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Yu-Gi-Oh! is a Japanese manga series about games created by Kazuki Takahashi (Studio Dice). It was serialised in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine between September 30, 1996 and June 2004. The plot follows the story of a boy named Yugi Mutou, who solves the ancient Millennium Puzzle, and awakens a gambling alter-ego within his body that solves his conflicts using various games.
Two anime adaptations were produced; one by Toei Animation which aired in 1998 and another produced by Nihon Ad Systems which aired between April 2000 and September 2004. The manga series has spawned a franchise that includes multiple spinoff manga and anime series, a trading card game and numerous video games. Most of the incarnations of the franchise involve the fictional trading card game called Duel Monsters (originally known as Magic & Wizards), where each player uses cards to "duel" each other in a mock battle of fantasy "monsters". The Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game is the real world counterpart to this fictional game on which it is loosely based.
Yu-Gi-Oh! tells the tale of Yugi Mutou, a timid young boy who loves all sorts of games, but is often bullied around. One day, he solves an ancient artifact known as the Millennium Puzzle, causing his body to play host to a mysterious spirit with the personality of a gambler. From that moment onwards, whenever Yugi or one of his friends is threatened by those with darkness in their hearts, this "Dark Yugi" shows himself and challenges them to dangerous "Shadow Games", lit. Games of Darkness) which reveal the true nature of someone's heart, the losers of these contests often being subjected to a dark punishment called a "Penalty Game". Whether it be cards, dice or role-playing board games, Dark Yugi is the king of them all and will take on all competition. As the series progresses, Yugi and his friends learn that this other Yugi inside of his puzzle is actually the spirit of a nameless Pharaoh from Egyptian times who had lost his memories. As Yugi and his companions attempt to help the Pharaoh regain his memories, they find themselves going through many trials as they wager their lives facing off against gamers that wield the mysterious Millennium Items and the dark power of the Shadow Games.
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