Yu-Gi-Oh! is a popular Japanese anime and manga franchise from Kazuki Takahashi that mainly involves characters who play a card game called Duel Monsters (originally called Magic & Wizards in the manga. See the section "Card game" below for different names of the game) wherein each player purchases and assembles a Deck of Monster, Spell, and Trap Cards in order to defeat one another and gain victory.
It began as a manga in Japan in 1996, the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise has since grown to an immensely successful global brand, spawning various manga and anime series, a real-life version of the card game featured in the story, video games, toys, and many other products.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero
Yu-Gi-Oh is produced by Toei Animation, as a 27-episode anime, based on Yu-Gi-Oh! manga volumes 1-7, volumes which do not focus much on Magic & Wizards, nor is it connected in any way to Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters; another Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series made by Nihon Ad Systems (NAS), but is often referred to as the "first series" to distinguish it from the latter (or, erroneously, as Yu-Gi-Oh! Season/Series 0.) The show first aired on TV Asahi on April 4, 1998, and ended its run on October 10, 1998. This show was never shown outside Japan, presumbly due to the amount of violence involved in the series
Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters
Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters is the series that introduced Yu-Gi-Oh! to the Western world. It was produced by NAS, and was first aired on TV Tokyo on April 18, 2000. It was later translated into more than 20 languages, airing in more than 60 countries. The series is mainly based on Yu-Gi-Oh! manga volume 8 (except that it has some of the content of volumes 4 and 5, albeit watered down and shortened) and onward, and ended its 224-episode run in Japan on September 29, 2004.
Set a few years following the events of the previous series, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX (known as Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters GX in Japan) follows a boy named Juudai Yuuki as he attends Duel Academy in the hopes of becoming the new Duel King. The series ran for 180 episodes between October 6, 2004 and March 26, 2008.
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's is another anime spin-off of the original Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, with a new protagonist (Yusei Fudo) and a new plotline revolving on five dragon cards which when brought together, will revive a beast called the Crimson Dragon. The main difference between this and other "Yu-Gi-Oh!" shows is that they duel on motorcycles in stadiums using duel disks called Duel Runners, and a new breed of monsters called Synchro Monsters are introduced. It started airing on TV Tokyo on April 2, 2008.
A new Yu-Gi-Oh! series is to be announced at the Japanese encore screening of Yu-Gi-Oh! 3D Bonds Beyond Time on February 20, 2011. It is to be called Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL. In the near future, the main character's name is Yuma Tsukumo as he is encountered by a spirit named Astral. They are working together to gather the scattered and dangerous "Number" cards. They are the missing pieces of Astral's memory. This series also introduces a new type of monsters called "Xyz Monsters"
Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-Ⅴ is a Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series, the fourth main spin-off series, which began airing in Japan on April 6, 2014, following the end of Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL. The series focuses on a new protagonist, Yuya Sakaki. As with the previous spin-offs, it focuses on (and introduces) a new type of Summoning - this time, Pendulum Summon, as well as Pendulum Monsters and the mechanic in general, though it also has previous Summoning methods retain importance to the plot.