New to Yu-Gi-Oh?   Heard of one series but not the others?  *grins cheerfully*
Well then, just scroll on down or click on the links below to jump to a brief series synopsis.

Yu-Gi-Oh! & Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters | Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monsters | Yu-Gi-Oh! R

Yu-Gi-Oh! Gx | Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's | Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal


Yu-Gi-Oh! & Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters

Written/Created by: Kazuki Takahashi
Original release:  1996 - March 8, 2004 (
38 tankoban, 22 bunkoban)
First series aired:  April 4, 1998 - October 10, 1998 (
27 episodes)
Duel Monsters aired:  April 18, 2000 - September 29, 2004 (
224 episodes)

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The difference between Yu-Gi-Oh! and Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters:  The first seven volumes of the manga, which feature a variety of games, were done in anime form by Toei Studio.  The rest of the series, in which the card game is a prominent feature was produced by Shueisha and given the "Duel Monsters" tag.

Yu-Gi-Oh! is the story of Yugi Mutou, a "vertically-challenged" sixteen year-old with a love of games of all types.   Yugi possesses an ancient Egyptian artifact that he received from his grandfather eight years ago.  When Yugi solves the Sennen Puzzle (Millenium Puzzle) the spirit sealed within bonds with him and the Yami no Games begin.

From there Yugi makes many new friends, and enemies, in his adventures as well as meeting the other holders of the Sennen items.  At Duelist Kingdom, he and the spirit realize that they are two separate entities and use this to defeat the creator of Duel Monsters and holder of the Sennen Eye, Pegasus J. Crawford (Maximillion Pegasus) and earn the title of "King of Games".

Later, they learn from another Item holder that the spirit of the Puzzle is actually a 3,000 year-old Pharaoh (5,000 in the dub) and seek out the items they need to restore his lost name and  memories.

Up until Battle City, Dueling is conducted using table-top holographic boxes invented by Seto Kaiba.  In the anime, the holo-boxes are replaced by huge Dueling platforms.  Kaiba refines his creation into a portable system:  Duel Disks that allows Duels to take place anywhere.  It is this model that is cosmetically altered and used in all later Yu-Gi-Oh series.

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Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monsters

Concept by: Kazuki Takahashi
Written by: Studio Gallop
First aired:  January 30, 2006 (
12 episodes)

Capsule Monsters was a twelve episode mini-series commissioned by 4Kids Entertainment.  This is the only Yu-Gi-Oh series that is exclusively in English.  As of yet, there is no Japanese version.

Capsule Monsters begins with Yugi having a strange nightmare which is unnerving enough on it's own, but when he awakes his Millenium Puzzle is acting strange as if in reaction.  Later that day, while Yugi is showing Téa (Anzu Mazaki) the new Capsule Monsters game, Joey bursts into the classroom with exciting news:  He's won a trip for four to India!  The friends are thrilled and agree to join him on his trip.  The flight passes without incident until they are close to their destination and the plane crashes.  After reaching the ground safely, the four teens run across Dr. Alex Brisbane who claims to be a collegue of Yugi's grandfather and that Solomon (Sugoroku) had dissappeared.  Brisbane takes them to the last place he saw Solomon, a huge room with a map on the floor that looks very familiar to Yugi.

Joey goes to check it out and dissappears when he steps on the map, the rest of the gang follow and find themselves separated and in the world of Capsule Monsters.  Now they have to figure out how to find each other and the way home while staying in one piece!

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Yu-Gi-Oh! R

Concept by: Kazuki Takahashi
Written and drawn by: Naoyuki Kageyama
Original release:  June 2004 - January 2008 (
5 tankoban)

Yu-Gi-Oh R is an alternate storyline that takes place sometime after Battle City but before the Egypt Arc.

In Yu-Gi-Oh! R, Pegasus' protégé and adopted son, Yakou Tenma decides to avenge his death.  Taking advantage of Kaiba's absence from Japan he takes over Kaiba Corp and kidnaps Anzu Mazaki to lure Yugi into a trap.  Joined by his friends Katsuya Jonouchi and Hiroto Honda, Yugi faces Tenma's Duel Professor's before coming up against Tenma and his RA Project (Rebirth of Avatar).  They are joined by Seto Kaiba when the brothers return to rescue their company.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Gx

Concept/Character Design by: Kazuki Takahashi
Anime written by:  Shin Yoshida, Jun Maekawa, Akemi Omode, and Yasuyuki Suzuki
First Aired:  October 6, 2004 - March 26, 2008 (
180 episodes)
Manga written and drawn by:  Naoyuki Kageyama
Original release:  December 17, 2005 - present (
8 tankoban so far)

Unlike the original series, Gx was an anime and then got a manga series.  The manga follows a completely different story, including the origin of Judai's Winged Kuriboh.

"Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is set 10 years after the first series. It follows the story of Jaden Yuki (Judai Yuki in the Japanese version), a young talented duelist who is given the card "Winged Kuriboh" by Yugi before Jaden's admission to Duel Academy (Duel Academia in the Japanese version), an elitist boarding school established by Seto Kaiba. Jaden (who receives low marks in his admission tests), is placed in the Slifer Red dormitory (Osiris Red), which is reserved for students with the lowest grades. The story goes on as Jaden faces challenges from different students in Duel Academy. He later finds himself entangled in a conflict related to the hidden secrets of the academy."~Wikipedia

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's

Concept/Character Design by: Kazuki Takahashi
Anime written by:  Studio Gallop
First Aired:  April 2, 2008 - Spring 2011 (
140 episodes so far)
Manga written by: Hirokubo Masashiro
Drawn by:  Satou Masashi
Appeared in Shonen Jump (Japan) - August 21, 2009 - present (
1 tankoban so far)

Like Gx, 5D's started out as an anime, and then got itself a manga.

"Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds is set in a distant future where the residents of the poverty-stricken town called Satellite provide the manpower to sustain a utopia called New Domino City (Neo Domino City), a futuristic version of the city of Domino where some of the events of the original Yu-Gi-Oh! took place. The story centers around five characters known as Signers, who have birthmarks bearing one part of a monster called the Crimson Dragon (which saved the world in the past, from the Earthbound Immortals). The main character, named Yusei Fudo, is a Signer.   Each Signer has a dragon monster. In later episodes, they fight Dark Signers—duelists who try to revive the Earthbound cards." ~Wikipedia


Concept by:  Kazuki Takahashi
Character design by:  Kazuki Takahashi and Hirotoshi Takaya
Written by: Kazuki Takahashi and Studio Dice
First Aired:  Spring 2011
Manga written by: ????
Drawn by:  ????
Appeared in Shonen Jump (Japan) - December 21, 2010 - present (
0 tankoban so far)

Set in the near future:   Number one bad boy, Yuma Tsukumo's life changes after he is challenged to a Duel by Ryoga Kamishiro.  With the appearance of the mysterious entity Astral, a new legend begins.


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