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Top 10 Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters

VO: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Hannah Collins
Written by Hannah Collins They’re the very best at playing children’s card games. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top ten Yu-Gi-Oh! characters. For this list, we’ll be choosing the best characters from the original series up to Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS. As this list is anime-only, nothing that’s exclusive to the manga, card game or video games will be included.

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Top 10 Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters
They’re the very best at playing children’s card games. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top ten Yu-Gi-Oh! characters.
For this list, we’ll be choosing the best characters from the original series up to Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS. As this list is anime-only, nothing that’s exclusive to the manga, card game or video games will be included.

#10: Yuya Sakaki

Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V (2014-17)
Yuya’s the main protagonist of ARC-V and as well as being a champion duelist, he’s also a champion entertainer. As a “Dueltainer,” his dueling style is not just about winning but also about showing the audience a good time. Being a master at “Pendulum Summoning,” he’s a valuable asset to the “Lancers,” a defense league who fight inter-dimensional enemies. His goofy behavior initially sells his considerable skills short. But, after his love of entertaining is tempered by the interdimensional war and being “Awakened”, he has to learn to balance his darker and lighter sides to become even stronger.

#9: Jaden Yuki

Yu-Gi-Oh! GX (2004-8)
In the very first episode of GX, this guy’s given the “Winged Kuriboh” by none other than Yugi Muto . And with this, the original hero hands the baton to his successor. Unlike Yugi, Jaden is brimming with confidence but he also has to work a lot harder to go from bottom of the class to the top duelist at Duel Academy. He can still be a little dumb when it comes to anything not related to duelling though. Despite being pulled over to the dark side at one point by the “Supreme King,” he also rescued his favorite monster, Yubel, from evil by bonding their souls together - proving himself a true hero.

#8: Marik Ishtar/Yami Marik

Yu-Gi-Oh! (2000-6)
Who else could wear a crop top and still be taken seriously as an evil threat? Marik Ishtar was born into the ancient “Tomb Keeper” tribe whose sole duty was to protect Pharaoh Atem’s heritage. Angered by the destiny thrust upon him, Marik’s bitterness brought his darker, alter-ego, “Yami Marik,” to the surface, who brutally murdered Marik’s parents without Marik’s knowledge. Believing his parent’s deaths to be the work of the Pharaoh’s allies, Marik’s hatred of the ruler only grew. He formed the “Rare Hunters” to seek out special cards like the Egyptian Gods, hoping that by increasing his power he could wipe out the Pharaoh's legacy to free his family, and get his revenge…

#7: Jack Atlas

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s (2008-11)
Jack Atlas is essentially the Seto Kaiba to 5D’s protagonist, Yusei Fudo. He even has his own Mokuba-equivalent in Carly Carmine. He’s the King of Turbo Duelling but you can just call him “The King.” Like Kaiba, Jack is controlling, conceited and even heartless sometimes. But, as his character progresses through the show, it’s slowly revealed that he does have a heart after all. Though he’s introduced as Yusei’s fiercest opponent, he becomes more of an anti-hero later on, even stating that he’ll give up his dueling crown to help Carly and others he’s grown to care about. He even breaks bread with Yusei, though he sure has a funny way of expressing friendship.

#6: Kite Tenjo

Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal (2011-14)
As the son of the villainous Dr. Faker, Kite seemed destined to follow the same murky path as his father. Like Zexal’s protagonist, Yuma, Kite was initially on the hunt for “Number” cards, though they both had very different reasons for tracking them down. Kite’s merciless attitude towards those who possessed these cards set him up as a major antagonist for Yuma, who - impressively - he never lost a single duel to. But, his ruthlessness came from his drive to cure his little brother who he believed was sick because of the Number Cards, making him a sympathetic rival and eventually, ally.

#5: Bakura Ryou/Yami Bakura

Yu-Gi-Oh! (2000-6)
Though he started off as a sweet kid, once Bakura Ryou’s “Yami” identity took control, he became the original series’ longest-running villain. Yami Bakura’s aims were simple: self-preservation and getting Millennium Items - even if it means teaming up with Marik. Unlike the relationship between Yugi and Yami Yugi, Yami Bakura isn’t friendly with his teenage host body at all, and the two battle for control early on. But of course, the vengeful spirit of the thief king is willing to use every trick in his arsenal to take down the pharoah he so despises...

#4: Joey Wheeler

Yu-Gi-Oh! (2000-6)
From schoolyard bully to loyal friend, Joey Wheeler’s friendship with classmate Yugi makes him a better person. Their friendship also makes him a better duelist. At the start of the show, Joey’s dueling skills were easily bested by almost everyone. This wasn’t helped by Joey’s foolhardy decision-making or his short fuse, which Kaiba was usually responsible for lighting. But, through Yugi’s support and Joey’s unbreakable resolve, he hustled harder than any character to become a world-class duelist. And, while Joey’s never been a Champion, he’s at least got enough heart to make a difference.

#3: Yusei Fudo

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s (2008-11)
Hey, how do you make a monster-summoning card game even crazier? You just add motorcycles. And nobody looks cooler doing it than 5D’s hero, Yusei Fudo. As well as being a highly-skilled Turbo Duelist, Yusei is also an expert at building “Duel Runners” thanks to his mathematical thinking. His clear-headed approach also makes him a natural strategist as Team 5D’s Captain. It’s certainly hard for any opponent to pull one over on him. He’s also one of only six “Signers” who, together, can summon the legendary Crimson Dragon. During the battle with the “Dark Signers,” Yusei’s true heroic colors show as he continually values friendships - even with those who’ve betrayed him - over winning duels.

#2: Seto Kaiba

Yu-Gi-Oh! (2000-6)
With his stiff expression and even stiffer coat, Seto Kaiba is the model from which all Yu-Gi-Oh! rivals are drawn from. Kaiba and his kid brother Mokuba were orphans adopted into the wealthy Kaiba family, owner of KaibaCorp - the world’s leading games company. After inheriting the company, Kaiba funnelled its considerable resources into helping himself become the world’s No.1 duelist. Nothing stood in his way... until Yugi Muto came along. Since that defeat, Kaiba became unhealthily obsessed with beating Yugi - at any cost. In fact, the only thing Kaiba cares about more is Mokuba. But, though he can be utterly diabolical, Kaiba’s smart enough to ally with Yugi and co when it benefits him.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Declan Akaba
Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V (2014-17)

Mai Valentine
Yu-Gi-Oh! (2000-6)

Chazz Princeton
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX (2004-8)

#1: Yugi Muto/Yami Yugi

Yu-Gi-Oh! (2000-6)
Could it really be anyone other than the King of Games? What makes Yugi such a great character is that his dual identity gives him the flexibility to satisfy all tastes. As Yugi Muto, his sweet nature and determination make him easily sympathetic. Especially considering how much this makes people underestimate and bully him. But, as Yami Yugi - the reincarnated Pharaoh Atem - he’s not someone to be messed with; cool, confident, and an invaluable spirit guide for Yugi. Many duelists have their tricks but Yugi’s is something you can’t teach: his “Heart of the Cards” faith in his deck. His incredible dueling aptitude, bonds of friendship, and unwavering heroism is a legacy that lives on.


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