This Striking 'Yu-Gi-Oh!' Fan-Art Highlights Mai Valentine
Kazuki Takahashi's Yu-Gi-Oh! eventually became one of the most popular manga, anime, and card game franchises to come out of Weekly Shonen Jump that's still fondly remembered to this day.
Much of the reason why it's such a fan-favourite was Takahashi's fantastic monster and character design, and a new piece of fan art highlights one of the most favourite character designs: Mai Valentine.
This art from @click_burgundy highlights Mai Valentine (Mai Kujaku in the original Japanese release) as one of the more fan-service laden designs found in the original Yu-Gi-Oh! series. The original run is surprisingly free from many designs like this, and that made Mai stand out all the more to fans. Originally introduced as a foe to Yugi and Joey during the Duelist Kingdom arc, she eventually became one of their most faithful allies.
After she lost to Joey in her initial appearance in the series (in which she faked being a psychic by covering her cards in different perfumes), she evolved into a friendly rival and ally that continued to make appearances throughout the Battle City arc (even losing her soul temporarily in a duel with Marik) and the original anime arc, Waking the Dragons (where she served as a foe once more wielding a dark new power).
Nevertheless, it's great to get a refreshing new look at an old series favorite. Yu-Gi-Oh! was originally created by Kazuki Takahashi for Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine, and ran from September 1996 to March 2004. The series follows Yugi Mutou, a young boy who solves an ancient puzzle and is possessed by the spirit of the Egyptian pharoah. Being skilled at deadly games, the Pharoah goes on to create and solve problems for Yugi based on deadly games of chance.
Two anime adaptations were created for the series, but the one most fans will recognize is Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters. Duel Monsters was the first arc in the story to focus on the "Duel Monsters" card game and was the first season licensed for an English language release by 4Kids Entertainment. The first season of the series, which fans often dub as "Season 0," has such deadly games of chance with horrible consequences that fans could not believe it was a part of this series at first.
With the series celebrating its 20th Anniversary last year, it's now more popular than ever. Collectors have made the merchandise even more valuable than ever as a result, and now some of the rarest cards in the trading card game are selling for ridiculous amounts.