Image Source: 「アキバズトリップ」アニメ公式 on Twitter

Yu-Gi-Oh! is a property that has been enjoyed for many years by anime fans, with many enjoying it for its corny life-threatening drama and battles revolving around a children’s card game called Duel Monsters. On the outside, Yu-Gi-Oh! appears to be a grand, strategic battle between two competitors with their survival on the line. However, when you really look closer, all they’re really doing is moving around mass-produced cardboard.

Anime Basics: AKIBA’S TRIP -THE ANIMATION-

AKIBA’S TRIP -THE ANIMATION-‘s latest episode doesn’t hesitate to lovingly ridicule the crap out of this concept. Tamotsu, our “noble” otaku hero finds himself having to fight a card game/harem king named Iketeru (a pun on the Japanese word for “hunky”) when the female members of his posse start intentionally breaking up the security teams of Akihabara. But Tamotsu doesn’t challenge Iketeru to just any game—he challenges him to a game of Battle Creatures (which, of course, is a direct parody of Yu-Gi-Oh!‘s fictional card game, Duel Monsters).

Image Source: 「アキバズトリップ」アニメ公式 on Twitter

From the concept that card games are, in fact, artifacts that have been used for combat since ancient times—a reference to the fact that Duel Monsters was used in Ancient Egyptian battles to the death—to the sudden change in Tamotsu’s hairstyle—a clear nod to the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise’s many spiky-haired protagonists—it’s no exaggeration to say that this is a direct parody of Yu-Gi-Oh!. There are even duel disks, which are, well, duel disks.

The episode goes on to make fun of the “banned cards” that Duel Monsters has that are forbidden to use at tournaments but can still be used to torment the neighborhood kids, the “follow the rules to have a good duel” slogan that appeared at the beginning of every Yu-Gi-Oh! episode, and the fact that the anime gives duelists less life points than in the real-life card game—because if they didn’t, the single duel would go on for too many episodes.

Image Source: 「アキバズトリップ」アニメ公式 on Twitter

But probably the most hilarious poke at Yu-Gi-Oh! the episode makes is the gap between the extreme card game battles and the sad reality that all you’re doing is shuffling around sheets of paper on a flat surface.

In the eyes of Tamotsu, his opponent, and card game fanatic Arisa, the two boys are having a clash of souls and wits with giant monsters in a holographic arena. But then we get to see what Tamotsu’s friend Mayonaka sees: two fairly lame-looking guys meekly making their moves while sitting on rickety fold-up chairs and playing on an old cardboard box that once held tangerines. Even the card creatures themselves are fairly lame, with one of the rarest cards in the game being “The 30-Year Shut-In,” which is just an unkempt, nerdy guy with a crazy beard who hasn’t left his room for thirty years.

AKIBA’S TRIP might not have much of an overarching plot, but this loving, parody-filled episode on its own makes this series worth checking out.

Voice of Yu-Gi-Oh!’s Kaiba Talks THE DARK SIDE OF DIMENSIONS

Akiba’s Trip The Animation is streaming with subtitles on Crunchyroll. It is available with an English dub on FUNimation’s website.

If you’re interested in learning a little bit more about one of the crazy duelists in Yu-Gi-Oh!, you can read our interview with the voice of series antihero Seto Kaiba we did for THE DARK SIDE OF DIMENSIONS film.

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