The Ball area can be viewed by many as a meme Yu-Gi-Oh! fans, but a gladiator’s experience there proves it’s no laughing matter. This really makes Shadowrealm a rare instance where the censorship in the voice of Yu-Gi-Oh! actually makes elements of the show darker, which ironically goes against the intentions of the voiceover company in making these changes.
Yu-Gi-Oh! voiced by 4Kids Entertainment, a company that has also voiced other iconic anime such as Dragon Ball and One Piece. 4Kids is known for censoring the shows they voice, reducing violence and gore, and Americanizing certain elements of anime. While sometimes these changes work well, such as the silly change they made to Sanji’s cigarette in One Piece, most of the time they make the voiceover worse. much more than the original. Fortunately, the voice acting of Yu-Gi-Oh! It gets pretty good reviews, but it’s also subject to censorship. “Dark Realm” was originally used as a phrase to make certain characters not die like in the original version.
Mai’s torture reveals Yu-Gi-Oh’s Shadow Realm! how dark
Although the Dark Realm was originally used to make death less dark, Mai’s experience there suggests that it can be a fate worse than death. After Mai’s match with Marik, he sends her mind to the Dark Kingdom, where she is emotionally tortured. Once there, she’s trapped in an hourglass, forced to watch all her friends have fun without her. On top of that, they all ended up heartlessly leaving her, leaving her hopelessly sinking into the sand that was slowly engulfing her. Seeing the light slowly leave her eyes as the Dark Kingdom ravaged her was brutal to see, and while she was eventually rescued, the emotional scars of her time were part of the cause of her dark arc in the sequel.
Ironically, this incident caused the voice of Yu-Gi-Oh! darker than its original version. In the original, where the Shadowrealm did not exist, torturing Mai was the only punishment Marik imposed on her. However, the fact that it was turned into a Shadowrealm in the dub implies that every other character sent there suffers the same tormented fate but is ultimately not rescued. This is a much darker punishment than death for the series’ various villains, and it shows that 4Kids’ efforts to clean up the series often self-defeat.
Censorship of Yu-Gi-Oh! Really made the series darker
This isn’t the only time 4Kids accidentally dub the voiceover darker than the original, as they repeated this mistake with Yu-Gi-Oh! GX’s dark dub ended years later. But given how iconic the Dark Kingdom has become, this example stands out as more impactful and unsettling. The truth behind Yu-Gi-Oh!‘S Ball area makes the whole dubbing much more unsettling, in contrast to the rude treatment that the term is treated by many modern fans.