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  • Americans Hate Tingle:
    • Yubel gets shunted off to the side a lot in the English-speaking fandom, but she (and her relationship with Juudai) appear fairly popular in Japanese fanart.
    • The GX anime in general was a lot better received in Japan than in English-speaking fandom.
  • Anticlimax Boss: Despite having a very powerful deck, Darkness has a rather poor showing against Judai in his final duel with him.
  • Ass Pull: It's amazing what you can do when the main character's deck is based entirely around fusion. Not to mention all the E-Hero support cards that are just completely useless in real life due to how specific they are. Ryo's initial Deck focused on a single monster and its Fusions, and getting the same results in a real-life Deck would take incredible luck.
  • Badass Decay: Manjoume in Season 3.
  • Canon Sue: Judai, Edo and Johan. Most likely intentional.
  • Complete Monster:
    • DD. He breaks into Edo's house, murders his father, steals a powerful card, and then adopts Edo to cover his tracks, while becoming Duel King for ten years. Then he sets a stadium on fire while dueling, killing his opponent.
    • The Light of Destruction, a sadistic, corrupting Omnicidal Maniac. Who tries to justify things by saying Humans Are Bastards.
    • The Vampire chick is a pretty easy example
  • Creator's Pet: Johan.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Hell Kaiser, and to an extent, Edo Phoenix.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Hell Kaiser Ryo, Possessed Johan, Darkness Fubuki. YMMV on The Supreme King.
  • Epileptic Trees: Since quite a lot of things were hinted at but never filled in, this should come as no surprise.
  • Faux Symbolism: All three Sacred Beasts are named after Judeo-Christian angels.
  • Fetish Fuel Station Attendant: Yubel definitely qualifies, but with Electric Torture and being a literal Combat Sadomasochist, many would agree that Ryo takes the title here.
  • Funny Aneurysm Moment: Remember the fun Juudai and the gang had about Sho's card crush on Dark Magician Girl? Flip it around, add in Stalker with a Crush tendencies, and throw in a pinch of Nightmare Fuel, and you have the premise for Season 3.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • For those attentive enough, the series is full of references to alchemy and tarot, including a Foreshadowing to the antagonist of the final season.
    • The duel in Episodes 153-155 appears to have been structured to mirror or strongly resemble a Jewish wedding, beginning with Magic Chronicle as Yubel's dowry and the ketubah (Jewish wedding contract) and ending with a "cracked glass" when Juudai manages to take back Super Fusion and join his soul to Yubel's, something he reveals only after the worlds start shaking apart and the window in Samejima's office cracks and shatters. With the exception of a couple of Juudai's more convoluted turns, it's actually possible to trace every single turn back to the ceremony, in perfect sequence. The resemblance even continues after the duel--in a Jewish ceremony, the ceremony is complete when the bride and groom retire together, away from the guests (represented in this case by Sho and Ojama Yellow). The German dub even adds a touch of its own, with Syrus commenting that "[Jaden] and Yubel are united among the stars".
  • Ho Yay: A moderately-sized plot point for the third season is that Yubel (who is a hermaphrodite using male pronouns for "her"self; it should be noted that Juudai also refers to her as "he") believes that Juudai (who is male) loves/is infatuated with/spends too much time with Johan (also male). It's unclear if this is lampshading, or just YGO being YGO.
    • A special mention has to go to a piece of Ho Yay so blatant it borders on hilarious: while Yubel is utilizing Johan's body, she calls Juudai her beloved, tells him she will "show [him] the truth of [her] undying love," and even tells him "aishiteru, boku no Juudai" ("I love you, my Juudai"). Seeing screencaps with subtitles taken out of context may be enough to drive some Juudai/Johan fangirls straight into hysterics.
      • Episode 147 features "Johan" calling Juudai "my beloved" (or, depending on your subs, "in just a moment I'll show you the truth of my love"). While everyone around them gasps, Juudai just kind of stands there with no reaction whatsoever. One Japanese-to-Spanish fansubber takes the nuance even further: because of the different words for "love" in Spanish, the line translates from Japanese to Spanish to English as "In a few seconds I'll show you the truth of my desire, Juudai, my love." Given the context, there really is only one way to interpret that.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Judai. Also Asuka, being the only major, non-jailbait female protagonist.
  • Memetic Mutation: From the manga, Johan's 'It was a happy duel'.
  • Moe: Rei, and her Maiden in Love monster from her first appearance.
  • Narm: In the dubbed version of Season 3, where people defeated in the second world are "sent to the stars". Besides the fact it sounds completely silly, considering the lengths 4Kids went through to create it for the first season so they could Never Say "Die", why not just go with "sent to the Shadow Realm" again?
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Yubel, period. Even creepier when the dub gave it the voice of a spoiled 5-year-old girl.
    • Brron, who is...some kind of semi-human-only-not-really skeleton...thing.
    • The Neo-Spacian Marine Dolphin will haunt my dreams tonight.
    • Darkness.
    • The Underground is less supernatural, but still incredibly disturbing.
  • The Scrappy: Though YMMV, Judai himself, being a Replacement Scrappy for Yugi/Yami Yugi from the original series. While Yami Yugi was a dark and mysterious Anti-Hero, Judai is a bumbling and goofy Idiot Hero. He was also devoid of major character development until the third season and tended to be featured more prominently than the other characters compared to Yami Yugi and the original cast. When it came to dueling, both had the authors slipping them lucky draws, but Yami Yugi really was a great duelist who would find the flaw in the opponent's strategy and exploit it through a variety of control cards, while Judai relied on combos of cards that usually began with a lucky draw, which combined with him being established as on the slow and dim side made his skill less convincing.
  • Superlative Dub: Episode 18 and 19 with Dimitri, the copycat duelist, deserve special note. In the original Dimitri was just Dimitri and only decided he was Yugi towards the end of the duel, but in the dub Dimitri acts like he's Yugi all along. What really sells the episode though is the absolutely Narmtastic impersonation of Dan Green's Yami Yugi that Marc Thompson delivers, taking Green's Large Ham, cranking it up, and giving a few lighthearted jabs at his mannerisms and catchphrases. The dub also re-uses parts of the original dub soundtrack as further nostalgia fuel when Dimitri makes his moves.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Episode 20 with that Maiden in Love deck is absolutely sickening.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Season 3, more so as it continues. Ryo's death may be the top.
    • From Season 4, Episode 178: Yubel being forced to attack Juudai head-on by Darkness. The look on her face as she's forcibly dragged across the arena an inch at a time is absolutely heartbreaking. Followed by a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when Juudai takes her hand and vows "I'll get you back, no matter what!"
    • Fubuki screaming for Asuka after she's lost to Darkness.
    • From the manga, when Midori realizes she has to sacrifice the possibility of getting information on her younger brother Koyo's coma out of Reggie to prevent Judai from having to duel her, accompanied by a mental vision of Koyo telling her she's doing the right thing. She's unable to win, though, and collapses, comatose in front of Judai.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Johan is a Chosen One, but of what?
    • What was Yubel during the twenty episode absence after possessing Johan but before confronting Juudai?
    • Rogue card designer with a counterfeit Egyptian God? The whole thing resolves in one episode.
    • Do remember that girl who gave Judai one half of the necklace? Remember the message she wanted him to deliver to the guy who had the other half? Remember who that guy was? The writers sure didn't....
    • What were Judai and Yubel off doing after they fused? It's implied that Judai was gone for quite a while (enough for most people to think that he was gone for good), so what were they doing?
      • It's implied that they were going to go and kick the Light of Destruction's ectoplasmic patuckus, making this closer to Missed Moment of Awesome given that it wasn't actually shown (probably because it didn't involve card games).
    • While the concept wasn't really wasted, the history of the Sacred Beasts/Phantom Demons is not explored at all, such as how evil versions of the God Cards were created and how they got sealed under the island.
    • It's mostly based on the video games but a lot of people would prefer if Rei used Lightsworns instead of her current deck considering how much better the deck is.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Misawa's night with Taniya is widely interpreted as a Victim Falls For Rapist situation.
    • Both the original and the dub note that they just played card games all night, but it's not like that sort of thing has ever stopped fans.
  • Woolseyism: Yes, the dub did manage a few.
    • The "Bio Bands" and "Survival Duels" in the dub were known as "Death Belts" and "Disclosure (seems benign, until you realize it's a pun on the Japanese pronunciation of death) Duels". (called Dis-Duels in Tag Force 2). God knows why the faculty weren't tipped off to the true nature of Cobra's actions when he pitched the idea in that version.
    • That's easy. Because the Disclosure Duels had already been held in West School where Cobra worked before and nothing had gone wrong there. O'Brien even mentions that the effects are different.
    • Banner's German accent.
    • While the symbolism of the name is lost, it could be argued that Nightshroud is a more impressive name for a villain than simply "Darkness".
    • The D, in the Japanese named "DD" for "Destiny Duelist". The dub established "The D" was an alias and gave him the proper name "Kyle Jables", take from Kyle Gass and Jack Black of Tenacious D.
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