Yuya Sakaki is an eighth-grader who aims to follow his father Yusho's footsteps and become a popular Entertainment Duelist. His father however, has a tarnished reputation — three years ago he was a dueling champion who no-showed a match against "The Sledgehammer", and hasn't been seen since. Yuya spent his life under a stigma because of his father's perceived cowardice, but he covered it all by smiling and trying to bring joy to everyone instead. Now Yuya trains at the You Show Duel School his father founded, and is currently run by Skip Boyle, father of Yuya's friend and fellow student Zuzu.
One day, a promoter offers Yuya the chance to face Sledgehammer, the current champion, in an exhibition duel for the Leo Institute of Dueling, and offers a new ARC System for the struggling You Show Duel School as incentive. Yuya seizes the chance to get vengeance and show his skills to the world. During the duel, things go as well as could be expected for an underdog kid against a champion, until Yuya's pendant suddenly glows, causing Yuya to unlock a new power in the form of a new Summoning type - Pendulum Summon.
This episode contains examples of:
- The Ahnold: Sledgehammer's VA in the dub is a pretty good Arnie impressionist.
- Big Fancy Castle: The Action field is the "Castle of Chaos", which despite the name, is an old castle of medieval architecture. But still pretty fancy.
- Combat Pragmatist: A benevolent version, Yuya establishes his dueling style as relying on the Action Cards flung around the Action Field at the beginning of a duel. Rather than just play his cards and duel normally, he uses his monsters to quickly get around the battlefield so he knows where the Action Cards are and can quickly get and use them in a pinch.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Yuya dresses like a clown, rides on a hippo and then nearly one turn kills the champ.
- Determinator: Yuya has to use this trope to be able to continue and win.
- Establishing Character Moment: This episode sets up the core of the main characters.
- Final Boss Preview: A very interesting variation where the one getting the preview is the viewers. The creation of Pendulum Summoning is the first preview of Zarc's powers and his tendency of creating powerful cards.
- Notice that when Yuya creates Pendulum summoning, he's noticeably confident and use the words Monster servants. This is Yuya's first awakening, which plays a huge role in the series.
- It's odd that Strong as the world champion seems to focus on effect monsters instead of using his extra deck. This foreshadows Standard isn't the original Yu-Gi-Oh! Dimension.
- Odd-Eyes and his magicians seem like an odd choice for Yuya to put in his deck. It's revealed that these cards are bonded to him as a result of his past life as Zarc.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: This episode debuts Yuya's Performapals, which are largely made up of animals in silly clothing.
- Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons!: Yuya's ace monster, Odd-Eyes Dragon and later Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon.
- Non-Ironic Clown: Yuya dresses as a clown for the duel.
- Oh, Crap!: Sledgehammer's reaction to Yuya's Wonder Balloon + Odd-Eyes Dragon combo, which almost One-Turn-Kills him.
- Reality Ensues: An amateur kid duels a world champion with years of experience? Yeah, things slightly don't go Yuya's way.
- Sad Clown: Unfortunately, his silly appearance is just a shell that hides the sour inside of him.
- Stepford Smiler: Yuya is Type A; he hides his sadness of losing his father behind his cheerful persona.
- Took a Level in Badass: Yuya unlocking Pendulum summoning.
- You Killed My Father: Well, not that Sledgehammer actually did anything to Yusho, but Yuya's grudge with him is still held in this mindsight; avenging his father's legacy.