Thursday, June 11, 2015

30 Lessons in Life from Yu-Gi-Oh!

The world of Duel Monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh! is a great place and anime / fandom to learn about a lot of important things and lessons in life, most of which people are starting to forget. Since I've just finished rewatching the series, I thought I'd share with you some 30 Lessons in Life from Yu-Gi-Oh!

1. Friendship Conquers All

Cheesy but powerful and meaningful.

The series is mostly about friendship so I think you already know what this means. There is a reason why romance is not or rarely seen in shonen anime. It's not just that kids and guys aren't interested with romance, it's also because romance isn't always the big winner because friendship sometimes lasts longer until the end of time.

Friendship may be a very cheesy concept but in the end, it will be what you have. Even loners like Seto Kaiba, Noah, Marik and remarkably Yugi (before he got the Millenium Puzzle) had friends all along.

2. Be Honest Even if Others are Not

You probably see this in big tarpaulins around cities if you live in the Philippines. It's seen throughout the series - if the opponent cheats, the best way to win is without cheating. That way, you can prove that you really are a strong duelist or person even when the odds are against you (and people will look up to you even more).

However, this does not always apply in real life - sometimes you do have to cheat a little because a lot of people nowadays always take advantage of you, so be careful.

3. All Puzzles Can be Solved

Every puzzle was meant to be solved, even if it's hard. All the characters in this series are really intelligent, considering that this is a game of the mind, after all. I myself am not good with Math and strategy thinking but this series kind of helps me with that.

4. Don't Judge Kaiba's Attitude (and All the Bad Guys, Too)


"It's usually the bad guy whom you should feel sorry for." Seto Kaiba is aloof and a nonbeliever of magic because he lived in a very harsh world where he only had to depend on himself. Besides, his obsession with Duel Monsters and the fact that he created Kaiba Land is actually contrary to his nonbeliever thing - he might secretly believe but he requires scientific explanation of things.

Right now, I can identify myself more for Kaiba than other characters, and in fact, most grown-ups identify themselves with him, especially those whose life was a deep, dark mess.

In the same way, we shouldn't always judge every villain and rival in our lives, just like all the rivals and villains in the series. Marik and Noah were imprisoned in their own worlds, Mai just want to be appreciated for her efforts, Dartz was just controlled by the Orichalcos. Amelda/Alister want revenge for his bro, Raphael wants to honor/see his family again, Valon just want to be friends with Mai because both of them were loners.

Pegasus just want to revive his wife, Zigfried just want to be appreciated for his "unintentional prediction" of Kaiba's technology, Leon just wanted to help his bro, Thief King Bakura just want to avenge all his fellow villagers from the abuse of Seto's dad. The list goes on even for the other duelists - nearly everyone in the series has a sad story to share.

5. Someone Will Set You Free

Even if you think you are alone and controlled by the darkness, someone out there will bring you the light. Yugi set Atem/Yami's soul free (I know that was the saddest part of the series but anyways) and at the same time, Yugi and his other friends were the light that set most of the villains' hearts free from darkness.

In real life, there will always come a friend or comrade to help cheer us up from being down in the dumps, even if it's a random stranger you meet.

6. Never Trust Alien Stones

The fabulous Dartz.

Yep, never trust them (I'm talking about the Orichalcos arc). If you're a Kill la Kill fan, it goes synonymous with "Never Trust Alien Fabrics".

7. Winning Isn't Everything

"Yami pls don't be mad Kaiba would commit suicide if we won"

Think about it - Yugi doesn't always win his duels and the same goes for Yami and other characters. Yugi/Yami lost to Kaiba but only because Yugi wanted to lose so that Kaiba can save his brother, and I think that's very sweet to give up your own winning streak for the sake of a friend.

In another part of the series, Yami lost to the darkness within (due to the Orichalchos seal) and not only lost the duel, but also his best friend Yugi (no worries, they got back together ofc).

I think that Yu-Gi-Oh! counts as a true sports anime because all the matches are unpredictable and sometimes, the heroes lose and it's not everyday that they win, and I think that's a fair description of real life sports.

8. Novices Can Be Pros

Joey is not always about luck, but sometimes, strategy too!

Imagine, Joey Wheeler (Jonouchi Katsuya) rising from absolutely no knowledge of DM to being runner-ups at tournaments, only second or third to Yugi! I really admire Joey's determination and also techniques that you wouldn't expect him to pull off.

You'd think that Joey is more of a brawn over brains, but most of the duels he's fought required him to strategize like Yugi! In fact, in that unknown result match between Yugi and Joey after the Battle City finals, Joey could have won that (or at least he had a chance). I think Joey (and Yugi, the younger one ofc) had the best character developments in the series.

9. Respect The Cards / Other Worlds

Yeah, it's the "Heart of the Cards" thingy. Actually, even if Duel Monsters aren't real right now, we could apply it to real life. Think about it - the "World of Duel Monsters" may symbolize people from other cultures or countries. We should not put them into jeopardy and give them respect.

Remember that DM cards were made with passion and care, even in real life, so you have to take care of them like lottery tickets. What I mean is, sometimes, DM isn't always about luck - it's sometimes determined by your will and determination (explained later). But really, just give at least respect not just to DM cards, but also other games and foreign cultures you might stumble upon.

10. Some People Just Want to Sacrifice For You

"You conquered your darkness, pal!"

It really sucks most of the time that people sacrifice themselves for you, and you feel so guilty about it, much like how Yami felt in the Orichalcos arc and Kaiba whenever Mokuba is taken away and Joey in the Orichalchos arc as well, and don't forget Mana in the Dawn of the Duel arc.

But I guess the best way to help out is to not let their sacrifice be in vain and finish what they started. Remember that sacrificing yourself too is not always the good answer - these people gave up their all just for you to survive (also including that time when Kaiba gave some of his LP to Yami when they dueled Dartz), so honor their sacrifice somehow.

11. To Help a Friend is to Challenge Him or Her

Yugi vs. Joey after Battle City, unfortunately no result was shown in this match.

The series shows us that the best of friends can also be the greatest of rivals, hence the ships that came about from rivalry and even on other fandoms. To challenge your friend is not a way of fighting, but to improve his or her skills and yours as well, so you can strengthen your bond and have some fun!

12. Let It Go

Gearfried the Swordsman can't hold it back anymore.

You remember Gearfried's special swordsman form, right? How about the 3 dragons that were actually knights? Sometimes, to save people, you have to let go of your shackles and be yourself (or become like Queen Elsa, for that matter).

13. Not All Family is Good

Gozaburo and Seto Kaiba.

Some people think that the only person you can depend on in the end is your family. But what if some of your family members are not as good as you think and know they are? This goes in the case of Gozaburo Kaiba, who not only neglected Seto but also used Noah and also inflicted damage in Amelda/Alister's life.

14. Snap Out Of It!

Not just Yami but even Raphael had darkness within.

If you've watched the Orichalcos / Waking the Dragons arc, this applies very well. Yami Yugi was controlled and so was everyone else, even Dartz (who was once an innocent king of Atlantis). 

Even in real life, we can be controlled by a lot of people, especially the society and industry - advertisements, music, movies, celebrities, ideologies and sometimes, religion (depending on the people who are preaching, some religious people are religious but some are just using religion to earn money and fame).

We should not be controlled by these powerful forces and believe in what we truly believe, regardless of whatever is mainstream or something like that.

15. Don't Neglect or Use Others

Poor Mokuba.

Gozaburo strikes again. This also kind of applies to Seto because he kind of sometimes used his own brother in a rude way and the same for other people but, I think Seto really did that because he wanted to save his brother and get them out of any mess. If you think Mokuba is a weak person you're wrong - he's about half as disciplinary as his bro, but who could blame him, right?

Anyway, bottom point is, if you stop abusing people then they will also not abuse their future sons and daughters and the chain of evil will not continue towards the future. Seto was only an asshole because Gozaburo was an asshole, but Mokuba didn't adapt that attitude - only the diplomacy, which is good and important, too.

16. Hatred and Revenge aren't Worth it

"I just want to beat Yugi and move on!"

All of Seto's life was built upon revenge and hatred - for his stepfather who abused him and Mokuba, to the long list of people trying to control his company, and to Yugi for being his most powerful rival and stuff. 

Seto was once a cheerful person and Mokuba just wanted to see that cheerful side of him again. I mean, Mokuba has also been through tough times but he never forgets to smile. I've been through roughly the same situation as Seto but I kind of learned to just let go of revenge sometimes. I focus my energy on other useful things. 

And maybe this is why Seto just pushes his anger to Duel Monsters as a sort of venting game to forget his sorrow. It's kinda sad (and kinda like me).

17. If you Can't Move On, Don't

Directly applies to my life situation right now (please don't ask, it's obvious). Seto wanted to "move on" but sometimes, moving on means stopping being your better self and just forgetting about everyone. There are just some things that you can't move on from and you have to accept that, because they will keep haunting you in your sleep and in real life so don't bother. 

I know it's very frustrating but moving on is a process that not only takes a million years, but it is also sometimes impossible for certain people.

18. Retreat is Not Always Cowardice

Yami Yugi needed to learn this the hard way back in season 1, where Yugi needed to let himself lose just so Seto Kaiba could rescue his little bro, Mokuba. Winning isn't anything and it certainly isn't everything. You can learn just from losing battles and in fact, losing makes you more humble and more open to self-improvement, so don't be afraid of losing.

19. Friends Can be Enemies, Enemies Can be Friends

"I didn't need friends after all."

Take Seto Kaiba for example - he has a hard time trusting people, which is very applicable to the real world today. Not everyone appears who they seem to be - they could be stabbing you behind your back. Mai Valentine in the Orichalcos / Waking the Dragons arc is a very good example of this.

20. Don't Trust Anyone Right Away

*whispers* hoe don't do it

Much like the above-mentioned lesson, but this is more like in the case of how Yugi suddenly wanted his fortune to be told only to unwillingly give his Millennium Puzzle (he got it back, though) and how Seto Kaiba tested his game even though it was obvious that the Big 5 could have tampered with the program. Seriously, don't trust people right away and always do a background check.

21. Everyone Has Darkness Within

That's a creepy-looking Yami image right there.

This is more openly-said in the Waking the Dragons arc, where Yami Yugi's darkness was unleashed because of his desire not to lose his soul to Raphael, but at the cost of endangering Yugi's soul. All of us have light and dark sides - there can't be darkness without light and light without darkness. It's part of the equilibrium of life and it's just a matter of trying to control and balance those two sides to make the world a much fairer place.

22. Don't Always Blame People Right Away

"Dude I did NOT kill your brother, it was my asshole of a stepfather."

A very much nod to Alister/Amelda's plot, where he always blatantly points out Seto Kaiba being responsible for his brother's death, where it was really Gozaburo's old company and military stuff that did it and Seto has nothing to do with the sort. He even tried to tell Alister that "his stepfather was a snake" and still wouldn't believe it. Sometimes, you really have to listen to every side of the story and not just believe in what you initially believe.

23. Everyone Has Light Within


Compliments the "everyone has darkness within" lesson. Even though Yami Yugi is "Yami" (Dark), he has light and that light was strengthened with Yugi's kindness. A lot of the series' villains have also been touched by this light of friendship and trust, and the cool thing is that almost every villain in the series is the "tragic storyline" type of villain, with the exception of Zorc, Yami Bakura and probably Bandit Keith.

24. You Are Not Always Alone

Remember that even when you are a lone duelist and even with the fact that every duelist (or every person in real life) goes on a life journey alone, there will still be someone out there or one or two friends who will tag along or support you wherever you are. It could be your family or friends. Just when you think you have no friends, some strangers will find their way in your world and make friends with you. Trust me, this always happens.

"...but that Duel Monsters holographic project was my idea too..." *eternal sobbing*

I have lot to say on this (see the link) because like Zigfried, I also accidentally made a couple of unintentional predictions. But I think this sort of 'power' is because in this world, there are a lot of possibilities that one or two things can coincidentally be the same, since all of us are human beings and sometimes, I guess there's the saying "great minds think alike".

26. Greed Breeds Greed


Gozaburo is a greedy person and that's pretty much why Seto is full of lust for power. If Gozaburo were a considerate person then Seto would have never been an asshole. Although it kind of bugs me how Priest Seto's father wasn't able to change his heart in the Dawn of the Duel (maybe except in the original history when Atem sealed his memory and probably Priest Seto kept on challenging him due to his father's influence).

27. Games are Supposed to be Enjoyed

Remember that Duel Monsters is a card game in real life. When it doesn't involve shadow games, shadow realms and other magical misfits and the fate of the world at stake, card games are supposed to be enjoyed and every duel has a winner and a loser. It's just a matter of enjoying the game because it is a game!

28. If There's A Will, There's A Way

It's a cliche lesson, but yes, the series really strongly implies that if we really want to do something, we can achieve it no matter how impossible it is, even in the smallest possible way, and there is no effort in this world that goes unrewarded (hopefully, in my case).

29. Destiny Can be Slightly Altered

"I summon Big Shield Gardna without even knowing I actually drew that card!"

In the final ceremonial duel between Yugi and Yami, Ishizu remarks that Yami is "altering his fate" allowing him to draw the cards he needed without even looking. If you have a strong will, you can change what fate is in store for you, just like in the movie "That Thing Called Tadhana".

30. Opposites Complete Each Other

"That was a great duel, aibou (partner)."

Yugi is shy and Yami is confident. These two are the perfect Yin and Yang because the complement each other's weakness. Yugi gives Yami humility and tenderness and Yami gives Yugi strength and confidence. Sometimes, people who are opposites of each other really help each other to grow and become at their best.

Bonus: History Most Likely Repeats Itself

Pretty much explained in the Dawn of the Duel / Ancient Egypt Arc.


Bonus: Yu-Gi-Oh! Playlist: includes AMVs and other stuff

I hope you enjoyed this kinda long list of 30 Lessons in Life from Yu-Gi-Oh! If you have any suggestions and other stuff, feel free to comment below!

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