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 the apparent violence of this show is all make-believe -- even within the world of the program. "Duels" are fought with cards that create giant monsters, which blow each other up but do nothing to the duelist other than take away his points. Characters take their duels seriously, acting as though the end of their life points is also the end of their life -- but they live to duel another day.
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- Kids say
What's the story?
YU-GI-OH! GX (Generation X) is a cartoon in which enemies meet and battle. The Yu-Gi-Oh! GX characters, students at dueling school, face nominal challenges like rivalries and disagreeable teachers, but none of that really matters -- it's all an excuse for a duel in the end.
Is it any good?
There's no real violence in the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX world. Duels are fought with a deck of magic cards that produce monsters, lasers, and explosive battles -- but since the monsters aren't real, the violence has no effect. To a non-fan, the duels are ridiculous and surreal. Viewers too young to understand what's happening may be frightened by the monsters and effects, but listening to the characters shout out random and esoteric rules with great drama as they play their cards ("I'm activating my D-shield to protect my Destiny Hero from attack! And if you increase your Elemental Hero's power, my Destiny Hero still will not be destroyed! Ha ha!") might make a watching adult snort her coffee.
The series isbased on a card game. Kids who play the card game will probably like it. Kids who don't won't watch. But compared to a lot of the other alternatives, this is relatively harmless fun, and the game itself is so complicated that mastering it has to count as an achievement, albeit probably not one that's going to help a kid get into college. The characters value learning from experience, playing the game fairly, and refusing to give up. For the right age group, this may not be a show parents will actively encourage, but it's not worth fighting over.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the lead character, Jaden, doesn't always have to win his duels to feel good about himself -- if he holds his own against an older, better player he's happy, and he's always willing to learn something. Because the show's "duels" are based on a real card game, families can also talk about the difference between the cards and the animated version of the game. Does seeing the animation make the card game more exciting, or is it a letdown not to experience it the way the characters do?
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