Yu-Gi-Oh! never really changes. Yes, the settings do, the characters do, some of the rules of the battles do from time to time, but at its core, like Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh! pretty much stays true to being about these card battles filled with fantastic elements, and volume 8 of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX gives us a delightful entry if you love this world.
Volume 8 follows more duelist against duelist action, kicking off with Jaden against Aster, as members of the American duelist school are visiting for competition. After the battle, Aster catches up with visiting Atticus Rhodes, meaning they card duel, as Adrian watches from the shadows. This is all good until Reggie Meckenzie’s father also appears, who has been possessed by an evil demon and begins to infect others with his evil, as part of a greater plot unknown to us at this point. The next day the tournament between schools kicks off as Jaden squares off in battle against Adrian, who is under the control of Meckenzie; while on a different part of the grounds, little Syrus begins to go up against Jesse Anderson.
As I mentioned, the formula hasn’t changed, and that’s because it works as is. Yes, there is a subplot with an evil force taking over from he shadows as these schools duel, but that hardly is the main point of the story, and still is just a second tier plot to help mix things up setting wise. The book consists of 80% dueling battles, but you don’t need to know anything about how the actual game works to enjoy the manga. Now, of course I’m sure knowing the game makes the manga way better, and it’s an easy game to learn, unlike reading a manga about mahjong and trying to learn that so you can fully understand the drama of those stories.
The thing that stuck out to me here was the use of Hero and Vision decks. Basically, Yu-Gi-Oh! has moved a little bit away from all the mystical beast looking cards, and here we have cards that are essentially Tokusatsu characters. Numerous cards could be right out of any of the Kamen Rider, Super Sentai, or Metal Hero series (the series that would be Americanized here as Masked Rider, Power Rangers, Beetleborgs, etc.). For that I give it credit to add another new variety to the characters, as well as please some old school Tokusatsu fans who love that stuff (personally I’d lose it if Jaden had a Space Sheriff Gavan card).
Everything is exactly the same and what we’ve come to expect from this series, keeping Yu-Gi-Oh! fans happy. Volume 8 also comes with an exclusive playing card for those of you who play the card game.
Review copy provided by Viz Media.