Now that Yu-Gi-Oh! Vrains has ended i wanted to see where it stacked up with the other shows so here is my ranking of all 6 Yu-Gi-Oh! anime shows. This is all my own opinion and may contain some biased thoughts and a lot of nostalgia. (SPOILERS)
6. Yu-Gi-Oh! Vrains
Starting us off is the latest addition to the series, Vrains. i hear a lot of mixed views on this show, a lot of people hate it and a lot of people love it. I enjoyed watching this show but from the beginning i was left disappointed, every new show we got had to add a new dynamic, with Vrains we got the Link Summon, i wasn’t a big fan of this new type of summoning, i wanted a new show just to focus on the story line and characters rather than new gimics that we get with every new show.
I like some of the characters in Vrains, im a big fan of playmaker, he was very different to all the past protagonist, he was serious and straight down to business whereas the other protagonists have all been friendship driven and a lot less care free. Side characters seemed cool but none of them really stood out for me like characters in past Yu-Gi-Oh! shows, one character i really enjoyed was Akira Zaizen who had a very intersting arc throughout the series. The series got better as it went along, and maybe with a few more watches it will be higher on the list but at the moment it remains the most underwhelming of the shows.
5. Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal
Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal added the XYZ summoning method, which was similar to synchros but had its own unique twist, i enjoyed this new summoning method it came at a time when it was still cool to have a new way to bring out monsters for each show. The show began with a very light hearted comedic theme, we followed Yuma Tsukumo who is probably still the weakest duellist of all the main protagonists, who has lost the most duels and spent most of the first season losing duels. He grew as a duelist along with Astral and by the end of the series he had grown as a character. I really enjoyed some of the arc’s within Zexal such as the World Duel Carnival and the Barian Invasion arc in Zexal II.
The main thing that puts Zexal so low is Yuma, he is my least favourite protagonist, and for me a great Yu-Gi-Oh! show needs a great main character, he had his qualities but wasn’t enough to drag the show up on the list. The show has some great side characters however and two of the best rivals in Yu-Gi-Oh! history being Reginald “Shark” Kastle and Kite Tenjo (Kaito Tenjo), who were both ruthless and pushed Yuma to his limits and gave us some great duels.
4. Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V
Some people might be surprised that Arc-V ended up being above Zexal, i really enjoyed that all aspects of previous shows came together for this one. It had quite a slow start and took me a while to get into but once it going got i knew exactly what it was trying to do. The second season in the Synchro dimension is one of my all time favourite seasons of Yu-Gi-Oh! and the Friendship Cup was a great competition with so many great characters competing. We saw the return of one of 5D’s most beloved characters Jack Atlas, although he was a different version of our well known Jack, i could still admire what they did and how the character fit into the new series.
Sora Perse (Sora Shiunin) was one of my favourite characters, he played the role of the innocent kid very well, but i always knew there was something up with him, and then we finally got the reveal during an epic duel with Shay Obsidian (Syun Kurosaki) that he was working for Duel Academy the whole time, and was at fault for shay’s home world’s demise, this was one the best duel in Arc-V in my opinion. I like Yuya, he spent most of the series trying to perform and be just like his dad, and it was a great pay off when we finally got to see his dad. He wanted to entertain people while dueling and all he cared about was putting a smile on his friends faces. What brings this show down for me is the final season, i’m sure everyone will agree the ending was slightly unsatisfying and didn’t really tie up loose ends but despite this there was some really high moments for this show and that’s why its 4th.
3. Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s
When 5D’s came out i was like a lot of people, “dueling on a motorbike, that’s stupid”, but i grew to love 5D’s, i really enjoyed the new style of dueling in the end, it was a combination of a race and a duel which was a brand new unique idea. Yusei Fudo was the main protagonist and he was very different to the two who came before (Yu-Gi & Jaden) he was a lot more serious, he was fighting for his freedom. The Domino City that we all knew from the previous shows had been split into two halves, the satellite and New Domino City, i really enjoyed this aspect of the show, you got to see how both sides of the coin lived and how people in satellite really struggled to get by.
It was so satisfying to see Yusei escape satellite and mend the bridge between the two places. The side characters in 5D’s were incredible as well, Jack Atlas was a stuck up rich kid at the start of the show but as it went on, he began to respect where he came from and wasn’t afraid to show compassion towards his friends. Crow Hogan was another great character, he dueled to help out his friends in the satellite, the kids who were left behind and had nothing, Crow was a big brother figure to all of them.
Overall 5D’s was really enjoyable, at first i didn’t like it but as time has gone on its only grew stronger. It could of probably been higher on the list if it wasn’t for my biased & nostalgia for the next two shows.
2. Yu-Gi-Oh! GX
It was hard to decide whether to put GX second or first, i love almost everything about this show. Duel Academy is a great new setting, and right from the beginning we see how students are separated into three ranks , which causes the usual school competitive nature. Jaden Yuki (Judai Yuki), the main protagonist was put in the lowest rank (Slifer Red) despite being one of the best duelist on the entire island. He started off loving every moment, he was carefree and just loved dueling. For Jaden dueling slowly became less about having fun and more about saving his friends lives. As the show went on Jaden and friends were put in so many dangerous positions, but Jaden overcome them all, until season 3 when Jaden couldn’t resist his dark side and he became the Supreme King.
This was such a big twist, and it was really emotional to see our favourite character turn so dark after being such a loving person for the first few seasons, Jaden never was the same person after this happened, he lived in fear of the pain he caused his friends, which made him distance himself in season 4. this was one of the deepest aspects Yu-Gi-Oh! has ever done and is such a big reason why i loved the show. The other characters were fantastic as well, Zane Truesdale (Ryo Marufuji) with his arc from being the best at his school, to a washed up pro and then turning to the dark side so he can start winning again, Syrus Truesdale (Sho Marufuji) being Jaden’s best friend, always trying to become a better duelist but not getting any respect from his brother. There was so many great characters in the this show and that’s why it was so good.
The show made us love all the dynamics between every character, such as Jaden and Chazz and how they always annoyed each other, but as we got to season 4, this was pretty much gone. Jaden was left in the Slifer Red Dorm all by himself, regretting his actions as the Supreme King, it was so sad to watch how alone Jaden was and how he distanced himself from everyone. Syrus was an Obleisk Blue now and they were so far apart and although things got slightly better as the final season went on, Jaden never really was the same again.
Overall this show was so character driven and that’s why it was one of the best. Great characters and some great story telling is why its number 2.
1. Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters
Of course in first place is the original Yu-Gi-Oh!, i grew up watching this show, and have so many great memories with it. Yu-Gi Muto is our main protagonist, but he shares a body with an old Egyptian Pharaoh called Atem, which already sounds crazy. As the series goes on we learn a lot more about Atem, he takes the front seat when Yu-Gi is dueling and is seen to be the reason why he wins most of his duels, but this isn’t true. The two make a great team together and have so much love and respect for each other. Joey Wheeler is Yu-Gi’s best friend and he is one of my all time favourites, he can be used as comic relief but then he also has a sensitive compassionate side, he just wants to do right by his friends and his sister, and we see him grow so much as a duelist throughout the years.
Seto Kaiba, probably the greatest rival in Yu-Gi-Oh! history, challenged Yu-Gi to be the best, every step of the way, their climatic duel in the Battle City semi finals is to date one of the best duels in the show. After this Yu-Gi goes on to face one of the best villains in the show being Marik Ishtar, the show was built around so many strong characters and especially the two main villains Marik & Bakura. The show started strong with the Duelist Kingdom saga, before the rules were established but it was still so much fun to watch, Yu-Gi fighting through the island to gain 10 star chips so he can defeat Maximillion Pegasus and rescue his Grandpa, while Joey was doing the same to help his sister get eye surgery.
After Duelist Kingdom we got Battle City which was my favourite of the original series arc’s, it introduced the Egyptian God cards, the most powerful cards anyone had ever seen, who the evil, Marik Ishtar was trying to gather all three and all seven millennium items so he could gain the power of the pharaoh. The filler Orichalcos arc is probably the most hated by fans but it still has some great moments, dealing with Atem turning evil and having to earn back Yu-Gi’s respect. Out of all 6 shows this had the best ending, we got the Ceremonial Battle, between Yu-Gi and Atem, four episodes of the main two characters we have been following, battling it out with everything on the line, it was such a perfect ending to the show and that’s why Yu-Gi-Oh! is still the best of all 6.
Do you agree with my list? let me know how you would rank these 6 shows.