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File:Duel masters 9351.jpg

Who's the kid with the Spiky Hair?

Loosely following the original Duel Masters manga, which used cards from Magic the Gathering instead of the Duel Masters cards (which were created for this series, thus explaining the similarities), the anime is what helped the Duel Masters franchise to hit the main stream.

As explained on Duel Masters main article, the anime is completely different whether you are looking at it from the Japanese version or the North American version. While the former is a serious series about a children card game (not unlike the series which inspired it), the later is the Ur Example of The Abridged Series in all but longevity.

The story revolves around Shobu Kirifuda, an enthusiast of the titular card game who is exposed for the first time to a higher level of play (referred to in the North American release as Kaijudo, literally "the way of monsters"; it wasn't given a name in Japan), in which actual monsters serve the will of their summoners. As his father had mastered the game before him, Shobu feels a certain need to live up to his family's reputation.

There is one America-exclusive season which revolves about out protagonist fighting against a Goldfish Poop Gang. The Japanese version, instead, continued to run for 8 seasons with To Be a Master as a central point. Shobu was later exchanged as a protagonist with his smaller brother.

Please note that most (though not all) of these tropes are either common to both versions or are otherwise based on the North American version. The original Japanese, while still having comedy, played it straight for the most part.

List of tropes used in the anime:

  • Action Girl: Mimi. Sometimes even Played for Laughs, see Charles Atlas Superpower.
  • Anti-Hero: Kokujo is a Type V.
  • Anime Hair: Referenced in the dub's theme song and the subject of many a Lampshade Hanging, though Shobu's hair could probably support an actual lampshade. Hair is Serious Business second only to the card game itself, especially among Shobu, Hakuoh and Kokujo.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Shobu and Kokujo; in a children's card game, no less.
  • Badass: Kokujo, Mimi, Knight, Hakuou and Shobu.
  • Becoming the Mask: Mimi is The Mole, don't you know.
  • Brainwashed: Mimi during her first duel.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Being a Gag Dub, it comes with the territory.
  • Breast Expansion: Mimi's breasts get larger from episode to episode in the first season. The American first season actually toned this down. By the way, she's underage. Though the dub did make reference to it in a late first season episode when, as the girls were expressing relief that a possible cancellation of the series had been averted, Mimi commented that she was enjoying her new curves. To a lesser extent, Sayuki also gets noticably bigger as the series progresses.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Pardoning the pun, Kokujo is a self proclaimed "Evil Genius".
  • Card Games
  • Catch Phrase: Anything about "owning the zone", as well as a number of overused traditional Japanese phrases.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Mimi demonstrates on several occasions that she is quite proficient in martial arts and far stronger than she looks.
  • Combined Energy Attack: In the American-only second season, the five creatures Shobu recover are invoked by his Five Man Band to defeat the PLOOP.
  • Cultural Translation: The Gag Dub, as well as the North American-only second season. Eventually, later card game expansions started using flavor text based on said Gag Dub.
  • Crossover: The Duel Masters movie (Curse of the Death Phoenix) saw a release in tandem with the Mega Man NT Warrior movie (The Program of Light and Darkness) (only in Japan). In Program, Netto and company are at an expo, where they catch Shoubu summoning the Bolmeteus Steel Dragon; in Curse the same crew are in the tournament stadium, cheering him on more directly. While in the movies themselves only contained brief snippets of the other's footage, both Shobu and Netto (as Rockman R) worked together in the opening cinema. Also, Mega Man Battle Network 5 saw a set of Giga Chips with the powers of the Eternal Phoenix (just named "Phoenix" in game) and the Death Phoenix, whereas Forte.EXE got a pair of cards in the DM game. (Same card, different artwork, technically).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Knight and Kokujo.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Every protagonist except Sayuki and Mimi. Rekuta's been defeated enough times to be Shobu's best friend.
    • Averted hilariously by Kokujo in episode 20
  • Defictionalization: The card game.
    • In Kintaro's introduction episode in the dub, a reference is made to a "", which sells, well, novelty flying capes. During the shows run, there was actually a page at that address, featuring a picture of Hakuoh with his cape, and information on where to get the capes--for 50% off, you can tell them Fritz the Bitter Goblin sent you. Unfortunately, the page is long gone. An archived version still exists, but all that's visible is the aforementioned information.
  • Did You Die?: In a flashback, Shobu loses a Kaijudo duel, and possibly dies. In the dub, the person listening to his story wonders if he might be a zombie.

 Shobu: What do you want me to do? Not eat a brain?


  Mimi: We have parents?

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