Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal – Vol. 2 by Shin Yoshida and Naohito Miyoshi (a J!-ENT Manga Review)
May 12, 2013 by Dennis Amith
“Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” is a manga series with card battles that young fans and even older fans may enjoy. The second volume starts to incorporate more characters, also establishing the storyline of Yuma’s key rival and antagonist, Kaito and feature more strategies of gameplay. So, the storyline does get a bit more exciting now that characters, storyline and the game are becoming more established. If you are a fan of card gaming and also a “Yu-Gi-Oh!” fan, definitely give “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” a chance!
Image courtesy of © 2010 Kazuki Takahashi, Shin Yoshida, Naohito Miyoshi. All Rights Reserved.
MANGA TITLE: Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal – Vol. 2
STORY AND ART BY: Shin Yoshida and Naohito Miyoshi
FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.
PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shonen Jump Manga
RATED: T for Teen
RELEASE DATE: December 4, 2012
Yuma finds out that the only way to help his brother return to normal is to collect all one-hundred Numbers Cards. The power these cards give to the Duelist who wields them is immense, and many other Duelists are seeking them. Yuma must face these “Numbers Hunters,” starting with the mysterious Kaito!
In 1996, Kazuki Takahashi would create a manga series about card games known as “Yu-Gi-Oh!”. Wanting to create a battle manga that was unique and not about fighting and a fan of tabletop role-playing games, Takahashi did not imagine how popular the series would be among fans worldwide.
With the original manga serialized in Sept. 1996 through 2004, the games have been popular among anime, manga and of course, the card gaming fans in America and also around the world. The series would spawn off various series (featuring manga adaptations by other artists/writers) such as “Yu-Gi-Oh! GX” (2005-2011), “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” (2008-2011) and most recently with “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” (2011-2012).
And now “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” is now released in America courtesy of Viz Media.
What is “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal”?
“Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” continues the card battling theme that the original series was most popular for. First featured in 2010 and then later serialized on “V Jump” magazine in 2011, the fourth “Yu-Gi-Oh!” series has received an anime adaptation and is currently airing in America on the Cartoon Network’s Saturday morning cartoon block, Toonzai, Vortexx and now on Nicktoons.
The series is set in the near future in a place called “Heartland City” and features a teenager named Yuma Tsukumo who wants to become the next “Duel Monsters” champion, but he has a while to go as he is only an amateur. One day after dueling against his rival Shark, a mysterious spirit known as Astral appears before him (no one else can see him) and gives him advice on how to win.
Astral explains that he needs Yuma’s help as he has lost all his memories, which have been transformed into 99 Xyz Monster cards known as Numbers and have been scattered all around the globe. It’s imperative they find the Numbers as duelist who possess them can gain abilities to combine their forces using the power of Zexal (the ability to combine monsters to create a more powerful monster) which can be dangerous in the wrong hands but also, each card can help bring back Astral’s memories.
And as the both Yuma and Astral form a partnership, unbeknown to the two is that a Numbers Hunter is going around battling people possessing a numbers card, but not only hunting down their card but also taking their soul.
This leads us to the second volume of “Yu-gi-Oh! Zexal”. We are introduced to the Numbers Hunter named Kaito, and find out that he is working with Mr. Heartland, who in turn is working with Dr. Faker who want to use the Numbers cards for their own selfish needs.
Dr. Faker and Mr. Heartland have Kaito trying to collect 100 Numbers as they said it would help make his young brother Haruto normal again. But in truth, he is being used by both Dr. Faker and Mr. Heartland.
As Yuma learns from his sister, details of a Numbers Hunter causing problems, one day both Yuma and Astral come across Kaito, the Numbers Hunter who has stopped time and challenges Yuma to a duel.
But both are quick to realize that Kaito is not just someone more powerful than Yuma when it comes to Zexal battles but Kaito also may be more powerful and knowledgeable about the game, even more than Astral.
And during their battle, Kaito easily demolishes Yuma (with Astral’s help) but before Kaito can end the game and defeat Yuma, he receives news about Haruto and thus Kaito ends the game early.
With Yuma depressed over his loss and knowing he does not have the cards to defeat Kaito, his friends Tetsuo Takeda, Kotori Mizuki, Tokunosuke Hyori, Takashi Todoroki and Cathy decide to form the Numbers Hunters Club and together with Yuma, help search for Numbers cards that will help get him the cards needed to take on Kaito, if they are ever to meet again.
But in order to do that, each of them must put themselves in harms way to get access to a Numbers Card. Are these young teens ready to take on the challenge?
The characters of “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal”:
- Yuma Tsukumo – The main protagonist and a boy with a never give-up attitude. Unfortunately, he is also an underachiever when it comes to school and duels. He dreams of becoming the Dual Monsters champion and he is able to work with Astral, a unknown being that assists him during battles.
- Astral – A mysterious spirit from another plane of existence who can be seen and heard by Yuma. He has lost his memories, which have been turned into Numbers cards and scattered around the world. He is unsure of his true purpose but by working with Yuma, he hopes he can help Yuma with his battles, while Yuma helps him by acquiring numbers to help regain his memory.
- Kotori Mizuki – Yuma’s childhood friend and classmate. She doesn’t like to duel but she has a crush on Yuma. She is very smart with computers.
- Tetsuo Takeda – Yuma’s friend and a skilled duelist who has beaten Yuta in dueling many times before.
- Takashi Todoroki – The class president of Yuma’s class and a friend.
- Tokunosuke Otomeura – A kid who has been bullied as young child, it has led to him playing dirty to win duels at times.
- Cathy – A shy girl who looks like a cat and has a crush on Yuma.
- Kaito – The Numbers Hunter who is trying to save his sick brother, Haruto by collecting 100 Numbers Cards. He is knowledgeable about the battles and overlaying Numbers cards.
The concept of “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” is one that will appeal not only to fans of the original series but those who are familiar with RPG video games such as “Shin Megami Tensei” (especially the “Persona” series), as the goal is to combine monsters and in this case, using monsters and creating an overlay network via Zexal and creating something new and powerful.
For example, in volume 2, Kaito summons a level 3 Light Serpent and a Level 3 Plasma Ball, overlay the two level 3 monsters to create a rank 3 Giga-Brilliant monster with a larger attack. But also with Kaito’s skills and owning multiple Numbers cards, he is able to release two summon two monsters with attacks over 2,000, releasing them and summoning them to create Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon with a 3,000 ATK.
If anything, this volume shows how smart Kaito is as an opponent because he can keep combining/releasing Numbers cards in order to gain something even more powerful. And the fact is that Yuma and even with Astral’s help, does not have enough Numbers cards to go on a one-on-one battle with Kaito effectively.
Not only does this up the level of the game (especially those playing the actual real world game of “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal”) and also make it more challenging but it’s definitely an intriguing twist for “Yu-Gi-Oh~” card gaming fans.
It’s important to note that with each volume purchased of “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” an exclusive card is featured. In this case, an ultra rare Blackship of Corn card is included with volume 2.
Overall, “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” is a manga series with card battles that young fans and even older fans may enjoy. The second volume starts to incorporate more characters, also establishing the storyline of Yuma’s key rival and antagonist, Kaito and feature more strategies of gameplay. So, the storyline does get a bit more exciting now that characters, storyline and the game are becoming more established.
If you are a fan of card gaming and also a “Yu-Gi-Oh!” fan, definitely give “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” a chance!
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