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I am a thief and a stealer of souls, and I have done terrible things in my quest to possess the Millennium Items. You do remember the legends don't you? Whosoever wields all seven Millennium Items will possess power unimaginable.
~ Dark Bakura (possessing Bakura Ryou) to Dark Yugi.
Dark Bakura or Yami Bakura is one of the main antagonists of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise. He almost always appeared when he possessed his host, Bakura Ryou. Born from the fusion of the Yami God Zorc Necrophades and the powerful and maniacal grave robber, Thief King Bakura, the Spirit of the Millennium Ring was a sadistic, powerful thief who would kill to get what he wanted.
Bakura Ryou was similar to Yugi in sense of personality. Meanwhile, Yami Bakura genuinely started off as being similar to Yugi's Yami side, who challenged those who would bully his original personality and put them under a Penalty Game that, in his case, had to do with whatever game that they were playing, and sucked their souls into the game while their bodies fell into a coma. In that, Bakura formed as a foil to Yugi.
As the combination of both the souls of Zorc Necrophades and the Thief King, Yami Bakura in the Japanese and manga versions, resides in the Millennium Ring, his possession could apply to both the ring and its unfortunate wearer.
In the overall story, Yami Bakura was the main antagonist of most of the show. However he was merely the avatar to the real antagonist of the series.
In the first anime series produced by Toei, he was voiced by Tsutomu Kashiwakura. In the second anime series, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters, he was voiced the late Yō Inoue (only in Duelist Kingdom Arc) and later by Rica Matsumoto (in the rest of his appearance) in Japanese version, and by Ted Lewis in 4Kids' English dubbed version.
Bakura Ryou kept several traits across the anime and manga. In both, he was seen as pretty shy, quiet, and nonviolent. The Millennium Ring, a powerful Egyptian artifact that possessed the soul of a composite spirit, often took over him, and he was called Yami Bakura in that state.
Bakura was a very mysterious person who appeared for a moment, then seemed to disappear. The Millennium Ring glowed when Yami Bakura emerged. Bakura made appearances throughout the anime, but rarely stayed with Yugi's group.
Yami Bakura was very snooty, arrogant, treacherous, and determined to get what he wanted. His personality is taken from Bakura, King of Thieves, while his goals appear to be motivated by Zorc. He referred to himself as "ore-sama" in the manga and anime, which is Japanese and translates to "the great me", a clear sign of his utter arrogance. Yami Bakura was very naughty and mischievous whenever he took over, but because of his current status, he decided to rarely do so. Yami Bakura normally left Bakura Ryou to his life, but began to take over when he realized that Yugi Muto also possessed a Millennium Item. Yami Bakura thus took control whenever he felt that the chances of getting what he wanted was more likely. This spirit had certain levels of possession, and was able to guide Bakura into doing what he wanted instead of taking over, without Bakura even knowing of that.
During the end of the manga and anime, Yami Bakura was revealed to be a composite spirit consisting of a portion of both Zorc's and Bakura, King of Thieves.
Circa 1000 B.C., Pharaoh Atem gave his life to seal both the souls of, Zorc Necrophades, and his own soul in the Millennium Puzzle. Zorc also sealed a part of his soul in the Millennium Ring. Also, Bakura, King of Thieves sealed his soul in the Millennium Ring. Zorc and the Thief King merged to form Yami Bakura. The Puzzle was broken into pieces afterwards and sealed in the Valley of the Kings.
3000 years later (5000 In the English anime), Bakura Ryou came into possession of the Millennium Ring. While Bakura held the Ring, the fragment of Zorc's soul was able to take control of Bakura's body as "Yami Bakura." Yami Bakura had lost many of his memories as Zorc and Bakura, King of Thieves, and was commonly referred to as the "Spirit of the Millennium Ring" or simply "Bakura" even after people became aware that he was a different mind than Bakura Ryou.
Bakura Ryou was an exchange student. The girls all loved him, and he just tried to be a normal person. Bakura avoided games, and knew that whenever he played, the people with whom he played with would somehow end up in a coma later. But when Yugi and friends asked the new student to play a game, he could not help but accept their kindness. He introduced them to a RPG game, and they all created their characters, though from the second they came in, it was Yami Bakura in control. After they created their characters, Yami Bakura sealed their souls inside pieces of them, and forced them to be in the game. They were able to survive, and free the good Bakura from the bad, and he was able to defeat Zorc, the boss that Yami Bakura created for the game.
Yami Bakura returned in Duelist Kingdom. In the second anime only, he took over Bakura's body to duel Yami Yugi. Jonouchi, Anzu, Honda, and the original Yugi and Bakura were turned into their favorite cards in the duel. At the duel's conclusion, Yami Bakura tried to use Change of Heart to turn Yugi (who was the Black Magician) against the others, but Bakura was the Change of Heart, and took over Yami Bakura's Lady of Faith. Yami Yugi used his Millennium Puzzle to switch Bakura and Yami Bakura around, and Yugi destroyed Yami Bakura with Black Magic Attack, which sent him to the graveyard where he was attacked by the Card-Hunting Death God.
Despite his apparent death (In both cases), Yami Bakura had managed to return when Pegasus J. Crawford was about to send Anzu, Honda, and Bakura to Hell before the semifinals of Duelist Kingdom, and he erased everyone's memories of their encounter with Pegasus at that time. During Yugi's duel with Pegasus in the final round, Yami Bakura followed Honda as he found Mokuba (whose soul had been imprisoned in a card by Pegasus), and was attacked by several of Pegasus' goons, but Yami Bakura set the Man Eater Bug on them and then sent them to the graveyard with a Metamor Pot where they were killed by the Reaper of the cards. Yami Bakura then tried to possess Mokuba, but Honda knocked him out and threw the Millennium Ring away.
However, after Yami Yugi defeated Pegasus, Yami Bakura returned to Bakura's body with the Millennium Ring. He faced Pegasus in a Game of Yaminess using their Millennium Items, but, as Pegasus was weakened from his duel with Yugi, Yami Bakura easily won, and took Pegasus' Millennium Eye. In the manga, this act killed Pegasus, but in the anime, Pegasus survived (although he was not seen again til Waking the Dragons).
When Marik Ishtar was possessing Bandit Keith with his Millennium Rod, Yami Bakura, not wanting another to win the Millennium Puzzle, used his Millennium Ring to unbalance Marik's control, which caused Keith to take over, but not before Marik/Keith smashed the Millennium Puzzle. Yami Bakura put a piece of his soul into one of the puzzle pieces so he could learn the secrets of the Millennium Puzzle.
In Battle City, Yami Bakura made a verbal pact with Marik Ishtar, with him promising Marik Yugi's God Card and Marik promising him both Yugi's and his Millennium Items. He injured Bakura's arm while Marik pretended to be a good young man named Namu and Bakura was sent to the hospital, so Yami Bakura took over and attacked Yugi's grandpa. He entered Battle City, where he defeated Bandit Keith's ex-henchmen, Ghost Kotsuzuka, Takaido and Satake in a Duel of Yaminess, trapped the three of them in Hell as a penalty, and took their Locator Cards so he could enter the finals.
In the first round of the finals, Yami Bakura was up against Yugi, and revealed himself to the heroes for the first time since Honda threw away the Millennium Ring. He used Ouija Board and a deck full of ghosts and ghouls. However, Yami Yugi was able to summon Sky Dragon of Osiris, his Egyptian God Card, which left Yami Bakura helpless, until Marik telepathically talked him into releasing Bakura from his control so that Yugi would not attack him and risk hurting him. However, Yami Bakura soon feared that if Yugi did go through with the attack, Bakura would be killed, which would have been a foil to his plan, so he took him over again and let Yugi win.
Bakura was knocked out from this, and remained in the hospital until Marik, whose body had been taken over by Yami Marik, got Yami Bakura to duel him so that he could regain his body. They had a Shadow Game Duel, and whenever one of them lost Life Points, their body began to vanish. Yami Marik won, and Yami Bakura and Bakura were placed under a Penalty Game, which resulted in a coma. However, Yami Bakura escaped to Yugi's Millennium Puzzle (as part of his soul was inside it), and remained there. When Yami Yugi defeated Yami Marik, Bakura and Yami Bakura returned, but the shard of Yami Bakura's soul within the Millennium Puzzle stayed there, exploring the labyrinth.
Waking the Dragons
Bakura and Yami Bakura did not appear in the Waking the Dragons arc, except in a vision during Yugi's Duel with Dartz. During a vision of Yugi finishing the Millennium Puzzle, Yami Bakura briefly appeared behind Yugi along with Kaiba and Yami (in the 4Kids dub, Dartz mentioned that when the Pharaoh was reborn, so were his rivals).
Dawn of the Duel
During the Dawn of the Duel arc, Yami Bakura repossessed Bakura despite his reluctance. Yami Bakura later caught Insector Haga and Dinosaur Ryuzaki stealing Yugi's Egyptian God Cards and knocked them out temporarily. He then did the same to Mokuba and dueled Seto Kaiba, but only as a means of destroying Kaiba's Blue-Eyes White Dragon and absorbing his power. Once he did this, Yami Bakura cancelled the duel.
Yami Bakura and Yami Yugi entered the World of Memories inside the Millennium Puzzle into an RPG, where Yami Bakura possessed his past self, Bakura, King of Thieves. Everything happened as it was before, except it was slightly modified by Yami Bakura. After being defeated, Yami Bakura talked with Yami Yugi at a table until his master, Zorc Necrophades, was awakened. He revealed that he and Zorc were one and the same and he merged with Zorc while Yami Yugi merged with his past self, the Pharaoh. During that time, Tristan was possessed by Yami Bakura, who turned him into a clone of him, and he dueled Yugi, but lost and released Honda from his control.
When the Pharaoh learned his true name, Atem, he fused the three Egyptian Gods - Giant Soldier of Obelisk, Sky Dragon of Osiris, and the Winged Divine Dragon of Ra - together into the Creator God of Light, Horakthy, whose rays of light alone were enough to destroy Zorc, and also killed Yami Bakura, as he was merged with him at the time. Thus, Bakura was finally released from Yami Bakura's control forever.
I was nice enough to let you play in my world... and you ingrates repay me by rebelling against the master! Death to all players! I'll bury you in eternal night!
3000 years ago, Akhenaden placed the Millennium Items in the stone slab and became the High Priest of Yaminess through the power of the Evil God Zorc! And now I'll kill you, in obedience to the High Priest's will! Your death will bring this game to an end!
Penalty Game! MIND DOLL!
No. I'm disappointed because I have to end this duel so quickly, and I wanted to prolong your misery.
Your life is under my control.
~ Yami Bakura to Atem
Diabound, meet the pharaoh, and Pharaoh, meet the instrument of your demise!
Come on, it's a game! You should try to have fun!
~ Yami Bakura to Atem
Prepare yourself, mortal, for a Shadow Game the likes of which you've never played.
~ Yami Bakura to Pegasus
Present day humans are so fun to terrorize, don't you agree?
~ Yami Bakura to Tristan
Who would have thought you even had a heart — let alone one so easily broken?
~ Yami Bakura to Pegasus
Your creatures are no match for Zorc! I should know, since he and I are one and the same!
Yami Bakura was similar to Master Xehanort from the Kingdom Hearts franchise; aside from being the main antagonist of the series, Yami Bakura acted as the boss to his past self, Bakura, King of Thieves in the World of Memories Arc, just as Xehanort acted as the boss to all of his incarnations. Yami Bakura also shared the latter similarity with Yami Marik. (Curiously enough, he teamed up with the regular Marik in the Battle City Arc.)
However, unlike Xehanort who eventually redeemed himself, Yami Bakura lacked any redemption and was far more evil, even more than that of Yami Marik, who is also Pure Evil though that's clear cause the former is Zorc and near destroyed Egypt 5000 years ago.
Due to driving the plot and having a bigger impact on the cast and series than anyone else, Yami Bakura served as The Heavy and Big Bad for the entire series, which makes Zorc Necrophades the Bigger Bad.