These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL
Americans Hate Tingle: The series itself. While it is often looked down upon and berated for not being as "epic" as 5D's, it actually has better ratings in Japan than 5D's did.
Angst? What Angst?: Despite all that has happened to Yuma, especially with Vector, but has yet to actually deal with the betrayal. Shark even points out that he shouldn't be so trusting considering what happened but Yuma just says that he can't change his trusting nature.
Anti-Climax Boss: For all that V was hyped, he didn't turn out all that impressive in his duel with Kaito. Although part of the problem is how he spent the entire thing acting as Mr. Exposition, his strategy boiled down to tanking behind Dyson Sphere's ability to negate all attacks hurled at it, then direct attacking with its effect to bypass Kaito's Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon. Effective, yes, but not on the level of nail-biting what will happen next sort of suspense that his brothers' duels had. Kaitojust sohappened to have a perfect combo to summon Neo Galaxy-Eyes and win. V had no counter for it despite having seen the same card defeat both of his brothers in their Tag Duel against Yuma and Kaito.
Ass Pull: As per Yu-Gi-Oh! tradition, being the main protagonist means Yuma is entitled to as many of these as the plot demands. It's a specifically mentioned power when he's in ZeXal form, Shining Draw. Apparently being a great duelist means you can Ass Pull cards out of thin air.
If you think that's bad then ZEXAL II and it's ability to completely change a card in your hand is a borderline Deus ex Machina.
Even worse is Eliphas, who can use the Shining Draw ability any time he wants to, which basically amounts to cheating by reasoning, Screw The Rules I Have Super Natural Powers, being done by someone who claims he's the good guy. (Most would disagree on this.)
Broken Base: While Zexal is pretty popular in Japan, the fans who receive the dub are divided over whether it's the worst series in the franchise or not.
Complaining about Shows You Don't Watch: Many a complaint has been made where the complainer has even confessed to not watching ZeXal but denounces it purely due to Shin Yoshida being the head writer, what they've seen of character designs from previews and promotional stuff, or even from the text episode previews.
Designated Villain: In episodes 37 and 38, Droite and Gauche plan to punish Tokunosuke for scamming the other contestants of their Heart Pieces only for Yuma to duel the both of them in order to save Tokunosuke. Despite Droite and Gauche having a perfectly good reason to do this, not to mention that Tokunosuke more than deserves whatever punishment they would give him, we're still expected to root for Yuma to save the slimy cheater?
Being banished from Heartland for life? Kind of Disproportionate Retribution, wouldn't you say? Besides, Tokunosuke still got his at the end, courtesy of all the people he conned.
Rio became intensely popular just hours after her design was revealed in the anime, getting dozens of fanarts all over Pixiv.
Fan Dumb: When Zexal was first unveiled, fans translated the previews into "Exceed Summons" and Shark's Number as "Revise Dragon". When the official spellings were announced, it was revealed that they were supposed to be "Xyz Summons" (but pronounced as "ik-seez") and "Leviath Dragon". Needless to say, some fans went ape shit. Some are still in denial even now, refusing to acknowledge the real names and just being angry dicks to anyone who tries to correct them. Averted by the guy who actually did the translating, saying that he was doing so with no context and that the official spellings are correct.
There remains no shortage of fans that insist on calling Yuma a cheater for his winning move against Vector who claim that Vector's underhanded trick with a horribly broken card was completely fair because "no-one forced Yuma to accept" his gift that he gave him while telling him Blatant Lies about who he was and that the cards would help him. This is the equivalent of giving someone brownies laced with cyanide and then blaming him for dying because of it, saying, "I never forced him to eat them". It's not an excuse that would likely be believed. (Some of them reference Marik's "Blame the card designers!" quote - that he only said in the manga - to explain his Legendary Fiend to Jonouchi, which only the dumbest fan would accept as an excuse and believe that Vector got Sneer - Vain of Betrayal at some hobby shop.)
Game Breaker: V's ace card, Number 9: Dyson Sphere. Can't be attacked when it has overlay units, can use those overlay units to attack directly, (it has 2800 attack) and can regain said overlay units whenever it runs out. Thankfully the opponent needs a monster with higher attack out for it to be summoned.
Hell Is That Noise: Kaito has a habit of whistling a quite eerie melody to announce his presence in a time-stop.
Magnificent Bastard: Vector. He's been behind most of the plot from the show's beginning, but Zexal II has him play near the entire main cast for saps for about 20 episodes as Rei, give no fucks when his plan to turn Astral evil backfires and creates Dark Zexal (he almost wins because of it, too), show his utter dedication to absolutely burying the main cast for beating him last season and eventually obtaining the Numbers in order to destroy the Astral World, and realise that using friendship against Yuma is most likely the best way to beat him. And even after all that, he's still a likeable villain because of the sheer respect you have to have for his dedication to his plans and his hammy, entertaining personality.
Memetic Molester: Jin, not helped by his insane stalkerish obsession with Kaito and his general appearance. Kaito himself went memetic on at least one forum after some of his... expressions in Episode 22.
IV is also starting to reach this point, mostly because of his obsession with "fanservice" and inflicting it on everybody he meets, whether they want it or not. Tron also raised a few eyebrows with his torture of Haruto in episodes 41-43, which he really seemed to be enjoying far more than he should.
Black Mist/No. 96 has definitely earned this reputation, thanks to him using his tentacles to restrain Yuma and Astral on separate occasions, laughing like a maniac, and his wide array of creepy facial expressions.
Memetic Mutation: I blew it on my bing! - A shoddy google translation of Yuma's catchphrase "Kattobingu" that went viral shortly afterwards.
Also tomatoes, thanks to the pre series special focusing on tomatoes and real life actors eating them.
"You just summoned your mom."
One of ZeXal's staff members makes posts about the series on his Twitter, and one of these went memetic for what the fans perceived to be Blatant Lies. The post in question?
98Zexal: Because I'm a person who hates useless things, I try hard to make sure that useless characters do not appear while constructing the story.
The bizarre faces made by some of the characters—particularly Kaito and IV—have earned a lot of mockery in fandom. Now we can add Shingetsu/Vector into the mix.
Speaking of Kaito and mockery, the fandom has long accepted that it's a question of not if, but when Kaito will scream Haruto's name in any given episode he's in. They then proceed to make fun of him for it every chance they get.
A shot of Vector saluting in Episode 96 rapidly went memetic due to being the sum-up of The Reveal, creating what one forum dubbed 'Vectorbombs', namely inserting saluting Vector into just about any image.
Moral Event Horizon: Shark/Nasch crosses this when, during his duel with IV, he shows him videos of his friends dying during their duels, and then taunts IV into making him hate him. This is justified, however, as the intent was to make sure IV hates him, so he has no more connections with his old human life and so IV would stop trying to pull a I Know You Are In There Somewhere Fight.
Don Thousand crosses it straighter though, in order to ensure his revival, he traveled the world and selected seven humans who had connections to the Legendary Numbers, which had sealed most of his power. Not too bad right? Look at his methods for doing so. As an example, he brainwashed Alito's best friend and the ruling court to execute Alito, something that everyone had managed to notice, and just before Alito was executed, Don Thousand altered his memories to make it seem that he had been heartlessly killed, instead of being framed by a God of Evil. The end result was filling Alito with so much hatred, he was revived as a Barian. Then look at what happened to the other Emperors. Don Thousand essentially ruined their lives all to fuel his comeback, which also ended up tearing up nations and killing large numbers of innocents.
Vector has finally crossed it in Episode 133. He heartlessly killed Durbe and Merag in order to increase his power, and during his duel with them, drained Nasch's energy as well. He didn't stop there though, once finding out from Don Thousand that Alito and Gilag were freed from his control, he quickly attacked Gilag after Alito sacrificed himself to save the former, and obtained both their power and Ponta as well. He laughs insanely throughout all of this, and declares himself to be a God quite gleefully.
Narm: Yuma's evil laugh in the dub, appearing in episode 20 and 61, definitely counts.
Nightmare Fuel: In the manga version, Yuma and his friends seemed to have no problem with eating what was left of Captain Corn. (Seriously, consider that for a minute...)
Pandering to the Base: While the franchise is aimed at kids to begin with, the series seems to be deliberately appealing only to the younger kids for having a brighter, more childish art style, a protagonist who's much younger then the previous ones (and acts like it too), a general Lighter and Softer feel and having a quiz show explaining some of the most basic concepts of the game. Oddly enough, the series also featured many Callbacks to Yu-Gi-Oh!: Duel Monsters, which could be seen as pandering to the original fanbase.
Of course, following III's duel with Yuma, it goes into much darker content, potentially even deeper than 5D's...
The Scrappy: Yuma is the least liked protagonist so far due to his lack of duelling skill, hypocrisy, really stubborn nature and his screw ups take up unnecessarily large amounts of screen time. Tokunosuke is also unpopular since he's a slimy cheat who was too easily forgiven and generally causes more harm than good to those around him.
Yuma's dub voice definitely doesn't help his case.
Rei Shingetsu became one for many fans, due to his quick introduction, his annoying antics, his relationships with the other characters (especially Yuma) and the fact that he seemed completely irrelevant to the plot. UntilEpisode96camealong...
Tear Jerker: In episode 111, Astral dies. The outro of the episode is even changed into a Clip Show showing moments of interaction between Yuma and Astral along the series to reflect this.
In episode 120, Shark is finally confirmed to be an incarnation of the former Barian leader, Nasch. His response to this is breaking down in tears and stating that it is a cruel fate that he is actually the very enemy of those he has learned to think of as friends and companions (namely Yuma, Astral and Kaito). The music doesn't help.
Episode 125: After the Barians make a comeback with their ace monster, one by one those who were facing them die. All of them upset they were unable to help Yuma. It is this moment that IV, who up to this point was trying to reforge Nasch's bonds with his friends gives up and simply wants to take him DOWN.
Episode 128: The clip show starring III, IV and V at the credits
Episode 133: After Durbe is defeated by Vector in the previous episode, Merag and Girag are defeated by him as well.
As for the case of Merag, upon her defeat, her memories with her brother is also shown before her disappearance. She also bids farewell with Nasch by using their real names.
Unfortunate Implications: It's worth noting that pretty much all of Yuma's victories against major antagonists have been through what is essentially cheating. In ZeXal form, he can use Shining Draw to create a card on top of his deck which perfectly counters the situation he faces. This is technically rigging his draw (in a way which was condemned as cheating back in DM when Keith Howard attempted to rig his own draws during his game against Jonouchi, except with the mundane method of cards in his sleeve). Similarly ZeXal II lets him turn a card in his hand into another card with Re-Contract Universe. When the villains attempt to manipulate the odds to their favor within the rules, however, for instance Vector and Durbe making Sargasso's effect basically one-sided via Sargasso's Lighthouse, they're called out as being unfairIn-Universe. The message seems to be that it's okay to cheat, just so long as you're the protagonist.
Although in some cases, his antagonists were cheating almost as badly, such as the battle against 96.
Using magic powers has always been part of the game in Duel Monsters, even if it gives an outrageously unfair advantage. After all, the creator of the game would use his Millennium Eye to spy on his opponent's hand, and his other thoughts and took complete advantage of this as long as he was physically able to.
Viewer Gender Confusion: Astral is largely androgynous, so he can be mistaken for female if someone hasn't seen the series.
What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Thanks to many events in the series, especially in ZEXAL II, many fans have argued that ZEXAL is NOT a kid's show and get angry if someone states that it is one.
Events often cited as evidence that ZEXAL isn't a kid's show: Tron being an Abusive Parent towards his children, encouraging or forcing them to hurt or even kill to satisfy his goals, Vector's manipulation of Yuma and subsequent "Mind Rape", Dark/Black Mist/No. 96's tentacles, which have been used to bind both Yuma and Astral, as well as his general personality, especially after teaming up with Vector and episodes 101-102 which feature a story about a king who executed his people and committed suicide himself, complete with illustrations.
Then you have 103, where a gladiator is all but shown to have been executed via decapitation.
As of Arc 6, it is very clearly no longer a kid's show. Character deaths are being thrown around almost casually, with 13 characters—among them the Arclight Brothers, Durbe, Rio, Alito, Girag, and a number of Yuma's friends and allies from the past—getting killed off before the season even reaches the same amount of episodes.
The Woobie: Baby Tragon. Poor critter's been used by Tokunosuke to presumably rig countless duels in his favor. Let's also not forget Baby Tragon is a Rank 1 Xyz Monster (lowest possible rank), has low ATK/DEF stats, and has an effect confined to only supporting allied Level 1 monsters (in other words, useless for the most part). Baby Tragon's card picture even features him having a very sad face. This story ends with a happy ending, though: Baby Tragon jumps up and flies around with joy when Yuma opts to befriend him and properly use him in the ongoing duel instead of abandoning/mistreating him like most other duelists. Yuma gets to keep him, too!
The manga's original characters include a few, namely in Hartland's three Theme Park mascots. All three are homunculi created from objects that developed some kind of will: Captain Corn was once a kernel of corn that had lodged in a pirate captain's compass, Thunder Spark from an Electron, and Princess Cologne from an abandoned doll. All three antagonize the heroes under threat of losing their human forms if they lose, which they all do. At least Cologne, the Woobiest of the three gets a happy ending courtesy of Yuma.