As any anime fan knows, anime tends to make changes from the manga they’re based on when they make it to your TV screen. This isn’t always a bad thing even if I don’t mention the dreaded f word (no, it’s not fantasy flan). Sometimes the changes are used to give characters more depth, backstory, or implement new things in the story.
Yu-Gi-Oh! does all of the above, and thanks to the trading card game racking up millions of dollars, it was definitely for the best since the anime introduced more cards than you can count. The anime does have a considerable amount of filler, but it does stay true to the source material at its core. Where it doesn’t though, the changes can range from the subtle to the “That never happened in the manga!” I’ve read the manga and watched the anime multiple times. Actually, I’m re-watching and re-reading them both. One thing I noticed is that the manga has a more darker tone, which is saying a lot since the anime is dark, but it tends to center around the card game so at least it’s more fun (as long as you don’t die that is).
I’d like to use this post to list some of the differences between the two. From Kaiba’s fate after his first duel with Yuugi to what happened between the duel with Yuugi and Jonouchi (or Joey). Note: For the record, when I mean anime, I’m referring to the more popular Duel Monsters.
10. Some Arcs Aren’t Present in the Manga
Crazy, right? Since the anime was adapting a weekly manga that was still being written, it was only natural that it would eventually catch up to its source material. To prevent this, the producers of the anime created several filler story arcs that were meant to give the author more time to finish his work. This means that the Virtual World, Doma, and the Grand Championship arcs were made solely for the anime and never appeared in the original manga. The anime also featured characters that never appeared in the manga, such as Rebecca Hopkins. Which is a bummer ’cause I like her character. There were also numerous one-off episodes like the duel between Bakura and Yuugi during the Duelist Kingdom.
9. Bandit Keith Dies
Bandit Keith is one of two characters (the other being Seto Kaiba) who inspired me to collect Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. I’ll never forget that scene in the Duelist Kingdom where he showed Kozuka all the decks he had in his leather vest, it was so gangsta! Anyway, another difference between the anime and manga revolves around him. Despite being an incredibly skilled duelist, Keith was someone who won most of his duels through cheating. After losing to Jonouchi in the tournament, Keith does like any American and pulls a gun on Pegasus and demands him to hand over the prize money. In the anime, Pegasus makes Keith leave the Duelist Kingdom forcibly by activating a trap switch. In the manga, Keith’s life isn’t spared. As a penalty for losing the game, Pegasus transforms Keith’s own hand into a gun, then forces him to shoot himself in the head.
8. There Was No Final Match
The four players who make it to the Duelist Kingdom finals are Yuugi, Jonouchi, Mai and Bandit Keith. Yuugi defeats Mai and Jonouchi beats Bandit Keith. The next duel takes place between Yugi and Jonouchi, in order to decide who gets to face Pegasus and challenge him for the title of “Duel King.” It’s a duel I enjoy because it’s not in the manga. Jonouchi loses because he accidentally helps Yugi summon his Dark Sage monster, which costs him the duel. Yuugi gives him the prize money for the tournament anyway, so that he can pay for his sister’s operation (what a good friend). He only cares about defeating Pegasus and freeing his grandpa and the Kaiba brothers’ souls.
Jonouchi is never given a chance to take on Pegasus in the manga. He and Yuugi just have a conversation about how it’s unnecessary and they would only end up exposing more of their tactics to Pegasus. Yuugi also said he’d be dueling for Jonouchi just like he dueled for his sister. Pegasus even said a duel between them would be pointless anyway and gets ready to face Yuugi. See? Not all filler is bad.
7. Yuugi’s Grandpa Gets Trapped in a VHS Tape
One of the memorable scenes in the series is when Pegasus takes Yuugi’s grandpa’s soul to force Yuugi to attend the Duelist Kingdom tournament. In the anime, Yuugi’s grandpa’s body is in something of a comatose state. In the manga, Pegasus traps the soul of Yugi’s grandpa inside a VHS tape. Yugi is still able to remain in contact with his grandpa. All Yugi has to do is put the tape inside a video camera and he could see and talk to his grandpa. In fact, the two of them remain in contact throughout the Duelist Kingdom story arc. This is one of the reasons I do appreciate the staff for the anime. The way they went about this part made more sense and the theme of loss was better written and felt like there was more at stake. Sure, you probably don’t want to socialize with a loved one through a camera all the time, but it’s still better than having no contact with them at all.
6. Jonouchi’s Dad Was an Alcoholic
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series likes to poke fun at the fact most of the characters’ parents never seem to be around. Anzu/Tea and Honda/Tristan sneak onto the boat that’s headed to the Duelist Kingdom and the latter asks the former, “Don’t our parents even care that we’re missing!?” It’s an interesting question and considering what they go through, it is something to wonder. Maybe their parents don’t care, or maybe they have the utmost confidence in them they think they can get through anything! In Jonouchi’s case, it’s probably for the best his dad doesn’t care. The dad is an alcoholic and a gambler who accumulated a large amount of debt. After divorcing his wife, he lives with Jonouchi while his former wife lives with their daughter, Shizuka/Serenity. In the manga, one time Yuugi, Honda and Anzu visit Jonouchi at his apartment. Thinking them to be his son coming home, Mr. Katsuya throws a bottle at them, demanding to know where his son had been. He’s not mentioned or seen in the anime, as it tended to focus more on Shizuka.
5. Otogi’s Backstory
After Yuugi beats Pegasus, everyone returns home from the Duelist Kingdom. In both the anime and manga, they play the hottest new game in town, Dungeon Dice Monsters!
In the anime, Yugi is forced to challenge the creator, Otogi/Duke Devlin at his own game. It is later revealed that Otogi created the game and successfully pitched it to Pegasus. Dungeon Dice Monsters was going to be Pegasus’ next big game! That is until Yugi defeated him. Otgi is now seeking revenge on Yuugi for messing up his payroll! Actually, it’s more because he doesn’t think anyone could beat Pegasus without cheating, but I’d personally be more pissed at the checks I wouldn’t be getting.
In the manga, Otogi is influenced more by his father into beating Yuugi, because he once challenged Yuugi’s grandpa to a Dark Game and lost, which caused him to age fifty years in a single day (no wonder he wears that clown mask).
Otogi’s father steals the Millennium Puzzle and forces Yuugi to play Otogi at Dungeon Dice Monsters in order to win it back. When Yuugi wins, Otogi’s father tries to choke him to death with the Millennium Puzzle’s chain and a fiery pandinomnium ensues. Otogi’s father never appears in the Duel Monsters anime and in both the anime and manga, Otogi ends up becoming a friend.
4. Bakura Kills Pegasus
I love all of Yu-Gi-Oh!’s antagonists, and none of them were more unique and flamboyant than Pegasus. Which is I like the fact he comes back a number of times in the anime. He had roles in the Pyramid of Light movie, Bonds Beyond Time, appears p during the Doma filler arc and is mentioned a number of times in the Grand Championship arc. He’s still around when Yu-Gi-Oh! GX takes place! Unfortunately, the manga doesn’t use him for anything after Duelist Kingdom because Yami Bakura murdered him at the end of the tournament. In the anime, Bakura steals Pegasus’ Millennium Eye after he loses to him during a game of ancient Egyptian laser beams.
The manga version of Yami Bakura rips the eye from Pegasus’ head, killing him. In both versions, Bakura licks Pegasus’ Millennium Eye, but in the manga there’s a lot more blood.
3. Kaiba and Jonouchi Have Bigger Roles in the Anime
Even though I love the anime and manga, if you asked me which one I prefer overall, I’d answer with the anime. This is one of the reasons why. In the anime Jonouchi is the duelist who experiences the most growth as not only a player, but as a character. He used to be a bully, but ended up becoming the best friend to the same guy he used to bully. He started off as a terrible duelist, but became a competent one as he went along. It makes sense why he’s able to beat skilled players who partook in big tournaments. This is why the duels between him and Yuugi hold more emotional weight for me. The manga doesn’t seem to care though.
As for Kaiba, he is one of my favourite anime/manga characters of all time. In the anime, more of his backstory his revealed through the Virtual World arc. You’re able to understand why he is the way he is. Even though he’s rough around the edges, you’re at least able to sympathize with the antihero. Not only that, but he gets way more screen time and appears in the final arc!
2. Gozaburo Kaiba Never Comes Back
The death of Seto Kaiba’s adoptive father is basically the same both in the anime and in the manga. Gozaburo was abusive and wanted his son to be a proper heir to his company. Eventually, Seto was able to overthrow him and become the new president.
In both versions, this left Gozaburo disgraced and caused him to commit suicide. In the manga, he jumps out of a window and was never heard or seen again. In the anime, he backed up his consciousness on a computer which aimed to get revenge later during the Virtual World arc. Better late than never, I suppose.
1. Kaiba’s Penalty Games
The first episode of Duel Monsters shows a duel between Kaiba and Yuugi. Yuugi is able to win the duel by drawing all five pieces of Exodia. He then uses the power of his Millennium Puzzle to destroy the evil inside Kaiba’s heart. In the manga, Kaiba suffers like G did and is given not one, but two penalty games. The first duel between Yuugi and Kaiba in the manga happens when Kaiba tries to steal Yugi’s grandpa’s Blue-Eyes White Dragon card. Yuugi punishes Kaiba by inflicting a penalty game on him, which transforms his soul into that of a Duel Monster. Kaiba has to experience the feeling of being killed by hundreds of different monsters. He eventually recovers, but has nightmares from the experience.
He then creates his own deadly theme park, called Death-T, in order to get revenge on Yuugi and his friends. This story arc ends with Yuugi beating Kaiba by drawing the five pieces of Exodia. He then inflicts a second penalty game, which shatters Kaiba’s mind and leaves him in a coma for six months, while he is forced to rebuild the pieces of his heart.
And that’s my list! I know there are more than 10 changes/differences (maybe I’ll save that for a video). Are there any that you can think of? Let me know in the comment section! Which ones do you think were welcome? Would you change some of the changes?
That’s all I have to say, thanks for reading!