Yusei: All that matters is that we managed to get through all this without disrupting the space-time continuum. Jaden: Yeah, even though I nearly told Yugi that the Pharaoh dies at the end of his series!
Yami Yugi: What’s that, now?
Yami Yugi: Well, this is just fan-tucking-fastic. Now we’re stuck in subspace. Way to go, Jaden.
Jaden: It’s not my fault! I thought spoilers were okay! It’s been like ten years.
Yusei: This really could not get much worse.
Yuma: HEY GUYS. THIS SUBSPACE THING IS PRETTY EXTREME, HUH? TALK ABOUT POP FLYIN’! GET SET TO GET DECKED, MOTHER F*CKERS! YEAH! Yusei: …What’s wrong with his hair?
I was rewatching GX 172 (for reasons) and as you may not know (if you haven’t seen GX) or remember (if you have), this episode begins with Juudai escaping a building which is exploding from under his feet. This is because the building was rigged to explode if either he or his opponent attempted to leave, but then when Juudai won, his opponent got sucked into a vortex (don’t you hate when that happens), triggering the bombs anyway.
Now, this building just happens to be KaibaCorp Tower, currently unoccupied because everyone is being sucked into the Instrumentality Project Darkness or whatever, so no one was around to witness this. So I started thinking about this, and I realized that - even though the show never addresses the, you know, consequences of being involved in blowing up a building belonging to KAIBA - there’s no way Juudai would have been able to convince anyone else that it wasn’t his fault. If they managed to salvage any security footage from the wreckage, or if said footage was beamed to any other data storage before the building was destroyed, then Juudai and Saiou are clearly implicated in the building’s explosion.
And the longer I thought about that, the more the bizarre ending made sense, the one where Juudai ditches his graduation to go duel Yugi in the past (or did he???) and then run off into a desert. It’s not some metaphor for growing up and moving forward and learning to love life even when it’s hard and all that stuff - it’s because Juudai is on the run from the law. He’s a fugitive! Not just from the law, but from the long reach of the rich and powerful Kaiba Corporation!
When you think about it that way, it makes perfect sense! Juudai doesn’t have the most flawless legal record to begin with - Duel Academy is already covering up a lot of really unethical shit (Fubuki and the old Blue dorm, anyone?), and when you combine that with their record for child endangerment, and then add in the fact that Juudai is constantly involved in all these big conflicts with a lot of collateral damage, and he starts to look like a really dangerous person, which, you know, he kind of…is. His friends and most of the higher-ups (Chronos, Samejima) know Juudai was always fighting against the real bad guys, but how do you explain that to anyone else without sounding crazy by association?
Let’s also not forget that Yubel murdered a scion of the wealthy and influential Garam family, plus his high-ranking bodyguard. So add the Garams to the list of rich powerful assholes who really want to ask this kid a few questions. And Kagemaru’s playing nice now, but I don’t question for a second that he wouldn’t hesitate to get that last bit of revenge on the kid who ruined his shot at immortality. He’s got connections, influence, and money.
So Juudai’s on the run from the law, Kaiba, the Garams (probably), and possibly even whoever Kagemaru can throw on his trail. He is literally a fugitive. He probably hasn’t slept with both eyes closed ever since he left Duel Academy.