Original Concept: Kazuki Takahashi
Story and Art: Naoyuki Kageyama
Rating: All Ages
$9.99 USA, $12.99 CAN
I think it’s safe to say that by this point the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise has worn out its welcome. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the original series because of its deeply complex plot and equally complex characters. It relied on more than just the card games, incorporating Egyptian mythology as-well-as some very weird, and often times disturbing, visuals that saw people burned to death or skinned alive. However, as is custom with all franchises, the longer the life span, the greater the chance it will eventually become a watered down shadow of itself. Enter Yu-Gi-Oh! GX; a series that abandons the previous plot in favor of focusing on the completion of the card game. The characters are all one dimensional, boasting the same catchphrase of “I will become the best”. It can all get tired really quick. So even more surprising is the fact that a manga sprung out of it. The manga much like the anime boasts the same characters spouting the same phrases about wanting become pros and being the best in the world. Much like the anime, it focuses on the cardgame rather any real plot.
Volume 7 introduces us to several students of the American Duel Academy, most notably James Crocodile Cook, Adrian Gecko, Johann Andersen, Austin O’Brien, and Aster Phoenix. Each of them were introduced in the original anime under different circumstances and each sports their own unique set of monster cards, also different from the original, that make them a challenge to the Japanese duelists. One of them is even controlled by a shadowy deity manipulating the students from behind the scenes.
The volume starts off with “King” Atticus Rhodes dueling James Crocodile Cook. The duel is a rather one sided affair, with Atticus shrugging off Cook’s attacks effortlessly. In two chapters time the duel is over with Atticus victorious. From there the volume continues the trend of Japanese duelists versus the American duelists as the students are paired up into tag teams. First up is Bastion and Alexis taking on Adrian and Johann. This duel is also short and is mostly used to show how the Japanese students mesh better as a team while the American students are better suited as singles competitors.
Next up, Chazz and Syrus pair up to combat Austin and James. Like the first tag duel, this is kept short and sweet, making way for the main event of Jaden taking on America’s prized pro in the form of Aster Phoenix. Surprisingly enough, he sports a hero deck like Jaden’s. Not one to be shown up, Jaden reveals a new type of hero, switching from elementals to masked. The duel proceeds as one might imagine, with both being of equal caliber, and by volume’s end neither has gained the upper hand.
For fans of duels, this volume is packed with them. Though none are truly compelling or stand out, there’s more than enough squeezed between the covers to satisfy. That said, it’s hard to be excited about teens yelling the title’s of their cards at each other. It’s boring and doesn’t make for great action, which is all Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has. Unless you’re a fan of the original anime, this volume, much like the series is best left on the shelf.