"I do not have the strength to fight. My heart was shrouded in darkness. My friends fell one by one. All I can do is believe. We have no choice but to keep moving on. In order to open the future."— Jaden Yuki, to Nightshroud
"My goodness, isn't he handsome? I have nothing against S4; as flawed as the series is, I still enjoy the series though I still love the deconstruction that freaking children's games are being used as a foundation for the universe and fighting with the game would have severe psychological damage especially when you know...it's for children and not meant for any harm... Yeah... "
"WOW! JADEN LOOKS SO MATURE AND HANDSOME! I'M IN LOVE!!! And the girls probably have fallen for him too! "
Jaden Yuki, known as Judai Yuki in the Japanese version, is the main protagonist of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, as well as the reincarnation of the Supreme King. At the end of the third season, he fused his soul with Yubel, his childhood ace card, with "Super Polymerization" to become a Duel Monster-Human hybrid. He is headstrong, optimistic, fun loving, and a talented duelist who loves dueling as much as he cares for his friends.
He attended duel Academy and was put in the Slifer Red Dorm, the dorm with the least privileges, due to his poor grades in the entrance exam. As time goes on, he becomes the academy's best duelist and saves the world and the academy from many threats such as Kagemaru and the Shadow Riders, the Light of Destruction possessed Sartorius, Yubel, and finally the malicious entity Nightshroud. After three years, he graduates from Duel Academy and pursues his own journey to improve himself.
As seen above, Jaden's usual outfit consists of the standard Slifer Red uniform, unbuttoned, and a black shirt underneath. A Deck box is strapped above his waistline, largely hidden beneath the lower rim of his jacket. In the first episode he is seen wearing a high school uniform similar to the one worn by Yugi Muto, though colored black instead of blue. He also wore a KaibaCorp Duel Disk on his left arm for his entrance exam duel. His brown eyes are positioned directly beneath the bangs of the layer closest to his face. After joining Duel Academy, he carries an Academy-issued Duel Disk on his left arm.
In the fourth season, Jaden is seen with his new look, but he is still easy to identify from the past seasons. He comes back a bit taller, with longer hair, a longer, darker Slifer Red jacket, darker jeans and, since he fused his soul with Yubel in the third season, occasionally manifesting its power to protect himself in the form of his eyes glowing the same bichromatic scheme Yubel's did. His eyes have also been redesigned. His Duel Disk is now fully customized with red outlines on it representing his dorm, though otherwise it looks the same (although the difference is very noticeable).
In the Japanese version, Jaden rarely uses honorifics, and his speech pattern could be considered rude as a result, similar to Joey Wheeler's.
In the dub, Jaden has several catchphrases associated with him. He begins almost every duel with the phrase "Get your game on!" and ends almost every duel he wins by saying "That's game!" He also often says some variation of "I'll throw down a face-down" when Setting cards. He also occasionally uses the phrase "Here goes something" when drawing in a desperate situation. Jaden tends to speak in stereotypical '90s slang, calling people "bro" and advising opponents to "chill". He is also noted for saying "A duel's not over 'till the last card is played!" which is likely Jaden's way of expressing his belief in the Heart of the Cards. In the Japanese version, Judai sometimes says "Is that so?" when he is about to turn the tables and win the duel.
In both the English and Japanese versions, Jaden will wink and point two fingers at a defeated opponent. In the dub, whenever Jaden wins a duel, he says "That's game"; in the Japanese version Judai says "Gotcha! Tanoshii dyueru dattaze" ("Gotcha! That was a fun duel"), or simply "Gotcha!".
Jaden is friendly, optimistic, laid-back, enthusiastic, kind, confident, funny, and very passionate about dueling. Jaden loves dueling and believes that all problems can ultimately be solved through it. He keeps going no matter how hard things get or how hopeless it seems, with a few exceptions (though it doesn't take much encouragement for him to start fighting again), although he does sometimes doubt himself. He always shows respect towards his opponents, with a few exceptions, even complimenting them during a duel.
Jaden shows little interest in areas outside of dueling, which extends to his classes. When he chooses to attend them, he generally falls asleep. Despite his low grades, he is still regarded as one of Duel Academy's best duelists. However, this attitude eventually shows itself as one of his greatest flaws, and causes him to be targeted by Mr. Stein. He shows a lack of knowledge in areas outside of dueling, even showing in one instance that he is unaware of what the term "fiancee" means, and forgetting that the holographic water will not drown him in another.
Jaden also seems ignorant of the dislike that other individuals have for him, as despite the obvious tension between the two, he considers himself to be good friends with Chazz Princeton. His carefree attitude and lack of thought get him into trouble occasionally, such as when he handed the Satellite Keys to Sartorius and still expected the latter to duel him before using them. He occasionally shows signs of intellect, such as determining that Titan's Shadow Game was a fake, and figuring out that both Brier and Beauregard were the Duel Giant on another occasion.
One of Jaden's common traits is that he tends to make jokes or puns, even in some situations where it is not appropriate. Most of the jokes he makes are duel-related but on a few occasions he does make jokes at someone's expense. For example, he called Crowler "Cyclops" when the latter got struck in the eye with a tennis ball. Another example is when Jaden duels The Society of Light controlled Alexis and she tells him to "Throw in the game", to which the former replies, "The only thing I throw in is the towel on laundry day."
Jaden has a close bond with his cards, to the point where he has no problem with an opponent insulting him, but is angered when they insult his cards. An example of this is when Crowler calls his "Winged Kuriboh" lame and Jaden immediately gets angry; this happens also when Gravekeeper's Chief repeatedly refers to Winged Kuriboh as a "rodent". Jaden is also fiercely loyal to his friends, which often results in his risking his life to save them. This is ultimately exploited by Yubel and Brron, who drive him to the brink of despair via the elimination of his loved ones, which weakens him enough to be possessed by the spirit of his ancestor. After being freed from the influence of The Supreme King, Jaden shows many signs of depression, and constantly asks himself where he went wrong, and is horrified by what he's done while ruling the alternate dimension. Even after the sacrifice of Aster Phoenix, Jaden is still unable to regain his resolve. When confronted by Guardian Baou, Jaden even resigns himself to be killed at the same spot his friends were sacrificed. His resolve is stirred by the arrival of Bastion Misawa, who reveals that Yubel is responsible for everything that's transpired and want Jaden to become the next Supreme King. Wanting revenge, Jaden defeats Baou and moves on, witnessing what he believed to be the death of Zane Truesdale, which stirs him to continue.
After his ordeal in season three, Jaden develops a much more cynical outlook on life and is far more brooding and serious. He finds himself unable to enjoy dueling and attempts to end his duels as quickly as possible. He even ceases to use his catchphrases. Despite still caring deeply for his friends, he is much more distant towards them, not wanting them to be hurt by the danger his presence tends to attract. He begins to recover his love of dueling during the Pair Duel tournament and fully recovers it during his duel against Yugi. This is proven in Yu-Gi-Oh! 3D Bonds Beyond Time. Even when Jaden was still fused with Yubel and the Supreme King, he showed the same personality as the one he had in the first three seasons, showing that he in fact loves having a good time and dueling again.
Jaden has an incredible luck of the draw, as demonstrated when he went on a 10-day streak of drawing the Golden Eggwich correctly. He has also demonstrated this when he correctly picked a Joker from a pair of playing cards and picked a salmon-flavored sushi from among apricot, dried-fish, and salmon-flavored sushi (which were virtually indistinguishable from an outside perspective). When Dueling Jaden often draws the exact card he needs to win through sheer luck rather than supernatural powers.
Jaden demonstrated incredible athletic abilities, seen when he jumped into the air at a great height to hit a tennis ball served by Mindy. After he fused Yubel's soul with his own, his athletic ability has shown to have increased. He was seen jumping on platforms while trying to escape from an exploding KaibaCorp building, as well as jumping from building to building when he was attacked by Paradox.
Jaden has had an ability called the The Gentle Darkness inside his soul, which gives him the power to see and hear Duel Monster spirits and control them. This is the main power that is used by the Supreme King that Jaden inherited from his past life. While under the Supreme Kings persona, Jaden quickly established his own monarch of Duel Monster Spirits. Supposedly, this power also created the "Dark Fusion" Spell and the Evil Hero counterparts of his Elemental Heroes. In the fourth season, Jaden can use it to materialize Duel Monsters and their powers. After the events in the Dimension World arc, Jaden now has the power of Yubel and the Supreme King inside him. When he materializes his Duel Monsters, he can make them even stronger. Yubel's power allows him to sense people's thoughts and emotions, see visions of the future, and protects him from other supernatural powers, like hypnosis and Nightshroud's influence. Yubel's powers also let him quickly figure out that Honest was masquerading as Fujiwara. Jaden's eyes take the same color as Yubel's or the Supreme King when manifesting either of their abilities. He is also able to project his voice out for people in yonder reach to hear, as shown in the final duel with Nightshroud.
Due to being fused with Yubel, Nightshroud described Jaden as not a human being, but a strange blend between a human and a Duel Monster spirit and refered to him as a "foreign object".
The word "Judai" means "teenager". "Yuki", if not following the kanji, has multiple meanings, the most common being "courage"; thus it can be inferred into the phrase "courageous teenager". It should also be noted that the kanji for "Yuki" is the combination of Yugi and Joey's Japanese given names. His English given name means "gift from God". Jaden is the only protagonist to have his first name changed in the dub. He is also the only protagonist whose given name does not contain "Yu"; instead, his surname contains it.
Why He's Ready to Get Your Game On
- Jaden is one of the most well-written shonen protagonists in anime.
- Along with Son Goku, Naruto Uzumaki and Asta, he is one of the most popular underdogs in anime.
- "My name's Jaden Yuki, and I'm absolutely flawless".
- He has one of the best and most relatable character developments out of all the Yu-Gi-Oh! protagonists. He started as a happy-go-lucky and optimistic character who loved dueling and being around friends. Unfortunately, he became a cynical and brooding loner after the traumatizing events of season 3, which made him realize that he must not lose sight of he is as he grows up.
- Despite being forever in Slifer Red, he may actually be one of the best duelists (and characters) the franchise has ever seen.
- He may be hot-blooded like Yusuke Urameshi, but he is handsome in his season 4 look that the audience can relate to.
- He has great dueling skills that have almost managed to compete against top-rank duelists like Yugi Muto and Seto Kaiba, and his Elemental HERO and Neo-Spacian monsters are quite iconic.
- His Duel Monster spirit powers that allow him to sense the feelings and emotions of spirits as well as turn them into real monsters really make him stand out among the Yu-Gi-Oh! protagonists.
- Like the other protagonists, he has managed to save the world many times and has grown quite plenty of character in doing so.
- Despite not being good at school, he still manages to make up for it with his wisdom in dueling, and his wisdom in common knowledge that allows him to understand his opponents to beat them as well as help them.
- Ken'ichiro Ohashi (KENN for short) and Matthew Labyorteaux do a good job voicing him.
Qualities to Get Expelled From Duel Academy
- At the beginning of the anime, he wasn't really that interesting and mostly came off as a run-of-the-mill shonen protagonist.
- While his English voice actor in the dub protrays him well, his radical mannerisms tend to make some of his more emotional deliveries lose investment, particulary in episode 136 where he battles Brron.
- Again, he became a brooding and cynical loner in season 4, though he did suffer from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) after the traumatizing events of season 3, realizing that he must not lose sight of he is as he grows up (and he did redeem himself), although he still remains likable.
- However, his flanderization would eventually start kicking in, starting with Naruto-Superman4's fanfic Rise and Fall.
- The abridged Jaden being the hyperactive one who thinks he's black and loves to spontaneously rap absolutely makes no sense. What's worse about his character depicted in the abridged series, he became an excitable, harmless and dimwitted guy that everyone in-universe hates and makes fun of him.
- While his appearance outside of the abridged series is fine, however, the positive reception for ShadyVox's various performances as Jaden has helped make the character very popular in the Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged community.
- In the Bonds Beyond Time movie, whenever he gets hit by Malefic Stardust Dragon's powerful blast, a brief close-up of his shocking face could be seen as extremely scary.
- Jaden's hairstyle and carefree attitude were an intentional contrast to those of Yugi and Yami Yugi on the part of Kazuki Takahashi.
- The plot involving the Supreme King was written after Takahashi realized that Jaden's attitude at the start of the series was difficult to show growth in and in his own words "not enough to beat someone like Yami Marik" who ironically only won duels with shadow games, Ra and other cheap tactics.
- Jaden has more Fusion Monsters in his Extra Deck than any other duelist in the franchise, with 33 (39 if the "Evil HERO" monsters he used while possessed by the The Supreme King count).
- Jaden has the following distinctions from the other main protagonists:
- He is the only one to have "Yu" as the first part of his surname instead of his given name.
- He is the only one whose first name is different in the Japanese and English versions.
- He is the only one whose color palette does not contain any blue (Yugi's uniform is blue, Yusei's eyes and jacket are blue, Yuma's bracelet is dark blue with light blue gems on it, Yuya's pendant and the star on the right lens of his goggles are light blue, Yusaku's hair contains two shades of blue, and Yuga's gloves and shoes are blue).
- He is the only one whose results of his series' final duel are unknown (not counting Yuma and Yuya's duels against Cathy and Yusho, respectively, as those duels were not seen). His final duel is also the only one that wasn't against either a partner (like Yugi, Yuma, and Yusaku) or a rival (like Yusei and Yuya), as he instead faced the previous main protagonist who also once paid the price of selfishness.
- He is the only one whose supernatural powers do not include mid-duel card edits. His power also do not directly relate to dueling/drawing, as they are instead directly towards the Monster Cards themselves when he chooses to manifest them (usually not in dueling situations).
- No other shonen protagonist shares the same English voice as Jaden.
- On October 2, 2020, Jaden accidentally made a brief appearance on the Italian talk show Quarto Grado, during the matter involving the Lecce murder.