10 Best Anime Yu-Gi-Oh! Fans Need to Watch Now

10 Best Anime Yu-Gi-Oh! Fans Need to Watch Now

10 Best Anime Yu-Gi-Oh! Fans Need to Watch Now

Yu-Gi-Oh! is one of the most iconic anime of the early 2000s. The show follows a young boy named Yugi who unlocks the power of an ancient relic known as the Millennium Puzzle, releasing the spirit of an Ancient Pharaoh. With this newfound ally, Yugi and his friends defeat a variety of powerful enemies through high stakes card games while uncovering the mysteries of the Pharaoh's past. The show spawned a popular trading card game and numerous spinoffs, making it well known even outside of anime circles. For those fans looking for other anime that can capture some of Yu-Gi-Oh!'s magic, here are ten series to watch!

10 Beyblade

Beyblade, just like Yu-Gi-Oh!, takes a children's game to an outlandish extreme, except in this case the competitions are centered around spinning tops instead of trading cards. Because of this, it isn't quite as high up as some of the other entries on this list, even though it actually arguably best competes with Yu-Gi-Oh! when it comes to elevating its focus. After all, Duel Monsters may have been around since Ancient Egypt, but can that really compare to Moses using a Beyblade to part the Red Sea?

9 Cardcaptor Sakura

While both Yu-Gi-Oh! and Cardcaptor Sakura involve magical cards, they also have a lot of important differences. While Yu-Gi-Oh! uses its cards to play a Magic the Gathering style game, the cards in Cardcaptor Sakura are more magical objects that its main character must collect. However, where both series are quite similar is in their main characters. Both Yugi and Sakura are kids who encounter an ancient entity whom they must help, and through this journey both realize their true power. This makes Cardcaptor Sakura an essential watch for anyone who found Yugi's growth to be one of the most compelling parts of Yu-Gi-Oh!

8 Dinosaur King

There have been characters in Yu-Gi-Oh! who use dinosaur monsters to fight, but in Dinosaur King, dinos are the only creatures they have. The anime focuses on a group of young aspiring paleontologists who discover they can call forth dinosaurs into the present to battle those who want to use these creatures for evil. This show may not be as well remembered as other anime like Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokémon, but it scratches that same itch of seeing people battle creatures against each other with a fun, sometimes educational twist.

7 Chihayafuru

Yu-Gi-Oh! is a show about a card game being the most important thing in the world, but Chihayafuru is a show about a card game that most certainly isn't. However, this makes it a fascinating contrast, as Chihayafuru's lovable characters often treat that anime's central card game Karuta as if it is. Seeing the various reasons the characters play and their unabashed passion for something that most people don't care about is both heartwarming and much more compelling than fans may expect from Chihayafuru's premise. And despite the major differences between Karuta and Duel Monsters, Chihayafuru still features some of the most intense card game action of any anime.

6 Jojo's Bizarre Adventure

This may initially seem like a weird inclusion on this list, as on the surface Yu-Gi-Oh! and Jojo's Bizarre Adventure might not seem like they have much in common. However, while their plots may not be very similar, they actually mirror each other in many weird ways, making Yu-Gi-Oh! and Jojo's feel almost like sister series. Each franchise is split into separate series that feature brand-new characters and settings. More importantly, each one is also extremely over the top, often elevating mundane or silly things like a card game to life or death stakes. Jojo's may not scratch exactly the same card game itch as Yu-Gi-Oh!, but it will certainly satisfy fans in every other aspect.

5 No Game No Life

While there are some aspects of No Game No Life that have not aged too well by modern standards, the show is still a fun ride through an absurd world where everything is decided through playing games. This premise clearly mirrors Yu-Gi-Oh!'s reliance on card games to solve every problem, but instead of just deciding things through Duel Monsters, Sora and Shiro play extreme versions of almost every game imaginable. This provides more variety than a standard episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! while still retaining that show's over the top focus on games that makes it such a fun watch.

4 Death Parade

Just like No Game No Life, this show is focused around more games than just Duel Monsters, but it gets a bit more philosophical with its premise. In each episode two recently deceased players must compete in a game to determine the fate of their souls. This can make Death Parade get a bit heavier than the typically more campy games in Yu-Gi-Oh!, but this heaviness makes the show a powerful meditation on life and death as it deeply explores the new players in each episode. This is definitely a show for Yu-Gi-Oh! fans who didn't think the Shadow games lived up to their full potential.

3 Digimon

Digimon was another anime that released around the same time as Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokémon that featured children fighting enemies with monsters. What set Digimon apart however, was its scifi elements, with much of the series' plot taking place inside a digital world. Later entries in the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise would later borrow from this idea, most notably in Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS, which also largely took place in cyberspace. While Digimon hasn't endured in pop culture as much as Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!, it is still a very fun series that fans of those two anime will enjoy.

2 Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor

Like No Game No Life and Death Parade, Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor is another anime that features a wide variety of games, not just cards. The series follows a man named Kaiji as he attempts to earn money in a series of underground death games. Every game, from Rock Paper Scissors to Mahjongg is incredibly intense, with every minutia of their strategies being explored and leveraged. For fans of Yu-Gi-Oh! who miss the excitement it could elicit over the outcome of a card game, Kaiji will deliver a similar experience but with the tension ramped up further than new watchers could ever imagine.

1 Pokémon

In many ways, Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! are completely different series. Pokémon battles and Duel Monsters games play out completely differently and have very different stakes. In addition, Ash only wins a Pokémon League near the end of his series while Yugi attains the title of King of Games rather early on. Despite all these differences however, the two series are intertwined in the public consciousness, with both having aired at the same time being dubbed by 4Kids and both also inspiring very popular trading card games. Given the two series' iconic association, it would be wrong to put Pokémon any lower on this list. Any Yu-Gi-Oh! fan that hasn't seen Pokémon needs to watch it in order to fill a vital gap in their childhood.

While there are many series that mirror different aspects of Yu-Gi-Oh!, there's nothing that quite compares to the original show. Perhaps that is why Yu-Gi-Oh! has released so many spinoff series, to give fans a taste of everything that makes the franchise special in entirely new settings and situations. But if fans are looking for anime that capture elements of Yu-Gi-Oh!'s original magic, they can't go wrong with the entries on this list.

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