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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 Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal centers on duels among an array of monsters summoned from mystical cards whose replicas are sold in a game marketed toward kids. Violence usually is limited to the monsters themselves (though visible injuries are rare even on them), whereas the humans mostly dictate their avatars' moves through the playing of cards and the accumulation and loss of "life points." Kids will see two distinctive sets of characters with rival motivations, and the good guys don't always come out on top. Expect some threatening language directed from one person to another and some sinister players with worrisome intentions.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
YU-GI-OH! ZEXAL is a futuristic anime series based on a Japanese comic book story about characters who duel with monsters summoned from a collection of cards. During one of his matches, a talented dueler named Yuma encounters a spirit named Astral, who asks for his help in locating a series of Numbers cards that contain Astral's memories and are able to possess the people who hold them. Now Yuma and Astral are on a mission to recover the Numbers cards, but to do so, they'll have to win them from other duelers who want to use them for their own gain.
Is it any good?
This seemingly straightforward plot is complicated by an influx of rotating characters, many of whom have uncertain motives that put their loyalties in question. Not only that, Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal is excessively flashy and loud, and the dialogue often sounds like an instruction manual for viewers who go on to play the card game at home. Characters often explain their moves as they make them (playing one card before the other to maximize attack points, or overlaying cards to combine monsters' powers) in an unnatural manner that actually detracts from the overall enjoyment of the show.
Kids who come to the plot partway through the story may struggle to keep up with characters and their place in the overall picture. Add to that the fact that it incorporates some of the players' memories in flashback scenes that aren't easily distinguished from the present-day happenings, and it's clear this isn't a great choice for drop-in viewing. The bottom line? There's no shortage of TV options for grade-schoolers, and among them are plenty more that exceed this one's standard for quality content.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the players' strategies. What reason exists behind each player's order of attack? Is any one player consistently successful because of a particular plan? How do the players adapt to match their opponents' strengths or exploit their weaknesses?
Were you familiar with the Yu-Gi-Oh! games before watching this show? If so, did that encourage you to watch? Did you glean anything from the characters' actions that can transfer to your own play? How do series like this one influence our buying habits at the store?
This series is set in a futuristic land. How does it compare with your imaginings of what future civilizations will look like? How might the quality of life be better in future times? What problems might exist for future generations if we don't change our habits now?
Themes & Topics
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For kids who love animation
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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.