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Review: Yu Gi Oh! R Volume 1

Yugi Mutou was just an average kid who liked to play games until one day, he solves the Millennium Puzzle and his life is changed forever.  Sharing his body with the soul of an Egyptian pharaoh, Yugi has defeated Maximillion Pegasus at his own creation, the card game Duel Monsters in the Duelist Kingdom tournament, and won the three Egyptian God cards in the following Battle City Tournament.  But his wins have made him an enemy of Yako Tenma, Pegasus’ protege, and now Tenma wants revenge.

Yu-Gi-Oh! R Volume 1
by Akira Ito
Age Rating: Teen (13+)
Viz Media, October 2009, ISBN: 978-1-4215-3006-2
209 pgs, $9.99

The plot of Yu-Gi-Oh! R might sound familiar if you’ve read the Yu-Gi-Oh!: Duelist manga.  In that series, the soul of Yugi’s grandfather is taken by Maximillion Pegasus, who forces Yugi into his Duelist Kingdom tournament to try and save him.  In this title, Yugi’s childhood friend Anzu is kidnapped by Yako Tenma, Pegasus’ protege, who forces Yugi to battle his minions at Duel Monsters to try and save her.  It’s a tried and true plot, just not very original.

This story is squeezed in between the series Duelist and Millennium World, taking place shortly after the final battle in Battle City.  Because it is being treated as a continuation of the Duelist story, there is very little introduction to the main characters.  It is assumed the reader already knows who Yugi, Anzu, Jonouchi, and Honda are.  There are short reminders of who Maximillion Pegasus is and the bond of friendship the four friends share, but otherwise, the reader is thrown into the story with no other read background information.  New readers to the franchise will be left in the lurch.

The main focus of this volume is the card game Duel Monsters.  Once Yugi and his friends reach Kaibacorp, which Tenma has taken over and is where he is holding Anzu, Card Professionals, professional Duel Monster players, are waiting to challenge them. They all want to beat Yugi for the prestige and $100,000 reward Tenma is offering.  Each chapter then follows a formula.  Yugi meets the Card Professional.  The Professional gets the upper hand at the start, and when it seems like he will win, Yugi turns the tide of the game around and wins the match.  The only difference between each chapter is who Yugi plays and what kind of deck they’re using.  Fans of the card game will love this, as they get to see cards they may have in play.  Otherwise, this can get pretty tedious.

Ito’s art is almost identical to Kazuki Takahashi’s, the original creator of the series.  He worked as an assistant to Takahashi and know the characters well.  There is nothing inappropriate in this volume.  It’s all about action, but the only violence is played out in the card game battles, and no one actually gets hurt.

Despite its problems, Yu Gi Oh! R is still an enjoyable read.  The game play makes for some tense moments and the different creatures that are created for the cards are varied and interesting.  This title is rated for 13+, but children as young as 10 could easily handle it.  If they can play the game, they can read the manga.  Players of the card game and fans of the Duelist manga will love this volume.  It’s more of what they value in the title; Yugi and Duel Monsters.  Readers new to Yu-Gi-Oh! would be better off reading Duelist first.

This review is based on a complimentary copy supplied by publisher. All images copyright © Viz Media.

Lori Henderson About Lori Henderson

Lori Henderson is a mother of two teenage daughters and an avid reader. She blogs about manga at her personal blog Manga Xanadu as well as contributing and editing for Manga Village. She blogs about all things fandom (mainly Doctor Who) at her other personal blog Fangirl Xanadu. She's been at it so for over 5 years now and counting!

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