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Astral and Yuma Tsukumo


The fourth series in the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise. (The title is pronounced "zay-al" in the Japanese version and "zek-sul" in the English dub.)

The story takes place in the futuristic city of Heartland, possibly in a future after the events of the previous series. The star is Yuma Tsukumo, a 13 year-old middle school student who tackles life and dueling with everything he has, despite lacking skill. While his duel skills aren't impressive, his love for Dueling can't be matched.

One day, Yuma is forced to duel the local rising Dueling ace, Ryoga "Shark" Kamishiro, and in the middle of their duel, a mysterious blue person, Astral, appears before Yuma, invisible to anyone else, and directs Yuma to victory against Shark. Astral has lost all of his memories but Yuma's card Number 39: Utopia (as well as the other Number Cards that seem to be oddly falling into other people's procession) are the key to getting them back. Astral is also connected to the pendant Yuma wears, which was a gift from his archeologist parents. With Yuma's passionate heart, and Astral's brilliant dueling skills, the two work together to get back Astral's memories, all the while as Yuma begins to grow as a Duelist (and a person.)

Replacing the D-Wheels of the previous series and Duel Disk models are the brand new D-Gazers and D-Pads, an eyeglass piece along with the new model of Duel Disk for Augmented Reality duels, which allow for more visual destruction of the environment, giant score cards for life points, and an overall enhanced dueling experience. They still use real cards, instead of virtual ones, for some reason.

The dub is being produced by 4Kids! Entertainment (despite the little tiff between the two companies) and airs on The CW 4Kids Toonzai in the U.S. A subtitled version is also available on Toonzaki.


  • The Abridged Series: It has one found here.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The English dub uses a different theme song.
  • Aliens Speaking Japanese: Astral. Subverted in Yuma and Shark's tag duel, when Astral mixes up the Japanese word for "cheating" or "counterfeit" with the word for "somewhat."
  • Anime First: Unlike GX and 5D's, this is averted for this series, as the manga made it out before the anime.
  • Anime Hair: Like with the other leads, people are currently debating what animal Yuma's hair resembles. Guesses include lionfish, shrimp, lobster, and spider.
    • Multicolored Hair: Just about everyone, with Yuma and Akari's mother as one of the only exceptions.
      • Even she seems to have it, only it's veeeeeeerrrry subtle and is only shown for about 3 seconds.
  • Antimatter: Xyz monsters, and Numbers cards by inclusion, are said to be composed of antimatter, which is a possible reason Dr. Faker believes that they would destroy the universe.
  • Anti-Villain: Kaito might be stealing Numbers cards and souls, but it's to save his little brother from a mysterious illness.
  • Augmented Reality: Duels in this series are portrayed using AR eyepieces instead of holograms.
  • Battle Aura: When ever a Duelist uses a Number monster and gets possessed by its power, a dark purple emits from them.
  • Battle in the Rain: While the rain has slowed to the point of not moving, it still counts during Kaito and Yuma's first duel.
  • The Beautiful Game: Gets the spotlight in episode 27, with soccer playing Kakeru and his own problems with the game.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Neo Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon's summon sequence runs on pure Rule of Cool. It involves no less than three explosions, a wormhole (which explodes), another wormhole (which explodes), and a galaxy (which explodes). One can only imagine how much of the special effects budget got poured into this sequence.
  • Bilingual Bonus: With Shark Drake Vice. 'Vice' could also be translated as 'Weiss', German for 'white'. Shark Drake Vice is clad in white armor.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The whole point to Tokunosuke Omoteura's character and perspective. Although after Yuma beats and befriends him, he gets better.
    • IV's public persona is one of a gentle, fan loving champion, as opposed to his true, devilish personality.
  • Bigger on the Inside: The Emperor's Key houses a large mechanism of cogs and wheels. Astral says it's a space ship.
  • Body Horror: No.96 and it's method of possession.
  • Body Snatcher: No. 96 does this to Astral in episode 20 as well as Yuma. Although Yuma fakes the extent to which he is possessed though to mislead No 96, for Tetsuo in the duel
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Tetsuo and Cathy have borrowed Yuma's Kattobingu catch phrase. Charlie as well, but he learned it from Yuma's father, Kazuma.
    • It seems that Yuma himself borrows this from his Father, and it has become something of a family motto. To the point of Akari and Yuma being hilariously over the top by saying to do Kattobingu, while giving each other an intense high five, the phrase has importance to both of them.
  • A Boy and His X: Yuma's basic relatinoship with Astral.
  • Broken Ace: Shark was so afraid of losing in a national tournament, he looked at his opponents cards sprawled out on the table after he left the room. After being disqualified for cheating, his failure there haunted him so bad he quit dueling.
  • Catch Phrase: Kattobingu! (fan translation: "Bring it to 'em!")
    • In the dub, it's "I'm feeling the flow!" And, when starting a duel, "Get set to get decked!"
    • Also there's Takashi's "To summarize".
    • Blind Idiot Translation: There were at least three alternative translations of 'kattobingu', the one stated above, the 'standard' one (the one used the most) "I'll Rise to the Sky!" and the funniest being one sub of the first episode had him saying "I'm pop flying!" Another fansub group has "I'll do kattobingu!" [1]
      • Even the official subs translate it as "I'm Kattobing," which may imply that it has no translation or meaning at all.
      • Cathy borrows it and mutates it into "Cattobingu", which, while a clever way to work it into her Catgirl theme, makes even less sense than the ordinary catch phrase.
  • Calling Your Attacks: "SHINING DRAW!"
  • Captain Obvious: Astral can be this a lot with his observations. Yuma even calls him this is episode 2 of the English dub.
  • Chaste Hero: Yuma shows that in a pretty hilarious way. In Episode 9 he repeatedly interrupts Cathy trying to confess to him during a duel only to beat her in it. Even Astral notices afterwards: "Observation #11: It seems Yuma still doesn't understand the thoughts of females."
  • Clip Show: Episode 25.
  • Conspicuous CGI: Used for several monsters, especially during summoning or attack sequences.
  • Continuity Nod/Continuity Porn: Episode 15 featured nearly every major card used by the main characters of the the original and the GX era as wooden statues. Yuma, Tetsuo, and hardcore duelist fans who had watched the original had a Nerdgasm when the 'statue duel' brought the original ace cards (Blue-Eyes, Red-Eyes, Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl) to life.
    • In continuance of tradition, The Hero's ace monster has Attack and Defense of 2500 / 2000 and takes 2 monsters to summon under normal circumstances.[2]
  • Cool Big Sis: Akari, literally being the hero's older sister.
    • Tetsuo's sister Tetsuko as well. Compared to Tetsuo and his similarly-statured mom, she looks pretty good.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Cathy in her Cat-chan persona is pretty nuts and has an entire herd of cats.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Cathy shows up in the background of a number of shots quietly watching Yuma before her formal introduction.
    • The trash robots of the city, which are first seen straight from episode one. One of them called Obomi gets the focus for an episode, however, the most notable part is the robots dump the trash they receive at the end of the day into a large hole like a garbage dump, where the torrents of trash are used to cause destruction to beings in another dimension(s)
  • Conspicuous CGI: Most of the Numbers, Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon on occasion, and Neo Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Shark utterly destroys Yuma, even after Yuma breaks his word that he wouldn't use Numbers in the Duel. He ends up making a costly mistake and losing when Shark eggs him on about it.
    • Yuma and Astral together face one of these when Kaito utterly destroys them, and if not for Haruto falling ill and calling out for his brother, they would have lost.
    • There's also Yuma and Takashi's off-screen duel where Takashi wins without losing any of his Life Points.
  • Creepy Child: Haruto
  • Deer in the Headlights: Every time Kaito is mentioned, and when Astral sees him in episode 16, he suddenly clams up and finally admits to himself that he is deathly afraid of him.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Tokunosuke. This is discussed in regards to Shark. Yuma insists they are friends because people go from being strangers to being friends once they've dueled. Shark is initially skeptical, but the two eventually do become friends through a tag duel.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "No. 39 Hope, King of Hope." The English card's name changes it to "Number 39: Utopia."
    • This can be subverted as well on No. 39 it all depends on how you translate Kibō'ō which the example above translates as "king of hope". The Yu-Gi-Oh! Wikia page translates it as Aspiration Emperor/King and one of the fansubbing groups translates Kibō'ō as Aspiring Emperor, it all depends on the translation.
    • In the dub, Cathy gets a last name - Catherine.
  • Deal with the Devil: We don't know yet what this deal pertains, but its pretty clear that Yuma is supposed to lose something dear to him in exchange.
  • Do-Anything Robot: Orbital 7 can slow down time to the point it appears to have stopped, turn into a hand glider, and hold Kaito's duel disk for him.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Yuma does not like tomatoes. To the point he would duel someone to prevent them from making a tomato theme park. Then he eats a tomato and loves it, teaching Yuma about the importance of not hating vegetables he doesn't eat all the time.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The gate Yuma opened at the end of the first episode releases all of the numbers, most of whom take people over and make them evil, with the exception of the one Yuma gets which is "Hope, King of Hope." Releasing various evils? And Hope being released with them? Now doesn't this sound familiar to the story of Pandora's Box?
  • Double Knockout: The duel equivalent of this occurred during Astral's duel with Kaito. It ended in both life points hitting 0
  • The Dreaded: Kaito is this to Astral.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Akari drives like this. Shark is also a little reckless on his motorcycle.
  • Driving Stick: Episode three had almost everything electronic shut down or BSOD because of a virus started by a hacker Villain of the Week, which included electronic cars. Akari is then shown driving a Manual Car complete with gratuitous footage of the transmission.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Most Numbers holders are varying degrees of this, ranging from exaggerated negative traits to out right psychopathy, because the Numbers plant darkness in the hearts of it's holders. This can be prevented by sheer force of will, or various other methods of handling Numbers cards, such as Photon Hand.
  • Dub Name Change: This is dubbed by 4KidsEntertainment, so of course.
    • Kotori Mizuki > Tori Meadows
    • Tetsuo Takeda > Bronk Stone
    • Ryoga Kamishiro > Reginald Castle (though his nickname of "Shark" is retained)
    • Akari Tsukumo > Kari Tsukumo
    • Takashi Todoroki > Caswell
    • Ukyo Kitano > Mr. Kay
    • Tokunosuke Omoteura > Flip
    • Taichi > Spencer
    • Fuya Okudaira > Nelson Andrews
    • Rikuo > Scorch
    • Kaio > Chills
    • Ginji > Weasel
    • Kaito Tenjo > Kite Tenjo
    • Haruto Tenjo > Hart Tenjo
    • Rokujuro > Roku
    • Yamikawa > Kaze
    • Jin > Fortuno
    • Mirai Tsukumo > Mira Tsukumo
    • Tetsuko Takeda > Brianna Stone
    • Obomi > Lilybot
  • Duel to the Death: If Yuma duels against someone with a Numbers Card, Astral's existence is tied to Yuma's life points. The more damage Yuma takes, the more Astral begins to fade out of existence, and should Yuma lose, Astral would die.
  • Duels Decide Everything: Well, this is a Yu-Gi-Oh! series.
  • Dumb Is Good: Yuma so much. This trope is played straight when he just utterly loses against Shark because of his own stupid mistakes, despite trying to do the right thing.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: You can see Cathy in the background of the first eight episodes (as well as a small scene in the opening), and notice that she never joins in on anything negative against Yuma, before her introductory episode.
  • Earthshattering Kaboom: Astral has a vision of this in episode 20.
  • Evolving Credits: The first opening has Takashi, Tokunosuke, and Cathy being added to the group that Yuma's shown walking to school with after their introductions.
    • And in the first ending, Kotori's clothes keep changing: from her school clothes to yukatas to casual wear.
  • Excited Series Title
  • Expy: Yuma looks like a cross between Juudai of Yu-Gi-Oh GX and a Beyblade hero.
    • As soon as 5Ds fans got a glimpse of Yuma, they declared that he was Yusei and Aki's lovechild.
    • There has been reports of the screen thing on Yuma's wrist having extreme similarities with something from Bakugan.
    • Astral looks like Neo-Spacian Twinkle Moss from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, with a relationship to the protagonist not unlike Yubel.
    • Yuma's relationship with Astral seems to be intentionally designed to draw parallels to that of Yugi and Dark Yugi from Yu-Gi-Oh.
      • And it's not just his relationship with Astral, either. He's a boy with an artifact and a legacy deck, who lives with a grandparent and shares a close bond with a female childhood friend.
    • Tokunosuke Omoteura draws a lot of similarities from Weevil Underwood. They both look similar, they're both viewed as creepy by the female cast and they both have a sneaky nature, such as tricking their opponent's into taking their cards and taking advantage of it during their duels.
    • Fuya Okudaira has a similar concept to Tomoya Hanasaki from Season Zero. Both are hero impersonators who have different characters when they change into their hero persona, and both have problems with the way their parent try to fix this.
    • Kaito Tenjo: Hmm. Badass Longcoat? Check, Morality Pet little bro? Check. Adopted by some dude in a suit who's using them to his own gain? Check. Big, Badass LIGHT Dragon with 3000 ATK? Double Check. Even his Mons (Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon) point to being an Expy of Blue-Eyes White Dragon.
    • Similarly, Tron: The second major antagonist, an eccentric rich boy with a taste for cartoons and something on his left eye? Oh my.
    • Gagaga Magician and Gagaga Girl, anybody who's watched the original series knows about this one.
    • IV looks oddly like the Galactic Pretty Boy of Star Driver.
    • Hell, the World Duel Carnival could be considered an Expy of Duelist Kingdom. 5 wins to get to the finals? The man setting it up is after series Mcguffins? Check and check.
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Rikuo and Kaio.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Yuma and Shark seem to finally be friends after their Tag-Team Duel, due to Yuma's constant protection of his life points and defense of Shark's own personal failings in front of their opponents. Shark even lets Yuma keep the card he trusted him with to win the duel.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Forgotten Childhood Friend: Anna. Subverted, it turns out the guy she was friends with, who she thought was Yuma, was actually some other kid named Yuya.
  • Forgotten Superweapon: Every so often, Yuma seems to forget about his cards' effects and begin to panic over the opponent's actions, even though he has every card he needs to survive. Most pronounced during his duel with Droite and Gauche, where he finds himself on the brink of despair for apparently having no options left after his last draw, only for Astral to show up and guide him to victory with cards he already had in play.
  • Freudian Excuse: The reason why Tokunosuke was deceptive is because when he was younger, a group of kids tricked into duels using the ante rule and took his cards. After he found out what they were doing, he used dirty tricks against them and took back his cards. From then on, he thought everything and everyone had a hidden motive.
    • All of the Numbers cards seem to bring about this sort of mentality, bringing out the darkest emotions a person has and using them to justify crazy actions.
  • Friendship Moment: Astral wants to surrender so that Yuma may save his friends, at the cost of his own life, but Yuma angrily replies that he would never sacrifice Astral, because Astral is also one of his precious friends.
  • Fusion Dance: Xyz Change ZEXAL, a Type 2 (power booster) Fusion with Yuma and Astral.
  • The Gambler: Charlie fits this description perfectly, with his charm and incredibly high luck involving dice related cards.
  • Gamblers Fallacy: Astral commits this fallacy during Yuma's duel with Charlie. He continually points out the low odds of Charlie rolling a six, given that he has already rolled so many in a row. While it is technically true that rolling a high number of sixes in a row is very unlikely, the odds of rolling a single six never change, so his chances are the same as always, barring his ability to manipulate the roll.
  • Genre Savvy: Kaito knows people expect him to play an Xyz monster, just like everyone else, so instead he uses cards that require special summoning and fusion monsters.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Yuma does this to Astral, despite ending up going through him when Astral says he doesn't want to die in a duel, since he's not 100% he can win, so they should forget about his friends being held hostage. It works, since Astral follows Yuma to the duel.
    • Kotori does this to Yuma when he starts to break down over not being able to get into the building where they're keeping the Emperor's key.
  • Gotta Catch Em All: When a Numbers is defeated in a duel by Yuma, Yuma gains it and Astral gains a piece of his memory back.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: The end of episode 14.
  • Gratuitous English: Charlie's "Life is carnival!" catchphrase, which itself is from the gratuitous English motto of the World Duel Carnival.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Yuma keeps ending up eating meals with people who are technically his enemy, as well as having in depth, and personal conversations with them on more or less friendly terms.
  • Go Through Me: Shark will not let Kaito take Yuma's Emperor Key without a fight. Sadly, it's a fight that he loses.
    • In the Emperor's Key, Number 39: Utopia pulls this when Number 96: Black Mist attempts to attack Astral.
  • Heel Face Turn: Shark's a far better person then what he was in episode 1.
  • Heroic BSOD: Astral and Yuma both have one after Kaito destroyed them in a life or death duel, and suddenly left them alive to go save his brother. Astral starts having one when he realizes Kaito's dueling outdoes his own in every aspect, and quietly just begins to clam up, while Yuma loses it in front of Kotori, screaming about how he can never achieve his goals with his own weakness.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Remember the bit from the original series where Kaiba tries to hack into Pegasus' computer and it ends up looking like "a really boring computer game?" Episodes three and four revisit that idea, with Yuma's sister Akari going through a sort of RPG-style dungeon and even a boss fight as she tries to track down and stop a computer virus.
  • Hostage for Macguffin: Kaito Tenjo does this by stealing Tetsuo's soul in the manga to get Yuma's Emperor's Key.
    • Jin does this by holding his friends hostage over a pit of lava to make Yuma duel him.
  • Hot-Blooded: What makes Yuma unique among the other Yu-Gi-Oh! protagonists is that he's beyond hot blooded when it comes to dealing with everything, especially dueling. Life better watch out, cause he'll bring it to 'em.
  • Hot Mom: Mirai Tsukumo, Yuma's mother. Also Kotori's mom, causing her classmates to openly wonder if she'll look like that some day (earning them a glare from her).
  • Howl of Sorrow: Yuma has one of these at the end of episode 14, after realizing that even he and Astral together were not enough to stop someone as frightening as Kaito
  • Humanoid Aliens: Astral
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode is labeled as a "Numbers."
  • Idiot Hero: Yuma.
    • Episode 12 finally shows him using his brain a bit (with help from one of Shark's cards) without Astral needing to tell him everything to do...
  • Informed Attribute: We are TOLD that Kaito does not enjoy dueling for people's souls, but we are SHOWN that he has a constant Slasher Smile on his face and seems to go about ripping out souls with a similar glee that a small child would have ripping off the wrapping from Christmas presents.
  • It's Personal: Shark feels this way when it comes to IV. IV, Shark's opponent in the finals of a tournament, is implied to have set up an accident involving someone very close to Shark. Using Shark's emotional instability from promising to win for that person, he purposely set up his deck to fall over, so that Shark would cheat.
  • Ill Girl: Charlie's niece, Mayumi, which is why he stole No.7 from the museum. He got it so she'd have all the luck in the world to get better from her upcoming operation.
  • Ineffectual Loner: Kakeru is this when it comes to dueling and soccer, but he gets better.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite Tetsuo being a jerk to Yuma usually, he found the other half of Yuma's prized pendant, after it was broken, and the other half was kicked into a far away bush.
    • Continuity Porn: Which perfectly mirrors how Jonouchi met Yugi in the manga: Yugi was about to step up to Ushio for beating up Jonouchi and Honda, Jonouchi decided to dive into the school pool and search for the last Millennium Puzzle piece that he had thrown in there earlier.
  • Kick the Dog: Shark smashing Yuma's Memento MacGuffin and throwing half of it into a bush.
  • Kid Hero: Yuma.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The number cards all carry some of Astral's memories, and he will not have them all back until Yuma gets all 100. When he first appears, Astral has only Number 39: Utopia and only remembers Duel Monsters until No 17. Leviathan Dragon comes into Yuma's procession, after which he remembers his own name, and each new Number Card allows him to remember a little bit more every time.
  • Large Ham: Dr. Faker shows up for less then a minute and makes this impression with his over the top laughing and speech.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Yuma's preferred battle strategy, much to Astral's chagrin.
  • Letter Motif: Yuma's deck theme is "monsters with repetitive names", like Gagaga Magician and Gogogo Golem.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to 5D's pre-episode 64 setting, Zexal's Heartland is a Sugar Bowl.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Fuya is the second type, Cathy is the first type.
  • Lost in Character: Fuya Okudaira/Different Dimension Esper Robin.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Cathy is pretty nuts until Yuma gives her some attention.
  • MacGuffin: The Emperor's Key.
  • Matryoshka Card: Housaku Yasai uses a card called "Tomato Matryoshka" which allows him to summon another "Tomato Matryoshka" from his hand or deck when it is Normal Summoned.
  • Mega Manning: Whenever Yuma beats another person with a Number Card, he adds it to his collection, though the real reason for this is Astral regaining his memories.
  • The Magic Poker Equation: A series staple, of course, but especially noticeable this time around due to the hoops characters jump through to summon their signature Xyz monsters early in the game.
    • Particularly odd in the tag duel against Kaio and Rikuo/Chills and Scorch, as the protagonists first suspect foul play because the hands they've played are too good. It's weird because in real life, that would be suspicious; but in this show, that's just Saturday.
    • Somewhat subverted with Zexal's power, Shining Draw. It's heavily implied that it allows Yuma to create a "Zexal Weapon" card on the spot, which explains why the effects of these cards happen to be just designed to get Yuma out of trouble.
  • Magic Skirt: Most of Kotori's outfits have this, including the school uniform, which Cathy also wears.
  • Magnetic Hero: Commented on when his teacher compares him to the sun of a solar system.
  • Manipulative Bastard: IV intentionally arranged his deck to fall, setting up Shark to peek at him and get him disqualified from the Nationals.
  • The McCoy: See Hot-Blooded.
  • Meaningful Name: Tsukumo (written as 九十九) means 99, referring to the 99 Numbers. Double Subverted by the fact that there are 100 numbers, but only 99 were actually lost.
  • Memento MacGuffin: The Emperor's Key, treasured by Yuma since it was a gift from his parents.
  • Merchandise-Driven
  • Mismatched Eyes: By virtue of their D-Gazers, everyone gains two eye colors. It seems like this was intentional on the part of the producers. Astral has them naturally (one gold, one glowing white) after the first episode.
  • Mistaken Identity: Anna thinks Yuma was her childhood love who snubbed her. Turns out he wasn't, and she ended up attacking him over a case of mistaken identity.
  • Monster of the Week: The Numbers monsters.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Gagaga Girl is an Expy of the Dark Magician Girl, the Ms. Fanservice of the franchise, and looks just like her in a darker colored outfit. The internet has definitely taken notice, but only time will tell if she'll become as popular or sexualized.
  • My Name Is Not Durwood: Episode 2 of the anime. Astral refers to his partner as "Tonma" (chowderhead) in a monotone, despite Yuma's protesting.
  • Mythology Gag: There are many of these to Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Monsters, such as Astral's relationship with Yuma paralleling that of Yugi and Dark Yugi.
    • Many of the ace cards of the previous characters and protagonists of the previous series show up again as statues in the Duel Lodge in episode 15. Yuma even briefly becomes the Black Magician, similarly to Yugi in the duel against Bakura.
    • When an underwater Field Spell is activated, Yuma thinks he's drowning. This is a reference to Juudai doing the same in episode 38 of Yu-Gi-Oh GX. Yuma does it again when an outer-space Field Spell is activated.
  • Near Villain Victory: Subverted. Astral and Yuma could not defeat Kaito, and the duel ended not because they turned it around, but because Kaito left them to go to his ill brother's side. Naturally, this shook them up incredibly hard.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands
  • No Pronunciation Guide: The Japanese version has the "x" in "Zexal" be silent, while the dub pronounces it.
  • Not Brainwashed: Yuma and Astral figure Cathy is under the influence of a Numbers card like the other antagonists so far. Nope, she's just a Stalker with a Crush.
  • Numerical Theme Naming: III, IV, and V are all brothers and are named after Roman numerals. Oddly enough, Tron, their father, is not named for a number.
    • It's later revealed that those are code names. Tron's name is Byron Arklight, V is Chris Arklight and III and IV's true names have yet to be revealed.
  • Oblivious to Love: Yuma doesn't seem to understand Cathy is in love with him and that she's trying to get his attention. Even Astral, an alien, notices this.

 Astral: Observation #11: Somehow Yuma doesn't seem to be able to understand girls' feelings.

  • Obviously Evil: Dr. Faker
  • Oddly-Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Kaito and Gauche towards Yuma although they're both more interested in defeating Astral.
  • Old Master: Rokujuro
  • "On the Next Episode of..." Catchphrase: "I'm kattobing!"
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: Episode 27 is more like a soccer anime then a show about trading cards, complete with everyone wearing uniforms. Even the monsters wear them.
  • Parental Abandonment: Surprisingly averted, Yuma's parents are Adventurers, so despite being away, they are still mentioned and Yuma keeps a picture of them in his room.
  • Parental Substitute: Fuya sees his Number 83: Galaxy Queen as his mother.
  • Protagonist Centred Morality: Tokunosuke makes fake Heart Pieces out of candy and trades them with an innocent bystander for the real thing, then makes up the difference in numbers with more fake pieces in an attempt to make the second round. Why does he escape being expelled from the tournament for life? Yuma, his friend, jumps in and champions his cause, regardless of the punishment both being appropriate for the crime and sounding rather similar to the one used in real-life tournaments.
  • Psychic Powers: Jin
  • Put on a Bus: Despite starring prominently in the first opening, Fuya hasn't been seen again since his 2 first episodes.
    • The Bus Came Back Fuya returns in episode 45, and is forced to duel against Gauche.
  • The Power of Friendship: This is a Yu-Gi-Oh! series; it's to be expected.
    • The literal power of Friendship gives Yuma and Astral the ability to summon Number C39: Utopia Ray.
  • The Power of Hate: After seeing IV, and having some darkness put in his heart from dueling III, Shark is running off pure hate for IV, and dueling very violently. Yuma puts a stop to that.
  • The Power of Love: In episode 9, Yuma's concern for Kotori allows him to duel competently without Astral's help.
  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Yamikawa
  • Quest for Identity: The main plot is recovering Astral's memory by defeating Number monsters.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Yuma and Astral.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Baby Tragon, if only for it being the most expressive monster in any of the series so far by reacting to everything the duelists said and did.
  • Robot Buddy: Obomi is Yuma and friends buddy, and lives with Yuma after her introductory episode.
  • Schedule Slip: Dub only- reruns begin after Episode 8.
  • Screw the Rules I Have Plot
  • Series Continuity Error: In episode 43, Kaito's Photon Pressure World did not activate when he summoned Photon Kaiser, even though it was established in the card's text that it was not an option.
  • Shonen Hair
  • Shout-Out: Episode one has many to the Yu-Gi-Oh! Card Game itself. The cards themselves look near identical to the cards printed in Real Life, using the brown-and-black spiral vortex instead of the previous series' brown-with-black-dot (though the dub photoshops these into the latter version, presumably due to the anti-advertising laws that demanded the card fronts not look like the real thing in previous series). In Episode 2, Yuma's Monster Reborn card seems to have come from a Gold Series pack, judging by its distinctly dark yellow border.
  • Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: For the most part, this is averted, although Tetsuo lampshades this when they've been at the Duel Lodge for a while, asking how long they would be there for.
  • Show Within a Show: Different Dimension ESPer Robin.
  • Slouch of Villainy: Kaito in episode 17 and 18, or rather, a life like doll of Kaito set up because Jin is insane and worships it
  • Something Something Leonard Bernstein: The first theme song, Masterpiece starts out with an incredibly fast rap that was slowed down for the TV size, to the point where you can only sing along to the chorus.
  • Speak in Unison: Yuma and Astral have done this. The best example of this is when Yuma and Astral finish the duel against Jin completely speaking in unison.
  • The Spock: Astral. He is clear-minded person and a highly intelligent duelist. Being from another universe, he doesn't quite human emotion and thus has a hard time understanding Yuma. He continually makes observations about humans, much to his partner's annoyance.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Yuma himself. The only duelists besides him that get any sort of development are Shark and Kaito, and rarely at that. Tetsuo, Takashi and Cathy get sidelined very quickly, while Kotori doesn't duel at all.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Cathy would regularly break into Yuma's house and mess with his wardrobe, as well as watch him during the day. She gets better though, after Yuma finally pays attention to her.
    • Jin to Kaito, who then promptly steals Jin's soul and last Numbers card.
  • The Stoic: See "The Spock."
  • Sugar Bowl: The city of Heartland is very colourful, and covered in images of... well... hearts. Averted; Below the city is a massive garbage dump where they are dumping the trash of the entire city into different dimensions and causing the suffering of the creatures residing within them.
  • Super Mode: Behold, Yuma has turned into a Super Saiyan! [4]
  • Takes One to Kill One: The "Numbers" monsters can only be destroyed in battle by other "Numbers". They can also be destroyed by card effects.
    • Also subverted during Shark's second duel with Yuma, where the former uses his new ace monster Black Ray Lancer to negate the latter's Numbers monster, including its "can only be destroyed by another Numbers" effect.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: In the beginning, Yuma didn't want to hear anything Astral had to say during a duel, but after spending some time together and noticing that if he were to lose during a duel with a No. card, that Astral would die, they work together more easily.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: After the duel with Kaito, Astral just sort of stares into the distance as Yuma begins screaming his head off after realizing they essentially lost a life or death duel, and only got away alive because Kaito decided to leave the duel before he won.
  • Time Stands Still: Kaito's robot, Orbital 7 has the ability to do this when Kaito wants to battle for a Numbers Card without interference.
  • Title Drop: A voice tells Astral in the Emperor's Key that he must obtain the power of Zexal.
  • To Be a Master: The ultimate goal of Yuma's.
  • Too Soon: Minor example. Likely due to the Sendai Earthquake, Ryoga's Poseidon Waves card, keeping with his deck's aquatic theme, from the manga became Zeus's Breath in the anime, complete with trident changed to a scepter and foamy water presumably recolored to resemble clouds.
    • For some reason, the episode that followed referred to it as Poseidon Waves again.
  • Tournament Arc: The World Duel Carnival.
  • Triple Wielding: A logical one is done by Chaos No. 39: Hope Ray; its BFS is wielded by a second pair of hands.
  • Training From Hell: As shown in a flashback in episode 54, Duelists who worked for Mr. Heartland had to fight an out of control Duel Robot all the while being shocked and flailed at by said robot.
  • Traintop Battle: Yuma vs. Charlie takes place on top of a fast moving train.
  • True Companions: A staple trope in Yu-Gi-Oh.
  • TV Never Lies: After watching Different Dimension Esper Robin/The Sparrow, Astral wants to meet the guy thinking he really is a fellow dimensional traveler.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: True to form, characters are frequently punished for revealing their strategies to the audience, especially when they go into detail about what trap they have set and how it should protect them. Gogogo Golem in particular gets this treatment a lot: Should Yuma or Astral think to themselves that their defense-position Gogogo Golem can't be destroyed by a single attack, you can bet that Gogogo Golem is about to get wiped out.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: In episode 13 we see the trash robots dumping the trash of the Sugar Bowl-like city of Heartland into inter dimensional portals causing pain and suffering to the beings on the other side. However this is averted; as this is the antagonist's decisions and we as viewers know that Dr. Faker's actions are not going to go unchallenged by Yuma.
  • Verbal Tic: Tokunosuke ends his sentences with "-ura."
  • Villainous Rescue: Kaito activates his time dilation powers a fraction of a second before Yuma and Kotori would have been hit by a truck.
  • Wax On, Wax Off: Rokujuro knows that Yuma is sincerely taking his lessons to heart when he lovingly cleans all the Duel Monsters statues and comments on how horrible it is one of them has received a scar from something.
  • Waxing Lyrical: In the dub version of episode 10, Yuma psyches himself up to jump a fence with "Time to high-five the sky!" - a phrase used in the dub's theme song.
  • What Is This Feeling?: Astral seems to not recall having emotions before, and struggles with what he's feeling toward Kaito until he realizes he is absolutely scared to death of him.
    • When Yuma shouts to Astral that he's his friend too, he suddenly realizes that he really enjoys his friendship with Yuma, and thanks him for the strength their friendship is now giving him.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Tetsuo refuses to duel with Yuma anymore because Yuma lied about not using Numbers in his duel with Shark. He gets over it though.
    • Another one comes in a later episode after V tells Yuma his father is alive in the Astral World. Yuma wants to rush off to find him despite the fact he has no idea how to get to the Astral World, and he'd be abandoning his friends, dueling and the hunt for Astral's memories to do so. After his master makes him wise up and tells him to find his path he goes back to focusing on the tournament.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer: Yuma. Lampshaded in the dub. "Monster with massively powerful effect and stats in the way? Just call 1-800-Utopia!"
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Played with, as the "X" is silent.
    • It also refers to the game's new Xyz Monsters.
  • You Are Number Six: Each "Numbers" card has a number in their names.
  • You Didn't Ask: Astral's response to Yuma after he mentions that someone[5] had been sneaking into his room at night and messing with his wardrobe.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: Kaito not only takes a Numbers card when he defeats an opponent, but their soul as well.
    • Except with Shark, where he ends up just taking his soul because he thought Shark had a Numbers card.

Notes

  1. (We have no idea how to translate this. Sorry.)
  2. Dark Magician does have 100 more DEF, though.
  3. "Wing" is the English translation of "Tsubasa."
  4. Bonus points for using a Fusion Dance to do so.
  5. later revealed to be Cathy

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