In Yu-Gi-Oh! (Toei) episode 19: "The Grand Melee!! Popularity Contest", he appears for the first time, meeting Yugi Mutou in the street when the Millennium Puzzle sensed the Ring's energy and pinpointed him. Although initially blank-eyed, he regained his senses and hoped he hadn't hurt Yugi, as sometimes he has memory gaps. Miho Nosaka was also present, and his handsome appearance made her decide to enter the school popularity contest against Kaoruko Himekoji.
Bakura next appeared in Yu-Gi-Oh! (Toei) episode 21: "Completed!! The Ultimate Game Land", where he transferred to Yugi's class. Noticing the Millennium Puzzle, he asked to touch it, which made the Ring react to it. Later, he visited Yugi and his friends at the arcade, bearing witness to Seto and Mokuba Kaiba challenging Yugi and his friends to come to Death-T. The Ring eventually caused him so much pain that Miho had to walk Bakura home, where he wondered about the pain he was feeling, Yugi's Puzzle, and if it was connected to the Ring.
Bakura did not participate in DEATH-T officially, but watched it televised live from the crowd. As the death games went on, the Ring gradually took control of his body, helping Jonouchi and Miho find the imprisoned Honda and Sugoroku. He returned to the crowd in time to watch Yugi defeat Kaiba, at which point Dark Bakura took control for the first time, impressed with Kaiba's defeat and saying Yugi would be his next opponent.
The following week, on the way to school, Yugi and his friends greeted Bakura. This caused the Ring to react, and during school, Bakura heard Yami Bakura’s voice for the first time. Mr. Karita, the gym teacher, admonished him for being late and made him run 100 laps, also warning Yugi and his friends away from Bakura as everyone at his previous school who befriended him became comatose. However despite Bakura backing this up and warning them away, Yugi and his friends decided to visit him.
After school, Bakura planned to transfer out of Domino High so Yugi and his friends wouldn't get hurt, but Yami Bakura refused to let it happen, stabbing him with the Ring's prongs. Bakura yelled at him to get out, but Yami Bakura revealed he'd been granting his wishes up until now--ever since Ryou was little he was picked on, and he dearly wanted friends. The Ring made it so his friends would always be nearby by trapping them in figurines. Yami Bakura planned to steal the Millennium Puzzle, but first left to transfer Karita's soul into a figurine as well.
Bakura awoke at his house with a memory lapse, and when Yugi's friends arrived Yami Bakura took control, inviting them to play Monster World.  As the game continued, Yami Bakura systematically put Yugi and his friends' souls into figurines, then tried to kill them during the game with Dark Master Zorc.  However, after Zorc was wounded, Bakura regained control of his left arm, using it to save the party and fumble dice until Yami Bakura rammed the hand into a parapet to stop him. Zorc's deep wound allowed Yugi to try and tame his left arm, and White Wizard Bakura, Bakura's character, appeared and joined the group. His magic lowered Zorc's defenses considerably, and the party grievously wounded him.
Yami Bakura had Zorc use his Last Resort, greatly increasing his attack power but leaving himself vulnerable. When he tried to use Zorc Inferno to wipe everyone out, the White Wizard shielded everyone with his high-level spells, converting his own HP into magical energy. The final move of the game came down to both players rolling a supercritical hit, and in the case of a tie, Yami Bakura would win. However, Bakura put his own soul in the dice as well, to protect his friends even if it meant his own soul will shatter—but Yami Bakura wouldn't allow it and attempted to cast him out, using his Ring to attack him with a laser beam. However, Yugi's friends put their souls into the dice as well, shielding Bakura from harm, and Yami Bakura's dice cracked apart.
With a final attack from Anzu, Zorc was destroyed, Yami Bakura lost the game, and the Millennium Ring fell to the floor. Ryou woke up unharmed, and everyone's souls were restored to their bodies. The following day, everyone was late for school and found Mr. Karita was also restored to normal, though he remembered nothing. Bakura showed his friends a diorama chronicling their adventure in Monster World. 
- ↑ Yu-Gi-Oh!_First_Series_-_Episode_025
- ↑ Yu-Gi-Oh!_First_Series_-_Episode_024
- ↑ Yu-Gi-Oh!_First_Series_-_Episode_025
- ↑ Yu-Gi-Oh!_First_Series_-_Episode_026
- ↑ Yu-Gi-Oh!_First_Series_-_Episode_027