Giving Priest Seto a deck based off of excavation was a last minute decision. I started writing this episode and then realized that I had no idea what deck to give Priest Seto. By this point in the series I have pretty much used up every deck idea I had come up with already. That I night I just started thinking of different gimmicks and mechanics I hadn’t used yet. After a little while I remembered excavation and realized that it would fit thematically in an Egyptian-based deck. Speaking of the theme of the deck, each of those monsters (except the Legendary White Dragon) where based off of different mythological creatures of Egyptian Mythology. The Legendary White Dragon is actually a funny story. If you go back and watch the Dawn of the Duel, never once do they call it the Blue-Eyes White Dragon. They only call it the White Dragon. This was the perfect opportunity for me to make it a different monster to fit better in my story.
This episode was meant to depict the events explained in the movie, The Pyramid of Light. In the movie, a battle between the Pharaoh and Anubis, and Anubis using the power of the Pyramid of Light to his advantage and his might Andro Sphinx and Sphinx Teleia, nearly defeats the Pharaoh. Surprisingly enough, despite the importance of this battle to the plot of the movie, we have absolutely no in-depth description or depiction of that battle. So I provided it instead. Speaking of them movie, it should be noted that in one of the most extreme moves I have made, I changed the continuity of the movie compared to the show. In case you didn’t catch it, I explained that the movie doesn’t actually take place in the same timeline as the original show. My reason for this is that there’s no other way it could work. Anubis clearly recognizes Atem as the Pharaoh, and because of this, he must have battled with Atem while he was Pharaoh. The problem with this is that in the Dawn of the Duel, we see Atem’s entire reign as Pharaoh, from the moment he was crowned, to the moment he left Egypt forever. There’s no way that the traditional timeline could handle the backstory of the Pyramid of Light, so I used time travel and parallel timelines to justify it.
Bet you weren’t expecting that. I’d recently watched the Pyramid of Light, and was thinking about how its place in the Ancient Egypt story line had never been explained. On top of that, the origin of Anubis and the Pyramid of Light itself really needed to be explained. It’s odd that we have this pseudo-Millennium Item, but literally no backstory behind it. As soon as I realized this, I knew that I had to base the Ancient Egypt arc off of Anubis, because there was so much story potential. I started thinking about what this origin story should be. I quickly decided that the Pyramid of Light should be an attempt by Anubis to recreate the Millennium Puzzle and gain power equal or greater than the Pharaoh’s. Then, while I was re-watching the Dawn of the Duel arc, I realized that the Millennium Spellbook had no story either. I figured that the item that is the source of the Millennium Items themselves really needed some more story of its own as well. It was the perfect fit with the origin of the Pyramid of Light. Through in Aknadin, as he was the creator of the original Millennium Items, and I had what I think is a great idea for a story.
And now the story turns to Ancient Egypt, the focus of the original series. It was a whole new world when compared to Atlantis in more ways then one. When it came to writing about Atlantis, I was just using vague story cues, and essentially writing my own story otherwise. Egypt on the other hand is a much more established place, with a much more established story. The choice to put my story in alternate timeline was not one I arrived at lightly. I really wanted to put my story in the same timeline we see in the original series, the problem is, the first episode of the Dawn of the Duel arc shows the first day that Atem became pharaoh, and the final episode shows him disappearing right before Priest Seto’s eyes. So essentially, if I wanted to write a story about Atem being Pharaoh, it would have to take place in the middle of Dawn of the Duel, and that would never work. So instead, I came up with the idea of using an alternate timeline. I have another reason too, but I’ll leave that as a surprise. The only major thing I added so far to the Egyptian story was my addition of the new High Priests. Mana was an obvious choice to hold the Millennium Ring, since she was Mahad’s student. The other ones were not so easy. I decided that at least one of them needed to be an incarnation of an already known character. I contemplated using Joey, as he is one of the few main characters from the original series to not have an Egyptian version, but decided that I didn’t need to do that. I eventually settled on using Ma’at, as he needed an incarnation besides Thoth. Also, it made perfect sense, as the Millennium Scale is based off of the Scale of Ma’at, the owner of which is Ma’at’s namesake. The name Isfet is actually based off of the opposing concept of Ma’at. While Ma’at is Order, Isfet is Chaos. I felt it was poetic considering recent events. The other High Priests are all named after various Egyptian gods.
So normally I’ll only do one review per two part episode, but I decided that since this was a two part episode featuring two different duels (which is something I’ve never done before), I’d just go ahead an review them as two separate episodes. Perhaps most important about this episode is it ends the five episode duel drought that’s been going on since episode 113. As I said before, I’d never gone more than a single episode without a duel before, so this definitely was an interesting experience. If you look back to the Dawn of the Duel arc, there was only three duels the entire time, Kaiba vs. Bakura, Yugi vs. Bakura, and Yugi vs. Atem, the rest was all ancient Egyptian shadow games. I’m somewhat modeling off of that by not having the focus on dueling, but I just couldn’t cut it out as completely as was done then. The inspiration for Timaeus’ deck should be obvious, as it was meant to synergize with the Eye of Timaeus card, but I also made it the way I did because despite being five seasons and 118 episodes into the series, I had yet to make a true Fusion-based deck. Sure, a couple of duelists had Fusions as their ace monsters, but no one used a deck that had the central strategy of Fusion Summoning.
Believe it or not, the most important part of this episode was probably not the time travel, but the exposition before it. The part where Cosmo explained how Yu-Gi-Oh and Seto came to be reincarnated. That explanation is the very reason for the existence of Yu-Gi-Oh! Millennium. The first seeds of an idea for the series came to me back when I first watched the Waking the Dragons arc (which was only a couple of years ago, since I never saw it or the Dawn of the Duel arc as a child). When the Legendary Dragons where revealed to actually be knights who look like Yugi, Kaiba, and Joey, that got me thinking. Timaeus existed 10,000 years ago, and Atem existed 5,000 years ago (since I watch the English version, not the Japanese). That means that Timaeus existed 5,000 years before Atem. This seemed like too big of a coincidence. The original series never explained why there just happened to be yet another incarnation of Yugi and Kaiba, before even Ancient Egypt. So years later, I decided to take a crack at explaining this odd coincidence, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Millennium was born. Speaking of the origin of the series, originally, the story arc we’re in now included no time travel at all. It would have just been duels with each of the incarnations. Time travel allows for a much better plot though. It’s also worth noting that this is the first time I’ve ever done more than one episode without a duel in it in a row. Of course, Yu-Gi-Oh is all about dueling, but the story I’m telling now require less dueling than normal (don’t worry though, there will be more dueling than there was in Dawn of the Duel).