Episode 52: The Past is Present (The Lost Memory of the Pharaoh)
A plane touches down at the airport. Ishizu Ishtar (Isis Ishtahl), a young Egyptian woman wearing a a necklace with the Millennium symbol on it, is welcomed to Domino by several officials of the Domino Museum. (In the Japanese, both the airplane and the cargo container have "Egypt Air" written on them.)
They tell her they're pleased she's chosen their museum for her exhibit, and reassure her that they've taken extra precautions to protect her ancient artifacts, since she's warned them that thieves have been after them. They're shocked when Ishizu recounts their security plans to them, but she tells them the plans are fine. "I just have a sixth sense about these things." (In the Japanese, there's no talk of security. Just lots of polite-making, and Isis makes a joke that doesn't come across in the subtitles.)
Meanwhile, Yugi's walking down the street, worrying about the Millennium Puzzle. Thieves almost stole it away from him, and he has a feeling the worst is yet to come. (In the Japanese, there's no voiceover. We see Yugi walking, looking preoccupied and a little sad, and see a flashback of him putting the Puzzle together in the fire.) Téa spots him across the street and calls out to him, but he's too preoccupied to notice her.
Behind her, the television sets in a store window shows Ishizu's press conference. Téa watches as Ishizu says that game fans especially are invited to her exhibit, which chronicles the history of Egyptian games. In ancient times, she says, games weren't just for fun. Dueling games were played for land, wealth and power. Even the Pharaoh is said to have competed in a game against a force that threatened the entire world! (In the Japanese, she doesn't talk about games. She says she's exhibiting a mural of the 18 Egyptian dynasties, and says it's the first time these artifacts have toured abroad.)
Mokuba's watching the press conference on TV in his brother's office, while Kaiba works at his desk. Mokuba tells his brother they have to check out the exhibit, but Kaiba says he doesn't have time for mummies and pharaohs. Kaiba receives a phone call from Ishizu, who tells him he should pay more attention to her press conference! (In the Japanese, it's a secretary telling him that Isis is calling. And, really, would the president of a corporation be answering his own phone?) On the television screen, she extends a personal invitation to Seto Kaiba to come to a private exhibition that evening, saying it will change his life forever! (In the Japanese, she merely says that she wants everyone to enjoy the exhibit.)
Kaiba goes to the museum in his chauffered limousine. (In the Japanese, the sign reading "Domino Egypt Exhibit" is changed to "Domino Museum.")
He's carrying his metal briefcase with him. And wearing a new flashy purple duster, and looking quite fine, I must say! Inside, he's greeted by Ishizu and two of her men, and discovers that he's the only guest at this private exhibition. A guard tells her that the entrances have been locked—no one can get in or out! Kaiba says he's already bored, and threatens to leave immediately if she doesn't tell him what this is all about. (In the Japanese, Isis's guards tell her that everything's fine. And Kaiba tells Isis if she has doubts about him, he'll leave. She apologizes and tells him there's a battle for the artifacts going on, and the word "battle" piques his interest.) But then he follows her through the museum, and she asks him if he believes in destiny, telling him that he and she were destined to meet. (In the Japanese, she tells him that the Bureau of Archaeology, of which she's the director, was formed in 1857 to protect important artifacts from tomb robbers.)
Kaiba has no patience for this nonsense, and again threatens to leave if she doesn't get down to business. (In the Japanese, he tells her if she's looking for mummies, he can't help her. He's only interested in hi-tech products.) He recalls that on the phone she'd told him she had an offer for him—a Duel Monsters card stronger than Exodia! Nothing can stop Exodia, he says. (In the Japanese, she'd told him only that she had rare cards.) Ishizu tells him Duel Monsters was based on a 5000-year-old Egyptian game, played by the ancients for power. Pegasus discovered this game, she says, and decided to reinvent it for modern times. But unknown to most duelists, Pegasus created a series of all-powerful cards, never released to the public. (In the Japanese, she tells him that Pegasus created Duel Monsters after a trip to Egypt. She doesn't yet mention the God cards.)
In his room, Yugi sits on his bed with his knees drawn up, the Puzzle on the bed in front of him. He's worrying about whoever's after the Puzzle—it seems like he'll do anything to get it! (And he's wearing a wristband now—after the spirit encouraged him to last episode, even though he said then that it wasn't his style!) They barely escaped from the fire alive! (Again, no voiceover. Just Yugi looking sad and thoughtful.) Yami appears beside him and tells Yugi that now that the Puzzle's back together, and their bond is back, they'll fight their enemy together. But they don't know who the enemy is or what he looks like, Yugi protests. The spirit says that they've been in tough spots before, and they''ll get through this one, too.
(Okay, Yugi and Yami's dialog has been completely rewritten throughout this ep, and an important plotline totally tossed aside. Sigh. First, the spirit thanks Yugi for putting the puzzle back together in the fire. Yugi says it was Jounouchi and Honda who saved them, and the spirit says they have good friends. Then he asks Yugi, who is still looking sad, what he's thinking.)
In her own room, Téa is asleep at her desk, dreaming that she's in a faraway desert land, filled with Egyptian ruins. She sees Yugi walking away from her up a tall stone stairway towards a door. She calls out to him, asking him where he's going, and he tells her he's going to face his destiny. Saying goodbye, he walks through the door, which closes behind him. She wakes up, troubled. (In the Japanese, Yugi doesn't say anything, just walks away as Anzu calls out to him not to go.)
Back at the museum, Ishizu is leading Kaiba to a basement room, where she says her most precious artifacts are kept. (The Keep Out sign on the door is changed to a graphic of a walking figure with a line and circle over him. Really, don't the dubbers expect grade school kids to be able to read simple words? Why is all the English digitized out?)
These are stone carvings depicting the earliest known game played in Egypt—the origin of Duel Monsters.
Kaiba enters, and the lights come on. He's shocked to see that the carvings on the stone look like Duel Monsters cards. Ishizu's story is true! In ancient times, Ishizu tells him, it is said that these monsters were real, summoned by sorcerers to do their bidding. But the monsters were too powerful and rampaged out of control, bringing the earth to the brink of destruction! The Pharaoh used his magic to seal the monsters away in stone tablets. (In the Japanese, she tells him that the ancients believed that natural disasters, war and suffering were caused by demons of the heart. The Pharaoh had his sorcerers carve the demons onto stone tablets and sealed them away.) But evil sorcerers learned to release the monsters from the stone, and waged war against the Pharaoh.
Ishizu then tells Kaiba to look at the next carving, saying this is the reason she's called him there. It depicts the Pharaoh and his greatest opponent. (In the Japanese, she tells him that the stone might give him inspiration, as it did Pegasus.) Kaiba's shocked to see that the Pharaoh is Yugi! And the monster carved above him is the Dark Magician! Ishizu tells Kaiba that the Pharaoh's opponent is him—and the monster carved above him is the Blue Eyes White Dragon. The heiroglyphics on the stone say that the sorcerer marched into the Pharaoh's chamber and challenged him to a duel, with the fate of the world at stake! The Pharaoh accepted the challenge, and the epic battle began. (In the Japanese, she says the other man depicted on the stone is a priest, and tells Kaiba that when all seven Millennium Items are brought together, something unimaginable will happen, but nobody knows what. The important thing, she says, is that the battle between the Pharaoh and the priest continues.)
Now, Ishizu says, this five thousand year old battle is being played out again. (In the Japanese, all this stuff happened three thousand years ago, not five.)
No way, Kaiba insists. The stone has to be a fake. So Ishizu says she'll show him part of the battle first-hand, with her Millennium Necklace (Millennium Torque). (In the Japanese, she asks him to accept the truth with an open heart. "Kudaran!" he says, which means "Ridiculous!" or "Nonsense!" It's one of Japanese Kaiba's favorite words.) The Necklace activates, and a bright light fills the room. Kaiba finds himself floating in the sky over a huge chamber, in which the sorcerer—who looks just like him—issues his challenge to the Pharaoh. (In the Japanese, the priest doesn't challenge the Pharaoh. He calls upon the sun god Ra to defend him, and to punish the evil priests.) The sorcerer's followers chant, and a stone tablet rises, and the monster carved on it comes to life. He's opposed by a servant of the Pharaoh, who raises his own monster (it's Winged Dragon, Guardian of the Fortress), and the two monsters face off. (In the Japanese, the priest's opponent is not necessarily a servant of the Pharaoh. It's not clear who he is.) On his throne, the Pharaoh watches silently. His face is covered in shadow, but his hair is like Yugi's. The sorcerer's monster is destroyed, and his followers banished to the Shadow Realm.
Back in Yugi's room, Yugi is telling Yami he feels like a total loser! He nearly lost Yami and the Puzzle forever! He can't face the enemy! The spirit tells Yugi he's wrong—in all his years, he's never encountered a soul as brave as Yugi's. There's a reason fate gave Yugi the Puzzle. He has the heart of a true champion, the spirit tells Yugi.
(In the Japanese, Yugi asks the spirit who he is. The spirit asks why he wants to know, and Yugi seems to think that's rather a silly question. But the spirit says he doesn't know anything. "I knew you'd ask me one day," he says. "I don't know where I came from. I don't have any memories.")
Kaiba's lying on the floor in shock, while Ishizu continues to tell him the story of the battle. The winner of the duel was recorded on the stone, but the heiroglyphics have been worn away. As Kaiba begins to rise, she tells him she'll show him more of the past. (In the Japanese, she tells him that the stone tells of the eighteen pharaohs, but the name of one of the pharaohs was never recorded. Brief rant here: have the people who are blithely rewriting this show for the US actually seen the series? Because some of the plotlines they're throwing out for no apparent reason are going to become major points later on.)
Kaiba sees the sorcerer summon La Jinn, but the Pharaoh's servant fuses two dragons and destroys La Jinn, banishing more of the sorcerer's followers. The sorcerer is unbowed, telling the Pharaoh he'll crush him! (The priest in the Japanese is, well, bowed. Ishizu then tells Kaiba that only this Pharaoh was wiped out from Egyptian history. "A pharaoh without a name.")
Kaiba comes back to himself, insisting that the sorcerer's a big loser, nothing like him! (In the Japanese, he says, "No more talk of this nonsense!") Maybe the final vision will convince you, Ishizu says, and hits him with the necklace again. Now Kaiba sees the sorcerer call forth the ultimate beast of destruction, sacrificing two of his monsters to summon the legendary Blue Eyes White Dragon! (In the Japanese, both the priest and his opponent do a lot of calling out to the gods to help them and give them power.) Kaiba, floating in the sky above the chamber, is shocked to see the Blue Eyes, as is the Pharaoh, who rises from his throne. The Blue Eyes attacks, mowing down his enemy's monsters, and the sorcerer declares victory! ("We are the gods!" the priest exults in the Japanese.)
Ishizu asks Kaiba if he's convinced now. It's not just coincidence that he and Yugi are opponents. Kaiba gets up off the floor and picks up his briefcase. "I make my own destiny," he says, and starts to walk away. (In the Japanese, he says it's all nonsense!)
Ishizu reminds him of the all-powerful cards she told him about. She points out the carvings at the top of the stone. They are the God cards: Obelisk the Tormentor (Obelisk the Great War God), Slifer the Sky Dragon (Osiris the Sky Dragon), and the Winged Dragon of Ra (Ra the Winged God Dragon). But if Pegasus had these cards, Kaiba says, why didn't he use them at Duelist Kingdom?
Ishizu says that Pegasus feared the power of the God cards, and couldn't control them. Kaiba thinks if he had these cards, he'd be unstoppable! Yugi wouldn't stand a chance. But how can he get them? Pegasus has disappeared. (In the Japanese, Isis tells Kaiba that whoever holds these cards can become the ultimate duelist. And Kaiba says he's heard of them—whoever has them can use them for good or for evil. Any mishap can kill the players.)
Ishizu says that Pegasus gave the God cards to her. She'd hidden them away, but someone's found them. She must get them back! She tells him about the Rare Hunters (in the Japanese, they're also called Ghouls), an underground sect of elite duelists, who steal rare cards to sell on the black market. She wants Kaiba to hold a Duel Monsters tournament, and bring together powerful duelists from all over the world. Kaiba agrees—the Rare Hunters would surely come to gather more rare cards, bringing the God cards with them.
Then Ishizu gives Kaiba a card—Obelisk the Tormentor! (The Japanese card says "The God of Obelisk" on it in English. But the characters call it "Obelisk no Kyoshinhei," which means "Obelisk the Great War God.") She managed to retrieve this one, and she'll lend it to Kaiba for the tournament. "What makes you think I'll give it back?" Kaiba asks.
"You will return the card," she says. "I have foreseen it." ("I have complete trust in you," Isis says.)
Kaiba agrees to host the tournament. But not because of Ishizu's hocus-pocus. "I want to regain my title as the number one duelist!" (In the Japanese, Kaiba says he'll host the tournament under one condition—no more talk of pharaohs and priests! He's not interested in what happened in the past.)
Yugi thinks their enemy must have a Millennium Item, and the spirit agrees. Yugi wonders how they stop him, and Yami reassures him that as long as they stay connected, they'll fight together. "What if I fail again?" Yugi pleads. "How do I know I won't lose you?" "I believe in you," the spirit says.
(In the Japanese, Yugi apologizes, saying he shouldn't have brought it up, and asks to change the subject. The spirit says, "There's one thing I know for sure. As long as you have the Millennium Puzzle, I'll be here." Yugi says, "That's enough," and when the spirit starts to say something else, Yugi jumps up, repeating, "That's enough!"
("I want to be with you always," the spirit says. "Even if I don't get my memory back." Yugi agrees, crying. "Me too... forever. I will give you all of my memories.")
Kaiba's in his limo, on the way back to Kaiba Corp, looking at the God card in his hand with a gleam in his eye. One God card down, he says, and two to go! Bwahahaha!