I’m almost done watching the anime and reading the manga for what will be the 11th time so why not continue to talk about it? Friendship is one of (if not) the most important theme in the series along with playing a children’s card game. But I’m not here to talk about the cards, I’m here to talk about friendship (no Mortal Kombat)!
Anyway, the friendships that I’ve seen throughout are the ones between Yuugi and his group of friends: Bakura, Honda/Tristan, Anzu/Tea, Jonouchi/Joey and Otogi/Duke. These five characters make up a group of close-knit friends who lending their support especially toward Yugi and Jonouchi whenever they duel. Today, I’ll be ranking each of these friends because while Yuugi wished for having friends when he solved the Millienuium Puzzle, some of them are definitely better than others.
Coming in last is Bakura. I would like to note that the actual/normal Bakura is a really nice guy and a genuine friend to Yuugi and the others. So why is he last? It’s because the evil spirit that dwells in his Millineium Ring can sometimes take over his body and mind and is able to mimic his host’s personality to the point he’s able to deceive Yuugi and his friends. The spirit has caused a lot of trouble for the gang even though it’s not Bakura’s fault. Comparing the manga and anime, Bakura’s presence also tends to be all over the place which is another reason why he’s at the bottom of my list.
Yes, I’m including him because Yuugi and his friends verbally stated that Bobasa is their friend. Bobasa’s role in the series is pretty limited, only appearing during the last arc. Despite not appearing much and being more of a comic-relief, he played a very important role in taking Yuugi to where the Pharaoh’s name was. That alone made up for his lack of screen time and showed that even though he loved food a lot, he helped his friends in a major way.
Mokuba isn’t the closest friend of Yuugi, but he’s more amiable toward him and his friends than Kaiba. He plays a supportive role and has shown to help them out even though it wouldn’t benefit him or his older brother. He showed concern for Jonouchi when it was believed he died, went to Yuugi when the Big 5 tried trapping his brother in a virtual game, and entrusted Yuugi to defeat Pegasus. While he does care about them and considered them friends too, his brother will always come first no matter what.
Speaking of his brother, he may never admit it, but he is a friend to Yuugi (and most likely just him). It’s something that Yuugi can befriend someone who kidnapped and hospitalized his grandpa just to steal his rare card and rip it to shreds so it will never be used against him but Yuugi is a kind and forgiving person. Kaiba considers Yuugi, more specifically Yami Yuugi to be his rival and the only duelist he acknowledges. He has helped Yuugi throughout the anime though like in his duel with Yami Marik where he gave him a card to help him win. In the anime, Kaiba is present and witnesses the final duel between Yuugi and Yami Yuugi even though he’s in charge of a huge gaming company and most likely had other things to do. If that’s not some kind of friendship then I don’t know what is!
An anime exclusive character, Rebecca is the granddaughter of Professer Hopkins, Yuugi’s grandpa’s best friend. professor Hopkins is also the same guy who gave Yuugi’s grandpa the Blue-Eyes White Dragon card. Rebecca is the youngest American Duel Monsters champion, and currently attends college. She appears only during the filler arcs, including hers, Doma, and the KC Grand Prix. As her introduction shows, she can be a bit of a brat and even though her relationship with Yuugi didn’t have the best start, they eventually become friends. While she is friends with Yuugi’s other friends, she does at times annoy Anzu because of her crush on him. It’s pretty cute though.
Anyway, she’s a genius both in dueling and intellectually which comes in handy as she helps a lot in the Doma arc with her computer hacking skillitez and the like.
Another friend of Yuugi’s who started out as an enemy of sorts. He first wanted to defeat Yuugi at his crappy game that’s just like Duel Monsters but for some reasons uses dice due to believing that he ruined his deal with Pegasus. After he’s beat at his own game he becomes a friend and all is forgiven! Seriously, the fact he humiliated Jonouchi by making him wear a dog suit and then wanted Yuugi to retire from Duel Monsters if he won… told you Yuugi is forgiving. He may not be the best duelist in the world, but he is competent and has appeared in a few tag duel matches with Honda and Shizuka, and Rebecca.
He even appears in the card art of Unity so you know he’s a true friend (sorry, Bakura)!
Mai didn’t start off as a friend because she felt the only person she could trust and depend on was herself. After meeting Yuugi and especially Jonouchi, she warms up to the idea of having friends. She eventually realizes that outside her Harpy Ladies, they were the first friends she ever had. She no longer had to be alone!
Yuugi dueled against the edgy Player Killer of Darkness to get her star chips back, and she was willing to return the favour by giving him her excess star chips. During the Duelist Kingdom tournament she gave Jonouchi her entry card after Bandit Keith stole his. Mai develops throughout the series and even though she’s still a sassy and independent woman, she is grateful for meeting all of them and cherishes their friendship.
His voice might give him super strength, but he’s a true friend to the end. He’s Jonouchi’s best friend and along with him originally teased and messed with Yuugi. While I’m writing, I want to say it’s incredible how these friendships turned out considering how some of them started. Honda isn’t much of a duelist so he’s usually verbally cheering on Yuugi or Jonouchi during their duels. He is one of the more physical strong characters and willing to defend his friends if others try harming them.
He even went as far as to give his life for Shizuka during the Noah arc. Like I said, a friend to the end.
Yuugi’s childhood friend and is the glue that keeps everyone together. In the first episode, she’s the one that came up with that hand sign which symbolized their friendship. While Anzu tends to be at the sidelines with Tristan, she has been shown to duel every now and then, even winning Star Chips for Yuugi during her duel with Mai. She really is willing to do anything for her friends.
Despite her love for them, she’s not above keeping Jonouchi and Honda in check when they get hyped or act irrational. When Yuugi was on his way to Egypt, she was the one who bought Yami Yuugi a necklace so he could write his name when he remembered it. Speaking of Egypt, the fact Anzu, Honda and Jonouchi all were willing to accompany Yuugi just speaks volumes and are the type of friends you want in your life.
Who else could be number one? Seriously, if you put the first syllables of their names for Yuugi (遊戯) and Jōnouchi, (城之内), together, you get yūjō (友情), the Japanese word for “friendship”. I know this series has been made fun of for its silliness and I don’t mind joining in, but it is deep too! While his dueling skills took some time to get where they are now, his love for his friends was always there! He was willing to risk his life by jumping into the ocean to get Yuugi’s Exodia cards when that asshole Haga threw them over. He could have gotten his Red-Eyes Black Dragon card back when Yuugi won it for him, but he let him keep it and only wanted it back after he became a true duelist.
And that’s my list! What do you think? How would you rank Yuugi’s friends? Or who do you think is Yuugi’s best friend? There’s a lot of anime about friendships, but Yu-Gi-Oh! will always be one of the best at portraying it. No matter how many times I watch the anime or read the manga, I am deeply touched by these characters’ bonds with each other.
That’s all I have to say, thanks for reading!