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 takeover of Marik's body.
Yami Marik's usual outfit consists of a long purple cape with a gold chain (similar to one worn by the Rare Hunters), a sleeveless black shirt and khaki pants. The latter two items of clothing were also worn by Marik in the manga, but he does not wear them in the anime, making where Yami Marik obtained his clothes from a trivial mystery. He wears gold earrings, neckwear, armbands and bracelets up his wrists. His hair is spiked upwards and points in all directions, though he retains the same wing-like fringes of Marik's hair, and he bears the Eye of Wdjat on his forehead. Whilst 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 often 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 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 for Yami Yugi's past or Seto Kaiba's past, something which his alter ego wanted to know. Also, unlike the true Marik, who had an actual goal fueled by a personal affliction towards the Pharaoh particularly, Yami Marik didn't seem to have any goal except for spreading pain and suffering like the sadist he is. Before being sent to the Shadow Realm (in the English dub), he did tell Marik that they could rule the world together. But it's debatable as to whether or not that was an actual goal he had, or if he was just trying to persuade Marik to free him from his predicament.
Aside from his lack of empathy, he also seems to be a sadist, building his Deck around torture-themed cards, and using the shadow powers to manifest them into reality, painfully hurting his opponents for his own pleasures. He even became dependent on his dark powers to win his duels, since he wouldn't have won his duel against Mai Valentine right away if it wasn't for Ra's Sphere Form, and in his duel against Joey Wheeler, he would have lost if Joey hadn't collapsed because of the torturing of Marik's "The Winged Dragon of Ra". During his last duel he even stated that he got the most pleasure torturing Yami Yugi.
In Noah Kaiba's Virtual World fortress, Yami Marik showed that he can be a reckless person, as he destroyed the fortress' computer, which was the only way of stopping the missile that was programmed to fire at the building. He also seems to enjoy thrill rides as he was seen smiling (with a bit of adrenaline rush) during the escape from the explosion.
Despite his cruelty and evil, he valued his own life dearly, and tried to murder Odion so he would not be sealed back in. He also tried to plead 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's" pain was transferred to him, he laughed scabrously and stated that he was enjoying the feeling. He also appears to consider himself as the "true" Marik. In the 4kids version of his duel against Mai he even explained Marik's biography as if it was his own, mentioning the ancient scriptures, guarding the Pharaohs tomb, and the supposed pain he suffered as a result. He could have just been toying with their minds since none of that was ever implied in the future at all and that these were actually pieces of Marik's history and that Yami Marik birthed from the pain, but did not endure it himself.
Yami Marik was shown to be very clever in his duels such as 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 Ra's abilities than his good side, he also outwitted his good side and Yami Bakura by changing most of the cards in his deck.
Yami Marik is shown to be clueless about advanced technology during the Virtual World arc as he was having trouble with a security pass-code when he pressed it, only to be denied.
Marik's name is also commonly read as Malik by fans. Some fans believe that it was made fairly obvious that it was meant to be romanized as "Malik", given the meaning of the name "Malik", and given the fact that Malik is a fairly common Arabic name. Additionally, "Malik" can be defined in Arabic as "the controller", "king", or "one who rules", a well-fitting name given his excessive use of the Millennium Rod, mind slaves, and his portrayal as a dominating villain. Marik Ishtar is known as "Malik Ishtar" in Indonesia.
Likely Marik comes from the fact that often "l" and "r" alternate in names from Japanese to English, though this was not necessarily the intended substitution.The substitution occurs because there is no 'l' in the Japanese language- the closest they have is 'r'.
Some speakers of Japanese, however, argue that 'Marik' is not meant as 'Malik', because the translation in Japanese isn't correct. If his name was Malik, and Kazuki Takahashi had translated it to Japanese, than the correct name would be 'Mariku', as there is no singular 'k' in the Japanese alphabet. Despite some fans arguing that the substitution of 'l' to 'r' from English to Japanese would mean that 'Malik' would become 'Marik', the entire name would've had to have been translated for this theory to be correct.
Marik is not the romanized version of Malik: Mariku is. This is why some fans say that Marik is simply meant to be Marik.
Malik is considered a correct Romanization of 3 different Arabic words. These include:
- (ملك) Malik (also Malek or Melik), an Arabic word and title, meaning "king", "monarch", and "sovereign". Notably not used as a given first name, but rather as a title.
- (مالك) Mālik (also Maalik), an Arabic word and name, meaning "owner", "proprietor", "proprietary", "possessor", and "holder". It is the the most common among the three to be used as a first name for a person, and its use as a name dates back to ancient times.
- (مليك) Malīk (also Maleek), can mean either of the two words above. Although mostly not used as a given first name.
If Marik's name was based on Arabic, then the second one (مالك) is the most correct equivalent naming-wise. It could have been chosen based on the meaning of the other two names though, as the three words are usually written with no clear differentiation in English.
Marik/Malik means "Master" in Hindi, these are common definitions and they are similar to the other languages.
Yami Marik was "born" from the pain 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, Yami Marik emerged for the first time (after Marik's forbidden trip to surface) to resist his father's punishment 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, she suffered the same strike. Yami Marik then proceeded to murder his father. In the manga, Yami Marik specifically skinned his father with the Rod's blade and then threw his father's back onto his adopted brother, Odion. In the Japanese anime, he killed his father to stop him from killing Odion (in the English anime he sent his father to the Shadow Realm). Yami Marik was then sealed away in Marik's body by Odion. Although it is likely that he continued to influence Marik for all of those years that Marik had been antagonizing the Pharaoh, because even after the death of his father, Marik was still a sad child and probably wouldn't have become so villainous if he didn't get some "help."
Yami Marik was released 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 "Ra's" hidden powers. 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. The manga presented it as the injuries from their monsters also being applied to them through realistic illusions (though the pain was real), while in the anime, when they lost Life Points, they lost memories. Mai traded blows with Yami Marik fairly equally, even taking "The Winged Dragon of Ra". When she proceeded to Summon the Dragon, 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 Wheeler. After winning, Yami Marik trapped Mai's soul, where she suffered a differing fate in between the anime and the manga; in the manga, several brain insects slowly devour her soft tissues, while she is slowly buried in sand in the anime. Regardless, she has little more than a day to live before the torture kills her. (in the English version, he banished her soul to the Shadow Realm). After this, Joey is determined to Duel Yami Marik and save Mai no matter how high the cost.
He watched the Duel between Ishizu and Kaiba, believing 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 it to Summon "Dark Ruler Ha Des" 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 "Winged Dragon's" ATK to 8549, then attacked to win the Duel. Marik tormented Bakura telling him that he will be in the darkness soon but Bakura claimed to be the darkness itself and vowed revenge before disappearing. The real Marik sealed himself in Téa Gardner's body and Bakura avoided death for both himself and his host via the part of his soul he had sealed in the Millennium Puzzle. 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 and see how the situation unfolded for most of the arc. He eventually got tired of waiting and took matters into his own hands, and decided that no one hurts Yugi before he does. He investigated Noah'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 with his Millennium Rod, they are easily dealt with. 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 broke it, so there was no way to stop the missile. Luckily, he and the others managed to get out in time.
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.
When he Dueled Joey during the semi-finals, he transformed the match 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"/"Viser Des." Joey managed to gain the upper hand with "Gilford the Lightning" until Marik Summoned "Ra," revealing its third power of Egyptian God Phoenix. 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 horrified that he'd almost lost the Duel, though he recovered enough to gloat. Kaiba in turn claimed he knew how to defeat "Ra."
After he'd recovered, he went 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. After the Duel, he 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, the original Marik had taken control of Tea Gardner, and he held his dark half at Rod-point. Yami Marik 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 the Yami Yugi. Yami Marik decided to wait until it was time for his Duel to finish thins and departed, laughing.
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," 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," seperating himself from "Ra" and boosting his Life Points.
Yugi then Summoned "Obelisk the Tormentor" and attacked Yami Marik directly, badly injuring him, but Yami Marik created 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, and prepared to finish Yami Yugi off, attacking "Obelisk." Yami Yugi responded with "Ragnarok"/Dimension Magic," that would destroy "Ra." While they Dueled, Odion woke up and made Marik 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 destroying Yami Marik.
Waking the Dragons
Yami Marik made another brief appearance in Mai's nightmares at the beginning of Waking the Dragons. 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 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 "Byser 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 "Magical Stone Excavation". 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".
- Yami Marik is the only antagonist faced by Yami Yugi to not actually be defeated by him, instead ending up being destroyed by the other Marik instead.
- Yami Marik is one of the few antagonists who die when they were defeated in their duel. The others are:
- Rather ironically, 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 to the dub name Marik calls Joey).