The first Yu-Gi-Oh! protagonist was a high schooler named Yugi Muto. He had managed to complete the mystical Millennium Puzzle, which awakened the spirit of an ancient Pharaoh from Limbo.
The Pharaoh and Yugi shared a single body, with both of them working in tandem to defeat the evil doers that tried to take over the world with black magic and card games.
Yugi is unusual among Weekly Shonen Jump protagonists, in that he didn't fight people directly or fire energy beams from his hands. Instead, Yugi's abilities were linked to skill and intelligence... along with a tendency to cheat when the situation called for it.
We are here to look into the secrets behind the life and design of the best Yu-Gi-Oh! protagonist of them all.
From the S&M themes that were woven into his clothing to his possible fate as an employee of Seto Kaiba, here are the 15 Things You Didn't Know About Yugi Muto.
15 Yugi Sets A Man On Fire In The Manga
The Yu-Gi-Oh! anime that most people are familiar with actually started at a later point from the manga. This is because it took a while for Duel Monsters (known as Wizards & Monsters in Japan) to take over the story.
Originally, the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga focused on Yugi/the Pharaoh dishing out ironic punishments on evildoers, which usually involved the use of dark magic.
In the 4th chapter of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, an escaped convict takes Téa hostage and blindfolds her while she is working at a fast food restaurant. The dark side of Yugi comes out and he plays a game with the convict that requires them to both only use a single finger.
The convict starts pouring vodka into a glass and asks Yugi to light his cigarette. Yugi puts the lit lighter onto the convict's hand, which falls into the vodka and sets him on fire. All of the characters take this horrible incident in their stride, as Téa is more concerned about meeting the man who saved her, as she is now in love with him.
14 The English Translation Of The Manga Made Yugi Diabetic For Some Unknown Reason
When 4Kids brought Yu-Gi-Oh! to the West, they were left with the unenviable task of trying to take a TV show that was full of violence and make it suitable for American TV. This meant the show would often have some of the most absurd edits that were meant to cover things like guns and death.
The Yu-Gi-Oh! manga was far less censored than the anime. This is because the rules regarding what you can show in print are a lot looser than what is acceptable to be shown on television.
One of the most bizarre changes made to the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga involves Yugi passing out and his friends trying to awaken him. Joey asks Yugi if he needs his insulin, which suggests that he is diabetic.
This line wasn't in the original Japanese version of the manga and it is never mentioned anywhere else in the series that Yugi is diabetic.
13 Yugi Had Bondage Designs Worked Into His Clothes
The main cast of Yu-Gi-Oh! originally consisted entirely of high schoolers. As such, they were usually seen wearing their school uniforms, even when they weren't in class. Kazuki Takahashi kept the series in a school setting until the Duelist Kingdom arc, which meant that he could give his characters a uniform look.
When the series entered the Battle City story arc, Takahashi decided to change the outfits of the characters in order to make them more distinct from each other. This was when Kaiba started wearing the big silver coat and Téa dumped the school uniform for something more flattering.
Kazuki Takahashi had always had a specific element in mind when it came to designing Yugi Muto. After watching Edward Scissorhands, he decided that his main character should have a leather bondage theme beneath his school uniform.
This is why Yugi wears a collar around his neck, why he wore a studded leather belt, and why the Millennium Puzzle was worn on a chain.
12 Yugi's Mother Appeared In The Japanese Version Of The Anime
It is easy for stories set in a contemporary high school environment to ignore the parents of the protagonists. This might be for the best if the story involves the characters leaving late at night on a frequent basis or constantly finding excuses to ditch school.
We don't know that much about the parents of the Yu-Gi-Oh! cast. We briefly see Joey's mother in the anime and his father in the manga. Bakura's father is involved in his backstory, as he was the one who bought the Millennium Ring, but we don't know much about him otherwise.
Yugi's father never appears in the series. All we know is that he is a businessman who is always working and seems oblivious to his son's crazy life.
Yugi's mother briefly appears in the manga and the Japanese version of the anime, though her scenes were cut in the English dub for unknown reasons. It's possible that 4Kids didn't want the fans to realize that Yugi's mother kind of looks like Téa...
11 The Yu-Gi-Oh!/Hellboy Crossover
There has been a lot of crossover between the aesthetics of American and Japanese cartoons over the years. The style that people think of as anime was directly inspired by the works of Walt Disney. The opposite is also true, as a lot of Western cartoons (like Avatar and Samurai Jack) took a lot of inspiration from anime.
The American version of Shonen Jump magazine would often feature exclusive material that did not appear in the original Japanese publication. One of the most significant features they ever ran showed the result of an art exchange between Kazuki Takahashi and Mike Mignola, the creator of Hellboy.
Mike Mignola drew a picture of Hellboy wearing a giant Millennium Puzzle whilst also donning a t-shirt that has a picture of Yugi Muto on it. Kazuki Takahashi drew a picture of Hellboy wearing Yugi's outfit from the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, which includes the silly haircut and the duel disk.
10 Yugi Was Created Because The Author Wanted To Make A Battle Series Without Physical Violence
The Yu-Gi-Oh! manga ran in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine from 1996 to 2004. Weekly Shonen Jump is a magazine that mainly caters to teenage boys, though it has a large fan base among female readers. This means that most of the comics that appear in Weekly Shonen Jump are battle manga, which features characters engaging in physical combat. This is the same magazine that includes series like Dragon Ball, One Piece, Naruto, Hunter x Hunter, and Bleach, which all include copious amounts of violence.
Kazuki Takahashi first came up with the idea for Yu-Gi-Oh! because he wanted to draw a battle series where no one actually hit each other. Yugi was created with this idea in mind, which is why he mainly defeated people by playing games. The "no combat" rule didn't apply to other members of the cast, as Joey and Tristan got into fights all the time in Yu-Gi-Oh!
9 Yugi Was Originally A Pervert
The target demographic of Weekly Shonen Jump is teenage boys. This means that there is often a temptation for the creators of a new series to include a lot of fan service in their manga, in order to try and build up as much support in the first few years of the comic's existence.
This can be seen with Bulma appearing nude in the early chapters of Dragon Ball and Naruto's Sexy Technique. These elements tend to be faded out over time, as the series becomes more popular.
Yu-Gi-Oh! was another series that fell into this trap. The first chapter involves Yugi fantasizing about Téa's underwear, which includes an upskirt shot, all of which happens near the start of the whole series. It is also established that Yugi and Joey share pornography with each other.
The sexualized elements of Yu-Gi-Oh! were toned down over time and were mostly contained within the character of Mai Valentine and her monsters.
8 He Often Cheated To Win His Duels
Yugi Muto often preached about the heart of the cards and how he trusts that it will help him earn his victory. However, it turns out that Yugi didn't even need the heart of the cards, as he used to cheato to win duels all of the time.
The rules of Duel Monster were still being fleshed out during the Duelist Kingdom story arc. This is why Yugi used to just make stuff up in order to win duels. He once ordered a monster to attack the Moon (which had been summoned by a spell) in order to make the tides recede and reveal the water monsters of his enemy.
Yugi played a trap straight from his hand in order to defeat a Rare Hunter. He ordered his Catapult Turtle to attack a certain part of a flying enemy in order to make it drop onto his opponent's monsters. Yugi somehow managed to fuse an undead monster with the Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon, in order to weaken it.
Playing a card game against Yugi is the same as playing against a kid who refuses to lose and just makes up new rules as he goes along.
7 Yugi Appeared In Bobobo-Bo Bo-Bobo
Crossovers happen in Western comic books all of the time. Indeed, that was what helped Marvel Comics distinguish themselves from their competition. It's no big deal if Spider-Man appears in an Avengers comic or if Superman shows up in Batman.
Characters crossovers are a lot rarer in Japanese comic books. This is despite the fact that a lot of different series can appear in the same magazine. Crossovers are a lot more common in video games, which has allowed the entire Weekly Shonen Jump roster to battle on numerous occasions.
One of the rare crossovers that happened within the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump happened in a series called Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo. This was a comedy series that often parodied other popular manga, including Dragon Ball Z.
The main character summons Yugi out of his afro, who then proceeds to summon Slifer the Sky Dragon. Kazuki Takahashi actually drew the version of Yugi that appears on the page.
6 The Rights Issues Surrounding Yugi's Japanese Voice Actor
The fact that companies like 4Kids were heavily censoring anime meant that the original Japanese versions became highly sought out by fans. This meant that early file sharing sites were filled with grainy copies of the original versions of shows like Yu-Gi-Oh! that featured fan-made English subtitles.
However, 4Kids decided to give the fans a hand in 2009 when they announced plans to release the unedited Japanese episodes of the first season of Yu-Gi-Oh! on their YouTube channel, which would all feature full English subtitles. These episodes only stayed up for a month, before they were all removed without warning.
The reason that the episodes had to be removed at that time was due to Shunsuke Kazama, who voices Yugi in Japan. There were rights issues with uploading episodes that involved his performances, as he wasn't being paid for them to be put up on YouTube for free. These rights issues were eventually resolved in 2015 and subtitled versions of Japanese episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! started appearing on streaming services.
5 Yugi Won The Second Battle City Tournament
The Battle City story arc might be the most popular part of the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime. This is the point when the cartoon started to match the real card game more closely. Battle City also introduced things like the Egyptian God cards to the series, which ended becoming major parts of the overall story.
Yugi Muto defeated Marik (or rather, Marik's dark side) in order to win the first Battle City tournament. He then went on to have one final battle with Joey, which officially concluded the tournament in the manga (even though we don't get to see the results).
According to Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, there was a second Battle City tournament that happened later. Yugi also won this one, though we don't know who he defeated in the final round in order to secure his victory.
The fact that this is only briefly mentioned in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX also gives it questionable canonicity, as Yugi is seen holding the Egyptian God cards, even though he gave them up after his duel with Atem.
4 Yugi Battled The KaibaCorp Computer In The Novels
It wasn't enough that Yu-Gi-Oh! consists of comic books, video games, and a TV show, as the publisher of the series felt that it needed a novelization.
Yu-Gi-Oh! is a novel that was released in 1999 that was written by Katsuhiko Chiba. It mainly focuses on the relationship between Yugi and Kaiba, though it still acts an adaptation of the manga. The first three chapters cover Yugi fixing the Millennium Puzzle, his first duel with Kaiba, and his visit to Kaiba Land.
The final chapter of the book follows an original storyline, where Kaiba is still catatonic after being defeated by Yugi. The KaibaCorp computer takes on a robotic body and challenges Yugi to a battle. This is because Kaiba had programmed his memory and personality into the system, which then took on a mind of its own and decided to challenge Yugi.
Yugi managed to defeat the robotic Kaiba in a duel, which means that the computer was a lot more like the original than it realized.
3 Yugi & Atem Appeared On The Most Real Cards Of Any Character From The Series
The actual Yu-Gi-Oh! card game featured numerous monsters and spells that debuted in the anime. It seems that Yu-Gi-Oh! had perfect cross-promotional synergy, as the manga, anime, video games, and card game would all support each other.
This was actually the reason why the cards had a different design in the 4Kids version of the show, as they couldn't look like the real cards or the show would have been classed as advertising, which would have drastically increased the cost of buying air time.
While the Yu-Gi-Oh! characters were popular in the anime, they almost never showed up in the actual card game. The exception to this involves a trilogy of cards called Judgement of the Pharoah, Unity, and Yu-Jo Friendship. These cards are often banned, due to how difficult their effects are to enforce in a proper tournament setting.
Yugi and Atem appeared on all three of these cards, which makes sense, considering that he is the protagonist of the series.
2 50 Shades Of Vivian Wong
Yugi is presented as a loser in love in the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga. The fact that he is the King of Games is meaningless compared to the fact that he is short. He lusts after Téa, even though she is more interested in Atem than she is in Yugi.
The Yu-Gi-Oh! anime gives Yugi a couple of different love interests, some of whom inspire jealousy in Téa. The first of these is Rebecca Hawkins, who is a younger girl with a crush on Yugi. She mostly appears in the filler story arcs of the anime.
Things heated up for Yugi in the Grand Championship arc, when a Chinese duelist named Vivian Wong battles Rebecca for Yugi's affections. Vivian desperately wants to date Yugi, to the point where it became a win condition during a duel (if he lost he had to take her out).
This was toned down from the Japanese version of the anime, where Vivian Wong states that she wants to turn Yugi into her love slave. What this entails exactly isn't clear, but Yugi better keep hold of all that collar and chain...
1 The Possible Fate Of Yugi Muto
The question over what exactly happened to the original cast of Yu-Gi-Oh! and especially Yugi Muto has been asked many times. The manga concluded with Yugi defeating Atem in a duel, which allowed Atem to travel to the afterlife.
This ending was kept in the anime, though Yugi returned in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, where he bequeathed his Winged Kuriboh card to Jaden in the first episode. It is presumed that all of the original cast members have passed away by the time 5D's happens.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Dark Side of Dimensions shows the final school days of Yugi and his friends. The movie concludes with Kaiba creating a device that allows him to travel to the afterlife so that he can duel Atem once more. Dark Side of Dimensions is ambiguous about whether Kaiba returns, even though he appeared in GX.
Kazuki Takahashi posted a picture online that showed a possible ending for Yugi and Kaiba. It shows them playing a game together on a space station that is overlooking Earth.
Yugi is now a game developer for Kaiba and the two of them are testing his latest project. This offers a positive fate for the characters that we had grown to love, which is something that the original Yu-Gi-Oh! anime and manga didn't really provide.
Can you think of any other interesting facts about Yu-Gi-Oh!'s Yugi Muto? Sound off in the comment section!