Yu-Gi-Oh! TV Poster Image


Card game-turned-TV show for gradeschoolers.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Characters value playing the game fairly and with heart and strongly support their friends and family. Some have Asian names (but don't necessarily look Asian).


Duels involve ferocious-looking creatures and attacks, but without pain or blood. Rather than die, characters lose "life points." Weapons are fanciful rather than realistic, e.g., "millennium shields" and "swords of revealing light."

Not applicable

Minor name-calling, such as "card-swiping freak."


The series promotes the card came and vice versa.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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."

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.

Families can talk 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.

TV details

Premiere date:September 29, 2001
Cast:Amy Birnbaum, Dan Green, Eric Stuart
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures
TV rating:TV-Y7

This review of Yu-Gi-Oh! was written by

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Parent of a 3 year old Written byjojovonjo July 16, 2011

Research before reviewing

This show is quite good. It came out long before the card game and i wish that the people who write reviews on this site would have their facts strait before posting on this website
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bylanekintigh April 9, 2008

Unhappy monsters

My review of Yu-Gi-Oh TV is slanted by the artwork I find on the cards. Although I permit my son Jack, age 6, to own Pokemon and a number of other cards of this type, I am very concerned at the tone of the artwork found in Yu-Gi-Oh, and I don't let him watch the show. Most of the monsters are simply evil and repulsive, and shockingly so compared to other game cards in the marketplace. They just seem to me to have been created by a depraved mind, and I won't allow my son to play with them. I am interested in hearing from other parents who feel the same (or differently!) Give me a reality check: have I over-reacted? Lane Kintigh, a parent in Chicago area.
Adult Written by003.5 February 5, 2010

This show's time has come and gone.

People claimed this would be the next Pokemon. It actually never once exceeded Pokemon in popularity. Now that Kazuki Takahashi is gutting the franchise and killing off its remaining fanbase, the only joy I find is in the YouTube abridged version by LittleKuriboh.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages