Much Yu-Gi-Oh! fans stopped watching after the first anime ended, which is a shame because it means many people may have missed out on the darkest showdown in the series. These fans may be surprised to hear that, given how dark the original anime may have been, later installments in the series get much darker.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc V is arguably the darkest series in the series to date. The plot of Arc V revolves around an interdimensional war breaking out between different dimensions representing Yu-Gi-Oh! in the past. series. The main instigator of this war is the Fusion Dimension, who first invaded the Xyz dimension and oppressed its people. This causes several fighters in this dimension to start a revolution, sending some of them to the Standard dimension where Arc V protagonist Yuya lives. However, the Fusion dimension also sends agents to track down Yuya and learn the secrets of his new summoning technique.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc V’s darkest duel includes a war criminal
The conflict between these two groups culminates when Shun, an Xyz revolutionary, fights Sora, a Fusion agent, in the Arc League Championship. Their duel takes place in a holographic recreation of Shun’s home city, reminding him of what that place used to be like. As the duel continues, Sora reveals his true sadistic nature as he begins to have flashbacks about hunting down the citizens of dimension Xyz like animals. As Sora waxes nostalgic about his war crimes, their battle begins to destroy the holographic city, making it resemble the war zone it would become after Fusion’s invasion. This turns the duel into a powerful visual metaphor for the brutality of war.
With its dark theme, this is easily the darkest duel in the series. This is also one of the best duels in any Yu-Gi-Oh! anime, both because of its darkness and because of how Shun reacts to Sora’s sadistic behavior. Even though Sora offers a variety of powerful monsters, Shun is ultimately able to win the game by bringing out seemingly weak monsters capable of turning that power against its wielder. This makes Shun’s victory one of the most satisfying underdog stories in the series and proves that even in the bleakest of circumstances, hope can still prevail.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc V missed a lot of its potential
Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc V would end up squandering much of the multidimensional war’s potential, leaving many fans to view the entire series as a mixed bag. Still, the duel between Shun and Sora stands out as a high point not only of the series but of the series as a whole, proving that duels can be a powerful storytelling device. So even if fans of the original Yu-Gi-Oh! anime has never watched or cared about any of its spin-offs, they owe it to themselves to watch Shun’s fight with Sora and see how dark and powerful duels can be.