Yu-Gi-Oh (the original!)

Yugi Mutou has solved the Millenium Puzzle and gotten his wish. Yami is the spirit of the Millenium Puzzle with a fondness for daring shadow games. Sharing one body the two are about to take on adventures ranging from digital pet disasters to escaping prisoners. No one, not even the vengeful Kaiba, will stop the pharaoh from taking on the ultimate game.

My Thoughts (Part 1)
Netflix had Yu-Gi-Oh! available for streaming so a nostalgic part of me couldn´t help but check it out. There is something mysterious about a 5,000 year old pharaoh inhabiting a Millenium Puzzle who shares a soul with a modern human. I like a great deal of Yu-Gi-Oh! as it feels a tad more mature than other ´Saturday Morning´ animated shows. Maybe that is why it occurred to me I really need to read this manga!

The time before Yami

The manga starts off in the time before Yugi has solved the Millenium Puzzle. Back where he was a regular punching bag for the other kids especially bullies Jounouchi (Joey in the anime) and Honda (Tristan in the anime). After solving the Millenium Puzzle he isn´t even aware he has a whole other personality knocking off evil with shadow games.

Slightly psychotic acting Yami

Yugi´s other half, Yami metes out justice with shadow games. Lose the shadow game and the penalties are severe. Especially when it is handed to you by a smirking, slightly-psychotic, ancient pharaoh in a teenager´s body.

Go with the disclaimer on this game of Yami´s

Unlike the anime Yu-Gi-Oh! (season 1 & onward) the manga has more games than just duel monsters. Games where digital pets battle one another and gangs duke it out with yo-yos. Find yourself on the losing end and risk playing against Yami for keeps.

The Characters

Yugi hates violence. He would gladly take a beating if

Yugi takes yet another beating

it meant keeping anyone (even his own bullies) safe. Yugi is incredibly loyal to family and friends. On the outside Yugi is often treated like a child for his size. He does have a love of games which some might find childish at the same time he is definitely a teenage boy.

Jounouchi is an overconfident hotheaded ´punk´ who

Not much of a friend to Yuugi

begins as Yuugi´s tormentor. He makes a complete turnaround after seeing Yugi protect him. Jounouchi has a bad home life and is always attempting to pay off his alcoholic father´s debts. He cares deeply for his fragile sister but is hesitant to show a ´softer´ side around others. Jounouchi is not afraid to literally fight on Yugi´s behalf (usually winning). He is extremely loyal and self-sacrificing to protect his friendships.

Do NOT mess with Anzu
Anzu (Tea in the anime) is a strong-willed intelligent and attractive childhood friend of Yugi´s. She reopens their friendship after saving him from being tormented (yet again) by Jounouchi and Honda. Anzu often acts as peacemaker of the group.  She is the first to discover Yami (or as Anzu describes him´the cool Yugi). Her feelings are sisterly towards little Yugi but often run into romantic for Yami. 

Honda stands with Yuugi & Jounouchi
against Kaiba in the Death Game

Honda is very vocal on his job in ´beautification´ since Joey is always teasing him for losing out over student council. He takes his role very seriously and is firm in making decisions. He fights with Joey but is intent on their friendship. Honda is loyal but also stupid at times especially when it involves his passionate crush, Miho-chan. When Yugi helps him attempt to win the heart of Miho-chan they come away as good friends.

Kaiba is Yugi´s arrogant rival who becomes obsessed

No expense spared to beat you Yugi!

with beating him. When Kaiba lost to Yuugi he set up an entire theme park just to ensure Yugi´s demise. He overlooks his brother, Mokuba, even betting he will lose to Yugi. Kaiba has a heart (somewhere) but for now it is doing a pretty good job of hiding out. He runs his father´s company with authority and ensures his ownship through any means. I hold out hope for Kaiba. Yugi is going to find a way to reach him.

The Art

Yami

I love the way the artist has chosen to depict the most key characters. Instead of drastic changes the artist stays true to the importance of reminding us Yami & Yugi share body and soul. Though they look alike the eyes are done to perfectly set off who it is we are looking for. Stronger angles, sharp eyes, and

Yuugi

an element of supreme confidence defines Yami. Wide, bright eyes, and open is the soft look of Yugi. They are by far my favorite characters to see.

I will say the best manga drawings are during those times when Yami appears. Suddenly everything goes

up about 50 notches. This is where the art most impressed me. I love the expressions on the characters especially Kaiba when Yugi breaks his smug confidence. I wish there could have been more of this style throughout the manga instead of just saving it for the áction scenarios.

Still the final consensus is overall very well drawn which made the season zero anime all the more impressive since it was able to carry the style from paper to screen.

To the Reader
If you enjoyed the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime then definitely give

Grampa Mutou is a bit of an old pervert

the manga (plus season zero) a look. There is a lot to enjoy for those who are comedy fans. Drama is huge as well especially when it comes to tense situations like being held at gunpoint by escaped criminals or captured in a bomber’s game. Romantics can feel free to imagine “shipping” but Yu-Gi-Oh! is more about friendships then relationships.

My Thoughts (Part 2)

I sincerely enjoyed the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga. At fifty-nine chapters it did an excellent job at answering many of my Yu-Gi-Oh! questions while still keeping me entertained. At the end I did feel a bit like it cut off quickly which would be because it continues in the next *series: Yu-Gi-Oh! Duelist´s Kingdom. Which continues on in more series! I started Duelist Kingdom but need to move on with reviews.
And with that here is my final score:
8.73 out of 10

Details

Name(s): Yu-Gi-Oh! (The First Series); YuGiOh!; 遊☆戯☆王; Vua trò chơi; Yuugioh
Author(s): Kazuki Takahashi
Artist(s): Kazuki Takahashi
Chapter(s): 59
Genre(s): Slice of life; comedy; fantasy; action; adventure
Year: 1996
Status: Complete
Anime: Yes (Watch Season 0)

*When published in Japan the manga´s multiple parts were actually all released in the same series. For the rest of us, Yu Gi Oh! is chapter´s 1-59 followed by the next series then the next etc.