Cardfight Coalition

How the game in the anime actually works

The Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG is ultimately derived from the manga and anime, right? I see many complaints about how characters in the anime “cheat”. Guess what? They don’t. They are not playing Yu-Gi-Oh!. They are playing Duel Monsters. You must think of it as a separate game entirely that happens to share cards and mechanics.

In my mind, the most infamous example is Elemental Hero Bubbleman. “OMG, Jaden is such a cheater. He draws cards whenever Bubbleman is Summoned!” Of course he does – because that’s what the Japanese text written on the anime card that he’s playing tells him to do. That is what the card says. Ergo, he isn’t cheating. At all.

Game mechanics don’t always work the same way either. Often, the rules are played far looser. Though each subsequent series generally gets closer to the TCG in terms of rules, they are still not playing the same game. Number 25: Force Focus was able to negate Gogogo Golem’s effects in the anime, despite Gogogo Golem having a Continuous effect. This isn’t cheating either – they are not playing the same game.

Now, on the flip side, there ARE occasions when characters in the anime violate the written card lores. For example, the written Japanese anime lore of Heroic Challenger Warhammer (shown in episode 45) says it cannot be Special Summoned. Yet, Gauche (Nistro) uses Heroic Call to Special Summon it on the Duel Coaster (in episode 53). One could say he cheated. However, the card’s lore could have also changed. Often, cards in the anime do get their effects changed to match their TCG counterparts – like Future Fusion. Other times, they don’t – Skyscraper, for example.

Other times, you actually do need to ignore what’s written on the anime cards. The anime lore of Toon World is actually identical to its first Japanese OCG print. It obviously doesn’t work that way at all in the anime though.

Ultimately, I urge everyone to STOP thinking so hard about how card interactions work in the anime. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. No one really cheats in the anime. Except Bandit Keith, of course.


Cheesedude is an admin on the Yu-Gi-Oh! wiki, fan of every Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series and Nintendo fanboy. He enjoys obscure references and identifying cards shown for a split second in the anime and proofreads a lot of the articles that are published here.

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