If there is one anime franchise, people love to hate and also love to love, it is “Yu-Gi-Oh.” Aside from taking the whole spiky-haired anime protagonist thing to a whole new level, the series also has some of the most ridiculous sakuga of all time. I’m looking at you, Joey Wheeler. Still, there is no denying that the series has a big place in many people’s hearts. So for today, I thought I would take the time to rank the “Yu-Gi-Oh” anime series from worst to best.
Many elements of “Zexal” came across as just outright annoying. Yuma’s voice, for one, was incredibly high-pitched, at least in the dubbed version. Shark, his rival, was kind of lame and was really edgy for almost no reason. However, it gets by being better than “Vrains” and “Seven” for a few reasons. First, the concept of the numbers as pieces of Astral’s memory that Yuma needed to get back was a pretty good one. Also, despite being initially really edgy, Shark’s story does come full circle and end up being pretty good. While I certainly would not call the series a good one overall, it has some merit.
Many fans have ragged on “GX” for being the worst of the “Yu-Gi-Oh” anime series but honestly, I just do not see it. Yeah, sure, the whole concept of a private academy full of duelists is a little goofy, but so is the entire concept of “Yu-Gi-Oh.” It does also suck as well that the series’ last season was never actually dubbed, so fans who watched it in their younger years likely never got to see Jaden fighting against and alongside Yubel. Yeah, it may be strange but it is certainly not the worst.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters
From this part of the list onward is the section that I would consider being actually good. Aside from the nostalgia of being the first in the “Yu-Gi-Oh” franchise, and the oddly rule-ignoring first season, there is a lot to like about the original. The highlights of the series are definitely Battle City and Orichalcos, as both seasons show just how much fun the writers can have with a series as incredibly wacky as this one. If I had to pick out one bad thing, it would probably be that some characters, like Tristan and Tea, never end up feeling as fleshed out as they should have been considering how long the series was.
I’ll admit that my disdain for what the “Yu-Gi-Oh” card game has become may be tainting my opinion of the newer series. However, after watching each of them, I honestly just could not find a reason to like either series. Both come across as pretty generic, really lacking in the sort of expansive world-building. Neither of the main characters really feel like they are even there. Everything both anime try to do is just done better by shows higher on the list. Next.
Yes, yes, pendulum summoning was a terrible mechanic that should have never been introduced, believe me, I get it. We are talking about the anime though, and in that department, man was this series so cool! While perhaps traveling between the different “Yu-Gi-Oh” universes was just a cheap way to generate hype for the series finale and that a lot of the show leading up to was not particularly interesting, I am just gonna have to disagree. There definitely is a bit of a start-up in terms of getting to the story proper, but once there, “Arc-V” delivers, with Yuya discovering what is essentially his split personalities across different dimensions, and a war between himself and the fusion world. Even by the standards of “Yu-Gi-Oh,” “Arc-V” manages to deliver one of the series’ most epic storylines to date. Though ultimately not as good as
What can I say other than this what “Yu-Gi-Oh” looks like at its absolute best. Again, one always has to adjust their expectations with anime about a card game aimed at children, but along those lines, “5Ds” has it all. A story that holds no punches and hits right from episode one, a cast of characters that are interesting and fleshed out, animation that looks consistently above average from beginning to end, and killer openings and endings in both English and Japanese. Like, what is not to love? They also have a mechanic that is not total Bull- sorry, sorry, just still a little frustration.
That, ladies, gentlemen, and those in between, is my list. “Yu-Gi-Oh” is…so, so weird, but ultimately still a lot of fun. Let me know how you feel about this list in the comments, and give me your own list as well, this is one of those things I am very curious about.
Thank you for reading until next time.
Jack Scheibelein @ Animated Observations Blogger, writer, and college student from Knoxville, Tennessee. Currently focusing on anime, gaming, and writing while pursuing my passion for poetry.