Full disclosure: I write this as someone who, up until last year, looked at the spinoffs and brushed them off as ‘silly’ or ‘not worth my time’ and just laughed at them without ever giving them a shot(save for GX). My general reaction to seeing that there was another series was ‘another one? really?’
So, with that cleared up,
Why you should totally give the Yu-Gi-Oh! spinoffs a chance.
So, you’ve seen the original series(which I shall refer to as DM(Duel Monsters) from here on out) and maybe you’re kinda curious about the other series, or you want to know what the buzz is about and if they’re really that good. But, which should you check out, there are 5 of them after all.
All of them, you should give them all a shot.
Le’s go down the list, stating with GX.
This is the one that’s the ‘high school au’ one.
This is your protagonist for 4 seasons(180 episodes)
His name is Judai Yuki. Probably the most normal and realistic looking of the ones on this list. I mean, brown hair and eyes, that’s pretty uncommon for a protagonist in this kind of anime.
He’s the protagonist a lot of people seem to refer to as the ‘annoying hyper one’. I blame the 4Kids dub* for this. Because, watching that, you wouldn’t believe he’s 15. Yeah you heard me. 15. A year younger than Yugi. He is most definitely not the ‘annoying and hyper’ one.
He’s the only protagonist to have a confirmed end-game love interest(as in, he canonically ends up with someone), and they’re not female.
The show allows him to make mistakes and face the consequences of his actions, and they aren’t always pretty.
*I will probably recommend you watch the subs for all these. Because honestly, after DM (and ymmv on what you thought of that dub) I feel like 4K just treated the spinoffs as a joke. They butchered the hell out of them and you lose a lot. Unless you want to watch the dub and laugh at it.
If you’re fresh off DM, or hold that one dear and aren’t sure if you want to let go of the characters you love yet(and you don’t need to let go, you can love all of them), this might be a good place to start, because cameos.
Yup, see GX is set in the same universe/timeline as DM, just about ~7(10 in the dub) years later, so we get a few cameo appearances from past characters.
Pegasus appears in 3 of the 4 seasons, Yugi appears in the first and last episodes, Kaiba gets a few brief shots and Yugi’s Grandfather even gets an appearance dung the second season as a helper to the protags(which gives us a number of nods back to DM and Battle City in particular.
The foreshadowing in this series is, amazing, and the sort of thing you don’t catch till you rewatch it.
It is slow to get started admittedly, unless you like slice of life, then you’ll enjoy the early portions of season 1, because it has a lot of slice of life type episodes/episodes to establish the characters and the world before the plot kicks in.
If you can hang around until season 3 it will be worth your time. I promise. I can’t even compare it to anything in DM because, cripes it’s worse than season 4(the Doma arc) with how dark it gets. Season 3 is basically the embodiment of the ‘Break the Cutie’ trope. With ‘cutie’ being, that one up there.
Also, the character development in this series is phenomenal! Probably the best out of all the series.
So if you like DM and the characters and you’re not quite ready to say goodbye, this is a good place to start.
*I have a bit of a personal bias b/c this one is my favourite.
aka the card games on motorcycles one.
Yes, it’s a silly idea. But they pull it off enough well enough that you can look past it.
So, your protagonist for this 152 episode series.
Yusei Fudo. He is the oldest protagonist at 18.
Do not be fooled by that serious face, he is a massive sweetheart and very nice.
If you like action this is one you’ll like. If you enjoyed Kaiba you’ll probably enjoy Jack Atlas (the rival/Kaiba expy for this series). This one also has more of the ‘ancient magic from thousands of years ago’ that DM had. Except from Egypt, it’s from Peru, and involves the Nazca lines.
Unlike GX,which starts out slow and is very slice of lifey, this one just, drops you head first into the story, action right off the bat. You need to watch a few episodes to adjust to the vast difference between this one and the previous two.
You may have heard of the 10th anniversary movie Bonds Beyond Time, a crossover between DM, GX and 5D’s. Yes, that means that this too exists in the same time line as DM. Just, a few decades or so after GX (though it’s not clear how many). There’s no character cameos, but you do get a few nods back to DM, including a mention about Kaiba Corp as well as the brief appearance of an old duelling platform from season 1 DM.
This is also the first one to introduce a new summoning method(that isn’t Fusion or Ritual), called Synchro summoning.
The first season(up to episode 64, the end of the Dark Signers arc) is worth checking out at minimum and you can totally stop right there and not really lose anything.
The second season is, kinda clumsily handled. There was a massive controversy with one of the actresses and she was replaced and a massive chunk of the script rewritten due to said controversy and, it shows. Season 2 has more of the ‘slice of life’ episodes. And it has some fun mini arcs interspersed with the plot(like watching Jack fight the literal devil, and a wild west themed mini arc).
Again, I recommend the subs. The dub is, eh. The second season is just, bad because there are literally chunks of episodes, in the middle of arcs, undubbed. And the last chunk of the series isn’t dubbed, it ends something like halfway through the final arc. So subbed is the only way to see it through till the end.
So 5D’s is worth checking out for sure, or at least the first season and BBT.
This one seems to be a bit of a blacksheep in the YGO, it seems to be the one to get a lot of flack. :/
Anyways, our protagonist for this one. It is 146 episodes.
Yuma Tsukumo. Sweet cinnamon roll that must be protected at all costs.
Yes, he has weird hair, but so does everyone in this series so you’ll adjust(and some are even odder that his). Also please note he s 13, making him the youngest protag. So keep that in mind when judging his actions.
If you like DM, this is also a good one to check out for sure because of all of the parallels between them.
From the relationship between Yum and Astral and Yugi and Atem(amnesiac spirit tied to an artefact and host that is helping them recover their memories…), to ‘former bully turned best friend of the protagonist’, to something that happens at the very end of the series. It’s like a great bit DM reference, with season 2 being a massive GX reference.
It also has great themes on friendship, forgiveness, family, as well as never giving up and giving it your all. Yuma’s ‘kattobingu’ is silly but wonderful. Yuma is a ball of sunshine and happiness that eclipses everyone else on this list.
It’s plot is also an interesting thing, going from a seemingly clear cut, black and white situation where you go ‘they’re good and they’re bad’ to a very grey and muddied one where it’s really hard to tell who’s right and who’s wrong in the conflict and asking the question ‘is this really right?’
While there are no past character cameos, we DO get an episode with monster cameos from DM and GX(including BWED and Dark Magician, and Neos and Rainbow Dragon). If this is in the same universe or a different one from the previous three is unclear. Knowledge of them is not needed to watch and enjoy this one.
Like 5D’s, which introduces Riding Duels and Synchro Summoning, Zexal introduces us to Xyz Summoning and D-Gazers(the duels are projected into VR space that only those wearing a D-Gazer can see/interact with, and the trouble as a phone/communication device of sorts). It catches you up fairly fast on what both of these are.
Much like GX though, it starts off semi slice of life-y with plot, and then the next season hits and it goes dark. Really, really dark.
But it’s great.
Also, it has arguably one of the greatest villains in Yu-Gi-Oh!. Vector. Just, just Vector.
Think like Yami Bakura, if he were actually competent and thought his plans through and knew what he was doing. And more of a twisted, manipulative person. He’s a ‘love to hate him’ character because he is so good at what he does and fun to watch, but at the same time, the things he does are just awful.
And this one has some pretty good foreshadowing too-there s a line in the, second episode that suddenly makes sense when you get to season 2 and more is revealed.
So if you love DM this one is definitely worth checking out.
This one isn’t missing any episodes from the dub.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc V
This one is a bit longer than Zexal at 148 episodes long
This is Yuya Sakaki. You’ve probably heard people call him ‘tomato child’. Yeah, the hair is why. Also he is 14.
Again, like Zexal everyone has crazy hair, so he isn’t too unusual in terms of colour(I mean his best friend has pink hair).
This one is a bit different.
See, while you could watch any of the previous three in any order without having seen any of the others and they would still make sense, this one makes frequent references to GX, 5D’s and Zexal as well as using their summoning methods(Fusion, Synchro and Xyz). You don’t *need* to watch the previous ones to watch this and understand it, however you will get the tiny references faster if you do(which adds to the fun).
It is definitely a fun one to watch, taking all the liveliness that is duelling and doing something with it. Action Duels. So no more just, standing there shouting at one another. Now it’s running around, riding the monsters and shouting at each other.
So if you liked the action from DM, you’ll enjoy this.
And much like Zexal and 5D’s, this one introduces Pendulum Summoning as its new summoning method, while utilizing all the previous summoning methods.
One thing people like to point out is its deconstruction of many past YGO tropes(esp the ‘we duelled so we’re friends’ trope.) and it does, frequently. Also I think it’s the first one to feature a tournament arc, where the tournament doesn’t get finished. And female characters that DO shit and get shit done. And a lot of them too.
And yes this is the one with the guy and his lookalikes. Don’t worry, it’s not as confusing as it seems. If you can keep straight and past and present selves in DM, counterparts is a non issue(especially since they are introduced gradually so you get to know them).
The plot is kinda slow to get going, as it bounces between two main characters for the first while, yet still keeps from being boring, but once it hits, it HITS. Like, by episode 7 you know something is up and this is going to be more than just ‘duelling for fun’ and a rivalry between schools, and it goes from there. And then, for lack of a better descriptor, ‘shit gets real’ once you reach the 30′s.
And it’s all down hill from there.
*This one is my other favourite.
This is the newest one, hot off the presses (and only 6 episodes long at the time of writing)
Meet Yusaku Fujiki, 16 years old.
A bit of a loner, withdrawn and more or less friendless(a first in YGO). He’s also blunt and speaks his mind, even to the point of rudeness, even if unintentionally(he doesn’t know how to socialize all that well). He’s also a hacker.
But he has an alter ego, the vigilante duelist Playmaker. Did I mention he gets a transformation sequence?
Cause he does. The magical boy/magical girl jokes write themselves honestly.
(gifs by kaiba-cave – the gifs did not show up in the gif search unfortunately)
VRAINS introduces us to a new kind of dueling, VR dueling, where one logs onto the Link VRAINS (which stands for Link Virtual Reality Artificial Intelligence Network System) server to duel in the online world under an avatar(that usually looks/sounds different from their real world self). It also introduces Link Summoning to the game.
If you thought the Virtual Reality arcs in DM were something, VRAINS takes it up a level(also if you are at all familiar with the mobile game Duel Links, then the rules of the Speed Duels that are used in VRAINS should be familiar to you). I
All we know about the plot at the moment is that the world of Link VRAINS is under attack from a group of hackers called the Knights of Hanoi who seek to destroy it.
I’ve head comparisons made to .hack and SAO, but as I’venev seen eithe can’t vouch for them.
Also, if you like consistent animation quality, GX is the way to go, with Zexal and Arc V following close(VRAINS is looking pretty good to but only time will tell). No where near as many wonky episodes like DM had(Doma arc and Memory World Arc come to mind). Sure they have their off episodes in terms of animation(what doesn’t?) but not to the degree that DM had.
GX is fairly solid in terms of animation, especially in season 4 where it shoots up, a lot. While Zexal and Arc V are just, stunningly animated, and very bright and colourful (so when the animation dips for an episode or two you can tell).
5D’s has some good and some bad.
And the character designs, the character designs are fucking great ok? For all of them.
Where to watch!
Of course, the most important thing, after picking which one sounds interesting to you, is were to watch it.
I highly, highly recommend the subs over the dub(though you can watch the dub if you want, just take it with a grain of salt at times)
Of course, supporting the official release is best idea. Gx, 5D’s, Arc V and VRAINS all have official subs on Crunchyroll for your viewing pleasure, with VRAINS being simulcast! This means subs come up the same day the new episode comes out(every Wednesday). This is the first time it’s ever been done for Yu-Gi-Oh!
Ideally, this would be the way to go. However, CR does not have subs for Zexal(it does have the dub though so, maybe one day), and VRAINS is region locked in certain places(like Canada) meaning you will have to seek fansubs elsewhere. Gogoanime is my recommendation. Torrenting/downloading is the next best option.
If you want decent Gx fansubs, I recommend these ones.
All in all, they are all good, for various different reasons and definitely worth checking out, especially if you were/are a fan of the original. Or if you watched any of them dubbed and want to check out the uncut/unedited original versions, which are worth it.
Don’t just pass them over because ‘oh they’re spinoffs, they can’t be that good’. Actually, they can and are.
Have some Human!Astral headcanons(because I’m sue someone will enjoy these).
Astral is very sensitive to touch-spending ones entire existence as an incorporeal being is going to do that since he basically is a body with a bunch of new nerves unused to being touched. Which unfortunately leads to sensory overload more often than not.
Yuma is about the only person whose touch doesn’t bother him and he can constantly be found hanging off his arm, or leaning on a shoulder, or with his chin on Yuma’s head or just generally in constant contact with him.
Also Shark, as he’s probably the second closest person to Astral after Yuma.
Astral is also very light and built like a string bean and in the ‘learning to walk on his own stages’ frequently finds himself being piggy-backed by Shark when he gets to tired to walk on his own or just plain can’t.
Touch sensitivity also makes getting him clothes tricky, because clothes are in constant contact with his skin and certain textures can become bothersome. He ends up with loose, airy clothes.
Human!Astral would also definitely rock a skirt and probably convince Yuma to let him get one-a skirt has less contact with skin than pants which make him uncomfortable,especially snug ones.
He really enjoys he feel of soft things and will stop and pet every. single. cat and dog in his path. Everyone.
His sensitivity also extends to food as well. Things too textured/seasoned/sweet etc he can’t eat. Haru tweaks any meals made so that had can eat them without problem.
His favourite food is duel lunches, being that they are the first thing he ever ate.
Astral also really likes sweet things too.
Getting massive brain freeze the first time he tries ice cream because he didn’t anticipate it being that cold and just like, takes a huge bite before anyone can warn him. Yuma spends like 5 minutes doubled over in laughter before he can compose himself to make sure Astral is alright, simply because the face and noises Astral made with hilarious. Astral gets a lesson in how to properly eat frozen treats after.
Sleep is now a thing he has to do and he doesn’t like it much, because it means no more staying up till odd hours of the night watching ESPer Robin reruns(Yuma eventually gets him the series on DVD so he can watch them any time and actually get proper sleep).
If he was curious before, he’s about 100x more curious now, about everything. Which of course means asking Yuma everything, even if Yuma can’t answer them because he has no idea either.
Even the really awkward questions-like wondering why humans put such importance on something like kissing. Yuma has no idea how answer this, it’s not like he’s ever kissed anyone(outside of platonic family kisses obviously).
Bonus keyship material-Yuma in his infinite wisdom asks Ryouga for help on how to answer the above question. Ryouga, being in a sarcastic mood replies with something along the lines of ‘you could always just kiss him’. Yuma’s gone before he can clarify that he was being sarcastic, and Yuma does exactly that.
Astral’s love of soft things leads them to get him a pet. Cathy thinks he should get a cat. Others think a dog. He ends up with a white ferret. He names it ‘Hope’.
Astral as the ‘cute foreign exchange student’ at school. Yuma is not amused because everyone is crowding him and trying to hog his time with Astral. Astral does not like it because, to much touching and crowding and it freaks him out.
Also he’s not a fan of the uniform because, again, touch sensitivity and touch much weird fabric in contact with new skin, especially with the pants, and it drives him crazy all day.
He can’t swim for shit. Has to say in the shallow end(or get loaded up with floaties)
Constantly forgetting he cannot float or walk through solid objects. He probably bumps into doors and shit like all the time for a while.
Astral reading anything and everything he can get his hands on.
He gets his hands on like, an anatomy or biology text book one day and becomes flustered and confused because, despite having always been considered, effectively ‘male’, he doesn’t match up to what humans consider to be male (because he may be solid now but he more or less is physically still the same) OR female.
Yuma and co. sit him and down and very gently explain that no, if he says he is male then is he is male regardless, it’s ok.
Ryouga bringing up a page on kilts when he gets worried that this means he can’t wear a skirt any more. He is immensely relived.
Playing with Yuma’s hair when he gets bored. Touching Yuma never seems to bother him, perhaps because he’s grown used to it as Yuma was really all he could touch for the longest time.
Likewise, lounging across Yuma’s lap and letting Yuma play with his hair, is equally as enjoyable. Also Yuma tracing patterns over the makings on his skin(if Mizael keeps the face marks, Astral gets to as well).
Duel Monster cards as well, he can handle those for hours on end.
Getting Astral his own D-Gazer and D-Pad so he can duel, since he’s not attached to Yuma any more.
SO i think i finally figured out the Yugioh timeline, so this is just how I think it goes:
Standard (in order):
DM: Kaiba corp begins investing less in weapons and more in entertainment. Pegasus ‘invents’ duel monsters. The card game is a big hit. Dueling fields are quickly replaced by duel disks from Kaiba corp.
GX: Dueling is increasingly popular. Celebrities duel, tournament winners are the biggest celebrities, famous scientists are even taking up dueling. Academies open as prestigious places to learn various subjects through dueling and to become famous duelists. Elitism runs rampant, but Judai Yuki challenges it.
5ds: Kaiba corp still wasn’t only in the entertainment industry. They invest a lot of money in a new energy project known as “momentum” but Zero Reverse hits them very hard, as well as having to cover up what actually happened from the public. Dueling academies are not very common, and are more common place. Elitism in them is more or less gone, at least structurally. Yusei Fudo eventually creates Fortune, a new energy source much less risky and more widely available. As Fortune gains popularity. Less and less people switch their d-wheels over to Fortune, and most riding duelists have retired from dueling when the popularity finally overtakes Momentum.
Arc v: Fortune has become common place, and riding duels are finally replaces by Yusho with Action Duels along with Solid Vision. Anyone can open a dueling academy, and teach purely dueling or dueling and other subjects. More focus is placed on learning many summoning techiques and picking the best one for you, rather than whatever summoning is the most popular. Xyz summoning was made fairly recently, but is considered difficult to use by many still. Riding duels still happen in some areas.
Zexal: Xyz summoning takes center stage, and action duels fall out of style due to d-gazers being able to made dueling happen ANYWHERE. Action duels still take place, and in a few places Riding duels even happen. Dueling is fully integrated into schools.
Judai never challenged elitism, and therefore elitism still ran rampant, making it the most desirable location for Leo to start and army. He took over the academy system and government, by overtaking Kaiba corp, and used academies to train soldiers to invade other dimensions.
Elitism was mildly challenged by other students, and the Earthbounds didn’t happen, meaning Zero Reverse never took place. Still, Yusei Fudo never made Fortune, because he never existed. Security still isn’t the best.
Riding duels never took place, and Momentum was never discovered. Instead, Fortune was discovered, making life easier and they went right to d-gazers. Elitism was destroyed and academies were abolished, making it so dueling was available to everyone and was integrated into standard schooling. A very happy place, but was destroyed when Leo invaded with tropes under they guise that “the xyz dimensions has no structure and no way to improve”. In reality, in the Xyz dimension discovered what Leo was doing, they would be the largest threat to his power.
He’s been wandering around this strange city for a while and questions why he ends up in the weirdest places, “Whats the point of traveling through overlays if i can never get to my wanted destination…this ain’t Heartland at all” he complains quietly to himself. So much for going home.
Eventually he just gave up and pulled out his D-gazer and fiddled with it, not even noticing he have stopped in the middle of a busy side walk.
*waves wand* Yo! Welcome to ZEXAL OC Day! My name is Mana and I shall be your host for this event ^u^/! I have been in the ZEXAL fandom since day 1 when concept art was announced in Japan and that PV was shown after 5D’s ended it’s run. Since then, I have abridged ZEXAL and continue to do so with my ZealtheDeal @pendantposse team :)I also co-created ARC-V Abridged by YuGiOhKetchup with azzyfox !
Even though our beloved Kattobingu Stars are done, the fandom is most certainly not 8D! I have noticed that the ZEXAL Fandom in particular has some of the most amazing and creative original characters I’ve come across and its about dang time you show em off :D! The World of Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL is a brilliant one filled with endless possibilities because we have Astral World, Barian World and the Human Realm!
We want everyone to share something precious they created because they were inspired by the show! What better creation than an OC!? :D
Wether you wrote the backstory of an existing side/one ep only/background character, created a family member of the canon cast, made up Astrals and Barians, you name it! We wanna see em all! So now is your chance to be proud of your OCs!~*°^`·o. =================================
WHEN IS IT?!~*°^`·o.
WHAT ARE WE ALLOWED TO SUBMIT?!~*°^`·o.
Got a ZEXAL OC?! We wanna hear about em :)! Humans,Barians and Astrals are welcome, even Duel Monsters or pets too xD!
HOW DO WE SUBMIT?!~*°^`·o.
*Draw a picture of your OC(Or Group of OCs cuz YES YOU CAN SUBMIT MORE THAN ONE) and post it on your blog with the name of the character(s) and “ZEXAL OC DAY” on your tags.
* No Explicit Content on the Art
* Digital or Traditional is ok
*Give a 1-2 Paragraph introduction for em! (Can be in Character or just a description )
*BONUS OPTIONAL: IF YOU KNOW WHAT SEIYUU AND ENGLISH/OTHER LANGUAGE DUB VOICE YOU WANT FOR THEM, YOU CAN ALSO SUBMIT A SOUND CLIP FILE OF EXAMPLES OF SAID VOICES :DDDDD You can tell us their 4kids dub name cuz thems are hilarious fun xp.
OTHER BONUS: THIS YEAR YOU HAVE THE OPTION OF SHOWING:
* Your OC’s Settei (Character Model) Sheet
*Them Wearing A D-Gazer OR Dressed as their fave canon character.
*Your OC Hanging out with other OCs you like/or a canon character
* A Fake Screenshot or Sprite for the World Duel Carnival Video Game :)
*****At the end of your introduction paragraphs make your character yell ” (INSERT CHARACTER NAME HERE)-BINGU!”
So for example, my OC is Ginga Okudaira (Fuya’s dad) so I would say “GINGABINGU! or GINGABINGU DA ORE!”
*****And when you reblog other people’s OC’s you can tag OR comment with “Welcome to the ZEXAL Cast (character!)”
Its just a fun event where we can all share our love for the show and how many great new friends we can create for the canon cast!~*°^`·o.
GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN OUT THERE :D!
IF YOU WANNA CELEBRATE IT AS ZEXAL OC WEEK (so from Nov 30th to December 6th, you are MORE than welcome to!!!)♥
If you have any questions,comments, or more ideas feel free to ask me at @manabingu !~*°^`·.
The rest of them are moi’s n.n/ : Ginga Okudaira, Takeo Okudaira,Sayuri Okudaira, Eita Wakusei,Isamu Wakusei,Fumiko Wakusei,Miu Wakusei and Ichio Hanabusa n.n/ who are helping to protect the Galaxy of OCs!~*°.°^·`
The new 2016 movie title is “Yugioh: The Darkside of Dimensions”
It is set 6 months after the manga ends. (This means Kaiba never saw Atem leave since he was not present for the events of Ancient Egypt)
Release date for Japan is “Early 2016″.US and other territories they are aiming for a “Late 2016″ release
A trailer was shown showcasing the new animation (Kagami?) of Kaiba and Yugi walking epicly and preparing to face off, a chruch like background with some epic doors opening.
During the trailer, Honda, Ryou Bakura, and (i think) someone who looked like the GX lunch lady? (could be random bg character) was shown
Anzu, Jounouchi, Kaiba, and Yugi concept art was shown
Anzu looks a little different, I tried to sketch out her new hairstyle since photography/recording was prohibited.
Kaiba’s new duel disk system concept art was shown. (I tried to sketch it) it consisted of a D-gazer-Google Glass hybrid thing, a shoulder accessory thing, and that forearm part. It was noted that “it was too complicated to be explained”
Jounouchi looks basically the same but he has less details/lines in his hair (easier to animate?)
The poster shown and given out shows the new villain character. No name was given.
Notice between Kaiba’s legs is a KaibaCorp SkyNet Space Station
We didn’t get an explanation why Kaiba’s locket is missing but Yugi w/o puzzle is because movie is post-manga/series.
If konami doesn’t post up the poster online i’ll try to scan it when I get home from Comic-Con but in the meantime, thank you to everyone who sent in presents and well wishes! Yugioh wouldn’t be where it is without all of you!
Cos I have nothing better to do …except aimlessly try to study… I’ll put up some more pics of my D Gazer. I haven’t done anything else to it since the last time I posted about it..but these are better pictures than the derpy one I posted last time >_>