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|“||It's time to duel!||„|
|~ Yami Yugi's famous and legendary catchphrase
Yami Yugi (real name: Atem), also known as Dark Yugi in the original Japanese version, is one of the two main protagonists (alongside Yugi Muto) in the original Yu-Gi-Oh! series by Kazuki Takahashi and both of its adaptations. Yami Yugi is the ancient spirit of a dead pharoh that has been reincarnated as a young boy in the modern era.
As with Yugi Muto, he is voiced by Megumi Ogata in the Toei anime version, who is best known as the voice of Yukito Tsukishiro/Yue from Cardcaptor Sakura in the original Japanese version and Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion. He is also voiced by Shunsuke Kazama in the second anime series. In English Version Yami is voiced by Dan Green who is also known for voicing Entei and Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic X.
Yami Yugi came into being in his modern incarnation when the boy Yugi Muto assembled an ancient puzzle his grandfather brought him as an archeology curio, the meeting of Yami Yugi's reincarnation and his ancient keep sake is played-off as a whim of fate rather than coincidence or chance. Once assembled the puzzle reactivated Yugi's past life's overarching personality though not all of his memories and the sharp contrast between who he was and is causes Yami Yugi to exist as a secondary soul inhabiting Yugi Muto's body. Yami Yugi begins his reintroduction to the modern-era by tormenting those who victimized Yugi however Yugi Muto's compassion makes such periods last only briefly before his original judgment is restored, over time this begins to soften Yami Yugi, who grows fond and extremely protective of his reincarnated-self. Yami Yugi usually manifests when playing the popular card game Duel Monsters. As the card game is a based on ancient summon rites from Yami's past specifically packaged as a card game by Pegasus J. Crawford, another owner of a Millennium Artifact, the game reawakens base instincts in Yami Yugi that make him a natural at it.
Since Yami Yugi has few to no memories of his past a bulk of the manga and show focused on the reveals of bits and pieces of it as a driving motivation for both Yugi and Yami Yugi. One of the earliest establishing factors was that Yami Yugi was from one of the earliest dynasties of ancient Egypt. Confrontation with Ryou Bakura, a friend of Yugi's who himself was possessed by a similar spirit revealed that there were in-fact several Millennium items and collection of them would unleash great power and completely restore memories of the past to Yami. Even with the mystery of his past and the fate of the Millennium items to worry about Yami Yugi tends to focus on victory one battle at a time and worrying about the future only in-between battles. Yugi Muto himself goes through great length to help Yami in his mission pursuing leads and allowing the spirit to possess him for lengthy periods of time even when not in battle. The only time Yami Yugi focuses on anything other than victory or his past is when Yugi Muto's soul or life is endangered specifically over his, at which points Yami will drop all previously rekindled compassion for the sole purpose of protecting or avenging his young friend.
They become best friends but also developed a bond similar to that of brothers or a father and son. Evidence of this is when Yugi's soul was taken after Yami's loss to Rafael, Yami was devastated and started reverting to his old self before Yugi helped change him. He also became somewhat hasty, as he attacked Weevil, despite Téa telling him not to, due to Weevil's two facedown cards.
Powers and Skills
Yami Yugi's most noted skill is his talent at playing duel monsters. While normally a skilled player of the game would be of little import the rites the game mirrors often leads to real life or death consequences based on victory or lose of a match. In addition to his natural skill Yami Yugi can use his connection to the Millennium Puzzle and the magic that it possesses to transform mere games into the ancient rites they originally were, a Shadow Duel. Shadow Duels can be used to cause cards to come to life, areas to become pocket dimensions and souls and bodies of players to be gambled with the game. Yami Yugi seems not to be bound by the physical restrain on Yugi's body this allows him to run, walk and swim endlessly at top speed without feeling the effects of fatigue. He shares this ability to function in spite of his body's condition with Yami-Bakura who can stand on broken legs, go without food, drink or sleep and function with concussions, it is likely that if such situations arose Yami Yugi would be equally mobile in spite of bodily harm. Still Yami Yugi's most formidable skill is not his know-how or magic powers but rather his personality and drive. Yami Yugi believes in winning at all costs even to the point of risking or outright throwing away people's lives for the sake of the game when his powers are in use. Over time Yami Yugi's drive is tempered by Yugi's conscience however when such conscientious decisions lead to lose Yami Yugi is always partially bitter about it and deeply resents losing.
Yami Yugi is capable of hypnotism with the puzzle's magic; seen in Season 0's portion of the manga. Making his targets believe what he wishes or make them do what he wishes. As a result many of his Penalty Games involve illusions that typically drive the victim insane; such as seeing something as what they want, or even hearing something inaudible.
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: The Dark Side of Dimensions
Yami Yugi is mentioned in the film, a virtual copy version of him fight Kaiba, only to lose, the original one appears when Yugi collapses and blacks-out, he manages to save Yugi Muto by taking possession of him, and the two summon a upgraded Mahad to defeat Diva and his Cubic monsters once and for all, Yami Yugi and Yugi are splited, Yami Yugi then smiles to Yugi before he returns to the Underground, in the end, he was seen smiling when Seto Kaiba prepares his Duel Disk to challenge him.
|“||My grampa's deck has no pathetic cards, Kaiba. But it does contain... the unstoppable Exodia.||„|
|~ Yami Yugi to Kaiba before playing his Exodia cards|
|“||I've assembled all five special cards! All five pieces of the puzzle!||„|
|~ Yami Yugi as he plays his Exodia cards, thus summoning Exodia the Forbidden One|
- When Atem was younger, he's sound like Yugi Muto.
- During The Wrath of Rebecca, the still-amnesiac Atem tells Yugi that "I have been known by many names. Pharoah. Yugioh. But most people call me Yami." A dub blunder as Other Me from the manga and Partner in the original anime would have sounded weirder in English. Though throughout the second and third seasons he is largely called Spirit (of the Millennium Puzzle) and Yami (by accident on the dubbers part); unless the Ishtars are addressing him. As of Waking the Dragons, his friends call him (the) Pharoah.
- In the first volumes of the manga/Season 0, Yami Yugi is more sadistic; ranging from his Shadow Games and Penalty Games. After Death-T in Volume 5, where his existence is accepted and known by Yugi and friends, he mellows a bit thanks to Yugi's influence.
- Yami Yugi is technically a cheater as his puzzle grants him extraordinary good luck, ensuring he never loses if he desires to win.