Attention duelists! It’s time to get hyped with Yu-Gi-Oh! facts!
That’s right, on April 23rd, Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Dark Side of Dimensions will see its Japanese debut, and it’s reported to pick up where the Manga series left off over a decade ago. With the “story, scripts, and character design” being handled by series creator Kazuki Takahashi, fans should be in for a real treat when they see how this beloved franchise has evolved after all these years. Now, this may be common knowledge to avid followers of the franchise, but less obvious has been the sheer number of easter eggs and oddities that have been sprinkled across the world of Yu-Gi-Oh! since 1996. Whether you only watch the show or just stick with the trading card game, there’s a decent chance that some interesting trivia has slipped under your radar.
While Yu-Gi-Oh! trivia is more abundant than we could have possibly imagined, we’ve picked 10 interesting facts to share with you as we anticipate the upcoming movie. And if you’re interested in discovering the world’s most infamous Yu-Gi-Oh cards, check out our coverage of the 10 priciest Yu-Gi-Oh cards!
10: Yu-Gi-Oh! broke the world record for the largest trading card game tournament ever… by a lot.
As one of the most popular trading card games worldwide, Yu-Gi-Oh! is no stranger to setting world records. However, its record for the largest trading card game tournament is completely mind boggling.
With the previous record holder being a Madrid Magic The Gathering tournament that featured 2,227 players, the 2013 Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship in Long Beach, California saw 4,364 players. By housing 2,000 more players than the previous record holder, the championship tournament nearly doubled the size of the Madrid tournament. That’s certainly one way to set a record!
9: Coincidentally, Yu-Gi-Oh! has made Konami the best selling trading card game company in the world.
With over 25 billion cards sold worldwide since 1999, Konami Digital Entertainment was officially named the best selling trading card game company by Guinness World Records in 2011.
While they are primarily known as a video game company, this is one title that sure puts a feather in their cap.
8: The Yu-Gi-Oh card game was originally created to be a one-off concept in the manga.
With how massively successful the trading cards are today, it’s hard to conceive that the card game was originally intended to have little overall impact on the manga.
Originally called “Magic and Wizards” in reference to Magic the Gathering, fans of the manga were instantly won over by the concept of the card game once they saw its respective installment of Yu-Gi-Oh! in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine. After being inundated with letters and messages asking about the card game, Kazuki Takahashi decided to expand upon the game in future issues. No doubt he’s very happy with that decision today.
7: The world’s first “abridged series” was based on Yu-Gi-Oh!
Anyone in the anime community has probably heard of “abridged series’,” which are fan-made versions of popular anime that are truncated to humorous effect. As it turns out, the very first abridged series to kick off this craze was Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Abridged series.
Martin Billany, known to the internet as LittleKuriboh, started Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Abridged Series in 2006 to lampoon the show’s melodramatic representation of the card game while making fun of the way 4Kids Entertainment was dubbing the English version of the show. Though initially a no-budget project with Billany doing all the voices himself, the show wound up being just as popular with fans as it was with those who had never watched a single episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! To this day, the official English voice actors of the anime are often asked to do lines from the Abridged series, and some of the actors have even expressed their love for the way their characters were represented in the parody.
6: The English dub of the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime gave Joey a cousin for some reason.
Speaking of making fun of 4Kids, the English dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! sure did add plenty of random details to the show. One of the most arbitrary of these was the inclusion of Joey’s cousin.
“Jesse Wheeler” appeared only briefly in the show, and his relationship to Joey is quickly mentioned after he is asked if he is Joey Wheeler. However, in the original Japanese version, “Jesse” remained unnamed and was never stated to have any relationship to Joey. Chances are, 4Kids saw the character’s similarity to Joey and used it as an excuse to have Joey’s voice actor play “Jesse,” but it still feels out of place due to how the plot point goes nowhere beyond his initial mention.
5: The English dub would also randomly change the cards in the players’ hands.
Now this one is pretty weird. Throughout the English dub of the anime, cards in each characters’ deck would wholesale change from what they were in the Japanese version.
While 4Kids was known to make changes like this to keep their programming family-friendly (or “for kids”), many of these edits did not replace risque or offensive content. It’s likely that the changes were due to a lack of usable artwork to replace the original Japanese cards, and on rare occasions, the dub did fix errors in the original Japanese version. Still, many of the changes remain a mystery to fans.
4: Characters from other Konami video games make cameos as Yu-Gi-Oh! cards.
As a video game company, Konami is notorious for adding characters from its best-known video game series’ into many of its projects, and Yu-Gi-Oh! is no exception.
The most obvious Konami cameo in the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game is the “Gradius” card, which depicts the Vic Viper spaceship seen in Konami’s space shooter series called (wait for it)… Gradius. Equally as subtle is the “Vampire Killer” card, featuring a whip-wielding man against a castle with artwork extremely reminiscent of Konami’s Castlevania series. It’s also speculated that the “Tactical Espionage Expert” card is a reference to Solid Snake from Konami’s Metal Gear Solid series.
3: 16 fan designed cards made it into the trading card game.
Ever held a Yu-Gi-Oh! card and felt it didn’t resemble Takahashi’s art style? Perhaps that card wasn’t designed by Takahashi at all!
Yes, fans have had opportunities to submit custom card illustrations via contests over the years, and the best of those designs entered the Yu-Gi-Oh! canon. Some of the fan-made cards even appeared as part of the anime!
2: One of the most ridiculous moments from the show inspired an actual card.
Let it not be said that the creators of Yu-Gi-Oh! don’t have a sense of humor, because they demonstrated a keen amount of self-awareness when they created the “Attack The Moon!” card.
During one of the most ludicrous battles in the series, Yugi reveals his enemy’s underwater monsters by summoning a monster to “attack the moon,” which causes the tides to reverse and reveal the sea creatures. Naturally, this became a well-known joke among the fan community, and the “Attack The Moon” card closely depicts the hyperbolic scene from the anime. This goes to show that, if you believe in the heart of the cards, you too can destroy the moon in order to win a card game.
1: Two other games from the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga were made, but neither caught on like the card game.
As mentioned above, the “Duel Monsters” card game from the manga was only intended to be featured once, which is why it was called “Magic and Wizards.” Other games from the manga, however, were actually given a shot in the real world as well, but obviously the card game reigned supreme in popularity.
Dungeon Dice Monsters and Capsule Monster Chess were both Yu-Gi-Oh! board games that were real-world representations of games played in the series. Though they did not become worldwide successes, they both have their niche fanbases that still enjoy them from time to time. Both of these games even received video game adaptations; in fact, Yu-Gi-Oh! Monster Capsule: Breed and Battle was based on Capsule Monster Chess, and was actually the first Yu-Gi-Oh! video game ever made. To say things have changed would be an understatement!
Yet regardless of the successes of these lesser-known Yu-Gi-Oh! games, their very existence is a testament to the vivid imagination that makes the franchise so successful today. Rather than being a cynical vehicle merely used to sell cards, the series has proven its sincere dedication to entertain fans since its inception. Perhaps that explains why the franchise remains vibrant 20 years later, especially when so many other fads have come and gone.
Fingers are crossed for The Dark Side of Dimensions to continue that thread. Even if it doesn’t wind up breaking any records, it will still carry on the great multimedia legacy that is the world of Yu-Gi-Oh!