Episode 6: First Duel (Beautiful Harpie Lady)
Pegasus sits at his elegant dining table, checking his ornate pocket watch. The duels have begun, he says to himself, and only the strong will survive. Those with insufficient skill will fall by the wayside.... (Japanese Pegasus, however, has his mind only on Yugi. "Will you come to the Castle?" he wonders.)
Cut to our gang, with Joey in the lead. "Bring 'em on," he says. He's itching to duel, and he's taking on the next player they see! Téa's not so sure Joey's up to this, and Tristan agrees—there are tournament-level players here. But surely Joey's smart enough to realize...? Joey runs ahead to stand on a cliff overlooking the ocean, proclaiming himself the next Duel Monsters Champion! Everyone sighs, and Tristand says maybe Joey's not that smart, while Téa says Joey needs a reality check. (Japanese Jounouchi is nowhere near as boastful as US Joey. "It's my turn now," he says. "I'll take on the next duelist we meet." And when he runs to the cliff, he simply tells everyone to come and look, it's so beautiful here. Everyone's exasperated with him, not because he's overconfident, but because he's taking time out to enjoy the view.)
Then he turns reflective: he'd better be champion, for his sister's sake. She's always counted on him.
Flashbacks show Little Joey and Serenity, getting off the bus at a remote hillside stop. Little Serenity asks her brother where he's taking them, and he says to the beach—isn't that where she's always wanted to go? Serenity says he's the best big brother ever! (In the Japanese, Shizuka's voice is heard telling her brother she wants to see the ocean, and Jounouchi's saying he'll take her. When they arrive at the bus stop, little Shizuka asks, won't Mom be mad? He tells her it will be all right—just let him worry about that.) The happy kids play in the surf and build sand castles. Little Joey tells Serenity he'll bring her back to see the ocean again some day—even if their parents do get divorced and they have to live apart. Promise? she asks. And he pinky-swears he will.
Present-day Joey renews his promise to his sister—he's her big brother, and he's supposed to take care of her. He'll win the tournament and the prize money, and make sure she doesn't lose her eyesight. And he'll show her the ocean one more time.
The gang look out over the island, and see Duel Monsters stadiums everywhere, with lots of dueling going on. Joey says he's going in, but Tristan asks if he's sure he wants to do this. If Joey loses, he'll lose his only Star Chip. Joey starts to freak, but Yugi tells him not to panic—he can do it. Joey hopes Yugi's right—this will be his first official duel, and he can't afford to get knocked out of the tournament. Yugi says not everyone here is a pro, and advises Joey to choose an opponent on his own level. Joey considers what kind of field his cards are best suited for, and concludes that since his monsters are mostly fighter types, the meadow region is his kind of turf. Yugi encourages Joey, telling him he knows what he's doing. (Japanese Yugi doesn't give advice about choosing a weaker opponent—it's only Honda and Anzu who think Jounouchi had better start out slowly. Yugi's advice is only for Jounouchi to choose his playing field carefully.)
Then they hear a familiar voice—it's Mai Valentine, taunting the player she's just beaten, and demanding his Star Chips. The boy protests, claiming she must have cheated somehow. How could she have known what her cards were when they were still face down? She says she's psychic—and he's done. The boy runs away in tears, while Mai laughs.
Then she spots the gang, sees Yugi's three Star Chips, and says she might be ready for another duel. Téa whispers to Yugi to take her, and knock her off the island! But the player she challenges is—Joey! Does he have the guts? Joey says he guesses she heard about his skill, but she tells him not to flatter himself. She overheard Joey and Yugi talking on the boat, and she knows Yugi gave him the only Star Chip he has. Her motto is to take out the weakest player first, and since he wouldn't even be here if Yugi hadn't given him one of his Star Chips, he must be one of the weakest players there. (Japanese Mai isn't quite so insulting to Jounouchi, but she does say that she wants to increase her Star Chips by taking on a weaker opponent before dueling Yugi.) Joey asks if she has to be so insulting, but Téa says, this time she's being truthful. (Japanese Jounouchi protests that he was in the top eight, but Anzu points out that was only in the regionals.)
Then Téa says that Mai's ruthless, and warns Joey not to duel her first. Tristan also reminds Joey that if he loses this duel, he's out for good. Téa thinks Yugi ought to take on Mai in Joey's place, but Yugi says it's Joey's decision to make, and tells Joey to show Mai what he's made of. (Japanese Yugi tells Jounouchi he has to accept the challenge.) Joey agrees—Mai thinks he's a pushover, but she'll see. Téa and Tristan are still skeptical, but Joey says this is his chance to prove himself. Don't forget, Gramps trained him—granted, he didn't get a chance to finish his training, and granted, he wishes he'd had more time to practice, but he thinks he can take her. Tristan and Téa warn him he'd better be right, for his sister's sake. (Japanese Jounouchi says if he doesn't take this challenge, then from now on, every time he sees beautiful mountains like these, or a beautiful horizon, it will only remind him that he was a coward who ran away. Honda says he understands, and apologizes. And Anzu tells him that if he's going to do it, he'd better learn.)
Joey accepts the duel. He and Mai take their places in the dueling arena, while his friends urge him on. Yugi says Joey will do fine. (Japanese Yugi says, "Jounouchi-kun." Japanese people say each other's names a lot more than we Westerners do. At least in anime they do.)
Joey and Mai each bet one Star Chip. Joey thinks the meadow will be to his advantage, but then he sees the field they're playing on—turns out it's 40% mountain, 40% forest, and only 20% meadow. Joey freaks a bit, but Yugi reassures him that he'll still get the field power bonus on the part of the field that's meadow.
Before they duel, Joey says, he has to ask Mai one question: why did she decide to take part in this tournament? Why does she duel? For the perks, she says, all the luxuries the prize money can buy. Joey tells her she's selfish, dueling for things, while he's dueling for the people he loves, and Yugi tells him to show her what it's like to duel from the heart. (Japanese Jounouchi says he has something he wants to protect—something he has to protect, even if it means his life. Yugi says both of their goals will come out in the way they duel.)
He opens with Masaki the Legendary Swordsman (1100 ATK). The field power bonus raises its attack to 1430 points. Then Mai goes into her psychic act, humming and waving her hand over her face-down cards, telling Joey she has to mystically choose which card would be the best. (Japanese Mai says that she already knows what all her cards are.) Without turning it over, she chooses Harpie Lady (1300 ATK) (in the early episodes, it's called "Harpie's Lady"), whose strength is boosted by the mountain's field power bonus to 1690. (Harpie Lady's skimpy costume is changed in the US version.)
Joey attacks, despite the fact that his monster's attack is lower. Yugi warns Joey that land monsters are at a disadvantage against flying monsters—one of the nebulous rules of the early episodes. (In the Japanese version, Yugi explains that Joey's monster loses its field power bonus against Harpie Lady. Although he would have lost the battle anyway, since Masaki's attack was lower than Harpie Lady's even with the power boost.) Téa asks Yugi if Joey blew it already. Yugi says no, but Joey attacked too soon. (And, in fact, it wasn't Joey's attack, but Mai's—it's still her turn.)
Joey loses 590 life points, bringing him down to 1410. Mai hums over her cards again, and plays a card face-down without looking at it. Joey's rattled, and Yugi urges him to think about what he's doing before he moves again. (Japanese Yugi tells Jounouchi not to let Mai's card tricks fool him.)
Joey wonders how she can read the cards when they're face down, and Mai thinks her little card trick has made this kid forget everything he ever learned about Duel Monsters. All she has to do is keep pushing his buttons. Joey wonders what to do, then plays Tiger Axe (1300 ATK), thinking that the field power bonus will raise its attack to 1690 so it can take on the Harpie Lady head-to-head. (The Tiger Axe card was given a slight redesign in the US version.)
But Yugi warns Joey he's still not thinking, and Mai agrees—Tiger Axe is another land monster. It loses its field power bonus against Harpie Lady and is destroyed, and Joey loses another 390 points, bringing him down to 1020.
Mai tells Joey it will take more than his land-based wimps to beat her Harpie Lady, and sets another card without looking at it, telling Joey she'll give him a hint—it's an equipment card that will help her beat his next monster in one turn. (Japanese Mai tells him that her Harpie Lady will become more beautiful and more powerful with every turn.) A sweating Joey wonders if she can see his cards, too. Since he can't see what she's playing, he thinks he'd better get defensive, and sets a monster face-down in defense.
Mai plays her equipment card, Cyber Shield (Cyber Bondage), to juice up her Harpie Lady. (The Japanese Cyber Bondage has a spiked breastplate—and so does the equipped Harpie Lady—but the spikes were digitized out of the US version.)
Cyber Shield powers up Harpie Lady to 2190 attack points, and Mai destroys Joey's defense monster and laughs, telling him that his next card won't help him either. (In the Japanese, Jounouchi says his defense monster was Kojikocy [1200 DEF].)
He's completely flustered now, sure that she has ESP and can read his cards as well as her own. He's going to lose the duel, and the chance to save his sister. Yugi encourages him to settle down and remember what Grandpa taught him about playing Duel Monsters, and Téa tells Joey not to let Mai rattle him. Mai tells them to stay out of it, saying that friendship doesn't win duels. There can be only one champion, and on this island, someone can be your best friend today and your worst enemy tomorrow. Once the competition forces you to face each other in a duel, where's your friendship then? That's why the only person a duelist can trust is himself. (Japanese Mai taunts Anzu, telling her to use her heart to make Jounouchi win. "Show me what your feelings can do for a weak kid like him." Then she tells Jounouchi to let this be a lesson to him. If he keeps muttering about friendship and feelings, he'll never be a True Duelist. I think this is the first time we hear the phrase "Shin no Duelist" [True Duelist], something that will become a running theme throughout the Japanese series.)
Joey groans in frustration, and Tristan worries that Joey's losing it. Téa urges Yugi to do something! (Japanese Honda mutters about "that girl," and Anzu says she just can't stand it!) Then Yugi's puzzle activates and the spirit of the Millennium Puzzle comes out to encourage Joey, telling him not to listen to Mai—they're always there for him, just as Joey's always there for them. She's just trying to divide and conquer, a strategy that's been used for centuries. (The Japanese spirit tells Jounouchi to show her, then says that one phrase holds the key to Jounouchi's victory. He tells Jounouchi to listen to him carefully: "Something which is seen, but can't be seen.") The eye glows in Yugi's forehead, and Joey says when Yugi gets that look that on his face, he believes everything Yugi says. (Japanese Jounouchi repeats the phrase: "Something you can see, but can't see." But what does it mean? There's no glowing eye in Yugi's forehead in the Japanese version.)
Mai laughs, reminding Joey that if he wants to win the tournament, he'll eventually have to face Yugi in a duel, and what will happen to their friendship then? Uh oh, Joey hadn't thought about that. (Japanese Mai doesn't believe a nonsense phrase like that can help this kid win. She taunts Jounouchi, telling him to go ahead and show her what it can do. Jounouchi thinks he knows what Yugi is saying, but....) He remembers the conversation with Yugi on the roof, before they left for Duelist Kingdom, when he told Yugi that they're a team, and they'd rescue Yugi's grandfather together. But his sister's counting on him! What should he do? He closes his eyes, trying to shut out his doubts and concentrate on how to win against Mai. If he can only figure out how she knows what her cards are.... (Japanese Jounouchi remembers telling Yugi that the "something they can see, but can't see" is their friendship. Still, he doesn't understand how it applies to his duel with Mai. He berates himself, tears welling up in his eyes, telling Shizuka she deserves a better big brother. He closes his eyes, thinking about his sister, wondering what it's like to be blind—is the whole world dark like this? He doesn't want to send Shizuka into a world like this.)
Then he notices a smell—it's perfume, coming from Mai's cards! And he figures out her trick—she's sprayed her cards with different perfumes, so she can tell which card is which without looking. (Japanese Jounouchi points out that this is something you can see, but can't see—you can see the cards, but not the smell.)
Now it's Mai's turn to be rattled—how could Joey see through her psychic act! Joey says her psychic power shtick had him too freaked out to think about his moves. But she's not a psychic at all! She's just a big fake. Yugi and the others cheer Joey for figuring it out. Then Mai says just because he figured out her psychic trick, doesn't mean he can beat her in a duel. He thinks she's wrong. Before, she was winning by confusing him, and trying to pit him against his friends. But now his mind is clear, and all she has left is her cheap tricks. He won't fall for them any more. (Japanese Jounouchi says that with his friends here to help him, she's not such a formidable opponent after all. But he supposes that would be a foreign idea to her.)
Confidence restored, Joey plays Baby Dragon (1200 ATK). But Mai laughs, saying she wishes it were worth more, so when she devastates it, it would do more damage to his life points. (Which makes no sense, because the lower its attack, the more damage her attacks will do. In any case, he appears to have played it in defense—he placed it sideways on the field.)
Mai plays the magic card, Elegant Egotist, creating two more Harpie Ladies. (The duplicate Harpie Ladies are also deprived of their spikes in the US version.)
Joey's horrified—it's three times the trouble! Téa worries that he was struggling when it was only one. Tristan tells Joey not to give in—he's still got all kinds of moves left. But when Téa asks him what moves those would be, he says how should he know? Ask an expert—Yugi. But Yugi says it's Joey's duel, and he has to figure it out. (Japanese Yugi says it's too early to say.) Joey struggles over his cards, thinking he hasn't got any cards strong enough to beat three Harpie Ladies. Mai laughs, saying she'll use Elegant Egotist again and again each turn to create more Harpie Ladies. But while her Harpies multiply, she can't attack, so it's Joey's move.
Yugi again encourages Joey not to give up. He tells Joey to think hard about Mai's strategy. She's been using only one monster card, and strengthening it with many magic cards. But there's a serious flaw in her strategy. Joey wonders if the Harpies are her only monsters. If he can defeat the Harpie Lady, maybe Mai won't have any monsters left to play. Yugi asks Joey to think which of his cards can help him win. (Japanese Yugi again reminds Jounouchi: something you can see, but can't see.) Then Joey remembers the card that Yugi gave him—the Time Wizard. (Japanese Jounouchi remembers that Yugi gave him card from the Millennium Puzzle box—the puzzle being the thing you can see, but can't see. This shot of the Puzzle box is cut from the US version.)
Yugi told him it would help him out of a tight spot. Now, if only he can remember what Gramps told him about using a magic card... (Except Time Wizard is a monster, not a magic card. Although he often seems to use it as if it were a magic card. Japanese Jounouchi realizes Yugi must mean Time Wizard.) But does he have it in his hand? Mai grumbles impatiently while Joey searches his hand. Nope, no Time Wizard. He'll just have to draw for it. Hand shaking, he reaches for his cards, while Yugi urges him to trust in the cards, and in himself.
Joey draws—and it's the Time Wizard! Triumphantly, he plays it, and a thousand years pass, turning his Baby Dragon into the powerful Thousand Dragon (2400 ATK). Mai says her Harpie Ladies are still more powerful than Joey's dragon (well, no, they're each at 2190 ATK), but they've been aged by the Time Wizard, and lost their strength. Astonished, Joey realizes that he believed, and the cards came through for him! He attacks with Thousand Dragon (Japanese Thousand Dragon's attack is called "Thousand Nose Breath"), and the Harpie Ladies are destroyed, and Mai's defeated. (Okay, I don't get this. Thousand Dragon has an attack of 2400, and the weakened Harpie Lady is down to 1300. Mai should lose 1100 points, which would bring her down to 900. But she loses all her life points in this one attack. Unless she loses 1100 points for each Harpie Lady on the field? In the real game you can only attack once with each monster, but... oh well. Anyway, Mai loses.)
The gang cheer, telling Joey they knew he could do it! Mai slumps over her cards, wondering how she could lose to such an amateur. Joey tells her if she's ever going to be a real champion, she has to learn to care about someone other than herself. (Japanese Jounouchi tells Mai he may not be a duelist among duelists, but he will say this: Never forget that there are some things that will last a millennium, and those are things that can be seen, but remain unseen.) Yugi thinks how proud he is of Joey, for going from a guy who was nothing but eagerness and attitude to a winning duelist who battles with his head—and his heart. (Japanese Yugi thinks it was the difference between Jounouchi's and Mai's goals that led him to win this battle.)
Joey flashes a "V" for victory, while a vision of his sister Serenity fills the sky over his head.