Yu Gi Oh ! : The protagonists, Ranked | ScreenRant
Many franchises have had multiple protagonists over the years, but none have had the odd naming convention that Yu Gi Oh! protagonists were given. All the protagonists have a first name beginning with “Yu”, with the exception of Judai whose last name, Yuki, receives the convention.
Each of the “Yu” protagonists is unique, bringing something different to the table. However, some protagonists were better duelists or more compelling characters with better arcs than others. Additionally, some of the character’s signature cards were just as impressive in the trading card game, while others didn’t contribute as much to the game the show was created for.
Yuga was the protagonist of Seven, an anime announcing a new game mode called “Rush Duels”. Yuga’s main goal was to create a new and interesting dueling mode that would separate him from adults who play traditional dueling styles.
As a duelist, Yuga is arguably the weakest of his entire core group of four characters. At the very least, he’s certainly weaker than his best friend and rival Luke. Yuga’s character is also quite one-dimensional, he really wants to play Rush Duels and be free. While Yuga cards are powerful in Rush Duels themselves, the game mode isn’t even available to Western audiences after several years.
Yuya’s biggest goal was to bring “entertainment duels”, a concept where duels became more of a spectacle for people’s enjoyment. Yuya began facing increasingly tough opponents after introducing Pendulum Summoning to the world and eventually teamed up with his rival Reiji Akaba to travel to different dimensions to stop the evil Fusion Academy.
Yuya’s biggest flaw as a character and duelist is that he’s actually only a quarter of a full person. The strongest Duelist, Z-Arc, split into four parts which included Yuya. Throughout the anime, the parts mixed and matched in a way that made it hard to tell what the real Yuya looked like. His brightest spot was the cards he introduced to the game: the incredibly powerful competitive archetypes Performapal and Pendulum Magician. Among them, “Performapal Pendulum Sorcerer” and “Performapal Monkeyboard” were two of the game’s most defining cards.
Yugi was just a normal high school student until he solved the Millennium Puzzle and unlocked the soul of an unnamed pharaoh. Together, the two went on dozens of adventures in an effort to save people from danger and ultimately restore the memories of the pharaoh’s lost soul.
While Yugi had some good times in the final season and in Dark side of dimensions, it was the Pharaoh Atem who dominated most of the original series. However, what Yugi lacked in early characterization and dueling he magnified in his final duel against the Pharaoh. In addition to his dueling ability at the end of the series, Yugi debuted the incredibly hard-hitting “Gold Sarcophagus” which was eventually put on the banned and limited list.
the True Protagonist Yusaku’s story began when he encountered a strange virtual being known as an AI, an aptly named artificial intelligence with incredible powers. AI turned out to be one of the six Ignises, a special race of artificial intelligence that was being hunted by a man named Revolver.
Yusaku is one of the strongest duelists in the franchise, with his biggest obstacles being the AI, Bohman, and Revolver. Yusaku hasn’t had much character development in the traditional sense, but the way he got to grips with the AI throughout the series was endearing to see. Although all Yu Gi Oh! fan knows Yusaku’s most iconic cards due to their novelty, competitive players will know how powerful his “Firewall Dragon” and “Accesscode Talker” ace monsters were.
Yuma begins his journey as the protagonist after discovering Astral, an amnesiac alien who, for some strange reason, is an expert in dueling. Yuma’s objective becomes to collect the 100 Numbered Cards, a type of XYZ monster species that contains fragments of Astral’s lost memory.
Zexal is a polarizing anime in the community, in part because of the difference in quality between the first and second halves. Yuma parallels his own show in this regard, increasing his dueling ability and development as the series progresses. However, in Season 2, Yuma is a prominent anime protagonist, and his relationship with Vector is one of the best in the franchise. Yuma also released a few cards that impacted the meta over the years like “Number F0: Utopic Future” and “Gagaga Cowboy”.
Yusei Fudo was the protagonist of 5DS, a series featuring a group of five chosen Duelists called the “Signers” who have come together to stop the evil in the world. Alongside his fellow Signers, Yusei tries his best to save Neo Domino City and the Sattelite where he was born.
Yusei was a skilled and strategic duelist who dominated most duels in the series. Yusei’s development stalled for most of Season 1, but Yusei had a strong character arc after a blistering loss to his old friend Kiryu. Finally, while some of Yusei’s cards are overrated today, he also had timeless monsters like “Stardust Dragon” and powerful cards with lasting meta impact like “Doppelwarrior” and the currently banned “Level Eater”.
Jaden Yuki (referred to as Jaden in the dub) attended an academy specifically designed for children to improve as duelists. There, a wide variety of antagonistic characters did their best to disrupt Jaden’s peaceful high school life.
The protagonist of GX didn’t start out as one of the strongest Duelists in the series, but found its way there after several development arcs and a few deck swaps. No other protagonist in the franchise has matched what Jaden experienced during his time at Dueling Academy. Jaden also brought some amazing spell cards like Super Polymerization to the game, a card that has seen unlimited competitive play over the years. Not only that, Jaden’s HERO archetype has had dozens of competitive iterations throughout the game’s history.
Next: What’s your Yu-Gi-Oh! The character talks about you
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