Seto Kaiba rips the fourth Blue Eyes card
Image via Gallop

Seto Kaiba Is the Best Part of Yu-Gi-Oh (and It Isn’t Even Close)

Seto Kaiba is undeniably the coolest character in the Yu-Gi-Oh anime. In fact, he stands out not only in that series, but also among all anime rivals in general. This is all because while he may seem like a simple character at first, he’s actually quite layered.

Recommended Videos

Editor’s Note: There are be Seto Kaiba Yu-Gi-Oh anime spoilers below.

What makes Kaiba so remarkable is his unwavering dedication to becoming the best at a card game. Going so far as ignoring the larger, fantastical conflicts surrounding him, he’s focused in a way you can appreciate. While the other characters grapple with ancient pharaohs and dark shadow magic, Kaiba remains pretty much focused on Duel Monsters. His indifference to the absurdly world-ending calamities around him is genuinely refreshing. He acknowledges the craziness is happening, and he just doesn’t care. The guy just wants to shuffle up and play some cards.

Image via Gallop

But it makes sense. Seto Kaiba’s backstory in Yu-Gi-Oh adds depth to his character. As an orphan, he used his intelligence and skill at chess to secure his adoption by Gozaburo Kaiba. To Kaiba, this was effectively winning his freedom through sheer intellect and skill. This victory set the tone for his life, where mastering games became his path to success.

Kaiba’s intense need to win is not just driven by ego, but by the understanding that winning is the only way he knows to move forward. His life has always been a series of high-stakes games. Victory is his means of survival and progression. This is why he needs to beat Yugi Muto.

Muto is not only Kaiba’s first loss, but he also can’t understand losing to a duelist he should beat on paper. Of course, it helps that Muto has an ancient pharaoh who is, like, stupid good at card games playing for him. Kaiba does it all on his own, like everything in his life. I mean, I know the point is that he needs to allow others to help him to be better. That’s his whole Battle City arc. Still, if I was Kaiba, I’d be mad about it too.

Image via Gallop

Kaiba’s softer side is most evident in his relationship with his brother, Mokuba. During the Duelist Kingdom arc, Kaiba’s usually unyielding demeanor shifts when Pegasus captures Mokuba. For once, winning and pride aren’t the only reason he’s playing. To save Mokuba, Kaiba swallows his pride and faces Muto, needing to defeat him to challenge Pegasus.

Despite summoning the formidable Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon, Kaiba is on the brink of defeat. In a dramatic moment, Kaiba threatens to jump off a ledge if Muto attacks, manipulating his opponent into forfeiting the duel. Unlike many adversaries in the series who cheat to win, Kaiba doesn’t feel like the win counts. This was a desperate bid to save his brother by sacrificing his integrity. It is a defining moment that showcases his depth and complexity.

Image via Gallop

Kaiba’s one-liners and ruthless wit are another highlight. His verbal sparring, especially with Joey Wheeler, is legendary. Although to be fair, at least early in the show, he really is a third rate duelist with a fourth rate deck.

Seto Kaiba’s unwavering dedication to being the best duelist, his complex backstory, and his sharp wit make him the standout character in Yu-Gi-Oh! His ability to remain focused on his goals, even amidst the chaos of ancient magic and world-threatening stakes, is what sets him apart and cements his status as the coolest character in the series.

Yu-Gi-Oh! is currently streaming on Hulu and Crunchyroll.

Siliconera is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Cory Dinkel
Cory Dinkel
Cory Dinkel is a freelance writer for Siliconera since 2023. An award-winning digital journalist, he has worked for local and national news outlets for nearly a decade. His favorite genre is the JRPG and he will not be taking questions during his "There is Not a Love Triangle in Final Fantasy VII" speech.