My hatred for this this arc burns with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns, so this is gonna be crazy long. Sorry about that.
- First of all, I wouldn’t have Atem lose the duel against Rafael because that creates a plothole when Ishizu and Marik tell Yuugi and Atem that the Pharaoh can’t go…
On your first point “laying down his sword” does not equal losing a game. It means he is done fighting. Losing against Raphael doesn’t infringe on the duel with Yuugi because at that point Atem is done with all the fighting he is doing, has been doing, and is having one last duel- not for the fate of the world, not as a fight, but as a rite of passage for the both of them. And the only one who considered Atem as having lost his title of king of games was Kaiba, but I don’t know how true that actually is. To say that, Atem losing an unofficial, unranked duel in the middle of nowhere counts as him losing his title is a little ridiculous, to say the least. Kaiba just gets crazy upset about it because Atem is supposed to be the strongest duelist since he’s capable of defeating Kaiba and no one else is. That’s why he gets all bonkers about it.
On another point, him not being able to tell right and wrong without Yuugi was because he fucked up and he’s super remorseful about it. And he gets a little dramatic and is like SO I MADE A BAD DECISION AND I FEEL LIKE WITHOUT YOU NOW I’M LOST it’s a little bit sappy but I don’t think it’s a huge no-no. He made a hugely wrong decision and without Yuugi’s presence that used to be a constant thing he feels like he’s supremely lost and has no direction.
I don’t mind the Bakuras not being around because I’m not huge fans of their characters but that’s personal preference- I think the reason, however, that they weren’t added into the arc was because there were already a million other characters involved and it might have been overkill to throw in two more- especially when you consider that you want a huge moral dilemma out of them being there it would have just kept piling and piling and piling on more things to pay attention to and do for the staff that they just didn’t bother (and I don’t really fault them for it either).
Jonouchi may have never been at the forefront of any arc but he has never been shoved to the back of anything. Every arc in the show (nearly most anyway, the first two important ones at LEAST) always have him struggling to figure out what it is he wants and how he’s going to get it. He’s not ever left behind in the slightest, he’s always got a hand in everything and he’s not unexplored like many of the other characters.
The reason for Mai turning evil was weak at best but it’s shown that the influence of the Orichalcos has the ability to super fuck with memories so that Dartz can use these people to his advantage by turning them evil\turning them against their friends. It’s why I can see Mai as she was leaving Battle City being unsure of her path her, her future, and herself being used by Dartz who only gave her the promise of the ability to be stronger, which was something she seemed faulty on after having such a huge loss that nearly resulted in her death (and did result in her mental torture) because she wasn’t strong enough.
And I get wanting to have all this stuff and make it bigger and better but it’s unrealistic. Maybe if YGO had been several other of seasons long it would have been great to explore other characters, but trying to shove it all into one tiny arc is exhausting. I don’t exactly disagree with what you want to see but I think trying to push it all into DOMA (which is already a crazy packed arc) would have been disastrous and overly cluttered and is exactly why they didn’t try to put more into it than they already did.
And more than anything the reason that this arc doesn’t impart or imprint or leave lasting impressions into other arcs is because it’s filler. Ultimately the goal of filler is to give something enjoyable to watch without actually infringing upon the actual canon while we (usually in most filler cases) wait for the manga to catch up. Having all these things that actually have to do with Atem and Yuugi and memories breaks the rule of filler which is that while we can have fun and while characters can maybe develop and while we can have an adventure, ultimately nothing is gained at the end of filler plot-wise. Otherwise if we do that we have to change much more than we would have to otherwise when we merge back up with the manga (SEE: BLEACH). I get not liking the arc but I think maybe you should give it a little more of a chance based on all this stuff that you want to see had the potential to be other YGO seasons\chapters rather than they didn’t put all this great stuff I’d like to have seen into this one tiny arc that was already messy.
You say that “laying down his sword doesn’t equal losing a game,” I’m sorry, but it does. That was exactly what they said:
All that stuff with Yuugi and their emotional growth happened, too, but that wasn’t what needed to happen. So I think my point still stands. And even though his duel with Raphael was an “unranked duel” it was still a fair loss. And I think Atem thought he lost his title there as well. I also think they really meant to imply that without Yuugi he is hopeless.
And yes, I did get quite carried away with this post and it is way too much for one arc and that it would have been too much to expect, but I was just imagining it all for fun ^^;. I suppose I have should have added: “If I had unlimited time and money” to the title of the post. I didn’t expect to see any of these things, really, it was all just unhinged wishful thinking.
I agree that Jounouchi does get a lot of development over the course of the series and that it never felt like he got the shaft or anything like that, but I still thought that this would have been an interesting angle to explore with him (him confronting his past and the source of his low self-esteem, wondering if he really can move forward, etc.) and that it would have been interesting to see him at the forefront of an arc since Kaiba, Yuugi, and Yami were as well.
And yeah, I also don’t mind too much that the Bakuras were absent, but I thought that this could have been a chance to develop them just a little more/set some minor things up for the Millennium World arc so it didn’t all feel so jam-packed and rushed. But so would this, I guess. Oh well.
I get that Mai was feeling unsure, but for her to suddenly turn on Jounouchi when he had been (mostly) nothing but nice to her was just a bad decision and felt dumb and I would have liked to have to see her character not be too tied to Jounouchi for once and see more development between the ladies (yeah, I know, shonen, but I can dream, can’t I?).
I agree with you about, filler, too. I think that the Noah arc worked because it just focused mainly on developing Kaiba’s past. It was a smart choice because it didn’t mess with the rest of the story like the Doma arc did. The way I wrote it here, I thought it was okay because it wouldn’t really be messing with Atem and Yuugi’s story too much. But I’m not trying to say that the writers weren’t trying or anything like that. The doma arc definitely took some risks and that’s worth praise. I just don’t think it was executed too well, but that’s just me.
Bested at cards…. I do think they mean a totally fair duel though- because he lost to Kaiba as well, and that doesn’t count either does it? They say to “overcome” him, meaning outmaneuver him and beat him fairly. And the duel with Raphael was not fair because of the influence of the Orichalcos and the fact that he basically baited him the whole duel to play it when he knew it was wrong. The Orichalcos is a terrible thing that warps minds so the second that Atem disregarded Yuugi (of his own volition I admit) and played it, it became an unfair duel. And it was a little uncharacteristic of him, something else that I think would be a marker of a not-true duel, when he started hurting his own monsters to gain the upperhand. The one against Yuugi was 100% pure. No ulterior motives. No world hanging in the balance. Just them. I think that’s what they meant. And because the duel where he lost to Kaiba clearly doesn’t count, I have to think that’s really what is going on. But clearly it’s open to interpretation, I guess.
I think… unfairly they do woobify Atem through the entire arc a little to a certain degree and it does get intensely frustrating. But I also think that it’s not too far off the mark? He’s never been without Yuugi and for him to get to the point where it’s actually legitimately his fault Yuugi was in danger\dead\soulless drove him in-character to desperation and depression. After that I think it’s fair for one to question what they’ve been doing\what they are doing and seem a little hopeless. Though it does get grating after a while.
And the thing with Mai… yeah, I know that’s super frustrating as well. But her tie is ultimately with Jonouchi and to have her attack anyone else just because might have felt just as out of place? They pinned her against Jonouchi realizing that he’s the only one ultimately who will teach her (over and over, might I add) that what she’s doing is wrong and that she needs to wake up. So while it’s kind of annoying that she keeps going down that path, I don’t see it as too farfetched what with the Orichalcos’ influence and everything that came with it.
I guess ultimately what I’m saying is that I understand why everyone hates it and I think it’s totally valid not to like it, but given the pretenses of what we know and what the arc sets up I don’t particularly think it’s the worst thing in the world, in terms of ygo anyway (we can reserve that for Grand Prix)
Oh, sure I agree that it’s open to interpretation. Thanks for saying that.
And yeah, the Grand Prix arc is worse. At the very least, I can respect the Doma arc for being ambitious and some parts about it were enjoyable, sure. When I said “my hatred burns with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns” I was just joking around (thought I still really don’t like it). Again, thanks for understanding. Highly appreciated. :)