Molly Rants-a-lot – Yu-Gi-Oh! GX

Posted on Mar 28 2010

Well, it must be that time of the month again because I’m back to flood your sub-conscious with more fantastical ranting! I’ve decided to go in a completely different direction from last month and assault you brain with the power of friendship and all that mumbo-jumbo. That’s right, kiddies, let’s take a trip to Duel Academy Island, so strap on your duel disk and get your game on because Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is our next stop!

GX is a pretty typical kid’s anime, but this one seemed to have a little bit more. “But, Molly! Spin-offs are never as good as their predecessors. Next you’ll tell me they’ll play card games on motor-bikes in an attempt to keep up with the current generation of haphazard sugar-consumers!” Unfortunately, our fears have already been confirmed, but Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is what I would consider the least drastic flying-leap into oblivion from Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters with the use of shadow games shadow realm, fancy dragon cards, with the appearance of Kaiba and Pegasus and what-not.

Yu-Gi-Oh! GX follows of pursuit to become the next king of card games by Yuuki Judai (Or Jaden Yuki for our 4Kid-ers out there). Spunky, energetic and ready to duel, Judia/Jaden is your typical children’s anime protagonist. After systematically defeating self-proclaimed master of the rusted Ancient Machine deck, Chronos/ Dr. Crowler, Judia/ Jaden is accepted into Duel Academy where he meets his soon-to-be best friend and roommate, eternally nervous and squirrelly Shou/ Syrus, super math genius with the just as super ego, Daichi/ Bastion, feministic and usually plays the role of damsel in distress (when not played by Shou/ Syrus), Asuka/ Alexis, neighborhood rich kid with an exceptionally larger ego than that of Kaiba, Jun/ Chazz, and other best friend and roommate that doesn’t last that long because he’s just to epic for our eyes to behold, the grilled-cheese super muncher, Hayato/ Chummley as well as a slew of other prominent characters that all vie for screen time. This is what I like to call a “run of the mill cast of children’s show characters”, however, these doppelgangers of the original Yu-Gi-Oh! characters really come into their own after season 1 of 4 similar yet kind of different seasons. OK, OK I have only been poking at their clichés with a stick that I found on the floor conveniently next to my desk, but that was just the main cast! The supporting cast is ten-times more awesome so it’s a shame they don’t get developed as much as they deserve. For the sake of simplicity and for my sanity, though, I’m just going to use the American 4kids names from here on out. It’ll make this far less confusing to follow. You’ll thank me later.

For those who are new to the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, let me sum up the entire premise in one sentence:

Wanna-be artist and feminine male millionaire, Maximillion Pegasus, creates a card game that takes the world by storm, but in truth, the card game is based off of a murderous shadow game played by the Egyptians over 5000 years ago, so really, Pegasus uses this game as a front to bring his dead wife back from the dead using the dark magic of the Millennium Items, but, of course, people ignore this eminent threat to their lives and play this game anyway, calling themselves “duelists” as they assert their egotistical awesomeness by defeating each other using spell, trap and monster cards, yet these seemingly harmless pieces of paper have the ability to kick the ever loving crap out of the defeated by draining the life force right out of them because they unknowingly stumbled into a children’s game turned “fight for your life.” PHEW! Thus, the Yu-Gi-Oh! universe was born!!! Kazuki Takahashi, you’re one crazy man. So far we’ve learned that: 1) Pegasus has a real talent other than card games. 2) Egyptians really know how to accessorize with bling. 3) Children are gullible to the fullest extent.

Yu-Gi-Oh! GX takes place ten years after the events of Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters at Duel Academy Island, a school established by Seto Kaiba to raise the next generation of kick-butt duelists. Yes, there is a school for children’s card games. Where do you think Harry Potter went to school? A normal school? Pu-lease. The school is socially divided into three classes of duelists which, if I do say so myself, is just slightly cruel and unusual. We’ve got your rich and snotty Kaibas-in-training, the Obelisc Blue dorm. We’ve got your budding geniuses that actually had to work to get into the school, the Ra Yellows. Lastly, you’ve got your ever lovable drop outs, the Slifer Reds (or “Slifer Slackers” as Crowler in total flamboyant disdain) where we find our scruffy protagonist, Jaden. Each student wears a jacket corresponding in color to their dorms to make very sure every student stays in their rightful place on the hierarchy. You’ve got to love high school.

Much in the style of Baccono, the cast is WAY TOO BIG. We’ve got your heroes, your villains (though those can be subdivided into Shadow Riders, Society of Light, that Yubel guy and so on and so forth), your anti-heroes like the lovable Professor Banner with the tight black pants, long, shiny hair, the cat and the “I’m the bad guy but not really” mentality, and your throw away characters that are just there for comic relief (Ex: Tyranno, Blair, that guy with the crocodile on his back from season 3).

Overall, this spin-off of the characters, concepts and plots from the original franchise, based off of the manga written by Kazuki Takahashi, is actually pretty decent except for some obvious faults. For one, no card game should last more than two episodes. I feel that was the writers’ way of not actually having to do his or her job. Who needs a plot when you’ve got lethal paper cards and duels that go on longer than the preface to a fight on Dragon Ball Z? Second, villains should just stay villains. Like Lyman Banner/ Amnael or Sartorious/Sartorious the Society of Light Guy, having the mysterious man with the double life only works once (but in Banner’s defense, he had the best back-story, giving him reason to be evil yet not. That, and the tight black pants helped).

If there is anything that would bring the grade down for this series it would be 4kid’s interference. Everything from music, graphics, character names and entire scenes were altered to better cater to their American viewers. Sub purists had a field day scrutinizing what 4kids did with this series. I, personally, don’t think the big changes in names and music were so bad! It’s the FACT they HAD to cater to American minds that bugged me. The opening theme song is the catchiest thing I ever heard in my anime-loving life!! The only qualm with 4kids with pertaining to their work on Yu-Gi-Oh! GX would be that they never finished dubbing the series. Their only voice acting talents were being recycled for Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s. Oh well. Animation and monster and character designs are smooth, shiney and in-your-face, giving fans plenty to cosplay. Yu-Gi-Oh! GX isn’t the shortest series, with multi episode duels making up most of the installments, but for a good time and some clichéd bishi lovin’, this series is where it’s at.

Review Summary

Overall grade: A-

Animation: Character and monster designs are clean and memorable. The duel disks have a new, sleeker design of which a duelist can’t simply stab their opponents like with the older, pointier duel disk system.

Story: The stories seem to get progressively darker and more mature as the series progresses.

Pace: 180 Episodes. The duels seem to drag on for too many episodes. Big downer.

Recommend: To Yu-Gi-Oh! fanatics, kids who like clichéd anime about glorified board games and those few fan girls who like cat-loving, tight-pant wearing and bespectacled men.

Well, that about does it for me this month. Check back into at the end of every month for more lengthy ranting and bad punctuation and grammer usage! Not only that, but you won’t want to miss any awesome features one this site (The staff would be sad if you did). So, see you back here soon! You know you want to! If you don’t, you’ll be damned to a life of playing card games of motorbikes!

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