"Yu-Gi-Oh!" has been on my mind alot recently. I don't know if it's due to my brother recently getting into "Magic: The Gathering" or I'm just being nostalgic or some combination of them both but I have been. I loved "Yu-Gi-Oh!" as a kid it just shows how patient we were as kids able to watch show after show of people playing card games without getting bored out of our minds. Almost a year ago I started to read the first 7 volumes of the original manga series by Kazuki Takahashi more widely known as Season Zero, also known for it's more darker tone and lack of card games. While I enjoyed the series I still wanted to read more so then I decided to re-read a series that I read a long time ago, one that I don't think alot of people know about. The manga "Yu-Gi-Oh! GX" written and drawn by Naoyuki Kageyama.
I just want to preface this review by saying I'm not reviewing the entire series. I don't know if they are out of print or my local comic book store just doesn't sell them but either way I am stuck reviewing what I have which are Chapters 1-34 which were published in the American Shonen Jump from January 2007 to October 2009. "Yu-Gi-Oh GX" is the story of Jaden Yuki a freshman at Duel Acadamy, yes you read that right it's an entire school that only teaches you how to play card games. Jaden is a slacker that everyone underestimates who has the uncanny ability to draw which ever card works for any given scenerio, which wouldn't be such a big deal in a series like this if everyone didn't bring it up.
Now you would assume that the manga would just be a direct adaptation of the anime since it came first however you would be wrong, while it follows the overall premise of the anime it takes it in a diffrent direction. With new characters, new cards, and new villians. So no Shadow Riders, Yubel, or Supreme King instead we get American Duelists David Rabb and Reggie MacKenzie. Who are looking for a card with a Spirit inside of it in order to use it to summon a evil spirit called Tragoedia. A creature with a past linked to the original "Yu-Gi-Oh!" series. While he has a backstory very simular to Theif Bakura and he looks very simular to Zorc, Tragoedia is a pretty ingeresting villian and is definently menacing.
What the Manga excels at compared to the anime is character stuff. Jaden's history with Koyo Hibiki is much more interesting then him just randomly bumping into Yugi. Jaden playing with a deck of cards given to him by a sick friend is way more meaningful then Yugi giving him a card for no real reason, and the manga does this with more then just Jaden. His best friend Sirius's relationship with his brother is explored a bit more and the rival character Chazz's backstory is more delved into.
What I found interesting is that everyone has new decks, this could be seen as a way to sell more cards but a good chunk of the cards aren't actually real cards and even if they are now they came out afterwards. Jaden still uses Elemental Hero cards but with the exception of his flashback duel with Koyo I believe they were all made up for this manga. I especially like Terra Firma and Lady Heat. The most radical change would have the be Bastion who in the anime plays a couple of decks but usually they are based around Scientific Particles but in this he uses a Yokai (Spiritual monster in Japanese Folklore) theme deck.
The art is good, everyone looks like there suppose to. Backgrounds are non-exsistent some times but I'm not going to be harsh on that since alot of manga do this and it's just an art style thing. The monster's for the most part look great. Overall this series was enjoyable, It took something I liked when I was a kid and went in a diffrent direction with it. I don't think you should go into this expecting something mind blowing but if you think you'll enjoy it, check it out. I will definently read some more if I can find it.