|“||I made a wish on the puzzle. 'I wish for friends'... friends I can count on, friends who could count on me, no matter what!||„|
|~ Yugi Muto|
Yugi Mutou (also known as Yugi Muto in his English dub) is the main character of the anime, manga, and card game of his name called Yu-Gi-Oh! Like everyone else in the show, he is a duelist who relies on special cards that allow him to beat opponents. Some of his friends are Katsuya Jonouchi, Hiroto Honda, and Anzu Mazaki who all entered the championship to duel other powerful duelists. It is shown that Yugi has a split side named Yami Yugi who often releases during duels and other times from the pyramid necklace (Millennium Puzzle) he wears. He is seen living with his Grandpa. It is never known what happened to Yugi's parents though the manga has shown he has, or at-least had a mother. Yugi Moto is reincarnation of ancient spirit pharoh named Atem (Dark Yugi).
Yugi Mutou is a young elementary school student living in Japan. For most of his life Yugi had no friends and spent his spare time playing games by himself. His grandfather Sugoroku Muto, a hobby shop owner and retired archeologist, had come into possession of an ancient puzzle, one he was never able to solve. To indulge his grandson, Sugoroku gave the puzzle as a gift. Yugi spent eight years working on the puzzle before he solved it. Upon assembling the puzzle Yugi was surprised to hear a voice congratulate him and offer him one wish. Yugi would wish for friends. The puzzle was an ancient relic that housed the ka of powerful spirit, the spirit took over Yugi's body and pledged to fulfill Yugi's wish being his friend.
At first Yugi remains unaware that the spirit is a separate being and thinks he is just the one preforming the actions. The spirit takes over Yugi's body whenever he plays the Duel Monsters card game as the spirit seems to have some link to it. During the games Yugi at first claims he feels like a different person but still believes the spirits choices were his. In other situations such as when Yugi is picked on or his schoolmate, Anzu is in trouble, the spirit takes full control of Yugi as well, however during these early possessions Yugi is largely unaware of what has occurred. As the series progresses Yugi adapts more and more to the spirit and the spirit it-self begins to soften. Saving Anzu, helping Jonouchi and freeing Bakura all brings Yugi closer to the other students and earns him their friendship thus the spirit feels it has satisfied Yugi's wish.
In the early manga Yugi primarily deals with schoolyard bullies, sadistic teachers and even some street punks. As the manga progresses Yugi must deal more and more with the mystical threats that his Millennium Puzzle attracts. The anime start off on the beginning of the manga's Duel Kingdom arc. Yugi is challenged to a Duel Monsters game by the new student, Seto Kaiba, a legacy millionaire and business despite still being a minor. Kaiba is considered a prodigy at the Duel Monsters game and enjoys challenging others to matches to demonstrate his skill. When Sugoroku Mutou refuses to sell his shop to Kaiba Corp, Kaiba decides to challenge him to a match over it. Sugoroku is beaten but Yugi decides to try a rematch on his grandfather's behalf. Kaiba is ultimately beaten and because of the public displays he makes of each match is not only takes massive blow to his ego but also grants Yugi the title of King of Games by Kaiba as the previous holder of the title. Yugi was less concerned with the title and more so with keeping Kaiba corp from continued seizure of his grandfather's business.
Shortly after beating Kaiba and proving his skills as a world class player of Duel Monsters, Yugi encounters millionaire, Pegasus J. Crawford, publisher of the Duel Monsters game. Pegasus sends Yugi a tape to watch but Yugi finds that Pegasus can actually interact through with him through the tape and challenges him to a starter duel. Due to a time limit, Pegasus wins and inflicts a penalty game on Yugi in the form of a curse. Pegasus uses his own millennium puzzle, the millennium eye, to imprison Yugi's grandfather, leaving his body comatose. Pegasus states if Yugi wished to win Sugoroku Mutou's soul back he would need to participate in a tournament he was holding on his private island. The entire Duel Kingdom arc is spent trying to win Pegasus's contest for to find the world's greatest duelist to fight. Pegasus promises each participant their choice of prize that is within his power to grant them, this leave Yugi up against many other talented players looking for money, fame or power including Junouchi, who was looking to win the contest to buy his sister eye surgery. Though the two were competitors, Jonouchi still swore to help Yugi until the moment the two actually needed to fight each-other.
Yugi is accompanied on the trip by Anzu and Honda, who sneak aboard Pegasus's boat to offer their support. Yufi encounters Seto Kaiba once again, fighting both to win back his honor and his brother Mokuba Kaiba, whom Pegasus was holding hostage as leverage over Seto. Seto uses the tournament not only to attend to his unfinished business with Pegasus but as a chance to win back his title from Yugi. During the course of the arc Yugi meets his classmate Ryou Bakura who had been possessed by a spirit from a millennium puzzle similar to Yugi's. During his duel with the spirit, Yugi is separated from his body along with his friends but finds that his body still appears to be playing confirming for Yugi that the spirit that takes him over is in-fact an entirely separate being. Once the spirit wins and returns Yugi and his friends to their bodies, including the real Bakura, Bakura shows his thanks for the situation by telling Yugi all he knows about the puzzles, telling Yugi that the puzzles are ancient Egyptian relics. Armed with his knowledge of the relics and the spirit Yugi confront the spirit about his past only to find it seems to have lost most of it's memories but what Bakura said had reminded him he was, in fact, Egyptian and even a pharaoh. Yugi makes a pack to continue helping to try to uncover the spirit's full past claiming Pegasus, also in possession of a millennium puzzle and creator of the game almost certainly would know more. Grateful, the spirit resolves to help Yugi win back his grandfather's soul and win Yugi the contest no matter what.
When finally encountering Pegasus in a duel, Yugi finds that Pegasus' Millennium Eye grants him the power to read minds, thus being able to prepare for any strategy. Yugi overcomes the technique by switch out his soul and the spirits, where one always preps one turn and the other plays the following but never conferring with each other, thus preventing Pegasus from gleaning the knowledge from his foe. Yugi eventually does complete the tournament and is assigned as the world's greatest player. Yugi is happy to give Jonouchi the cash reward portion of the prize for his sister's surgery, however Pegasus is confronted by the spirit of Bakura's Millennium Ring before he can be interrogate about the origins of the relics, resulting in his death in the manga, but serious injury in the anime cannon. Either way Yugi is able to uncover relatively little about the spirits past for him to tells him he will continue to try to find the answers.
Battle City Arc
Following the Duelist Kingdom arc is the Battle City arc. Though Pegasus is beaten before he can answer any questions the match makes global news in light of Pegasus' fame and Seto Kaiba uses his connections to put on a similar tournament, claiming to allow even more players to participate thus granting the winner; himself as he plans, the undisputed title of world's greatest player. The Battle City arc gets the attention of one, Marik Ishtar a cult leader with his own millennium relic seeking others like it. During the Battle City arc Yugi encounters many of Marik's cult members, the Ghouls. Confronting the Ghouls seems to indicate that Marik knows much about the origin of the Millennium Items and makes Yugi realize he can uncover the spirit's past for him by continuing to seek out the Ghouls and Marik himself, motivating him to take Kaiba's tournament as much more than just a simple game.
Over the course of the Battle City Arc, Yugi wins one of the three God Cards. The one card he has is called Sky Dragon of Osiris. Other notable monster cards of his are Black Magician and Kuriboh. Yugi discovers all three were made by Pegasus but never released officially and each was one of a kind. As it turns our Pegasus got his idea for the entire game from an old ritual from a long dead Egyptian dynasty and had created the Duel Monster's game as tribute. The God Cards, however channeled more than simple monsters and the Egyptian Gods' powers made Pegasus realize that they were not meant to be toyed with thus never putting the three into circulation with the rest. As it turned out the Rare Hunters were looking for all three in addition to the Millennium Items for some powerful ritual. Acquiring his Slifer the Sky Dragon, won Yugi both a powerful weapon and a major target for Marik to have his Rare Hunter cultists focus on. The holder of the final card was Kaiba, who had been given the card Giant Soldier of Obelisk from Marik's sister, Ishizu Ishtar, prior to the tournament to keep it from her brother. Upon winning the arc, Yugi does indeed uncover nearly the full origin of the pharaoh's past.
Yugi himself is naturally demure, conscientious, and friendly almost to the point of naivety which is why he often relies on his alter-ego to take over for him when confronting an adversary. Though Dark Yugi is supposedly Yugi's own past life he and the spirit are so different that they act as two different people. Unlike Bakura and his past self who are enemies, Yugi and his past-self may be different but they are allies, thus no fight for spiritual dominance has occurred and the two have grown into their own beings. Yugi has objected to Dark Yugi's methods when the spirit has shown itself willing to hurt or even kill opponents, over time though Yugi is able to soften Dark Yugi up. Yugi plays conscience to Dark Yugi and Dark Yugi player mentor to Yugi in return, both influences but never repressing the other. As friendship was Yugi's truest wish it is not surprising that he is willing to go to any length to protect or save his friends. Though Yugi's nativity and purity of heart appears to make him an easier target than Dark Yugi, removal of Yugi's soul from his body by the villain Dartz, only served to demonstrate how psychotic Dark Yugi becomes without Yugi by his side.
Dark Yugi/Pharaoh Atem
After putting the Millennium Puzzle together, a "walk-in" spirit entered his mind and bonded with him. Yugi was initially unaware of Dark Yugi's existence and control of Yugi's body would involuntarily shift when Yugi or his friends are wronged. After finding out about the spirit, he was afraid of him, but eventually grew to accept this revelation as well as Dark Yugi himself. Not only did the two become best friends but also developed a bond similar to that of brothers or a father and son. As Yugi began to grow, becoming stronger he still remained in Dark Yugi's shadow. After winning the Ceremonial Battle, Yugi was upset to see him go, claiming that he was weak and not ready. Dark Yugi, proud of him, tells him otherwise, and as he steps through the door to the afterlife, Yugi gives him a thumbs up, now ready to go on his own.
Anzu has been Yugi's friend since childhood. She is in love with Yugi, but no one knows if she loves Yugi more than his other half. The fact that Yugi and Dark Yugi are two separate beings causes her confusion as to who she really loves. Though it seems her deepest feelings reside toward the original Yugi, as it is shown in many episodes when Rebecca Hopkins hugs Yugi, Anzu appears upset, though this is before she accepts that Yugi and Atem are separate people. She has also shown jealousy towards Mai Kujaku for her initially flirtatious attitude towards Yugi during her first appearance at Duelist Kingdom, as well as Vivian Wong.
Jonouchi initially bullied Yugi along with Honda, but after he saw how Yugi stood up to Ushio, they became best friends. When he was possessed by Marik, Yugi took Dark Yugi's place to get his friend back to his senses. After Jonouchi's first Duel with Marik, Yugi took it hard, cried, blamed himself, and was in grief. Jonouchi, likewise, was upset when Yugi's soul was taken by the "The Seal of Orichalcos". Jonouchi is fiercely loyal to Yugi and is often quick to give his support to him. Jonouchi is the most precious person to Yugi, They love each other like brothers and would do anything for each other. During the Ceremonial Battle, he was the first to declare his support for Yugi over.
Honda initially bullied Yugi along with Jonouchi, but after he saw how Yugi stood up to Ushio, he became a friend to him. While his friendship with Honda is not as strong as Jonouchi or Dark Yugi/Atem, Honda is still a good friend of Yugi who, just like Jonouchi, looks out for Yugi and the gang. Honda has on occasion lent his cards to Yugi to help in a Duel such as Commander in his first Duel with Yami Bakura. When Honda was possessed by Bakura, he almost killed Yugi, Jonouchi, and Anzu (sent to the Shadow Realm in the dub). But when he met up with them again the others were hostile towards him but Yugi knew Honda better than to attack the three.
After Seto Kaiba lost to Yugi in their first Duel, he becomes determined to defeat Yugi and becomes his rival. Their differing personalities often causes them to come into conflict with each other such as their initial meeting with Kaiba's belief in cards being meant for power over Yugi/Dark Yugi's belief that cards have a heart. Despite their differences, Yugi bears no animosity towards Kaiba, which cannot be said the same for the other way as Kaiba held a grudge against Yugi for quite some time (which is even more so in the manga). He even cheered Kaiba on when the latter played a match against Pegasus even though Kaiba had taken Yugi's Star Chips by threatening to jump off the edge of the castle unless Yugi stopped an attack that would have won him the Duel, something that made Yugi suffer a loss in confidence due to nearly killing Kaiba and that Kaiba truly loathed Yugi. When Kaiba ultimately lost to Pegasus he had his soul taken away. Yugi became outraged at Pegasus for playing games with their lives. He and Yami made it their mission to free Kaiba along with Mokuba Kaiba and Yugi's grandfather. Kaiba helped Yugi find his friends when they were abducted by Marik. Usually circumstances force Kaiba to work with or aid Yugi such as common foes like Marik and his Ghouls, the Big Five, or Dartz. Yugi respects Kaiba as a Duelist, a sentiment that Kaiba seems to share. When Kaiba discovers that Yugi and Dark Yugi are two different people he focuses his rivalry on the latter for past defeats. However, he still respects Yugi as a Duelist in his own right. This is shown at the start of the Ceremonial Battle when Kaiba described the Duel (to himself) as the ultimate Duel for the title of Duel King, acknowledging Yugi as Yami's equal. When Yugi defeats all three God Cards Kaiba openly states he believes Yugi can win. Yugi considers Kaiba to be a friend. Before they traveled to Egypt Yugi and Dark Yugi reflect on their journey until that point, Yugi muses on all the friends he made because of Dark Yugi and Kaiba appears along with his other friends.
- His English voice actor, Dan Green play roles of Yugi Muto, Dark Yugi and his past life, Atem.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! Dark Side of Dimensions, Yugi is now as tall as Atem.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Yugi is much taller, physically resembling Atem much more and noticeably more muscular now. During this time, Yugi's present day face is not directly shown. It is unknown why his face is not shown.