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Yugi Mutou (武藤 遊戯 Mutō Yūgi?, pronounced "Moto" in the English dubbed anime) is the protagonist of the manga and anime series Yu-Gi-Oh!, and is featured in almost every chapter and episode of the series. He is a young boy whose body becomes inhabited by the spirit of an Ancient Egyptian pharaoh named Atem when he completes the Millenium Puzzle.

Character design

His usual outfit consists of the standard male Domino High School uniform, although he wears a closed buckled leather collar. Unlike the other characters, he almost always wears this and is only occasionally seen wearing a different outfit. During his duels in the Battle City arc, he (under the influence of Atem, who was then called "The Pharaoh," as his name was unknown at the time) would wear his jacket like a makeshift cape. His extremely extravagant hair consists of multiple layers; while his fringe is made up of long, crooked blond locks, the main body features seven large, black spikes with magenta-rimmed edges. He wears the Millennium Puzzle on a rope around his neck. In the manga and second series anime, the rope is replaced with a chain. Yugi himself is wide-eyed and boyish, sporting large eyes and cartoonish features. Upon becoming the Pharaoh, his features become accented and "serious-looking." In the manga (post Volume 7) and in the second series anime, he often wears a KaibaCorp Duel Disk on his left arm.

The character

File:Yami Yugi eye.PNG

Yami Yugi's eye.

After being given the pieces of the ancient Egyptian artifact called the Millennium Puzzle by his grandfather, Yugi spent eight years attempting to solve the puzzle. When he eventually succeeded, he unknowingly undid a binding spell created by the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Atem, who had sealed the magic of the Shadow Games in the Puzzle and the other Millennium Items thousands of years ago in order to stop the victory of the evil demon Zorc Necrophades. The Pharaoh had bound the spell with his own name and sealed his own soul within the puzzle; when Yugi solved the puzzle, both the magic of the Shadow Games and Atem's soul were released, and Yugi's body became host to the spirit of Atem.

At first, Yugi has no awareness of the presence of this second personality within himself, which emerges in times of stress, takes control of his body, and punishes evildoers that threaten Yugi and his friends, leaving Yugi himself with no memory of the events. At the time, this personality - the true nature of which had not yet been divulged to the characters in the story - is referred to in Japan as Dark Yugi (闇の遊戯 Yami no Yūgi?), in reference to the particularly sinister mannerisms of the pharaoh at the time, and the vicious punishments he meted out, including turning losing or cheating opponents insane. With the introduction of the Duel Monsters card game as the main fixture of the Yu-Gi-Oh! storyline, the "Dark Yugi" moniker no longer seemed appropriate, as the character ceased to be the sinister, vengeful figure of earlier installments. Now, he would emerge from the Millennium Puzzle to take control of Yugi's body for the purposes of dueling others in the card game; rather than entirely supplanting Yugi's personality, as he had before, there was a degree of interplay between the two, wherein Yugi was aware of his surroundings and the events of the duel, but unaware of the presence of the pharaoh guiding his hand.

After a contest with Ryo Bakura, in which Yugi's soul was removed from his body, he and his friends came to properly understand that an additional soul existed within Yugi's body when the pharaoh's soul, left in the body alone, took control of it and bested Bakura in their contest. This led to "Dark Yugi" being referred to as "the other Yugi" (もう一人の遊戯 mō hitori no Yūgi?) by Yugi's friends, and as "the other me" or "my other self" (もう一人の僕 mō hitori no boku?) by Yugi himself. Additionally, Dark Yugi calls Yugi "partner" (相棒 aibou?). When it was properly revealed that "Dark Yugi" was the spirit of the pharaoh, he became known as the Nameless Pharaoh (名も無きファラオ namonaki farao?), as his true name was unknown even to him, although everyone besides Yugi himself would refer to Atem as 'Yugi' nonetheless.

Solicitations and summaries for the English-language release of the manga consistently refer to the pharaoh as Yu-Gi-Oh, from the title of the series meaning "King of Games." Additionally, various English-language sources, notably video games, draw on the Japanese terminology and refer to the character as Yami Yugi. The English language translation of the series began referring to the character as Yami for the duration of the second season (perhaps to justify the "Yami Yugi" moniker without having to involve the Japanese language in the explanation), but this dropped early in the third season, and characters began to refer to Atem simply as "Pharaoh" without explanation to the sudden reversal of naming. On the other hand, Atem simply calls Yugi 'Yugi' instead of partner.

When the pharaoh takes control of Yugi's body, Yugi's undergoes a growth spurt, gaining additional streaks of yellow in his hair, and has differently-shaped eyes. Additionally, in the first series, Yugi's eyes were purple and Atem's were red. Also during the Duelist Kingdom arc, his shoes change when the Pharaoh takes over, from tennis shoes to what seemed like heeled boots. Whether or not such a transformation actually occurs within the fictional "world" of the series, however, is unclear, as no characters ever remark on his physical change, though some remark him as 'looking taller on TV'. Yugi's voice changes – in the manga, when the transformation happens in the presence of Anzu Mazaki (Téa Gardner in the English dub), who had her eyes closed at the time, the Pharaoh's voice was so different that she did not realize that Yugi was the speaker. In the English language dub of the first episode of the NAS/Studio Gallop anime, Seto Kaiba also notices a change in Yugi's voice. On several other occasions, other characters who possess Millennium Items are easily able to tell the two apart. In the 4kids dub, Yugi's thoughts whilst under the Pharaoh's control have the voice of Yugi himself instead of the Pharaoh (with the exception of the Doma Orichalcos arc, where Yugi's soul is captured), whilst in the Japanese dub (as well as the uncut English dub), the voice retains that of the current host.

Yugi has a mother and a father; his father is away on business, so Yugi does not see him,[1] and his mother only appears very briefly. Yugi's parents were written out in the 4Kids dub.

Yu-Gi-Oh! GX

In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX (Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters GX), Yugi, 10 years older, appears in the first episode, with only half of his face shown. The main character of Yu-Gi-Oh GX, Jaden Yuki (Judai Yuki in the Japanese version), bumps into him on the way to the Duel Academy. Yugi gives Jaden the Winged Kuriboh (Hane Kuribo) card, saying he has a feeling it belongs with Jaden.

In episodes 18 and 19 of the series, Yugi's deck (without the god cards) goes on tour at the Academy. During a field trip to Domino (Episodes 75-78), Jaden and others actually visit the Turtle (Kame) Game Shop and meet Solomon Muto (Sugoroku Mutou in the English-language manga and Japanese versions), Yugi's grandfather. Solomon tells the students that Yugi "went to the market to get some olives" three years ago, and is probably traveling in another adventure. In Season 3, Maximilian Pegasus mentions to Aster Phoenix that he considers Yugi to be #1 in his personal list of the five best duelists in the world. In episodes 179-180, a still obscure-faced Yugi, 13 years older than when he last appeared, appears to Jaden after Jaden's graduation ceremony, in the room that houses Yugi Mutou's deck exhibit. Jaden is transported to the Game store 13 years in the past, and duels the high school aged Yugi that had just won the Domino City tournament. When Jaden's skills are proven to Yugi, Atem decides to take control and use the Egyptian God cards. The final episode ends without a winner officially declared. However, because Jaden says after the duel that he still has a long way to go, it is implied that Yugi won the duel.

Bonds Beyone Time

Yugi appears in the Yu-Gi-Oh! 3D: Bonds Beyond Time. He joins forces with Jaden Yuki from GX, as well as Yusei Fudo from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's against a time-travelling enemy named Paradox, who plans to kill Pegasus so that Duel Monsters would never be created.

After the death of Pegasus & Solomon Mutoh by an attack from Cyber End Dragon, a monster from Jaden's time, Yugi becomes depressed until he is approached by Yusei & Jaden who explain who caused the attack & his reasons: Paradox! Yugi agrees to join the two, and the trio travel back in time to 30 minutes before Paradox's attack on Yugi's time. Although they try to persuade Paradox to stop his destruction, he refuses & a 3-on-1 duel is set with Yugi, Jaden & Yusei sharing 4000 life points and Yugi allowing Yami Yugi to take over. In the duel, Yami is able to use his mastery of card effects to rescue Stardust Dragon from Paradox's control & combine the ATK of his Dark Magician & Dark Magician Girl to destroy Paradox's Sin Paradox Dragon, all before Paradox summons his most powerful card: Sin Truth Dragon and fuses with his own monster. In the final turn, though, he & Jaden manage to convince an upset Yusei who is prepared to accept defeat into continuing the duel & manage to boost Stardust Dragon's ATK to 10,000 to defeat Paradox and repair all the damage Paradox caused to their timelines. Following the duel, our heroes return to their respective timelines, with Yusei promising to protect the future so they can meet again, and duel Yugi the next time they meet.


Yugi's family name is romanized as Mutou in the English manga and uncut anime DVDs, although the manga occasionally uses the name Mutoh instead. In the English anime and all its spin-off products (including the Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie, ani-manga, the anniversary film, and various video games), his name is romanized as Yugi Muto, though it is consistently pronounced as Moto.

All of the Indo-European language dubs of the anime use Yugi Muto. The character is also referred to as Yugi Muto in the Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Brazilian Portuguese, and Italian versions of the manga. The French and German localizations use the same pronunciation, but spell his name Yûgi Muto and Yugi Mutô, respectively. The Japanese-language Yu-Gi-Oh! website romanizes his name as Yuhgi Mutoh.

The pronunciations from the first characters of "Yūgi" and "Jōnouchi" form the word "Yūjō" (友情), which means "friend" or "fellowship". The card, called "Yu-Jo Friendship" (the Japanese Duel Monsters card is "友情 Yu-Jyo") is named after the word and the relationship between the characters, especially Jonouchi and Yugi.[2]

Notable Dueling Cards

Yugi's deck is well-known for the Dark Magician (Black Magician in the Japanese versions). At first it is composed of low-level Earth and Dark monsters with Spell and Trap cards to enhance them. Notable examples of his early monsters are Dark Magician, Giant Soldier of Stone, Summoned Skull, and Celtic Guardian. Later, during Battle City, Yugi acquires Dark Magician Girl, as well as his Magnet Warriors, Obnoxious Celtic Guardian, Buster Blader, Big Shield Guardna and Royal Knights, all of which become some of his most commonly-played cards. After winning Slifer the Sky Dragon, Yugi would usually summon the Egyptian God Card by special summoning all three Royal Knights and sacrificing the three monsters. Following Battle City, his deck slowly begins to focus more and more on the Dark Magician while maintaining a strategy to disrupt and disable his opponent's cards.

During the Ceremonial Battle, Yugi and Atem utilize decks that embody their own characters. Yugi's deck relies on the Magnet Warriors, Gadgets, and Level monsters, all of which combine powers and grow over time. Atem's deck relies on summoning the Egyptian God Cards, as well as the Dark Magician. In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Yugi's deck goes on tour at the academy, and is stolen by a copycat duelist. It was then later returned. This deck focuses on the Dark Magician, but also has several Chaos monsters. During his duel with Jaden in the past, Yugi uses a slightly modified version of the deck he used during the Battle City tournament. In the Yu-Gi-Oh! Movie: Super Fusion! Bonds that Transcend Time, although he only has 1 turn, Yugi shows some new magic & trap cards that focus on his Dark Magician & Dark Magician Girl.


  1. Shonen Jump. Volume 2, Issue 8. August 2004. VIZ Media. 5.
  2. Cullen, Lisa Takeuchi. "Kazuki Takahashi, Yu-Gi-Oh! creator." Time for Kids. November 8, 2002. Retrieved on September 23, 2009.

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