The Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise has made many great contributions to the field of anime hair over the years, which the characters wear with the utmost seriousness — as befitting a show where a children's card game often determines the fate of the universe. But, with so many series, so many protagonists to choose from, it begs the question: which hero has the best, most outrageous hairstyle? The most iconic? One has to come out on top, based on outlandishness, recognizability and memorability — but it's certainly a stiff competition.
7. Jaden Yuki
In last place, as usual, is Jaden Yuki. Ironically, it's the one thing that sets him apart that also puts him in last place: his sensibility. Jaden has always been a bit of a slacker when it comes to anything outside of dueling, and as a result, doesn't seem to put much effort into his hair, either. While this energetic duelist has a memorable story line, there's nothing memorable about his naturally colored, low-maintenance hairstyle. Even when he fuses with Yubel he doesn't get any white-purple streaks or anything fun like that -- his hair just gets a bit spikier. A sadly boring hairstyle for a very not-boring character.
6. Yuga Ohdo
Similar to Jaden above, Yuga's strength is also his weakness. Namely, the simplicity of his style. While extremely easy to recognize and draw, the style is simple and not really all that interesting. What is interesting is that the hairstyle's simple, streamlined stylization perfectly matches Yuga's approach to dueling, the Rush Duel.
5. Yuya Sakaki
While at first glance, Yuya and Yuga appear to be birds of a feather, Yuya's accessories and more well-defined fashion sense puts him above his burgeoning competetion. The combo of red and green also creates a more interesting contrast than Yuga's yellow and red, making Yuya a fair amount more recognizable as the hero in a wide cast of interesting hairstyles. It's also suiting that, as a performer, Yuya's style is meant to be flashy, with a large cowlick to draw attention to his face and a blue star in his googles give him some added flair. But, the relative simplicity and the fact that it's his googles, not his hair, that gives him the edge keeps him from moving further up the list.
4. Yusaku Fujiki
Yusaku isn't the first protagonist to have a changing hairstyle, but he is the only one to have his hair change so drastically. Highly...architectural and detailed, both his forms are instantly recognizable. But that detail is a double-edged sword; with the dramatic color change and over-the-top style, his style isn't one that's easy to remember or draw. We can only imagine how many animators cursed his front floating hair streak.
3. Yusei Fudo
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Yusei's style may seem a little plain in comparison to Yusaku "just-a-bit-too-much" Fujiki, but it's still much more inventive and more easily recognizable than most of those who came before and after. The high-contrast combination of black and gold helps his hair spikes stand out in any lighting, and fits perfectly with the grittier, darker aesthetic of 5Ds. While it's a shame he has to hide that hair in his helmet most of the time, it's a good style, if not as striking as it could be.
And here's Yuma, to prove exactly that. He has nearly the same hair spikes as Yusei, but the heavy emphasis on those highlights and their shadows pull him just above the biker. Yuma's pink forelocks and the unique, futuristic, gravity-defying shape they take help to make him both recognizable and interesting visually. The fact that his hair is two-tone, even when he fuses with Astral and his black portion turns gold, make his style easy to remember and recognize.
1. Yugi Muto
Finally, the one who started it all. Yugi Muto, and the Pharaoh himself. While there are some differences between regular Yugi and Yami Yugi, that hair is the hair that inspired a generation. The original Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters didn't have tons of so-called "anime hair," usually electing to either do an unrealistic hairdo or color — but not both — with most characters. As a result, Yugi having both makes him standout exceptionally well, setting him apart from the rest of the cast. Even better his how this indescribable style manages to fit the characters of Yugi and the Pharaoh.
While subtle, when Yugi is in charge of his body, the hard curves of his yellow bangs are a touch smoother, and he always has one stray lock in the front of his face. This symbolizes regular Yugi's meekness, and his childlike nature (as you'll notice when Yugi plays as himself, he has a toy-themed deck). Meanwhile, not only do those corners sharpen when the Pharaoh's in charge, he also gets yellow lightning streaks that magically over the rest of his hair. This emphasizes not only how the Pharaoh is much more willing to do what needs doing, but also how much more...dramatic he is. He's certainly got a flair for the cards. When it comes to Yu-Gi-Oh! protagonists though, none are more recognizable, or outlandishly done up, as good ol' Yugi himself.