Aster Phoenix, known in Japan as Ed Phoenix (エド・フェニックス Edo Fenikkusu); also Edo Phoenix, is a fictional character in the anime series Yu-Gi-Oh! GX (Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters GX in Japan). His name is meant to be a pun in Japanese, as phoenixes were commonly depicted in art during the Edo period of Japan. He is considered the anti-hero to Jaden Yuki (Judai Yuki) in a sense.
Aster Phoenix is a professional duelist whose belief in destiny draws him into confrontations with the most skilled of opponents. He first met Jaden Yuki at Duel Academy (Duel Academia) at the beginning of the second year, enrolling as a new student. At that time, he opened several packs of cards in order to quickly build a deck for use against Jaden. As per his manager, Sartorius' (Takuma Saiou) prediction, he loses the match, but goes on to defeat Zane Truesdale (Ryo Marufuji) in the Duel Pro League using his own Elemental Hero monsters.
Challenging Jaden to another duel, a battle between heroes erupts as the two mirror each other with their respective Elemental Hero monsters. Although Jaden manages to remove his opponent's Elemental Hero Shining Phoenix Enforcer from the field, Aster unleashes the true monsters of his deck, the Destiny Heroes (also known as the "D-Series," and abbreviated as "D-Hero" in the Japanese version). Before Jaden is defeated, Aster reveals that he wishes to become the greatest duelist in order to rid the world of crime, as his father (a card designer for Industrial Illusions) was kidnapped (murdered in the Japanese version) when he was young, and a sole card was stolen from him. The Destiny Heroes were his father's legacy, left to Aster so that he could pursue justice, or so he believed. Unbeknownst to Aster, Sartorius snuck a portion of his spiritual energy into his deck prior to the duel in order to claim Jaden's fate, but ended up temporarily blinding him to his cards instead due to the boy's power to defy his prediction.
By this point, Aster's personality becomes clear. He is well-mannered (much more so in the Japanese version) with good intentions, but can often be blinded to the reality of a given situation due to his stubborn attitude and pessimistic outlook. He pursues his goals despite risks and overwealming odds, and feels that the burden of avenging his father and reclaiming the Destiny Hero stolen from him is one that he must shoulder alone. Because his father was taken from him while he was still young, he has a dependency on father figures, such as Sartorius, or his legal guardian, DD. This has, in some instances, proven to be a weakness of Aster's, as the two men have been known to exploit him with mere words. Since his father's disappearance, Aster has also held a fear of the state of his "time," afraid that he has not truly advanced anywhere as a person following the life-changing event. As such, the trust he places in his Destiny Heroes is symbolic of his desire to control his own future.
In the English version, Aster's speech is similar to that of a baseball player, while his original series counterpart replaces certain Japanese words with anglicisms, the most common being his substitution of the word "bochi" (墓地) with its English equivalent, "cemetery". In addition, he yells "Come on!" when summoning his monsters during duels. After a subsequent conversation with the converted Chazz Princeton (Jun Manjoume), and a third duel with Jaden, in which he is defeated, Aster begins to question whether or not Sartorius is in fact using him for his own gain, as he had no knowledge of the Society of Light. Later conquering Sarina (Mizuchi Saiou) in a duel with Jaden, he learned of a Hero card shown to Sartorius years prior that made him start acting with evil intentions. Aster believes that it is the Destiny Hero stolen from his father, and his suspicions are later confirmed, as the "Ultimate D-Card" surfaces as a carrier of the Surge of Light / Light of Ruin that caused both Sartorius and DD to develop split personalities, and the former to plot world destruction.
Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
Aster decides to participate in the Genex tournament with the goal of finding his father's assailant and Ultimate-D, but does not concern himself with the material rewards of the competition, giving Tyranno Hassleberry (Tyranno Kenzan) a handful of medals without so much as a thought.
In episode 98, Aster discovers DD is the culprit behind his father's disappearance, and duels him aboard his yacht. DD tells him that he targeted his father because he was certain that obtaining the Ultimate D-Card would make him a successful duelist in the unforgiving Pro League. The night of the murder, DD broke into the Phoenix household, but was caught by Aster's father. The corrupted Ultimate-D, sensing the evil in his heart, overpowered him and had him dispose of its creator. After the incident, DD took the role of Aster's legal guardian to avoid suspicion. This confession comes as a shock to the boy, who vows to take his former mentor down even at the cost of his own life. He is, however, faced with the very card that he sought to recover: Destiny Hero - Bloo-D.
Despite being pushed into a corner by DD's formidable skills, Aster draws Destiny Hero - Darkangel, a card specifically designed to combat Ultimate-D, which was left to him by his father. Finally understanding its purpose, the duelist turns the tables on DD, but not before his opponent reveals one last terrifying fact: the souls of his victims remain trapped within Ultimate-D's body. Aster's father emerges from the beast's wing and begs his son to pursue the Light of Ruin's true avatar, Sartorius, as the entity that dwells within Bloo-D is no more than a "husk." Winning the duel, his father's spirit at rest, Aster escapes via helicopter with the purified Ultimate D-Card, while DD is consumed by the flames of the resulting explosion.
In episode 100, Aster breaks into Obelisk Blue and corners Sartorius in the Society of Light's private duel field. As a child, he promised his friend that he would save him from his destiny of becoming a destroyer, but he was not certain how he would do so when the time came. He considers giving up the key to the laser satellite, Sora, that was handed to him by Sartorius' good personality, but Jaden intervenes and tells him its true purpose. Recognizing the present Sartorius as an impostor posing as his lost companion, Aster wagers the key in a duel. Fate within the battle is no longer under his control, however, as Sartorius' Arcana Force monsters stop their own rotations to put Aster in a difficult situation. Eventually, the good-hearted Sartorius appears before him, and the two offer one another support, but even their destiny-surpassing friendship is not enough to hold back defeat.
At the beginning of the third year, Aster stops by Duel Academy briefly to relay information he learned from Maximillion Pegasus (Pegasus J. Crawford) regarding the Jewel Beast cards of newcomer Johan Andersen. In the past, after winning a tournament sponsored by Industrial Illusions, Aster was told by Pegasus that the Jewel Beasts had chosen Johan as their master while he was attending the European competition in which the boy was a participant. The awarding of the cards to him at the end of the tournament was thus unavoidable, regardless of how rare and valuable they were.
Spoilers end here.
Aster originally played an Archlord deck constructed with cards from eight booster packs. His true deck, however, is a Hero deck, composed of Elemental Heroes and Destiny Heroes. His Destiny Heroes each possess abilities pertaining to time or the passage of time, and the design of most of the cards in the D-Series is of British origin. (Note: In the Japanese version, the names of the Destiny Heroes are not hyphenated).
- Archlord Zerato (Archangel Zerato)
- Warrior of Zera
- Ojama Yellow
- Mystical Shine Ball (Holy Shine Ball)
- Gogiga Gagagigo
- Metal Armored Bug
- The Kick Man
- Stone Statue of the Aztecs
- Atomic Firefly
- Soul Tiger
- Lady Ninja Yae
- The Agent of Wisdom - Mercury
- Sealmaster Meisei
- Chaos Greed
- Monster Gate
- The Sanctuary in the Sky
- Wild Nature's Release
- Soul Absorption
- Opti-Camouflage Armor
- Elemental Hero Avian (Featherman)
- Elemental Hero Burstinatrix (Burst Lady)
- Elemental Hero Sparkman
- Elemental Hero Clayman
- Elemental Hero Wildheart (Wildman)
- Elemental Hero Bladedge (Edgeman)
- Elemental Hero Bubbleman
- Elemental Hero Phoenix Enforcer (Phoenixguy)
- Elemental Hero Shining Phoenix Enforcer (Shining Phoenixguy)
- Destiny Hero - Doom Lord (Devilguy)
- Destiny Hero - Captain Tenacious (Diehardguy)
- Destiny Hero - Diamond Dude (Diamondguy)
- Destiny Hero - Dreadmaster (Dreadguy)
- Destiny Hero - Double Dude (Doubleguy)
- Destiny Hero - Defender (Defendguy)
- Destiny Hero - Dogma (Dogmaguy)
- Destiny Hero - Fear Monger (Doomguy)
- Destiny Hero - Blade Master (Daggerguy)
- Destiny Hero - Dasher (Dashguy)
- Destiny Hero - Malicious
- Destiny Hero - The Dark Angel
- Destiny Hero - Celestial
- Destiny Hero - Plasma
- Destiny Hero - Dunker (Dunk Guy)
- Destiny Hero - Disk Commander
- Polymerization (Fusion)
- Spark Blaster (Spark Gun)
- Guard Penalty
- Ring of Magnetism
- Magical Stone Excavation
- Clock Tower Prison (Clocktower of Seclusion)
- Fusion Sage
- Pot of Greed
- Graceful Charity (Angel's Charity)
- Mausoleum of the Emperor (Mausoleum of the Deceased Emperor)
- Dark City
- Mystical Space Typhoon (Cyclone)
- Cyclone Blade (Heavy Storm Blade)
- D - Spirit (D-Spirits)
- Destiny Draw
- Over Destiny
- D - Formation
- D - Force
- D - Burst