In 1996, Yu-Gi-Oh got its start thanks to Kazuki Takahashi. The artist published the series to prove shonen stories did not need physical combat to succeed. Rather than have his protagonists hit each other, Takahashi created a story which saw its characters duel via games. The story proved popular with audiences as Japan was quick to turn YUGI into an anime. However, over the years, the franchise’s manga and anime have become almost two entirely separate things.
During its run, the Yu-Gi-Oh manga focused on sly storylines and dark characters. The series was more about sacrifice and beating out opponents than the anime ever cared to be. Thanks to censorship issues and promotional tie-ins, the Yu-Gi-Oh anime was forced to soften many of its manga’s sharp edges to focus more on the actual Duel Monsters trading card game.
If you want to know just how Yu-Gi-Oh changed between its anime and manga, then you are in the right place. You can check out some of the biggest differences between the two mediums in the slides below:
Yu-Gi-Oh may come off as a simple card-based story in the anime, but the series is anything but. 4Kids dubbed the television show so that it cut out most of its morbid storylines. After all, in the U.S, the anime was targeted to a younger audiences.
The Yu-Gi-Oh manga was far more violent than its manga successor, and young fans would have been scared by it. Back in ancient times, the Pharaoh Yami was less interested in tactical duels and more about torturing those who lost his trials. The guy even watch a guy burn alive in the manga, and that was just the start of his apathetic deeds.
There are dozens of tournaments associated with the Yu-Gi-Oh franchise, but the Battle City Tournament is one of the most popular. The arc formally ended when Yugi managed to beat Yami Marik in a a duel, but it was not the last battle to take place. Before the arc ended, Yugi was pitted against Joey. The manga does not actually show the results of the match, but the anime wanted to give fans a more definite conclusion.
For anime fans, they discovered that it was Joey who won that Duel Monsters battle. The boy is seen using the Red-Eyes Black Dragon card which he lost previously to a Rare Hunter. Yugi won the card after that bet for himself to use during the Battle City finals. Joey having the card meant he must have won it from Yugi after winning their final match, proving Joey’s skill at a time when Yugi was coming into his own as a duelist.
Whether you love or hate him, Maximillion Pegasus is one of Yu-Gi-Oh’s best characters. The glamorous villain was known for his pristine hair, but Pegasus stuck around thanks to his unparalleled tactical skills. In the Yu-Gi-Oh anime, Pegasus stays active for a long time. The duelist is active well into Yu-Gi-Oh GX, but that fate did not await him in the manga. In the original Yu-Gi-Oh story, Pegasus is murdered during the Duelist Kingdom tournament when Bakura rips the man’s Millennium Eye from his head.
Kaiba is Yu-Gi-Oh’s best known antagonist, but fans tend to forgive the power-hungry man for his flaws. After all, the boy did have a hard childhood. In both the anime and manga, fans learn that Kaiba and his brother Mokuba were orphaned young and put up for adoption. The pair were taken by in Gozaburo Kaiba, a wealthy businessman who was a prodigal chess player. Kaiba plays a game with the man to have Gozaburo adopt him and his brother - and he wins.
However, the manga goes a bit further with Gozaburo’s story. After Kaiba is able to sweep his adoptive father’s company from underneath him, the boy takes over as president. Gozaburo then kills himself by jumping out of a window, and the anime was not about to cover that. Instead, the show simply tied in Kaiba’s father during the Virtual World filler arc, forcing both Yugi and Kaiba to destroy the corrupt CPU.