Yu-Gi-Oh! is a Japanese manga series about gaming written and illustrated by Kazuki Takahashi. It was serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine between September 1996 and March 2004. The plot follows the story of a boy named Yugi Mutou, who solves the ancient Millennium Puzzle. Yugi awakens a gambling alter-ego or spirit within his body that solves his conflicts using various games. The manga series has spawned a media franchise that includes multiple spin-off manga and anime series, a trading card game, and numerous video games. Most of these incarnations involve the fictional trading card game known as Duel Monsters, where each player uses cards to “duel” each other in a mock battle of fantasy “monsters“, forming the basis for the real life Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game tie in. The manga was adapted into two anime series, the first anime adaptation was produced by Toei Animation, which aired from April to October 1998, while the second, produced by NAS and animated by Studio Gallop titled Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters, aired between April 2000 and September 2004. Yu-Gi-Oh! has since become one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.
Yu-Gi-Oh! tells the tale of Yugi Mutou, a timid young boy who loves all sorts of games, but is often bullied around. One day, he solves an ancient puzzle known as the Millennium Puzzle (Sennen Pazuru), causing his body to play host to a mysterious spirit with the personality of a gambler. From that moment onwards, whenever Yugi or one of his friends is threatened by those with darkness in their hearts, this other Yugi shows himself and challenges them to dangerous Shadow Games (Yami no Gemu, “Games of Darkness“) which reveal the true nature of someone’s heart, the losers of these contests often being subjected to a dark punishment called a Penalty Game (Batsu Gemu). Whether it be cards, dice, or role-playing board games, he will take on challenges from anyone, anywhere. As the series progresses, Yugi and his friends learn that this person inside of his puzzle is actually the spirit of a nameless Pharaoh from Ancient Egyptian times, who had lost his memories. As Yugi and his companions attempt to help the Pharaoh regain his memories, they find themselves going through many trials as they wager their lives facing off against gamers that wield the mysterious Millennium Items (Sennen Aitemu) and the dark power of the Shadow Games.
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