Episode 53: Steppin' Out (Fiery Dance Battle)
School is just letting out at Domino High. The students gather in the entryway, putting on their shoes. Téa goes out the front door, grumbling about the rain. Joey and Tristan are still inside, mopping the floors. (In Japan, it's customary for the kids to take turns at clean-up duty. And here's yet another pointless change: the buckets have "2-B" written on them in the Japanese, which would be Jounouchi and Honda's class number. It's removed in the US version.)
Joey's whistling, and Tristan asks him what he's so happy about. Joey's sister is finally going to have her eye operation, thanks to the three million dollars Yugi won at Duelist Kingdom! But when Tristan asks when they're going to visit her in the hospital, Joey explains his mom will be there, and that ever since he and Serenity were separated as kids, he and his mother don't get along. Tristan cheerfully grabs Joey around the neck and says he'll go alone, then! He's just worried whether Serenity will like him. (Japanese Honda says, "Shizuka doesn't look like you. She's cute! Introduce us!") Warning Tristan not to get any ideas, Joey wrestles back, and pretty soon the two boys are twisted up together like pretzels.
Yugi greets Téa on the front steps of the school. He asks her for her help, saying that the recent theft of the Millennium Puzzle reminded the spirit of the Puzzle how little he knows about his past. Yugi thinks hanging out with Téa might help the spirit figure things out. She doesn't really know how she can help, but agrees to meet the spirit the next day at Domino Station. (In the Japanese, Yugi asks Anzu if she's free this weekend, getting all shy and nervous about it. Then he says "the other me" has been in a bad mood lately, and won't talk to him. He thinks Anzu can cheer him up.)
At home the next morning, Yugi's getting dressed, telling Yami he has a surprise for him. He does have all sorts of fairly normal-looking clothes laid out on the bed, but once again goes for the all-black bondage look. (In the Japanese, Yugi tells the spirit he's meeting Anzu later, and the spirit says, "A date! Finally! Go, Partner!" Yugi says, "But it's not going to be me," and winks. Man, this is so cute! Why did they cut out all the sweet banter and replace it with all that ponderous "we're in this together" stuff? We get that the theme of the show is 'friendship'. Why not let the boys show it, instead of constantly speechifying about it?)
Téa's waiting at the station, still wondering how she can help the spirit remember his past. (In the Japanese, she's thinking about going on a date with the other Yugi, and wonders why she's so nervous.) Yugi runs to meet her, stopping before she notices him to activate the Puzzle, telling the spirit, "This is where you take over." Yami sputters a bit, exclaiming, "This isn't a duel!" then rather sheepishly says hi to Téa.
Téa takes Yami to a coffeeshop. (In the Japanese, it says "Domino Coffee" over the door of the shop.)
(And the logos on the coffee cups look a lot like Starbucks. Heh.)
Yami's sitting with his chin in his hand, staring out the window, while Téa wonders what to say. Finally, she suggests tha they go to the Egypt exhibit at the museum. She shows him a brochure of the exhibit, pointing out that one of the carvings has the same symbol as the Millennium Puzzle. But now Yami looks doubtful. There are so many unanswered questions about his past. Téa asks him what he does remember, and he says he knows he's from ancient Egypt and that he now lives inside the Puzzle, but that's all he knows. He thinks destiny brought him to Yugi in order to accomplish something important, but he doesn't know what. (In the Japanese, after Anzu suggests the Egyptian exhibit, Yami shows Anzu the wristband he's wearing and says Yugi put it on this morning. He thinks these things are a cover Yugi uses to hide his true self from people. Anzu tells him Yugi's worried about him, and he says Yugi's worried about him? Yugi can't even figure out who he likes! Yami says that like him, Yugi has a difficult road. "We both don't know who we are and what to do with our future." Anzu thinks this Yugi really has a different personality than the normal Yugi. And Yami says that for now, he thinks it's best to keep things the way they are.)
Téa says she's going through something like the same thing—she doesn't know what her purpose in life is, either. So she's just going to follow her heart, and her heart is telling her to become a dancer! (May I just say that Japanese Anzu is much less annoying than Téa? She's saying basically the same thing, but without all the fanfare.) Yami thinks that's great—he always tells Yugi to follow his heart. Téa says, don't think of the unknown as your enemy, think of it as an adventure! Feeling all inspired, they head out to see what the world has in store for them.
They check out some CDs at a music store, try feeding some pigeons (poor Yami is a bit freaked when they land all over him), and check out a movie. (The movie appears to be a Star Wars knock-off called, in the Japanese, Space Legend.)
But Yami doesn't really seem interested until they find a gaming store advertising Duel Monsters cards. (The poster's been redesigned for the US, with all the cards and the printing removed. The Japanese characters on the poster are katakana, and spell out "Duel Monsters.")
(Japanese Yami says it's hard to decide which ones to buy, and Anzu thinks this is when he's happiest. Apparently, rather than redesign the booster packs Yami's reaching for, they've just snipped the closeup of the packs entirely.)
Yami picks up a couple of cards, including the trap card Lightforce Sword, which makes him happy. (Japanese Yami says that Aibou [Partner, which is what he calls Yugi] will be happy, too.) Then they go to the game arcade. (The arcade is called Big Wed in the Japanese. I'm guessing they meant "Big Web." And, as a side note, with all the wandering around the city the kids are doing this ep, there are tons of scenes where the writing on buildings and street signs is taken out. I'm not going to cap them all, or this page would be huge! Just know that every time you see a street scene, there are words and letters missing.)
(Aww! They totally cut the little bit where a couple of kids are trying to fish a plushie Blue Eyes White Dragon out of a pile of toys. All the toys are Duel Monsters, it looks like. There's a plushie Dark Magician in the pile, too, and Feral Imp, and down in the lower right corner it lookes like Flame Swordsman, and I think that grey guy in the lower left is Giant Soldier of Stone. Kawaii! I want a plushie Dark Magician!)
They see a guy called Johnny Steps (Step Johnny) playing a dance game. After winning another round, Johnny asks Téa if she's feeling lucky. Yami thinks they should just ignore him, but Téa's all fired up! Tossing her jacket at Yami, she jumps up onto the platform.
They trade a few insults, then the dance battle begins! (Japanese Johnny tells Anzu if she loses, she has to spend the evening with him. Then he says that's probably why she's dancing, anyway. She calls him a jerk.) Téa's dancing up a storm, and Johnny starts to get worried, so he tries to trip Téa, then gives her the elbow, but Téa recovers, and still manages to win, after Johnny gets so freaked he falls down. Yami's impressed!
Later, Téa and Yami stand on the pier, looking out over the ocean at sunset. Téa's still pretty excited about her victory, saying maybe that will shut Johnny up for a while. Yami tells her she was great, and she's inspired him to search for his past, no matter where it leads him. Téa says his friends will be with him while he searches. (In the Japanese, Anzu says it's amazing how spending 100 yen on a game can renew her faith in her dream. Yami says you can maintain a dream even if you don't go after it. Anzu doesn't think that's a good idea. Yami says he wants to know about himself. But "if I keep things the way they are, I'll always be with Yugi. He must want it this way, too." Anzu thinks that she wants the other Yugi to be here always, too. But she tells Yami to be true to himself.)
Just then, Johnny Step shows up demanding a rematch, claiming that his leg cramped up. (In the Japanese, he doesn't make excuses, just challenges Anzu to a duel. He's the one who says if he loses, he'll give up, but if he wins, Anzu must be his girlfriend.) Téa tells him to buzz off, but then Yami steps in and accepts Johnny's challenge—but playing Duel Monsters instead. If Yami wins, Johnny will promise never to bother Téa again, but if Johnny wins, Téa will have to go out with him.
They head off to Kaiba Land and get a dueling arena. (Remember back a few episodes ago, when they had to beg Mokuba for a special favor to get an arena for the duel with Rebecca? Mokuba told them the arenas were booked solid three months in advance. Maybe after the Legendary Heroes adventures, Mokuba gave Yugi a permanent pass for an arena whenever he wanted one. Or Kaiba Land's business has fallen off. It doesn't say "Kaiba Land" on the building in the US version, but you can still see the three Blue Eyes White Dragon statues out front, which is a dead giveaway. Which brings up an interesting question—Duel Monsters in the show was invented by Pegasus, whose company, Industrial Illusions, must own the rights to all the Duel Monsters cards. Wonder how Kaiba, whose own corporation is Industrial Illusions' chief rival, got the rights to use the Blue Eyes White Dragons for Kaiba Land?)
Yami and Johnny bluster at each other a bit. (In the Japanese, Yami asks Johnny why he dances, and he says to be popular, of course, and to pick up girls. Yami says he won't let Johnny defile Anzu's dream. Johnny doesn't get it, but Yami says Johnny can't be a True Dancer.) Johnny begins by playing Sonic Maid in attack and Yami responds with Celtic Guardian, destroying Sonic Maid. Johnny says Yami just got lucky (Japanese Johnny says it's too much, using a sword on a woman!), then plays Water Omotics in attack mode. Water Omotics' attack is 1400, equal to Celtic Guardian's. (Another monster who's naked in the Japanese, and gets a scaley blue swimsuit in the US.)
Yami's surprised that Johnny's monsters don't seem to have anything in common. (Japanese Yami says these are just fan cards—not really used to play. Johnny's cards are all about dancing.) He tells Johnny he can't win by throwing out random monsters, but Johnny says maybe he has a plan too good for Yami's puny brain to comprehend! Yami draws and ends his turn without playing a card. Johnny then plays Spirit of the Harp in defense, and the magic card Chorus of Sanctuary, which raises Spirit of the Harp's defense to 2500 points.
Yami thinks Johnny might be a better player than he gave him credit for. He plays Curse of Dragon and destroys Water Omotics, which is still in attack mode, and Johnny loses another 600 life points. Johnny's upset that he forgot to put Water Omotics in defense.
Next Johnny plays Witch of the Black Forest in defense (Japanese Yami thinks Johnny isn't using fan cards any more), then uses Polymerization to fuse the Witch with Lady of Faith to create the Musician King, with an attack of 1750. Musician King destroys Yami's Celtic Guardian, hitting Yami for 350 life points. Then he plays a magic/trap card face down.
Yami attacks Musician King with Curse of Dragon, but Johnny's got a trap waiting—he plays Metalmorph and transforms Musician King into Heavy Metal King, with an attack of 2050, and Curse of Dragon is destroyed. Yami plays Giant Soldier of Stone in defense.
The Heavy Metal King's attack is increased again by Metalmorph. It destroys the Giant Soldier of Stone. Téa's worried—it looks like Yami's in trouble now!
Johnny calls Yami a loser, and tells him to give up. Yami, of course, doesn't. (In the Japanese, Yami says he knows how Metalmorph works—it adds half the attacked monster's attack points to the equipped monster's attack strength.) He summons the Dark Magician and attacks Heavy Metal King. Johnny laughs—he thinks Metalmorph raises the Heavy Metal King's attack over the Dark Magician's. But his monster is destroyed! How can this be! Yami explains—Metalmorph only raises the equipped monster's attack while the monster is attacking. Since it was Dark Magician that was attacking, Heavy Metal King didn't receive the power bonus.
Johnny's upset. He thinks Yami must have cheated, and asks his name. (Japanese Johnny doesn't accuse Yami of cheating.) Yami tells him his name is Yugi. (This comes across a bit strangely in the US, where we're accustomed to thinking of the spirit's name as Yami. In the Japanese, the spirit is never actually called Yami on the show, only "the other Yugi," so it's natural for him to say his name is Yugi when asked).
Uh oh! Is this the same Yugi who beat Pegasus at Duelist Kingdom? Johnny promptly surrenders, not wanting to go up against the King of Games. "I'm a dancer, not a duelist," Johnny says, leaving his dueling station.
Where he comes face to face with Téa, who reads him out for giving up or trying to cheat when things get tough. Forfeiting is better than losing, Johnny says. Nobody likes a loser. Téa asks him how many friends he has. He claims he has one, but Téa doesn't believe it. Everybody loses sometime, she says. The important thing is to look trouble in the eye and never give up! (Japanese Anzu tells him if he's got so much time for chasing girls, why not spend time doing what he's really good at? He's a better dancer than duelist. Johnny says, no, being a professional dancer is just a faraway dream. Anzu asks if he's been to any auditions, and he says one. She says, you gave up after one try? He says she doesn't know what it's like to be a failure, and she tells him she's failed over a dozen times! But she never gave up. He leaves, saying he'll try again. And doesn't that make a whole lot more sense than the US version, where they tried to cram another friendship riff in where it didn't belong?)
Johnny thinks Téa is right. He thanks her and leaves. She thinks maybe now he'll face his problems, instead of running away, and Yami says that's exactly what he has to do. (In the Japanese, Anzu laughs, a little embarrassed, and says she talked too much. Yami says, no she didn't, and let's go to the ancient Egypt exhibit.) They go to the museum, where Yami hopes to find clues about his past. (Japanese Yami says part of him is resisting, afraid to know the truth.) He thanks Téa for helping him, and she says that's what friends are for!
Yami starts up the steps, ready to face his future!