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Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal

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This page is dedicated to Kazuki Takahashi (1961-2022).
Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal
Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL HQ Logo.png
After hitting a home run with 5D's, Studio Gallop had only one way to go, and that is way, way, way down. And you know what? It paid off!
Genre: Adventure
Fantasy
Running Time: 22 Minutes
Country: Japan
Release Date: April 11, 2011 - May 19, 2014
Network(s): TV Tokyo (Japan)
The CW (Toonzai/Vortexx) (United States)
Nicktoons (United States)
YTV (Canada)
Teletoon (Canada)
Kix (United Kingdom) (Season One)
Pop (Season One) (British Isles)
Cartoon Network (Season One) (British Isles)
9Go! (Australia)
RTÉ Two (Ireland) (Season One)
SABC 1 (South Africa)
Cadena Tres (Mexico)
ETC (Chile)
Netflix (Germany)
RTL II (Germany)
Canal J/Gulli (France)
K2 / Super 3 (Italy)
SIC K (Portugal)
Champ TV (South Korea)
ABS-CBN (Phillipines)
Starring: Tasuku Hatanaka (Japanese)
Eli Jay (English)
Miyu Irino (Japanese)
Marc Thompson (English)
Toshiki Masuda (Japanese)
Gary Mack (English)
Mikako Komatsu (Japanese)
Eileen Stevens (English)
Kōki Uchiyama (Japanese)
Christopher Kromer (English)
Megumi Han (Japanese)
Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld (English)
Seasons: 2
Episodes: 146 (Plus 2 specials)


Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal is the third spin off series of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise after preceding Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's.

Plot

Taking place shortly in a place called Heartland City, the story focuses on Yuma Tsukumo, a young duelist who strives to become the Duel Monsters champion, despite being an amateur. One day, during a duel with a rival named Shark, a mysterious spirit called Astral appears before him and helps him to win. Astral explains Yuma, is searching for his lost memories, which have transformed into 100 Xyz Monster (エクシーズ モンスター, Ekushīzu Monsutā) cards called Numbers (ナンバーズ, Nanbāzu), which have scattered across the globe. The Numbers can possess the duelists who own them and bring out their darkest desires. To recover his memories, Astral teams up with Yuma to recover the Number cards. After coming up against a boy named Kite Tenjo, who is hunting the Numbers, Yuma and Astral gain the ability to combine their forces using the power of ZEXAL (ゼアル, Zearu). Entering the World Duel Carnival tournament, Yuma finds himself up against various rivals, including the vengeance-seeking Vetrix and the maniacal Dr. Faker, who wants the Numbers for their gain.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal II takes place right after the end of the first series. In this new story, as the curtain falls on the World Duel Carnival, peace finally returned to Heartland City. But now, forces from Barian World, a world hostile to Astral's World, are aiming at taking the "Numbers" and Astral for themselves. To protect Astral, Yuma, Kite, and Shark stand together to combat the Barian threat.

Bad Qualities

  1. The main character, Yuma Tsukumo generally annoying and a whiny loser. Losing duels way too often (when he was a bullied little child) and relies on Astral too much, especially in the first half of the series. It's fine if Yuma is not a Gary Stu, but making him a loser and trying to prove himself as a winner is not how to make him a good protagonist. Also, whenever his full name is called by every character, it gets very annoying and repetitive.
  2. The introductory arc and the "World Duel Carnival Qualifications" arcs rely too much on filler duels which are pointless and are usually based around one-note gimmicks, like a football player duelist, a tomato-based duelist, etc.
  3. Attempts at having funny moments that get old very quickly even the jokes aren't also funny, too.
  4. Failed to live up to the high expectations of fans after the cult classic, Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's before it, which is beloved for its story and characters.
  5. The series also has no connection to the past three series such as the original, GX, and 5D’s aside from having a few cards from those series appear. Because of this, no past characters from any of the past three series ever make an appearance or mentioned.
  6. Several important characters are stereotypical, unlikable, annoying, cliche, or otherwise poorly written.
    • Bronk Stone is an unfunny comic relief and stops being relevant after the first half of the show.
    • Tori Meadows is a weak female protagonist, lacking agency. She also doesn't duel, which is the focus of the show. It's a shame, given Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's had Akiza Izinski, to this day as a fan-favorite character not just because she was a capable duelist, but because she also had a genuinely endearing and heartwarming relationship with the protagonist (Yusei Fudo) of that show.
    • Flip Turner is an unfunny prankster with the crafty, snarky personality of insect-type duelist Weevil Underwood from Yu-Gi-Oh!.
    • Caswell Francis is just some incompetent idiot who mistakes Yuma for making trouble at school even when Flip was the one who framed Yuma for the stock photos of his trouble-makings.
    • Cathy Katherine is nearly a masochistic cat-like girl.
    • Reginald "Shark" Kastle is just a generic delinquent that is rather hard to like in the first half of the series, even when he supposedly no longer bullies people as a delinquent after the first two episodes.
  7. The choices of voice actors for the English dub are odd in the best cases and unbearable in the worst. The worst offender would be the main character himself, who has an obnoxious, whiny voice that sounds more like it belongs to an annoying comic relief character.
  8. The use of holographic screens is annoying and repetitive of what's going on.
  9. The overuse of saying "Noooo!" is repetitive and will get you on your last nerve.
  10. The duels themselves lack the strategy and cleverness of previous seasons. The heroes don't feel like they 'earn' their victories instead winning through luck or brute force.
  11. Unconvincing villains that feel cartoonish and bland:
    1. Number 96 is a generic "doppelganger" villain who is a distaff duplicate of Astral. He also stated to be a creation of Don Thousand for reasons that were never explained and forgotten in the final remaining episodes.
    2. Dr. Faker is a generic "mad scientist" who was manipulated by "Barian" from Barian World, mutated Vetrix from a man to a young boy and tried to destroy Astral World by stealing 100 "number" cards.
    3. Mr. Heartland is a rubbish greedy mayor of Heartland city, whose motives of taking over the world make no sense.
    4. The Barian Emperors are a generic "remorseless" antagonistic group that only steals numbers so that the Barian World will not be dying and nothing else.
    5. Vector is just a cliched "over-the-top" villain and a generic "manipulative" villain as well, who comes across as a "friend" to Yuma when he disguises himself as Ray Shadows. He often tries to absorb Don Thousand and the six Barian Emperors so that he can be more powerful and nothing else. He was also a cruel king of his family's empire who was at war with his future Barian Emperor leader, Nash, many years ago.
    6. The final and primary villain, Don Thousand, is shallow even for the original Yu-Gi-Oh!, with no real unconcerned motivations other than being a generic "revenge" antagonist who is the one who manipulated and created the Seven Barian Emperors while being the archnemesis of Astral, whom Don Thousand tried to destroy him and Astral World.
  12. The manga that was adapted later barely isn't faithful to the anime at all and doesn't also follow.
  13. The pacing is atrocious such as whenever characters get unconscious, filler duels and the Barian Emperors' first encounter with Yuma and the others is rushed.
  14. Weak writing that is incredibly lazy and super lifeless.
  15. None of the other supporting characters besides Yuma's older sister, Kari Tsukimo have no character development.
  16. Despite Yuma and Astral's quest to gather 100 Number monsters, those monsters touted as the most powerful cards in the game, they keep spamming Utopia and using very little else of their vast arsenal of Numbers. Yuma did use Volcasaurus, Leviathan Dragon and Terror-Byte a bit early on, but it's almost like he forgot he had them later. Aside from Utopia, Yuma and Astral have only ever summoned ten of the 100 Numbers they eventually collect.

Good Qualities

  1. Xyz summoning is a nice but sometimes overpowered (as demonstrated by decks like Zoodiac in the card game) addition to the game.
  2. The animation is pretty good.
  3. The idea of augmented reality dueling is a neat concept.
  4. A lot of characters are likable, like Astral, Kari (Yuma's older sister), Kite, Dextra, and Nistro. The second season adds Reginald, his sister Rio, and the other 5 Barian Emperors to the mix. Anna Kaboom, in particular, has become extremely popular amongst fans in no small part due to her hot-blooded personality and usage of her Rank-10 deck.
  5. Despite him coming off as generic, Don Thousand works decently for a final antagonist.
  6. Yuma does eventually grow to be more likable in later episodes.
  7. In general, the second season is a significant improvement over the first.
  8. Good redemption arcs for villains.
  9. Some of the humor can be funny, such as Orbital 7 summoning Googly-Eyes Drum Dragon and having the shadowed appearance of Galaxy-Eyes, only for the goofy Googly-Eyes to appear.
  10. On that note, Yuma doesn't use Numbers at all against duelists who don't have any of their own, so that allows us to see some variety in his deck, unlike the important duels where he spams Utopia.

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