Yami Marik, known as Dark Marik in the manga and Japanese versions, is Marik Ishtar's second personality created by his own inner hatred and pain. He serves as the main antagonist of the Battle City Finals arc after Odion falls into a coma, triggering his possession of Marik's body.
Unlike Yami Yugi and Yami Bakura, Yami Marik did not originate as an entity sealed within a Millennium Item, but instead was spawned from the trauma Marik endured after being horrifically mutilated by his own father and sentenced to guard the pharaoh's tomb for the rest of his life.
Upon first awakening in the anime, he was wearing the original outfit of Marik, including a light purple sleeveless hoodie, black pants and black shoes, but wore most of his normal clothes underneath the hoodie in the manga. Yami Marik's usual outfit consists of a long purple cape with a gold chain, and the black sleeveless tank top and beige pants from the manga, making the whereabouts of his new clothes a trivial mystery. He wears golden earrings, neckwear, armbands and bracelets. His hair is spiked upwards and points in all directions, though he retains the same wing-like fringes of Marik's hair, and since he picked up the Millennium Rod, which he keeps in his belt while not carrying it, he bears the Eye of Anubis on his forehead. After he defeats Yami Bakura, he takes the Millennium Ring, wearing it around his neck for the remainder of the tournament, but concealing it beneath his tank top until he reveals it to Yami Yugi during their Duel.
While Dueling, faint, ghastly images of his face frequently stretch out from his head. As the series progressed, visible veins slowly start to appear on his face. In the Battle City arc, he wears a KaibaCorp Duel Disk on his left arm. As he is merely a split personality of the normal Marik, unlike Yami Yugi and Yami Bakura, who are both entirely different entities from their associated hosts in their own right, Yami Marik's facial structure is exactly the same as Marik's, though the similarities are offset by the differences outlined above.
Yami Marik is a person of pure cruelty, wickedness, and insanity who cares for no one but himself, as he was born of hate, anger, and envy. Yami Marik ruthlessly murdered his father, and was constantly trying to kill Odion for being a hindrance to his existence in the outside, and threatened Ishizu with death for hiding their brother.
Yami Marik showed no interest in Yami Yugi's or Seto Kaiba's pasts, something which his alter ego wanted to know. In addition, while Marik's goal of becoming the new Pharaoh was fueled by a personal enmity towards the Pharaoh particularly, Yami Marik didn't seem to have any goal except for spreading pain and suffering in the world, and also having his own life in the real world, because he has no desire to be sealed away and he considers himself the "true" Marik. In the dub however, he shares Marik's goal of taking the Pharaoh's power and world domination in addition to his sadistic desire to spread pain. Before his death, he tried to reason with Marik saying that they could rule the world together; however, given his personality, he was merely trying to convince Marik to free him from his predicament.
Yami Marik lacks empathy and is highly sadistic; building his Deck around torture-themed cards, and using his shadow powers to manifest them into reality, painfully hurting his opponents for his own pleasures. However, he relies heavily upon his dark powers - particularly their role in winning his Duels, since he would have lost his Duel against Mai Valentine right away if it wasn't for her attempting to Summon "The Winged Dragon of Ra", only to be given Ra's Sphere Form. In his Duel against Joey Wheeler, he would have lost if Joey had not collapsed from exhaustion because of the torturing of "Ra" when Marik used its Egyptian God Phoenix effect. During his last Duel, he even stated that he got the most twisted pleasure from torturing Yami Yugi.
In Noah Kaiba's Virtual World fortress, Yami Marik demonstrated a high degree of recklessness, as he destroyed the fortress' computer, which was the only way of stopping the missile that was programmed to fire at the building; his only care being the destruction that it would cause, and he was subsequently seen to be greatly enjoying the frantic escape on the airship.
Despite his cruelty and evil, he valued his own life dearly; he tried to murder Odion so he would not be sealed back in Marik's body, and pleaded for Marik to help him win against Yugi after Marik was able to regain control of his body. Still, he shows traits of a masochist as well, especially in the Japanese version of his Duel against Joey. For example, after his "Gil Garth" was destroyed and its pain was transferred to him, he laughed psychotically and stated that he was enjoying the feeling. Though certainly reliant to a degree on his shadow powers during a Duel, Yami Marik was by no means an incompetent Duelist; planning ahead in case Yami Yugi survived the attack of "Ra" by using his Egyptian God Slime to complete his strategy of immortality and do a follow-up with "Jam Defender" to make it the only monster Yugi could attack (thanks to its ability to regenerate); he also knew more about the abilities of "Ra" than Marik and he outwitted his alter ego and Yami Bakura by changing most of the cards in his Deck.
Yami Marik is shown have difficulty with advanced technology (his Duel Disk notwithstanding) during the Virtual World arc as he was having trouble with a security pass-code when he pressed it, only to be denied.
Yami Marik considers himself the "true" Marik, though he largely does not consider himself part of the Ishtar family, referring to Ishizu and his father as Marik's rather than his, barring his first emergence where he killed Ishtar. He also explains the pain of Marik's past as if it were his own, though he did not actually experience the events himself; he merely birthed from them, and in the Japanese version, he laughs after recounting it, explaining that it is the trauma that dominates Marik.
Yami Marik only emerged from Marik when the latter was filled with rage, though during the time of his second emergence, he managed to acquire enough power to bypass this restriction. As a Tomb Keeper, Yami Marik is capable of using the Millennium Items, the Egyptian God Cards, and subsequently create Shadow Games. As a result of winning a Shadow Game and inflicting a Penalty Game on his opponent, his power over the shadows increases.
Yami Marik was "born" from the pain and suffering that Marik had endured when he was forced to take the initiation ritual to become a full Tomb Keeper at ten years old by his father. A year later, after Marik's forbidden trip to surface, Marik returned from his trip, having realized that his departure had been discovered, and was horrified to see his father torturing Odion to a presumed death (in the dub, Odion was going to be exiled, but was still almost unconscious on the floor). Odion's state enraged Marik, allowing Yami Marik to take control. Though he thanked his father for dealing with Odion, Yami Marik proceeded to resist his father's punishment on himself and claim the Millennium Rod for himself. Ignoring his father's orders to put the Item down, Yami Marik used its powers to smash him against the wall. When his sister Ishizu protested for him to stop, he blasted her back and froze her in place. Yami Marik then proceeded to murder his father (in the dub, he sent his father to the Shadow Realm). He prepared to kill Odion next, but Odion was able to rouse himself, his presence calming Marik down and sealing Yami Marik away in Marik's body. It is never stated whether or not Yami Marik subconsciously removed Marik's guilt as he did in the manga.
Yami Marik was released and seemingly changed into a seperate entity from Marik during the Battle City quarter-finals when Odion was rendered unconscious during his Duel against Joey Wheeler. Deciding Marik's Deck was weak, he changed it to add many new cards of his own, and also managed to learn of the hidden powers of "Ra". Unwilling to risk letting Odion wake up, he attempted to murder him but changed his mind after he heard that he was Dueling next, deciding to let Odion live a little longer. In Marik's quarter-final match, Yami Marik Duels Mai Valentine in a Shadow Game. After initially trading blows, Yami Marik changed the Duel into a Shadow Game where when they lost Life Points, they lost memories, though this had no real effect on Yami Marik, who didn't care about the memories he'd lost but had a severe effect on Mai. Mai traded blows with Yami Marik fairly equally, even taking "The Winged Dragon of Ra". When she proceeded to Summon "Ra", however, it was locked in Sphere Mode, and Mai was unable to release the God monster. Yami Marik proceeded to do so on his turn, remove Mai's last defenses, and attack her with "Ra", though the attack did not kill her due to the intervention of Yami Yugi and Joey. After winning, Yami Marik trapped Mai's soul, where she is slowly buried in sand in an hourglass inside her mind. This left Mai with little more than a day to live before the torture killed her. (in the dub, he banished her soul to the Shadow Realm). After this, Joey became determined to Duel Yami Marik and save Mai no matter how high the cost.
He watched the Duel between Ishizu and Kaiba, and the sight of his sister caused Marik to attempt to regain control of their body. Yami Marik promptly sealed his alter ego's personality deeper within their body. Remembering Ishizu's strategy from her and Marik's Dueling practices, he believed that Ishizu had the Duel won easily, even though Kaiba had "Obelisk the Tormentor" out (which Yami Marik saw for the first time). As he began to leave, the Millennium Rod activated, and showed Kaiba a vision of Priest Seto's past, which convinced Kaiba to instead Summon "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" to win the Duel.
After the quarter-finals, Yami Marik attempted to kill Odion again, but he was opposed by Yami Bakura, who teamed up with the real Marik's soul. With their Millennium powers equal, the duo Dueled in a match not part of the tournament. Yami Bakura managed to gain possession of "The Winged Dragon of Ra" via "Exchange", but Marik used "Joyful Doom" to lower the ATK of the monsters Tributed to Summon it to 0 and add their power to his Life Points, thereby weakening the Dragon's ATK to 0. Yami Bakura Tributes "Ra" to Summon "The Dark Ruler" and also Summoned "Dark Necrofear" and "Headless Knight" but Marik used "Monster Reborn" to bring "Ra" back and introduced its Point-to-Point Transfer ability, sacrificing all but 1 of his Life Points to raise the the ATK of "Ra" to 8549, then attacked to win the Duel. Marik gleefully warned Bakura to be ready to disappear into the darkness, but Bakura claimed to be the darkness itself and vowed revenge before disappearing. Yami Marik claimed the Millennium Ring as his trophy from defeating Yami Bakura after his disappearance into the darkness, deciding to enjoy taming the darkness, wearing the Ring around his neck for the remainder of the tournament, now possessing two Millennium Items. He returned to try and kill Odion again, but Ishizu had been warned by Marik and moved Odion.
In the Virtual World arc, Yami Marik decided to wait on the airship and see how the situation unfolded for most of the arc. He eventually got tired of waiting and took matters into his own hands, deciding that no-one would hurt Yugi before he did. He investigated Noah Kaiba's base to find Yugi and his friends, but got frustrated with the high-tech contraptions that blocked his way.
Eventually, the alarm set off and the fortress guard robots came after him, but he easily dealt with them using his Millennium Rod. He forced his way through the base and destroyed the main power generator, which in turn, released Kaiba's blimp. Then, he found the console that controlled the satellite, which Noah programmed to fire a missile to destroy the base. Marik recklessly destroyed it, so there was no way to stop the missile. Luckily, he and the rest of the group managed to escape in the airship.
Battle City finals
The airship soon arrived at KaibaCorp Island, where the Duel Tower that the finals and semi-finals would be held in was located. The match-ups for the semi-final would be decided by a four-way Battle Royale Duel. Yami Marik didn't really care who he'd face, but eventually decided to match himself up against Yugi. However, despite his disruptive tactics, both Kaiba and Joey were intending to make sure that Yami Marik Dueled Joey, and Yami Marik was the first to be eliminated, followed swiftly by Joey. As they ascended to the top of the tower, Yami Marik warned Joey to prepare himself for his fate.
Yami Marik transformed his Duel with Joey into a Shadow Game, connecting the Duelists to their monsters so that they'd feel the pain their monsters did. He controlled the Duel with the effect of his "Helpoemer" in the Graveyard, which stole cards from Joey's hand as Yami Marik's "Coffin Seller" Trap Card drained his Life Points. Joey turned this against him by using "Question" to Summon his "Jinzo", crippling Yami Marik's strategy after it destroyed his Traps. Yami Marik Summoned "Lava Golem" to Joey's field to eliminate "Jinzo" and he drained Joey of strength via the effects of his duplicated "Plasma Eels". Joey managed to gain the upper hand with "Gilford the Lightning" until Marik Summoned "Ra", revealing its third power of Egyptian God Phoenix to destroy "Gilford". However, Joey was still standing after its blast and Summoned "Gearfried the Iron Knight", a monster with enough power to win him the Duel. He attempted to attack Marik directly but collapsed from the Shadow Game and was unable to continue to claim victory. Yami Marik was still reeling that he had nearly lost the Duel and gagged into his hands, though he recovered enough to gloat. As he left to recover, Kaiba stopped him and claimed that Yami Marik had revealed all of the secrets of "Ra", and that he held the card capable of defeating it. Yami Marik sarcastically wished him luck.
After he recovered, he returned to the Duel Tower gone to watch Yami Yugi's Duel with Kaiba. He noted what had happened, though he planned to kill both of them whatever the outcome. He was intrigued when both Duelists Summoned their Egyptian God cards, and shocked when the Millennium Rod activated again after the Gods destroyed one another, showing Kaiba and Yami Yugi the memories of Priest Seto. He smiled fiendishly after Yami Yugi won, ensuring that he would get the chance to kill him in a Shadow Game.
After the Duel, Yami Marik furiously demanded that the Rod show him what it had shown Kaiba and Yugi, and when it didn't respond, he tossed it away in frustration. Unfortunately for him, Téa Gardner, controlled by a fragment of Marik, claimed the Rod and blasted Yami Marik down, much to his confusion. As Marik held his dark half at Rod-point, Yami Marik realized that Marik had been able to control Téa due to his earlier possession of her, and he snidely pointed out that it was thanks to Odion that he'd re-emerged, distracting Marik long enough to disarm him. He began to subdue Marik, but was stopped by the arrival of Ishizu, and then Yami Yugi. Yami Marik decided to wait until it was time for his Duel to finish things and departed, laughing, but returning to the top of the Tower before Yugi did. As they prepared to Duel, Kaiba gave Yugi a card, which Yugi shuffled into his Deck. As they shuffled each other's Decks, Yami Marik taunted Yami Yugi, suggesting that he shuffle well so that "Ra" would end up at the bottom of his Deck.
Yami Marik turned his Duel with Yami Yugi in the finals into a Shadow Game that gave him a clear edge; when Yami Yugi lost Life Points, Yugi Muto's body would fade away, and when Yami Marik lost Life Points, the original Marik would fade away. While Yami Marik would survive if Marik didn't, if Yami Yugi lost, both he and Yugi would be destroyed. Discarding "Ra" on his first turn, Yami Marik helped Yugi get "Slifer the Sky Dragon" out so he could destroy it himself with "Ra", which he succeeded in doing with Egyptian God Phoenix. He reclaimed his "Monster Reborn" with "Zombie's Jewel", giving Yami Yugi a last chance to draw. Yami Yugi didn't even look at the card before he Set it, but Yami Marik wasn't interested. He brought out "Ra" again, this time using its Point-to-Point Transfer effect to raise its ATK and prepared to attack. He also revealed that he had taken the Millennium Ring from Yami Bakura, revealing that he was behind Bakura's disappearance to the group at large. When Yami Marik attacked, Yami Yugi revealed the card Kaiba had given him - "Fiend's Sanctuary", which forced Yami Marik to attack himself. Yami Marik was forced to use the "De-Fusion" that Yami Yugi had given him through "Exchange", separating himself from "Ra" and boosting his Life Points.
Yugi then Summoned "Obelisk the Tormentor" and attacked Yami Marik directly, badly injuring him, but this gave Yami Marik the opportunity to create a clone of it called "Egyptian God Slime". He used the Slime to stall until he could revive "Ra" to destroy "Obelisk", but Yami Yugi prevented this by using "Slifer" as a shield. Yami Marik simply re-revived "Ra" and began to boost its ATK, only for Yami Yugi to sacrifice the "Egyptian God Slime" to activate the effect of "Obelisk", boosting it to infinite ATK. Yami Marik blocked the attack with "Class System", and prepared to finish Yami Yugi off, attacking "Obelisk." Yami Yugi responded with "Ragnarok", that would destroy "Ra." Yami Marik warned Yugi that the move would likely destroy Marik as well, but as Yami Yugi hesitated, Odion, who had reawoken, arrived at the top of the Tower. As Yami Marik taunted Odion and blasted him with the Millennium Rod, Odion urged Marik to realize that he had to accept his responsibility for being a Tomb Keeper and the death of his father. With this confidence, Marik overpowered his evil self and urged Yami Yugi to attack him. Yami Yugi did so, destroying "Ra." The shock of the monster's destruction while Yami Marik was fused to it allowed Marik to retake control, putting Yami Marik in the position of the sacrifice. Yami Marik begged his other self to work with him, but his efforts were in vain. Marik forfeited, reducing his Life Points to zero and resulting in the ultimate destruction of Yami Marik.
Waking the Dragons
Yami Marik made another brief appearance in Mai's nightmares at the beginning of Waking the Dragons, a factor that had huge ramifications concerning her alliance with Doma. He also appeared as a spirit in the Valley of Lost Souls, when Yami Yugi journeyed there to find his other half.
Yami Marik appears in two flashbacks in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, when Syrus Truesdale mentions some of Yugi's exploits and tells Jaden Yuki about the Egyptian Gods and when Franz uses the counterfeit copy of "The Winged Dragon of Ra".
Yami Marik runs an Immortality-Torture Deck, which focuses on slowly torturing his opponents and him watching them squirm. In the theme of pain, Yami Marik's cards slowly drain his opponent's strength, such as discarding their hand with "Helpoemer", lowering ATK with "Dark Jeroid" and "Plasma Eel", and inflicting Burn damage with "Coffin Seller" and "Bowganian". Some of his cards, like "Nightmare Wheel" and the manga-exclusive "Viser Shock" and "Viser Des", are based on torture machines. Yami Marik's Deck otherwise relies on a variety of powerful Trap Cards and Fiend-Type monsters. With "The Winged Dragon of Ra" as his trump card, Yami Marik uses a variety of cards to discard it, then revive it with "Monster Reborn" to devastate his opponents. He further relies on retrieving "Monster Reborn" to his hand after using it initially to continue to revive "Ra" again and again, using cards such as "Left Arm Offering" and "Mining for Magical Stones". Yami Marik also uses some of the cards previously used by Rare Hunters such as "Revival Jam" and in the anime "Masked Beast Des Gardius".
- In the dub, Yami Marik's voice starts out distorted, but low-pitched; this is the same voice he had the first time he appeared in Marik's childhood. However, by the time of the quarterfinals, his voice had gained a higher pitch.
- In the dub, Yami Marik commonly calls Joey Wheeler "Little Joey". In the original version, Jonouchi has called him "Marik-chan", "-chan" being an honorific used for little children (and sometimes being translated in a similar manner to the dub name that Marik calls Joey).
- Yami Marik is very dependent for a main antagonist, relying on shadow games and Ra to win. This is shown in the 4 way duel, in which Yami Marik uses neither and is the first to be eliminated.