The Hero Behind the Mask: Yu-Gi-Oh! Chapter 22-23 Review

Yugi, Jonouchi, Anzu, and Honda have all gathered at school and are reading one of Hanasaki’s American comics. The name of the comic is Zombire, and it’s super popular in America.

Anzu looks at the comic and says, “Why are American comics full of all these macho body-builder guys?”

(I don’t know…why are anime full of kawaii girls?)

“Zombire isn’t a body-builder guy!” shouts Hanaskai, “He was originally the God of Death, but he learned how to love and started to fight evil! But the more he turns good, the more the face hidden behind the mask rots away like a zombie, and every time, his life gets shorter! But he still fights evil! That’s why he’s the greatest hero ever!”

(If I were to take a guess, I would say that Zombire is based on Hellboy, Kazuki Takahashi’s favorite American comic.)

(Also, I might be stating the obvious, but “Zombire” seems to be a mix of “Zombie” and “Vampire”.)

Hanasaki invites them to his house where he shows off his Zombire merch.

“My father works in America,” says Hanasaki, “Every time he comes back to Japan, he brings, he brings something for me.”

While the crew were all admiring Hanasaki’s collection, Mrs. Hanasaki walks in with a plate of Zombire snacks. Then someone appears behind her:

“Hi Dad!” says Hanasaki.

Mr. Hanasaki takes off his Zombire mask and gives it to his son.

“It’s the one you wanted, Tomoya,” he says.

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As Yugi and his friends leave the house, Mr. Hanasaki says, “Please stay friends with Tomoya!”

“We’ll always be his friends!” says Yugi.

“Thank you. To be honest, Tomoya is fragile. Because of my work, I haven’t been able to spend as much time with him as I’d like. I was starting to think his only friends were those action figures!”

“Don’t worry, Mr. Hanasaki, he’s not as fragile as you think he is!” says Jonouchi.

Jonouchi certainly has changed since Chapter 1:

Mr. Hanasaki remembers when he first brought home a Zombire action figure for Tomoya.

“When I look at this action figure, I kinda feel like I’m stronger too!” says Tomoya.

“Then I’ll bring you Zombire toys and comics every time I come back from America!” says Mr. Hanasaki.

Meanwhile, Tomoya has dressed up in the Zombire costume that his dad gave him and starts prowling the night.

“I feel like I’m strong!” says Hanasaki. Then he sees some thugs beating up a civilian. Hanasaki thinks about running, but he remembers that Zombire wouldn’t run.

“Stop picking on him!” says Hanasaki.

“Who are you supposed to be?” asks a thug, “You want some too, eh?”

The thug runs to punch Hanasaki, but he gets beat by a simple poke.

The other thug runs to punch him, but gets beat by a simple tap.

Then they run away.

The two thugs meet up with Hanasaki’s dad to collect their payment. Mr. Hanasaki is paying them to pretend to get defeated so Tomoya will have more confidence.

“Can you do it again?” asks the father.

“No prob. Just tell us your son’s name and school,” says the thug.

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The next day after school, Yugi Muto is headed home from school when he runs into the two thugs. They interrogate Yugi as to the whereabouts of Hanasaki. When Yugi says he doesn’t know, the two thugs corner him and accuse him of lying.

Hanasaki comes and sees the two thugs and Yugi. “This looks like a job for Zombire,” he says. Hanasaki stands between the two thugs and Yugi and tells them to stop.

The two thugs recognize Hanasaki’s voice. (Spider-man would be screwed in this world.)

“Hey, let’s get out of here!” says a thug, “We can’t handle this guy.”

Hanasaki sweats with relief. Yugi is confused. Hanasaki asks Yugi if he is okay, but Yugi is surprised by his sudden confidence.

That night, Yugi is assembling a Zombire garage kit when he runs out of spray paint.

“We don’t stock spray cans in our store, and everywhere else is closed now,” thinks Yugi, “I’ll go to Hanasaki’s and borrow a can of paint from him.”

Meanwhile, Hanasaki is in his room wearing his Zombire costume when a rock smashes through his window. The rock is wrapped in a note that reads:

“Yugi’s been kidnapped!” realizes Hanasaki, “It must be the work of those punks! They won’t get away with this! Yugi, I’m coming to save you!”

A thug near Hanasaki’s house sees him leave and radios the other two. Then the two thugs call up Mr. Hanasaki and say, “We’d like to play some more hero games with Tomoya tonight. The payment this time is 500,000 yen.”

“I don’t have that kind of money,” says Mr. Hanasaki.

“If you don’t want to pay, then we’ll introduce a shocking plot element. This time the superhero gets beat to death by the bad guys!”

Just then Tomoya arrives and says, “All right villains! What have you done with Yugi?”

Yugi arrives at Hanasaki’s house and meets his father. Mr. Hanasaki shows Yugi the note. Yugi reads it and becomes enraged. “Hanaskai, you did this for my sake!” says Yugi.

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Hanasaki is getting beat up by the thugs.

“I thought I was strong enough,” says Hanasaki.

“I’ll let you in on something,” says one of the thugs, “We were only acting last night, your old man paid us to do it!”

“You’re lying,” cries Tomoya.

The thugs shoot spray paint into Hanasaki’s eyes and give him another kick.

From up above, someone says, “That’s enough you scum!”

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Yugi Muto! (In his alter-ego form.)

(I guess you could say Yugi is a real super hero in this world.)

“Another wanna-be hero?” says one of the thugs. He flicks out his cigarette and pulls out a knife. Then the three thugs start chasing Yugi, but Yugi picks up the spray can and starts spraying the floor as he runs. Yugi eventually gets cornered.

Yugi says, “Do you think I was just running in circles? Look at the ground!”

The thugs notice that Yugi has been creating a maze of spray paint on the ground.

“Your cigarette butt is the fuse to set the paint on fire. Welcome to my Maze of Fire!”

The thugs don’t go through the maze as Yugi intended, instead they just run out of the maze and jump into the nearby water.

Hanasaki runs up to Yugi and says, “I’m sorry, it’s my fault. There’s no way I can be a hero.”

“Of course you can,” says Yugi.

Tomoya, your dad was wrong, thinks Mr. Hanasaki, The true hero’s face was hidden behind the mask…the face that got bruised defending your friend.

So in the end, Mr. Hanasaki learns that he should be proud of his son for who he is, and Tomoya Hanasaki learns that he doesn’t need an alter-ego in order to be a hero.

(Hmm…what a great ending!)

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**Images were from the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga were obtained from

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