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  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • In the original Japanese, Aster (having the D-HERO deck), often says things like "the power of the D" or similar in reference to destiny. When "the D" is taken to be the OTHER one, some really hilarious accidents occur. Which puts an interesting spin on his search for "the Ultimate D"...
    • And then there's his caretaker whose name is changed from "DD" to "The D" in English, leading to comments like these:
    "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you... The D!"
    "I've always wanted to see The D in action!"
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    • Kagemaru uses the Sacred Beasts to perform Vampiric Draining on Duel Monsters, producing a Fountain of Youth to turn him into a Hunk. When he summons all three and spreads the draining effect all over the world, we get this line:
    Kagemaru: It's rising... it's rising... it's swelling up!
  • Americans Hate Tingle:
    • Yubel gets shunted off to the side a lot in the English-speaking fandom, but they (and their relationship with Jaden) appear fairly popular in Japanese fan art. Part of this is likely because their motivation was degraded from a sadomasochistic view of love to just being a Psychopathic Manchild.
    • The GX anime in general was a lot better received in Japan than in English-speaking fandom, especially when it was first airing.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • Despite having a prior episode of build-up as "the ultimate D card" and being a fusion of his two strongest monsters, Aster's Destiny End Dragoon hits the field at the end of the turn, does nothing, and is KO'd the next turn and Chazz then KO'd Aster.
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    • Despite having a very powerful deck, Darkness/Nightshroud has a rather poor showing against Jaden in his final Duel with him.
  • Ass Pull: In true series tradition.
    • Jaden's deck focuses on Fusion, so count on him constantly fusing his E-HEROES in different ways never seen before, and the new one will do exactly what is needed to do to help him win. Not to mention all the E-HERO support cards that are not too useful in real life due to how situational they are, but in the show Jaden pulls them out in instances that always let him win.
    • Zane's last couple of moves in his duel with Atticus in episode 83. Not many players can win after throwing out nearly their entire decks via Power Wall.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Season 3 gave most of Jaden's friends fairly unflattering treatment, with most either becoming a Duel Zombie in the first alternate dimension or "dying" in the second, while Jesse received so much attention even when he wasn't around. Season 4 gave many of them more development and established their goals in life, while Jesse was shipped off back to his own school for most of the season.
  • Awesome Ego:
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    • Kaibaman is about as arrogant as the real deal, and more than earned his ego by destroying Judai, who couldn't even shave off 1000 Life Points before losing to a triple direct attack from three Blue-Eyes White Dragons where just one would have done the job.
    • After his Character Development, The Chazz gets an even bigger and more over-the-top ego than he did when he was just an arrogant rich kid, and it makes him an absolute treat to watch. He even gets his own Catchphrase, which everyone uses.
  • Badass Decay:
    • Chazz in Season 3; he's worfed by Adrian, turned into a Duel Ghoul early on (admittedly after an impressive Last Stand) and beaten by Jaden in a few turns during this point, and like many of the old characters, is sent to the stars halfway through the season.
    • Bastion in the second season, to the point he pulls a Face–Heel Turn, only to be even more mocked.
    • In their first appearance, the Phantom Demons/Sacred Beasts were cards of mass destruction that drain the life of lesser cards just by being summoned and have much stronger effects than their real-life cards to boot. When they reappear in Season 3, they're demoted to simply powerful cards, use their weaker real-life effects, and it takes Armityle, a Fusion Dance of the three, to restore them to their previous status. Later on, Adrian brushes even Armityle aside.
    • Early in Season 2, Aster hands Zane his first legitimate defeat, then gives Jaden his third and final explicit loss. He later gains the "Ultimate D card" Plasma, which required a specific Destiny Hero from his late father to get past its Nigh-Invulnerability... but it ends up getting worfed by Sartorius, as well as Adrian in Season 3 (partly because its protection effects were nerfed after Aster got it). In Season 4, he gets a more hyped-up "Final D card" Destiny End Dragoon, but that too is quickly disposed of by Chazz, who then wins the duel with Ojama Yellow.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Jesse Anderson/Johan Andersen. The fans seem to be divided on whether he's the best character in the entire show who deserves his own spin-off or a bland, spotlight-stealing Marty Stu, with not much middle ground. He has more fans than detractors though.
    • Yubel. They are either seen as a very well-written, formidable villain, or just a creepy, unlikeable Stalker with a Crush. But similar to Johan, Yubel also has more fans than haters.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In Episode 20, while Jaden, Syrus, and Chumley are scrubbing each other's backs, Jaden would then realize that he's scrubbing a bear's back while the bear scrubs a seal. That hilarious incident was never mentioned since, and it was also cut from the dub due to partial nudity.
  • Broken Base:
    • Yubel being Put on a Bus for most of Season 4. Some say good riddance to them, others want to explore their and Jaden's relationship with each other more.
      • Also, anything concerning their gender. Most fans play it safe by referring to them with gender-neutral pronouns, but there are many others who were introduced to them by 4Kids who call them a "her" at all times, which the fans who prefer he/him pronouns aren't happy about, and vice versa. Let's just leave it at that.
    • Jaden's new personality in Season 4. Is his new attitude too dark and unpleasant, and inferior to his big-hearted and energetic personality from before? Or did it make him much more impressive and provide a lot of character development?
    • Season 4 in general. Either the best season of GX (or of YGO in general), or the worst.
    • The series itself. Fans of it cited the Deconstructor Fleet and Affectionate Parody route it took, well-rounded characters and a tone that progressively got Darker and Edgier. Detractors cited the poor pacing, rushed storylines, large filler at the beginning (the first major antagonist only made an appearance in Episode 29), underused cast, and controversial Season 4.
    • A franchise-wide one that is quite prominent for this series; should one use the Japanese names for the characters, or their 4Kids names? No matter which names you use, there will be some people who berate you for it, even in this very wiki.
  • Complete Monster:
    • The original version of the Light of Destruction stands out as one of the most heinous villains in the franchise. A celestial entity that finds bliss in destruction, the being is revealed to be the true Big Bad of the second season. Prior to the story, the entity corrupted the pro duelist, DD, into murdering the father of Edo Phoenix for the card, Destiny HERO-Plasma. The Light of Destruction then had DD trap his soul inside the monster, before delivering the same fate to countless duelists. When possessing the fortune teller, Takuma Saio, the Light of Destruction gains access to the dangerous satellite, SORA, intending to use its laser to wipe out all life on Earth. After defeating Edo, the Light places him on top of a high scale, telling Judai that he'll fall to his death unless he gives the entity the remaining key to activate the satellite. When Judai complies, he attempts to have Edo fall anyway. During his duel with Judai, the Light of Destruction states that the universe is destined to be led to destruction, and that he intends to create a cycle of constant re-creation and destruction of the universe. He then attempts to mentally torture Judai in the hope that it breaks the latter's spirit.
    • Brron, Mad King of Dark World, from season 3, is demented and sadistic, ruling the Spirit World as its vile dictator and being responsible for its deplorable state and the oppression of its denizens. His right-hand man, Zure, oversaw Brron's will, detaining anyone who defied him in internment camps while killing Duelists who could be threats to him. The executions occurred at his fortress and involved releasing monsters at disarmed Duelists while Brron himself and his minions watched the spectacle. After learning of Jaden's presence in his domain, Brron orchestrated a plot that involved turning Jaden evil by sacrificing all of his friends one by one with his set of "Wicked Doctrine" cards to create the "Super Fusion" card. After his defeat, Brron, before dying, spitefully mocked Jaden by saying that he would never see his friends again.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The second half of Season 3 elicited this reaction from some viewers. The protagonists are thrown into a hopelessly bleak dimension in which losing duels equals death. Several of them start displaying uncharacteristically unpleasant behavior before dying right and left. The only characters that remain unequivocally "good" are Ojama Yellow, Jim, Axel, and Syrus (after the latter overcomes his doubt and anger toward Jaden).
  • Die for Our Ship:
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Zane Truesdale for many of his fans after he freaks out and adopts the "Hell Kaiser" persona (featuring actual leather pants) in Episode 65. It's at its worst in Season 2, wherein he doesn't seem to have a single redeeming quality beyond being hot; he's still a very dark Anti-Hero in Season 3, but at least the "hero" part of that label fits again.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Jim "Crocodile" Cook, for being an Awesome Aussie Expy of Steve Irwin who uses the very creative Fossil deck. The deck is an Ensemble Dark Horse in its own right, as is Shirley, the enormous crocodile who rides around on Jim's back. Unfortunately, most of his cards were never released in real life, but the fans are still hoping.
    • Austin O'Brien/Axel Brodie, who was his companion for most of the third season, is similarly well-liked for his cool attitude, actual Character Development, and decent Deck, as well as being one of the few non-Egyptian black characters in the franchise (and a consistently positively-portrayed one, at that).
    • Chronos/Crowler is well-loved in the fandom for having a cool deck, consistently great Duels, and going through some of the most significant Character Development in the series, gradually from a petty Sadist Teacher to a genuine hero. True to form, his Ancient Gears have proved one of the most well-supported and popular archetypes of the entire GX era.
    • Koyo and Midori from the manga continuity deserves a special mention: The former is a Big Brother Mentor and an inspiration to Judai and Manjoume, while the latter is a Cool Big Sis and a Badass Teacher who uses the ever famous Darklord deck.
    • Reggie manages to ascend into this trope, not only because she's as busty and attractive as Asuka, but also gives Judai a run for his money during their Duel.
    • In terms of cards, there are the Sacred Beasts, in part for being cool, devilish counterparts to the Egyptian Gods that saw some success, especially Hamon for Crystal Beast players. This even extends to today, where they almost won a poll between 19 other archetypes (including Shaddolls and Charmers, beating out the latter and almost winning against the former), and their success is believed by many to have given them the Structure Deck they want within the future anyways.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • Hell Kaiser/Zane, Possessed Jesse, Darkness/Nightshroud Atticus and The Supreme King.
    • The ladies have less to offer, but there's still the Shadow Rider vampire Camula.
    • Yubel is in a category all on their own since they can easily appeal to every gender and orientation.
  • Epileptic Trees: Since quite a lot of things were hinted at but never filled in, this should come as no surprise.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Despite the Official Couple being Judai/Yubel, many fans either prefer Judai/Asuka (aka "Fiancéshipping") on the het side, or Judai/Manjoume (aka "GX Rivalshipping") and Judai/Johan (aka "Spiritshipping") on the slash side. It also helps that despite just becoming an item with Judai, Yubel was Put on a Bus for most of season 4 and when they appeared again such as the BBT movie, they didn't really act any lovey-dovey with him but more like a spirit advisor like the Gem Beasts to Johan, so it's easier for fans to overlook their canon status and focus on other couples.
    • Amazingly, Judai/Yusei (aka "Starshipping") is extremely popular. The BBT movie has been a big help in introducing fans to this possibility.
    • The differences between the anime and the manga also lead to the differences between the preferred couples. In the anime, Judai is most often shipped with Yubel, Asuka or Johan, but in the manga, Judai/Manjoume is more well-liked due to Asuka having her crush on Judai removed, Yubel being Adapted Out and Johan being severely Demoted to Extra.
  • Faux Symbolism: All three Sacred Beasts are named after Judeo-Christian angels.
  • Friendly Fandoms: 5Ds and GX fans typically like each other a lot more then they would like ZEXAL and the original series fans, largely due to how they had entire seasons not dubbed by 4Kids. It's also likely because the people who quit after DM probably didn't get back in with 5Ds, while people who stuck through GX probably stuck through 5Ds as well. And there is a massive Fan-Preferred Couple including the two main characters... Starshipping, anyone?
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Remember the fun Jaden and the gang had about Syrus' card crush on Dark Magician Girl? Flip it around, add in Stalker with a Crush tendencies, and throw in a pinch of Nightmare Fuel, and you have the premise for Season 3.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • For those attentive enough, the series is full of references to alchemy and tarot, including a Foreshadowing to the antagonist of the final season.
    • The Duel in Episodes 153-155 appears to have been structured to mirror or strongly resemble a Jewish wedding, beginning with Magic Chronicle as Yubel's dowry and the ketubah (Jewish wedding contract) and ending with a "cracked glass" when Jaden manages to take back Super Fusion and join his soul to Yubel's, something he reveals only after the worlds start shaking apart and the window in Sheppard's office cracks and shatters. With the exception of a couple of Jaden's more convoluted turns, it's actually possible to trace every single turn back to the ceremony, in perfect sequence. The resemblance even continues after the Duel—in a Jewish ceremony, the ceremony is complete when the bride and groom retire together, away from the guests (represented in this case by Syrus and Ojama Yellow). The German dub even adds a touch of its own, with Syrus commenting that "[Jaden] and Yubel are united among the stars".
  • Growing the Beard: Season 3 for Jaden's Character Development, better pacing, and an overall darker tone.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The voice actor for Takuma Saiou/Sartorius, the one who played Arcana Force XXI - The World in the GX cartoon, ended up voicing Dio Brando in the 2012 cartoon adaptation of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. For those curious, here's every time he says Za Warudo.
    • Camula and Johan are both voiced by Kanako Irie. Both characters (well, sort of, in Johan's case) duel Zane and win under circumstances where he is severely disadvantaged (Camula blatantly cheats, Yubel benefits from the fact that he's dying). The giant door where Yubel!Johan shows up is also oddly reminiscent of Camula's "Illusion Gate" card.
    • Johan's Crystal Beasts are based off of crystals, with their bodies coming out of them and reverting to being sealed in them when they are destroyed, making it difficult to truly destroy them. Much later, the Gems from Steven Universe, and in particular the Crystal gems, work in the exact same way.
    • At first, GX seems like an Affectionate Parody of Yu-Gi-Oh!, with sillier villains and more light-hearted plot of the first two seasons. Came season 3, however, and everything started to go downhill. This is pretty similar to Neon Genesis Evangelion which came 10 years before this series, and has the infamous popularity of being a horrific Deconstruction of robot mecha series.
      • In NGE, there are also two characters named Asuka and Rei who are interested in the protagonist, Shinji. Some differences are that NGE's Asuka is the Hot-Blooded, more flirty and loud-mouthed one with a red outfit and red hair, while NGE's Rei is soft-spoken and extremely quiet with a white-and-blue outfit, completes with blue hair. Our Asuka and Rei were probably inspired from here, albeit with the roles reversed.
      • In episode 24 of NGE, there is a new male character named Nagisa Kaworu who is immediately be able to befriend and get closer to Shinji, and their relationship switches between Ho Yay and downright Homoerotic Subtext. Does this sound similar to Judai and Johan? However, there are two differences in that, Johan does not have a Secret Identity like Kaworu does and their relationship has a much happier and more optimistic tone than Shinji and Kaworu's relationship, which ends very messily and tragically.
    • For their Sun & Moon generation sets, the Pokemon Trading Card Game referred to their Super Mode variant cards as Pokemon-GX. Naturally, a lot of "Get your game on" remarks ensued.
    • English dub example - during the third season, the Exodia cards used by Adrian use the original Japanese artwork instead of the censored International art. Come 2018, Konami released a 'Lost Art' promo set which features an English Exodia set using the uncensored Japanese artwork.
    • A meme known as "The Virgin and The Chad" became popular years after the anime, which compares a loser character to a "cool," usually Jerk Jock character. Chazz Princeton's self-given nickname is "The Chazz," making GX an easy target for the meme. Ironically, his Butt-Monkey status and inability to win over Alexis means he can also fit in "The Virgin" category.
  • Informed Wrongness:
    • A Season 1 episode features the one-shot character Mitsuo/Pierre, a gambler who uses cards that rely on coin tosses to trigger their effects, and uses Second Coin Toss to redo the toss if he fails to get the needed result. Alexis declares that the only reason he's winning the Duel with her is that he relies on Second Coin Toss to win his coin throws and without it he would have lost them all, and proceeds to destroy it and then attack for the win when he gets his last toss wrong. We're supposed to see him as a cheater and a coward, but his strategy is perfectly valid and worked very well. The only reason he lost is that he didn't use his monster's effect to try and inflict 1000 damage to Alexis, if he had taken the risk and got it right, he would have just won in two turns.
    • Dimitri in his Yugi impersonation. Despite Jaden's claim that he can't be favored by the heart of the cards, he did manage to draw and use all of Yugi's ace monsters, including one of the envoys, and while Jaden wins for a lucky draw we don't see an actually unlucky draw from Dimitri, making the claims that the heart of the cards can't be with him quite hard to believe.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Viper. All he wanted was to reunite with his dead adopted son, and he would no longer have any reason to be an antagonist if he met his goal.
    • Adrian wanted to create an idealistic world, and though he kills two people in the process (Echo and Aster), the former willingly sacrificed herself and the latter started a Duel to protect the former, knowing the consequences of losing. Both end up presumably killed by Yubel.
    • Camula may count, She's the last of a race of vampires that were wiped out hundreds of years ago by humans who attacked them unprovoked and she sealed herself in a coffin to survive and waited for eons to be freed. She seeks to restore her race but she sacrifices The Souls of those she defeats in Duels to do so.
    • Zane/Hell Kaiser. He's vicious and sadistic in Season 2, and his actions (especially the duel against Syrus) absolutely cannot be excused. On the other hand, he's eighteen and was tortured into insanity in the Underground, having been lured into that environment during a serious mental breakdown that resulted from a bad losing streak and no support system. He wasn't even told what the collars did until after the first time they zapped him. And by Season 3, he's dying of a heart condition. He becomes a regular Woobie in Season 4, because by then he's dropped the Jerkass behavior and is an Ill Boy who spends the majority of his screen time in a hospital bed or wheelchair.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Jaden. Also Alexis, being the only significant female protagonist who isn't a child. This is the guy who doesn't know what a fiancée is, let alone know how to have sex. Ironically, Jaden/Alexis lemons tend to be exceptionally graphic.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Sartorius is the head of the Society of Light, corrupted to evil by the Light of Destruction. Born with the power to see the future, he seeks out promising duelists with the power to defy fate and turn them to his cause so they can't stand in his way and derail his plans. He does this through a combination of lectures and brainwashing, telling his victims that only he can help them get what they want, convincing them they want to join the Society. Through these methods he takes over the top dorm of Duel Academy, makes all of its students his loyal followers, and plans to use a Kill Sat to destroy the world (mind control humanity in the English dub) in the name of cleansing, purifying light. Collected, affable, soft-spoken, and using his prediction powers to stay ahead of the game, Sartorius proves himself the most charismatic and intelligent enemy Jaden and his friends ever faced.
    • Yubel is a demonic Duel Spirit and the mastermind behind the seeming main villain of Season 3, Professor Viper. Making a deal with Viper to revive his dead son in exchange for gathering Duel Energy to regenerate her body, she disposes of Viper and transports Duel Academy to another dimension to continue her plans herself, possessing the body of student Marcel as a host. She orchestrates Jaden's horrific Trauma Conga Line in order to awaken his dormant alter-ego, the Supreme King, so Jaden can complete the Super Polymerization card and then she can take it for herself and use it to fuse the twelve dimensions into one. Why? Because she was in love with Jaden's alter-ego in his past life, and she will do anything to rule over the multiverse with Jaden and keep him all to herself. Yubel is what happens when a love sick Stalker with a Crush decides to conquer what they see in the name of proving their love to someone.
    • Adrian Gecko, the champion of East Academy, had a desire for power since he was a child. Infiltrating Viper’s lab after a series of manipulation, Adrian finds out about Yubel. Agreeing to spy on Jaden for her in exchange for a portion of her power, Adrian eventually finds the seal of Exodia, intending to make it his servant and betray Yubel. Upon finding out that the sacrifice of a loved one is required, Adrian convinces his childhood friend, Echo, to sacrifice herself to break the seal. Adrian later takes the opportunity to duel a weakened Yubel, declaring that he’ll become the king of the alternate dimension. During the duel, Adrian reveals that his motive is to create a utopia where nobody has to suffer. Cunning and adapting to almost any setback, Adrian proved to be willing to go through any length to rule as a benevolent king.
  • Memetic Badass: A lot of jokes are made around a) how unnaturally good Jaden is at Duel Monsters, or b) How he, depending on the persona, had a really high death count. Generally, outsiders to the show might only know him as "the guy who killed all his friends."
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • From the manga, Jesse's 'It was a happy Duel'.
    • Taking innocuous or cute scenes and pictures of Jaden, then adding how he "killed millions" and other unspeakably bad deeds. Sometimes he's depicted as being Obliviously Evil with these.
    • Chazz it up! Chazz it up! Chazz it up!
    • From various poorly worded subtitles we have Bastion's "I've found the way to counter attack your balls" and "This place has been reserved for the Whites."
    • Twitch's marathon of the 3 post-original series spinoffs spawned several more.
      • Referring to Sartorius/Saiou as "Budget Dartz" or "Dio" due to being a charismatic cult leader and having the same Japanese voice as Dio in addition to having Arcana Force XXI - The World as a major trump card. Persona references are also common due to him being a fortuneteller with a Tarot-themed deck.
      • Dark Zane/Hell Kaiser Ryo is referred to as "Edgelord Zane" or "Akuma".
      • "Everyone is Goku", on account of Goku's English VA Sean Schemmel voicing a vast majority of the characters in the English dub. For example, Crowler is referred to as "KappaPride Goku", and Viper is referred to as "Goku Black".
      • Referring to Crystal Beast Emerald Tortoise as "Turtle Joey", due to sharing the same VA.
      • In Season 3, any mentions of being "sent to the stars" are recognized as "sent to the Shadow Realm".
      • “HE’S FAT!explanation 
    • Crystal Beast Amber Mammoth for being voiced by Sean Schemmel doing a Arnold Schwarzenegger impression (specifically of The Terminator quotes and just shouting random gibberish while attacking another card, and yes, you read all of that correctly). Namely the scene where Jesse summons him in his duel against Trapper (who is also voiced by Sean Schemmel and has subsequently been nicknamed "Texan Goku" by the fandom) only to be immediately negated by Trapper's Catcher Snare.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Alexis is a Deconstruction of Ms. Fanservice. She is annoyed by the fact that people see her only as an attractive girl, and wants to be a strong duelist instead of using her looks to get ahead. Some viewers seem to deliberately disregard this — haters bash her and call her a slut due to her appearance and outfit (despite the fact that it's a uniform), while others ignore her personality because it's counter-productive to Shipping and porn.
  • Moe:
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Zane Truesdale in the second season crosses the line after donning his Hell Kaiser persona when he electrocutes and almost kills his little brother Syrus in a Duel, never giving a damn about doing that, only about winning.
    • Adrian when he sacrifices Echo and apparently kills Aster to obtain Exodia.
    • Yubel at every attempt in the third season with Jaden.
  • Narm:
    • 4Kids' attempts to invoke Never Say "Die" reach truly ludicrous levels in Season 3, when defeated Duelists are "sent to the stars", and characters repeatedly use the phrase verbatim as a threat. There are any number of other things they could have gone with, including the old stand-by "send them to the Shadow Realm," but they chose that one.
    • Many dramatic episodes and scenes get utterly ruined by the dub's voices and dialogue, but Episode 65 may be the worst. An absolutely nightmarish duel full of Electric Torture, Zane's Despair Event Horizon, the resulting Freak Out!... and an opponent with a ridiculous "Mike Tyson" caricature for a voice.
  • Nightmare Fuel: It's still Yu-Gi-Oh!
    • Yubel, period. Even creepier when the dub gave it the voice of a spoiled 5-year-old girl.
    • Brron, who is... some kind of semi-human-only-not-really skeleton... thing.
    • Titan's fate when he abuses the power of Shadow Games.
    • Darkness/Nightshroud, with his Mind Rape and Grim Reaper-esque form.
    • The Underground is less supernatural, but still incredibly disturbing.
  • No Yay: Camula makes some extremely creepy comments about Zane. Note that she is several hundred years old and he is seventeen. Surprisingly, quite a bit of her suggestive tone and dialogue (including the scene of her in the bathtub while stalking him via spy bats) makes it into the dub.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Dimitri, especially in the dub. He may only have two episodes and is a minor character who never appears again, but the usage of the original series themes and cards, the genuinely good Duel he gave Jaden, and of course Marc Thompson's Narm Charm impersonation of Dan Green's Large Ham voice acting, make Dimitri far more memorable than a lot of other characters with larger roles.
    • Franz, a rogue card designer from Industrial Illusions that uses a counterfeit copy of The Winged Dragon of Ra, and is very good with it; he summons it on his first turn, uses a Field Spell to force it to obey him, and is able to fully utilize all of its abilities. He's only around for one episode but his schtick sounds like he could be the main villain of a season.
    • In the manga, Zane only gets one duel, but it is an absolutely awesome one-turn Curb-Stomp Battle against Chazz, who is much more formidable than his anime counterpart and has just beaten Jaden.
    • The Egyptian Gods. Ra appears during a single Season Two episode in a well-enjoyed (if wasted) subplot that highlights it as less of a tool of destruction that it was previously, while the patron of Jaden/Judai's dorm, Slifer/Osiris, appears when it is summoned by Yami Yugi during the final episode.
    • For that matter, Yami Yugi himself is a One-Scene Wonder. Yugi appears a few times, but Yami only shows up during the final episode's closing scene with Awesome Music to boot.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Judai/Jaden is an Americans Hate Tingle case in the first half, mainly for his speech mannerisms in the dub and being Yugi and Dark Yugi's replacement as well as his Elemental HERO and Neo-Spacian cards getting too much focus and being not very good. However, he gets less and less flak as a result of his Character Development in the second half and his manga counterpart receives a LOT of praise for his characterization and master-student relationship with Koyo. It also helps that Judai's manga Elemental HERO cards fix the flaws of their anime counterparts.
    • Yubel too. At the time of their introduction, Yubel was a Base-Breaking Character at best, especially in the eyes of American viewers. However, since the release of ZEXAL and ARC-V, fans have started to take more interest in their character and relationship with Judai. Yubel has also gotten a slow but steady popularity boost over the years, if fanart on Pixiv is anything to go by. Being a canonically intersex character and Judai's official Love Interest doesn't hurt a bit.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Yeah, Chazz is technically the "bad guy" whenever he's dueling Jaden, but by God, so many people just want to see him come out on top for once! And in their final duel, he actually could have.
  • The Scrappy: Samejima/Shepard. He was SUPPOSED to be the Reasonable Authority Figure of Academia but his uselessness, Horrible Judge of Character, and potentially disastrous (and stupid) actions has made him the worst character in GX. Even some fans outright admit that the likes of Cronos/Crowler and Napoleon/Bonapartenote  are more popular than him.
  • Superlative Dubbing:
    • Episode 18 and 19 with Dimitri, the copycat Duelist. In the original, Dimitri was just himself and only decided he was Yugi towards the end of the Duel, but in the dub Dimitri acts like he's Yugi all along. What really sells the episode though is the absolutely Narmtastic impersonation of Dan Green's Yami Yugi that Marc Thompson delivers, taking Green's Large Ham, cranking it up, and giving a few lighthearted jabs at his mannerisms and catchphrases. The dub also re-uses parts of the original dub soundtrack as further nostalgia fuel when Dimitri makes his moves.
    • In Season 2, the dub keeps Aster's father's fate a mystery until the final confrontation between Aster and his stepfather. In the original, Aster knows he's dead from the beginning, but in the dub he disappears the same night he was robbed of his best card, and Aster searches for him for the majority of the season. This ultimately adds to the horror when it's revealed his soul has been swallowed by D-HERO Plasma, and the nightmarish sequence that results is completely unedited.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Episode 20 with Blair's Maiden in Love deck is absolutely sickening.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: One of the more prominent issues with the series is that ultimately, Jaden has to solve all the conflicts on his own. His friends will generally at best do nothing against the antagonists and at worst get worfed so Jaden can beat the antagonist later.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Zane/Ryo is one of the more prominent characters in the series, and his Face–Heel Turn where he took a severe level in jerkass is widely regarded as one of the franchise's best subplots. Too bad it's never resolved; by Season 3 he's reverted to a combination of his Season 1 and 2 personalities with no explanation or resolution whatsoever.
    • Jesse is The Chosen One, but of what?
    • Where was Yubel during the twenty episode absence after possessing Jesse but before confronting Jaden?
    • Rogue card designer with a counterfeit Egyptian God? The whole thing resolves in one episode.
    • What were Jaden and Yubel off doing after they fused? It's implied that Jaden was gone for quite a while, enough for most people to think that he was gone for good, so what were they doing?
      • It's implied that they were going to go and kick the Light of Destruction's ectoplasmic patuckus, making this closer to Offscreen Moment of Awesome given that it wasn't actually shown.
    • While the concept wasn't really wasted, the history of the Phantom Demons/Sacred Beasts is not explored at all, such as how evil versions of the God Cards were created and how they got sealed under the island.
    • It's mostly based on the video games but a lot of people would prefer if Blair used Lightsworns instead of her current deck considering how much better the deck is.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: Jaden's Elemental HERO cards in the anime are terrible; their Main Deck monsters have subpar stats and subpar effects, they have many situational support cards that only work on a single HERO card (and usually aren't that good anyway), and they are reliant on Fusion to get out their best cards, forcing the player to invest multiple cards of their own into one monster. The real life card game boosters were dominated by Elemental HEROs while GX aired, and no one took them seriously. It took the manga E-Heroes, who are actually a viable deck theme, to redeem the archetype.
    • On the other hand, Neos and the Neo-Spacians took all the problems of the Elemental HEROs and made them worse while retaining none of their strengths; weak monsters with terrible stats and effects, the archetypes centers on a single core main deck monster being in play to summon their Fusions, and said Fusions only stick around for one turn before returning to the Extra Deck unless you have a specific field spell in play. No one has ever played a Neo-Spacian deck in any serious capacity (the closest thing to a viable Neos deck that existed was built around Rainbow Neos and avoided most of their support cards like the plague), and Grand Mole (and much later, Aqua Dolphin) is the only card of the series people remember or cared about for being the only monster they had that was good (or even playable, for that matter). It took well over a decade after the show's end for Konami to introduce Neos cards that made the archetype not completely terrible.
    • Cyberdarks hit this too. There were only five cards in the entire archetype, relying on a very specific level of dragon (3) to boost up to any sort of real damage. They were very inconsistent and couldn't bring out the hitters fast enough or keep on the field long enough to matter. Like the Neo-Spacians, it took well over a decade for some cards like Cyberdark Cannon and Claw to help improve the power and consistency of the deck.
    • Inverted with Cyber Angels. They were used first in this series; but they were never printed until the Arc-V era and given abilities to match with the series power creep.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Most fans will widely agree that the GX manga was easily the best after the original, and subsequent manga haven't lived up to the bar that it set.
  • Ugly Cute: The Ojamas.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Manjoume/Chazz comes across this way during Season Two when Judai/Jaden is about to duel a brainwashed Asuka/Alexis. Sho/Syrus, Kenzan/Hassleberry, and Fubuki/Atticus show No Sympathy for him and blame him for Asuka's situation, ignoring the fact that he was Brainwashed and Crazy at the time because he lost to Saiou/Sartorius, the season's Big Bad. Fubuki in particular was brainwashed by Darkness/Nightshroud in Season One, yet as mentioned, he blames Manjoume for actions that were beyond his control, something he should understand from personal experience. Also, Fubuki's actions while brainwashed almost killed Sho and Hayato/Chumley, something that was never an issue when Manjoume was brainwashed. Yet despite that, Fubuki never faced the same hostility he and the others showed Manjoume.
    • On that same note, even in Season One we see that he isn't even that bad at first. While he was cocky and talked trash, especially to Jaden/Judai, he wasn't even that much of a jerk. He only threw Bastion/Misawa's cards into the ocean because of familial pressure and an unreasonable teacher. As far as we know, besides losing to Judai, who was near the top of the class and a very good duelist who rarely, if ever lost, he was only under threat to be demoted because Crowler/Chronos was an asshole in Season One. So while you are supposed to see that he has a good side but ultimately needs to learn The Power of Friendship, he is actually still someone you can support without issue at any time.
  • Vindicated by History: Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL and Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V's issues put this series in a much better light, and people in the west look at it much more fondly than they used to. Jaden has also been looked more favorably on, especially with his relationships with Yubel and Jesse, whom he both loves dearly. It got to the point that most players of Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links were excited rather than annoyed by the update that added the GX characters alongside the original series characters.
    • The third and fourth season were given a rather mixed reception when they were first airing, mostly for being such a massive tonal shift from the prior seasons and making a number of characters Demoted to Extra (not helped by the dub really having no idea how to handle them). Today, they're regarded as the series's Growing the Beard moment, and the thing to watch the series for.
    • Yubel was widely loathed (especially in America); between the highly inconsistent 4kids dub, mixed reviews of the third season in general, and some fans claiming that Yubel "got in the way" of more popular ships, there were a lot of complaints. But the years have been kind to them, and today, Yubel's usually considered one of the best villains in the entire franchise, with their competence, well-developed personality, creepiness, and interesting relationship with Judai/Jaden often being cited. The potential inherent in their Heel–Face Turn and their canon intersex gender don't hurt either, especially due to gender conventions being a hot topic in The New '10s.
  • Woolseyism: Yes, the dub did manage a few.
    • The Bio Bands and Survival Duels in the dub were known as Death Belts and Disclosure Duels originally. God knows why the faculty weren't tipped off to the true nature of Viper's actions when he pitched the idea in that version. ARC-V turned this into an even more accidental one with its own Survival Duels.note 
    • Banner gets a German accent in the dub to tie into his alchemy theme, referencing the fact that many historical alchemists were German.
    • In Season 2, the dub keeps Aster's father's fate a mystery until the final confrontation between Aster and his stepfather. In the original, Aster knows he's dead from the beginning, but in the dub he disappears the same night he was robbed of his best card, and Aster searches for him for the majority of the season. This ultimately adds to the horror when it's revealed his soul has been swallowed by D-HERO Plasma, and the nightmarish sequence that results is completely unedited.
      • "Destiny HERO Bloo-D" was the name in Japanese, and it was pronounced as it was spelled, "Blue D", which comes off as a mangled attempt at a pun. The English renamed it "Destiny HERO Plasma", as in blood plasma. Coupled with the dub not editing all the red blood imagery surrounding the monster, and it pretty much counts as Getting Crap Past the Radar in regards to Never Say "Die".
    • While the symbolism of the name is lost, it could be argued that Nightshroud is a more impressive name for a villain than simply "Darkness".
    • The D, in the Japanese named "DD" for "Destiny Duelist". The dub established "The D" was an alias and gave him the proper name "Kyle Jables", take from Kyle Gass and Jack Black of Tenacious D.
    • A bit of a mean one that nonetheless works — the monkey Duelist being trained by Kaiba Corp in Season 1 was named "Sal" in the Japanese version, meaning "Super Animal Learning" and a pun on the Japanese word for "monkey". The dub renamed it "Wheeler", after one of Kaiba's favorite insults for Joey, "Dueling monkey".

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