Article first published as Manga Review: ‘Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s’ Volume One by Masahiro Hikokubo on Blogcritics.
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Volume One is a manga with the story by Masahiro Hikokubo and the art by Masashi Sato, and it’s based on the anime series of the same name. This volume was released in North America by Viz Media’s Shonen Jump imprint in 2011. The series is rated “T” for teens; after reading this volume, I would agree with this rating.
Yusei Fudo is the main character of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s, and he lives on the outskirts of New Domino City, in a district known as Satellite. Yusei enjoys playing Turbo Duel, which is fought from fast motorcycles known as Duel Runners.
The manga version of the story introduces a manga exclusive character named Sect, who acts like a kid brother to Yusei and whose goal is to beat Yusei in a Turbo Duel. Roughly the first half of Volume One is made up of a manga exclusive story that focuses on Yusei and Sect.
This story introduces Skeleton Knight; there’s an urban legend saying that if you perform a certain ceremony, he will give you a rare Turbo Duel card. When Sect tries to get a rare card from Skeleton Knight, it ends up getting Yusei involved. To be honest, this story really didn’t work for me, and after reading Volume One, I don’t really see the point of including this story in the manga.
This story does transition toward a section that’s a bit closer to what’s in the anime. As Yusei is trying to get Sect to the hospital, he has a run-in with Jack Atlas, the king of Turbo Duels. Jack forces him to have a duel, and Yusei loses.
There’s also a chapter of Akiza Izinski, a female Turbo Duel player, participating in a duel at Queen’s Duel Academy. This leads into both Yusei and Akiza being invited to participate in the D1 Grand Prix. The volume concludes with Yusei and Akiza having a duel before the start of the D1 Grand Prix.
Prior to reading this manga volume, my exposure to Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s was watching the first episode of the anime series on YouTube several years ago. I wasn’t terribly impressed by what I saw in the anime, but decided to give the manga a try to see if I might enjoy it better. Unfortunately, I ended up not being terribly impressed by the manga, either. To me, the main weakness is the inclusion of Sect and the story with Skeleton Knight. While the anime might have had its faults, at least it has a stronger beginning than the manga.
When it comes to the art, I have to say that I think the art in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s is better than what appears in Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal; however, I think the art quality in this series is about on par with what I saw when I read the first volume of the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX manga series.
Even though I might not have been terribly impressed with this manga, I think fans of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s will enjoy it. There’s also a chance that fans of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise as a whole will also enjoy this series.
I wrote this review after reading a copy of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Volume One that I checked out through the King County Library System.