Episode 1: The Heart of the Cards (The Blood Curdling Blue-Eyes White Dragon)
[Note: The Japanese title is "Senritsu no Blue-Eyes White Dragon." Senritsu means shiver or shudder with horror.]
It's 7 o'clock at Domino High School, and Yugi's teaching Joey how to play Duel Monsters. Tristan says Joey's pretty cute when he's thinking, and Joey shoves him away. Téa says they've been at it for hours. Joey's starting to get the hang of it, but Yugi's an expert. (Japanese Honda [Tristan] asks Jounouchi [Joey] what he's doing. He's never heard of Duel Monsters, so Jounouchi tells him to be quiet and watch. Anzu [Téa] explains that you build a deck of monster and magic cards and then battle.)
Joey plays Kagemusha of the Blue Flame (800 ATK), while Téa explains that each monster has an attack number and a defense number. The first person to eliminate his opponent's life points wins the duel. (The US cards have all been redesigned to remove the names and descriptions. Monster cards show only the monster's level, attribute, attack points and defense points. The Japanese cards look like the real cards.)
Yugi agrees that Joey made a pretty good move—but not good enough! He counters with Blackland Fire Dragon (1500 ATK), and Joey's wiped out. Tristan tells Joey he stinks at this game, but Yugi says he did fine. Yugi just has better cards—his Grandpa owns a game shop. Joey's all set to go visit the shop right then.
Kaiba is off by himself reading a book, when he overhears Yugi saying that maybe they can get Grandpa to show them the Super Rare Card he owns. (In the Japanese version, the book Kaiba's reading is Nietzsche's Also Sprach Zarathustra. In the US version, the book cover is blank. Afraid of turning school kids into nihilists? Or is it just because the title's on the wrong side of the book, from a US perspective?) Could they have found the card that he's been searching for?
After school, Yugi brings his friends home to the game shop, where they meet Grandpa, and talk him into showing them his Super Rare Card, the legendary Blue-Eyes White Dragon. They are appropriately impressed—except for Tristan, who grabs it, saying it doesn't look all that special to him. Grandpa snatches it back from him, insisting that the card is priceless. There are only four of them in all the world.
Joey tells Grandpa he's ready to trade. "Not for this card," Grandpa says. Joey says he didn't mean that card. He wants Grandpa to show him some other cool cards to get him started. (Japanese Jounouchi says he's buying. Grandpa says not this card, and Jounouchi laughs, saying he couldn't afford that one anyway. He asks Grandpa to show him some other good cards.)
Then Kaiba shows up, his silhouette framed dramatically in the doorway. Grandpa asks if he can help him, and Kaiba says it won't surprise him if he can't. Yugi and Joey are surprised to see Kaiba at Grandpa's game shop. Tristan says, doesn't he have a big fancy company to run? What's he doing here? Kaiba says he came to see The Card. (Japanese Kaiba says he heard that Yugi's Grandpa was a card maniac.)
Joey asks if he's into Duel Monsters, too. Maybe they can all duel together sometime. Disdainfully, Kaiba says he'd have more of a challenge playing Solitaire. He's the number one-ranked duelist in the country, and the favorite to win the Duel Monsters Championship. Joey wouldn't last two minutes in a duel against him.
Joey's mad, and ready to start a fight, but Yugi jumps between them and tells Joey to settle down. Joey says Kaiba was asking for it. Kaiba just smiles smugly, and asks if this shop has any worthwhile cards or not.
Then he spots Grandpa's Blue-Eyes White Dragon. He rushes towards it frantically. Can it be? The legendary Blue-Eyes White Dragon in a place like this? Grandpa snaps the lid of the Blue-Eyes' case shut, and asks Kaiba if there's anything else he can help him with. Kaiba slams his briefcase full of Duel Monsters cards onto the counter, and offers to trade them all for the Blue-Eyes. The gang boggle at the sight of all those cards, but Grandpa says no thanks. Then Kaiba tells Grandpa to name his price, but Grandpa again refuses. This card means more to him than Kaiba could ever offer—not because of its power, but because it was a gift from a dear friend. Parting with it is completely out of the question. Yugi says Grandpa would feel the same even if it was a common card, and Grandpa agrees. This precious card has bonded with his heart.
Kaiba slams his briefcase shut and stalks out, muttering, "Senile old fool." (Japanese Kaiba says, "Shitsurei suru," which is a way of saying "Goodbye." Literally, it means "I'm being rude," and has a connotation of "Excuse me for leaving so abruptly.") He rides away in his chauffeured limo, grumbling about the heart of the cards. Ridiculous, he thinks. These cards are all about power, and one way or another, the Blue-Eyes White Dragon card will be his.
Back at Kaiba Corporation, Kaiba tells his goons he wants them to pick up something for him. (In the Japanese, one of Kaiba's employees tells him in voice-over that they've acquired the remaining three cards. Kaiba replies that then that old man's card is the last one.) The next morning, three of Kaiba's goons show up at the game shop, telling Grandpa that their master, Seto Kaiba, challenges him to a duel. He asks, and if he were to decline? They say they must insist. Grandpa thinks that young Kaiba doesn't understand. But he'll teach him about the heart of the cards.
When the gang show up after school to get more cards, they're surprised to find the shop unattended and the door unlocked. The phone rings and Yugi answers. (The words "Now Printing" are removed from the box in the US version.)
It's Kaiba, telling Yugi to come and pick up his Grandpa, who's not feeling well. The gang hurry to Kaiba Corp, where they find Grandpa lying on the floor, barely conscious. He tells Yugi that he failed—he wanted to teach Kaiba a lesson about the heart of the cards, but he lost. Kaiba appears in the doorway, asking how the old man's feeling. (Japanese Kaiba says they're late.) Joey angrily calls Kaiba a sleaze, and asks what he did to Yugi's Grandpa. They had a duel, that's all, Kaiba says, each putting up their most valuable card as the prize. But he guesses that playing against a champion like himself was too much stimulation for the old fool. (Japanese Kaiba says he guesses the Virtual Simulation system he invented was too much for Yugi's Grandpa.) Téa tells Kaiba he should be ashamed of himself, but Kaiba says it was fair. (Japanese Anzu says Kaiba must have cheated. Kaiba laughs, saying "Mazaka!" which means no way, never, impossible.)
He holds up the Blue-Eyes White Dragon card, then tears it in half. Grandpa and the others gasp in shock, and Yugi protests that was his Grandpa's most treasured card. It is a rare and powerful card, Kaiba agrees, and this one will never be used against him. (Japanese Kaiba says that since a deck can only hold three of each card, the fourth one could become an enemy.)
Grandpa reaches helplessly for his torn-up card, calling out for his treasure. Angrily, Yugi turns on Kaiba, asking how he could do such a thing. Shakily, Grandpa holds out his deck to Yugi, saying that he put his soul in these cards, and taught Yugi everything he knows. He tells Yugi to take them and teach Kaiba respect for the heart of the cards. Yugi doesn't want to leave Grandpa, but Kaiba says it sounds like an excuse. The others can take care of Yugi's grandfather while he and Yugi duel—unless Yugi's afraid. (Japanese Kaiba says, interesting. Does Yugi want to avenge his grandfather? He'll take that challenge.)
Joey tells Yugi to take him! They can take care of his Grandpa while Yugi takes care of Kaiba. Teach that rich spoiled brat what a real duel's all about! Téa agrees, but Yugi's not sure. Then Joey says Yugi's the best duelist he's ever seen, and Yugi has the Millennium Puzzle. He knows Yugi can do it. (Japanese Jounouchi tells Yugi, "I used to love fighting, but it was you who changed me, Yugi. You can do it." This refers to history from the manga which is never really shown in the anime. Jounouchi used to be in a gang and get into fights all the time before he met Yugi.)
Finally, Yugi takes Grandpa's deck and agrees to the duel. Then Téa tells everyone to put their hands together, and draws a Happy Face on the back of their hands with a marker, as a symbol of their friendship. Now when Yugi's dueling, he'll know he's not alone. They'll all be right there with him. (Japanese Anzu says the ink will wash away, but they'll always remember the circle of their friendship.)
Téa and Tristan take Grandpa to the hospital, while Joey stays to encourage Yugi.
Yugi and Kaiba prepare to duel in a virtual stadium Kaiba designed himself. He says it will add a bit of life to the game. As the dueling stations rise into position, Kaiba says that they'll each start with 2000 life points, and the first player to hit zero loses. He asks Yugi if he's ready to play. (Japanese Kaiba says they'll play by the Kaiba Special Rules.)
Playtime is over, Yugi says. The Millennium Puzzle activates, and Yami, the spirit of the puzzle, comes out. Kaiba's a bit startled by Yugi's new intensity, as Yami tells him it's time to duel!
Kaiba recovers quickly, activating his virtual systems and opening with the Hitotsu-Me Giant (Japanese name "Cyclops"—Hitotsume means "One Eye" in Japanese) (1200 ATK). Yugi is startled to see the holographic monster come to life on the field, and realizes that this is how Kaiba beat his grandfather. He counters with Winged Dragon, Guardian of the Fortress (1400 ATK). Joey arrives back at the duel, exclaiming about seeing real monsters, as the Winged Dragon's Fireball Attack destroys Kaiba's Hitotsu-Me Giant.
Kaiba's little brother, Mokuba, also arrives to watch the duel, calling out to his brother and asking him if he's all right, as Kaiba's life points go down to 1800. Joey cheers, and Kaiba tells him his move was well-played—for a beginner. (Japanese Kaiba says he should have started out with a handicap this size anyway.)
Then Kaiba plays Saggi the Dark Clown (600 ATK). Yugi's surprised—Saggi has hardly any attack strength. But Kaiba powers him up with the Negative Energy Generator (Darkness Generator), which multiplies Saggi's attack by three, to 1800 points. (In the US version, the card was originally redesigned with an electric "E" instead of an eye.)
(Later, it was redesigned again to show the eye, but with different colors from the Japanese card.)
The powered-up Saggi destroys Yugi's Winged Dragon, reducing his life points to 1600.
Yugi thinks Kaiba's good—he knows every aspect of this game. But his Grandpa put all his gaming knowledge, and his heart, into this deck. He has to believe it holds some secret strategy. He draws the Right Leg of the Forbidden One (200 ATK), but thinks it's useless. (The background of the card is changed in the US version from the point of a star to a round swirly design.)
He can't defeat the Dark Clown with this. He'll have to play a different monster, in defense mode. The monster will be sacrificed, but his life points will be protected. He sets a monster face-down in defense, and Saggi the Dark Clown destroys it.
Joey calls out to Yugi to hang in there, as Yugi continues to play monsters in defense, while Kaiba destroys them one by one. Kaiba tells Yugi he's not doing any better than the old man did. His deck is just as weak and feeble as his grandfather. (Japanese Kaiba says he can practically hear Yugi's Grandpa's dying breath coming from those cards.) Yugi protests that his grandfather is a great man, and a better duelist than Kaiba will ever be. He can feel his grandfather's heart in this deck. (Yugi says he can still hear the passion of his spirit in them. He believes in his grandfather's cards.)
Yugi draws, saying his faith has been rewarded, and plays Gaia the Fierce Knight (Dark Knight Gaia) (2300 ATK). With it, he destroys Saggi, bringing Kaiba's life points down to 1300. But Yugi's advantage doesn't last for long—Kaiba plays the Blue-Eyes White Dragon (3000 ATK). Joey can't believe it—they saw Kaiba tear that card in half! Kaiba says Yugi's grandfather wasn't the only one to possess a Blue-Eyes White Dragon, and destroys Gaia the Fierce Knight, bringing Yugi's score to 900. Faith or no faith, he says, Yugi will fall before his superior monsters. Power is what this game is all about. Faith is for losers. There's not a card in Yugi's deck that can stand up to the Blue-Eyes. (Japanese Kaiba says he believes in taking what you want by any means necessary. He has two more Blue-Eyes White Dragons in his deck. There's no way Yugi can win. Does he plan to keep defending until he's out of cards?) Two of Yugi's cards flash across the screen—Horned Imp (Imp) and Beaver Warrior (Ruiz). Then Kaiba plays a second Blue-Eyes White Dragon. (And some steps must have been skipped here. He can't normal summon two monsters in the same turn.)
Meanwhile, Grandpa is rushed down the hall of the hospital on a gurney, with Téa and Tristan on either side. Through his oxygen mask, Grandpa urges Yugi not to give up.
Yugi says he won't give up. His Grandpa is counting on him. He counters with the magic card, Swords of Revealing Light (Sealing Swords of Light), which stops all monsters on the field from attacking for three turns. (The real card stops all attacks by your opponent for three turns, including cards summoned after Swords of Revealing Light is played. It also causes any face-down monsters on the field to be flipped face up.) Kaiba asks Yugi what good a three-turn delay will do him, and Yugi studies his cards, thinking that Kaiba's right. He can't figure out what to do with these cards—they're just a bunch of pieces. He now has the Left Leg and Left Arm of the Forbidden One, in addition to the Right Leg. How can he use them to battle an expert like Kaiba? (The Left Arm of the Forbidden one is accidentally switched to a Right Arm in the US version. It should be the Left Arm, because he's shown drawing the Right Arm later.)
Yugi's Grandpa appears to him, telling him he's giving up too easily. Sometimes the cards are like a puzzle—you have to put all the pieces in their proper place. Like the Millennium Puzzle? Yugi asks, and Grandpa says, exactly. Each piece helps build a greater entity, like the pieces of a puzzle. Grandpa disappears, and Yugi thinks furiously. When are the cards like a puzzle? (Japanese Yugi looks at his cards and thinks, Exodia! Could this deck contain Exodia?) He remembers something his Grandpa once said: Duel Monsters contains only one unstoppable monster, Exodia. But he can only be summoned by drawing all five special cards—a feat that no one has ever accomplished.
Kaiba tells Yugi to stop stalling, or he'll forfeit the match. Yugi draws, and now he has another piece of the puzzle—the Right Arm of the Forbidden One.
Kaiba says Yugi can draw any card he wants, it won't change a thing. His Blue-Eyes White Dragons might be frozen for two more turns, but his new monster is under no such spell. He plays Judge Man (2200 ATK) and destroys Yugi's defense monster.
Yugi draws Dark Magician (Black Magician). He can attack with it, but it won't stand a chance once Kaiba's dragons are free. He summons Dark Magician and destroys Judge Man. Kaiba's down to 1000 life points.
Kaiba isn't concerned. His two dragons can't attack for one more turn, but his next card is his third Blue-Eyes White Dragon! He uses it to destroy Dark Magician, taking Yugi's life points down to 400. Kaiba asks him how his faith is now—on Kaiba's next turn, all three of his Blue-Eyes White Dragons will be free to attack.
Yugi's in trouble now! He realizes that Kaiba had three Blue-Eyes White Dragons all along, and only wanted Grandpa's so it couldn't be used against him. Yugi's only chance now is to assemble all five pieces of Exodia, but the odds are against him. He begins to draw, but his deck seems to recede away from him. It senses his doubt. Yami tells Yugi to concentrate, and not lose faith. (Japanese Yami wonders if the cards are moving away from him. He thinks, no, it's just himself. He's afraid to draw.) Then he notices the Happy Face Téa drew on on his hand, and sees his three friends standing with him. He has to believe in his cards, like his friends believe in him. (Japanese Yugi thanks his friends, and says he's not afraid any more.) Kaiba tells him to draw his last pathetic card, so he can end this. Yugi says his Grandpa's deck has no pathetic cards! He draws—Exodia the Forbidden One!
Kaiba recoils in horror. Impossible! But Yugi lays out the five pieces of Exodia, and the huge monster appears on the field. (Exodia's five-pointed star is given some more points in the US version.)
Exodia obliterates all three Blue-Eyes White Dragons, and Kaiba loses, much to his shock and horror. Joey cheers, and Mokuba looks on in surprise. His brother never loses!
Yugi tells Kaiba that he plays only for power, and that's why he lost. If you put your heart in the game, there's nothing you can't do. Kaiba hunches over his dueling station, wondering how he could have lost. If you want to know, Yugi tells him, open your mind! (Japanese Yami tells Kaiba that he will crush the evil in Kaiba's heart, and taps into the power of the Millennium Puzzle, calling out "Mind Crush.") Kaiba falls to his knees.
In the hospital, Grandpa wakes up, knowing that Yugi won.
As Pegasus sits with a glass of wine, one of his suits reports to him that their uncontested Champion Seto Kaiba was just beaten in a duel by someone named Yugi. Pegasus says hmm, and his Millennium Eye flashes.