Yu-Gi-Oh! is a multimedia franchise that started with a manga series serialized between 1996 to 2004. It was written and illustrated by Kazuki Takahashi. The popularity of the series led it to become a franchise that has spawned into several anime adaptations, movies, novels, trading card games, video games and retail items such as shirts.
The main protagonist of the series is a boy named Yugi Mutou who loves games but was often bullied because of his physical build. He successfully solves the Millenium Puzzle, which unlocks a spirit that takes over his body whenever Yugi and the people he cares about are threatened. The spirit who takes over his body then challenges the dark spirits to card game duels.
Yugi and friends find out that the spirit is an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh who lost all memory of his past life. They go through an adventure filled with Duel Monster battles as Yugi and his friends decide to help the Pharaoh remember who he is.
Takahashi originally wanted to create horror manga series because he wanted to produce a battle story that does not involve physical encounters. He ended up with a story that still revolves around battles but done through trading card games.
A spin-off manga series titled Yu-Gi-Oh! R was published between 2004 and 2007 with Akira Ito as the Illustrator with Takahashi working closely with him.
There are two anime adaptations of the series to date titled Yu-Gi-Oh! and Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters respectively. The former first aired in 1998 with 27 episodes and the latter in 2000 with 224 episodes. A 12-episode miniseries spinoff titled Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monsters also aired between September and November 2006.
A novel adaptation written by Katsuhiko Chiba was published in September 1999. Other book adaptations also followed along with four movies, various video games and card games. The franchise also includes items such as clothes, bags, school supplies, caps, eating utensils and the likes.