A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although kids in the show play "Duel Monsters," the monsters don't engage in much hand-to-hand combat, fighting instead in a virtual, video game style with fire and laser effects. Some of the creatures shown could frighten viewers 5 and under. The series' universe is surreal -- even adults collect cards and "duel."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
The Pokémon genre gets a millennium-style update in YU-GI-OH! The card-hunting kids in this popular WB cartoon are clean-living urban youths with attitude and hip hairdos. Yu-Gi-Oh! is also a superhero story of sorts: The main character, Yugi, was just a puny high school freshman until he solved the millennium puzzle his grandfather gave him and bonded with the spirit inside. Now he can be Yami Yugi -- confident, brave, and a master card player.
Is it any good?
When they play Duel Monsters, characters spend much time explaining the rationale of every move and the function of every card. The narrative becomes even more complicated as characters' thoughts are revealed in voice over. Constant -- and often simplistic and repetitive -- dialogue transitioning to internal commentary pushes the limits of how much exposition a show can handle and how many layers kids can follow. But as the point-of-view shifts around revealing each character's uncertainties, fears, and motives, the show taps into teenage self-consciousness. Young viewers can relate to the struggles that go on inside as they grow up and try to act bravely in the world.
And in Yu-Gi-Oh!, we're talking fantasy world. Few parental figures are present; instead, close friendships and sibling relationships take center stage. Evil forces sometimes threaten the lives kids' lives. But many episodes emphasize loyalty and honorable behavior, partly offsetting the violence at the core of the show.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this show is connected to its companion card game. Do you think there would be a show without the game, and vice versa? Do you have to know how to play the game to enjoy the show?
Parents may also want to point out that the series' take on Egyptian history is total make-believe.
Our editors recommend
For kids who love animation
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch