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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Yu-Gi-Oh! Volumes 25-31

Over the course of the duel, Joey figures out that Odion isn't Marik. Because Odion has fought fair, and Marik doesn't. Marik tells Odion to use the counterfeit Ra in his possession to convince him that he is in fact Marik.
Odion summons Ra and tries to make it attack, but the dragon strikes lightening down upon him. One of the bolts hits Joey as well, and both of them fall down. Odion is unable to stand, but Joey gets to his feet.
Yami Marik then proceeds to unveil and reveal himself to be Marik.
Due to unconsciousness, Odion loses his duel, and Joey moves on to the next round.
The next duel is between Marik and Mai. Yami Marik turns it into a Shadow Game, natch. Cords of light lead between the duelists and their monsters. Monster gets damaged, your own body reflects the damage they took.
Marik brings out Vicer Des to torture Mai's monsters. It's invincible for three turns after summoning. Vicer Des attaches itself to one of Mai's Amazons, so Mai sends it to the graveyard so she can use its special ability to steal the real Ra from Marik's deck, and to stop the excruciating pain. However, she can't read the ancient Egyptian on the card. Marik repeatedly attempts to torture Mai into submission, but she keeps getting out of them creatively. Mai then summons up her Harpies and Kaleidoscopes them so she can summon Ra. It then refuses to unfurl as if it's a Bakugan without a metal base to activate on. Mai attempts to set up Mirror Wall to block Marik's offense, but he uses Vicer Shock to send it back to her hand. He then activates both Vicer Shock and Vicer Des to drain Mai's life-points. He then reads the Ancient Egyptian off the card and activates Ra. A single shot from Ra and she's on the verge of actual death. Joey rushes up to the battlefield to try and get Mai out of the torture machine, but Marik fires a beam from Ra. Yami takes the blast on his back, and the volume ends.
Yami Marik is declared the winner. He then traps Mai's mind in an hourglass with mind-eating bugs. Death in twenty-four hours. He delivers an ultimatum to Yugi and the gang, kill him in a day or Mai dies.
The next duel is between Kaiba and Ishizu. The appearance of his older sister begins tearing Marik and Yami Marik apart, but Yami Marik overwhelms him. Ishizu uses her Millennium Necklace to predict what she thinks the outcome of the duel will be. She uses her knowledge of Kaiba's actions to counter his every move. She allows Kaiba to activate his Crush Card Virus, but she activates Exchange of Spirit to reverse the effects of those cards. This places all of Kaiba's deck into his graveyard, and gives Ishizu back most of hers. She keeps tossing his cards into the graveyard with traps. He's left with only one option. Use Soul Exchange to sacrifice some of her monsters to summon a high-level monster of his own. She places Blast Held By Tribute on one of her monsters so she can destroy Obelisk if he attacks with it. She rightfully predicts that he'll summon Obelisk with her monsters on her turn. Kaiba almost attacks with Obelisk, but The Millennium Rod in Marik's hand and the Blue-Eyes White Dragon in his own call out to him. He sees a vision of himself before a stone slab of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon. He makes his decision, and uses Silent Doom to sacrifice a monster from his graveyard to summon up his Blue-Eyes, subverting Ishizu's predictions and winning the duel.
Meanwhile back in the command-center, Mokuba Kaiba has been using their computers to try and translate the ancient Egyptian on the card. When Seto comes to check on him, he finds that he can read it like it was his native language.
After the duel, Ishizu explains to the gang what's going on with her brother. They went out of their little cave where they lived to explore the outside world. There they ran into Shadi, who told them about some of the things that would soon happen. They went home, found their father found out they left and tortured Odion in an attempt to kill him and then tried to do that to Marik. Yami Marik then took the blade in the Millennium Rod and flayed the skin from his fathers back.
Ishizu gives Yugi her Millennium Necklace. Get all seven of the items, place them in the tablet and Yami's memories are restored.
Yami Marik roams the hallways and goes to Odion's room to kill him, but Yami Bakura stops him. Actual Marik's spirit accompanies him, and they challenge Yami Marik to a duel.
The Shadow Game that they play is different from that of the one Marik played with Mai. You lose parts of your body when you take damage to your life-points.
Yami Marik doesn't draw Ra, but Yami Bakura plays a spell-card to put it in his hand. He then makes Marik discard his entire hand at the cost of 100 of his own life points per card.
Marik then draws Monster Reborn, and uses it to bring back Ra, and to activate its special power. Give your life-points to Ra to increase its attack points. He does that, giving all but one to it. He uses that one attack to obliterate Yami Bakura, and claim the Millennium Ring for himself.
Marik goes over to Téa and possesses her so he can tell his sister to save Odion. As such, when Yami Marik breaks back into Odion's room to try and kill him, he's not there.
While Yugi is asleep, he senses something wrong inside the room of Yami's soul and goes to check it out. He converses with Yami, and he mentions that he can't find out which of the doors leads where. A wide shot of the room shows Yami Bakura hiding behind the architecture within.
The next day, the blimp lands on Alcatraz Island, the old weapons manufacturing facility from when Gozaburo Kaiba ran the show. In the center of the destroyed factories lies the Duel Tower, the final stage of the Battle City tournament.
The pairings for the finals are determined by a four-way duel. The two who lose first duel each other. The other two duel each other. Everyone has to present a card from their deck, and turns proceed in descending order of attack points. The order goes Kaiba, Yami Marik, Yugi, and then Joey. The duel begins, and despite his best efforts Joey takes quite a bit of damage straight off. Joey is determined to face off with Marik in the end, and Yugi and Kaiba want to take on each other.
Thanks to a combination of his and Kaiba's trap-cards, Joey makes Marik the first one to lose. Kaiba then wipes out Joey's life and the brackets are decided. Joey vs Marik, and Yugi vs Kaiba.
Yami Marik makes their duel into a shadow game, but Joey isn't phased. Marik then attempts to torture Joey using Vicer Des, but he manages to snap out of it enough to function. Unfortunately for him, he kills one of Marik's monsters with a special-ability that forces Joey to discard a random card. Marik then activates Coffin Seller to drain Joey's life-points. He also places Malevolent Catastrophe face-down on his side of the field, to destroy all of Joey's monsters and drain his life-points in one go.
Joey then plays Question. They each have to name the top card in the others graveyard. Joey picks out Marik's but Marik doesn't know what the card Helpomer discarded was, so Joey uses Question to summon Jinzo from the grave. He uses Jinzo's ability to wipe out all of Marik's face-down traps and spells. Joey then wipes out all of Marik's monsters, but Marik uses Dark Wall Of Wind to protect himself. He then plays Lava Golem on Joey's side of the field, sacrificing his Jinzo and Baby Dragon to summon it. If Joey can attack with it, he'll win, but it damages him for seven-hundred points every turn.
Marik then uses Monster Relief to pull Vicer Des off the field and re-summon it so he can use it as a wall against the Lava Golem. He then uses Machine Duplication and attaches all three of his Vicers to all of Joey's monsters.
Joey comes up with a plan to de-activate Monster Relief on the two new Vicers, using Graceful Dice to increase their Attack, causing them to self-destruct. Joey then uses the newly sacrificeable monsters to summon Gilford The Lightening. Gilford destroys the one remaining Vicer with its special ability, and then attacks Marik directly. Marik activates Nightmare Mirror to reflect a thousand of that attack back at Joey and take none of it himself.
Marik then uses Monster Reborn to bring out Ra, and he activates Ra's third special ability. The Flaming Phoenix. It's not enough to wipe out Joey's life-points, but he passes out before he can summon Gearfried and declare an attack. Marik declares that Joey will die if he hasn't already, and Kaiba's medical staff do their best. Yugi is almost entirely disheartened by this, but he touches Ishizu's Millennium Necklace and sees a vision of himself dueling with Joey in Domino City. This bolsters his confidence, and he vows to fight to the end and beat Marik.
The next volume begins with Yugi's fated duel with Kaiba. They exchange some banter before they start.
Joey's EKG (It's spelled ECG but I learned it at EKG) actually starts to move a bit, showing that he's not entirely dead.
Kaiba draws Obelisk on his first turn, but Yugi doesn't get Slifer on the same turn. However, Yugi manages to impale Obelisk with a Lightforce Sword, negating Kaiba's plan to summon it. Yugi comes up with a strategy to win with Slifer, but he doesn't have it in his hand at the moment. Kaiba then uses Voice of the Heavens to pull Slifer from Yugi's deck to his hand, but Yugi plays exchange to get it back, and into his own hand.
Kaiba manages to wait out the Lightforce Sword long enough to summon his XYZ-Dragon Cannon. However, Yugi anticipated his attack on his main defensive monster and activates Soul Rope, and summons Kings Knight, and combined with his previously summoned Queens Knight, special-summons Jack's Knight. This allows Yugi to sacrifice them and summon Slifer immediately. Yugi tries to destroy Kaiba's XYZ-Dragon Cannon, but Kaiba protects them with Interdimensional Matter Transfer. He then sacrifices them on his next turn to summon Obelisk.
Seeing this from the blimp, Tristan drags Joey over to the window in the hopes that he'll wake up because of it.
Yugi uses Slifer's special ability to knock Obelisk's attack down to two-thousand.. He then uses Pot Of Greed to draw two more cards and thus boost Slifer up to five-thousand attack when Kaiba made Obelisk attack it. Kaiba then activates Life Shaver, which makes Yugi discard a card for every turn it's been face-down. It's only been face-down since Kaiba's last turn, so their attacks are equal.
The two gods annihilate each other, and Yugi and Kaiba get a flash from the depths of their ancient memories. With both of their gods destroyed, the two of them get down to fighting for real. Kaiba uses Cost Down to summon his Blue-Eyes with only one monster as a sacrifice. Yugi then uses Monster Reborn to summon his Dark Magician, which was the card he discarded when Kaiba played Life Shaver.
Kaiba figures rightfully that Yugi was planning on activating Spellbinding Circle, so he brings out Lord of D. to protect his Blue-Eyes. Yugi tries to take it out, but Kaiba brings Obelisk back as a shield for one turn, and then uses Flute of Dragon Summoning to bring out his other two Blue-Eyes.
One thing I would like to mention to Kazuki Takahashi if anyone hasn't brought this up already, Joey's upper torso should have been entirely bare. The sensors are supposed to be on the skin, not on the shirt.
Kaiba attacks with his three Blue-Eyes, but Yugi uses the side-effect of the Flute of Dragon Summoning to pull out Joey's Red-Eyes Black Dragon. He also uses Magic Cylinder to destroy the Lord of D., allowing him to use Spellbinding Circle on one of Kaiba's Blue-Eyes, and destroy it with the Red-Eyes. The one remaining Blue-Eyes destroys Yugi's Beta The Magnet Warrior.
Joey weakly opens his eyes and sees Yugi and Kaiba dueling, which boosts the gangs spirits to no-end. Joey then gets up and they run to the tower to let Yugi know.
Kaiba uses Monster Reborn and Polymerization to create his Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon. Yugi then uses Double Spell to bring back Buster Blader, and fuse it with his Dark Magician to create The Dark Paladin. Buster Blader has a special ability which boosts its power in the presence of dragons. The Dark Paladin inherits this power, and its 2900 attack is boosted by by a thousand by the presence of the Red-Eyes and the Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon. Yugi uses Magic Formula to boost Dark Paladin's attack, but Kaiba uses Absorb Spell to counter. Yugi then falls back to De-Fusion to split the Ultimate Dragon into the three component dragons, boosting Dark Paladin's attack to 4900. On his turn, Yugi plays Diffusion Wave-Motion to target all three Blue-Eyes at once and win the duel, and Obelisk The Tormentor.
Joey and the gang meet Yugi at the top of the tower and congratulate him on his victory.
On their way back to the blimp, Mokuba and Seto run into Ishizu. She mentions to them that the inscription on the Pharaoh's tablet was signed by the priest who buried him. The previous owner of The Millennium Rod, none other than the priest Seto. Kaiba almost leaves the tower, but Mokuba convinces him to stick around. He then gives Yugi the one card which can boost his chances of beating Marik, Devil's Sanctuary.
It all comes down to this. Yami Yugi vs Yami Marik. And this time, the other half of their souls are on the line. For Yami Marik and Marik, one can go without the other being consumed, which is how Yami Marik intends to survive. For Yugi and Yami Yugi however, they're so interlinked that if one of them goes they both do.
Yami Marik places Ra in his graveyard so he can put one of his monsters in defense-mode. All he needs then is Monster Reborn and he can attempt his one-turn kill. With the help of Left Arm Offering, he discards his entire hand to pull it from his deck. Fortunately for Yugi, he drew Card Exchange and played it face-down. He takes Monster Reborn from Yami Marik, halting the attempt at summoning Ra in its tracks. Yugi then manages to pull out his Knight trio to both defend himself with and as sacrifices for when he draws Slifer or Obelisk. Thanks to Yami Marik's Card of Sanctity, he does. He summons Slifer with six-thousand attack-points thanks to that same card, but Yami Marik activates Revival of the Dark to bring out Monster Reborn and summon Ra. In its final form, Ra is immune to even Slifer's summoning weakening attack. Ra obliterates Slifer, and Monster Reborn goes back to Yugi's graveyard. That's when Yami Marik activates Zombies Jewel, which lets him do that all over again. The only difference is that Yugi is allowed to draw a card from his deck as compensation.
As Yugi is about to draw his free card, Yami Marik begins taunting him. He points out that Bakura is missing, and then whips out the Millennium Ring and gloats about how he's going to kill Yugi the sake way he killed Bakura. Yugi draws the card and plays it face-down on the field. Then, Marik uses Monster Reborn once again to bring out Ra, and he sacrifices all but one of his life to boost Ra up. He even sacrifices one of his monsters to boost it further. On his attack though, Yugi reveals his face-down card to be none other than Devil's Sanctuary. The card summons a Metal Devil, which has as many attack as the opponent does life. In addition, the damage it takes is inflicted upon the opponent. However, Yami Marik plays De-Fusion to separate himself from Ra.
Yugi then uses Multiply to triplicate Metal Devil and sacrifice the three of them to summon Obelisk The Tormentor. Obelisk's direct attack drops Yami Marik to seven-hundred life. However, Ishizu suspects and Yami Marik later confirms that this was all a ploy so he could activate Metal Reflect Slime. He uses this to create a reflection of Obelisk with 3/4's the originals attack. On his next turn he summons a Revival Jam and plays one card face-down. On Yugi's turn he tries to destroy the reflection of Obelisk, but Yami Marik fuses the Metal Reflect Slime with the Revival Jam, making the Obelisk clone immortal. He then plays Bowganian (One of my favorite cards) which will damage Yugi for 300 points ever single turn it's alive. Yugi tries to wipe it out with his Dark Magician Girl, but Yami Marik activates Jam Defender, which makes the Obelisk copy defend all attacks. Yugi shows some hesitation in his attempts to win the duel because of the other Marik. Marik, who has since made his peace with his family, uses Téa to tell Yugi to not worry about him.
Yami Marik then plays Magical Stone Excavation to bring back Monster Reborn, and with it, Ra. Together, Yugi and Yami Yugi come up with something they think might work to kill Yami Marik and leave regular Marik alive.
Yami Marik attacks with Ra, but Yugi uses Monster Reborn to bring Slifer back to shield Obelisk from the attack. Yami Marik then activates Surprise Attack From The Darkness to bring Ra back again. He fuses with the monster, and sacrifices all of the monsters on his field to raise Ra's attack far, far above that of Obelisk's. Yugi counters with Soul Taker, and sacrifices the God Slime to give Marik a thousand life-points. Yugi uses this to activate Obelisk's Soul Energy Max power. Unfortunately, it doesn't scratch Ra. As Yami Marik is about to attack Obelisk, Yugi activates Dimension Magic to sacrifice Obelisk and the King of Mythical Beasts to summon The Dark Magician and The Dark Magician Girl. He uses their combined abilities to kill the fused Ra. The sudden appearance of Odion allows Marik to regain control of his body, and with all but one of his life-points gone, surrenders the duel to destroy his dark half himself. Marik reunites with his brother and sister, and gives Yugi The Winged Dragon of Ra. He also shows him the carvings on his back, and Ishizu explains what it means. It's a prophecy which tells that the one who holds the soul of the pharaoh will possess the forms of the three gods. He also gives Yugi the Millennium Rod and the Ring.
After that, they all board the blimp and leave. On the airship, they find regular old Bakura right as rain, and Mai Valentine has woken up from the coma Yami Marik put her it. Unfortunately, the Kaiba brothers are nowhere to be found as the island explodes. The blimp takes off, and the Kaiba brothers fly out on a massive jet painted to look like a Blue-Eyes White Dragon.
The arc ends with Yugi and Joey having one last duel between themselves to conclude the saga of the Red-Eyes Black Dragon.

We're in the home-stretch of this series, and we've only got seven volumes left. Tune in on September 30th for the final part of The History of Yu-Gi-Oh! I know there hasn't been much history for the first several parts of this series, but I'll make up for that at the end. Plus this is the series that started the history, so there's not much to cover aside from the plot for the first series.

If you've enjoyed this series, please consider contributing to my Patreon. Any money you could give me helps a lot.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Yu-Gi-Oh! Volumes 19-24

Yugi accepts Arkana's challenge, but because the shop is so small, they go downstairs to a larger room. A place with shackles and hundred-tooth carbide-tipped saws. Loser of the duel gets their feet chopped off. Thanks to his cheating ways, Arkana gets one of his three Dark Magicians in his hand straight. Yugi anticipated this since Arkana shotgun-shuffles his cards, and plays card-destruction to put the Dark Magician into the graveyard. Yugi then activates Brain Control so he can sacrifice one of Arkana's monsters to summon his own Dark Magician. Yugi then attacks Arkana directly. Yugi summons another monster, which activates Arkana's trap, bringing his own Dark Magician to the field. This leaves them with a stalemate.
Arkana pulls out a guillotine to execute Yugi's Dark Magician, but Yugi plays Magical Hats. To get around this, Arkana activates Thousand Knives, but Yugi counters with De-Spell. Arkana then attacks Yugi's Dark Magician with his own and destroys it. The two of them activate Monster Reborn to bring them back. Arkana pulls out Beckon to the Dark to take out Yugi's Magician, but Yugi switches the effect with Mystical Rift. This was bait so Arkana could activate Nightmare Chains to nullify Yugi's Dark Magician and kill it. Arkana then uses Ectoplasmer to get around the rest of Yugi's defenses, sacrificing his own monsters in the process. Including his very own Dark Magician. However, Yugi's Dark Magician becomes ectoplasm itself to protect Yugi from the second, stronger attack. Arkana then uses Devil's Scales to break down Yugi's defenses and open him up to a forward assault. Arkana then pulls out Dark Magic Curtain to summon up a second Dark Magician.Yugi takes advantage of this to summon his Dark Magician Girl, the Dark Magicians apprentice. She is powered up by the Dark Magicians in both graveyards, allowing Yugi to defeat Arkana and win the duel. Arkana tries to escape from the shackles with a key hidden on his person, but Marik forces him to stop. Yugi uses his own key to get out and unlocks Arkana so he can not get his feet chopped off. Marik then takes control of Arkana to shout at Yugi for a bit about how he blames him for his wasted childhood and wants to gain control of the three Egyptian God Cards and the seven Millennium Items to free his people from their responsibility to guard the items. Marik then baits Yugi into looking for the guy in the city with Slifer, and Yugi accepts the challenge.
Meanwhile Téa and the rest of the gang are searching for Yugi and Joey. They run into a mime before the chapter cuts to Joey eating in a restaurant. He takes his duel-disk off to keep from constantly bumping into people, which leads to a kid taking it. Joey runs him down and gets his Disk back. The kid feeds Joey and the gang a line about his deck and Duel Disk being stolen. This leads to Joey encountering none other than Weevil Underwood. Meanwhile, Tristan and Duke go to bring Serenity from the hospital to Domino City.
Eventually, Joey draws a card that the kid who stole his disk planted in his deck, Parasite Paracide. The parasite infects Joey's monsters, turning them into insects. He also activates one of his own traps as well. This allows Weevil to power up his own monsters and prevents Joey from attacking or summoning any higher-level monsters. Weevil then uses a card to sacrifice his own monster and summon up his Insect Queen, paying off the parasite from earlier. Plus, every time she attacks and destroys a monster, she lays an insect egg which in turn buffs up her attack even further. Fortunately, Joey has a trap of his own up his sleeve, which redirects the Insect Queen's attack against the newly spawned larvae. This reduces Weevil's life-points significantly, and gives Joey a chance to summon Gearfried The Iron Knight. A metal construct immune to infection. Weevil tries to turn the tide, but Joey uses Graverobber to copy his insecticide card from earlier in the duel and wipe out the Insect Queen. Joey then attacks Weevil directly, ending the duel, the chapter, and the volume.
This is the very first time I'm actually going to bring up the cover of the volume. While it's not a bad cover, it kind of gives away certain aspects of the Arkana duel. First off, there's the Dark Magician Girl behind Yugi. Second is the appearance of Arkana's own Dark Magician. Personally speaking, I'd prefer to have Arkana's Dark Magician back-to-back with Yugi's. Put those two behind Yugi with the DMG silhouetted so vaguely behind them that you can only pick it out after knowing what she looks like.
Seto Kaiba has his people scan through the databanks of registered duelists to try and find the other god-cards to no avail.
Meanwhile, Marik Ishtar arrives in Domino City and activates his pawn who carries Slifer. He finds Yugi and challenges him to a duel.
Marik's avatar summons up a couple of monsters and fuses them into one. He then plays a card to make it attack immediately, catching Yugi off-guard. Yugi however pulls out De-Fusion to break the two apart. This was just Marik's way of testing the waters however, and he summons up Revival Jam and activates his Jam Breeding Machine. Yugi pulls out Buster Blader to take out Marik's monsters, but he pulls out Nightmare Steel Cage, which keeps Yugi from attacking for three turns. This gives Marik time to summon up Slifer The Sky Dragon. Since Slifer's attack goes up by a thousand for every card in Marik's hand, he plays Infinite Cards, which allows him to have as many cards as he wishes in hand. On the next turn, Slifer is up to 4000 attack, but Yugi plays Life-Force Sword to knock it down to 3000 just as it attacks Buster Blader. Marik then activates a trap of his own to turn Revival Jam into a permanent shield for Slifer. Then he pulls out Cards Safe Return to add cards to his hand whenever his Jam revives itself. This gives him enough power to kill Buster Blader.
Kaiba's men inform him of the appearance of Slifer, meanwhile Yugi tries to summon his Dark Magician Girl to take out Slifer, but the dragons special ability almost kills her before Yugi pulls out Magical Hats to keep her safe. This barely helps him enough to pull out Spellbinding Circle and Magic Cylinder. Somehow the Revival Jam manages to get in the way and block the reversed attack. Slifer breaks the Spellbinding Circle, and wipes the DMG off the map. Yugi can't figure out a way to get around this until Kaiba shouts at him for a bit. Yugi summons Buster Blader back from the dead and uses it to attack Slifer. Jam Defender intercepts, and Yugi uses Brain Control to take command of the Revival Jam. This puts Marik in an infinite feedback loop until all of the cards are farmed out of his deck and he loses the duel. Marik informs Yugi that he has people watching Joey and the gang, so Yugi rushes off to find him. Yugi runs into a couple of douchebags who may or may not be rare-hunters, but he and Kaiba burn them to the ground with god-cards and run off to check on Joey and the gang.
Meanwhile, Joey is tracking down more duels. Eagerly looking for competition, Joey and the gang don't notice Bakura slipping off to search for Marik with his Millennium Ring. Figuring (Rightly so) that the Millennium Item wielder has something to do with the tournament, Yami Bakura knocks out a duelist in an alleyway and takes his Duel Disc.
Joey runs into Mako Tsunami at the aquarium and challenges him to a duel. It doesn't go all that well to start.
Meanwhile elsewhere, Bakura confronts Marik over his Millennium Rod.
Bakura and Marik come to an agreement and form an alliance. Bakura helps Marik achieve his goals, Marik gives him The Millennium Rod and directions on how to unseal The Door of Darkness once Yugi's been defeated. Yeah, like that's gonna happen.
Meanwhile at the aquarium, Mako tries to overwhelm Joey with his ocean creatures, but Joey manages to survive through brute force. Joey manages to fly his monsters over Mako's ocean and attack him directly. Mako then blocks the next attack with a trap, and begins killing Joey's monsters from the depths. Mako brings Joey down to the wire, but Joey manages to pull out a win from behind with his Magic Arm Shield and Kunai With Chain, managing to strike his opponents Fortress Whale with a bolt of lightening. He then takes out Mako's Legendary Fisherman with his Panther Warrior, ending the duel.
Marik then uses a wounded Bakura to bait Joey and the gang into allowing him to accompany them under the pseudonym of Namu. Marik also activates a pair of rare-hunters, Umbra and Lumis to take the god-cards away from Kaiba and Yugi. Yugi and Kaiba run into those two while on the way to find Joey and the others. Umbra and Lumis force the two of them into dueling under threat of Joey being killed and threat of Kaiba not getting the key to unlock his Duel Disc.
The duel takes place up at the top of a nearby building, on a skylight with explosives planted beneath. Life points hit zero, explosives go off, player falls to a horrible death.
Lumis puts out masks that prevent Yugi and Kaiba from sacrificing any of their monsters, as well as preventing one of Yugi's monsters from attacking. Kaiba tries to bait and trap Umbra, but Lumis transfers the trap onto Kaiba and he takes the damage. Umbra then almost wipes out Kaiba's life-points, but Yugi pulls out a Kuriboh shield with Multiply. Next turn Lumis dispels the Multiply, leaving both of them wide-open to attack. Kaiba then signals Yugi that he should use Card Destruction so they can special-summon higher-level monsters from their graveyards. This also weakens Umbra's Masked Beast so Kaiba's Blue-Eyes can destroy it.
Lumis then activates Mask of Weakness, cutting the Blue-Eyes attack in half, making it weaker than Umbra's monster. Yugi then switches the effect of the mask to Lumis's monster, allowing Kaiba to damage Umbra's life-points.
Lumis and Umbra start bickering over their tactics, letting Kaiba drive the wedge further with an attack for Umbra, and some words for Lumis. Lumis uses Chosen One to summon Masked Beast of Guardius. He wants to use it to take out Yugi, but Kaiba goads him into wiping out his Blue-Eyes instead. This lets Yugi summon up the last of the three Magnet Warriors and fuse them into Valkyrion. This finally gets rid of the cursed mask on Beta, stopping the constant drain of Yugi's life-points. Yugi uses Valkyrion to attack Guardius, but a piece of the creature attaches itself as a Mask of Possession. Yugi uses De-Fusion to split them into component monsters, and Kaiba uses Soul Exchange to sacrifice the three Magnet Warriors to summon Obelisk. Obelisk wipes Umbra's life-points out, and the explosives blast the window to smithereens. Umbra pulls out a parachute to keep him from falling to his death, much to the disgust of Yugi and Kaiba. Lumis can't believe this. He can't figure out how to win the duel, so Marik takes over and taunts them about how he's gotten to Joey and the gang and wants Yugi to face Joey head-on. Mokuba arrive in a helicopter and they fly Yugi to Joey's location for the showdown.
Meanwhile, Duke and Tristan are accompanying Serenity Wheeler back to Domino City when Tristan calls the mind-controlled Téa to try and figure out what's up. They figure out from the background noise that she and most likely the other members of the gang are at the Domino City Pier. Marik forces Yugi and the mind-controlled Joey to handcuff themselves to a six-hundred pound anchor. Fifteen seconds after one of them drops to zero life-points the bomb goes off and the anchor drags the one who doesn't get to the handcuff key in the box at their feet first to a watery grave. Kaiba attempts to intervene, but Marik's men nab Mokuba and stop him.
While Marik forces Yugi to remove Slifer from his deck, he adds the Red-Eyes Black Dragon into it in the hopes it might be able to shake Joey out of Marik's control.
The Marik-controlled Joey pulls out direct damage card after direct damage card, something which Kaiba banned from the tournament. This eventually brings Yugi down below two-thousand life-points.
Yugi decides to take full control of the duel, letting Yami have a break and allowing Yugi to try and get through to Joey. Yugi plays Card Exchange to see what Joey would do. He doesn't take the dragon despite Marik's urging, allowing Yugi to sacrifice two of his monsters to summon the Red-Eyes.
On the way from the train-station, Tristan, Duke and Serenity run into Mai as she's finishing up her last duel to enter the finals. She offers them a lift to the pier in her car and they accept.
Joey pulls out Rocket Warrior and tears one of the wings off his Red-Eyes, but Yugi doesn't pay it any mind. Instead, he hangs his Millennium Puzzle around Joey's neck so Yami won't take over, and in an attempt to jog his memory. Marik tries to make him take the puzzle apart and toss it in the ocean, but his memories of all the things he's been through with Yugi keep that from happening.
Yugi uses Magic Arm Shield to redirect Joey's Rocket Warrior back at his Panther Warrior, and then uses Archfiend of Gilfer to kill the Rocket Warrior.
With only a few minutes left before the bomb goes off and their life-points equal, Yugi hatches a plan to bring their life-points to zero simultaneously. Kaiba decides to take a gamble and save his brother from Marik's man with the knife with a Duel-Monsters card flicked into his hand.
Marik makes Joey play Meteor of Destruction, but Yugi plays Mystical Rift Panel to buy himself some time. This breaks Joey out of Marik's spell, and Yugi takes off his Duel Disc, then directs the fireball towards himself so Joey can live. This opens up the box at Joey's feet with the key in it. Joey's panicked that his best friend is about to die, so he orders his Red-Eyes to reduce his life-points to zero so he can swing over on his chain and unchain Yugi. He takes off the Millennium Puzzle and his Duel Disc beforehand. Unfortunately, the bomb explodes and drags them into the water. Joey manages to unlock Yugi's cuff, but his key was left at the surface in his haste and Yugi's doesn't work for him. However, Kaiba drops they key down to him and Joey manages to get free.
Mai arrives with Duke, Tristan and Serenity. Serenity removes her bandages finally, and reunites with her brother.
With six puzzle-cards apiece for Kaiba, Mai, Yugi and Joey, they head off to the finals. The other finalists are Marik Ishtar (Under the guise of Namu) his stepbrother Odion disguised as Marik, their sister Ishizu, and Bakura. Kaiba's dueling blimp descends from the air and they board. The first duel will be Yugi vs Bakura.
Yami Bakura lets Yugi destroy three of his monsters so he can special-summon Dark Necrofear. He doesn't attack though. This lets Yugi summon his Dark Magician Girl, and he equips her with Magic Formula to boost her attack points. He kills Dark Necrofear, and Yami Bakura reveals that this was his plan all along. Dark Necrofear's death activates its special power and possesses one of Yugi's monsters. When Yugi attacks with a possessed monster, his life-points are reduced by half of that monsters attack, and those points are added to Bakura's. Bakura then pulls out Destiny Board, a permanent trap. And another permanent trap, The Dark Door, which limits Yugi to only one attack per round. Yugi tries to attack with his Dark Magician Girl, but the ghost assaults him. Thus ends the volume.
The first four chapters of this volume are entirely dedicated to wrapping up the Joey vs Yugi duel. Yet again I must take umbrage with the placement of the chapters in each of these volumes. Move the climax of Yugi vs Joey back into the previous volume, then move the climax of Double Duel into the volume before that, and add a few chapters from the next volume into this one and boom, it all flows better. This is why I didn't have a volume breakdown in the last two sixths of the review.
Yugi correctly guesses which of his monsters isn't possessed by the spirit, but Bakura forces him to attack with the Dark Magician Girl through use of another permanent trap, Dark Spirit of the Silent. Yugi manages to figure out how to counter that combo and beat Bakura's Destiny Board. Yugi uses Monster Recovery to clear his field, and shuffles his hand back into his deck. He then summons Kuriboh in attack mode so the spirit would possess it. He then activates Chain Destruction to destroy Kuriboh and the spirit alike. Marik, who remains in contact with Yami Bakura through possession of his host, tells him what Yugi's plan is. To resurrect Dark Necrofear with a face-down Monster Reborn. Bakura tries to get around this to no avail, but his secondary plan works. He uses Deja Vu to reset the monsters positions so Dark Necrofear can keep moving the lens on the Destiny Board.
Yugi uses his three monsters Bakura gave him back to summon up Slifer The Sky Dragon. Bakura believes the spirit of Necrofear would possess Slifer and end the duel for him, but it's too weak to control a god. Marik uses Odion to undo his possession of Bakura in an attempt to make Yugi lose the duel to keep his friend from possibly dying when Slifer attacks, but Yami Bakura takes over and Yugi finishes the duel with a direct attack from Slifer. Bakura is left weakened and in pain from Yami Bakura stabbing himself earlier, but he's alive. Mokuba orders the security team to set up the first-aid station and they haul him off, while a Marik-possessed Téa grabs the Millennium Ring.
The next duel is between Joey and Odion, who everyone still thinks is Marik. Odion puts out a bunch of trap-cards, and Joey sees fit to wipe them out with Giant Trunade. However, Odion anticipated this and pulls out Judgement of Anubis.
Joey then activates one of Odion's traps on purpose so he can run out Odion's deck. However, this was also anticipated by Odion, who activates Embodiment of Apophis. Correction. Three Embodiments of Apophis. Apophis is a trap-monster akin to some of the ones featured earlier in the series. It gets special-summoned to the field when an enemy attacks.
Joey tries to protect his life-points with Scape-Goat, but Odion De-Spells it with... De-Spell. Joey is about to seriously give up, but his sister's voice spurs him on to finish the duel. Joey activates Foolish Burial and Graverobber, to place Jinzo in Odion's graveyard and bring it back to his side of the field. This allows him to destroy all of the Embodiments of Apophis and attack Odion directly. Odion then activates Swords of Revealing Light to protect himself for a while. Joey and Odion use these turns to boost up their defenses. Odion even manages to summon Selket, a devastating scorpion that eats Joey's monsters alive to bolster its own attack points. It is also revealed that Odion has been given a counterfeit copy of The Winged Dragon of Ra.
For the last few pages of this chapter, we get a brief insight into Odion and Marik's origins. It's interesting, but I personally prefer the way the second animated series handled it. We'll get to that in time. It just feels somewhat redundant when we get a far more in-depth look at their origins later on.

So yeah, I haven't forgotten about this series, I was just a bit delayed by time. The series will continue until I've finished reviewing the manga, which will hopefully be before the start of October. I've only got fourteen volumes left, so if I can keep up the pace I was working at in this review, I can easily get that done. Then I've got The 31 Days of Evil 3 after that, so hopefully I can manage to not work myself to death over the next month and a half between school, this and all my side-projects.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death (Nathan Green)

Labyrinth of Lost Potential

Video-games and ideas go hand in hand. Some of the most memorable and treasured video games of all time were the games that pushed the innovative concepts that at the time many people thought were some sort of pipe dream. Chances are if I said the words “3D Platformer” the first game that would come to your mind is Super Mario 64 for how it pioneered the invention of analog control in video games as well as bringing the 3D platformer to the forefront of the gaming industry at the time. Generally its innovative ideas that will separate an average or good game from an excellent one.
With that being said a game can have all the good ideas it wants but if it doesn’t do anything with them then it just amounts to wasted potential. If there is anything No Mans Sky has taught us, it’s that the execution of an idea matters just as much as the idea itself.
So what happens when you take a game that has good ideas and just doesn’t do anything with them? Well you get something like MeiQ Labyrinth of Death.
So MeiQ’s story is… Simple to say the least. You play as Estra, a Machina mage who is called along with 4 other Machina mages to basically restart the very world under your feet by quite literally winding it back up.
Now I already hear you asking “What’s a Machina Mage?”. Well the game never quite explicitly explains what they are but in essence they are Mages who can use a special form of magic called Machina Magic and command giant mechanical looking guardians.
Anyway to restart the planet you are told you have to go through 4 towers in order to get access to a fifth, final area which is where the key to rewind the world is found. It’s a simple concept with simple characters. That is until you read into it a bit.
So throughout the game you find little booklet type things lying around in dungeons which talk a little about the games world. The most interesting of these booklets that you find in the first dungeon actually tells us that Machina magic in fact, isn’t magic in the traditional sense but instead is magic that uses tiny nanomachines. Yes, really. What I found interesting here is upon looking up the word Machina on the internet I found that translated literally Machina means Machine. So Machina magic is technically Machine Magic.
Now that sounds pretty cool. I was interested in what the game had to offer in that department and was looking forward to what the story would have in store for me… The answer as I found out later on, was nothing.
This is a common theme you’ll be seeing in MeiQ. As a game it has a lot of good ideas which it does make known but the game just doesn’t do anything with them. Ideas are all fine and dandy but if a game doesn’t actually do anything with that plot device then it really shouldn’t have been put in there in the first place.
The sad part is that these ideas sound excellent on paper and the revelation of the nanomachine thing caught me completely off guard. It’s a game which knows how to get its players interested in its narrative but it doesn’t know what to do once they are interested and it’s a damn shame. The story in general kicks off interestingly enough but it just grinds to a screeching halt very quickly and decides to go the cliché save the world route instead. It’s like the developers decided in the early stages of development to just go the lazy route and then forgot to remove all the ideas they had originally that were never going to be used and because of this I couldn’t help but think of what MeiQ could have been if they had expanded on those plot devices.

Sadly MeiQ’s list of good ideas with wonky execution don’t end with the story. Gameplay wise MeiQ is a traditional dungeon crawler. You explore a dungeon in first person, fight monsters in random encounters and gain experience points in order to level up.
Now while the overworld exploration is incredibly basic and, dare I say kinda boring the battle system is a little more interesting.
So here’s how battles work. By default you don’t control the Machina Mages themselves but instead you control their guardians which are basically giant robots which are specifically designed to beat things into a pulp. Unlike your average dungeon crawler these guardians have their own set of attacks which change depending on what parts you equip. For example I could equip a sword on one arm and a fist on the other arm and I would get sword specific attacks on the sword arm and punch specific attacks on the fist arm. It’s a simple system which is easy to get to grips with.
You can also control your Machina Mage directly which allows for a more traditional style of fighting that you would see in other dungeon crawlers. One thing of note is that most of the time enemies will attack the guardian first and not your Mage and because the guardian has a separate HP bar to the Mage it means you can usually leave your guardian on the forefront 99% of the time to deal with enemies.
Now here’s where the problems start. Firstly, you are able to get extremely overpowered extremely quickly in MeiQ which negates almost all challenge you may end up running into. What this results in is most battles simply boil down to hitting the enemy once or twice for you to win. As a result of this dungeon exploring in general becomes incredibly tedious with the monsters serving as more of a minor nuisance than an actual threat. This is made even more apparent by the fact that the game actually gives you a button to repeat the same actions that you did previously in battle. Sure it’s convenient but it means that most of the dungeons boil down to trying to find the stairs while pressing R a few dozen times to get rid of whatever small fry enemies there are that you run into.
Thankfully the encounter rate in the game is surprisingly low especially for a dungeon crawler but that still doesn’t rectify the fact that battling is a boring and tedious experience which for an RPG is not ideal in the slightest.
Outside of the main quest there are also side quests you can take which usually involve backtracking to a previous tower to find and kill an enemy that drops a specific item.
These quests SUCK. Oh my goodness do they suck big time. Most of the time you’ll be spending more time trying to get the damn enemy you need to kill to spawn than you will actually fighting said enemy! One of the first quests in the game involves you having to locate an item called the “killer crab scissor”. This mission took me around 2 hours to complete and most of that was spent trying to get a killer crab to spawn in the first place which is made even more of a chore due to the games surprisingly low encounter rate.

Thankfully the quests are optional but if you’re one of those people who likes to complete every side quest in a game then MeiQ will have you tearing your hair out at points, not because of difficulty but because of tedium.
There are a few other gameplay bits and pieces lying about such as a basic pokemon like elemental strength and weakness system along with Machina Mage “forms”. These forms are probably the most poorly implemented part of MeiQ because while these forms do indeed level up the game never actually tells you HOW you level these forms up. This is something I have discussed with other people who have been reviewing the game and none of us can figure out how exactly these forms are supposed to level up. It’s like the developers left it in the game and then completely forgot about it until the last minute.
In general, MeiQ suffers from honestly very bland gameplay. It’s the bare bones basics of dungeon crawler gameplay and the few ideas it does try are sadly poorly executed despite being clever ideas on paper.

Graphics and Sound:
On the flipside the game does at least have one thing going for it and that is the presentation. MeiQ’s visuals are bright and vibrant especially if you’re playing it on an OLED edition Vita. The character art is very well done and is even lip synced to both the Japanese and English audio tracks depending on which one you select.
Really my only complaint about the graphics is that sometimes they’re a little “too” pretty which is something that became a major problem once I entered the second dungeon. Compared to the first dungeon the second dungeon is very large with lots more open space which is made quite a bit harder to navigate by the fact that it’s hard to see where you’re actually going due to the high amounts of fire and smoke effects. Sure they look pretty but in practice they simply end up getting in the way which makes me resort to having to navigate almost exclusively using the Map which is a bit irritating.
Sound wise MeiQ has a surprisingly good OST attached to it. It offers a very interesting mix between ambient, rock and electronic genres which surprisingly works pretty well for the most part. The one gripe I have however is some music tracks feel more out of place than others and the battle theme itself is rather forgettable and can get kind of irritating after a while (the boss battle theme on the other hand is excellent and one of my favorite tracks in the whole game).
MeiQ does include both an English dub and the original Japanese dub and if I were to recommend one I would have to pick the Japanese Dub by an absolute landslide. The English dub is okish but some characters in the English dub have voices akin to nails down a chalkboard (looking at you Connie). From a company like idea factory who are usually pretty good with English Dubs I really expected a bit better than what we actually got.

MeiQ is a classic story of great ideas being ruined by poor execution. It’s a damn shame, because the potential for MeiQ to be a great and memorable experience was certainly there. If MeiQ had maybe had a little more time in development, I could see myself saying very different things. Unfortunately as of right now, MeiQ is a very difficult game for me to recommend.
If you like dungeon crawlers then you’ll probably still like MeiQ despite the flaws it has but if you aren’t a gigantic dungeon crawling fan then I’d steer well clear of MeiQ. There are far better Dungeon-Crawlers out there for your money which makes MeiQ a hard sell to anyone but the most dedicated Dungeon-Crawler lover.

MeiQ Labyrinth of Death Gets a Not Recommended.

This has been an exciting year for the Vita with a gigantic swarm of games rolling out for the little handheld and there is still more to come. I don’t quite know when my next review will be but I can assure you that you’ll be seeing a few more reviews from me before the new year rolls around. For now though this is BDVR Author Nathan Green signing off.

MeiQ Labyrinth of Death will be releasing on September 13th in North America and September 16th in Europe (excluding Oceania)

PEGI: 12
OFLC: Well let’s just get onto that quickly.
A quick note about the OFLC rating for MeiQ. Technically the game has been Refused Classification in Australia and is therefore banned in the country. Don’t ask me why (I’d chalk it up to the Australian Rating board being overly sensitive) but if you live in Oceania then you’ll have to either import the game or buy it off the US PlayStation Network. As for New Zealand the game wasn’t actually submit for rating here after that refusal of classification (for unknown reasons) so the game is not available to buy here either off PSN. However, websites such as MightyApe are listing it for sale online in physical form so you should have overall an easier time getting ahold of a copy if you really want to. 

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Game provided for review by Idea Factory. Cover image provided by Idea Factory.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Yu-Gi-Oh! Volumes 13-18

Welcome back to The History of Yu-Gi-Oh! Today we're covering Volumes 13-18 of the original manga! (Or Volumes 6-11 of Duelist, but I don't count it that way) Let's go ahead and get back into the groove!
Kaiba takes five of Yugi's star-chips and proceeds to Pegasus's castle for his confrontation after a swift chastising from Yugi's friends for being a dick over a duel. For basically blackmailing Yugi into forfeiting.
Yugi and company spend the rest of the second day trying to accumulate five more star-chips, but to no avail. Eventually, they get back to the castle, and rather than let Yugi get disqualified, Joey wants to give Yugi five of his star-chips. However, Mai shows up at the castle too, and gives Yugi the five star-chips he needs to enter the finals as payback for him getting her star-chips back from PaniK. She herself has gotten ten on top of the ones she gave Yugi, and the three of them enter the finals.
Inside the castle they run into Bandit Keith, who's getting ready to watch the duel between Kaiba and Pegasus.
Kaiba tries to make Pegasus use the Duel Disk, but he wants to have Mokuba's lifeless shell use it if he does, so Kaiba agrees to a regular duel.
Pegasus plays dumb for a while, but then starts playing for real. He snatches one of Kaiba's Blue-Eyes with a trap-card, and from here the real dueling starts.
Pegasus goes all-out with the Toon-monsters, even pulling out his Toon-World field card. He knocks Kaiba's life-points down by half, so Kaiba discards his entire hand and plays cards off the top of his deck. This pays off, as he manages to get one of his other Blue-Eyes onto the field. He tries to wipe out Pegasus's toon-ified Blue-Eyes, but the thing stretches out of the way. This is when we find that toon-world operates on Who Framed Roger Rabbit? logic.
Kaiba blocks the Toon-Dragon's attack with a trap-card and then latches onto it with a spell-card to prevent it from moving and take down its Attack. He blasts it away with his own Blue-Eyes, but Pegasus pulls out the Dragon Capture Jar and eats Kaiba's dragon. Kaiba tries to kill Pegasus's Dragon Piper, but Pegasus duplicates Kaiba's Crush-Card Virus and infects his deck. Ths burns through most of Kaiba's deck, except for his spell-cards. He runs out, and Pegasus seals his soul inside a card alongside Mokuba's.
The realization that Kaiba was fighting for his brother brings out a feeling of sheer rage in Yugi, and this brings out Yami. He declares that he's going to demolish Pegasus.
In the dining-room where the duelists are being fed, Yugi and the gang see a painting of Shadi alongside a painting of a young woman.
They then find Millennium Eye replicas in their soup with letters in them. Yugi is paired with Mai, and Joey is paired with Bandit Keith.
Everyone goes to bed for the night, but Tristan decides to look around the castle and see where Seto and Mokuba are. Yami Bakura checks out the picture of Shadi before encountering a pair of guards and leaving his host to fend for himself. Tristan and Bakura meet up, and Bakura agrees to distract the guards while Tristan looks around for the Kaiba brothers. Tristan finds Mokuba, but one of Pegasus's men sneaks up on him with a gun.
Meanwhile, Bandit Keith breaks into Joey's room to steal his prize-card. Yugi catches him, but Keith beats him up. Joey then proceeds to beat Keith up, but they don't catch that he stole Joey's card.
Téa cleans the cuts on Yugi's face, and he expresses his frustrations at being so small and weak. He doesn't like not being able to protect anyone on his own, and declares that he'll make himself strong enough to stand up for himself, strong enough to take on his other self and win. Yeah, just you wait. This comes back in a big way later on.
Tristan gets tossed into a cell, but Bakura knocks out the guard and unlocks the cage.
The next morning, Yugi talks to Solomon through the video-camera before Joey asks him if he's ready.
Yugi begins his duel with Mai. She springs a trap on him, and the volume ends.
Being titled "The Terror of Toon World" is fairly accurate, since the volume really introduces the true terror of Toon World. Then there's the rest of the volume, which is mostly dedicated to building up to the rest of the tournament.
If anyone has ever seen a promotional shot for this franchise, if it has Yugi on it, he's most likely wearing his jacket as a cape. This is the volume that debuted in.
Yugi, preoccupied by his impending duel with Pegasus falls for a few of Mai's traps before engaging full dueling mode. He mind-controls Mai's dragon and uses it to destroy her mirrored wall. She falls for Yugi's bluff, giving him time to pull out Swords of Revealing Light to delay her attack. This gives him time to bring out the Black Luster Soldier and wipe out Mai's dragon. Mai sees no path for her to win, so she surrenders.
Joey and Bandit Keith go to duel, but since Keith took Joey's prize-card he has to find another so he can not be disqualified. He searches around for his, but doesn't find it since Keith took his. However, Mai gives him hers, and he goes back to the dueling room to face Keith.
Joey baits Keith into attacking, but the machine-monsters are immune to his magic-attacks. Keith plays a non-machine monster to lure Joey into attacking with his Flame Swordsman. One trap-card later the Flame Swordsman is destroyed and Joey loses 850 life-points.
Keith tries to finish off Joey with his other monsters, but Joey was waiting for his powerful monsters to attack so he could hit it with Chasm of Spikes and destroy it.
Keith keeps trying to kill Joey's monsters, but Joey keeps boosting them with spells and traps. Keith pulls out the Barrel Dragon, but Joey ages it to rust with the Time-Wizard and blasts it away with the Thousand-Dragon. Then Keith brings it back with a time-machine.
Joey manages to get his Red-Eyes out and copies one of Keith's cards to create the Red-Eyes Metal Dragon. Bigger and better than the Barrel Dragon, the Red-Eyes melts it to slag.
Joey then tries to wipe out Keith's last monster, but he pulls out Seven Completed and boosts the defense of the slot-machine monster to damage Joey. Keith then attaches an explosive monster to the Red-Eyes, and begins plotting to cheat to take out Joey. Joey then plays an equipment card on the Red-Eyes to boost it up to take the attack.
Keith uses Pillager to take a card, Sword and Shield from Joey's hand, which switches the attack and defense points of all monsters on the field. This takes the then-equal Red-Eyes and Slot Machine monsters points and leaves the Red-Eyes at a disadvantage. At the last second, Joey activates Grave-Robber, and steals the Time-Machine to bring the Red-Eyes back to full strength. This wipes out the rest of Keith's life-points, and wins Joey the duel.
As far as ways to close out a volume goes, that's brilliant. An underdog victory from so far behind you'd never think he could pull it off. Take your pick of Never Surrender, the Rocky theme, You're The Best, or better yet, the Yu-Gi-Oh! theme. That's what we're looking at here. That's the level of epic we're seeing.
Rather than waste time and further reveal strategies to Pegasus, Joey and Yugi agree to have Yugi be the one to face Pegasus.
Yugi gets the first turn in the duel, but Pegasus can still see into his mind and predict his strategies. Yugi tries to beat out the mind-scan, but he doesn't until he starts shuffling around his mind. From Yami to Yugi and back again. With the combination of their strategies, they wipe out Toon World, and knock him down to 800 life-points.
At this point, Pegasus starts the shadow-game. Yugi can't really handle it, but he wants to help anyways.
Pegasus manages to bait Yami into attacking so he can summon Relinquished, (One of my favorite monsters in the card-game) and uses it to further bait Yami into damaging his own life-points. Relinquished is a ritual-summon monster, which takes an enemy monster as a shield and takes its attack and defense. If it would be destroyed, the monster it took from is destroyed instead. It's a really cool monster if you can manage to summon it. I hope to have three in my deck at some point.
Yugi takes over so Yami can try and come up with a plan, but he passes out after playing two cards.
Yami takes over with a new vengeance, and the rest of the gang help prevent Pegasus from reading his mind. This gives Yami enough of an edge to sacrifice Pegasus's bomb monster, Jigen Bakuden and one of his own monsters to bring out the Magician of Black Chaos. He can't attack with it this turn, but Pegasus doesn't absorb it with Relinquished. Instead, he fuses it with the Thousand-Eyes Idol and creates Thousand-Eyes Restrict. He tries to absorb Kuriboh and the Magician of Black Chaos, but Yugi activates Multiply, which creates thousands of Kuribohs. This keeps Thousand-Eyes Restrict from absorbing the Magician, and Yami wipes out the rest of Pegasus' life-points with a single attack.
Pegasus holds up his promise and sets Solomon and the Kaiba brothers free. Pegasus then begins telling Yugi some of the secrets of The Millennium Items. He tells him about the death of his wife, and the state he was in when he found himself in Egypt. There, he ran into a thief trying to steal The Millennium Ring, and Shadi in the group trying to stop him. Shadi and the others take the thief back to the temple and see if he's able to wield the Ring, but it eats him alive. Pegasus tells Yugi of the Tablet of the Pharaoh's memories, with spots for four items empty and three items inside it.
Later on, Mokuba wakes up, and so does Kaiba. One of Pegasus's men gives Yugi the prize-money and Kaiba's duel-disks. This was why Pegasus wanted Kaibacorp. So he could use the solid light technology to create a permanent vision of his beloved.
Before they leave the island, Yami Bakura plays a Shadow-Game with Pegasus, and as a penalty for loss, rips the Millennium Eye out of Pegasus' face.
Kaiba flies everyone else off the island on his helicopter, and the arc as well as the volume concludes.
The volume contains some amazing moments. Even reading it over for the third time for this review, I had chills running down my spine throughout. Yugi's final showdown with Pegasus, the mind-shuffle, Yugi's friends intervening against Pegasus. It's all amazing to read. Speaking as mainly a fan of the Duelist series, the events just popped off the page to me.
Not only do the eight volumes of the Pegasus arc work incredibly well as a standalone arc, they set up future events and pay off storylines started back in the beginning of the series. As the mystery of The Pharaoh's powers and the Millennium Items begins to unravel, the story and stakes start amping up.
After all the times people stole Yugi's puzzle by breaking or cutting the cord, he replaces it with a chain. We see Yugi's mother one more time in two short panels as Yugi rushes to meet Téa on their walk to school. Téa notices Solomon isn't too happy right now, and he shows them why. A new, high-end game shop has opened up across the way, and there's a huge amount of interest in it. So much so that he fears going out of business sometime soon. The shop, Black Clown has exclusive contracts, they make and sell their own games. Sort of like console-exclusivity turned up to eleven. Yugi's naturally interested, but he and Téa have to go to school, so they leave.
Looking on is Duke Devlin and his father, the titular Black Clown.
At school, Yugi and the gang run into Duke doing dice-tricks in the classroom. Duke tricks Joey into a bet over a rigged magic-trick. He then tricks Joey into a shell-game. When he loses, Duke forces him to be his servant for four weeks, before Yugi intervenes and challenges Duke. He changes the shell-game from four aces to four aces and a joker. You get two aces of the same color, you win. You get an ace of both colors, it's a tie. You pick the joker, you lose. Duke loses three hands of the game, and accuses Yugi of rigging it. Yugi then explains the rules, and Duke realizes the game was completely fair.
The next day, Black Clown's new game, Dungeon Dice Monsters, goes on sale. Yugi and the gang try to get a copy, but Yugi gets separated frm them, and Duke's security team plants stolen bags of DDM on Yugi's person. They haul him away and throw him into a room with Duke to play Dungeon Dice Monsters. Each player picks twelve dice from their pool (Duke gives Yugi access to all five-hundred different dice) and then the machine shuffles them. There's a dungeon floor to explore and targets with life to attack. Get to the target, destroy the target, boom. Roll two summon-crests and you can summon a monster. This plants out six squares for the summoned creature to roam about on. Built a path to your target, and attack it.
Duke gets the first summon, and then it's Yugi's turn. Yugi finds that his dice are all higher levels, and don't have many summoning crests on them. For several turns, Duke summons and moves more monsters. Duke even manages to get them to Yugi's target, his Dungeon Master, and attack it. Finally, at the eleventh hour Yugi summons a high-level monster and stops Duke's advance in its track. Yugi sacrifices one of his Dungeon Masters life to destroy two more of Duke's monsters.
Duke explains that his father challenged Solomon for control of The Millennium Puzzle, but the game aged him horribly. Duke wants to beat Yugi and take the puzzle from him to become the new heir to the legend.
Duke summons a special Rare Black monster with a teleporter pad inside the dice, but Yugi summons his own Rare Black monster and kills it. Yugi manages to make his way to and attack Duke's Dungeon Master. He knocks it down to a single point, which enrages Duke's father to no end. He comes out through a secret door and starts berating Duke for letting Yugi get this far, and then takes apart The Millennium Puzzle.
After the gang has some difficulty finding Yugi, Yami Bakura decides to track him with The Millennium Puzzle, when his needles detect something happening to the Puzzle. Here we find out some more about Yami Bakura's motives. He wants Yugi alive and needs the puzzle intact for his master plan to come together.
Duke manages to take out Yugi's best monster and teleports into his territory, and destroys several of Yugi's other monsters.
Yami Bakura then shows up to taunt Duke overt his idiotic assumption that he could wield the Puzzle without being burned alive.
Earlier, Tristan saw Bakura entering the game store wearing The Millennium Ring, and they rush in to see what's going on.
Within the shop, Yugi manages to summon one last monster and manage to find a spot to place it. Thus the volume ends with Yugi triumphant, and Duke aghast.
I'm left to wonder if the introduction of Dungeon Dice Monsters was intended to be a standalone arc or if it was supposed to try and get the series away from Duel Monsters. Considering it went into a lengthy Duel Monsters-related arc afterwards I'd bet on the former.
While this volume is titled "The Egyptian God Cards" the first three volumes are dedicated to wrapping up the Dungeon Dice Monsters arc. Another case where they could have and should have re-arranged the chapter selection. You don't start a volume named after the plot-devices from one arc with the last three chapters of what otherwise could have been a largely self-contained volume. The Dungeon Dice Monsters arc was small enough that it could fit into one decently-sized book, but they spread it across two volumes, and thus took away from both the end of that arc and the beginning of the Battle City arc to follow. Punctuating your collections is as important as punctuating each chapter in a multi-part arc. It ain't a series-killing error by any means, just a pace-killing one when you're not reading multiple volumes at a time.
Within the Black Clown store, the gang find it empty save for the possibly unconscious, probably dead guards.
Yugi uses some stored crests to activate his new monsters special-power and block Duke's assault on his Dungeon Master. He then activates its second ability to slay Duke's best monster. There's no way for Duke to win, since he's got nothing that can stand up to it.
Yugi gets the puzzle, and Yami Bakura seals a bit of his soul inside a piece of it. Duke attempts to reconcile with Yugi, but his dad yanks Yugi into a room with the game he played with Solomon twenty years ago. He nails the puzzle to the table and tries to solve it, but Yami's spirit screws with his head. This causes Duke's dad (I don't think we've learned his name) to freak out and knock candles off the table. This catches the building on fire.
Duke and Bakura run into the rest of the gang when they notice smoke coming through the secret door.
Yugi tries to get the rest of the puzzle off the table, but the nail won't come out of the table so he can get the last piece.
Joey and Tristan break the door down and Duke rescues his father at Yugi's behest.
Even with the help of Joey and Tristan, Yugi can't wrest the nail from the table. Yugi wants to try and build the puzzle again for fear it will melt, and Joey decides to stay with him. Eventually, Yugi passes out from the heat and the smoke, so Joey braves the flames and tries to get him out. He finally manages to leverage the nail out of the table since Yugi won't let go of the chain. As the building goes up in flame, Joey exits the building with Yugi in his arms.
The next chapter starts off with Yugi in the hospital recovering from the smoke inhalation, overheating, and possibly burns as well. He's playing Duel Monsters with Joey when the man n the bed next to his points out that there's a woman with an eye on her necklace that's similar to the one on Yugi's puzzle.
The woman is Ishizu Ishtar, who invites Seto Kaiba to the Domino City Museum to show him the new exhibit early. There he finds the origin of the Duel Monsters game. Exodia, The Blue-Eyes White Dragon, the Dark Magician, Summoned Skull, Kuriboh, everything. As well as a carving depicting the unnamed pharaoh who looks distinctly like Yugi squaring off against a priest who looks a lot like Kaiba himself. Everything is there, right down to their preferred monsters of the Dark Magician and Blue-Eyes White Dragon respectively. Kaiba disbelieves that this is legit, but Ishizu bribes him into sticking around in exchange for Obelisk The Tormentor, one of the three rare-cards Maximilian Pegasus drew up during the creation of Duel Monsters. Three powerful cards that if wielded improperly could legitimately kill someone. They're that tied to the actual powers that govern the Shadow Games. He tried to destroy them, but he couldn't. As an alternative, he gave them to the Egyptian government to deal with, and they hid them in three places in The Valley of The Kings. Then the Ghouls, a group of treasure-hunters led by Ishizu's brother, Marik Ishtar, stole two of them. If there's a high-profile theft of Duel Monsters cards, you can bet The Ghouls are behind it. Ishizu wants Kaiba to hold an ante-tournament to lure out the Ghouls so they can recover Slifer The Sky Dragon and The Winged Dragon of Ra. Plus, Kaiba sees this as an opportunity to show his dominance as a duelist and collect the other two cards.
At the Kaiba Corporation R&R headquarters, Seto tests out the card and his new and improved Duel-Disks. He goes up against his Duelist Kingdom deck, complete with the three Blue-Eyes. He negates the Blue-Eyes attack, summons Obelisk, and wipes them out in one go, along with the dueling-bot.
Meanwhile, Yami goes on a date with Téa. They sit at a while in a coffee-shop talking before roaming around. They stop in at a card-shop to pick up some newer cards and later at an arcade to play some games. There, a guy named Johnny Steps challenges Téa to a game of Dance Dance Revolution (Or something like that) and she accepts. She beats him, and she and Yugi go to the museum to learn what Kaiba did after some conversation. There they run into Ishizu, who tells them of a great battle approaching. She also mentions that Yugi needs to find all seven Millennium Items to regain the Pharaoh's memories.
Outside the museum, they run into a ton of duelists. Mai Valentine, Weevil Underwood, Rex Raptor, Mako Tsunami, and new faces. Then the Kaiba brothers show up to explain what's going on. Seto tells them that a Duel-Monsters tournament starts tomorrow, and that they need a forty-card deck and a next-generation Duel Disk to enter. Players bet their rarest card on the duel, and everyone at the finals will have a deck full of rare cards.
Marik gets wind of the tournament, and mobilizes the Rare Hunters.
Yugi explains that Yami doesn't really want to play for ante, but the stakes of the tournament and the chance to face Kaiba again is too good to pass up.
Yugi and Joey have to go to a specialty gaming store to get their duel-disks. Joey is almost not admitted to the tournament (Despite being the runner-up in the Duelist Kingdom tournament.) but one of Marik's men has infiltrated the shop and notices Joey's Red-Eyes. He gives him a duel-disk and inform's Marik. On the way back from Yugi's, one of Marik's men ambushes him and challenges him to a duel. He farms out cards until he draws out Exodia and trounces him.
The Ghouls beat up Joey and take his Red-Eyes, leaving him unconscious in the alleyway.
The next day, the duelists gather together, and Kaiba explains the new rules. Collect puzzle-cards to create a map of the city, stack six and a location lights up. Same as Duelist Kingdom, you bet these puzzle cards on duels as well as your rarest card. Four-thousand life-points, closer to standard rules. Then even closer to standard rules, sacrifices for summoning higher-level monsters.
Meanwhile, Joey has been trying to find the guy who stole his Red-Eyes and finally tracks him down. Yugi challenges the guy to a duel for the Red-Eyes. Yami Yugi don't care who the guy is or what cards he uses, he's gonna beat his ass.
The rare-hunter starts farming out Exodia, but Yugi figures out his strategy and nails one of the pieces with Light-Force Sword. He then activates Chain Destruction to wipe out all copies of the one piece of Exodia his hand and deck. Boom. No more Exodia. Marik then takes over and expresses his disdain for the mans weakness before handing the Red-Eyes and the puzzle-card to Yugi. Joey however refuses to take the card back until he's more worthy of it, and goes to find a duel of his own.
While looking for his duel, Joey runs into Rex Raptor getting beaten by Esper Roba. After having faced off with Mai, Joey is confident that he can take down psychics. Plus, he beat Rex Raptor himself, so there's no real reason to be afraid.
Roba's brothers feed him information about his opponents. Joey finds this out when they feed their brother a false piece of information based on the partial obscuration of a single card. However, this doesn't prevent Roba from summoning Jinzo, the Psycho Shocker destroying Joey's trap-cards and attacking him directly. On his turn, Joey manages to protect his life-points with a bunch of scape-goats in defense mode. Joey then plays Roulette Spider, making Jinzo attack one of Roba's monsters and wipe out most of his life-points. On his next turn, Joey plays Baby Dragon and wins the game. He gains himself a puzzle-card and Jinzo for his troubles.
Meanwhile, Mokuba and Seto bust a guy trying to blackmail another player into giving up more cards or being beaten up. Seto then challenges the dude to a duel and wipes him out with Obelisk.
Yugi and Yami have a talk about how the Ghouls knew Joey had the Red-Eyes, and they conclude that it must have been the guy from the shop who told them. They rush to the store and find the computer with the duelist data on it, and a recolored Dark Magician pops out of the screen. There he meets the illusionist Arkana, who also uses The Dark Magician card that Yugi is fond of. Arkana challenges Yugi to a duel, and he accepts, wrapping up the volume on an epic cliffhanger.
For some reason, despite properly translating Pegasus's name in previous volumes (With small errors here and there) this volume calls Pegasus Pegasus J. Crawford instead of Maximilian J. Pegasus despite the character introducing himself as Maximilian J. Pegasus. I'll break this down at the very end of this feature in further depth when I break down the localization of these comics.

Well, I'm a little bit late, but that couldn't really be helped. This has been a ragged week for me.
We've been trying to straighten out our financial situation as best we can, plus I had to take a small break on Sunday so I wouldn't be working myself into oblivion.
If you like this series so far, please consider supporting me on Patreon. Every dollar makes it easier to do what I do here. And I love doing what I do here. If you love reading what I write, I'd appreciate knowing, either through the comments, or through Patreon. It doesn't matter to me.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Yu-Gi-Oh! Volumes 7-12

As I mentioned in the previous article, this volume was my introduction to the Yu-Gi-Oh! comics. As far as an introduction to the series goes, this isn't half bad. It's all killer, and nothing even remotely resembling filler. Even by the high standards of filler in this series.
I won't be recapping the previous volumes of the series mostly to save time, so if you haven't read the last one, just scroll down a bit. Maybe click "Older Posts" if you have to.
The gang makes their way to Zorc's castle, but they find someone lying across their path. The young man tells them that bandits stole his treasure, a sword that can defeat Zorc. They tell him to take them into the forest, and run into a gaggle of powerful monsters.
Joey's character trips and falls, but Yugi tames a monster, Tristan kills another, and Téa nukes the rest with her characters magic.
The young man reveals himself to in fact be Zorc, and uses this surprise to take the first action. He uses this to steal Téa's soul and seal it inside the miniature of her character. Joey attempts to retaliate, but he fumbles and his soul is sealed inside his figure. Tristan tries to attack, but his character fails a courage test and loses the initiative. Bakura rolls a critical and Zorc steals his soul.
The only player left is Yugi, who now has to control everyone. Bakura challenges him to roll for his character, but Yugi tells him to seal his soul inside his characters miniature. Bakura is perplexed, but complies. He's about to claim his prize from Yugi, but instead of falling to the table, Yugi is sitting up straight. Confident. Dice between his fingers, a smirk on his face. Yami rolls the dice and makes Tristan attack Zorc, blowing off the dark lords hand. More monsters spawn from the severed hand, and Zorc retires to his castle, laughing. Joey cuts one monster in half, and Yugi tames the other.
Yami reveals that he knows how Bakura has been getting constant criticals, by spinning the dice on an axis that increases the chance of rolling a critical and tapping the table with his knee to direct the spinning die into another one with an undesirable result. The two agree to stop cheating the dice, and continue on with the game.
The party finds their way into Zorc's castle and fall prey to a trap. Yami solves it, but the trap and Zorc both manage to damage the party. Zorc attacks the tower they were trapped in, but the party managed to run out around behind him and attack. They pour everything into him, but they can't win. Bakura then takes a set of dice and seals a bit of his soul into them to control their results. He uses this to roll a crit in an attempt to wipe them out, but the math leaves them all with one HP left.
Bakura attempts to discern what happened and finds that his left hand has been working all on its own. The actual Ryo Bakura has been controlling this hand, and used this control to keep Zorc from killing the party.
Then Joey gouges out Zorc's eye, and we find that Yami Bakura apparently tied his soul a bit too closely to his in-game avatar. When the players manage to damage Zorc, it reduces Yami Bakura's control over his host-body.
A new round starts, and Téa tries to heal the party, but Zorc's initiative is tied with hers. They have to roll-off to see who goes first. Yami Bakura almost wins, but the dice fall against his favor, giving Téa the opportunity to max out the party's HP.
Yami Bakura finds that the dice he threw were regular dice, and when Zorc goes to attack, his left hand tosses out the brainwashed ones, causing Zorc to fumble and damage himself. Yami Bakura then impales his hosts hand on one of the towers spikes so he can stop it from sabotaging his plans.
This tips the gang off to the fact that this ain't Bakura, but in fact something possessing Bakura.
Yami and Yugi decide to try and use the beast-taming on Zorc and see what happens. Yugi's Beast-Tamer hand pulls the actual spirit of Bakura out of Zorc's stump.
Bakura uses his powers to weaken Zorc enough for Tristan to blast a hole in his side. Zorc then launches his final attack, but Bakura manages to block it with a magic-shield long enough to save the party.
One of Yugi's tamed monsters keeps Zorc's weak-point open long enough for Yugi to bust through it with his magic hand. Joey takes this chance to cut Zorc in half, but the dark lord still lives. It all comes down to one roll, the initiative.
Yami Bakura and Yami Yugi roll off, and they score the same, but Ryo Bakura uses the part of his soul sealed in the dice to shatter them. This gives Yami Yugi the chance to order Téa to blast Zork with all she's got. This cinches the victory for them, and Yami Bakura slumps to the desk. Yami Yugi then uses Cleric-Bakura's powers to transfer his soul back into his own body, and everyone Yami Bakura had sealed in his miniatures is freed.
If you don't know anything about the series, you pretty much have no idea how important this volume is to the overarching story. Everything used in this volume (And in the chapters from the last volume that started this arc) is used by Yami Bakura later on in the series. This is how you introduce your main villain. Hell, this is how you write a main villain. You make him the heroes problem, but you also give a decent climax to their first encounter. You keep bringing him back so he's actually doing things in the story, but prevent the heroes from having any permanent method of killing or defeating him. Make him out to be a threat, but keep his goals mysterious. Then, at the very end, pay off his plans and explore his goals without merely dumping it all upon the heroes and readers at once.
The only thing I can really complain about in this volume is once again, the placement of the chapters. The first two chapters of the arc really should have been moved from the end of the last volume to the start of this one to maximize the impact of the arc.
Volume eight brings back the Duel Monsters card game as the international subtitle of "Duelist" would suggest.
A package arrives for Yugi, but he doesn't open it for a while because he's thinking about how he wants to try and go head to head with Kaiba in a tournament.
Speaking of tournaments though, Yugi and the gang have been following the Japanese Duel Monsters championship tournament. It comes down to Weevil Underwood and Rex Raptor. Raptor whips out some powerful dinosaurs, but Weevil uses some clever maneuvering to power up his insects and win the match.
Maximilian J. Pegasus, the president of Industrial Illusions and the creator of Duel Monsters presents Weevil the trophy. He also announces the world Duel Monsters championship at Duelist Kingdom.
Yugi opens the package and finds within a glove, two star-shaped chips and an 8mm VHS tape. (God I feel old now) Yugi finds a recording or Pegasus on the tape, and it challenges him to a game of Duel Monsters. The tape predicts the cards Yugi is going to use, and Yugi begins to suspect that this might be a Shadow Game.
Yugi picks a card, and realizes that he didn't even think when he did it. He places the card face-down and asks the others there what the card was. Most of them guess correctly, as does Pegasus. From this,Yugi guesses that Pegasus was actually inserting frames into the video to influence what Yugi would play. Yugi reveals his card was in fact The Dark Magician, and destroys Pegasus's monster. Pegasus reveals that he knew this as well and starts a countdown timer to finish the duel. Yugi almost finishes the duel, but the timer runs out. In order to coerce Yugi into coming to Duelist Kingdom, Pegasus traps Solomon's soul in the VHS tape, and reveals that he holds another Millennium Item, The Millennium Eye.
The next day at school, Bakura sees the gang being all glum and wonders what's going on. He then sees Solomon trapped in the cam-corder, and they start talking about Pegasus's Millennium item. Bakura mentions that his Millennium Ring came from an antique shop in Egypt, and they figure Pegasus might know more about the items.
On his way home, Yugi finds an envelope stuck on the door to the game-store. Within he finds Duel Monsters cards, one with a date and time on it, one with a location, one with the rules, a blank card, and a card with treasure on it.
A mysterious tape comes for Joey, but it's a message from his little sister, Serenity. When his parents divorced, his mother took his sister and his father took him. Serenity is going blind, and has been moving in that direction her whole life. Neither Joey nor anyone in his family has the money to afford the surgery that would fix her vision, but Yugi gives Joey the treasure card and one of his two star-chips. That way they can both enter, and Joey can try to get the prize-money.
They spend the next week training to be better duelists, and come time to set sail, they board. There, they find Weevil Underwood and Rex Raptor boarding the ship as well. They also run into Mai  Valentine.
On the ship, Yugi has a conversation with Weevil about the tournament, and about rumors that the second edition of Duel Monsters rules will be unveiled during this tournament. Later on they start discussing card strategies, and Weevil mentions that he's heard rumors Yugi used Exodia to defeat Kaiba. He then asks to see the cards, and tosses them off the side of the boat. Joey leaps off the side of the boat to get the cards, but he only finds two of them. Yugi becomes so angry that he transforms, and declares that Weevil will be his first target.
At Duelist Kingdom, Pegasus introduces the rules of the tournament. Take your star-chips, bet them on the outcome of a duel with your opponent and whoever wins gets the chips. Get ten star-chips, you enter the finals of the tournament to see who gets to take on Pegasus. After two days, whoever doesn't have ten chips gets eliminated and sent home. If you lose all your star-chips before then, you also get sent home. After the tournament starts, Yugi and the gang run into Weevil. Weevil lures them to a dueling box in the woods. Yugi stakes his life and his star-chip against Weevil's two so he can knock him out of the tournament early.
Here we learn about the new additions to the game, field-power bonuses. That's why Pegasus held the tournament on the island, because it's got a varied selection of biomes and landscapes.
Weevil manages to get the upper-hand for a while until Yugi baits him into activating his Mirror Force Trap-card, and destroys all of his own monsters. Weevil then plays his trump card, a cocoon that will transform into the ultimate great moth, but Yugi burns away the field with Burning Land. This removes the defense bonus it gets, destroying the cocoon. However, the monster within hatches prematurely, and begins to attack. Yugi then uses Polymerization to combine Curse of Dragon and Gaia: The Fierce Knight into Gaia: The Dragon Champion. However, the moth has a poison effect that will reduce a monsters attack points over time. Yugi uses Magic Mist to negate the effect, but the moth still blows Gaia away. Meanwhile, Yugi calls on The Summoned Skull to electrocute the great moth, and defeats Weevil. Yugi takes his star-chips and gives Joey Weevil's glove.
Joey gets challenged by Mai, and they both bet a single star-chip on the duel. Mai feigns being psychic to psyche out her opponents, which honestly isn't that much of a stretch in this series.
The decision to divide the series into three (Yu-Gi-Oh!DuelistMillennium World) for the international market is one I do not approve of. There's literally no reason for it. It's not like the second animated series was known as Yu-Gi-Oh! Duelist outside of Japan. We're not looking at a Dragon Ball Z case where the comics were one ongoing thing and the animated series got split into two accidentally in planning, and then the second got insanely popular outside Japan. The first series wasn't all that popular inside Japan for gods sake.
Joey is distracted by Mai's sleight of hand, enough for her to knock out a good chunk of his life-points. Yugi gives Joey a tiny hint, and while he despairs for a bit over the meaning of it, he smells the perfume on Mai's cards. This helps him concentrate, and he gets his strategy together to beat Mai with Baby Dragon and Time Wizard. Time Wizard throws the clock forward, aging the harpies to weakness and the dragon to strength. He uses the dragon to blow the harpies away and with the duel.
In the next chapter, the gang runs into Mako Tsunami, who shares some of his fish with them. Then he challenges Yugi to a duel. Mako's side of the field is ocean, Yugi's is land. Mako uses the water to hide his monsters until they attack. Yugi tries to electrify the water, but Mako uses his Jellyfish monster to soak it all up. Yugi tries to counter, but Mako floods the entire field with water, leaving two small islands. Yugi plays his Stone Soldier, and uses it to destroy the moon he used to amplify his wolf earlier in the game. This screws with the tides, giving Yugi back his half of the field. He then summons Curse of Dragon and uses Burning Land to vaporize the rest of the water, and beats Mako.
Next chapter, we find that some kid has been stealing star-chips and cards from other duelists. Pegasus's men inform him of the situation and we find out that the thief was a prisoner of Pegasus.
The kid then ambushes Yugi and bets him five star chips. Yugi beats him down to the wire, killing each and every one of his monsters. The kid tries to flee with all the sta-chips, but Yugi grabs his hand and yanks the bandanna off his face. Revealing the kid to be none other than Mokuba Kaiba. Mokuba reveals that Pegasus is trying to take over the Kaiba Corporation with help from The Big Five. Pegasus gets their support if he can beat the guy who put the CEO in a coma. Yugi and the gang convince Mokuba that Yugi can beat Pegasus and he's about to give him his star-chips back when The Hair Guy shows up to try and bust them for cheating. Yugi challenges him to a duel so he can get his star-chips back, but Hair Guy redirects him to a puppet-master who's working a Kaiba marionette. And using Kaiba's deck. Yugi beats one of his monsters, but the puppet-master pulls out one of Kaiba's Blue-Eyes White Dragons. He uses this to annihilate Yugi's Curse of Dragon and halve his life-points. Yugi uses his Magical Hats to conceal his Dark Magician, and his Spellbinding Circle. He uses the trap to seal up the Blue-Eyes and decrease its' attack points to where the Dark Magician can destroy it. Then the ventriloquist plays the second Blue-Eyes and attempts to attack Yugi, but at that moment Seto Kaiba finishes rebuilding the puzzle of his soul and wakes up. This causes the second Blue-Eyes to stop obeying the puppet-master and self-destruct. This gives Yugi enough time to formulate a strategy. Yugi baits the ventriloquist into attacking and activating his trap-card Mirror Force, but he chains another trap card Negate Trap. After that, Yugi uses Monster Reborn to bring back one of Kaiba's Blue-Eyes White Dragons, and uses the power of The Mystical Elf to boost his Blue-Eyes' attack to take out the last one on the puppet-masters side, and reduce his life-points to zero. Yugi then imposes a penalty-game on the ventriloquist where his puppets are his masters instead of the other way around.
Meanwhile, what does Seto Kaiba do? He gets his briefcase with his gear and flies himself off to Pegasus's island. Muscles atrophied? Bones weak from disuse? Screw it. His little brother has been kidnapped and his business partner is trying to screw him out of his life's work. Seto Kaiba's got things to do, and health issues ain't gonna stop him.
Mai tricks Rex into fighting for her, and she makes him fight Joey.
Joey draws Baby Dragon and Time Wizard right off the bat, but Rex smashes the Baby Dragon as soon as it's played. Joey keeps trying to use the field to his advantage, but Rex just powers his monsters up and keeps blasting him. Yugi tries to give him advice, but Yami councils against it. Joey finally pulls out The Flame Swordsman and starts cutting up Raptor's dinosaurs.
I like the diversity of content within this volume. There's the payoff to the cliffhanger the previous volume ended on, the encounter with Mako, the run-in with Mokuba, the duel against the ventriloquist, the return of Kaiba, and the start of Joey's showdown with Rex. It doesn't linger on any one thing for too long, while also giving each idea enough breathing room to be explored or set up something for later, as well as advancing the plot forward with each successive chapter.
Joey keeps up his offense until Rex finally draws one of the other iconic cards in the series, The Red-Eyes Black Dragon. Breaking with tradition, it's actually got red eyes and a black body, unlike the Blue-Eyes White Dragon. With that blue body and white eyes.
Rex uses the Red-Eyes to kill the Flame Swordsman. He then challenges Joey to up the ante and bet his Time Wizard against his Red-Eyes. In-universe it's worth a few hundred thousand yen (A few thousand USD) so naturally Joey accepts. Joey activates the Time Wizards Time Roulette, and it ages the Red-Eyes to death, leaving Joey's one remaining monster to wipe out Rex's remaining life-points. Joey gets the Red-Eyes and Rex's star-chips.
Apparently Pegasus didn't provide the duelists with housing and food, so the gang has to borrow stuff from Mai, and in exchange Bakura prepares dinner.
Mai gets Téa to talk to Yugi. While the two of them are talking, Mai is ambushed by one of the player-killers, PaniK. He out-duels her and tries to take all her star-chips, but Yugi shows up and challenges him. PaniK threatens to choke him out if he loses or tries to run, but naturally Yugi's got some Millennium Magic up his sleeve in the event that he wins.
PaniK plays the Castle of Dark Illusion to conceal his monsters. Yugi sets up his defenses, and then decides to attack to see if his Winged Dragon's attack can illuminate the darkness with its flames, and it can. Yugi uses this information to set up his plan, and his defense to psych PaniK out. PaniK tries to use his Reaper of Cards to destroy Yugi's trump card, but Yugi triggers Spellbinding Circle and freezes it. This lets him use Swords of Revealing Light to negate the Castle Of Dark Illusions effect, but PakiK plays Yellow Luster Shield to boost his monsters defense.
Yugi fuses Gaia: The Fierce Night with Curse of Dragon to make Gaia: The Dragon Champion, and launches them towards The Castle of Dark Illusion with Catapult Turtle. This causes the castles flotation right to be destroyed, and when The Swords of Revealing Light are gone, the castle falls and destroys all of PaniK's monsters.
Pegasus's goons try to assassinate Kaiba, but he tosses them out of the helicopter and flies it to Duelist Kingdom.
Meanwhile, Bakura's Millennium Ring has started glowing, and one of the needles has started pointing towards the castle. Then Kaiba shows up in his helicopter. Yugi gives him his deck back, and Joey challenges him to a duel for what he did to them at Death-T. Kaiba accepts, and uses that duel to test out his Duel-Disk prototype.  He beats Joey and heads off to Pegasus's castle to rescue his brother and probably attempt to kill Pegasus.
This volume features gameplay mechanics that appear to have been an attempt to turn Duel Monsters into a tactical RPG. I don't have any real problem with that, but it's a shame we never saw any of those mechanics in the real-life version of the game. It'd add a lot more cool strategy.
A trio of duelists abduct Joey. They work for the former United States Champion, "Bandit" Keith Howard, and force him to duel one of them, a creepy kid named Bonz.
Yugi takes out a bunch of Bonz's monsters, but he brings them back with Call of The Haunted, which makes the zombies. Since they're in an underground tomb, zombies all get a field-power bonus. Joey tries to take down the zombies, but they keep coming back with more power. Joey manages to pull out the Time Wizard, but it hits a skull on Time Roulette and destroys itself and Joey's Flame Swordsman. Joey manages to keep defending, but Bonz pulls out monster after monster to boost up his offense. Meanwhile, Yugi uses The Millennium Puzzle to find Joey again, and the gang tracks them through the cave.
Joey finally gets his Red-Eyes out, and wipes out the Pumpking Bonz was using to power up his monsters. And since it was played as undead, Call of the Haunted couldn't bring it back. However, the Dragon Zombie manages to wipe out the Red-Eyes and knock Joey down below 200 Life Points. Fortunately, Joey manages to draw Sword and Shield, which lets him wipe out Bonz's life points with one attack from his last monster.
Yugi and the gang find Joey, but Keith and his goons blockade them inside the cave. So they have to follow Bakura's Millennium Ring to try and get out. Keith then beats up his henchmen and take their star-chips so he can get into Pegasus's castle.
The gang winds up in a maze, at the end of which they find The Paradox Brothers, who challenge Yugi and Joey to a tag-duel. A tag-duel that becomes a labyrinth tag-duel. The rules are as follows; Attack-mode monsters can advance spaces in the labyrinth based on their level.
Yugi plays Beaver Warrior and advances into the Labyrinth, but Para merges Shadow Ghoul with the labyrinth and kills it. The brothers bolster their defenses with trap-doors and a tank, but Yugi and Joey slay the wall-shadow, allowing them to proceed mostly unhindered. At least until Para readjusts the labyrinth and cuts Yugi's monsters off from Joey's. Joey then springs the trap-door monster, and one of his creatures gets eaten by a spider. Yugi then shuffles the monsters around with Magical Boxes, killing the spider and allowing The Dark Magician to blast the tank away.
Para and Dox begin to assemble The Gate Guardian, while Dox plays a Dungeon Worm to weed out the rest of the monsters. So Yugi plays Magical Hats to protect The Dark Magician and The Flame Swordsman. After the first attack, Joey uses The Flame Swordsman to incinerate the Dungeon Worm. Dox then manages to find the last card to summon The Gate Guardian. The Guardian tries to attack The Flame Swordsman, but Yugi activates Mirror Force, and uses it to kill one of the brothers monsters. They also find out that the Gate Guardian can defend itself with the various powers it's got. It then floods the labyrinth, killing The Flame Swordsman. This gives Yugi the opportunity to pull out the Summoned Skull, and use that to electrify the water. This, combined with the Spellbinding Circle, allows him to kill one of the component monsters. While Para manages to dispel the Circle, but Joey pulls out the Red-Eyes Black Dragon and Yugi fuses it with the Summoned Skull, creating the Black Skull Dragon.
Reading through the volumes of this arc, you can tell Takahashi wanted to write more than just a simple card-game. I don't blame him, it makes the chapters more interesting to have all of this placement strategy and random chance included in the game. If Yu-Gi-Oh! were actually played like this it would probably be a more interesting game. I for one would love to be able to play gimmick duels like the ones sometimes featured in the series.
Yugi marches his Dark Magician through the maze to the exit and uses Shift to send the Black Skull Dragon to the end of the maze, they blast away what's left of The Gate Guardian with it, win the duel, and get the star-chips they need to enter Pegasus's castle. Yugi then outsmarts the brothers key puzzle and they leave the room.
Meanwhile, Pegasus tells Kaiba that if he wants his brother back he has to beat Yugi. He gives Kaiba five star-chips, and tells him to bet them against Yugi. Kaiba confronts Yugi on the steps leading to Pegasus's castle.
Kaiba challenges him to a duel with the new duel-discs, and Yugi accepts. During the duel, Kaiba reveals the purpose of the Duel Discs. To interfere with and weaken Pegasus's psychic powers.
Kaiba uses the Crush Card Virus to weaken Yugi's deck, and gives him time to summon all three of his Blue-Eyes and use Polymerization to create The Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon!
Yugi uses Kuriboh and Multiply as a shield. Yugi then uses Living Arrow to target the Ultimate Dragon with a polymerization of his own, and fuses it with Mammoth Graveyard. The incompatible monsters begin rotting each other from the inside out. Yugi then starts cutting off its heads with The Celtic Guardian.
Despairing over the idea of not being able to save his brother, Kaiba threatens to walk off the side of the castle. Yami is about to call his bluff, but Yugi doesn't want to take the risk, and the two of them clash, eventually leaving Yugi weakened, unable and unwilling to order his monsters to attack. Leaving him open to Kaiba's attack.
At the time these chapters were published, the idea of a fusion-monster was clearly very new. I get the core idea behind most of the fusions so-far, combine elements of the two monsters and give it a power boost or drain depending on their compatibility. The idea of being able to take any monster and combine it with anything else is great. It'd be a lot of fun to just screw around with different combinations and see what works. However, that ain't how it works in real life. You've got to have very specific fusion-cards in order for them to be playable. Which kind of ruins the mechanics of fusion-monsters as they're laid down in the series in the first place. I'll get into that a bit more when I finally cover the card-game.

Alright, we've hit close to the 1/3 mark, but we've still got twenty-six volumes to go! Tune in this Sunday for the next part in this series!
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