Gods/Phantom Demons. Need we go on?
  • Evil Costume Switch: Ryo after his Freak Out, Juudai while he is in the Supreme King armor, and Johan after his possession by Yubel. Fubuki has a pretty wicked trench when he's busy being Darkness.
  • Eviler than Thou: Yubel vs. Amon in season three.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Ask Fujiwara, Fubuki and Ryo. The former two played with evil and ended up with the same Superpowered Evil Side, while the latter used a dangerous forbidden deck that gave him a fatal heart condition.
  • Evil Hand: Yubel somehow alters or transplants her own arm onto Viper, Marcel and Adrian as a sign of her power.
  • Evil Overlord: The Supreme King and Brron the Mad King.
  • Evolving Credits: In the original, the credits in the first part of Season 3 featured Juudai recalling events from previous seasons as he stands back-to-back with Johan. The latter part of the season after Johan's disappearance features Juudai recalling his memories of Johan, standing back-to-back with a ghostly, transparent Johan.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: In the past, Juudai actually had ears. You know, that you could see.
  • Expospeak: As in the original series, for the benefit of viewers, duelists have to describe the effects every time they play a card, even one they've already played... sometimes against the same opponent or even in the same episode! Not surprisingly, the dubbed version uses Lampshade Hanging, with the opponent frequently responding, "Thanks, but actually, I already knew that!", or some variant thereof.
  • Expyies of characters from the original series:
    • Juudai: Jonouchi's personality and Yuugi's dueling skills
      • And Tea's View on friendship but to a lesser degree
    • Kaiser Ryo: Seto Kaiba, mostly his Aloof Big Brother personality
    • Manjoume: also Kaiba, mostly in how he dresses, talks, and some identical dueling strategies. Oh, and they're both from filthy rich families who are the top of their individual corporate worlds, which they actually attempted to pressure Manjoume into doing with the dueling world during the first season.
    • Edo: A third expy of Kaiba, in his Rival status and generally feeling he's superior. The fact that all three characters go through some form of Break the Haughty cannot be a coincidence.
    • Johan, who is, quite undeniably, an Expy of Juudai!
      "I feel like we've met this kid before."
      • Johan also looks a bit like Nagisa Kaworu, and serves a similar role (shows up late in the show, befriends the main character immediately and then later turns against the protagonist). The main difference is that Johan didn't turn against Jaden in the first episode he appeared in.
      • Likewise, Jaden himself looks a very little bit like Ikari Shinji, the protagonist in Neon Genesis Evangelion.
      • It doesn't stop there. The two girls in the story who have crushes on Jaden are named Asuka and Rei.
    • Asuka: fills Anzu's role for Juudai, but duels and acts more like Mai. Also, looks like Kaiba.
    • Also worth noting is the fact that hey-wasn't-he-a-main-character-once Misawa has a couple things in common with Ryo Bakura, including getting British accents and keeping their original (and distinctly Japanese-sounding) last names in the dub.
    • Rei: Rebecca
  • Fairy Companion: Winged Kuriboh.
  • Fan Disservice: 99% of the ass shots in this series are male. And 99% of those are on male monsters. And 99% of THOSE are on furry, animalistic male monsters. Also, it doesn't help that the one female main character almost always was out of the story for some reason or another.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Yubel
  • Fighting Your Friend: Yubel uses Jesse's body in a duel against Jaden.
  • Fictional Sport: The Pro League for Dueling. A circle of the highest ranking duelists in the world featured in a mainstream sport like any other real life sport. It is the goal of many Duel Academy students to one day compete in the Pro League. Known pro duelists include Aster Phoenix, Zane later becomes one, and Chazz himself in season 4 tries to become a pro duelist.
  • First Name Basis: Sho begins calling Juudai his given name, rather than "Aniki" after he loses faith in him during Season 3. He reverts back to "Aniki" in Season 4. Manjoume tells Asuka she can use his given name, Jun, instead of calling him by his family name. She is the only person he ever makes this offer to.
  • Foreshadowing: It's all over the place.
  • Foreign Exchange Student: In season 3, 4 new champion duelists from different branches of Duel Academy show up.
  • Freak Out: Kaiser Ryo, triggering a Face-Heel Turn.
  • Freudian Excuse: Quite a lot of them.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Hot sauce is serious business.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The dueling monkey SAL: "Super Animal Lerning [sic]". Also a pun on saru (Japanese for monkey).
  • Fusion Dance: Jaden's Elemental Hero Fusion monsters and several other characters using Fusion monsters as their main strategy.
    • Jaden's soul fusion with Yubel at the end of Season 3.
  • Gag Dub: Several episodes in early Season 3 tread into this territory with a script not unlike that of the abridged series.
    • Highlighted in this collection of clips. Yes, that's the real dub's dialog, not an Abridged version.
  • Gecko Ending: The English dub ends one episode short of the end of Season 3 and insinuates that Jaden sacrificed himself to stop Yubel. Given where Season 4 went, some argue that this is a better ending.
  • Genre-Busting: Gaming and Sports Anime and Manga + Mind Screw + Take That, Yu-Gi-Oh!
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Solitaire" with Thunder Nyan Nyan.
    • A rare dub example from Amon vs Yubel. "Pierce through my heart" has never looked as suggestive as it does now. (And to make matters even worse/better, apparently the dub zoomed in.)
    • Is the infamous Juudai/Johan ship actually canon? There's a scene during Ryou vs Yubel in which Johan!Yubel either (depending on your chosen subtitles) calls Juudai "my beloved" or states "In just a moment I'll show you the truth of my love," but although Juudai indicates he believes he's actually talking to Johan, he doesn't react to the pet name—even though Chronos, Shou, Taniya, and Misawa all gasp and give Juudai "did he just say—?!" looks.
      • This can be debunked however, as Johan says a very similar dialogue of "showing love" to Ryou right before Juudai's appearance. Juudai also seems to register Johan as being possessed by Yubel, as demonstrated by his calling for Johan to regain control of himself.
  • The Gift: A recurring theme is that the better someone is at Duel Monsters, the more painful their fall will be.
  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: Juudai's trademark catchphrase is the English word "Gotcha!" accompanied by pointing with his index and middle finger. In the dub, it's "That's game!"
  • Good Colours, Evil Colours: Not just the dorm colors; in defiance of the "black = evil" trend in media, members of the Society of Light all wear white, probably because of the "White = Death" trend in the East. The West may also see all-white as related to madness and/or zealotry, two qualities in which the Society of Light is not lacking.
  • Good Is Boring: In-universe example in season 2. Zane realizes, during his Despair Event Horizon, that respecting others has gotten him nothing and decides to make a Face-Heel Turn.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When the Supreme King kills Jim in their duel, only his duel disk was left of him. Previous and later episodes displayed hundreds of duel disks left all over the place as a result of completing his Super Polymerization card.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Johan, searching for Rainbow Dragon.
  • Graduate from the Story: Juudai and the rest of the main cast graduated from Duel Academy at the end of the series, with Asuka giving the graduation speech. There was also a graduation ball after the ceremony that Juudai did not attend in order to get packing and leave early.
  • Gratuitous English: Jim 'Crocodile' Cook provides enough of it to cover everyone.
    • There's plenty in the first first season opening as well.
  • Gratuitous German: The names of Yubel's second and third forms.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Chronos de Medici.
  • Gratuitous French: Napoleon and Martin.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Alexis, Syrus, and Chazz in season 4.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Juudai, who fails almost every test but is still regarded as one of if not the top duelists at the school.
    • Brilliant, but Lazy: It's implied he fails the tests solely because he falls asleep during them.
  • Hate Plague: Given to Sho, Fubuki, Asuka, Kenzan, and Manjoume toward Jaden temporarily in Season 3.
  • Hello, Nurse!: Asuka and Dark Magician Girl.
  • Hermetic Magic: Amnael's Emerald Tablet which he used to trap Fubuki's, Manjoume's and Asuka's souls as well as Saiou's Tarot deck. Then there's Fujiwara's ritual to summon Darkness, resulting in the Abandoned Dorm.
  • Heroic BSOD: Jaden suffers through an epic one a few epic ones in Season 3 after Johan is kidnapped and after his Split Personality Takeover.
  • Heroic Rematch: Jaden gets a rematch with Aster after losing to him the first time and acquiring his new Neo Space Deck.
  • The Hero Dies: Subverted in the last episode of season 3 when Jaden's friends, except Syrus, believe he may never return after his supposed Heroic Sacrifice, but he does.
  • Heroic Safe Mode: Jaden in Season 4.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Several characters in season 3.
  • He's Back
    • Manjoume after his stint at the North School in Season 1
    • Juudai after his trip to Neo Space in Season 2, his return at the end of season 3, and rediscovering his passion for dueling in the duel with Yugi in the last episode.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Jaden and Johan, Jaden and Sho. Maybe.
    • Juudai and Sho count, though.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Yubel and Kagemaru
  • Hidden Depths
  • Hide Your Gays: Averted in the third season, where two separate people (three, if you count Sho ranting about Johan in the previews) assume Juudai may have an interest in guys, to the point where Yubel possesses Johan in an attempt to make Juudai surrender to her. The actual 'ship that's most hinted never happens (that we know of—see Getting Crap Past the Radar above), but Juudai ends up with someone who's half-male anyway. There really isn't any smoke without fire in this case.
    • Special mention goes to an absolutely trope-smashing line from O'Brien in Episode 139: "Jim, was there . . . anything between you and Juudai?"
    • And another from Yubel, talking to Juudai about Johan, in Episode 154: "You truly prefer that boy over me? Even the love you gave me is his now?"
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Saiou holds Edo hostage, threatening to kill him if Juudai doesn't hand over the Kill Sat keys. Juudai, in what's probably his most Genre Blind and idiotic moment ever hands them over, then challenges Saiou to a duel. Which the Genre Savvy villain declines, until outside forces (Neos) force him to duel.
    • Earlier, a villain holds Sho hostage, causing Ryo to lose so that Sho's soul is spared.
  • Hot for Student: Nurse Ayukawa for Fubuki. She his seen alongside most of the female students in Fubuki's rabid fangirl cheering section. The first Tag Force game expands on this. Ayukawa will only agree to be the player's partner if they bring her Fubuki's autograph.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    Syrus: Woah! It [the monkey] talks?
    Scientist: Please! That would be completely unrealistic. His helmet reads his mind and talks for him.
    • Also, in season 2 when Chronos and Napoleon duel, Chronos comments that he's "such a dramatic little man", even though Chronos and pretty much everyone else in the series, is just as much of a Large Ham as he is.
  • Idiot Hero: Juudai, to a T. This trope applies well in his case only up to the halfway mark of Season 3, when his deconstruction begins in earnest. By the time Season 4 rolls around, he can be described as an interesting combination of All-Loving Hero and the Ineffectual Loner—in the sense that while he still cares for his close ones, he makes efforts to distance himself somewhat from them in order to allow them their own growth, away from his influence. During this time, most of his interventions are generally marginal and only meant to nudge the other person in the right direction, not whip them around in what fashion Juudai sincerely (but also selfishly) wanted them to take.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Subverted with Hell Kaiser; his friends at first refuse to accept he simply turned into an ass because of his newly discovered obsession with victory. They assume he's just brainwashed, like every other character in Season 2. Played straight with Juudai in Season 3.
  • I See Dead People: Plot important characters can see and interact with monster spirits.
  • Inaction Sequence: Happens often with card effects being explained (even if the same card was played by other player five minutes ago and its effect is "Draw two cards") and villains telling their life story and evil plans to the heroes during duels. Ultimately Lampshaded by Edo/Aster in the dub. "Is he gonna duel or stand there and ponder his purpose in life?"
  • Incest Subtext: Not technically canon, but Fubuki does enjoy trying to force his sister into the most revealing clothes he can find. A LOT. And she's also his date to the graduation banquet in episode 179, complete with matching costumes—even though it's well-established he's popular enough with the ladies to have asked anyone in the school.
  • Indecisive Parody: The series as a whole has Lampshade Hanging, Meta Fiction, blatant Expies, and storyline parallels both with and against the original series. At first it's obviously all an Affectionate Parody, but at some point it becomes a Deconstructor Fleet, picking apart things such as supporting characters being overlooked in spite of being more interesting, The Rival being aware of his Badass Decay, and The Hero having to regularly decide the fate of the world via card games. Now where the line is drawn between the parody elements and the deconstruction elements, it's hard to say sometimes, as the series plays just as much about the original series straight as not.
    • Self-Parody: With the dub however, it's clear by the time Season 3 came that the writers were getting bored and started poking fun in their own ways. As noted at the top of the CMoF page, the dialogue in some episodes would not sound out of place in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, and 4Kids is known to be aware of the parody's existence so this may well have been on purpose.
  • Invincible Hero: Juudai, who's lost three times (out of his 73 duels) throughout the whole series. Ironically becomes one of the reasons for his fall to The Dark Side.
  • Invisible to Normals: The monster spirits.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Juudai gets rather tired of having the responsibility of saving the universe from evil. He just wants to play a card game. He eventually accepts that he isn't normal and decides that's not so bad after all, since it means he can actually help other people for a change, instead of being a selfish brat.
  • Invisible to Normals: Duel Spirits, though the definition of "normal" in this case isn't ever really clarified beyond "not able to see duel spirits".
  • Irritation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: One character does this with at least three different people, starting with just voice impersonations and ending with full cosplay. And it's especially irritating when it's your deck he's copying. Or when he gets your catch phrase wrong.
  • I See Duel Monster Spirits: Several characters can see and interact with Duel Monster Spirits, and in the different dimensions everyone can.
  • It's All My Fault: Almost Juudai's mantra for the middle of part of Season 3 after Johan's disappearance and the supposed deaths of some of his other friends.
  • Japanese Honorifics: It's anime, what do you expect?
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Professor Chronos de Medici, Juudai's worst enemy of the non-lethal variety
  • "Just Joking" Justification: for the Genre Savvy, Johan's fake summoning of Rainbow Dragon in Episode 106 is funny; for the cast, his seeming mockery of something that is Serious Business is enough to cause shouting, anger, and general uproar. Johan even lampshades it by giving a large grin and announcing that he's "just kidding."
  • Just Smile and Nod: Used word for word in the dub with a character's delusions that he's actually Yugi since he stole his deck.
  • Kaleidoscope Eyes: Juudai.
  • Karma Houdini: After spending a season manipulating, torturing, possessing, and killing people (and turning the guy she loves completely batshit insane), Yubel...gets the guy for all eternity. Which was what she was after the entire time, since all she really wanted was for him to honour his promise to love only her for all time. Sure, we don't know why she went so wacko in between their lives (she was sane in their first life, after all) but she was not entirely in control of what she did. Though his crimes don't even begin to compare to Yubel, Franz from season 2 episode 33 counts. He stole a copy of the Winged Dragon of Ra and hospitalized three people and Pegasus still let him keep his job.
    • The real Karma Houdini is Kagemaru. He wasn't possessed or controlled by anything. He made all of his own choices out of not wanting to die and what happened to him? Nothing. No punishment except the old age he already suffered from.
  • Kick the Dog: Ryo's defeat of Sho after the former's Freak Out. This was meant to dissuade fans of Ryo from viewing him as a Draco in Leather Pants. It didn't work.
  • Kids Versus Adults: In season 1, the Duel Academy students vs the 7 Shadow Riders, who were all adults.
  • Kill Sat: Saiou's weapon in Season 2.
  • Kirk Summation: Seemingly every episode of Season 2, to the point where they ultimately lampshaded it when Juudai rolled it out against the Big Bad.
  • The Knights Who Say Squee: When Juudai meets Yugi again in the final episodes, he is nearly awestruck. At this point, Juudai had saved the world four times and could probably destroy it himself if he felt like it. But then again... it's frickin' Yugi!
  • Knight Templar: Saiou, who believes he's doing the right thing in bringing humanity "into the light." Then again, he was possessed by an Eldritch Abomination...
  • Kudzu Plot: There are quite a lot of plot elements that get left unresolved, most notably the Abandoned Dorm. Or maybe they were resolved.
    • One that stands out is way back in Season 2 during the battles against Shadow Riders, Misawa obtains a Card that Contains a Duel Spirit, but it holds no significance after that scene.
  • Laser Blade: The "Elemental Sword" card, which depending on your point of view, was either thankfully or unfortunately used only twice.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Society of Light and the Light of Ruin. The Neo-Spacians emphasize the fact that regardless of good or evil intentions, it's really bad for either Light or Dark to completely destroy the other.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Even if the students who wear uniforms are considered exceptions, there are still: characters who aren't students, like teachers, who wear the same clothes; students like Manjoume and Edo who don't wear uniforms but still wear the same clothes; and students, like Kaiser, who graduate but continue to wear their uniform!
    • Lampshaded by Edo, who actually has a whole closet full of clothes. They're just all identical.
    • Manjoume wears the same clothes: it's made fairly plain that his black North School uniform is the only one he has. And he never washes it. Ew.
    • Johan has one main outfit, a modification of the Obelisk Blue uniform ... which he wears before coming to Duel Academia, and possibly even before starting at North School (which has a different uniform to begin with).
  • Literal Genie: Yubel, who grants Professor Cobra's wish of being reunited with his son after he fails to complete his end of the bargain...by killing him. Overlaps with You Have Failed Me, but it's doubtful Yubel would have spared him either way.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters
  • Love Makes You Evil: Yubel. Some shippers would also argue for Juudai.
  • MacGuffin: The keys to release the Sacred Beasts in season 1 and the 2 Satellite Keys for the Kill Sat in season 2.
  • The Magic Poker Equation: This is apparently not only an inherent magic power some have, but a skill you can learn, and more than one duelist sold their soul to a Duel Monsters spirit to gain this power.
  • The Magnificent Seven Samurai: A villainous example in season 1, the 7 Shadow Riders sent to Duel Academy to acquire the keys to release the Sacred Beasts. Played straight with the 7 students and teachers chosen to defend them.
  • Mark of the Beast: Syrus, to an extent, in Season 3 representing his doubt of Jaden.
  • Magical Queer: Ignore the gay bit, and Fubuki IS this trope. And if you want to Have a Gay Old Time, you could argue the title still fits him pretty well.
  • Magic Skirt: In spite of their incredible shortness. This would be the girls' uniform, by the way.
  • Mass Teleportation: Yubel teleports the entire Duel Academy to a different dimension in season 3.
  • Meaningful Name: An interesting example is Juudai's given name. The kanji it's rendered with translate as "teenager," but a different set of kanji with the same pronunciation mean "warrior"—reflecting first Juudai's personality in the first portion of canon, and then the role he takes later on as the universe's defender. (And the fact that his signature monsters are Warrior-Types.)
  • Meddling Parents: Juudai's parents, who erase his memories of Yubel, which—although they have no way of knowing it—is part of what drives her insane.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Daitokuji, though he became Juudai's Spirit Advisor after he died. Considering he was a Double Agent while living, this in an improvement.
  • Merchandise-Driven: To a point even fans of the original series complained. Juudai's deck uses an archetype built entirely around fusion, so in any given match, Juudai is likely to either introduce a new Elemental Hero, or just fuse a different combination of Heroes to make one. While Yuugi has only had 2 of his cards be cover cards (shown on the packaging, and usually one of the rarer cards in the set) in a booster pack, Juudai has had 5.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Fujiwara
  • Mind Screw: Most of Season 4.
  • Moment Killer: Juudai/Asuka shippers were dealt a hard blow in the fourth season when Asuka managed to combine reasons # 3 and # 4 and use them on herself.
  • More than Mind Control: Saiou
  • Mr. Exposition: Principal Samejima and Misawa.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: A variation. Yubel doesn't murder Johan, she just possesses him after she fears that all of Jaden's love has transferred from her to him.
  • Mukokuseki: Averted with O'Brien, who at least gets an attempt at actual black features.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Juudai, after being freed from his Super-Powered Evil Side.
  • My Greatest Failure: Juudai, as part of his Deconstruction as The Ace.
  • My Little Panzer: Like Principal Samejima admits, kids really shouldn't be playing a game on which rests the fate of the world!
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Professor Cobra/Viper. Lampshaded in the dub.
  • Nec Romantic: Professor Cobra
  • Nested Mouths: Uria and Saint Dragon have different forms of this.
  • Never Say "Die": The dubbed version of Season 3 replaces all references to death with awkward-sounding term "sent to the stars", though death was still heavily implied. They also kept all implications of Ryo's fatal heart condition, surprisingly. This was probably helped by the fact that none of Juudai's actual friends were really dead anyway. Amon, Echo, and anyone else who Juudai didn't care for? They're dead...
    • Zane does actually die; his heart actually stops. But he just reappears in Season 4 alive but still with his fatal heart condition, with no explanation given as to how he's alive even though we clearly saw him die in the last season.
  • Next Tier Power-Up: Juudai's Neos Deck in Season 2, his powers as The Supreme King in Season 3, and his merger with Yubel. Ryo's Cyberdarks also count.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Brron believes that he can defeat Juudai by killing off his friends and causing him to lose all hope. This doesn't work out too well.
  • Not Brainwashed: Kaiser Ryo, to everyone's disbelief, since they were hoping he was just Brainwashed and Crazy like everyone else that season.
  • Not Quite Dead: Jaden's friends at the end of season 3.
  • No Body Left Behind: Anyone who dies in Season Three.
  • Official Couple: Amon and Echo are the first characters in the franchise to outright profess love for each other, beating Yubel and Juudai by a few episodes.
    • Unlike Amon and Echo, though, Yubel and Juudai do both actually get out an "I love you" (or, in Juudai's case, "Your love will be mine forever!" "Yes.") instead of just referring to their affection as an established fact.
  • Oh Crap: Juudai's reaction upon realizing he's dueling Birdman to the death in the alternate dimension and that the pain is real. One fansub renders it as "Shit, I'm going to die".
  • Old Master: Samejima, the sensei of a dojo that teaches Cyber-style dueling. Ergo, Ryo's old mentor.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Light of Destruction is this by default and tried to use a Kill Sat to destroy the planet in season 2. Yubel tries to destroy the 12 dimensions in season 3.
  • Only I Can Kill Him: This is lampshaded repeatedly in Season 3, where other characters step in when Juudai tries to duel Mooks and remind him that he has to save his strength to face the person pulling the strings.
  • One Turn Kill: Saiou against Ojin in Season 2. Actually, he won before his first turn, causing Misawa to declare it a "Zero Turn Kill". Manjoume pulls off a more traditional example against a zombie student in Season 3.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: "Kaiser" Ryo Marufuji, whose first name is barely ever mentioned. Not so in the dub. Does he even have a nickname there?
  • Our Spirits Are Different: The Duel Monster Spirits.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The Duel Zombies (Duel Ghouls in the dub) in season 3 as a result of duelists losing their duel energy from the bio bands. Those turned into Duel Ghouls include Chazz, Syrus, Fonda Fontaine, Crowler, Bonaparte, and the majority of duel academy when the school is sent to the different dimension by Yubel.
  • Out of Focus: Everyone whose name isn't Juudai, at least once.
  • Papa Wolf: Of all people, Medici/Crowler slips into this during one arc. He instantly steps in to duel a vampiric enemy saying something alone the lines of "What kind of teacher would I be if I allowed my students to be harmed?" Despite losing, it was still one of the few truly good things he does in the series.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: There was apparently a sale at the generic gray cloak shop during Season 3. Asuka also fails to recognize her brother in Season 1, despite his only disguise being a mask.
  • Parental Abandonment: Hayato's father is the only one we ever see or hear mentioned in the series; the other closest thing to a parental unit the main cast has is Manjoume's much older (and politically and industrially successful) brothers. In fact, it was Juudai's Parental Abandonment that gave rise to the seeds of his obsession with dueling. That led to Yubel being overprotective of him whenever he lost and then he sent her into space in a hopeful attempt to get her the powers of the Gentle Darkness.
  • Perverse Sexual Lust: Used in season 1, where Sho is shown to love Dark Magician Girl this way. It's played for laughs. Then came along Yubel...
  • Phlebotinum Breakdown: Saiou fails at brainwashing Juudai. Instead, he loses the ability to see Duel Monster spirits and his cards. He gets better.
  • Platonic Life Partners: Kaiser Ryo and Asuka in Season 1.
  • Plot Detour: Several times. Averted in season 3.
  • Poor, Predictable Rock: Several characters often make use of the same strategies over and over again, and when it comes time their predictability isn't forgiven. But what the series really makes interesting is the subversion of this trope when a character experiences Character Development and throws their old strategies out the window. When Sheppard dueled Zane to "save him", he used Cyber End Dragon against Zane himself, thinking Zane would reclaim his favourite monster, but that simply lead to Shoot the Dog. A brainwashed Chazz dueled Alexis, he revealed his own hand and used his normal cards in unorthodox methods to achieve a win, even though Alexis had a plan for every scenario. What does the Supreme King duel with, even though everyone knows Jaden's deck? New Evil Hero monsters...
  • Portal Pool: Used once to allow Juudai to duel Kaibaman.
  • Protagonist Journey To Villain: The storyline of season 3 is about Jaden going from All-Loving Hero to Evil Overlord because of the Deconstruction of Leeroy Jenkins, up to mid season. Then he experiences a Heroic BSOD for the second half that leads to Must Make Amends to save everyone from Yubel.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Yubel
  • Punny Name: Copious amounts in the dub, though the original isn't devoid of it. Including most episode titles.
    • One such name is "Howard X Miller"—a reference to "milling," a strategy in trading card games wherein you win by making your opponent run out of available cards.
    • Yubel's name may be a Japanese pronunciation of the German "juwel" (pronounced "you-vell," with b/v pronounced the same in Japanese), meaning "jewel" or "gem". By itself it's nothing, but it's pretty funny when you consider that she considers the owner of the Gem Beast deck to be her greatest romantic competition.
      • Also consider that Yubel's name can be related back to both "Jubel", meaning "happy", and "Übel", meaning evil. "Happiness from evil"...?
  • Put on a Bus: Hayato leaves to work at Industrial Illusions at the end of the first season (cameoing in Season 2); Misawa leaving to work on a theory in Season 2 (returning in Season 3, only to get Put on a Bus again). Possibly even Fubuki between Season 2 and 3 (returns with no explanation after Duel Academy is transported back from the alternate dimension in episode 131, only to be 'killed' off). The Foreign Champions return to their schools in season 4.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Pot of Greed was used during nearly every episode of the first two seasons. Then it was banned in real life, and the duelists in the show stopped using it too.
    • Reverse effect example in the Anime, Part of Jaden's Deck theme involves fusion, after that more of the characters in the show start to use it, then the overall game started involving more and more fusion and cards that focus on teamwork.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Juudai gets his share of these having to do with his lack of serious motivation, first from Edo, then Saiou/Sartorious, then constantly in Season 3 until he goes over the edge.
    • His duel with Brron is full of them, mostly from his friends.
  • Recap Episode: A total of three episodes are recap episodes.
  • Red Herring Twist: The Abandoned Dorm, though it was partially resolved.
  • Red Shirt: Most of Duel Academia in Season 3.
  • Reincarnation The end of Season Three.
  • Remember the New Guy: Fujiwara and Sorano in Season 4. It's lampshaded for Sorano when someone comments to Kenzan that Sorano is "that guy you hung out with almost every day." Fujiwara, on the other hand, who repeatedly says things like "I've been here for the last three years!" and "You must remember me, we've been best friends all this time," was actually only hypnotizing people into thinking they knew him.
  • Reset Button: The end of Season 3.
  • Rescue Arc: In season 3 to find Jesse in the different dimension.
  • Ret Gone: Part of Darkness' Assimilation Plot.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Winged Kuriboh and Ruby Carbuncle, among others.
  • Rivals Team Up: Jaden and Aster in season 2, and Jaden and Jesse in season 3 and 4.
  • Running Gag: In the Japanese version, people forgetting Misawa's in the room.
  • Sapient Cetaceans: Neo-Spacian Aqua Dolphin.
  • Save Our Students: Jaden does for Duel Academy in season 4, and the rest of the world apparently.
  • Secretly Dying: Ryo in season 3 from all the underground duels the previous season.
  • Screw Destiny: Season 2 in a nutshell.
  • Sculpted Physique: The various machine/organic fused mons.
  • Send In The Search Team: Jaden and friends go to the different dimension to search for Johan who was left behind.
  • Sensual Spandex: Burstinatrix.
  • Serious Business: I mean, "Attack Point Quantum Mechanics?"
    • Duel Monsters is on par with Politics and the Economy. We find this out from the very successful Manjoume Politics and Finance brothers, who want Jun to form the third pillar for World Domination. Also, Duel Physics.
  • Shoot the Dog: When Edo's about to win their duel, DD reveals that his monster has his father's soul trapped inside, trying to scare him out of attacking. Partly because his father asks him to free him, and partly since he's the Anti-Hero, it doesn't work, and Edo attacks.
  • Shout-Out: Every single Elemental Hero Juudai uses is based off of a comic book superhero (with Elemental Hero Neos being based off of Guyver as the only exception), while almost every single Destiny Hero is based off of a British hero (or, in some cases, hero/villain — Destiny Hero Double Dude Guy, for example, is notably based off of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde).
    • Similarly, Sho's Solidroid monster Super Vehicroid Stealth Union is a clear reference to GaoGaiGar.
    • The Supreme King's outfit, is quite similiar to Lelouch's Zero Outfit in Code Geass. The color scheme and the cowl that goes with it is too similar to be a coincidence.
    • Ruby Carbuncle is based on the Carbuncle summon from the Final Fantasy series.
    • There are a lot of similarities between GX season 3 and a Super Nintendo game called "Illusion of Gaia." Just a few of them (listing them all could take a page all its own!):
      • General Freed > Freedan, the Dark Knight (whose armour resembles The Supreme King's)
      • The Light of Destruction makes Yubel evil > The Light of Ruin turns men into twisted creatures, reflecting the darkness in their hearts.
      • Juudai and Yubel fusing in S3 and going to fight the Light > Kara, the "Light Knight," and Will, the "Dark Knight," fuse together to fight the Comet of Destruction that brings the Light of Ruin.
      • Juudai lives forever > "I am Freedan, the Dark Knight. I am eternal."
      • The Supreme King and Juudai are actually the same person > Will and Freedan are actually the same person.
      • Juudai and Johan can see spirits -> Will and Kara (who swears she feels like she met Will before) can see spirits.
      • The Jeweler Gem has a special gift for "the chosen one" who collects all 50 Red Jewels
      • The location for Juudai vs Yubel strongly resembles the battlefield for the Fused Knight/Shadow vs Dark Gaia (the embodiment of the Light of Ruin)
      • Dark Gaia and Light Gaia both bear a resemblance to Yubel
      • One of Supreme King Jaden's strongest monsters is out-right called "E-HERO Dark Gaia".
      • In the first save point (all save points appear to be in outer space): "Only the chosen one of Darkness can see this space."
      • There's a mysterious character—the only one with no backstory, as it happens—named "The Jeweler Gem."
      • The game begins and ends in a school classroom.
      • The character "Lilly" resembles Johan in appearance.
      • Some settings in the Freejia/Diamond Mine section of the game strongly resemble settings in Dark World.
      • Other settings in Freejia resemble the street Johan's on in the flashback with Tom.
    • Vampire Camula is a walking Shout-Out to Castlevania. Plus, she sort of looks like Morrigan.
    • Asuka's foil is named Rei. Also she disguised herself as a boy with last name being Saotome
    • During Season 3 of the dubbed version, there's a duel with a teacher named Mr. Stein who talks in complete monotone.
    • In episode 4 of the English dub, when Jaden is helping out a women whose car has broken down, he says, "Never fear, Jaden's here!"
      • When she asks him if he's from the auto club, he replies, "Don't let the red jacket fool you. I'm just your average good deed dude."
    • In the dub we get Destiny Hero: Captain Tenacious
  • Sliding Scale of Fourth Wall Hardness: It disappears during season 3 of the dub. Thanks, LittleKuriboh!
  • Smurfette Principle: Out of the main(ish) characters, Asuka is the only female (see this page's picture).
    • This principle applies to the Elemental Heroes too—Burstlady is the only feminine monster out of them all.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil
  • So What Do We Do Now?: Jaden was probably wondering this a lot in Season 4 before Trueman showed up.
  • Sparkling Stream of Tears: Yubel, during her duel with Juudai, when she asks how she's supposed to survive if he doesn't love her. She also cries facing Amon.
  • Spell My Name with an S: The most obvious example is the extended vowel debate that rages in all three Yu-Gi-Oh shows (Yuki/Yuuki, Judai/Juudai, Tenjoin/Tenjouin, Yusuke/Yuusuke), but GX has a couple of interesting and unusual examples outside of this...
    • Is it Johan Andersen, Johan Anderson, or Johann Anderson? All three spellings have been used in official Japanese merchandise or materials, and all three are technically correct spellings, varied by country ("Andersen" is Danish/Norwegian, while "Anderson" is Swedish/English, with "Johann" being the German variation on the Scandinavian "Johan").
    • Yubel's name is not Japanese in origin, and because her name is only ever spelled onscreen in katakana, the question isn't the spelling of her name so much as the name itself. "Yubel" could be the Japanese pronunciation of the German "juwel" (pronounced "you-vel"), meaning "jewel" or "gem," or a correct pronunciation of the Swedish "jubel," meaning "joyful." Nobody actually knows.
  • Spirited Competitor: Jaden. Kaiser Ryo also steps into this about halfway through season three where before he had turned into something of a Blood Knight. With card games.
  • Spirit World: Referenced often enough and then becomes the main setting of season 3.
  • Split Personality Take Over: Jaden, with his Super-Powered Evil Side.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: The foreign champions in season 3.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Yubel
  • Super Natural Gold Eyes: The Supreme King has them and when Jaden taps into his power later on, his eyes shift to them.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: The Supreme King
  • Take a Third Option: Jaden decides to fuse his soul with Yubel's to end the conflict in season 3.
  • Tempting Fate: Anyone who says "my victory has already been decided" has a 100% chance of losing by the time their next turn would have rolled around.
  • That Wasn't a Request:
    Adrian: Come with me, Echo.
    Echo: I don't want to go with you, you're scaring me.
    Adrian: That wasn't a request!
  • The Masochism Tango:
    • Episodes 153-155. And I quote: "Now we'll be wrapped in the same pain... and love..."
    • Before that, Yubel-possessed Johan vs Jaden: "Come, my beloved Jaden, let us hurt one another!"
  • Theme Deck: Takes it further than its predecessor, with decks generally being even more focused and theme-oriented.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Jaden sings the English intro song in episode 35.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: If Chronos isn't the one who's trying to demolish the Red Dorm, you can be sure he'll defend it.
  • Thirsty Desert: Duel Academy is sent to another dimension with this setting in season 3.
  • This Is Your Brain on Evil: Hell Kaiser Ryo in Season 3
  • Third-Person Person: If a character refers to Manjoume without the -san honorific, he's likely to correct them with "Manjoume-san da!" which, loosely translated, means "That's Manjoume-san to you!" This is retained in the dub, where he insists he be called "The Chazz".
    • Also an instance of Punny Name, since his nickname in the Japanese show is "Manjoume Thunder," with "Thunder" being pronounced sandaa.
  • Tiger Versus Dragon: Misawa and Jaden in Season 1.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Everyone looks tiny next to Taniya, even Misawa (who had a larger build than most of the other characters to begin with...)
  • Tournament Arc: The Genex Tournament in the second half of season 2. Although this tournament isn't the highlight of the plot.
  • Trapped in Another World: In season 3, it's revealed all of Jaden's friends believed to be dead were actually sent to another dimension by Yubel.
  • Triang Relations: Possible Type Seven. Yubel loves Jaden, Juudai loves Yubel, Johan appears to have something of an interest in Juudai, and Juudai has enough of an interest in Johan for Yubel to assume the boys have become lovers in her absence.
  • True Companions: Upon learning that he was used to brainwash members into the Society of Light, Aster questions Sartorius if their friendship was real or not, and Sartorius responds that their meeting was predetermined by destiny and whatever purpose Aster served was exactly that. Later on, Aster attempts to save Sartorius from the Light of Destruction and has a discussion with the real Sartorius, who apologizes for being a puppet of destiny and deceiving his Only Friend in hopes that he may one day save him from his demise, but Aster admits he really does consider Sartorius a friend and does want to save him. Regardless of whatever Sartorius has done to setup their predetermined meeting, their friendship has been genuine the whole time.
  • Two Aliases, One Character: Bastion reveals Jaden and the Supreme King are the same person.
  • Two Halves Make A Plot: Judai receives half a pendant from the Gravekeeper's Chief, and is told the other half was taken by another duelist long ago. Judai finds out this is Asuka's brother Fubuki, one of the Shadow Riders. When he defeats Fubuki and claims the other half, he forms an amulet that protects him from the shadow powers of the subsequent Riders.
  • Victory Is Boring: In season 2, Zane spends the season winning as many duels as possible simply because he only finds pleasure from winning duels. He later grows tired of the Genex tournament because there is no one there to provide a challenge. This sets him up for next season searching for a Worthy Opponent to provide the perfect duel.
  • Vigilante Man: Aster Phoenix in season 2 to find his father's murderer who held the Ultimate D card.
  • The Virus: The Light of Destruction
  • Vocal Dissonance: At least in the English dub, Mad Dog (a muscular guy) has a high-pitched and childish voice.
  • Warrior Therapist: Jaden believes dueling can solve anything. Anything.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Edo Phoenix, who goes to extremes to fight crime (through dueling) and find the culprit who killed his father.
  • We Named the Monkey Jack: Actually, they named the monkey Wheeler. And you just know Kaiba had a say in that.
  • Winged Unicorn: Jesse's Sapphire Pegasus.
  • Wham Episode: Comes at about the half way point of Season 3.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough
    O'Brien: There's no way he'll attack head on.
    Jaden: Battle! Featherman, direct attack!
  • Woman in White: Alexis, after joining the Society of Light
  • The Worf Effect: Manjoume, thought not to the extent of his predecessor Kaiba.
    • When the exchange students from the other Duel Academies arrive, protagonists such as Kenzan also get defeated to show the caliber of the overseas Duelists
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Edo, you're the Anti-Hero in a shonen Gaming and Sports Anime and Manga — not Batman!
    • In the dub, Bastion thinks to himself that Crowler is obviously trying to trap Jaden, and only a "cavalier fool" would agree to it. He's right that it's a trap... but Jaden wins anyway.
  • Yandere: Yubel
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Jaden convinces everyone trapped by Darkness to break free from the Lotus-Eater Machine by restoring their faith in themselves, while at the same time accepting his past mistakes as the Supreme King and moving on.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Played with extensively.
  • Zettai Ryouki: Absurdly short skirt and Grade E boots, which is absolutely ridiculous compared to the guys' Badass Longcoats. If Kaiba had any say in his school's uniform, he cannot be called a-sexual.

Yu-Gi-Oh!TV TokyoYu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds
Yakitate!! JapanAnime of the 2000sYumeria
Yu-Gi-Oh!Creator/ 4 Kids EntertainmentYu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5DsFantasy Anime & MangaYu-Gi-Oh! R
Yu-Gi-Oh!DramedyYu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds
Yu-Gi-Oh! RShonen (Demographic)Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds
Yu-Gi-Oh!International CoproductionSonic X
Yu-Gi-Oh!Gaming and Sports Anime and MangaYu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds
Yogi BearCreator/Cartoon NetworkYu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds
Yu-Gi-Oh!Creator/HuluYu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of LightAnimeYu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of LightFranchise/Yu-Gi-Oh!Yu-Gi-Oh! GX
Yu-Gi-Oh!Saturday Morning CartoonThe Zeta Project

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