Yu-Gi-Oh! is a long-running franchise encompassing anime, manga, video games, and trading card games. Between 2000 and 2019, six Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series were produced by Studio Gallop, each focusing on a different cast of characters, setting, and even genre. Although each Yu-Gi-Oh! series offers a distinct story, all six of these anime have received criticism from both fans and critics for their portrayals of female characters. All six Yu-Gi-Oh! anime are centred primarily on male characters, and the few girls and women that appear in the stories are commonly sidelined if not cast into harmful gender stereotypes. From my research, most analyses of gender representation in Yu-Gi-Oh! discuss these problems, but I think there is also scope to analyse how Yu-Gi-Oh!’s problematic depictions of female characters contrasts with its representation of male characters. Despite its marginalisation of female characters, Yu-Gi-Oh! presents a surprisingly non-toxic portrayal of masculinity, in which male characters are allowed to talk about their feelings, show friendly affection for one another, and resolve conflicts without resorting to violence. The proposed article would unpack how Yu-Gi-Oh! offers both reductive and progressive representations of gender and how these representations create contradictory messages for the audience.
There is also a lot to be said of the various difference between the English dub of the characters and the Japanese versions. From what I understand, characters had motivations removed by the 4kids dubbing company, so analysis through a cultural lens could be a valuable aspect to add. – Sunni Ago11 months ago
Agreed on the prior point that the dubs would remove the motivations of the characters. That's most definitely why we would end up with a character like Akiza who started out abused, fearful of her own power, and manipulated by a close confidant. She seemed like she was going to be the strong female character that Yu-gi-oh couldve had in Tea and Alexis but she just ended up being someone who worked off of love for yusei rather than moving forward for herself. – JA19 months ago
I think gender representation in older anime reflect the time period in which they were made. For example, in Naruto, we don't see any strong female characters until 83 episodes into in the show. Until the appearance of Tsunade in that episode, there are no women portrayed as strong or independent. Even then, when Tsunade is introduced, she is drawn with exaggerated breasts. – Morgan Tracy4 days ago