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"Get your game on!"


File:Yugiohgxpic 7489.jpg

The main characters... at least, some of them.

Ten years after Yu-Gi-Oh, Duel Monsters has skyrocketed in popularity all around the world, to the point where dueling is a professional spectator sport of equal importance to politics and the economy. Like any other athletes, duelists start training at a young age, and a good place to start is Seto Kaiba's boarding school, Duel Academia, a high school where kids come to learn how to duel with dreams of becoming the next King of Games.

Not only that, but the game has also gained more importance in dealing with the structure of the universe itself. The are now some Mon-like counter-parts to the cards called Duel Spirits and a Spirit World where these spirits live. Under these circumstances, new Big Bads appear every now and then trying to Take Over the World by making use of these powers.

Yu-Gi-Oh GX is the story of a group of Duel Academia's Students thwarting the plans of these new threats while dealing with the dueling school in general. It particularly focus on Juudai Yuki (Jaden Yuki in the dub), a Osiris Red student [1] who happens to be The Hero and Yugi's replacement protagonist, and his friends and rivals.

For more details, see the Character Sheet.

Remember character related tropes go in that page.

Before going any further, readers should know that the manga completely differs in plot and Character Development (especially Juudai) from the anime that came before it.

The Anime seasons go like this:

  • Season 1 (Seven Stars arc): It's revealed that the school was built over the hiding place of 3 powerful, Evil Counterparts of the Egyptian God cards and that its purpose is to raise students strong enough to defend them (the gate sealing the cards can only be opened if its 7 keys are won in a duel). Naturally, Juudai and co. are entrusted to guard said keys from the Hidden Agenda Villain's henchmen.
  • Season 2 (Society of Light arc): Takuma Saiou, possessed by the Eldritch Abomination the Light of Ruin, comes to the school to recruit Brainwashed members for his Cult, the Society of Light. Juudai meets his Anti-Hero counterpart, Edo Phoenix, whose best friend and manager Saiou uses him to brainwash his victims by putting a Defeat Means Friendship spell on his deck.
  • Season 3 (Dimension World arc): When things started to get... strange as the show headed down a slow but steady path from lighthearted comedy to Neon Genesis Evangelion levels of disturbing, angst, and creepiness. Juudai becomes close friends with Johan Andersen when students from Duel Academy branches around the world come to compete in a tournament. When an unknown Hidden Agenda Villain's actions get Johan Trapped in Another World, Juudai becomes dangerously obsessed with finding him. His journey eventually leads to: the apparent deaths of all of his friends, his discovery of his Super-Powered Evil Side and the past life of his Reincarnation, and meeting his Stalker with a Crush Yubel, a horrifying card he had as a child that harmed anyone who defeated him, prompting him to launch her into space. Now she's back and she's not too happy about that...
  • Season 4 (Darkness arc): The Story Arc that was made on drugs... okay, it was technically just rushed because the protagonist's seiyuu apparently had to leave early, but that alone does not account for how Mind Screw-y the once relatively normal Gaming and Sports Anime And Manga suddenly became. Each character's individual Coming of Age Story as they choose careers and carve paths for themselves (Manjoume wants to make a name for himself in the Pro League without relying on his family's fame or fortune, Asuka has to choose if she'll accept a job as a teacher in America...) is interwoven with an Assimilation Plot executed by the personification of all despair and Darkness, and the resolution of the mystery of Fubuki Tenjoin's Enemy Within introduced in Season 1.

Season by season, as Story Arcs pass, the cast grows into Loads and Loads of Characters, as different students graduate or arrive and villains are defeated and replaced. The manga, which came after the anime, uses the same characters and the same setting but includes none of the arcs covered in the anime. So far, it's not entirely clear whether this will turn out to be a good thing or not.

The anime has a very Post Modern-esque tone, blending elements of Gaming and Sports Anime And Manga, Mind Screw, and Deconstructor Fleet. The absurdity of the Serious Business of Duel Monsters is taken Up to Eleven, with entire educational and athletic industries centered around the game, to make you repeatedly say, "You have got to be kidding me." Meanwhile, the plot has serious, painful, traumatic psychological effects on everyone involved, particularly Juudai, whose psyche collapses under the pressure and power and responsibility he's burdened with. "I've lost a card game! I have no reason to live!" suddenly isn't funny anymore, particularly for the Marufuji brothers. In short, it's a very self-aware Genre Busting series that plays some tropes absurdly straight and others painfully realistically.

The things that fans love about the show tend to be the same things critics hate about it, from the lack of anything in common with the original series (aside from the card game) to the utter lack of Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends. Many fans also feel the existence of Yami no Games Ret Cons the end of the first series and the destruction of the Millennium Items. The dub was, predictably, as badly macekred as the original, with severe awkwardly censored references to death. There's also a strangely sharp similarity in the Lampshade Hanging and fourth wall breakage of some episodes in the dub's third season to that of Yu-Gi-Oh the Abridged Series. Observe — a parody of a parody of your own work.

The dub is available on Toonzaki, but it's... well, the dub.

Called Yu-Gi-Oh DMX by Abridged Series creator Little Kuriboh, who rarely takes anything seriously.


"Honestly, who'd want to watch a show about a bunch of rap artists playing card games?"


It was followed by Yu-Gi-Oh 5 Ds. Juudai also appears in the Yu-Gi-Oh Tenth Anniversary Movie that teams him up with Yugi and Yusei.

Tropes used in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX (anime) include:
  • Abridged Series: Several.
  • Academy of Adventure: Duel Academy. No kidding.
  • The Ace: Juudai, mercilessly deconstructed. Also Ryo, who is also brutally deconstructed.
  • Adults Are Useless: Prevalent in Season 3 and even Lampshaded. The students resign themselves to the fact that the remaining teachers have mentally lost it and won't be of any help. Principal Samejima may be a Deconstruction, as constantly burdening his students with the task of defending the Artifact of Doom and saving the world causes in a great deal of inner anguish.
  • Aerith and Bob: Mostly in the dub, see the Dub Name Change trope below for examples.
  • Alchemy: Daitokuji teaches Alchemy at the Duel Academia, while Amnael sports an Alchemy deck. Daitokuji (who is also Amnael) is also an actual alchemist, helping out Kagemaru to regain his youth.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: Taniya duels Misawa because she's absolutely smitten with him and wants to get hitched. For a while, at any rate...
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Neo Space.
  • Anime First
  • Anti-Hero: Edo Phoenix was designed to be the Anti-Hero to Juudai's hero, using a Destiny Hero deck that countered Juudai's Elemental Hero one. It's even lampshaded when Edo jokingly notes that they (he and Kaiser Ryo) are heroes too, but they're jerk heroes. Right before killing the Mooks they were threatening for information.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Phantom Demons/Sacred Beasts
  • Ascended Extra: Rei was brought back for season 3 after making only a brief appearance in season 1. The may have had something to not having enough females on the show
  • Assimilation Plot: Does This Remind You of Anything?? It should.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Chumley, and several other guest of the week duelists.
  • Autobots Rock Out: Makes up a lot of the soundtrack of the english dub.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Quite a lot of the duel disks in the third season, including The Supreme King's (which spins like a buzzsaw), Johan's (which appears to be ... made of giant razorblades), and Yubel's (which is actually an extension of her arm). The question many a cosplayer has moaned over is: How do you actually build and use any of these?
  • Ax Crazy: Yubel, until the end of the third season.
  • Back from the Dead: Most of the cast at the end of Season 3, since Death Is Cheap.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Sho and Kenzan after they settle their differences and start working as a team against Ikazuchimaru and Kourimaru. Kenzan does another one with O'Brien as they hold the line against Duel Ghouls long enough for Johan and Hell Kaiser Ryo to open a portal to deliver the "Rainbow Dragon" card.
  • Badass Biker: Saiou on a Yamaha is pretty damn epic. Then Judai tries it and crashes.
  • Badass Longcoat: Several characters wear long coats as part of their school uniforms, as do a couple of villains.
  • Because Destiny Says So: The Big Bad of Season 2 is literally the personification of this trope.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Hell. Kaiser. Ryo.
  • BFS: In the second episode of season 2, one character plays Gilford the Legend and equips him with four different swords, each of which gradually increase the size of Gilford's already largish sword. Ultimately the sword ends up about five to six times as long as he is tall. Heavily lampshaded in the English dub.
  • Bi the Way: Various characters assume Juudai has something going with Johan (and O'Brien also wonders about Juudai and Jim), and the hints are spread pretty thickly on the ground. Meanwhile, Juudai's "girlfriend" turns out to be a hermaphroditic duel monster, and before she turns up, he does spend some time blushing while in close proximity with a (fully female) Duel Monster.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Ryo, to Sho, and occasionally Sho, to Ryo in later seasons (a rare brother-brother example).
  • Black Best Friend: O'Brien, to a point.
  • Book Ends: Juudai's adventure in Duel Academy started by meeting Yugi, the King of Duelists himself, and giving him the Winged Kuriboh card. It ended by Juudai going back in time and dueling Yugi himself as his true Graduation Duel. Juudai lost, but not before realizing that the whole point of the duel was to return his lost passion for dueling.
  • Brainwashed: The members of the Hikari no Kessha, and Fubuki in Season 1, as well as Yubel. In some cases also ties into the next trope.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy
  • Break the Cutie: This series provides what is quite possibly the most brutal and realistic Deconstruction of The Ace ever.
    • The duel is Brron is basically a huge version of this. Judai breaks and it does not turn out well for Brron
  • Break the Haughty: Manjoume, Ryo and Edo all go through this to some degree. All are Expies of Seto Kaiba. This is not a coincidence.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Especially in the English dub's third season, where Syrus and a few others do this. Example: the new professor is organizing a system where students' grades will depend on them dueling one another over and over again. Syrus groans, "Oh, man. Something's not right about this." Hassleberry retorts, "What gave that away — the maniacal laugh or the creepy music?"
    • In one episode in season 3, Jaden asks Syrus to go find some water, for some reason, while Jaden duels against someone. After the duel, Jaden says the water isn't needed anyway, to which Syrus just says "Aw man. And I've been carrying that water for three whole episodes."
  • The Cameo: Several of the original series characters, among them Pegasus, Kaiba, the Paradox Brothers and Yugi's grandfather. Also, Yugi himself in the first episode, although his face isn't seen.
    • Then Yugi shows up again both as his faceless older self then His younger self As Juudai's last opponent of the series
  • The Casanova: Fubuki. He even has a little black blue book. In one of the last episodes of Season 1, Chazz/Manjoume Jun tries to be this. The English version of the episode is even named "Chazz-anova". He subsequently fails at beating Asuka in a duel and thus (through some strange logic that doesn't even apply in most anime) win Asuka's heart. Instead, he loses while having all the Spirit Keys in his possession and thus lets the Sacred Beasts/Phantom Demons free.
  • Cain and Abel: Manjoume and his brothers.
  • Card Games: Duh.
  • Catch Phrase: Lampshaded in the dub at least, during Aster and Jaden's third duel, when the former summons Destiny Hero Dogma, Jaden's scooby gang reacts with shock, saying things like "Aww, man!" (Syrus), "Great Scott!!" (Bastion), and "Sam Hill!!" (Tyranno). Then Alexis asks why she doesn't have a catchphrase.
    • "Great Scott!!" isn't Bastion's catchphrase, but it is a catchphrase. One of his more common phrases is "Good show."
  • Cerebus Syndrome: About one-third of the way through Season 3.
  • Character Development: More or less everyone gets some character development, but most noticeable are Juudai's, Sho's, and Manjoume's development.
  • Chaste Hero: Judai. Debatable as to whether he's oblivious or uninterested.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The Phantom Demons/Sacred Beasts that constantly seem to be sealed up or lost and then suddenly be broken out and used again. And then ultimately never mentioned again after their last use, with it not even being made clear they were sealed again.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: Averted. The volcano is featured prominently in far-off shots and is the site of several duels. But it never erupts.
  • Chekhov MIA: Fubuki
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Judai, who naturally saves people via dueling.
  • Clingy Jealous Hermaphrodite: Yubel.
  • Clip Show: Episodes 66, 105, and 156.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: Not just the dorm colors; in defiance of the "black = evil" trend in media, members of the Hikari no Kessha all wear white, probably because of the "White = Death" trend in the East. The West may also see all-white as related to madness and/or zealotry, two qualities in which the Society of Light is not lacking.
    • An interesting incidence of color-coding: there are two boys in GX, and only two, with brown hair and brown eyes (Juudai and Fubuki). Juudai has light brown hair/eyes, and is the embodiment of the Gentle Darkness (of creation). Fubuki's hair and eyes are dark, and in the first and last seasons, he appears as the Darkness of Nihility, which goes around destroying things.
  • Combat Commentator: It's Yu-Gi-Oh, so of course someone has to be there on the sidelines to make sure the audience didn't miss anything. In some Season Four duels where there's nobody left alive to commentate, the duelist currently representing the protagonist side of the fight will serve as his own commentator.
  • Combining Mecha: VWXYZ-Dragon Catapult Cannon.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: Inverted, as Satou observes—Juudai's great responsibility gave him great power, since those who see him as The Messiah want to help him.
  • Contest Winner Cameo: the "Rallis the Star Bird" card was a fan design.
  • Continuity Nod: The series first tag duel is played against the Labyrinth Brothers, who were also the opponents in the first tag duel featured in Duel Monsters. In Season 2, Sho and Kenzan tag duel two opponents on top of the same building that Yugi and Kaiba did in the original, and in Season Four, the dock Juudai and Johan meet on in Domino is the one Yuugi and Jonouchi dueled on in Battle City of the original YGO. Then there's the various nostalgic appearances of Black Magician and other signature monsters of the Duel Monsters characters, including a replica being offered as a prize in Season 4.
    • Then there's the second episode, where Sho speculates that maybe he and Juudai were destined to meet, with them being reincarnations of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh and his loyal priest, Seto. Juudai considers the whole scenario to be ridiculous.
    • In season 4, O'Brien's list of Trueman's victims include numerous characters from the original Toei anime.
  • Cooldown Hug: At the end of the Juudai vs Yubel duel, the pair embrace as Yubel's Brainwashed and Crazy finally comes to an end.
  • Cue the Sun: The end of The Supreme King's reign and after Juudai vs Darkness.
  • Cult: The Hikari no Kessha/Society of Light
  • Cute Little Fangs: Yubel.
  • Cute Machines: Sho's Vehicroids.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Saiou makes Yu-Gi-Oh! history by ordering a Brainwashed minion to activate his Kill Sat and destroy the world before defeating the protagonist in their duel! In fact, he wasn't going to bother dueling Juudai in the first place, because he managed to trick him into giving up the MacGuffin. He only did duel Juudai because he absolutely had to, and began said Kill Sat firing the moment Neos was out of the way.
  • Darker and Edgier: Seasons 3 and 4, compared to the first two seasons.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Juudai's Super-Powered Evil Side is actually supposed to be the "gentle darkness" and in reality might not have been that bad of a guy if Juudai hadn't crossed the Despair Event Horizon.
    • Fubuki uses a Red-Eyes Black Dragon deck and can use his Darkness Mask (which is very evil) to explore his opponent's mind. He's otherwise a good guy, but Evil Is Not a Toy.
  • Dark Is Evil: Darkness/Nightshroud, on the other hand is most definitely NOT the above, and HOLY SHIT how.
  • The Dark Side: Juudai's Super-Powered Evil Side convinces Juudai that the only way to defeat evil is to become evil himself. Considering being good did nothing that season but get his friends killed and his taking of all of The Reason You Suck Speeches to heart, Juudai gives in, and a Split Personality Takeover ensues.
  • Deal with the Devil: Many, all of which overlap with What an Idiot!.
  • Death Is Cheap: Hello, all you people who sent Juudai over the Despair Event Horizon halfway through Season Three. Good to know you were all just trapped in another dimension.
  • Death Is Dramatic: Season Three. At least until you find out Death Is Cheap.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: The way the Society of Light recruits their members is seen as a reversal to the standard Defeat Means Friendship plot point of the original series, while Juudai's Heroic BSOD in Season 3 is a more realistic look at what would happen to a person's psyche if they were forced to play a card game for the fate of the world and/or their friends' lives.
  • Defied Trope: When Juudai faces down Yubel, he admits that there's no point giving Yubel what we call a Kirk Summation. (For the record, Kirk Summations practically never work even when they are given...)
  • Demonic Possession: Yubel.
  • Demoted to Extra: Misawa who, again?
    • There is an art meme on Deviant ART that mentions this. "NOW DRAW MISAWA BEING IGNORED LIKE HE ALWAYS IS LOL!!"
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Drillago's attack name is Drilling Drill. In addition, there's a trap card called Entry Forbidden! No Entry!. The dub shortened this to No Entry!, which was actually a well-received change.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Juudai, from about midway through his duel with Brron.
  • Destruction Equals Off Switch: Kenzan learns (slightly too late) that technology does not work this way in the climax of the Hikari no Kessha arc.
  • Deus Ex Machina: Of course, but many examples fall straight into Ass Pull territory.
  • Digital Bikini: Done very obviously in episode 4 when several of the girls are in a hot tub. Even without the obvious edit, nothing even remotely suggestive would have been visible.
  • Doing In the Scientist: After extended use of dueling using shock-collars, Kaiser develops heart problems. Initially explained as overuse of the shock collars, this reason was done away with in favor of the dark power of his deck, which he stole from his mentor.
  • Double Entendre: Most people, when they summon a monster, say "I summon (insert monster's name here)". Johan, on the other hand, does things like "Rainbow Dragon! COME OUT!" (And yes: "come out" means in Japanese exactly what it means in English).
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: Rei may have passed for eight years old in the first season, but not in the second.
  • Dub Name Change: Being dubbed by 4KidsEntertainment, nearly every character. For exceptions, we have Jim "Crocodile" Cook, the distinctly Japanese-sounding villain Kagemaru, and his underlings Camula, Abidos, Titan and Amnael. Princess Rose, Prince Ojin, Yubel, The Alien of Light, Alice, Doctor Collector and The Supreme King also retain their original names (in Supreme King Juudai's case, the perceived "name change" is actually just a translation, with the word "Haou" meaning "Supreme King"). Though Americanization runs rampant, there are some odd cases of reverse Americanization such as Jim's crocodile Karen becoming Shirley and Sara becoming Yasmin. To avoid confusion since both names for a given character may pop up, here's a list.
    • Juudai Yuki > Jaden Yuki
    • Sho Marufuji > Syrus Truesdale
    • Hayato Maeda > Chumley Huffington
    • Asuka Tenjoin > Alexis Rhodes
    • Jun Manjoume > Chazz Princeton
    • Daichi Misawa > Bastion Misawa
    • Daitokuji-sensei > Professor Lyman Banner
    • Ryo Marufuji > Zane Truesdale
    • Fubuki Tenjoin > Atticus Rhodes
    • Edo/Ed Phoenix > Aster Phoenix
    • Tyranno Kenzan > Tyranno Hassleberry
    • Cronos de Medici > Vellian Crowler
    • Rei Saotome > Blair Flannigan
    • Johan Andersen > Jesse Anderson
    • Austin O'Brien > Axel Brodie
    • Amon Garam > Adrian Gecko
    • Debuted in Season 1:
      • Prinicipal Samejima > Chancellor Sheppard | Emi Ayukawa > Fonda Fontaine | Momoe and Junko > Mindy and Jasmine | Tome-san > Ms. Dorothy | Kumazo Maeda > Mr. Huffington | Chosaku and Shoji Manjoume > Slade and Jagger Princeton | SAL > Wheeler | Takadera > Torrey | Ayanokouji Mitsuro > Harrington Rosewood | Ohara and Kohara > Brier and Beauregard | Taira Taizan > Damon | Kagurazaka > Dimitri | Kousuke Kunisaki > Gerard | Mokeo Motegi > Belowski | Yuri Edogawa > Czar | Principal Ichinose > Chancellor Foster | Sara > Yasmin | Taniya > Tania | Anacis > Admiral | Darkness > Nightshroud | Mitsuo > Pierre
    • Debuted in Season 2:
      • Takuma Saiou > Sartorius | Napoleon > Jean-Louis Bonaparte | Houzan Gokaido > Reginald van Howell III | Ran Kouchou > Missy | Kabayama > Sarytr | Monkey Saruyama > Mr. Shroud | Inukai > Mad Dog | Gin Ryusei > Lorenzo | X > Howard X Miller | Kourimaru > Frost | Ikazuchimaru > Thunder | Honomaru > Blaze | Iwamaru > T-Bone | Mizuchi Saiou > Sarina | Kabukid > Orlando | Tsugio Kanda > Bob Banter | Frantz > Franz | Sombre Guerro > Elroy Prescott | Sommelier Parker > Maitre'D | Tachibana Ikaku > Lucien Grimley | Albert Zweinstein > Eisenstein | DD > The D
    • Debuted in Season 3: Professor Cobra > Professor Thelonius Viper | Karen > Shirley | Professor Kouji Satou > Mr. Stein | Geise Hunt > Trapper | Rick > Pierce | Martin Kanou > Marcel Bonaparte
    • Monster spirits also receive names changes, though most of them were made into TCG cards with name changes first..
      • Hane Kuribo > Winged Kuriboh | Android - Psycho Shocker > Jinzo | Ally of Justice - Kaibaman > Kaibaman | Birdman > Harpie's Brother | Devil Dozer > Doom Dozer | Skull Bishop > Skull Knight | Sea God's Priestess > Maiden of the Aqua
  • Dub Text: Sho gets it worst. "Jaden, I want you to be my shipmate!" and "Jaden's my best friend! He's my hero! He's the hot fudge on the sundae that is my life!"
  • Duels Decide Everything: Naturally.
  • Dumb Is Good: For two-and-a-half seasons, at least...
  • Dysfunction Junction: Most of the villains have a Freudian Excuse, and don't get started on Juudai himself.
  • Elaborate University High: Duel Academia
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Oops, that's the end of the universe.
  • Empathic Weapon: Any monster card known to have a spirit. Actually, all the cards, period.
  • Enemies with Death: The Reaper
  • Engrish: Jim. Oh god, Jim. All over the place. Yubel's VA does a great job correctly pronouncing her German card names. It's a shame the German itself is completely ungrammatical.
  • Even the Guys Want Him Juudai, though it's not surprising considering the show only has two female characters that even begin to qualify as "main characters."
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: Johan and his Rainbow Dragon—no, just Johan's deck in its entirety.
  • Evil Counterpart: Elemental Heroes/Evil Heroes, Gem Beasts/Advanced Gem Beasts, Cyber Dragon/Cyber Dark Dragon, Egyptian Gods/Phantom Demons. Need we go on?
  • Evil Costume Switch: Ryo after his Freak-Out, Juudai while he is in the Supreme King armor, and Johan after his possession by Yubel. Fubuki has a pretty wicked trench when he's busy being Darkness.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Yubel vs. Amon in season three.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Ask Fujiwara, Fubuki and Ryo. The former two played with evil and ended up with the same Super-Powered Evil Side, while the latter used a dangerous forbidden deck that gave him a fatal heart condition.
  • Evil Hand: Yubel somehow alters or transplants her own arm onto both Martin and Amon.
  • Evolving Credits: The credits in the first part of Season 3 featured Juudai recalling events from previous seasons as he stands back-to-back with Johan. The latter part of the season after Johan's disappearance features Juudai recalling his memories of Johan, standing back-to-back with a ghostly, transparent Johan.
  • Executive Meddling: Both the anime and the manga had the tail end of the series rushed due to the execs wanting to push out the newer YGO series (Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's and ZEXAL respectively).
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: In the past, Juudai actually had ears. You know, that you could see.
  • Expospeak: As in the original series, for the benefit of viewers, duelists have to describe the effects every time they play a card, even one they've already played... sometimes against the same opponent or even in the same episode! Not surprisingly, the dubbed version uses Lampshade Hanging, with the opponent frequently responding, "Thanks, but actually, I already knew that!", or some variant thereof.
  • Expies of characters from the original series:
    • Juudai: Jonouchi's personality and Yuugi's dueling skills
      • And Tea's View on friendship but to a lesser degree
    • Kaiser Ryo: Seto Kaiba, mostly his Aloof Big Brother personality
    • Manjoume: also Kaiba, mostly in how he dresses, talks, and some identical dueling strategies. Oh, and they're both from filthy rich families who are the top of their individual corporate worlds, which they actually attempted to pressure Manjoume into doing with the dueling world during the first season.
    • Edo: A third expy of Kaiba, in his Rival status and generally feeling he's superior. The fact that all three characters go through some form of Break the Haughty cannot be a coincidence.
    • Johan, who is, quite undeniably, an Expy of Juudai!

"I feel like we've met this kid before."
"That's because he's just Jaden with a southern accent."

    • Asuka: fills Anzu's role for Juudai, but duels and acts more like Mai. Also, looks like Kaiba.
    • Also worth noting is the fact that hey-wasn't-he-a-main-character-once Misawa has a couple things in common with Ryo Bakura, including getting British accents and keeping their original (and distinctly Japanese-sounding) last names in the dub.
    • Rei: Rebecca
  • Fake Brit: Misawa in the dub.
  • Fan Disservice: 99% of the ass shots in this series are male. And 99% of those are on male monsters. And 99% of THOSE are on furry, animalistic male monsters.
  • Fandom Nod: Apparently, Little Kuriboh writes the dub.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Yubel
  • First-Name Basis: Sho begins calling Juudai his given name, rather than "Aniki" after he loses faith in him during Season 3. He reverts back to "Aniki" in Season 4. Manjoume tells Asuka she can use his given name, Jun, instead of calling him by his family name. She is the only person he ever makes this offer to.
  • Foreshadowing: It's all over the place.
  • Freak-Out: Kaiser Ryo, triggering a Face Heel Turn.
  • Freudian Excuse: Quite a lot of them.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Hot sauce is serious business.
  • Fusion Dance: Juudai's E-Hero Fusion monsters
    • Juudai's soul fusion with Yubel at the end of Season 3.
  • Gag Dub: Several episodes in early Season 3 tread into this territory with a script not unlike that of the abridged series.
    • Highlighted in this collection of clips. Yes, that's the real dub's dialog, not an Abridged version.
  • Gecko Ending: The English dub ends one episode short of the end of Season 3 and insinuates that Jaden sacrificed himself to stop Yubel. Given where Season 4 went, some argue that this is a better ending.
  • Genre Busting: Gaming and Sports Anime And Manga + Mind Screw + Take That, Yu-Gi-Oh!
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Solitaire" with Thunder Nyan Nyan.
    • A rare dub example from Amon vs Yubel. "Pierce through my heart" has never looked as suggestive as it does now. (And to make matters even worse/better, apparently the dub zoomed in.)
    • Is the infamous Juudai/Johan ship actually canon? There's a scene during Ryou vs Yubel in which Johan!Yubel either (depending on your chosen subtitles) calls Juudai "my beloved" or states "In just a moment I'll show you the truth of my love," but although Juudai indicates he believes he's actually talking to Johan, he doesn't react to the pet name—even though Chronos, Shou, Taniya, and Misawa all gasp and give Juudai "did he just say--?!" looks.
      • This can be debunked however, as Johan says a very similar dialogue of "showing love" to Ryou right before Juudai's appearance. Juudai also seems to register Johan as being possessed by Yubel, as demonstrated by his calling for Johan to regain control of himself.
  • The Gift: A recurring theme is that the better someone is at Duel Monsters, the more painful their fall will be.
  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: Juudai's trademark catchphrase is the English word "Gotcha!" accompanied by pointing with his index and middle finger. In the dub, it's "That's game!"
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Johan, searching for Rainbow Dragon.
  • Graduate From the Story: Juudai and the rest of the main cast graduated from Duel Academy at the end of the series, with Asuka giving the graduation speech. There was also a graduation ball after the ceremony that Juudai did not attend in order to get packing and leave early.
  • Gratuitous English: Jim 'Crocodile' Cook provides enough of it to cover everyone.
  • Gratuitous German: The names of Yubel's second and third forms.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Chronos de Medici.
  • Gratuitous French: Napoleon and Martin.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Juudai, who fails almost every test but is still regarded as one of if not the top duelists at the school.
    • Brilliant but Lazy: Of course, it's implied he fails the tests solely because he falls asleep during them. As for being the top duelist, well, he practically has the same power of luck that Yami Yugi had with the Millennium Puzzle...except without the actual Millennium Puzzle.
  • Hate Plague: Given to Sho, Fubuki, Asuka, Kenzan, and Manjoume toward Judai temporarily in Season 3.
  • Hello, Nurse!: Asuka and Dark Magician Girl.
  • Hermetic Magic: Amnael's Emerald Tablet which he used to trap Fubuki's, Manjoume's and Asuka's souls as well as Saiou's Tarot deck. Then there's Fujiwara's ritual to summon Darkness, resulting in the Abandoned Dorm.
  • Heroic BSOD: Judai suffers through an epic one a few epic ones in Season 3 after Johan is kidnapped and after his Split Personality Takeover.
  • Heroic Safe Mode: Judai in Season 4.
  • He's Back: Manjoume after his stint at the North School in Season 1; Juudai after his trip to Neo Space in Season 2 and his return in episode 156.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Judai and Johan, Judai and Sho. Maybe.
    • Juudai and Sho count, though.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Yubel and Kagemaru
  • Hidden Depths
  • Hide Your Gays: Averted in the third season, where two separate people (three, if you count Sho ranting about Johan in the previews) assume Juudai may have an interest in guys, to the point where Yubel possesses Johan in an attempt to make Juudai surrender to her. The actual 'ship that's most hinted never happens (that we know of—see Getting Crap Past the Radar above), but Juudai ends up with someone who's half-male anyway. There really isn't any smoke without fire in this case.
    • Special mention goes to an absolutely trope-smashing line from O'Brien in Episode 139: "Jim, was there . . . anything between you and Juudai?"
    • And another from Yubel, talking to Juudai about Johan, in Episode 154: "You truly prefer that boy over me? Even the love you gave me is his now?"
  • Hostage for McGuffin: Saiou holds Edo hostage, threatening to kill him if Juudai doesn't hand over the Kill Sat keys. Juudai, in what's probably his most Genre Blind and idiotic moment ever hands them over, then challenges Saiou to a duel. Which the Genre Savvy villain declines, until outside forces (Neos) force him to duel.
    • Earlier, a villain holds Sho hostage, causing Ryo to lose so that Sho's soul is spared.
  • Hot for Student: Nurse Ayukawa for Fubuki. She his seen alongside most of the female students in Fubuki's rabid fangirl cheering section. The first Tag Force game expands on this. Ayukawa will only agree to be the player's partner if they bring her Fubuki's autograph.
  • Idiot Hero: Juudai, to a T. This trope applies well in his case only up to the halfway mark of Season 3, when his deconstruction begins in earnest. By the time Season 4 rolls around, he can be described as an interesting combination of The Messiah and the Ineffectual Loner—in the sense that while he still cares for his close ones, he makes efforts to distance himself somewhat from them in order to allow them their own growth, away from his influence. During this time, most of his interventions are generally marginal and only meant to nudge the other person in the right direction, not whip them around in what fashion Juudai sincerely (but also selfishly) wanted them to take.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Subverted with Hell Kaiser; his friends at first refuse to accept he simply turned into an ass because of his newly discovered obsession with victory. They assume he's just brainwashed, like every other character in Season 2. Played straight with Juudai in Season 3.
  • Inaction Sequence: Happens often with card effects being explained (even if the same card was played by other player five minutes ago and its effect is "Draw two cards") and villains telling their life story and evil plans to the heroes during duels. Ultimately Lampshaded by Edo/Aster in the dub. "Is he gonna duel or stand there and ponder his purpose in life?"
  • Incest Subtext: Not technically canon, but Fubuki does enjoy trying to force his sister into the most revealing clothes he can find. A LOT. And she's also his date to the graduation banquet in 179, complete with matching costumes--even though it's well-established he's popular enough with the ladies to have asked just about anyone in the school.
  • Invincible Hero: Juudai, who's lost three times (out of his 73 duels) throughout the whole series. Ironically becomes one of the reasons for his fall to The Dark Side.
    • Averted in the manga, where Juudai actually loses the first major tournament he enters. He doesn't even make it to the final round against Kaiser; Manjoume knocks him out in the semi-finals. Hey, if it keeps him from going evil, it might have been worth it in the long run.
      • This trope hits hardest during Judai's final duel with Darkness: despite having a near-broken deck, Darkness plays rather badly compared to the three final bosses who came before him.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Juudai gets rather tired of having the responsibility of saving the universe from evil. He just wants to play a card game. Of course, he eventually accepts that he isn't normal and decides that's not so bad after all, since it means he can actually help other people for a change, instead of being a selfish brat.
  • Invisible to Normals: Duel Spirits, though the definition of "normal" in this case isn't ever really clarified beyond "not able to see duel spirits".
  • Irritation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: One character does this with at least three different people, starting with just voice impersonations and ending with full cosplay. And it's especially irritating when it's your deck he's copying.
  • It's All My Fault: Almost Juudai's mantra for the middle of part of Season 3 after Johan's disappearance and the supposed deaths of some of his other friends.
  • Japanese Honorifics: It's anime, what do you expect?
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Professor Chronos de Medici, Juudai's worst enemy of the non-lethal variety
  • "Just Joking" Justification: for the Genre Savvy, Johan's fake summoning of Rainbow Dragon in Episode 106 is funny; for the cast, his seeming mockery of something that is Serious Business is enough to cause shouting, anger, and general uproar. Johan even lampshades it by giving a large grin and announcing that he's "just kidding."
  • Just Smile and Nod: Used word for word in the dub with a character's delusions that he's actually Yugi since he stole his deck.
  • Kaleidoscope Eyes: Juudai.
  • Karma Houdini: After spending an entire season manipulating, torturing, possessing, and killing people (not to mention turning the guy she loves completely batshit insane), Yubel...gets the guy for all eternity. Which was what she was after the entire time, since all she really wanted was for him to honour his promise to love only her for all time. Sure, we don't know why she went so wacko in between their lives (she was sane in their first life, after all) but she was not entirely in control of what she did.
    • Though his crimes don't even begin to compare to Yubel, Franz from season 2 episode 33 counts. He stole a copy of the Winged Dragon of Ra and hospitalized three people and Pegasus still let him keep his job.
    • The real Karma Houdini is Kagemaru. He wasn't possessed or controlled by anything. He made all of his own choices out of not wanting to die and what happened to him? Nothing. No punishment except the old age he already suffered from.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: As with the original series, GX too was recently yanked from 4Kids due to TV Tokyo and NAS not being paid royalties and 4Kids selling the DVD rights to FUNimation without permission from the aforementioned parties.
    • In short, Now the fourth season will never be dubbed.
      • Which introduces a Dub-Induced Plot Hole when 4Kids dubbed the recent movie since the dub makes it look like Jaden sacrificed himself to save everyone which leads some people to wonder how did he come back and why is he carrying around Banner's cat.
  • Kick the Dog: Ryo's defeat of Sho after the former's Freak-Out. This was meant to dissuade fans of Ryo from viewing him as a Draco in Leather Pants. It didn't work.
  • Kill Sat: Saiou's weapon in Season 2
  • Kirk Summation: Seemingly every episode of Season 2, to the point where they ultimately lampshaded it when Juudai rolled it out against the Big Bad.
  • Even Heroes Have Heroes: When Juudai meets Yugi again in the final episodes, he is nearly awestruck. At this point, Juudai had saved the world four times and could probably destroy it himself if he felt like it. But then again... it's frickin' Yugi!
  • Knight Templar: Saiou, who believes he's doing the right thing in bringing humanity "into the light." Then again, he was possessed by an Eldritch Abomination...
  • Kudzu Plot: There are quite a lot of plot elements that get left unresolved, most notably the Abandoned Dorm. Or maybe they were resolved.
    • One that stands out is way back in Season 2 during the battles against Shadow Riders, Misawa obtains a Card that Contains a Duel Spirit, but it holds no significance after that scene.
  • Laser Blade: The "Elemental Sword" card, which depending on your point of view, was either thankfully or unfortunately used only twice.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Society of Light and the Light of Ruin. The Neo-Spacians emphasize the fact that regardless of good or evil intentions, it's really bad for either Light or Dark to completely destroy the other.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Even if the students who wear uniforms are considered exceptions, there are still: characters who aren't students, like teachers, who wear the same clothes; students like Manjoume and Edo who don't wear uniforms but still wear the same clothes; and students, like Kaiser, who graduate but continue to wear their uniform!
    • Lampshaded by Edo, who actually has a whole closet full of clothes. They're just all identical.
    • Manjoume literally wears the same clothes: it's made fairly plain that his black North School uniform is the only one he has. And he never washes it. Ew.
    • Johan has one main outfit, a modification of the Obelisk Blue uniform ... which he wears before coming to Duel Academia, and possibly even before starting at North School (which has a different uniform to begin with).
  • Literal Genie: Yubel, who grants Professor Cobra's wish of being reunited with his son after he fails to complete his end of the killing him. Overlaps with You Have Failed Me..., but it's doubtful Yubel would have spared him either way.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters
  • Love Makes You Evil: Yubel. Some shippers would also argue for Juudai.
  • The Magic Poker Equation: This is apparently not only an inherent magic power some have, but a skill you can learn, and more than one duelist sold their soul to a Duel Monsters spirit to gain this power.
  • Mark of the Beast: Sho, to an extent, in Season Three.
  • Magical Queer: Ignore the gay bit, and Fubuki IS this trope. And if you want to Have a Gay Old Time, you could argue the title still fits him pretty well.
  • Meaningful Name: An interesting example is Juudai's given name. The kanji it's rendered with translate as "teenager," but a different set of kanji with the same pronunciation mean "warrior"—reflecting first Juudai's personality in the first portion of canon, and then the role he takes later on as the universe's defender. (And the fact that his signature monsters are Warrior-Types.)
  • Meddling Parents: Juudai's parents, who erase his memories of Yubel, which--although they have no way of knowing it--is part of what drives her insane.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Daitokuji, though he became Juudai's Spirit Advisor after he died. Considering he was a Double Agent while living, this in an improvement.
  • Merchandise-Driven: To a point even fans of the original series complained. Juudai's deck uses an archetype built entirely around fusion, so in any given match, Juudai is likely to either introduce a new Elemental Hero, or just fuse a different combination of Heroes to make one. While Yuugi has only had 2 of his cards be cover cards (shown on the packaging, and usually one of the rarer cards in the set) in a booster pack, Juudai has had 5.
  • Mind Control Eyes: Fujiwara
  • Mind Screw: Most of Season 4.
  • Moment Killer: Juudai/Asuka shippers were dealt a hard blow in the fourth season when Asuka managed to combine reasons # 3 and # 4 and use them on herself.
  • More Than Mind Control: Saiou
  • Mr. Exposition: Principal Samejima and Misawa.
  • Mukokuseki: Averted with O'Brien, who at least gets an attempt at actual black features.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Juudai, after being freed from his Super-Powered Evil Side.
  • My Greatest Failure: Juudai, as part of his Deconstruction as The Ace.
  • My Little Panzer: Like Principal Samejima admits, kids really shouldn't be playing a game on which rests the fate of the world!
  • Name's the Same: Juudai's two female classmates, Rei and Asuka.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Professor Cobra/Viper. Lampshaded in the dub.
  • Necromantic: Professor Cobra
  • Nested Mouths: Uria and Saint Dragon have different forms of this.
  • Never Say "Die": The dubbed version of Season 3 replaces all references to death with awkward-sounding term "sent to the stars", though death was still heavily implied. They also kept all implications of Ryo's fatal heart condition, surprisingly. This was probably helped by the fact that none of Juudai's actual friends were really dead anyway. Amon, Echo, and anyone else who Juudai didn't care for? They're dead..
    • Ryo does actually die; his heart actually stops. But he just reappears in Season 4 alive but still with his fatal heart condition, with no explanation given as to how he's alive even though we clearly saw him die in the last season.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Brron believes that he can defeat Juudai by killing off his friends and causing him to lose all hope. This doesn't work out too well.
  • Not Brainwashed: Kaiser Ryo, to everyone's disbelief, since they were hoping he was just Brainwashed and Crazy like everyone else that season.
  • Not Quite Dead: Everyone at the end of season 3.
  • No Body Left Behind: Anyone who dies in Season Three.
  • No Export for You: The fourth season has never been dubbed.
  • Official Couple: Amon and Echo are the first characters in the franchise to outright profess love for each other, beating Yubel and Juudai by a few episodes.
    • Unlike Amon and Echo, though, Yubel and Juudai do both actually get out an "I love you" (or, in Juudai's case, "Your love will be mine forever!" "Yes.") instead of just referring to their affection as an established fact.
  • Oh Crap: Juudai's reaction upon realizing he's dueling Birdman to the death in the alternate dimension and that the pain is real. One fansub renders it as "Shit, I'm going to die".
  • Old Master: Samejima, the sensei of a dojo that teaches Cyber-style dueling. Ergo, Ryo's old mentor.
  • Only I Can Kill Him: This is lampshaded repeatedly in Season 3, where other characters step in when Juudai tries to duel Mooks and remind him that he has to save his strength to face the person pulling the strings.
  • One Turn Kill: Saiou against Ojin in Season 2. Actually, he won before his first turn, causing Misawa to declare it a "Zero Turn Kill". Manjoume pulls off a more traditional example against a zombie student in Season 3.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: "Kaiser" Ryo Marufuji, whose first name is barely ever mentioned. Not so in the dub. Does he even have a nickname there?
  • Out of Focus: Pretty much everyone whose name isn't Juudai, at least once.
  • Papa Wolf: Of all people, Medici/Crowler slips into this during one arc. He instantly steps in to duel a vampiric enemy saying something alone the lines of "What kind of teacher would I be if I allowed my students to be harmed?" Despite losing, it was still one of the few truly good things he does in the series.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: There was apparently a sale at the generic gray cloak shop during Season 3. Asuka also fails to recognize her brother in Season 1, despite his only disguise being a mask.
  • Parental Abandonment: Hayato's father is the only one we ever see or hear mentioned in the series; the other closest thing to a parental unit the main cast has is Manjoume's much older (and politically and industrially successful) brothers. In fact, it was Juudai's Parental Abandonment that gave rise to the seeds of his obsession with dueling. That led to Yubel being overprotective of him whenever he lost and then he sent her into space in a hopeful attempt to get her the powers of the Gentle Darkness.
  • Perverse Sexual Lust: Used in season 1, where Sho is shown to love Dark Magician Girl this way. It's played for laughs. Then came along Yubel...
  • Phlebotinum Breakdown: Saiou fails at brainwashing Juudai. Instead, he loses the ability to see Duel Monster spirits and his cards. He gets better.
  • Platonic Life Partners: Kaiser Ryo and Asuka in Season 1.
  • Portal Pool: Used once to allow Juudai to duel Kaibaman.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Yubel
  • Punny Name: Copious amounts in the dub, though the original isn't devoid of it. Including most episode titles.
    • One such name is "Howard X Miller"—a reference to "milling," a strategy in trading card games wherein you win by making your opponent run out of available cards.
    • Yubel's name may be a Japanese pronunciation of the German "juwel" (pronounced "you-vell," with b/v pronounced the same in Japanese), meaning "jewel" or "gem". By itself it's nothing, but it's pretty funny when you consider that she considers the owner of the Gem Beast deck to be her greatest romantic competition.
      • Also consider that Yubel's name can be related back to both "Jubel", meaning "happy", and "Übel", meaning evil. "Happiness from evil"...?
  • Put on a Bus: Hayato leaves to work at Industrial Illusions at the end of the first season (cameoing in Season 2); Misawa leaving to work on a theory in Season 2 (returning in Season 3, only to get Put on a Bus again). Possibly even Fubuki between Season 2 and 3 (returns with no explanation after Duel Academy is transported back from the alternate dimension in episode 131, only to be 'killed' off).
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Pot of Greed was used during nearly every episode of the first two seasons. Then it was banned in real life, and the duelists in the show stopped using it too.
    • Reverse effect example in the Anime, Part of Judai's Deck theme involves fusion, after that more of the characters in the show start to use it, then the overall game started involving more and more fusion and cards that focus on teamwork.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Juudai gets his share of these having to do with his lack of serious motivation, first from Edo, then Saiou/Sartorious, then constantly in Season 3 until he goes over the edge.
    • His duel with Brron is full of them, mostly from his friends.
  • Recap Episode: A total of three episodes are recap episodes.
  • Red Herring Twist: The Abandoned Dorm, though it was partially resolved.
  • Red Shirt: Most of Duel Academia in Season 3.
  • Refuge in Audacity: In his introduction, one of Edo Phoenix's personality traits is that he likes to poke fun at his opponents and their monsters before he destroys them. Dare to even speak lightly of his own Destiny Heroes, and...
  • Reincarnation The end of Season Three.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Fujiwara and Sorano in Season 4. It's lampshaded for Sorano when someone comments to Kenzan that Sorano is "that guy you hung out with almost every day." Fujiwara, on the other hand, who repeatedly says things like "I've been here for the last three years!" and "You must remember me, we've been best friends all this time," was actually only hypnotizing people into thinking they knew him.
  • Reset Button: The end of Season 3.
  • Ret-Gone: Part of Darkness' Assimilation Plot.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Winged Kuriboh and Ruby Carbuncle, among others.
  • Sapient Cetaceans: Neo-Spacian Aqua Dolphin.
  • Screw Destiny: Season 2 in a nutshell.
  • Sculpted Physique: The various machine/organic fused mons.
  • Self-Parody: Certain episodes in the third season's dub script makes it painfully clear that the English writers have gotten really bored with the show.
  • Serious Business: I mean, "Attack Point Quantum Mechanics?"
  • Shoot the Dog: When Edo's about to win their duel, DD reveals that his monster has his father's soul trapped inside, trying to scare him out of attacking. Partly because his father asks him to free him, and partly since he's the Anti-Hero, it doesn't work, and Edo attacks.
  • Shonen Upgrade: Juudai's Neos Deck in Season 2, his powers as The Supreme King in Season 3, and his merger with Yubel. Ryo's Cyberdarks also count.
  • Shout-Out: Just about every single Elemental Hero Juudai uses is based off of a comic book superhero (with Elemental Hero Neos being based off of Guyver as the only exception), while almost every single Destiny Hero is based off of a British hero (or, in some cases, hero/villain—Destiny Hero Double Dude Guy, for example, is notably based off of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde).
    • Similarly, Sho's Solidroid monsters from the manga are totally Getter Robo and his anime Super Vehicroid Stealth Union is a clear reference to GaoGaiGar.
    • The Supreme King's outfit, is quite similiar to Lelouch's Zero Outfit in Code Geass. The color scheme and the cowl that goes with it is too similar to be a coincidence.
    • Ruby Carbuncle is based on the Carbuncle summon from the Final Fantasy series.
    • Juudai's Defender Hero Trap Card from the manga features a figure that looks identical to MegaMan.EXE, protecting a figure that resembles Iris.
    • There are a lot of similarities between GX season 3 and a Super Nintendo game called "Illusion of Gaia." Just a few of them (listing them all could take a page all its own!):
      • General Freed > Freedan, the Dark Knight (whose armour resembles The Supreme King's)
      • The Light of Destruction makes Yubel evil > The Light of Ruin turns men into twisted creatures, reflecting the darkness in their hearts.
      • Juudai and Yubel fusing in S3 and going to fight the Light > Kara, the "Light Knight," and Will, the "Dark Knight," fuse together to fight the Comet of Destruction that brings the Light of Ruin.
      • Juudai lives forever > "I am Freedan, the Dark Knight. I am eternal."
      • The Supreme King and Juudai are actually the same person > Will and Freedan are actually the same person.
      • Juudai and Johan can see spirits -> Will and Kara (who swears she feels like she met Will before) can see spirits.
      • The Jeweler Gem has a special gift for "the chosen one" who collects all 50 Red Jewels
      • The location for Juudai vs Yubel strongly resembles the battlefield for the Fused Knight/Shadow vs Dark Gaia (the embodiment of the Light of Ruin)
      • Dark Gaia and Light Gaia both bear a resemblance to Yubel
      • In the first save point (all save points appear to be in outer space): "Only the chosen one of Darkness can see this space."
      • There's a mysterious character—the only one with no backstory, as it happens—named "The Jeweler Gem."
      • The game begins and ends in a school classroom.
      • The character "Lilly" resembles Johan in appearance.
      • Some settings in the Freejia/Diamond Mine section of the game strongly resemble settings in Dark World.
      • Other settings in Freejia resemble the street Johan's on in the flashback with Tom.
    • Vampire Camula is a walking Shout-Out to Castlevania. Plus, she sort of looks like Morrigan.
    • Asuka's foil is named Rei. Also she disguised herself as a boy with last name being Saotome
    • In the manga, we have two characters who are usually just referred to as "Rabb" and "MacKenzie" (or just "Mac"). The fact that they're both pretty good at what they do just makes the reference even more obvious! Albeit their first names are different, and they don't have quite the same personalities either.
    • During Season 3 of the dubbed version, there's a duel with a teacher named Mr. Stein who talks in complete monotone.
  • Sliding Scale of Fourth Wall Hardness: It pretty much disappears during the third season of the dub. Thanks, Little Kuriboh!
  • Smurfette Principle: Out of the main(ish) characters, Asuka is the only female (see this page's picture).
    • This principle applies to the Elemental Heroes too—Burstlady is the only feminine monster out of them all.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil
  • So What Do We Do Now?: Judai was probably wondering this a lot in Season 4 before Trueman showed up.
  • Sparkling Stream of Tears: Yubel, during her duel with Juudai, when she asks how she's supposed to survive if he doesn't love her. She also cries facing Amon.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The most obvious example is the extended vowel debate that rages in all three Yu-Gi-Oh shows (Yuki/Yuuki, Judai/Juudai, Tenjoin/Tenjouin, Yusuke/Yuusuke), but GX has a couple of interesting and unusual examples outside of this...
    • Is it Johan Andersen, Johan Anderson, or Johann Anderson? All three spellings have been used in official Japanese merchandise or materials, and all three are technically correct spellings, varied by country ("Andersen" is Danish/Norwegian, while "Anderson" is Swedish/English, with "Johann" being the German variation on the Scandinavian "Johan").
    • Yubel's name is not Japanese in origin, and because her name is only ever spelled onscreen in katakana, the question isn't the spelling of her name so much as the name itself. "Yubel" could be the Japanese pronunciation of the German "juwel" (pronounced "you-vel"), meaning "jewel" or "gem," or a correct pronunciation of the Swedish "jubel," meaning "joyful." Nobody actually knows.
  • Spirited Competitor: Juudai. Kaiser Ryo also steps into this about halfway through season three where before he had turned into something of a Blood Knight. With card games.
  • Spirit World: Referenced often enough and then becomes the main setting of season 3.
  • Split Personality Takeover: Juudai, with his Super-Powered Evil Side.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: The foreign champions.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Yubel
  • Super-Powered Evil Side: The Supreme King
  • Tempting Fate: Anyone who says "my victory has already been decided" has a 100% chance of losing on their next turn.
  • That Wasn't a Request:

Adrian: Come with me, Echo.
Echo: I don't want to go with you, you're scaring me.
Adrian: That wasn't a request!

  • The Masochism Tango:
    • Episodes 153-155. And I quote: "Now we'll be wrapped in the same pain . . . and love . . . "
    • And even before that, Yubel-possessed Johan vs Juudai: "Come, my beloved Juudai, let us hurt one another!"
  • Theme Deck: Takes it further than its predecessor, with decks generally being even more focused and theme-oriented.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Jaden sings the English intro song in episode 35.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: If Chronos isn't the one who's trying to demolish the Red Dorm, you can be sure as hell he'll defend it.
  • This Is Your Brain on Evil: Hell Kaiser Ryo in Season 3
  • Third Person Person: If a character refers to Manjoume without the -san honorific, he's likely to correct them with "Manjoume-san da!" which, loosely translated, means "That's Manjoume-san to you!" This is retained in the dub, where he insists he be called "The Chazz".
    • Also an instance of Punny Name, since his nickname in the Japanese show is "Manjoume Thunder," with "Thunder" being pronounced sandaa.
  • Tiger Versus Dragon: Misawa and Judai in Season 1.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Everyone looks tiny next to Taniya, even Misawa (who had a larger build than most of the other characters to begin with...)
  • Trapped in Another World: Season 3 features about four.
  • Triang Relations: Possible Type Seven. Yubel loves Juudai, Juudai loves Yubel, Johan appears to have something of an interest in Juudai, and Juudai has enough of an interest in Johan for Yubel to assume the boys have become lovers in her absence.
  • The Virus: The Hikari no Kessha/Society of Light.
  • Vocal Dissonance: At least in the English dub, Mad Dog (a muscular guy) has a high-pitched and childish voice.
  • Warrior Therapist: Juudai believes dueling can solve anything. Anything.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Edo Phoenix, who goes to extremes to fight crime (through dueling, of course) and find the culprit who killed his father.
  • We Named the Monkey "Jack": Actually, they named the monkey Wheeler. And you just know Kaiba had a say in that.
  • Winged Unicorn: Jesse's Sapphire Pegasus.
  • Wham! Episode: Comes at about the half way point of Season 3.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough...?
--O'Brien: There's no way he'll attack head on.
Judai: Battle! Featherman, direct attack!
  1. (The school is divided into three dorms named after the ancient Egyptian cards: the opulent Obelisk Blue, Ra Yellow, and the lowest, the run-down Osiris Red. These reputations correspond to Kaiba's opinions of the monsters- which really means Obelisk was the card Kaiba had in Battle City and Osiris was the card Yu-Gi had in Battle City, in other words Evil Is Petty.)