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he is supposed to be an Egyptian prince, or at least, the spirit that possesses the protagonist is; yet his skin is white and he has spiky-ass yellow and red hair (all while voiced by a white man.) In later renditions, much after I stopped watching and playing, he would have a noticeable tan, an orange-ish brown skin tone while the other Egyptians depicted in the show had stark brown skin with normal, black hair. It’s a mystery how an ancient, Egyptian prince would somehow look exactly the same as a young, contemporary Japanese teen. What isn’t a mystery is that the writers and illustrators probably just didn’t care. It’s a Japanese interpretation of whiteness and blackness, in a way: Yugi is not quite Japanese but he sure as shit isn’t black or white either. (Wander around any comic-con and see black cos-players catch racism for being dressed up as Japanese characters, but white people are the standard for cos-play. Assbackwards.) It’s in this nebulous space that my friends and I existed, translating our identities from our parents and from our schools and from America to ourselves and vice versa. We were brown boys not allowed to be brown in public, after all. Carajo, man. What was super cool about Yugi is that he kind of represented who we were on a subconscious level. Yugi starts out as a meek, little boy that when provoked, becomes this badass genius who can defeat anyone in any game of logic and chance. This runs counter to many American narratives of superpowers, like the Incredible Hulk, who starts out as normal people but become these uber versions of themselves who can pulverize you into dust. As brown kids in white suburbia, we weren’t allowed that sort of narrative; my friends and I were potential gang members and constantly at risk of becoming drop-outs and stealing opportunities from more deserving white kids, a paradox that pervades white interpretations of Latinxs: too lazy to work but always taking their jobs. Anyways, since I lived down the street from our middle school, Ross, Ryan, Juan, Fernando, Miguel, and I walked over to my apartment complex’s courtyard and dueled on this shitty, plastic table where someone had lit a firework and left a large scar of burnt, bubbled plastic. On top of that shitty, plastic table we had wars, we had combat, we had death, we had revenge. We argued abstractions like, “I attack your life points directly, which increases my monster’s attack by 1,000.” “Dude, that monster got 0 attack though. Your monster only gains attack points if you do damage. 0 damage is no damage, so you don’t activate the effect.” “0 is a number though. It’s still an amount, it’s still damage. 0 damage is still damage, technically.” “Technically, you’re a dumbass. 0 is the absence of something. It is nothing.” “Look, fricker, 0 is a number, is it not? Theoretically, it’s an amount. Like, 0 degrees is still an angle. 0 is a number, it’s a numerical digit. You can count down to 0. I did 0 damage to you. 0 damage is still an amount, punk.” “This motherfucker. I’m not arguing if it’s a number or not, I’m arguing that it’s not fuckin damage. If I paid you 0 dollars for a game, I didn’t pay you anything, dumbass.” So on and so forth, until one of us gave up so the duel continued. I blame the TAKS testing. The smack talk though—the smack talk was savage, often in the form of vulgar similes aimed

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Blue Mesa Review Issue 36  
Blue Mesa Review Issue 36