Dethroning Moment: Yu-Gi-Oh!
With this being a long-running franchise about a children's card game, it was only a matter of time before they had just activated the dethroning card. Keep in mind:
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- Demetrios: While I admittedly enjoyed the unpopular DOMA/Atlantis arc of Yu-Gi-Oh!, there was one part I wouldn't blame my fellow fans fans for not liking. When Mai was corrupted by the Orichalcos and Joey was understandably heartbroken about it, Tristan basically told Joey to, pardon my French, go fuck himself. Well, actually, he didn't quite say it that way, but he seemed to be trying to convince Joey as if Mai was pure evil and thus not worth saving. Note that under the circumstances, that isn't quite the same as telling your friend something important without sugarcoating it. That's just nasty and mean-spirited. I know people weren't too keen on Tea's friendship speeches, but isn't that going a little too far?
- LLSmoothJ: Speaking of Joey, the KaibaCorp Grand Prix treats him even worse as he becomes the butt of a joke based on a card in Yugi's deck (which even his friends laugh about). Even worse, in the tournament, his decline continues as he loses within the second round (I know it was to the Big Bad of this arc, but still, Joey was supposed to have become incredibly strong post Battle City, and the arc's Big Bad wasn't the kind of person who should be flooring him that easily) of the tournament (he won the first round against Yugi's Grandpa, which may bring up a debate whether he let him win or not). It's bad enough he was already made into the Krillin of Yu-Gi-Oh, but now the Yamcha as well? Make you wonder if Joey's treatment is to pander to Kaiba's fanbase. Protip, writers: When you make a character into the second-most important person in the series, you must treat him accordingly. You don't give him second chair to fucking Seto.
- Dashguy: On the topic of Character Derailment in the DOMA arc, there's Yami Yugi's duel against Raphael. To make it short: Raphael gets the upper hand, gives the "Seal of Orichalcos" card to Yami Yugi and tells him that since he's "evil" he has to use that card. Note that, at this point, the only danger in dueling came from the above mentioned "Seal of Orichalcos" card which would drain the soul of the loser; so you would expect Yami Yugi to tell Raphael to fuck off and keep playing right? Nope. He uses the card, loses and Little Yugi ends up sacrificing his soul in his place. This is a case of Aesop Amnesia, with reference to the lesson Yami learned about winning at all costs back in Duelist Kingdom.
- Ciel12: Same moment, but for a slightly different reason. Not only is the Aesop Amnesia, but it's entirely out of character and character derailment. When Yami was going to want to go through with potentially killing Kaiba, he was doing it because he felt under pressure to save Yugi's grandfather - in other words, most of his freakouts about losing tend to happen because he takes responsibility and has to fight for something or to protect someone. But that isn't the case here - in fact, by playing the Seal he's putting his friends in danger, since whoever's soul is taken will powerup the Leviathan. This just doesn't make sense as something he would do, and while the English dub has him saying that he must do it, because otherwise 'two worlds will be in peril', there's no clarification of why. Even if he beats Raphael once, it isn't like the biker will just magically stop doing Dartz's bidding. Worse still, the rest of the arc is never handled that we can understand this moment, as various characters accuse him of being power-hungry or full of rage, but there's no definitive growth, no satisfying resolution, and no proportionate retribution to any of it. Unlike Battle City, there's no sign of progression from this point.
- RAZ: Speaking of the DOMA story, the one real Dethroning Moment for me is the ending battle against the Leviathan. Okay, so Yami Yugi's awakened the three Legendary Knights, the ones that are supposed to be able to destroy the beast, right? Wrong! They get completely curbstomped and eventually destroyed so the Egyptian Gods can come in for the final battle instead, meaning the entire purpose of the Knights was utterly friggin pointless! Oh, but it gets better: right before the battle, both Kaiba and Joey had their souls recovered after previously losing them and return to aid Yami Yugi. So awesome moment of them delivering some payback for nearly being absorbed like the other duelists all were? Not so much, because the attacks from their own monsters get shrugged off and they both eventually wind up getting absorbed by the Leviathan anyway! So... what the hell was the point of reviving them in the first place if that's all they were going to amount to?!
- EDP: For me Kaiba's dethroning moment comes during his duel with Yugi at the Duelist Kingdom: when Yugi was about to defeat him, Kaiba declared he'd take a step back for any 100 HP he'd lose to try and convince Yugi to not attack and gain the turn he needed to win... But he had the Negate Attack card deployed, meaning he could have negated Celtic Guardian's attack and get his turn to attack without playing drama queen.
- Brendan D Rizzo: In my opinion, the dumbest point in the original anime was the start of the second Virtual World arc. Not only was it placed in probably the worst possible point of the series (putting a Story Arc within another story arc is just stupid and serves no purpose but to stall the original arc even further) but the real reason it qualifies for this status, in my opinion, is that the villains have absolutely no reason to fight the heroes using a children's card game, but they do so anyway. At least in Duelist Kingdom and Battle City this made sense, since those arcs were both Duel Monsters tournaments, but here? The Big Five and Noah (and Gozaburo) are trying to regain control of KaibaCorp. by committing Grand Theft Me. How in Horakhty's name would losing a card game allow them to do this? The source material isn't anywhere near as monomaniacal about a single game as the anime turned into, and this arc marked the point in which Duel Monsters shifted from "one game among many" to "the only thing that matters in the universe". At least I can take comfort in the fact that it was Filler.
- Lily Nadesico: The ending of Season 3, where Yubel pulls a complete Karma Houdini and gets to be reunited with Judai, and Judai promises to only love him/her for all time - which is exactly what Yubel wanted. Well, isn't this the greatest Esoteric Happy Ending I've ever seen? Screw the Freudian Excuse, in my mind Yubel is an unsympathetic villain and Judai should have rejected him/her with no question asked, perhaps even throwing a Shut Up, Hannibal! at him/her. Season 3 was already not doing well in my book with the girls' Chickification, the debut of Johan and Hell Kaiser's own Karma Houdini, and that was the absolute nadir.
- Valkir: Despite the other problems in the series, the finale to the Team Unicorn duel tainted 5Ds beyond all recognition. Yusei is down to no cards in his deck and all Jean needs to do is end his turn for a win, delivering the first true loss to an otherwise Invincible Hero. All this time, Jean's team has been all about using team strategy for the good of everyone. But Jean is suddenly...er...passionate about his duel with Yusei and suddenly feels the need to attack him, which his team inexplicably supports. He runs into a defensive monster that Yusei boosts with Fortress Warrior and Yusei pulls away with a win despite deserving to lose in every single way. We're supposed to believe that team victory between three people that are extremely cohesive and genuinely care about one another is less important than one superstar flexing for his friends, despite that the former resonates with the themes of the franchise far more than the latter. Yusei's plot armor actually hypnotized Jean into losing. "End your damn turn, Jean" has become synonymous with "jumping the shark" in the fandom. The worst part? It wasn't singles elimination, so Yusei's team had no story requirement to win at all...they could've won their next match and still stayed in the plot.
- Jedi Master Yusei: To say nothing of what happened to Aki/Akiza in that duel. She finally gets a chance to shine again after being Demoted to Extra for the majority of the season...only to lose to Andore/Andre in 2 turns. Seriously?!? She's the goddamn Black Rose! I could think of at least 5 different ways she could've schooled his ass! But no, she gets tossed aside just to so how "unstoppable" these guys are (even though they already did the same with Jack) so that the almighty Yusei can swoop in and look awesome by single-handedly annihilating all three of them. Look, I admit Yusei is my favorite Yu-Gi-Oh! protagonist aside from Yugi himself (just look at my user name for Christ's sake). But there's Badass, and then there's Canon Sue. And you're treading dangerously close to the latter here, guys. At least let the lady take down one of them.
- L 3 X Jam3s: Okay, Episode 54 rolls around, and Droite has little to no character outside of being the Blue to her partner's Red, she takes care of Kaito's little brother, Haruto, is a Numbers Hunter, and a damn skilled duelist. So, when she goes to duel Tron, she says she's doing it for Kaito because... get ready for this folks, she says she loves him. Why? There was no foreshadowing whatsoever!Good thing it was never mentioned after the WDC, or else I would've dropped the series, because I would stand Kaito and Droite making googly eyes at each other in every scene they were in. But this episode was just shameless fanservice for the Anxiety Shipping fans.
- Awesomekid42: In episode 45, Sora and Kurosaki begin their rematch duel. This was something to be hyped for, being an opportunity to see new cards from both of them, and have a good follow up duel. What happens in it? After the two turns shown in episode 45, the writers skip to the final turn in episode 47 with Sora winning, with no other parts of the duel being shown. This is a major disappointment. We did get to see some new cards from both of them, but this not only came off as incredibly lazy, but a duel that many have been looking forward to was completely denied. To rub more salt in the wound, both Sora and Shun are panting in exhaustion before the final turn telling us that it must have been much more difficult for Shun than the last duel was.