The Puzzle of Friendship: Yu-Gi-Oh! Volume 1 Review

When Yugi Mutou was young, he found an ancient Egyptian artifact called the Millennium Puzzle sitting on a shelf in his family’s game store. He took it upon himself to solve the puzzle. Now a freshman in high school, Yugi has still not figured out how to solve it.

Being more sharp minded than physically fit, Yugi would rather play games by himself than play sports with his fellow classmates. Yugi wishes he could play his kind of games with someone.

Being weak and childish, Yugi is an easy and constant target for bullies. Two such bullies are Jonouchi and Honda. They make fun of Yugi for being by himself all the time, playing with treasures, never wanting to pick a fight, and for overall “acting like a girl” as Jonouchi says. One day, Jonouchi and Honda play keep away with Yugi’s Millennium Puzzle. Jonouchi even steals a piece and throws it out the window and into a pool.

The next day, a hall monitor named Ushio leads Yugi outside where he shows him that Honda and Jonouchi have been beaten up. Ushio says he decided to teach these bullies a lesson. He also says Yugi has to pay him bodyguard fees of 200,000 yen. Yugi stands between Ushio and his victims and tells him to stop, but when he does so, Ushio beats up Yugi. He tells Yugi to bring the money the next day or he will teach Yugi even more pain.

Yugi returns home and starts to count his money, but he doesn’t have enough to pay Ushio. However, Yugi keeps getting distracted with trying to solve the Millennium Puzzle. He notices that solving the puzzle is easier this time. After many successful clicks, Yugi finally solves the Millennium Puzzle, all except for one piece. Yugi reaches his hand inside the box for the last piece, but it’s gone! Yugi is worried until Grandpa walks in and shows him the last piece of the Millennium Puzzle in his hand. Jonouchi had fished the piece out from the pool and gave it to Grandpa at the store. Grandpa gives the piece to Yugi, and as he walks away, he says, “It’s written in the Book of the Dead that the one who solves the puzzle inherits the shadow games. He becomes the guardian of right and passes judgment on evil.”

When Yugi insets the last piece of the Millennium Puzzle and completes it, he unlocks a power that allows him to transform into a powerful and confident version of himself. Yugi uses this power to entice Ushio into playing a shadow game with him where the loser receives some form of cursing. In a sense, Yugi brings out a dark version of himself that forces people to fulfill his wish of wanting to play “his kind of games with someone.”

After Yugi defeats Ushio, he meets Jonouchi at school the next day.

“Yugi, if you can keep a treasure, so can I,” says Jonouchi, “It’s something you can show, but can’t see. It’s friendship. Thanks for showing me that we’re friends.”

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In this volume, Yugi managed to assemble the Millennium Puzzle, but it seems like this is not the only thing he was able to assemble. Just as the pieces of the Millennium Puzzle come together to create a mightier whole, Yugi also brought three other people together along with himself to make a powerful bond.

Yugi Mutou was alone and friendless until one day when he solved the Millennium Puzzle and unleashed his “dark” and “stronger” side.

Katsuya Jonouchi enjoyed picking on Yugi for being weak and childish, but after Yugi stood up to Ushio for him, he realized just how tough Yugi really is.

Anzu Mazaki is a childhood friend of Yugi’s. When Anzu’s life was in danger from an escaped convict, Yugi transformed into his alter-ego in order to save her life. Because of this, Anzu developed a crush on “the man who saved her with a game”.

Hiroto Honda got Yugi’s help when he wanted to get a girl to go out with him. And when Honda was about to be expelled by the tyrannic Ms. Chono, Yugi transformed into his alter-ego and gave Ms. Chono a curse, thus saving Honda from getting expelled.

And of course, all of them were brought together by the Millennium Puzzle.

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**Images from the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga were obtained from https://www.viz.com/shonenjump/chapters/yu-gi-oh

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