Anime monsters. Bad guys. The "shadow realm". Crazy hair. Yep, everything that makes up a standard anime show!
Yu-Gi-Oh! is the story of a boy named Yugi Moto, who for some reason is living with is grandfather, is given one of the seven "Millennium Items", called the Millennium Puzzle. Once Yugi puts this epic puzzle together, he'll get all the girls with his new set of bling.
Unknowing to him, a spirit is chillin' in the confines of the puzzle, and like The Hangover, he has no memory of what he did last, but all he knows is that he was a kick ass dueler. Oh yeah, forgot! This plot device is the card game Duel Monsters. It is also how they save the world from evil or do other shit. Once Yugi finishes this puzzle, the spirit, Yami, starts chillin' in his body instead, and whenever he needs help with his homework, getting a date, or kicking some bad guy's ass, Yami pops out of the puzzle, gets a manlier voice, and wins, because...well, he is the protagonist.
More like FABtagonist.
Yugi's grandfather, who runs a card shop that Yugi and him live in, has a rare card, which Yugi tells his friends so they can check it out. The card turns out to be the uber-rare "Blue Eyes White Dragon", which there are only 4 in the world. Seto Kaiba, one of the antagonists of the story arc, shows up and demands to buy the card, and Yugi's grandfather tells him to kindly "fuck off". Seto then kidnaps Yugi's grandfather, duels him into unconsciousness, and then rips up the card he sought after, because he has the other three, and goddamnit, no one is going to use it against him! Yugi, now pissed off like hell, summons Yami out from watching Scrubs in the puzzle, and rapes him in a duel using the five "pieces" of Exodia. Yami then mindfucks him, and Kaiba shits bricks for a few episodes.
Pegasus, the creator of the card game, hears that Seto has his ass handed to him by some Yugi kid, and invites Yugi to his new tournament, Duelist Kingdom. Feeling that the prize of three million dollars wouldn't rope Yugi in, he duels him in a TV for fifteen minutes, then takes his grandfathers soul.
"Why the fuck would I want three million dollars?"
So the crew embarks onto Pegasus' private island, at which Yugi and Joey (he's in it to get the money to save his sisters eyes or something) are at a loss, because Yugi gave one of his two stars to he and Joey can participate. After beating tons of one time characters, Yugi and Joey end up at Pegasus' castle. After more dueling action and some fan service, Yugi/Yami end up dueling Pegasus, and they win. Yugi gives the money to Joey and they live happil--oh shit, wait. Pegasus and the top executives of Seto's company were trying to remove him, and now they have to some virtual video game shit. And they win again.
Then there is the Dungeon Dice Monsters spin-off plot. Joey loses to the heartthrob Duke Devlin and Yugi then beats him. This is the start of Yu-Gi-Oh! Spin-offs in American anime.
Seto Kaiba, still sore about the brick shitting, starts his own tournament, that was supposed to have blackjack and hookers, but Bend--I mean Kaiba said "fuck it" and just stuck to the tournament. Inside Domino City (now called Battle City), the whole damn place is crawling with duelists and those "duel disc" things. Now battles aren't confined to those huge ass platforms!
Crazy hair required.
There are three new cards, called the Egyptian God cards, are introduced in this arc. Basically, they are extremely powerful cards that almost guarantee a victory. Pegasus kept them hidden away, but gave them to some chick named Ishizu Ishtar to keep them save. Once her brother came around to fuck shit up, he gave the two that she had (her brother took the "Winged Dragon Of Ra", but that's not really important right now) to Yugi and Kaiba, in hopes of stopping him.
Oh right, I never introduced Marik. Marik is Ishizu's brother, who is the third antagonist of the series. He hates Yami and wants to take his puzzle, so he teams up with evil Bakura to try and take it. Once the finals in the Battle City commence, Marik loses his shit, and his evil alter ego comes out, thirsty for blood and tea, and he just ran out of tea.
After winning Kaiba's "Obelisk The Tormenter", Yami duels Marik and narrowly beats the little turd, and now possesses all three Egyptian God cards. He's someone you don't want to fuck with.
Someone you don't wanna fuck with.
The two story arcs after Battle City finals (known as Duel Tower) never happened in the manga, so I'm not going to talk about them. After those repetitive arc setups (evil dudes want to take over something, duels, duels, final duel, win, downfall of evil dudes), Yugi collected all seven of the magical Millennium Items, and then Yami goes on an amazing, acid-triped styled adventure in finding out about who he is. He goes into the World Of Memory, jams on some Iron Butterfly, and must live through all of what he did, but evil Bakura is somehow in there too, and he's searches for the 3,000/5,000 old evil to awaken, named Zorc. They play this Shadow RPG that is a lot like Dungeons and Dragons. It was here where we learn Yami's real name.
"This increases my paladin's HP by 25 and his attack by 10. BTW I'm Yami."
Then we get to the finale. The coup de grace! The final duel between Yami and Yugi. With all seven items, his memories, and the Futurama series on DVD, Yami can quietly leave the mortal world and go on being dead. But one thing remains: he has to lose to Yugi.
Not willing to just lose to Yugi, because Yami has something called "pride", Yugi sets out to kick the Pharaoh's ass in a duel. The final duel ensues, and you know its going to be awesome. Yugi wins...and he starts crying. (...I don't have anything witty to go after that.)
Unfortunately, 4Kids can't let one good thing die. Much like how the Twilight movies are ruining the books (debateable), 4Kids pooped out Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, in which a kid named Jaden Yuki goes to a school for Duel Monsters. Then he saves the world from stuff. Nothing like watering down a franchise, huh?
Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's is another spinoff from the manga forced upon American viewers by 4Kids. This time, they added something called "Synchro Monsters". Oh, and they duel on motorcycles now.
I wish I was kidding too.