Manga Review: Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Volume One

Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Volume 1 is a manga with the story and art by Naoyuki Kageyama, and is based on an original concept by Kazuki Takahashi. Viz Media holds the North American rights to distribute the manga in the United States, and this manga volume was published in 2007. This English adaptation, which is presented in an “unflipped” release, was adapted by Ian Reid; the translation was done by Kinami Watabe. Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is rated “A” for All Ages.

Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Volume 1
Written by: Naoyuki Kageyama
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: November 6, 2007

The main protagonist in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is Jaden Yuki. He’s seen as a slacker, and is in the lowest ranking dorm at Duel Academy; this dorm would be Slifer Red. Even though he’s a slacker, Jaden does rather well in actual duels; however, it’s not really known whether Jaden really is a good duelist, or just keeps getting lucky with the cards that he draws. His best friend, Syrus Truesdale, is also in Slifer Red; Syrus is more of a meek character in comparison to the brash Syrus. Other characters in the series are Alexis Rhodes (the main female character of the series), Chazz Princeton (a selfish and arrogant duelist), and Bastion Misawa (who is regarded as a duel genius). Jaden’s main adversary is Dr. Vellian Crowler, one of the teachers at Duel Academy.

This Yu-Gi-Oh! GX manga seems to be written in such a way that it’s expected that the reader already has some familiarity with the anime series. The duel academy only gets a scant one page explanation, and then it jumps right into a storyline. Unfortunately, the manga does not start at the same spot that the anime did. In the anime, Jaden had to battle Dr. Crowler in order to be accepted to attend the academy. Even though this battle is not seen in the manga, it is referenced at least two to three times in this manga volume. Personally, I would have preferred that the manga open with the Jaden and Dr. Crowler duel. While reading the manga, the author makes a note that he didn’t want to simply make a “cine-manga” of the anime; however, I do think that this duel would have made for a stronger beginning for the manga than where the manga actually begins.

Instead, what we start off with is a storyline about a teacher trainee who is dueling with students who takes cards from the opponents that he beats. This is followed by a duel between Jaden and Chazz, which ends with a surprising result. The next story has Bastion dueling with Jaden; if Bastion wins, he can get Alexis’ phone number from Jaden. This is followed by a beauty pageant at the academy, which escalates into a duel between Alexis and Jaden. The final story pits Jaden and Syrus into a duel. Dr. Crowler snuck into a teacher’s office and saw the midterm test report; seeing that Syrus had a zero, he says Syrus will be expelled from the school, unless he can win a duel. Dr. Crowler says that Syrus must duel with Jaden. If Syrus wins, he won’t be expelled; however, if Jaden wins, he must hand over his deck to Dr. Crowler.

When it comes to the art in the manga, you can definitely tell that the anime served as the basis for the character designs. However, there were some minor liberties taken with the designs, especially in regards to Alexis. Since this is a shonen fighting manga, there are plenty of “busy” panels included in this volume. However, the panels that are not part of duels are actually rather easy to follow.

If you enjoy the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX anime series, then you will probably also enjoy the manga series. However, it should also be noted that the manga does not directly follow the anime, and also adds cards and monsters that are not part of the anime series.

I wrote this review after checking out a copy of this manga volume through the King County Library System.

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