Yu-Gi-Oh vs. Pokemon

Written by Alex Crilly-Mckean

When the heart of the cards clashes with pocket monsters, who comes out on top? Welcome to WatchMojo.com and in this instalment of versus we’re pitting two juggernaut franchises against each other, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon.

Special thanks to our user Daniel Fong for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Pokemon+vs+Yu-Gi-Oh

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Written by Alex Crilly-Mckean

Yu-Gi-Oh vs. Pokemon


When the heart of the cards clashes with pocket monsters, who comes out on top? Welcome to WatchMojo.com and in this instalment of versus we’re pitting two juggernaut franchises against each other, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon.

Round 1: The Monsters


There’s no doubt about it, the creatures that Yugi and company battle with ARE monsters. With designs that lend themselves to the absurd, the gothic and in some cases the terrifying, they certainly have the shock factor. With types that range from zombie, to Warrior, to Dragon and spell caster, listing all of the categories would take all day, and that’s not even counting special summons such as Ritual and Fusion monsters. There may be more monsters than we can count, but iconic beasts such as the Blue Eyes White Dragon, Exodia the Forbidden One and Egyptian Gods managed to stand the test of time and remain just as awesome as when we first saw them.

What would the franchise even be without these titular creatures? Inhabiting the various regions of the world alongside humans, Pokemon are much more like animals, documented and divided by their elemental type, abilities and breeding groups. While they’re primarily used for battles, they’ve also been known to make up crucial aspects of society, growing and evolving into far more badass forms most of the time. We’re not sure what’s better, the fact that you can capture legendary creatures like Mewtwo, or something as cute as Eevee. Either way you want to catch ‘em all.

Yu-Gi-Oh may have the more well-rounded monster compendium, but they just aren’t as iconic or lovable as the pocket monsters. What’s more, everyone has their favourite pokemon, and the same can’t quite be said for Yu-Gi-Oh. Round 1 goes to Pokemon.

WINNER: Yu-Gi-Oh 0 / Pokemon 1


Round 2: The Trading Card Games
Everything in the Yu-Gi-Oh franchise centres around the card game known as Duel Monsters. It was the driving force for the series and would eventually spawn the real-life card game. As it stands, Yu-Gi-Oh! Is one of the best selling card games on the planet – rivalled only by Magic the Gathering. It’s also constantly evolving by introducing new engines such as synchros, xyz (pronounced exceeds) and pendulum summons. While it may be lacking the holographic technology, a realistic game of Duel Monsters can be thrilling in its own way.

After the universal success of the original video games, it wasn’t long before Pokemon trading cards were dominating the nineties. While collecting all one hundred and fifty of the original roster may have taken precedence with the masses, the actual trading card game definitely found its crowd. The rules were much simpler, and the rapid-fire style of using basic Pokemon, employing energy cards and gathering prize cards to secure victory definitely made it enjoyable. But after some time they were forced to reset the card game in order to make it more balanced.

We’re not one to pass up a shiny Charizard card, but in comparison to the staggering popularity of the the Yu-Gi-Oh trading cards game, it almost seems like an afterthought. Besides it would be criminal to not give the round to the franchise literally built around a card game.

WINNER: Yu-Gi-Oh 1 / Pokemon 1


Round 3: The Anime
A young prodigy when it comes to the game of Duel Monsters, Yugi Muto’s life took a supernatural turn when his body became a vessel for a long-deceased Pharaoh. Throughout the series he and his spiritual companion must take on multiple opponents in various duels, some of which not only become a matter of life and death but some also decide the fate of the world. From the ever-fierce rivalry with Seto Kaiba, the climactic battle with Marik and the acquiring of the three Egyptian God Cards, there’s plenty of content that makes it a true spectator sport. Though the newer series don’t quite have the same appeal, they’re highly entertaining nonetheless.

Ash Ketchum only has one goal, to be the very best like no-one ever was. With almost a thousand episodes under its belt, it’s certainly taking him quite a while, but along the way has shared in some truly memorable moments, especially when it comes to the original series. Gym leader battles, championship matches, Pokemon being caught and set free, it definitely captured the feeling that gamers had while playing the original games – albeit at a snail’s pace.

Pokemon certainly has had some golden moments over the years, but the condensed amount of episodes and storyline arcs leave Yu-Gi-Oh as a much more concise and well-rounded anime, at least when it comes to the tale of Yugi and the Pharaoh.

WINNER: Yu-Gi-Oh 2 / Pokemon 1


Round 4: The Video Games
Following on from the highly successful anime and trading card game, the Yu-Gi-Oh franchise veered off into a series of hits that, surprise, surprise, were all based around the antics of duelling. While subsequent sequels and spin-off are still being released for handhelds, the franchise hit its stride with games for the Playstation and Game Boy Advance such as Yu-Gi-Oh Forbidden Memories and Yu-Gi-Oh Worldwide Edition which managed to translate the style of the show into rather fluid gameplay mechanics. But there were also a few games that broke away from the traditional formula such as Dungeon Dice Monsters and The Duelists of the Roses, which had a rather interesting interpretation of the historical English war of the roses.

It began with a hundred and fifty Pokemon, and twenty years later we’re still getting new highly anticipated entries into the franchise. While the main series often sticks to, though improving on, the idea of having the player travel around their respective region, gathering Gym Badges, levelling up their Pokemon and generally end up saving the world and becoming champion, that hasn’t stopped them from branching out into a whole slew of other subseries. Pokemon Ranger, Pokemon Stadium, Pokemon GO, Pokken Tournament, PokemonSnap, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon; the list goes on and on. While some may be more hit and miss than others, it certainly leaves plenty of options open for players to find which format they prefer.

Battling Yugi and Kaiba and kicking them off their thrones may be all well and good, but when it comes to video games, Pikachu and company are the undisputed kings and queens.

WINNER: Yu-Gi-Oh 2 / Pokemon 2


Round 5: The Impact
While various spin-offs such as Arc V and 5Ds continue to make their way into the anime mainstream and try to keep up with the original’s glory, what Yu-Gi-Oh has really brought to the forefront besides being one of the shows that hit a chord with young western audiences, is the card game itself. Tournaments are still staged around the world, even between some of the voice actors, and fans aren’t going to forget the thrill of summoning their own Blue Eyes White Dragon in a hurry. Not to mention, this is the serious that brought us the hilarious Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged!

Whether you’re a gamer who managed to snag Red and Blue upon release, grew up watching Ash on his way to become a Pokemon Master, or have only recently found yourselves addicted to Pokemon Go, this franchise has managed to leave a massive impact on gaming and entertainment as a whole. With the anime still on-going and the release of Pokemon Sun and Moon not far off, it seems that just when it looked like fans may be dissipating, that electric mouse finds a way to pull them back in.

Yu-Gi-Oh is certainly not to be written off and has contributed much to our childhoods and nerd culture, but by maintaining its presence after so many years, Pokemon manages to capture this round as well.

WINNER: Yu-Gi-Oh 2 / Pokemon 3


Still maintaining its domination even after two decades, with an incredible series of video games and continuing to supply us with lovable and iconic little creatures that inhabit its expansive world, Pokemon manages to win the day.

Do you agree with our final choice? Which two series should we compare next? Feel free to debate it in the comments and of course be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com for more versus battles.
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