Jounouchi + Yugi
Episode 3 – The Loss of Exodia: Yugi gives Jounouchi one of his star chips so that he can enter the Duellist Kingdom tournament. That’s a big risk for Yugi seeing as how if he loses his first duel, then he’s out of the competition completely.
Also, Jounouchi risks his own life by leaping overboard to retrieve Yugi’s Exodia cards after Haga tosses them into the sea. Yugi jumps in afterwards to save him, telling Jounouchi that he’s much more important to him than a few Duel Monsters cards.
We also learn in this episode that the reason Jounouchi is entering the tournament (apart from helping Yugi rescue his grandpa of course) is the fact that he needs to win the prize money to prevent his little sister from going blind. Yugi is touched by this piece of information and after he wins the tournament and beats Pegasus at his own game, gives the three million dollars to Jounouchi to pay for Shizuka’s operation (episode 40, I believe).
Episode 78 – Attack Me! The Last Turn of Fate: Jounouchi has been under control of Malik and the Millennium Rod for the previous episodes and forced to fight against Yugi in a duel that could possibly end up killing both of them. Yugi very rarely duels as himself, instead leaving the job to his other self, but he absolutely insisted that he should be the one to duel with his best friend so that he could ‘awaken Jounouchi’s heart,’ and that if he couldn’t bring Jounouchi round, then no-one could.
The fact that Yugi and Jounouchi care about each other deeply is touched upon frequently in both the manga and the anime and they would even go so far as to give up their lives in order to protect each other, as episode 78 proves.
Yugi has the chance to save himself, but instead wipes out the rest of his own life points in order to save his best friend. Before that, he tells Jounouchi that he’s his most important friend, that he’s the one who gives him courage and that he loves him. Jounouchi, who has shaken off Malik’s mind control at this point, turns on the waterworks when he hears these words. Yugi’s life points are wiped out and he tells Jounouchi to hurry up and free himself before they both get dragged down into the ocean.
Jounouchi refuses to leave him though, instead sending his own life points to zero. He doesn’t even attempt to grab the key to his own cuffs seeing as how he’d rather use what little time he has left to free Yugi before doing anything to help himself. He manages to get hold of the key to Yugi’s cuffs just before the anchor falls and frees his friend, thanking Yugi as he floats towards the surface.
Hell yeah! It’s been proven time and time again that Yugi and Jounouchi would do anything for each other. In the beginning, Jounouchi would pick on Yugi, thinking that he wasn’t ‘manly’ or ‘tough enough’ and he stole a piece of the Millennium puzzle, throwing it carelessly into a canal.
His opinions of Yugi soon changed, however, when Yugi stood up for him and Honda after they’d been beaten up by one of the school bullies and he realised that there was more to Yugi than he’d initially thought. This spurred him into retrieving the puzzle piece and dropping it off at the Game Shop. When Yugi tells him that he’s completed the puzzle (his ‘treasure’ as he puts it), Jounouchi offers to be his friend. He tells Yugi that he has a treasure too, but this one can’t be seen (I can’t find a decent translation of it, but what he says is basically the riddle of their friendship, something that can be ‘seen, but not seen’).
Yugi always offers Jounouchi support and encouragement where most people would either dismiss him outright, or just call him plain crazy. Jounouchi has a great admiration for Yugi, as a friend and as a duellist. They’re very affectionate and open with each other and there’s no reason at all that their friendship couldn’t evolve into some form of romantic love one day.
For some reason or other, Yugi/Jounouchi is not all that popular with the western fans of the show. It’s one of Yu-Gi-Oh’s most obvious and natural pairings in my opinion, yet people seem to ignore it, instead preferring to pair Yugi up with Yami and Jounouchi up with Kaiba. I haven’t been able to find many fics for this couple and, as such, haven’t really come across any of the clichés that you’d usually find with other, more popular pairings.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that most Yu-Gi-Oh fans like their pairings to contain conflict and angst, two things you don’t really get when you make Yugi and Jounouchi into a couple. Maybe the fact that the words most often used to describe their relationship (cute, sweet, adorable) tend to put people off. They don’t fight, they don’t hate each other and they aren’t engaged in a constant struggle for dominance, making most yaoi fangirls pass this pairing by in search for smuttier, angstier stuff.
Personally, I like couples that work well together, which is what Yugi and Jounouchi do best. They make a great team, they’re always looking out for each other and they’re physically affectionate with each other.
The majority of stories I’ve read feature Jounouchi as the seme, but I’m guessing that has more to do with the fact that most people consider Yugi to be too small and cute to be able to top anybody. To be honest, I could see it going either way. Jounouchi would do anything for Yugi and if Yugi wanted to screw him into next week, then he’d probably let him without putting up much protest.
Most of the stories for this pairing are of the WAFF variety. Occasionally you might be able to find something with a smidgen of angst, which most like ends up dealing with the issue of Jounouchi’s father, but the fics tend to be like the pairing (sweet and fluffy).