The Puzzle of the Gods
There is a history of games. Game history is interwoven with human history. Starting in the Egyptian empire five thousand years ago. Ancient games foretold the future for citizens and kings. As games were played, fate was decided in magical ceremonies. These were called “the Shadow Games.”
As lunch time begins, the rest of the 10th-grade class rushes out to play basketball but one student, Yugi Mutou declines the invitation to join in, fearing that he would cause his team to lose. Left alone in the classroom, Yugi decides to try and solve a puzzle that he has been working on for some time. Removing the box from his bag, Yugi ponders what the treasure within the puzzle could be, reading the inscription that “it’s something that you can see, but which have never seen before”.
As he prepares to begin assembling the puzzle, Honda and Jonouchi enter the classroom and begin throwing the box to each other. As Jonouchi tells Yugi to fight him for it, Yugi refuses and the pair tell him that he needs to start standing up for himself. Pleading for the two boys to give the box back, Yugi’s cries are ignored until Anzu Mazaki, a close friend of Yugi’s since elementary school, arrives and reclaims the box, telling Honda and Jonouchi to leave.
As Yugi thanks Anzu for her help, she explains that she stopped playing basketball because the boys were peeking up the girls’ skirts whenever they made a shot. Opening the box, Anzu is impressed by the puzzle as Yugi tells her that he found it gathering dust on one of the shelves in the game store that his family runs. As Yugi explains that the puzzle is a memento of his grandpa, Anzu is shocked to hear that his grandfather is dead but continues to listen as Yugi explains that the puzzle was found in an Egyptian ruin.
Hoping that the puzzle may grant wishes, like the Dragon Balls, Yugi thinks that Anzu is laughing at him until she tells him to not give up trying, but as she asks him what his wish would be he refuses to tell her. Meanwhile, Honda and Jonouchi are annoyed at Anzu’s calling them bullies, however as they make their way along the corridor they bump into Ushio, the Hall Monitor. As Ushio asks them what they were talking about, Honda has to hold Jonouchi back to avoid a confrontation.
After convincing Ushio that they weren’t taling about anything interesting, Jonouchi reveals to Honda that he stole one of the pieces of Yugi’s puzzle and throws it out of the window into the school pool. That afternoon, as school finishes, Ushio is waiting for Yugi at the school gates and asks him if he is being bullied. Yugi quickly, but nervously, denies that he is being bullied but Ushio isn’t convinced and informs Yugi that from now on he will be his bodyguard.
Arriving home, Yugi is surpised to see Anzu waiting outside the family’s Kame Game Store for him and as the two enter Anzu is startled to see Yugi’s grandpa, Sugoroku Mutou, alive and kicking, commenting that she had thought him dead from Yugi’s comment about the puzzle being a memento of him. As Yugi explains that he meant that the puzzle would be a memento of his grandpa when he passed away, Anzu is unnerved by Sugoroku’s comment about her bust having grown but as she and Yugi prepare to head upstairs to play games and work on the puzzle Sugoroku decides to tell Yugi more about the history of the puzzle.
Explaining that the puzzle was discovered at the beginning of the 20th century by a team of British archaeologists in one of the pharaohs’ crypts in the Valley of the Kings, Sugoroku warns Yugi that every one of the archaeologists suffered mysterious deaths and that the final words spoken by the last one to die were “the Shadow Games”. Intrigued by these “Shadow Games”, Yugi becomes even more interested as he realises that some of the carvings speak of the solver of the puzzle gaining “the powers and knowledge of darkness”.
Realising that the puzzle may be worth something after all, Sugoroku tries to reclaim it from Yugi in order to sell it however his grandson refuses to give it up as he heads upstairs to work on it. Late that evening, Yugi is still trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle together however becoming stuck at the same point as normal he gives up and falls asleep at his desk.
The next morning, Yugi is struggling to stay awake in class when Ushio enters the classroom and asks him to follow him. Leading him to a secluded part of the school grounds, Ushio reveals Honda and Jonouchi, both badly beaten. As Ushio explains to Yugi that he beat them up because they had been bullying him, Jonouchi is furious to hear that Yugi was responsible for them being attacked but Yugi tells Jonouchi that he didn’t want anything like this.
As Ushio continues to beat Honda and Jonouchi, Yugi tells him to stop and Ushio does so, but only to tell Yugi that he owes him 200,000 yen (around $1,600) for his services as a bodyguard. Shocked at the high charge for a service he didn’t even want, Yugi begs Ushio to stop attacking the two boys and he does so, turning instead to Yugi as a warning as to what will happen if he doesn’t bring the money tomorrow. As Jonouchi wonders why Yugi is protecting him, Yugi remembers that he used the puzzle to wish for friends, and as Ushio finishes ‘warning’ Yugi, he threatens him with a knife before leaving.
That night, Yugi is counting out the monet he has saved up and is worried to discover he only has 1,656 yen, nothing like enough to pay Ushio the following morning. However as he continues to worry he finds himself attempting to solve the puzzle and discovers where he has been going wrong all this time. As he continues to make progress, Yugi senses that he may actually succeed in assembling the puzzle however as he inserts his last piece he discovers that one is missing.
Scouring his room for the last piece, Yugi is devastated when he is unable to find it, realising that his wish will now never come true. As Sugoroku enters the room to see how Yugi is doing, he is surprised to see the puzzle assembled until he turns it around and discovers the hole where the last piece should go. Telling his grandson not to give up on eight years worth of hard work, Sugoroku opens his hand to reveal the last piece, explaining that one of Yugi’s classmates, Jonouchi returned it.
Explaining that Jonouchi also told him about Ushio, Sugoroku hands Yugi an envelope containing the 200,000 yen needed to pay the bully but as he leaves the room and Yugi inserts the final piece, Sugoroku doubts that Ushio will be in for a shock now that Yugi has inherited the Shadow Games, becoming the guardian of right and the one to pass judgement of evil.
Later that same evening, Ushio is waiting at school for Yugi, wondering why he told him to meet him at midnight. As he spots Yugi sitting on a vaulting horse, wearing the completed Millennium Puzzle around his neck, he is amused to hear Yugi offer an opportunity to gain 400,000 yen instead of the original 200,000 owed to him. Yugi continues to explain that in order to win the money, Ushio will have to compete against him in a Shadow Game and Ushio agrees.
Telling Ushio that they will need the knife that he has hidden within his jacket, Yugi explains that each of them will take it in turns to rest the money on one hand before using the other hand to stab the money with the knife in an attempt to pick up more than one bill at a time. Explaining that if either player takes the money by hand or quits they will forfeit their money, Yugi also warns Ushio that if he breaks the rules he will face a penalty game.
As Yugi’s paper beats Ushio’s rock in a game of ro-sham-bo he makes the first move but claims less than ten bills from the pile, however Ushio stabs hard into the pile and claims more than 100,000 yen. Making his second attempt, Yugi comments that very few bills are now remaining and warns Ushio that control will be required if he does not want to stab his hand as well as the pile of bills.
Preparing to make his second attempt, Ushio finds himself unable to control his right arm which is determined to claim all the remaining money, no matter what the consequences, and as Yugi explains that Shadow Games reveal the true nature of a person Ushio makes a swipe at Yugi in an attempt to claim all of the money. Dodging the attack, Yami warns Ushio that he has “tresspassed in his soul” and that he must be punished for his rule breaking.
As Yugi performs a penalty game on Ushio, the Illusion of Avarice, Ushio begins to see money floating down around him and begins to gather it up. However as Yugi leaves with all the money it is clear that Ushio is imagining the money. The next day, as Yugi arrives at school, tired, he sees a group of students gathered around Ushio who is frantically gathering up leaves and garbage.
Unable to remember anything of what happened overnight, Yugi is merely pleased to have completed the puzzle and as he makes his way to class he is stopped by Jonouchi who informs him that he harbours no bad feelings about what happened. Jonouchi continues to explain that the puzzle’s treasure was friendship, something which he and Yugi now share, and then rushes off to class. However as Jonouchi leaves, Yugi realises that he has dropped his shoe and runs after him, calling to his friend to stop.