|Written by Shin Yoshida|
Published by Shueisha
|Illustrated by Naohito Miyoshi|
English publisher Viz Media
|Genre Action, adventure, science-fantasy, comedy|
Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal (Japanese: 遊☆戯☆王ZEXAL（ゼアル）, Hepburn: Yū-Gi-Ō Zearu, pronounced "Ze-al") is a Japanese manga and anime series and the fourth Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series, as well as the third main spin-off series of the franchise. The manga began serialization in Shueisha's V-Jump magazine from December 2010 and is licensed in North America by Viz Media.
The anime series, animated by Gallop, aired on TV Tokyo between April 2011 and March 2014, following the previous anime series, Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, with an English-language version airing in North America between October 2011 and August 2013. A second series titled Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal II (遊☆戯☆王ZEXAL II（ゼアル セカンド）, Yū-Gi-Ō Zearu Sekando, pronounced "Ze-al Second") aired in Japan between October 2012 and March 2014 and in North America between August 2013 and February 2015. The series was succeeded by Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V.
The series aired on The CW's Saturday morning cartoon block, Toonzai, and continued to air on its successor, Vortexx. The series was later broadcast on Nicktoons starting April 12, 2013. After Vortexx ended, new episodes were streamed to Hulu beginning July 14, 2014. In Canada, the series aired on YTV starting June 2, 2012, while new episodes of Zexal II moved to Teletoon on May 4, 2014.
Plot and setting
Taking place in the near future in a place called Heartland City, the story focuses on Yuma Tsukumo, a young duelist who strives to become the Duel Monsters champion, despite being an amateur. One day, during a duel with a rival named Shark, a mysterious spirit called Astral appears before him, and helps him to win. Astral explains to Yuma he is searching for his lost memories, which have been transformed into 100 Xyz Monster (エクシーズ モンスター, Ekushīzu Monsutā) cards called Numbers (ナンバーズ, Nanbāzu), which have been scattered across the globe. The Numbers have the ability to possess the duelists who own them, and bring out their darkest desires. In order to recover his memories, Astral teams up with Yuma in order to recover the Number cards. After coming up against a boy named Kite Tenjo, who is hunting after Numbers, Yuma and Astral gain the ability to combine their forces using the power of ZEXAL (ゼアル, Zearu). Entering the World Duel Carnival tournament, Yuma finds himself up against various rivals, including the vengeance-seeking Vetrix and the maniacal Dr. Faker, who seek the Numbers for their own gain.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal II takes place right after the end of the first series. In this new story, as the curtain falls on the World Duel Carnival, peace has finally returned to Heartland City. But now, forces from Barian World, a world hostile to Astral's World, are aiming at taking the "Numbers" and Astral for themselves. In order to protect Astral, Yuma, Kite, and Shark stand together to combat the Barian threat.
A manga series written by Shin Yoshida and illustrated by Naohito Miyoshi began serialization in the extended February 2011 issue of Shueisha's V Jump magazine, released on December 18, 2010. The first bound volume was released in Japan on June 3, 2011. Viz Media licensed the manga in North America and began releasing the series from June 5, 2012. The manga also began serialization on the digital Shonen Jump Alpha from July 9, 2012. A spin-off manga written by Akihiro Tomonaga and illustrated by Wedge Holdings, titled Yu-Gi-Oh! D-Team Zexal (遊☆戯☆王 Dチーム・ゼアル, Yūgiō Dyueru Chīmu Zearu), began serialization in Shueisha's Saikyō Jump magazine from April 2012 to April 2014.
The anime was first teased on December 9, 2010, revealing details would be unveiled at the Japanese encore screening of Yu-Gi-Oh! 3D: Bonds Beyond Time on February 20, 2011. The series' name was revealed on December 13, 2010, via a leak from the February 2011 issue of V Jump. It was revealed that Satoshi Kuwahara would be the director, that scripts would be supervised by Shin Yoshida, that Masahiro Hikokubo would choreograph the duels, and that Hirotoshi Takaya would adapt the character designs for the anime. A one-minute promotional video was released on December 17, 2010. The anime aired on TV Tokyo between April 11, 2011 and September 24, 2012. A second series titled Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal II aired between October 7, 2012 and March 23, 2014 in a different time slot.
An English adaptation by 4Kids Entertainment premiered on October 15, 2011 on Toonzai. Although, TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad Systems filed a lawsuit against 4Kids Entertainment and demanded the termination of the Yu-Gi-Oh! licensing agreement with them in March 2011, a stay of proceedings was ordered preventing the termination of the contract or the resale of the franchise until a ruling is decided. Following the bankruptcy of 4Kids, all Yu-Gi-Oh! assets were acquired by Konami's 4K Media Inc.. The series aired on Saban's Vortexx block until it dissolved on September 27, 2014 and aired on Nicktoons from April 12, 2013. From episodes 114 onwards were streamed on Hulu.
There are five official soundtrack CDs, all released by Marvelous Entertainment.
A video game based on the series titled Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal: Gekitotsu! Duel Carnival (遊戯王ZEXAL 激突!デュエルカーニバル, Yūgiō Zearu: Gekitotsu! Dueru Kānibaru) was developed by Konami and released in Japan for the Nintendo 3DS on December 5, 2013. It was released as Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal: World Duel Carnival in North America on September 25, 2014.