Judai Yuki (Japanese translated)
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Jaden Yuki, known as Judai Yuki in the Japanese anime, is a headstrong, fun-loving, and talented duelist that functions as the series' main protagonist in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. In the English version, Jaden is voiced by Pete Capella, while KENN takes his Japanese counterpart. His Japanese given name, "Judai", means "teenager" and his surname, "Yuki", means "courage". So, the name "Judai Yuki" could mean "courageous teenager" or "teenage courage". Yuki can also mean snow in Japanese.
Jaden's character design was overseen by Kenichi Harrah. Jaden's usual outfit consists of the standard Slifer Red uniform, unbuttoned. A deck box is strapped above his waistline, largely hidden beneath the lower rim of his jacket. His brown hair is sectioned in two layers, the layer closest to his face a darker shade of brown than the one behind it. His brown eyes (Which look like Yugi's in seasons 1-3, and look more like Yami Yugi in season 4) are positioned directly beneath the bangs of the layer closest to his face. He carries an Academy-issued Duel Disk on his left hand.
Intending to attend Duel Academy, Jaden bumps into Yugi Muto on his way to the school's entrance examinations at the beginning of the series. He is given a Winged Kuriboh card by the legendary duelist, and then he defeated Doctor Crowler but as he received a low score on the exam's written component, and is therefore placed in Slifer Red, the lowest-ranked dormitory, alongside Syrus and Chumley, who become his new friends. He was once granted entrance into Ra Yellow, but declined the offer as he preferred the "burning fiery spirit and hot passion of red."
Jaden has made several enemies at his school, including Crowler, whom Jaden defeated in his examination duel. Out of spite, Crowler tries to kick Jaden out of school on many different occasions before finally beginning to respect him. Jaden is an accomplished duelist, having defeated the aforementioned Crowler during his examination duel, Chazz in a school-wide duel, and Bastion for the representative position.
Rise of the Sacred Beasts
Jaden is responsible for the defeat of most of the Shadow Riders.
Society of Light
During the second year, Jaden ventures into Neo Space after being defeated in his second duel with Aster. There, he learns of the ongoing battle between the forces of darkness and light. With the help of the Neo-Spacians, Jaden adopts the role of the universe's defender wielding the "darkness of justice" against Sartorius and the Society of Light. The task of rescuing most of his converted friends from the organization's clutches also falls on him.
To prevent his evil side from activating the mind control satellite of Misgarth, Sartorius entrusts Jaden with one of the keys to its control switch. The diviner's evil personality sends numerous duelists after the boy to win it back, but to no avail. He ultimately confronts Jaden himself, demanding the key in exchange for Aster, from whom he had already regained the other key in battle. Jaden agreed, and although Aster was rescued shortly thereafter, both keys were put into the possession of Prince Ojin, who went on to fire the satellite. It is, however, destroyed during the course of their Duel. Sartorius is then defeated, and the Light of Destruction purged from his body.
Quest for the Rainbow Dragon
Into the Shadows
During the third year, Jaden is pursued by the spirit of his favorite card in childhood, Yubel, which was given to him by his father (in both versions he doesn't remember who Yubel is until it reveals its physical form). With his parents always working and away from home, Jaden turned to dueling friends to pass the time, but the sadness associated with his inability to play Yubel properly led the Duel Monster to hospitalize a young duelist named Osamu and scare away the rest of his companions with other misfortunes.
When Duel Academy is returned to the real world, Jaden cannot find Jesse and realizes that Jesse must still be in the other dimension. He blames himself for Jesse being stranded there and goes back to rescue him along with his friends, but end up landing in a different dimension from the one from before. While looking for Jesse, Jaden loses all of his friends except Syrus to Brron, Mad King of Dark World. The anger in Jaden released by the loss of his friends causes an unexpected change. When Jaden finally wins, Syrus turns on Jaden as he feels that Jaden sacrificed his friends just for himself. Syrus abandons him and Jim and Axel soon follow, leaving Jaden to mope by himself.
Afterwards, Jaden is in the darkness within his mind, and a strange figure called Haou the Supreme King enters, giving him the chance to redeem himself by becoming evil. Jaden accepts it along with the incomplete "Super Polymerization" card and at that time, The Supreme King possesses him. While under The Supreme King's control, he commits many atrocities that include unrepentant slaughter of duelists in order to complete the "Super Polymerization" and the oppression of several villages. However, as The Supreme King performs these actions, Jaden himself is left in doubt about what he needs in order to be complete not only as a duelist, but as a person. Unfortunately, he turns to The Supreme King for this advice, who only tells him that one can only overcome evil by becoming evil. After Axel uses the Eye of Orichalcum on The Supreme King during a successful invasion of The Supreme King's castle, Jaden is freed from his possession, but is deeply tormented by the atrocities he committed during his possession, and he thus starts refusing to use his Fusion Monsters.
When Jaden starts doubting himself even more, Jesse possessed by Yubel reappears. Then learning that his friend is being controlled, Jaden puts his problems aside for the time being so that he can save Jesse. However, when Jaden finally duels Yubel to save Jesse, it is revealed that Yubel actually removed Jesse's soul from his body and placed him inside the "Rainbow Dragon" before taking over. Jaden manages to exorcise Yubel out of Jesse, but in one foul swoop, it snatches the "Super Polymerization" card from Jaden and then forces him into a duel. Before the final clash, Jaden finds out that Yubel's power was previously augmented by the Light of Destruction while it was still stranded in space. Although he feels guilty because his actions led to Yubel's exposure, the sheer atrocity and shamelessness of its actions prevents Jaden from feeling any sympathy towards the deranged spirit.
However, near the end of the duel, Jaden is told the truth between his connections with Yubel: Instead of just being a part of him, Jaden is Haou, the reincarnation of a young prince of Neo Space from long ago, who was once friends with a human Yubel. As The Supreme King contained the enigmatic power of a being called the Supreme King that is needed to defeat the Light of Destruction, he needed a guardian to protect him until he was old enough to control and wisely use his power; Yubel chose herself for the role, and was transformed into the Duel Monsters it eventually became, its effect allowing for the perfect defense against anyone who tried to harm Jaden. Despite the great burden and sacrifice, Supreme King Jaden promised to give his love only to Yubel, which explained why Yubel became present-day Jaden's favorite card as a kid, and why Yubel was so obsessed and jealous with him and his friends. Finally realizing the truth behind all his troubles, Jaden - after bidding adieu to his friends - allowed Yubel to gain a hold of "Super Polymerization”, chaining "Spiritual Fusion" to choose their souls as the fusion materials instead of all twelve dimensions as Yubel was expecting, and purging Yubel of the Light of Destruction's influence. After Jaden's disappearance and everyone else being returned back to Duel Academy, Syrus, Hassleberry, Atticus, Chazz and Alexis were talking about Jaden. After the talk, Syrus sees a shooting star and wishes Jaden to be back, which happened as the "star" crashed at Duel Academy, and was revealed that it was Jaden, now posessing the powers of both The Supreme King and Yubel as his own.
In the fourth season, Jaden is seen with his new look, but he is still easily to identify from the past seasons. He comes back with longer hair, a longer, darker Slifer red jacket, darker pants and, since he fused his soul with Yubel in the third season, occasionally manifesting its power to protect himself in the form of his eyes glowing the same bichromatic scheme Yubel's did. His eyes have also been slightly redesigned. His duel disk now has red outlines on it, though otherwise it looks the same (although the difference is very noticeable). Jaden decides to leave Duel Academy, not wishing to put his friends in danger (he had come to believe that things that put his friends in danger happened because him being around). However, both Sartorius and Kagemaru attempt to convince him otherwise, believing that he is needed on the island to prevent a growing danger in the near future. This seems to be well-advised, as before their meeting, Jaden already confronts a mysterious Obelisk Blue student by name of Yusuke Fujiwara, who can hypnotize people and set fires with his eyes, as well as the mysterious entity Trueman, who seems to want both Jaden and Fujiwara dead. The last student in the Slifer Red Dorm, Jaden eventually regain his love for dueling while teaming with Alexis in a tag duel. Eventually, Jaden learns that the person that everyone thought was Fujihara was actually the spirit of one of his cards, Honest, and that Fujiwara doesn't even appear to be on earth. Although Jaden doesn't know what Trueman's intentions are, he has found that the enigmatic dark entity pulls people into the world of Darkness. He realizes this too late, having been distracted by Trueman's actions in Domino City, thus giving the real Nightshroud, using Yusuke Fujiwara's body as a vessel, to attack the students at Duel Academy with Jaden and Jesse only arriving in time to see Nightshroud/Fujiwara defeat the last student, Atticus Rhodes. Both are then challenged to a triple duel with Nightshroud, with only Jaden remaining the winner after he purges Nightshroud from Fujiwara. However, Jaden duels the bodiless Nightshroud in a final duel with the world at stake. The duel was intense straight from the start; with Jaden summoning "Neos Wiseman" using "Yubel". Jaden finally defeats Nightshroud by summoning "Elemental Hero Divine Neos" to defeat Nightshroud's "Darkness Neo-Sphere."
After the graduation ceremony, Jaden decides to leave Duel Academy quietly; however, he is brought to the room that contains Yugi's deck by Winged Kuriboh. Yugi appears there, and after the Winged Kuriboh card glows with a bright light, Jaden finds himself in Domino City in the past, bumping into a younger Yugi who still holds the Millennium Puzzle. He challenges his hero to a duel, and as he shuffles the deck he senses the presence of the Egyptian Gods in Yugi's deck. The duel then begins, with Yugi eventually summoning "Dark Magician" and Jaden summoning "Elemental Hero Neos", their ace monsters, which battle it out. After a long battle, Atem finally takes over Yugi's body and welcomes Jaden, and summons Slifer The Sky Dragon. Jaden's face lights up, and he finally realizes dueling really is fun. He then sends "Elemental Hero Neos" to attack "Slifer The Sky Dragon" and the Duel comes to an abrupt end with Jaden, Atem and Yugi all smiling. It then pans to Jaden in a desert. Jaden then turns around and looks at the sky, and thanks Yugi for reminding him that he has a long way to go, and dueling is fun, and shouts his very last "Gotcha!" towards the sun. His bag rustles, and he opens it to find Pharaoh and Banner inside. They decide to travel together, and thus Jaden runs off towards the sunset, off to start a new adventure.
MangaIn the manga, Jaden played a deck similar to that of his anime counterpart as a child. While in the hospital for breaking one of his bones playing baseball, fellow patient Koyo gave the boy his own nature-themed Elemental Hero deck after he beat Jaden in a duel ( which included "Winged Kuriboh"), and as a result of the meeting with Koyo and his sister, Midori, Jaden was inspired to become a duelist. From the outset of the manga storyline, he is already a student of Duel Academy, with Koyo's heroes standing by his side.
In the manga, Jaden's first duel is not against Crowler (though it is mentioned) but against a duelist named Mr. Ryuga, who tried to become a teacher by taking cards from defeated students, including Syrus. Enraged by this, he challenges the trainee teacher and wins even without the use of spell cards (the trainee was cheating by using a ring that disabled the duel disks ability to read Spell Cards). He then goes onto challenge or be challenged by Chazz Princeton, Bastion Misawa, Alexis Rhodes and Syrus Truesdale (though the last matched was forced by Dr. Vellian Crowler).
Jaden participates in the main tournament of the series, where he loses to Chazz in the finals. Although he defeated Chazz earlier in the manga, Chazz was able to overcome him in the rematch.
Following his defeat to Chazz, Winged Kuriboh led Jaden to the abandoned dorm, where he found Midori dueling Mackenzie. Seeing Jaden, Midori attempts to comeback from a duel she was going to deliberately lose but is unable to win by that point. After the duel, Jaden is powerless to save her from succumbing to the shadows.
Jaden loves dueling and solves most of his problems by dueling. He keeps going not matter how hard things get or how hopeless it seems, with a few exceptions (though it doesn't take much encouragement for him to start fighting again), although he does sometimes doubt himself. He always shows respect towards his opponents, with a few exceptions, even complementing them during a duel. Jaden is however, a bit of an airhead outside of dueling. He is always late for his classes and usually just sleeps through them. Aside from dueling, he also loves eating. Jaden however, can often be ignorant and naive. During his first year he was completely ignorant of Crowler's attempts to get rid of him as well, and didn't even seem aware of Crowler's dislike for him. His naive nature can sometimes get him into trouble, like when Sartorius tricked him into giving him his key to the world-destroying satellite, and having once tried to explain to the Light of Destruction-possessed Sartorius how fun dueling is. However, Jaden is always able to get out of trouble whenever he gets into it as well. Another example of his generally naive nature is when he tried reasoning with Yubel, which never works. Occasionally, Jaden was shown to be smarter then he usually appears. For example, when Jesse returns, it's Jaden who points out that he's possessed by Yubel; during his duel with Yubel (when it's using Jesse's body), Jaden is able to figure out that Jesse's soul was inside the Rainbow Dragon; and he figured out Titan's shadow game wasn't real. This was also because he didn't believe in the Shadow Games (yet), even when a real game started during that same Duel with Titan. He didn't start believing Shadow Games until he first dueled Nightshroud.
Jaden has a close bond with his cards. His ability to see and hear monster spirits also typically results in him befriending his cards. Jaden doesn't tolerate his cards being insulted, though he has no problems when his opponents insult him (Chazz mocked Jaden frequently and Jaden was never bothered by it). Jaden's extremely loyal to his friends, and often ends up risking his life for them because the villains in the series almost always threaten them in some way. Similar with his cards, he doesn't have any tolerance for how his friends up being mocked. Although he's overall carefree, he gets more serious as the series goes on, especially during season three.
In the fourth season, Jaden's personality transforms dramatically compared to his younger counterparts. He acts much more brooding and serious, and doesn’t find dueling as enjoyable as he used to. In fact, it appears he tries to finish his duels as fast as possible. One striking difference is that Jaden no longer says his catchphrase ("Gotcha!"/"That's game") at the end of his duels. He is much more cold as well, as shown when he tried getting some information about Professor Banner's spirit - he actually threatened him (granted, Jaden's threat was very comical, threatening to flush him down the toilet) and he acts more cold around his friends (Alexis is quick to notice this). He still does deeply care for them, but his behavior has recently started to worry them. However, he still has his compassionate side, like when he consoled Honest before it died. Also, he'll still do anything to protect his friends. It's later explained that he didn't enjoy dueling as much because his life was on the line in most of his recent duels, it hardened him because there wasn't much for him to enjoy. After the pair duel tournament ends in episode 162, he starts enjoying duels as much as he did before and starts saying his catch phrase again, but he is still notably much more mature than he was in his younger years (At least until his final duel with Yugi).
Jaden has some catchphrases associated with him. He begins almost every duel with the phrase "Get your game on!" and often says some variation of "I'll throw down a face-down" when setting cards. He also occasionally uses the phrase "Here goes something" when drawing in a desperate situation. Jaden tends to speak in stereotypical '90s slang, calling people "bro" and advising opponents to "chill".
In both the English and Japanese versions, Jaden will wink and point two fingers at a defeated opponent. In the English version, he says "That's game"; in the Japanese version Judai says "Gaccha! Tanoshii dyueru dattaze" ("Gotcha! That was a fun duel").
During the first year, Jaden plays an Elemental Hero Deck, composed of Spell and Trap Cards that support them, as well as his partner "Winged Kuriboh". His Deck largely supports Fusion Summoning stronger Elemental Heroes, often using a colorful array of Spell Cards, which have additional effects besides the aforementioned effect, allowing great flexibility in strategies. All Elemental Heroes fuse in some combination, granting Jaden a myriad of different effects to take advantage of. Some of his spell and monster card combinations serve as back-up strategies.His strategies are always full of surprises and he always draws the right card when needed.
In his second year, after his second Duel with Aster, Jaden's Deck is left blank to his eyes due to Sartorius' powers. With the inability to use his old Hero Deck, Jaden received a new one that included some cards he created as a child for a KaibaCorp contest. Once his ability to see his older cards returned, he combined elements from both Decks into a single Deck, his Neos Deck. While this deck still contains many of the cards from his original deck, it also consists of Neo-Spacians and cards that exploit their ability to "Contact Fuse" with "Elemental Hero Neos" in a Guyver-inspired fashion. Neos becomes his signature card after his duel with Aster (during the third season it even mostly replaces his fused Elemental Heroes).
In his third year, while possessed by the Supreme King, Jaden plays an Evil Hero Deck, vile, more powerful incarnations of his regular Elemental Heroes. As opposed to his flexible strategies that he normally uses, the Evil Hero Deck consists of much more straight forward strategies of simply overpowering his opponents with the Evil Heroes deadly effects, and effects (Dark Fusion) that protect them.
Although he hasn't used it much yet, Jaden does still have the "Super Polymerization" card. Using it saved him in his duel when Yubel was possessing Jesse. During his final duel with Yubel, Jaden borrowed Jesse's Crystal Beast deck and was able to use Rainbow Neos (he summoned it using Elemental Hero Prisma's effect, using it to duplicate Rainbow Dragon), though it initially seemed unlikely that card will ever appear again since Jaden gave back Jesse's deck until it was used in Jaden and Jesse's match with Nightshroud. Rainbow Neos, along with Elemental Hero Divine Neos, are the strongest cards that Jaden's ever had in his deck.
During the final duel against Nightshroud in episode 177, Jaden reveals that "Yubel" in his deck now, honoring what she has done for him in the past, and since her soul is merged with his. This honor is stronger as Yubel can be fused with Neos, to summon "Neos Wiseman".