"The Next King of Games", known as "The One Who Succeeds Yugi" in the Japanese version, is the first episode of the Yu-Gi-Oh GX anime. It aired in Japan on October 6, 2004 and in the United States on October 10, 2005. An unspecified number of years after the end of Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters, the card game has become a worldwide phenomenon, with schools having been established for the purpose of training students to become professional duelists.
Jaden Yuki is a candidate to enter the prestigious main branch of Seto Kaiba's Duel Academy. To that end, he must take an entrance exam to qualify, and on his way there, he encounters Yugi Muto himself, who gifts Jaden with a "Winged Kuriboh" card. He ends up facing Vellian Crowler, one of Duel Academy's professors, in a Duel to gain entrance to the Academy.
Jaden Yuki is rushing through the streets. He is late to the entrance examinations for Duel Academy, as his train was late. He determines that it's simply another challenge that was presented to him, and states he's excited. As he runs, he sees he is about to collide with Yugi Muto, but is unable to stop. His Deck is scattered as he hits the ground. As he picks up his cards, Yugi asks if he's a Duelist. Jaden responds that he is, and that he's on his way to take a test for Duel Academy. Yugi takes out his Deck and picks out one card, which he calls a "lucky card". He states the card wants to go with Jaden. Jaden thanks him, and Yugi walks off, telling Jaden to do his best (in the dub, he tells him "good luck"). Jaden thanks him again, and Yugi turns slightly, giving Jaden a thumbs-up. Jaden looks at the card he was given, which is "Winged Kuriboh". The card appears to make a noise. Jaden resumes his run, throwing the card into his Deck case as he goes (in the dub, he states he can't be the next King of Games if he's late to the games; the Japanese version contains no dialogue at that point).
In a domed building, the exams are taking place. Several Duel fields are shown, with monsters such as "Gear Golem the Moving Fortress", "Big Shield Gardna" and "Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon" present. Narration explains that Duel Academy is a school for training elite duelists, and that skill exams are being held at Kaiba Land today (in the dub, a man's voice is added over a PA system, who tells those that have passed the exam to report to registration and telling those that failed "better luck next year"). Dr. Crowler sits with two other instructors (in the dub, his thoughts are heard, as he responds to the PA system, quipping "Good luck in Duel Monsters Community College"). At one of the Duel fields, "Leghul" is Summoned by the opponent of Syrus Truesdale. The exams are divided into written and practical, with only those applicants proving themselves through the written exams being allowed into the practical portion (in the dub, dialogue is instead inserted for Syrus, who states he's nervous with all the academy students watching and judging him. He wishes he was already enrolled. Then, the PA system states that this is the last call for applicants).
Outside, a man in a suit nods to two teachers dressed in white and orange (in the dub, he tells them to mark all the no-shows as no-shows). Jaden climbs over a nearby fence, covered in leaves. He introduces himself as examinee #110 (in the dub, he tells them to mark him as present). Jaden is allowed inside, where he watches one of the Duels. Bastion Misawa has "Vorse Raider", one Set card and 3200 LP, while the examiner has "Big Shield Gardna", "Gear Golem the Moving Fortress" and 1900 LP. The proctor claims that no matter how capable Bastion is, he can no longer lower his LP when playing against his "Super Defensive Deck" (in the dub, he instead gives Bastion a mock "multiple choice question"). Bastion activates his face-down "Ring of Destruction", destroying his own "Vorse Raider" and causing both players to take 1900 damage. This defeats the proctor, but leaves Bastion with 1300 LP. The proctor congratulates him on his win, and the applicant thanks him. Three male students dressed in blue talk with another. Taiyou Torimaki says that the #1 examinee, Bastion, is not half bad, while Raizou Mototani says that it was worth coming to see him after hearing the rumors. Chazz Princeton says that's nonsense, as the Duels here are set at a low level and that coming here was a waste of time. After all, Duel Academy needs only one king, not two (in the dub, he believes that they'll be better to him since they've been in "Duel prep school" for the past three years).
Jaden speaks with Syrus, saying that "number one"'s combo was amazing. Syrus responds that Bastion had the highest score on the written test. Jaden was unaware that that was what determined the numbers, while Syrus says that the final score depends on the combination of written and practical exam scores. He states he's unsure that they'll accept him. Even though he won his Duel, he's still examinee #119. Jaden tells him to relax and that he himself is #110 (numbers are omitted in the dub, and they both simply say that they "barely passed"). Syrus tells him that the Duels for the examinees in the hundreds have already ended (in the dub, Syrus mentions test anxiety, and has apparently already been accepted to Duel Academy). Two teachers agree that they need not debate about Bastion: he'll be accepted for sure (in the dub, they simply state that they have many good applicants this year). He was also the last examinee. The man from outside approaches Dr. Crowler, telling him that's one more applicant that arrived at the last minute (in the dub, he addresses Crowler as "Mr." and when Crowler questions that, he uses "Mrs" instead. Crowler then states he has a "PhD" in Dueling and has thus earned the title of Doctor). Crowler asks what his number was. Upon hearing that he was #110 and that he was late, he won't accept him; the academy has no need for dropout boys. Another teacher tells him that they have to let him take the test, since he was late due to his train being delayed (Jaden's reason for being late goes unmentioned in the dub). Crowler gets a call from Chancellor Sheppard, who tells him that he's aware of the late student. He instructs Crowler to let him take the test, low written score or not, as the school's objective is to gather a wide range of Duelists to train (in the dub, Sheppard states he doesn't want a repeat of last year-Crowler had cut one third of the applicants for addressing him as "Mr." or "Mrs."). Crowler believes the academy is built for the elite and does not understand why Sheppard is backing the "dropout boy" (in the dub, he goes so far as to call Sheppard a "furry-chinned windbag behind his back).
Crowler rises, announcing he'll Duel the examinee himself. Another professor tells him to wait and to please take an examination Deck. Crowler responds that he has no need for one - he'll use his own (in the dub, Crowler does not mention where he's going and simply says to leave the selection of opponent and Deck up to him). Bastion takes a seat in the stands, and Jaden tells him that he may be the second-toughest student to apply this year. Jaden is announced as the next person to Duel and he begins to walk to the arena. Bastion tells him to wait, and asks why he's number two. Jaden responds that it's because he's number one. Syrus questions why someone scoring only nine points higher than him would be so confident. Jaden arrives at the arena, and Crowler introduces himself as the acting Chief General Director of Practical Application (in the dub, Crowler is the "Chair of Department Techniques"). Jaden is honored to Duel him, and thinks Crowler must be expecting a lot out of him (in the dub, Jaden says he thought Crowler was some sort of "weird academy mascot"). The blue students from earlier wonder why Crowler would Duel him himself, and determine he must be quite talented (in the dub they are amazed at Jaden's audacity). Crowler engages his Duel Coat, which Jaden seems to think is quite cool. Jaden asks if he can buy a coat like that himself, with Crowler responded that high-ranking students have access to them, but thinking that a dropout boy shouldn't be concerned with it. The Duel begins. Jaden's opening hand contains "The Warrior Returning Alive", "Polymerization", "Hero Signal", "Draining Shield", "Monster Reborn" and "Elemental HERO Avian". Jaden Normal Summons "Avian" in Defense Position and Sets a card before ending his turn (in the dub, he tells Crowler to get "Get Your Game On!").
Crowler's opening hand is "Ancient Gear Golem", two copies of "Statue of the Wicked", "Heavy Storm", "Confiscation" and "Emes the Infinity". Crowler determines that Jaden is playing a HERO Deck, and supposes he could say Jaden was a small-town Hero of sorts. Crowler tells Jaden he'll show him how wide the world really is, and plays "Confiscation" (in the dub, he instead muses that he'll win for sure with his personal Deck). He pays 1000 LP to check Jaden's hand and force him to discard one card. The cards appears as holograms in front of Crowler, who states that this is truly a dropout boy's Deck (he calls him a "naive rookie" in the dub). Jaden wonders why he would scold the Deck he put his life into (he says nothing in the dub). Crowler chooses "Monster Reborn". Crowler Sets two cards and then plays "Heavy Storm", which destroys all Spell and Trap Cards on the field. Jaden's face-down "Draining Shield" and Crowler's two face-down "Statue of the Wicked" cards are destroyed. Jaden tells Crowler his cards were destroyed as well, and Crowler responds that that is called "being a frog in a well" (he tells Jaden not to speak out of turn in the dub). Crowler Special Summons two "Wicked Tokens". Syrus says he has no clue what happened, and Bastion explains that when "Statue of the Wicked" is destroyed, it Special Summons a token and that Crowler destroyed himself intentionally. One of the blue students says that that's no exam Deck - it's Crowler's own "Dark Ages" Deck (the term "Dark Ages" is not used in the dub). The believe that any examinee standing up to that Deck would be wishful thinking. Chazz states he thought the examinee was something special, but that he was mistaken (in the dub, he says he'll enjoy watching Jaden lose). Crowler will crush his hopes and dreams. Alexis Rhodes tells Zane Truesdale that she feels sorry for that examinee. Zane responds that thanks to #110, they may get to see the "legendary rare card" of the Dark Ages Deck.
Crowler declares that his turn is not over, and Jaden asks what he'll be shown this time. Crowler Tributes both tokens to Summon "Ancient Gear Golem" in Attack Position. Jaden says he heard rumors about that card, and Syrus is shocked to see a Level 8 monster so easily. Zane says that Crowler has never lost once he has successfully Summoned that card. He says he wouldn't have thought Jaden would have the power to make Crowler take the Duel seriously. Alexis responds that Crowler is rather fickle. She believes it's a shame that the academy's doors are now shut to Jaden, believing he has no chance (in the dub, they talk of Jaden's carefree attitude and Alexis says it's good Jaden is showing some backbone). Crowler laughs and declares his attack, destroying "Avian". Syrus says that "Avian" had no chance with only 1000 DEF and Bastion adds that that's not all - "Ancient Gear Golem" inflicts piercing damage. Syrus says that that monster defies the rules. Jaden's LP drop 2000, and Crowler asks if Jaden's lost his fighting spirit already. Jaden laughs in response, stating that he's touched that Crowler is fighting his hardest against him. Crowler's reasoning is that he never intends for a dropout boy like Jaden to enter the academy. Jaden thinks that this is where his true power will be put to the test (in the dub, he believes Crowler is impressed by him). As he moves to draw, he hears something. He draws, and sees it is "Winged Kuriboh". The picture on the card moves and winks at him. Jaden says he'll believe in him and Normal Summons it in Defense Position. Jaden Sets a card to end his turn.
Crowler says that Kuriboh may be a rare card, but it's only low-Level monster. He states that the fact it's in Defense Position matters not - it will still take piercing damage. He states that a small fry monster befits a smallfry like Jaden well (in the dub, he states Jaden made a good move, but it won't matter. Crowler is a "master technician). Crowler draws, and then attacks "Winged Kuriboh" with "Ancient Gear Golem". It's destroyed, and Jaden apologizes to "Winged Kuriboh", while Crowler questions why Jaden's LP didn't decrease (in the dub, he tells Jaden to "check his gear", implying he believed that Jaden's Duel Disk was broken). Jaden reveals that on the turn "Winged Kuriboh" is destroyed, all damage he takes becomes 0. Alexis is surprised that Crowler didn't know what the effect of "Winged Kuriboh" was, and Zane responds that there are some places that even the professors can't reach and that the Dueling world is boundless (in the dub, Zane calls the effect an "obscure technique" so it's believable that Crowler would not know it). Alexis says that that's why Dueling is so interesting. Crowler asks if that was the small fry monster's effect, and Jaden tells him he'll pay for insulting the friend who put his life on the line to protect him. Crowler asks why there would be a problem with him calling a throw-away monster a smallfry (he calls him "lame" in the dub). Jaden responds that the shriek of "Winged Kuriboh" is what will signal his other monsters to action. He activates his face-down "Hero Signal", Special Summoning what he calls his second "Elemental HERO" - "Burstinatrix". It appears in Attack Position (in the dub, he is less eloquent and simply activates the card).
Jaden begins his turn, drawing "Skyscraper". Jaden tells Kuriboh he's held on tight to the encouragement he gave him. He says that "Avian" will use his unyielding fighting spirit to come back from the dead, playing "The Warrior Returning Alive" to return "Avian" to his hand (in the dub, he simply explains the effect and plays the card). He then Normal Summons him in Attack Position. Crowler asks what good Jaden's fragile comic book Heroes will do - they're only Normal Monsters. Jaden states that "Avian" and "Burstinatrix" are only their temporary Normal Monster forms. He tells Crowler he'll be surprised to see their true form and activates "Polymerization" (in the dub, Crowler calls the Summoning of "Avian" an amateur mistake and Jaden simply says he wasn't done yet). He fuses "Avian" and "Burstinatrix" to Fusion Summon "Elemental HERO Flame Wingman" in Attack Position, which he calls his favorite card. Bastion says that "Flame Wingman" can only be Summoned via fusion and that its effect will inflict damage to the opponent equal to the ATK of any monster it destroys by battle. Syrus says that that may be true, but its ATK is still less than that of "Ancient Gear Golem". Bastion says that if Jaden is really #1, he'll work something out. Syrus responds that he'll actually be #110 (in the dub, Bastion calls Jaden and Syrus friends, and Syrus asks if they really seemed like friends). Crowler offers to give Jaden a special lecture. He states that cards like that are useless in this Duel and that Jaden would do well to remember that. Jaden says he'll be the one to teach Crowler something. Heroes have their own battle arena fit for them. He activates the Field Spell Card "Skyscraper". Skyscrapers rise around the Duel field, with "Flame Wingman" floating at the top of one of them, its arms folded. Jaden says that the stage is set and attacks "Ancient Gear Golem" with "Flame Wingman". Crowler explains that their ATKs are not even close. "Flame Wingman" dives towards "Ancient Gear Golem" and Jaden quips that Heroes always win. He reveals that "Skyscraper" increases the ATK of "Elemental HERO" monsters that battle with monsters that have higher ATK by 1000. "Flame Wingman" is engulfed in flames as it completes its dive, destroying "Ancient Gear Golem". Jaden tells Crowler that he'll now take damage equal to the ATK of "Ancient Gear Golem". Thus, Crowler's LP fall to 0 and "Ancient Gear Golem" literally falls apart on top of him. Jaden points at Crowler with two fingers and says "Gotcha!", telling Crowler that he thought the Duel was fun. Chazz's eyes pop, shocked that Crowler was just beaten by an examinee (in the dub, he states it must have been dumb luck). Alexis says that Jaden is pretty interesting, and Zane simply walks away (in the dub, she says that Jaden has a future at Duel Academy). Syrus cheers for Jaden, and Bastion thinks that Jaden may be a great rival. Jaden jumps around cheering, and then pulls out "Winged Kuriboh", telling it he'll be counting on it, and calling it "partner". Kuriboh winks in response.
|These Duels uses Yu-Gi-Oh! GX anime gameplay. Rules and card effects may differ from that of the TCG/OCG. See the individual card articles for more information.|
Syrus Truesdale vs. Examiner
After "Leghul" attacks directly, Syrus' side of the field becomes empty; what happened to his Set monster is unknown.
The rest of the Duel is not shown, but Syrus wins.
Bastion Misawa vs. Examiner
Duel is already in progress. Bastion has 3200 LP, "Vorse Raider" (1900/1200) in Attack Position and one Set card. The examiner has 1900 LP and controls "Big Shield Gardna" (100/2600) and "Gear Golem the Moving Fortress" (800/2200), both in Defense Position.
Bastion activates his face-down "Ring of Destruction" to destroy his "Vorse Raider" and inflict damage to both players equals to its ATK (Bastion: 3200 → 1300 LP, Examiner: 1900 → 0 LP).
Jaden Yuki vs. Vellian Crowler
Turn 1: Jaden
Jaden draws "Elemental HERO Avian". Jaden's hand contains "The Warrior Returning Alive", "Polymerization", "Hero Signal", "Draining Shield" and "Monster Reborn". He Normal Summons "Avian" (1000/1000) in Defense Position and Sets a card.
Turn 2: Crowler
Crowler draws "Statue of the Wicked". Crowler's hand contains "Ancient Gear Golem", two copies of "Statue of the Wicked", "Heavy Storm", "Confiscation" and "Emes the Infinity". He activates "Confiscation" to pay 1000 LP (Crowler: 4000 → 3000 LP), check Jaden's hand, and force him to discard a card from his hand. After seeing Jaden's hand, Crowler chooses to force Jaden to discard "Monster Reborn".
Crowler then Sets two cards and activates "Heavy Storm" to destroy all Spell and Trap Cards on the field. As both "Statue of the Wicked" cards were destroyed, Crowler activates the effect of both cards to Special Summon two "Wicked Tokens" (1000/1000 each) in Attack Position. Crowler then Tributes both "Wicked Tokens" to Tribute Summon "Ancient Gear Golem" (3000/3000) in Attack Position. "Ancient Gear Golem" attacks and destroys "Avian". "Ancient Gear Golem" inflicts piercing damage to Jaden (Jaden: 4000 → 2000 LP).
Turn 3: Jaden
Jaden draws "Winged Kuriboh" and subsequently Normal Summons it (300/200) in Defense Position. He then Sets a card.
Turn 4: Crowler
Crowler draws. "Ancient Gear Golem" then attacks and destroys "Winged Kuriboh". Due to the effect of "Winged Kuriboh", Jaden takes no Battle Damage from this battle and any Battle Damage Jaden would've taken for the remainder of Crowler's turn will be reduced to 0 (NOTE; In the game, this effect only works after WK is destroyed, meaning Jaden would still lose 2900 life points but nothing afterwards). Jaden then activates his face-down "Hero Signal" to Special Summon "Elemental HERO Burstinatrix" (1200/800) from his Deck in Attack Position.
Turn 5: Jaden
Jaden draws "Skyscraper". Jaden's hand contains "The Warrior Returning Alive" and "Polymerization". He activates "The Warrior Returning Alive" to add "Avian" from his Graveyard to his hand. He then Normal Summons "Avian" (1000/1000) in Attack Position. Jaden then activates "Polymerization" to fuse "Avian" and "Burstinatrix" to Fusion Summon "Elemental HERO Flame Wingman" (2100/1200) in Attack Position.
Jaden then activates "Skyscraper". Now when an "Elemental HERO" monster battles another monster whose ATK is higher, it will gain 1000 ATK during damage calculation only. "Flame Wingman" attacks "Ancient Gear Golem". The effect of "Skyscraper" activates during damage calculation ("Flame Wingman": 2100 → 3100 ATK). "Flame Wingman" destroys "Ancient Gear Golem" (Crowler: 3000 → 2900 LP). The effect of "Flame Wingman" then activates, inflicting damage to Crowler equal to the ATK of his destroyed monster (Crowler: 2900 → 0 LP).
- The opening shot of the episode (not including the opening theme in the Japanese version), which shows a clear shot of the sun mirrors the closing shot of the previous series. This can be for either one the dubbed closing shot (which is the last shot before the credits in Japanese version) shows a similar view of the sun from Egypt and the Japanese closing shot shows Yugi and his friends walking towards the sun in Domino City, where Jaden starts in this episode.
- Yugi giving Jaden a thumbs up as he walk away also mirrors Yami Yugi giving Yugi and his friends a thumbs up as he walks away in the last episode of the previous series.
- In the original Japanese version of this episode, Normal Monsters are referred to in their romanized name rather than the usual Japanese term, "Tsūjō Monsutā".
- Bastion is seen using "Vorse Raider" and "Ring of Destruction" in his Duel. Both cards were often used by Seto Kaiba. Both characters are voiced by Eric Stuart in the dub. Also, both cards' first appearance were during Kaiba and Yugi's Tag-Team Duel with Lumis and Umbra in where "Vorse Raider" was also targeted by "Ring of Destruction".
The following cards appeared in this episode. Cards in italics debuted here.
|Japanese character name||Japanese voice actor|
|Asuka Tenjoin||Sanae Kobayashi|
|Sho Marufuji||Masami Suzuki|
|Daichi Misawa||Yuki Masuda|
|Ryo Marufuji||Takeshi Maeda|
|Principal Samejima||Masami Iwasaki|
|Jun Manjome||Taiki Matsuno|
|Cronos de Medici||Hiroshi Shimizu|
|Winged Kuriboh||Mika Ishibashi|
|Blue Student A||Kenji Iwama|
|Yugi Mutou||Shunsuke Kazama|
|Other||Keiju Chino, Yukari Ema|