Throughout our lives, we might have encountered someone that we admired as a role model or has guided us in some life dilemma. This mentor could be a teacher at school, a coach, a boss or team leader at work, or a family friend. Whoever it is that person impacted your life in a positive manner. For this month’s OWLS topic, we will be writing about mentors or mentorships in anime and other pop culture media. Some topics we will be exploring include how a mentorship impacted a main character’s life, the types of mentor relationships a person could have, and/or personal stories about mentors or mentorships.
(Might contain spoilers to the classic version of Yu-Gi-Oh! and I am going to be using the English Dub translations instead of the Japanese)
You’re never too old or young to learn
We all that one person who was there for us and taught us something important. Whether it was learning to defend yourself against bullies or gaining confidence to stand up for yourself, we have that one person that cares about us. The importance of having a mentor can lead to positive life changing moments. Sometimes we see this kind of stuff in mediums such as cartoons, video games, anime or even movies. In topics like these, we can some protagonist start off as new and inexperience and trying to find a place in the world. When needed, they seek help and find someone wise who has experienced difficulties in life. The life of a mentor and student is not always fun, but if the student passes the mentor’s expectations, they can succeed in life and make the world better. In this post, I am going to be talking the classic series Yu-Gi-Oh! and how someone like Yugi Muto learned how to be strong with the help of an old Pharaoh.
Yu-Gi-Oh! – A story about card games and magic
What’s Yu-Gi-Oh! about? Yu-Gi-Oh! is a series created by manga author Kazuki Takashi and is part Weekly Shonen Jump. The story is about Yugi Muto who is lonely kid in Domino High School who is constantly picked on by Joey Wheeler and Tristan Taylor; he is protected by childhood friend Tea Gardner. Yugi is a young man who plays by himself and he lives with his grandpa who owns a game shop. He also receives a special Egyptian puzzle belonging to a Pharaoh from 5,000 years ago and he hopes that if he can complete it believing that if he solves it, he could get any wish. Yugi successfully completes the puzzle and with much surprise, he awakens the Pharaoh’s spirit. Now with the puzzle completed, Yugi now shares his body with the Pharaoh and together, they play duel monsters against foes who bully the weak and against others who harbors dark and evil spirits from the past. However, Yugi will not handle this dangerous journey alone because he has friends with him. He has the Pharaoh, his friends Joey, Tristan, and Tea and in a occasion, Seto Kaiba who is both a rival and comrade when forced.
Duel monsters is the key theme to the series. Duel monsters consists of cards that are classified as monsters, trap and magic cards. The characters in the series play this game for fun or life and death situations. Thanks to technology and magic, the monsters in the cards make them look real and feel as if they do damage to the owners. Yu-Gi-Oh! has evolved though out the series with new characters and even new rules. Whether the characters duel in academies, on the road, stadiums or internet, it’s the same game but with high risks.
The Student meets the Mentor
In the beginning of the anime , whenever Yugi is faced against a powerful duelist, he switches souls over to the Pharaoh and the Pharoah takes over his body and uses his skills to duel. Thanks to the Millennium Puzzle, Yugi shares the soul of the Pharaoh and together with one body, they can assimilate both minds and fight together as whole. This is evident when he duels Kaiba for the first time and was pushed to the corner. Even though the Pharaoh was dueling Seto, Yugi was plotting and trying to predict his opponents movements. Throughout the episodes of season 1, Yugi and Atem (the Pharaoh) has always been sharing minds and facing enemies together, but they never knew each other.
Yugi first sees the Pharaoh the first time when he and his friend’s soul gets trapped in a Shadow Game with Yami Bakura, an evil spirit who lives in the Millennium Ring and possess over Yugi’s kindhearted friend Bakura. During the fight with Bakura, Yugi and his friends see that there is another “Yugi” and he is fighting to save them. After the fight, Yugi starts to get curious about his duels and wants to know this other side of his heart.
One of the most impactful moments between mentor and student is when they duel against Pegasus. Pegasus has a Millennium item called the Millennium Eye in which allows the user to steal souls and even read minds. When faced against Pegasus, Yugi plotted that there is a way to duel against someone who cheats with mind powers: Yugi and Yami switches souls after every turn. When Yugi and Atem switch souls, they have no clue on what is going on and what are their own plans and this causes Pegasus to unable to read their minds. This moment in the anime showed that Yugi and Atem are compatible and even when they can’t understand each other’s motives, they still trust each other.
The Student helps the Mentor
After the events with Duelist Kingdom, Yugi’s life continues to change and the story gets deep when approaching the Battle City Duels. Before that happens, Yugi tries to help Atem adjust to life and make him more at ease and take away the stress of dueling by making this blind date with Tea. With this blind date, Atem learns to have fun and he sees how Yugi can enjoy life when not facing anything peril. The plot later begins when he learns from a museum that he was once a Pharaoh who saved the world from darkness and it turns out that his rival Seto Kaiba is also linked to his past. He also learns that there are these rare and powerful monsters called the Egyptain God Cards and that an evil man named Marik Ishtar is after him and the cards. With a tournament drawing attention to these cards and evil in the horizon, Yugi and Atem must work together to fight this evil threat.
Yugi manages to survive against the insane hunters and duelist and manages to face against Marik; however, once again, both Yugis are forced to put their life on the line. Thanks to the Shadow Games planned by Marik, Marik traps his good soul and Yugi’s soul and threatens to make them disappear into the darkness if one of them loses. Even with his soul bounded, Yugi will do what it takes to save his friends and make sure they win and let no innocent soul perish.
The Final Challenge: The Student vs The Master
With the story coming to a close, Yugi and his friends were able to solve the Pharaoh’s mystery in his past and saved the world from ancient evil. It may seem like a happy ending, but it is not over Yugi and his friends help Atem one more time and that is to take him back home to the Spirit World and seal away the ancient items. In order to do that, Atem must have a final duel to settle his fate; Yugi accepts the duel and he has to win the duel. If Yugi loses, he is unable to send Atem back home and everything would be vain, but if Yugi wins, Atem will return home and all items will be locked away. Personally, this is really emotional fight for the heroes and us fans especially knowing what’s the results. We both love Yugi and Atem, but it’s hard to see one and other who make a great team and suddenly have to duel each other. What’s also worse is that once Atem leaves, he is not coming back. When Yugi defeats the Pharaoh, Yugi is on his knees crying. When Atem tells him that the winner should be happy and not crying, Yugi responds that he is going to miss Atem and thanks him for everything they been through. As much it pains Atem to leave, he knows that Yugi will be okay on his own since he has friends to protect him and he was able to get strong. With this final duel, Atem returns home and Yugi prepares his new life with everything he learned from Atem and he will not fight alone because he has friends.
Reflection – Could we all become mentors?
If we were all like Yugi and had an ancient and wise leader guiding us, we would be able to handle life very differently. Yugi started out in the series as a shy kid who was good at playing games, but he had trouble fitting in and making friends. However, due to circumstances that led him out of his comfort zone, he later made some committed friends after displaying his compassion on others. Thanks to the puzzle, Atem showed him new techniques to help protect his friends and give him the courage to face the darkness whenever evil tries to strike. Atem taught him to be brave and whenever hope seems very thin, Yugi needs to know that he doesn’t need to be alone in obstacles because he has friends who are willing to go through these dangerous tasks. In the same way, Yugi taught Atem to enjoy life and he doesn’t have take life serious. For someone who has been locked away for many years and faced against life and death situations, Yugi taught Atem to trust his friends and learn that even if things feel like they are separate, they are close and not too far to call for help.
Going back to this question, could we become mentors? In a way, it is possible. Mentors exist in order to teach us how to handle life. It takes someone who has been through life the most to be consider a mentor and a patient and trustworthy person to be a student. If the student and mentor are close, they show compassion to each other and the bonds between them get as strong as having a parent or a sibling. The way Yu-Gi-Oh! ended shows an example of a mentor leaving their student after realizing that they are done teach them. Saying goodbye to a mentor like Atem with Yugi is an emotional experience that not only Yugi learned how to be strong, but also learned there is nothing else to learn.
In the Bible, Jesus taught His disciples on how to preach the gospel about God and told them about warnings with false teachers and the end of times. Jesus mentioned that when the end is near foe humanity, false teachers will rise and pretend they are the Messiah and people who is not educated will be led astray to Satan’s grasp. In Acts and documents with Paul, Paul taught people at places such Ephesus and Corinth and telling others that in order to serve God, we gotta read His teachings and avoid teachers who put burdens on them. Paul even mentions that if you put your faith in God and remember to love Him and others, you will enter heaven and earn a crown of righteousness. Now we in 2018 and we could learn from great mentors from the past and build a better future.
Thank you for reading my OWLS post! Please share this post to others so they can read the importance of a mentor. Also, stay tune for more OWLS post as aniblogger/anivlogger LitaKino will be doing her post on July 4th. Thank you and God bless you all!