Yugi possessed the three thousand-year-old mystical Millennium Puzzle, which allowed his body to bear host to the spirit of the Puzzle, Yami Yugi. Yugi was initially unaware of his existence and control of Yugi's body, and would involuntarily shift to Yami Yugi at trying times in the English dub. He lives with his paternal grandfather, Solomon Muto, and his mother. Yugi is part of a close-knit group of best friends: Joey Wheeler, Tristan Taylor, Téa Gardner and Bakura Ryou. Yugi's friends often cheer him on from the sidelines, and Joey has dueled at his side. Yugi has been friends with Téa since childhood and has a romantic crush on her. Téa has been shown to have romantic feelings for both Yugi and Yami Yugi.
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. 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.
Solomon Muto, the grandfather of Yugi Muto, who gave him his famous Millennium Puzzle as a present, which he had recovered from the tomb of Pharaoh Atem in his youth.Solomon was once a gaming master who traveled all over the world to try all sorts of games and win them all, vowing that if he ever lost a game, he'd "open up a game shop, wear overalls, and collect years instead of chips". In the present, he's an overall-wearing old man who owns a game shop called Game, where Yugi and his friends get several of the games they play. In the second series anime adaptation, he taught Joey how to play the Duel Monsters card game. Solomonis the reincarnation of Ancient Egyptian vizier, Shimon, right-hand man to the Pharaoh Atem.
Joey is good at fist fighting and is usually able to take on people bigger than him, such as Bandit Keith. Though not exactly the best gamer in Domino, he develops a better liking to them thanks to Yugi, and he's managed to use his strong points to help Yugi. Later on, he develops an interest in the Duel Monsters game, the latest fad at the time. Though unskilled at first, with Yugi's help, he trains for the Duelist Kingdom and Battle City tournaments for his sister; progressively getting better throughout the series to the point where he could be called a match for Yami Yugi. Joey is shown to have a very kind heart, selfless and caring, considerate, and eager willingness to help and save those he deeply cares for and loves, but he also demonstrates a near lack of modesty and can be rather rash at times, making him a source of comic relief. He also has an extreme fear of ghosts, mummies, and anything else that could be considered 'creepy'. Joey notes that, before he met Yugi, he was never really motivated for anything. As the story progressed, he learned to channel his anger into games instead of his fists.
Serenity Wheeler, is Joey Wheeler's younger sister. The two were separated at a very young age when their parents got divorced. Serenity is depicted as being a sweet-natured, gentle, fragile and dependent young girl.
Yugi's childhood best friend and an extremely supportive girl with a lot of spirit for her friends, who has a crush on Atem. Téa is not an avid game-player and her ability is well below that of Yugi, though she exhibits some knowledge of video game RPGs during the Monster World arc. Her dueling ability is decent and she used to defeat Joey in school before he became a seasoned duelist. She is athletic, has a strong school spirit, and secretly worked at a fast food restaurant called Burger World to save money; her secret dream is to be a professional dancer in USA. When Yugi and Joey find out about these secrets when they followed her, she gains a new respect for Joey and her childhood friend, who are more than willing to support her dream and keep her secret.
Tristan, who is in class 1-B at Domino High School, is a boy who became a friend of Yugi, Joey, and Téa. Later on, he becomes a friend to Bakura as well. In the Duel Monsters anime, his past was heavily edited, to remove the violent fighting bits, and his importance is slightly down-played. In the Duel Monsters anime, he has a large crush on Joey's sister Serenity. He also has a strong rivalry in the with Duke Devlin and regularly competes with him for Serenity's affections.
The current President and CEO of the Kaiba Corporation, Kaiba was first introduced as a prodigious, cold-hearted gamer who stopped at nothing to achieve his goals, even resorting to seemingly killing his opponents. He lived a bad childhood because of his good for nothing stepfather. When Kaiba learned that Yugi's grandfather possesses a "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" card, he ends up dueling Yami Yugi and lost while ending up in a coma after Yami used his power to momentarily shatter Kaiba's heart to purge it of his evil.
Seto Kaiba's younger brother. In Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters, Mokuba is eternally devoted to his brother Seto Kaiba and is constantly by his side. He is not as violent as his manga counterpart, and is not committed to avenge Seto's defeat. He befriends Yugi's group after they rescue him, thus making him the warmer, more sociable one of the two brothers.
A rich, selfish, cold-hearted, uncaring and power-hungry tyrannical and powerful business man who is the adoptive father of Seto and Mokuba Kaiba. Gozaburo is the original founder and CEO of Kaiba Corporation, which initially began as a successful arms manufacturer, and a world famous chess champion. It was this particular skill that Seto appealed to when Gozaburo visited the orphanage where he and Mokuba were living, as he challenged Gozaburo to a game of chess, with the stakes being the adoption of the two brothers. Seto won by cheating, and Gozaburo adopted Seto and Mokuba, but proved a cruel father, forcing Seto to spend all his time studying in order to groom him as his new heir. Gozaburo's plans backfired, however when he gave Seto a 2% share of Kaiba Corporation stock as a test, challenging him to pay back ten times the amount within a year. Seto managed to acquire the money within a single day, and together with the board of director, secured majority control of the company stocks, overthrowing Gozaburo and installing himself as the new CEO.
Gozaburo Kaiba's biological son, and Seto and Mokuba's stepbrother. He kidnaps Yugi and co. and traps them in his Virtual World. As the heir to Kaiba Corporation, Noah's father makes him study heavily in the arts and academic subjects, but unlike Seto Kaiba, Noah enjoys it and is eager to please his father. When Noah is approximately ten years old, he is in a car accident and is fatally injured. In the hope of saving his son, Gozaburo Kaiba uploads Noah's soul onto a supercomputer just before Seto is adopted.
The eccentric American Chairman of Industrial Illusions and the creator of the game Duel Monsters. He is the wielder of the Millennium Eye. As the creator of the card game Duel Monsters and the discoverer of their ancient Egyptian roots, Pegasus often plays a key role due to his extensive knowledge of the game and its mysterious origins. He has a habit of calling Yugi Mutou "Yugi-boy" and Seto Kaiba "Kaiba-boy". This trend continues in the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX anime, calling Jaden Yuki "Jaden-boy". His love for Comics also, has created his own "Toon Deck" in the series. His speech is also unique in terms of pronunciation.
In the Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters anime, his role in the group is greatly reduced compared to the manga, as he is mostly being controlled by Dark Bakura and doesn't accompany Yugi and his friends as much as he did in the manga, and is excluded from filler arcs. In addition, he is introduced in the middle of the Duelist Kingdom story as someone they merely knew from school, as opposed to being a close friend, and his love for tabletop role-playing games has been greatly written out.
Yami Bakura, is the evil spirit of the Millennium Ring. and the main antagonist of the original Yu-Gi-Oh Series. He appears as a recurring secondary antagonist for most of the series, until the final arc where he is the main antagonist. Through the Millennium Ring, Bakura Ryo became host to the spirit, allowing him to possess Bakura; even able to mimic his host's personality almost perfectly to the point that he is able to fool Bakura Ryo's friends. Yami Bakura is the longest running and most prominent adversary in the entire series, being an antagonistic counterpart and a great adversary to Yami Yugi.
An attractive woman who spent most of her life alone. She became a powerful, successful duelist thanks to her Harpie-themed deck. However, Mai had no true friends, and dueled simply for pride and monetary gain, but also entered the Duelist Kingdom tournament to find the things she used to cherish. When Mai joins the Duelist Kingdom tournament to seek the prize money, she meets Yugi Muto and his friends and steadily forges a true friendship with them after they rescue her Star Chips from the Player to help her stay in the tournament. Mai subsequently faces Yugi in the semi-finals, but ultimately chooses to surrender to him when she decides she could not win, telling him that some losses only serve to make people stronger. In the second anime, she was raised in a wealthy household, but was barely acknowledged by her relatives.
The former King of Atlantis and the head of the organization Paradius. After being forced to kill his wife who had been turned into a monster by the orichalcos, Dartz was himself corrupted, turning his right eye green. Dartz led the forces of the Orichalcos against his father, daughter and the forces of the Dominion of the Beasts, but was defeated. Dartz then spent the next ten thousand years collecting souls to revive the Leviathan, which he felt could be easily revived using the soul of Atem.
The heir to a clan of tombkeepers and the younger brother of Ishizu Ishtar. Marik's hatred of the nameless Pharaoh compels him to disregard his duties and turn to a life of crime, as well as developing a split personality, during his childhood after he underwent the tombkeeper's initiation ritual and was forever destined for a confined life in the darkness apart from the rest of the world. After breaking one of the laws of their clan, his dark personality emerged and brutally murdered his father; however his adoptive older brother Odion managed to seal his dark side away, leaving him with no memory of his actions. He believed that the Pharaoh had his father killed and became obsessed with killing the Pharaoh to avenge his father and put an end to the suffering of his clan, never knowing about his other personality. To this end, he created the Rare Hunters, a gang of thieves who stole and collect rare Duel Monsters cards, and uses his Millennium Rod to control people's minds. Although he was originally innocent and kind as a child, he became very cruel and uncaring; killing his servants when they displeased him and developing a love for torturing people.
Yami Marik eventually is able to reemerge and take control of the normal Marik's body later on in the story and replaces him as the main antagonist. Yami Marik proves to be even more vicious than the original Marik. While the real Marik enjoyed violence and cruelty, he would only use it when he was angry or when it would further his own desires, but his dark side would attack anyone who crossed his path and would prolong their suffering for as long as possible. He only cares for his own survival and actively tries to kill the normal Marik so he can have sole possession of their body.
Odion is normally quite quiet, remaining loyal to Marik Ishtar despite being mistreated at times. Mr. Ishtar thought of him as a servant to the tomb-keeper heir upon Marik. Odion was always trying to keep Marik's alter ego, Yami Marik, in control and unable to take over Marik's body, and he promised Mrs. Ishtar as she died that he would take care of his adoptive siblings. In the Duel with Joey Wheeler, he pretended to be louder and more arrogant due to posing as Marik.
Ishizu is portrayed as a kind, wise, compassionate, spiritual, and intelligent woman displaying strong maternal characteristics who exhibits a selfless concern for the well being of others. She is solicitous about the welfare of her family members and those around her, especially her brother Marik, and is loyal to her family's duty to the Pharaoh. Spiritually, Ishizu is known for preaching her beliefs in the nature of fate and destiny, whether its through following her visions, predicting the future with her Millennium Necklace, or remaining committed to her family's destiny to serve the pharaoh.
Rebecca is the youngest person to become the American Duel Monsters champion, formerly held by Bandit Keith. In the anime, she is the Intercontinental Champion. Rebecca is also the granddaughter of Arthur Hawkins. In the dub, she is eight, ten in Waking the Dragons.
Arthur is a very sweet and kind old man. He also has a lot of knowledge about Duel Monsters and much like Solomon Muto, has a fascination with ancient stone carvings. Much of his research involves these carvings and he treasures his findings very much as evidenced in Season 4 when his lab was destroyed and he was captured. Arthur was a fellow gamer friend of Solomon Muto. He gave Solomon a rare "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" card after meeting in the sands of Egypt and surviving a cave-in together in an ancient tomb.
His English given name comes from "Weevil", a small beetle with an elongated snout. Many types of said insect are also pests of crop, referring to his less than pleasant personality. His surname, "Underwood," is played on "under the wood", possibly to compliment his Insect Deck.
Rex Raptor, known as a Dinosaur Duelist. Despite his introduction as a powerful Duelist, he becomes a source of humiliation along with his companion, Weevil Underwood, after suffering defeat to Joey Wheeler, and begins considering Joey his rival for this reason. He is also briefly the companion to Mai Valentine, as she was trying to use him to get her revenge on Joey for defeating her. Though Rex is vindictive, arrogant, and tyrannical, he plays fairly unlike his cheating companion Weevil, and he forfeited his rarest and most prized card "Red-Eyes B. Dragon" to Joey after he lost it fair and square when he anted it in the hopes that he'd win Joey's "Time Wizard" should he lose, as he was planning on double-crossing Mai by using Time Wizard to defeat her, as his own form of revenge against her.
The insane tuxedoed magician Arkana led Yugi to the circus tent of horrors. Arkana strapped Yugi's legs in chains to start the most dangerous duel ever - for every life point Yugi lost, a dark energy disc came closer and closer. A single touch from the spinning blade and Yugi was on a one-way trip to the Shadow Realm.
Bandit Keith Howard
Keith was the former United States Duel Monsters champion and number one ranked Card Professor. He got the nickname Bandit Keith, because of his success in winning big prizes. All of his opponents ceased playing any card games, after losing to him, due to him defeating them so brutally that the sight of a card brings great trauma to them. His reputation slumped after a humiliating defeat to Maximillion J. Pegasus, in a challenge Duel. Afterwards, Keith became immersed in alcohol, drugs and underground gambling, including playing Russian roulette. To get revenge on Pegasus, he snuck his way into the Duelist Kingdom tournament. He cheated throughout the tournament and aided three other participants, hoping to qualify as the four semifinalists. However, after one of them lost to Joey, Keith turned on them and took their remaining Star Chips for himself. He lost to Joey, in the semifinals, after which he confronted Pegasus in an attempt to steal the prize. However Pegasus, having seen Keith cheat, subjected him to a Penalty Game, killing him.
Duke invented Dungeon Dice Monsters and visited Maximillion Pegasus to demonstrate the game shortly before the Duelist Kingdom tournament. Duke was impressed by Pegasus' skill at the game. Pegasus himself enjoyed the game and approved of the creation of Dungeon Dice Monsters, wanting to expand it further. Upon Pegasus' request, Duke allowed him to make additions to the game, including adding the "Dark Magician" as a monster, and hacking into KaibaCorp's computer system. Duke then apologized to Yugi, having realized that Yugi was an honest game player and determined that he wouldn't have cheated against Pegasus. He began to worry that the televised game was going to be bad publicity as it made him look like a bad person. However, Yugi and his friends comforted Duke, assuring him that Dungeon Dice Monsters had the potential to become a great game. Soon after, Duke received word from Industrial Illusions in the form of an email stating that they would be helping produce Dungeon Dice Monsters, and had agreed to make the game global.
Atem is an ancient Egyptian pharaoh who had sealed his own spirit/soul within the mystical Millennium Pendant. His spirit then took on the identity of Yami Yugi, which resided in the body of Yugi Muto, after Yugi solved the Millennium Puzzle. It was stated once that Yugi is the modern day version of Atem. He is the centerpiece of the Yu-Gi-Oh! series next to Yugi and is the driving force behind most of the events that transpired during the series, with the exceptions of the Domino City Battles, Virtual World and the Grand Championship arcs. He is likely named after the Egyptian god Atum.
One of the seven High Priests that guard the Millennium Items and is the holder of the Millennium Rod, Seto is both Atem's cousin and a past life of Seto Kaiba. While he possesses Kaiba's basic attitude, Seto bear a great loyalty and friendship to Atem. Before the Battle City arc, a tablet showing Priest Seto fighting Pharaoh Atem was on display at the Domino City Museum, with Blue-Eyes White Dragon fighting against the Pharaoh's Dark Magician. During Battle City, Kaiba continuously has vivid visions of his past life as Seto.
Aknadin was the advisor and brother of Pharaoh Aknamkanon. While he loved his brother dearly, he was secretly resentful of his brother for being Pharaoh while he was relatively unimportant. When Egypt was under attack, Aknadin pushed his brother to fight back and protect his people, but Aknamkanon refused on the grounds he wanted peace. Eventually the invading armies grew too close to the palace to be repelled, and Aknadin suggested using a spell from the Millennium Spellbook ("Millennium Tome" in the manga) to create the Millennium Items. Faced with the undeniable fact his kingdom may be destroyed, Aknamkanon agreed. It is later revealed in the manga that Zorc Necrophades had lured Aknadin (most likely with promises of his legacy obtaining the throne from his brother) to translate the Millennium Tome (hence the Shadow Alchemy and the events of Kul Elna) in order for him to be brought back into the world. Prior to heading out, Aknadin abandoned his son Seto and his wife for fear his actions would later cause criminals to target them, as well as to shield them from prejudice. That night, Aknadin led a group of soldiers to the village of Kul Elna, where he ordered the thieves there killed, and their blood collected for the ritual to create the Items (in the English anime, the souls of the thieves are collected, although it is indirectly implied they are still killed). The sole survivor of this slaughter was a young boy named Bakura. The slaughter was so horrific that Aknadin never told his brother of it, and had all the soldiers he had taken brainwashed so as to forget the incident.
Isis is a wise, kind and intelligent woman. She seems to share a close and affectionate relationship with Mahad in the anime, as she converses with him before he goes off to fight Bakura. She is able to sense his plight during the duel with Bandit King Bakura, and utters his name with tears flowing down her cheeks. Isis alone senses Mahad's demise, and cries out his name tearfully, showing that she deeply cares about him. Isis is a High Priestess serving Pharaoh Atem. She wields the Millennium Necklace. She attempted to fight off Bakura and his "Diabound", but failed, sacrificing her "Spiria" to save the other Priests who also tried to fight Bakura. Bakura fled when Atem Summoned "Obelisk the Tormentor". She was present during the Shadow Game at Kul Elna against Bakura and his "Diabound". "Diabound" was eventually destroyed, and Bakura died. However, Zorc Necrophades was successfully resurrected. During the Royal Court's fight with Zorc, she died to give Mana time to give the Priests their Millennium Items.
As Pharaoh, he is very calm, serious, and very loyal at heart, though his ruling during his time had made him a negotiable king between Egypt and his neighboring enemies and try to find a peaceful solution to their problems. His brother, Aknadin, however, was starting to advance his armies without his knowledge. Seeing things had gotten out of hand when the enemies had made their approaches his kingdom, he feared that end of his kingdom has come. Suddenly his negotiable option changes into a secondary choice of action when he gives Aknadin permission to create the Seven Millennium Items to protect his kingdom from the advancing enemies. He showed that he deeply care and love for his family, servants, advisers and his people. Aknamkanon would necessarily do anything to keep them from harm. Although he had good terms and relationship with his brother, Aknadin, there is sometimes a rift going on between them. The only thing precious to him in his lifetime is his son, Atem; despite being his heir, he seems to be very special and important to him in his heart. While upon his death, he is willing to sacrifice anything to ensure his son's safety, and promises to always be there by his side in spirit.
One of the six priests that guarded Pharaoh Atem 3,000 years ago and appears as an NPC in the Shadow RPG. He is the keeper of the Millennium Key during Atem's reign. He appears to have a friendship with Priest Seto, and although he was relunctant, Shada aided Seto in his criminal hunt for Monster Spirit Ka with his Millennium Key. He later dies after pushing Atem out of the way of a lightning bolt caused by Zorc Necrophades, having his Ba Gauge wiped out! After his death, Siamun, his predecessor, took back the Millennium Key in order to call forth Exodia the Forbidden One. Although he is the wielder of the Millennium Key and has a similar name to Shadi, the two are not related in any way.
The first Millennium Item wielder to cause trouble for Yugi and his friends in the series. He holds the Millennium Key which allowed him to peer into the inner souls of humans and gave him the ability to rearrange their personality as he pleased, and the Millennium Scale, which had the power to weigh the evil in a person's heart in the same vein as Anubis' "Weighing of the Heart" trials in Egyptian mythology, using the feather of Ma'at. His origin differs between mediums. In the final story arc, it is revealed that he is a spirit from the afterlife, bound to the Millennium Stone and constantly reincarnating to guard it until the Pharaoh returns. The physical body of his current incarnation was destroyed by Dark Bakura several years ago.
Kisara is portrayed as mysterious and lonely. Despite her timid nature, she exudes a quiet confidence. When faced with death, she accepts it without a fight; her passive personality is a testament to her weariness of life and the abuse it brings with it. Seto's selfless intervention on her behalf confuses her, but her gratitude increases and so her dragon is summoned from the depths of her sub-conscious. Unknowingly, she becomes a beacon of light for Seto's increasingly jaded personality. As Seto saves her for a second time, these alien actions continue to quietly astonish her. However, in her final act of quiet strength, she is killed; as opposed to running to freedom, she slips back, to not leave Seto at the mercy of his father.
A powerful and incredibly loyal man, Karim was dedicated to serve the Pharaoh, going as far as even sacrificing his life for him. A powerful Priest, he seemed to partner up with Seto and often fused their Ka's together. He fought alongside Atem and the others when Bakura waged war on Egypt, but ultimately died in the conflict; heavily wounded, he gives up the last of his life force to Shada in order to ensure he will continue to protect the Pharaoh. Karim is a Priest serving Pharaoh Atem. When Thief King Bakura raided the palace, he attempted to fight off against him, but failed. Bakura later fled when Atem Summoned "Obelisk the Tormentor". He took part in the fight in Kul Elna against Bakura and his Diabound. He was severely weakened by Bakura. When Bakura separated the Priests from each other, he gave the last of his ba to Shada so he could fight off against the "Giant Axe Mummy".
Mahad later became a High Priest serving Pharaoh Akhenamkhanen as the wielder of the Millennium Ring. Additionally, Mahad was an extremely powerful magician, eventually taking on Mana as his apprentice. As the wielder of the Millennium Ring, Mahad was able to sense a great evil within it, leading him to uncover the truth behind the creation of the Millennium Items. Upon this discovery, Mahad approached Pharaoh Akhenamkhanen and informed him of this. Akhenamkhanen was then overcome with guilt and fell ill sometime later. Upon his death, Akhenamkhanen's young son, Atem, succeeded him as king.
Bakura was a villager in Kul Elna, and was its only survivor when Akhenaden and three other magicians massacred the village, sacrificing 99 humans to create the Millennium Items. At the time, he was only a child and watched in horror as his family and friends were killed and their bodily components used to create the seven Millennium Items. However, Bakura soon acquired a powerful Ka, "Diabound", created from both his own hate and the vengeful spirits of Kul Elna. He soon developed a violent hatred felt grudge for Pharaoh Aknamkanon for ordering the massacre, and the royal family as well. Bakura soon waged war on Pharaoh Atem's forces.
A childhood friend of Atem and studies magic under Mahad as his apprentice. She is a light-hearted, open, playful and caring girl, who shares a deep bond between her master and Atem. The anime shows all three were childhood friends. She appears in the Millennium World arc as an NPC during Dark Bakura's Shadow RPG game. Her Ka is the Dark Magician Girl. In the second anime, she can see Atem's friends from the present and initially mistakes Yugi for Atem.
A vizier of Pharaoh Atem. He was originally one of the Pharaoh Akhenamkhanen's original guardians and was the former keeper of the Millennium Key, the predecessor to Shada. Shimon was originally one of Pharaoh Akhenamkhanen's guardians, and he was granted the Millennium Key to hold. His Ka (or his monster spirit) that he summoned was "Exodia the Forbidden One" and after he used Exodia to destroy the force that was attacking the Egyptian capital, he swore to never use it again and sealed the creature away inside five individual stone tablets. He apparently gave up his position as guardian to Shada, and to him he relinquished the Millennium Key. When Zorc Necrophades rises and begins to march on the city, Shimon takes up the Millennium Key that Isis brought back and he summons Exodia to combat Zorc. Although Exodia experiences some success, especially after Shimon demonstrates its ability to regenerate after its arm was torn off by Zorc, Zorc ultimately overpowers Exodia because its power is based on Shimon's, while Zorc can draw power from the darkness. Therefore, Exodia is destroyed and Shimon is killed,trapped in the shadow realm in the dub makes almost no difference though.