Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is the first sequel to Yu-Gi-Oh! It takes place approximately 10 years after the events of the first series. Dueling is now a professional sport, with academies dedicated to teaching students to become professional duelists. The story follows Jaden Yuki, a boy who aspires to become as good as his idol Koyo Hibiki, a dueling champion who is in the hospital in a coma. He must overcome rivals, hostile instructors, and a Dark Force to reach his goal.
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Volumes 6-7
By Naoyuki Kageyama
Viz Media; March & August 2011. ISBN: 978-1-4215-3782-5, 978-1-4215-3925-6
297 pgs., $9.99
While Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is based on the cartoon series, its story is very different from the cartoon. The manga stays closer in tone to the original Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, using the Shadow Games and penalties in duel matches. In volume 6, Jaden is pulled into one such Shadow Game by Reggie MacKenzie, an exchange student from the American Duel Academy. She has already defeated Miss Hibiki, an instructor at the school who is also Koyo’s sister and Jaden’s friend. The battle takes up most of the volume and ends with Miss Hibiki and Jaden learning of the existence of the Dark Force that is after the spirits Winged Kuriboh and Light and Darkness Dragon. In volume 7, four more exchange students arrive with Principal Mackenzie, Reggie’s father, and the host for the Dark Force. The students participate in more duels, while the Black Shadow continues his plotting.
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is a gaming title, so the card play dominates not just these two volumes, but the series. By this point in the series the characters are developed enough that the games can add to their further development as well as the plot. Bastion’s crush on Alexis almost costs the pair their tag duel as he thinks more of impressing her than the duel. It’s also through some of the duels that the Dark Force is not only revealed to the protagonists, but so are his objectives and motivations. The duels might seem boring if you’re not familiar with the game, but they can actually get pretty tense. Jaden’s duel with Reggie and both tag duels had moments that had you feeling the tension or cheering the heroes on.
One of the things I’ve liked about the Yu-Gi-Oh! titles is their use of female characters. They are always strong and capable, especially the duelists, and GX is no exception. Reggie not only defeats Miss Hibiki, an instructor, but also gives Jaden a run for his money as she nearly defeats him in their duel. It’s only his spirit partner Winged Kuriboh that saves him. Alexis shows her strength in the tag duel as she takes the lead and is the most focused while Bastion is the smitten one. I really liked that role reversal.
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX isn’t quite as good as its predecessor, but it definitely has its good points, especially as the series moves closer to the finale. With the story focusing on the Dark Force and his minions, and less on school tropes, it becomes a tighter and more entertaining read. Yu-Gi-Oh! fans who may have been turned off by the slow beginning or the anime should check GX out, as should middle school libraries and tween-to-teen collections.
Review copy provided by publisher.