Yami Bakura, known as Dark Bakura in the manga and Japanese version, is the evil spirit of the Millennium Ring.
After Ryo Bakura came into possession of the Millennium Ring, his body became host to the spirit, allowing Yami Bakura to freely take control of Ryo. Yami Bakura is the longest running, and most prominent villain in the entire series present for nearly every season but does not act as the central antagonist until the final season.
Yami Bakura's character design was overseen by Kazuki Takahashi.
Yami Bakura usually wears whatever Bakura was dressed in. In the Duelist Kingdom arc he wears a white wool sweater and green undershirt. His usual outfit in following seasons consists of a blue open shirt over a blue and white horizontally striped t-shirt. His white hair is pointed downwards in various directions and trails half way down his back.
His hair points in more directions than Ryo Bakura's and becomes noticeably more stiff and rigid rather than Ryo's smooth flowing hair. Part of his bangs angle upward like wings or horns when Yami Bakura is in control. He wears the Millennium Ring on a cord around his neck. In the Battle City arc as Yami Bakura he often wears a KaibaCorp Duel Disk on his left arm.
In the Millennium World arc, Yami Bakura wore a black trenchcoat with the collar flipped up, as an addition to this outfit. However, afther the arc Yami Bakura is no more and so Ryo Bakura reverts to his battle city getup back during Yugi's Final Duel.
First series anime biography
Through his host Ryo Bakura, Dark Bakura played RPGs including Monster World with many people, though Yami Bakura turned the innocent sounding games into Shadow Games. As a Penalty Game, the loser often had their soul trapped in a miniature to be used as a Monster World non-playable character, leaving the victims' bodies in comas. Bakura often had to change schools as a result of this.
After transferring to Domino High School, Ryo Bakura is picked on by Mr. Karita, the gym teacher of the school. Dark Bakura plays a Shadow Game with Karita, turning him into a miniature. That night, Dark Bakura talks to Bakura for the first time, telling Bakura that he is his new host and that he has his sights set on acquiring Yugi Mutou's Millennium Puzzle.
Bakura sets up a miniature "Monster World" game, to play with Yugi, Katsuya Jonouchi, Hiroto Honda, Anzu Mazaki and Miho Nosaka. Bakura tries to warn his friends, and get them to leave, but Dark Bakura takes over and invites them in, while pretending to be Bakura.
Each of the group picks a type of monster they wish to play as, and Bakura seals them inside miniatures of their selected monsters.
Ryo Bakura managed to emerge during the RPG, taking control of the body's left hand. Ryo Bakura intentionally fumbled several critical dice rolls, giving Yugi an edge in the game. Once Dark Bakura realized this, he impaled his good self's controlled hand on a tower spire of the game board's castle, laughing madly. Ryo Bakura then sealed his soul into a pair of possessed dice. He caused the dice to shatter, effectively ending the game, though killing himself in the process.
The good Bakura is dead when Dark Yugi reaches him. His avatar in the RPG is still animated, however, and White Mage Bakura uses his power as a level 13 mage to bring him back to life. When doing this, Dark Bakura is also placed back together with him.
Second series anime biography
It was originally believed that Yami Bakura was a dark half of Bakura, like the Pharaoh and the evil within Marik were but it was revealed that he was actually a "seed" planted in the Millennium Ring by Zorc Necrophades to return the millennium items to their resting place and bring Zorc back. The ring was Ryo Bakura's family heirloom and therefore Zorc was able to possess Bakura (Both Ryo and Thief King) for many parts of the show.
Murder of Shadi
An unknown number of years before the events of the series Thief King Bakura (possibly possessed by Zorc) murdered Shadi the guardian of the Millennium Items, most likely because Bakura wanted the Millennium Items from him but couldn't get Shadi to give the items to him. However Shadi lived on as a spirit.
3,000 years later (5,000 in the 4Kids version), Ryo Bakura's father bought the Millennium Ring, which he passed onto Ryo.
The spirit of the combined Zorc and Thief King Bakura in the Millennium Ring, which came to be known as "Yami Bakura" became able to take control of Ryo Bakura's body, while Bakura was in possession of the Ring.
Although not a participating player, Bakura snuck onto the Duelist Kingdom island for the tournament.
Yami Bakura traps Yugi Muto, his friends and Ryo Bakura in their favorite Duel Monsters cards, in an effort to take Yugi's Millennium Puzzle, thus forcing Yami Yugi to face him in a Shadow Game in order to free them. Bakura uses several "Morphing Jars" to discard Yugi's monsters while also using cards like Man-Eater Bug to destroy his opponent's monsters and "Change of Heart" to turn his opponent's monsters against each other.
When Yami Bakura tried to use "Change of Heart" to turn Yugi, as the Dark Magician, against his friends, Ryo Bakura took the form of the card and interfered with the Duel. He attempted to sacrifice himself so Yugi could win, but Yami Yugi switched the places of Bakura and Yami Bakura's souls, resulting in Yami Bakura's defeat and him being sent to the Graveyard. Afterward, he was assumed to be dead, trapped in the Shadow Realm.
Ryo Bakura then stayed with the group until the night of the finals of Duelist Kingdom, at which point he, Tristan Taylor, and Téa Gardner go on an adventure through Pegasus Castle. Pegasus catches them and sends the three of them to the Shadow Realm, along with himself. Yami Bakura takes this opportunity to take back Bakura, then sends everybody back to their rooms, plotting to take both Yugi's Millennium Puzzle and Pegasus' Millennium Eye.
Later, at the beginning of Yugi's duel with Pegasus, Bakura hears Tristan's idea of trying to find the bodies Pegasus took the souls from, and Yami Bakura is intrigued about the plan, taking over Bakura's body again. Ironically, he actually saves Tristan from Pegasus' guards while the two of them searched for a way to escape, utilizing the card Man-Eater Bug, and the magic of his Millennium Ring. Tristan is still somewhat disturbed by Bakura's sadistic enjoyment that he got from torturing the guards before he killed them (in the English version he sent them to the Shadow Realm). After Tristan realizes who he is, Yami Bakura revealed that he intended to use the soulless Mokuba, which Tristan had previously rescued, as his host (in the Japanese version, he wants the key to KaibaCorp, which is the card picture that Mokuba wears on his neck), and threatens to kill Tristan if he tries to resist him. Tristan, however, manages to catch Yami Bakura off guard, knocking him out. Tristan then throws the Millennium Ring into the jungle.
Somehow, however, the ring still reappeared on Bakura, and Yami Bakura was still in control, which went unbeknownst to Yugi and company until Yugi and Bakura's rematch in the Battle City finals. After Pegasus' defeat at the hands of Yami Yugi, Yami Bakura challenged Pegasus to another Shadow Game, for possession of Pegasus' Millennium Eye. This involved lasers that came from their items. Yami Bakura easily wins. Pegasus is freaked out when Bakura tells him that he has lived for centuries, Bakura then told Pegasus his intentions and took his Millennium Eye. When Yugi and the gang left the island on Kaiba's helicopter, Bakura looked at the Eye and licked it.
Yami Bakura detected the Millennium Puzzle was nearby when Yugi Duelled Bandit Keith while he was possessed by Marik Ishtar. He used the power of his Millennium Ring to free Keith from Marik's Millennium Rod. Though Keith managed to end the duel and ran off, Marik got one chance to have Keith shatter the Millennium Puzzle in a rage. Ryo Bakura came to Yugi's rescue, knocking Keith back. Yami Bakura took advantage of the opportunity to seal a fragment of his soul into a piece of the Millennium Puzzle.
He teamed up with Marik Ishtar in a verbal deal consisting of Marik's relinquishment of the Millennium Rod if Bakura obtained "Slifer the Sky Dragon" for Marik. As part of their plan, Yami Bakura stabbed himself and then released Ryo Bakura. Marik, who took the guise of Namu, pretended to save Bakura and took him to Joey and Téa.
While Bakura was sleeping in the hospital, Marik appeared in his mind.
In the Japanese version, Bakura protested to Marik by saying, "I lent you my strength to get rid of Yugi, and you were supposed to hand me your Millennium Rod."
Marik told Yami Bakura that he needed to enter the Battle City finals in order to receive the Millennium Rod. Ryo was awoken by Solomon Muto, and turned into Yami Bakura. Solomon told him that Yugi and Joey are qualified for the finals. When Yami Bakura got up to leave to try to find them, he was stopped by Solomon because he was still injured. Yami Bakura knocked out Solomon with his Millennium Ring and left the hospital.
Yami Bakura acquired a place in the Battle City finals by stealing another duelist's Duel Disk and locator card. He found out from a group of teenagers that Bonz and his gang were in the cemetery; wanting to take their locator cards, he set out to find them. When he found them, the gang used their scare tactics they previously used on other Duelists, but Bakura was not fazed and saw right through their disguises. Bakura then challenged Bonz to a winner-takes-all duel, where the winner took the 6 Locator Cards the opponent had. Without telling them he turned the game into a Shadow Game. Bakura launched his "Headless Knight" at Bonz several times but Bonz called out "Great Mammoth of Goldfine". Bakura summoned "The Earl of Demise" with twice its ATK and destroyed Bonz's monster. Bonz trapped Bakura in "Nightmare's Steelcage" but Bakura activated Ectoplasmer to attack them directly and win. Bakura obtained 6 Locator Cards and sent Bonz, Zygor and Sid to the Shadow Realm.
(In the Japanese version, he claimed both that he was going to send them to the 'Dark World' instead by summoning Grim Reapers inside of the Dark Game's space and that he was going to send them to Hell.)
During the quarter-finals he and Yami Yugi dueled each other. Bakura allowed Yugi to destroy four of his monsters, losing most of his Life Points in the process, but activated "Dark Sanctuary" to turn Yugi's monsters against each other, as well as "The Dark Door" to limit Yugi's attacking choices. He also used "Destiny Board" to allow him to declare an automatic win after playing all five "Spirit Message" letters. Before the final letter was placed on the field, Yugi summoned "Slifer the Sky Dragon", shocking Bakura. As Bakura was about to lose, Odion Ishtar, who was pretending to be Marik, released Bakura from the spirit, knowing that Yugi would not attack Ryo Bakura when he was still injured. However, when "Marik" mentioned that Yugi may still attack with the fate of the world at stake, Yami Bakura decided that leaving Ryo in his vulnerable state posed too much of a risk, and he again took over his body, challenging Yugi to attack. When Yugi declared the attack, he won the duel, but left Bakura comatose. The Ring was lost in the Duel, but was returned by Téa, who was being controlled by Marik.
In Téa's body, Marik insisted that he help Bakura, for an evil part of Marik had gained control of his body. Yami Bakura then challenged Yami Marik to a shadow game, teaming up with Marik to vanquish the greater evil despite doing so with evil intent and motive. Bakura lost most of his Life Points, but obtained "The Winged Dragon of Ra" Despite this, Yami Marik weakened it to be useless. Bakura got rid of it by Tributing it to summon "Dark Ruler Ha Des", thinking that with Ra buried in the Graveyard, no one could use it, but Marik brought it back from Graveyard with "Monster Reborn", and then used it to end the Duel, resulting in Bakura destroyed by Marik's "The Winged Dragon of Ra". Yami Bakura previously sealed a portion of his soul in the Millennium Puzzle, allowing him to continue existing in secret.
Battle City Finals
The Ring then fell into the hands of Yami Marik, and eventually ends up in the hands of Yugi after Yugi defeats him. After Yami Marik was destroyed, Bakura's body returned from the Shadow Realm, however, Yami Bakura didn't return to Ryo Bakura right away, as he was still exploring the Millennium Puzzle and eventually discovered how to resurrect Zorc Necrophades with ease.
Waking the Dragons
During Yami Yugi's duel with Dartz he was shown Thief King Bakura (Yami Bakura in the past) and Atem (Yami in the past). First was when Atem's Obelisk the Tormentor fought Bakura's Diabound, and then when Bakura's Diabound fought Atem's Slifer the Sky Dragon.
During a vision of Yugi finishing the Millennium Puzzle, Yami Bakura briefly appeared behind Yugi along with Kaiba and Yami.
Ryo Bakura was running away from the spirit of the Ring, not wanting to be possessed again, attempting to hide in a church. However, Yami Bakura cornered Ryo and told him that the remaining Millennium Items were in possession of both Shadi and the Pharaoh; while Shadi would ultimately hand his items over to the Pharaoh, he mentions that the seven Millennium Items were not enough to open the door of the Beyond. Ryo had to find the eight key, the secret of which was hidden somewhere in the Pharaoh's world of memories. Yami Bakura then possessed Ryo and claimed the following: "Nameless Pharaoh! When the doors of your memory open, the Ultimate Dark Game spanning 3,000 years shall begin!"
He takes the Millennium Ring back from Rex Raptor and Weevil Underwood, who mistakenly took Yugi's Millennium Items while trying to steal his Egyptian God Cards, and then sends them to the Shadow Realm. Yugi eventually catches up with Rex and Weevil and finds Bakura there. Bakura returns Yugi's Items and the God cards that were in the box the Millennium Puzzle came in. In the Japanese version, he merely knocked them out and then scolded Yugi for failing to protect the Items and the God Cards.
However, Bakura kept the Millennium Ring, as he was not ready to part with it. Yugi demanded it back, but Bakura told him to gather the rest of the items and Bakura would give him the Ring. But Yugi had little faith in his words. Bakura also told Yugi that if the Items are returned to the Millennium Stone, then a doorway to the spirit world would be opened. Not believing him, Yami Yugi then took over and told Bakura to stop poisoning Yugi's mind. Bakura then taunted Yugi, telling him that he knows more than Yugi, and they are a lot alike. But Yugi stood his ground, telling Bakura that they are nothing alike. Bakura then left for KC. In the Japanese version, Bakura merely announces that he is a soul sealed in the Millennium Ring. However, he adds, like Yami, he does not remember his origins. He adds that by snooping inside of Yami's memories, he 'may' find the answer. In truth, he is perfectly aware of it, but doesn't want Yami to be too careful and not hesitate.
Bakura then challenges Yami to settle their 'pending scores' in a fitting place for them: the Pharaoh's world of memory. Once there, they will both take part in the Ultimate Shadow Game. He keeps on taunting Yami by claiming that "Although you don't remember it, you were the one who started that Game." Yami is surprised, but he's not convinced. Nevertheless, he accepts the challenge. Bakura departs by saying that the Game would begin once the doors of Yami's memory opened.
He later challenges Seto Kaiba to a Duel in an effort to obtain the power of Blue-Eyes White Dragon. He first abducted Mokuba Kaiba to get Seto to the room. Once there, Seto demands Bakura hand him over after their Duel finishes. He almost beats Kaiba with Diabound Kernel, and Diabound destroyed Blue-Eyes, giving it the power of the dragon. However, he leaves before they can finish resulting in a draw. However, before he leaves he gives Kaiba the Millennium Eye that he took from Pegasus in Duelist Kingdom, so Kaiba too may enter the Millennium World.
Bakura then thinks on his own that his real purpose was to gain the power of the Blue-Eyes to stand up to the Egyptian Gods. When the sun begin to rise, he inwardly complains than it's getting late, so he hands Kaiba the Millennium Eye and departs by taunting him with the following phrase: "But... Aren't you interested in knowing what kind of bond exists between you and the Blue-Eyes?"
Yami Bakura figures out that it would be easier to get all seven Millennium Items in the Memory World as he controlled everything and already knew what would happen as his memory was still intact unlike Atem's. After Yami Yugi enters this world, Bakura, who followed them reunited with the piece of himself that he sealed in the Puzzle and follows Yami into the Millennium World. Yami Bakura takes over the body of Thief King Bakura (Ryo Bakura's past incarnate) in order to revive Zorc Necrophades, yet simultaneously controls the Dark Game from above.
As Thief King Bakura, he also possessed Tristan Taylor to keep an eye on Yugi who managed to get into the Millennium World. He also possessed Aknadin to help Bakura get the items. Bakura also had the ability to freeze and reverse time, but when Hassan came along, he destroyed the hour glass token that allowed Bakura to freeze time.
In the game, he stomps into Pharaoh Atems court and attacks them but is forced to retreat after Diabound and Obelisk clashed. They had another encounter on horses and Atem fights Bakura with Slifer the Sky Dragon, but Bakura steals his Millennium Puzzle.
After a while, he collected all the Millennium Items and resurrected Zorc by sacrificing his Thief King Bakura game piece. Zorc destroyed every thing and every monster he came along (including Exodia and the Egyptian Gods) Eventually, he announces that the Game Table is no longer necessary and that he and Yugi will enter the game directly, revealing his identity as a part of Zorc as he fuses with Zorc and Yami Yugi fuses with his ancient self in the game world.
Meanwhile, the piece of his soul that he had possess Tristan reveals himself and challenges Yugi to a Duel before the latter can find Yami's true name. During the Duel, Bakura utilises Necro monsters, limited Yugi's attacking options using Narrow Corridor, and focused on a Deck Out strategy with Counterbalance. He ultimately reduces Yugi to 1 card, but that card turns out to be Gandora the Dragon of Destruction which destroys Bakura's Cards and his strategy. Yugi is then able to Summon Silent Swordsman LV0 with 4500 ATK to defeat Bakura and the portion of the spirit that was possessing Tristan fades away and dies.
Ultimately, Zorc is obliterated by the divine powers of The Creator God of Light, Horakhty the fusion of the 3 Egyptian Gods, and since he had been fused with Zorc, Yami Bakura was killed as well. After Yugi and the others returned from the Dark RPG, Yugi mused that with Zorc's death, Yami Bakura was dead, liberating Ryo from the malevolent spirit's possession once and for all.
Yami Bakura appeared in a flashback after Franz stole the copy of "Winged Dragon of Ra". He told Jaden about the God cards and when he brought up Slifer, footage from Yami Yugi's duel with Yami Bakura from Battle City was played.
Yami Bakura often uses cards that resemble ghouls or specters, undead creatures (though not necessarily Zombies), and demons of the underworld or undead. His Decks often perform locks, attempting to prevent his opponent from making many moves while trying to either instantly win through "Destiny Board" or through a mill strategy, like "Cursed Twin Dolls."