Millennials across the United States have fond memories of sitting in front of their clunky CRT box TVs in the early 2000s to watch their favorite cartoons on Kids’ WB. Thanks to the success of Pokémon, Kids’ WB began to add more English-dubbed anime series to their programming, such as Cardcaptors and Astro Boy, but only one other anime came close to matching Pokémon‘s success… Yu-Gi-Oh!.
Yu-Gi-Oh!‘s plot revolved around a kid named Yugi as he and his friends battled opponents in a card game known as Duel Monsters. Each character in the anime had their own deck of cards with unique themes. There was a character named Weevil who had an adoration for insects, so his deck was full of Insect-Type monsters. He wasn’t that cool or interesting of a character, but that’s not who we’ll be talking about today.
One of the more interesting characters in the series was Maximillion Pegasus, the creator of Duel Monsters. In the first season of the anime, Pegasus uses his Millenium Eye to capture Yugi’s grandfather’s soul. Yugi must enter Pegasus’ Duelist Kingdom Tournament and defeat him to get it back. Pegasus’ deck revolved around the “Toon World” card, which allowed him to play special “Toon” monsters.
We won’t get into the mechanics of Toon monsters, since they vary between the anime and the IRL trading card game. Let’s just look at the design of each of these monsters, as well as their non-toon counterparts. So without further ado, here is the Modern Notoriety Top 10 Coolest Toon Monsters list:
10. Toon Ancient Gear Golem
Ancient Gear Golem is a menacing-looking monster whose design combines elements of a Roman soldier with that of machinery. His toon counterpart is obviously less menacing, with his big goofy eyes, but is still cool enough to make it on our Top 10, beating out honorable mentions Toon Mermaid and Toon Masked Sorcerer.
9. Toon Cyber Dragon
Cyber Dragon has one of the most counterparts in the trading card game. There’s Cyber Dragon Nova, Cyber Laser Dragon… the list goes on. Each one of them is cooler-looking than the original, except maybe the toon version.
8. Toon Barrel Dragon
Barrel Dragon’s design and mechanics are based on Russian roulette. Basically it’s a gun/dragon hybrid, which is pretty bad-ass. The toon version has a much more vivid color scheme and shoots pellets instead of bullets.
7. Manga Ryu-Ran
The only toon monster to not have “Toon” in its English name, although this is intentional since the English name uses the Japanese “Ryu-Ran”, which translates to “dragon egg”. Although it describes the monster perfectly, I guess the name “Dragon Egg” was just too plain. Ryu-Ran literally comes out of his shell in his toon (or manga, whatever) version.
6. Toon Summoned Skull
Let’s take a break from the dragons for a bit. Summoned Skull was a staple monster in Yugi’s deck, so it got a lot of screen time in the anime. This beautifully-designed demon looks great in both toon and non-toon form.
5. Toon Dark Magician
Yugi’s most famous monster, Dark Magician, received a toon version in the trading card game, but unfortunately Toon Dark Magician never appeared in the anime. It would’ve been cool to see Pegasus use Yugi’s most prized monster against him. Still, given how iconic of a character he is, we had to put him in the top 5.
4. Toon Buster Blader
Buster Blader is the sword-wielding counterpart to Dark Magician. Although less popular than his magical partner, Buster Blader arguably has a better design, and the same is true for his toon counterpart. Just look at the regal purple uniform, gold trimming, and ruby red detailing.
3. Toon Dark Magician Girl
Cute but powerful, Dark Magician Girl is the apprentice and female counterpart to Dark Magician. She is the OG waifu and had many 12 year old boys feeling… some type of way. Her toon version is even more cute and powerful. She makes it to the top 3 based on her design, but also because she adds some gender-balancing to the male-focused anime, and female representation is cool.
2. Blue-Eyes Toon Dragon
You already know who it is. Blue Eyes White Dragon is the most popular monster in the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise (except for maybe Dark Magician). In the Duelist Kingdom tournament, Pegasus uses this toon version of Kaiba’s ace monster against him and ultimately defeats him. Kaiba hates this card, as he sees it as a disgrace to Blue Eyes White Dragon, but we thinking he’s pretty awesome. The toon version of Blue Eyes is much smaller than the original, but still packs just as much power.
1. Red-Eyes Toon Dragon
No matter if it’s sneakers or Yu-Gi-Oh! monsters, you just can’t go wrong with the classic “Bred” colorway. Red-Eyes Black Dragon is the signature monster of Joey Wheeler, Yugi’s best friend. In the anime, Joey starts off as an inexperienced Duelist, but eventually rises to become one of the greatest Duelists in the world. While Blue Eyes is a stronger monster and is meant to represent pride and power, Red Eyes is based on anger/destruction and is a representation of potential. This is seen in both the anime and TCG as Red Eyes is the more flexible card. Red Eyes is able to fuse with other monsters like Meteor Dragon to become Meteor Black Dragon. Red-Eyes Toon Dragon sleek design combined with the backstory of his original counterpart places him as number one on our list.