[identity profile] starbonds.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] ship_manifesto
Title: I Will Always Save You From Hell
Author: [livejournal.com profile] starbonds
Fandom: Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s
Pairing: Yusei Fudo/Kiryu Kyosuke, also known as Inverse/Treasonshipping in certain circles.
Spoilers: Fortune Cup (Episodes: 1-26), Dark Signer Arc (Episodes 27-64) and Crashtown Arc (Episodes 86-92)
Word Count: 4,300ish
Warning: I ramble a lot
Author's Notes: I will be using the original Japanese anime version for my manifesto, as the dubbed version is considered to be inferior to it and the manga is a complete AU of the animated series and the two are reduced to being strangers of each other. Also I originally reserved the pairing under my old journal ([livejournal.com profile] digitalstarry) a couple of months ago but failed to meet the deadline because of school so I wonder if this counts as a free month submission or not.
Credits: [livejournal.com profile] northwind_gale and [livejournal.com profile] fortuneladyicey for assisting me with writing this. [livejournal.com profile] zippyz and [livejournal.com profile] auditive for providing some of the screencaps and video. [livejournal.com profile] universeheart and [livejournal.com profile] lokcha for providing some doujinshi scans and all the creators of the fanwork <3.
Disclaimer: Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's belongs to Kazuki Takahashi, Nihon Ad Systems (NAS), TV Tokyo, Konami, and Shuiesha.


Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s is the third series in the Yu-Gi-Oh! Franchise. The basic premise of the first half of the series revolves around a city called Neo Domino that is split into two halves from a tragic disaster called Zero Reverse that stuck seventeen years prior. One half is the glitzy glamorous rich city life, and the other is an island separate from the city called Satellite, a dystopia society home to criminals who bear yellow facial markings for their crimes and the poorer folks. However in both areas, five reincarnated warriors called Signers who bear the red birthmarks from a crimson Peruvian god dragon must ban together to stop the Dark Signers from plunging the world into eternal darkness. The second half is a mixture about life after the rebuilding of the two halves of the city, an upcoming tournament and trying to uncover the truth about a cult called Iliaster and its goals for correcting history.

Crimson Dragon: A big red dragon god that has the Signers and the Signer Dragons who seals away all almighty evil with their help.
D-Wheel: A special type of motorcycle with equipment to be used riding duels.
Dark Signer: A person who died with a will to live or a desire for revenge who is resurrected by an Earthbound God to become its wielder, they have purple birthmarks on one forearm in the shape of their chosen god.
Duel: A match between two people by playing Duel Monsters
Duel of Darkness: A special violent way of dueling used by the Dark Signers and their mooks in which purple flames rise out of the ground, forming a geoglyph in the shape of their Earthbound god. The duels are conducted beside the flames and the loser dies in a duel with a true Dark Signer.
Duel Disk: A portable machine that fits around the users arm. Used for standing duels and projects the cards via solid vision, a type of hologram.
Duel Monsters: The card game as its known in universe.
Earthbound Gods: A group of gods resembling the animals (and astronaut) of the Nazca Lines. They were sealed by the Crimson Dragon and awakened by a reaction from Zero Reverse. They all take the form of duel monster cards and their wielders are all Dark Signers
Momentum: Liquid that's rainbow colored and used a source of energy as it can be used without a limit if spun around by a machine.
Riding Duel: A duel conducted on D-Wheels.
Signer: A person with a red colored birthmark in the shape of body part of the Crimson Dragon on their arm who has a Signer Dragon as their ace duel monster card, who serves under said Crimson Dragon. All Signers are reincarnations of the original ones from 5,000 years ago who lived in Peru.
Signer Dragon: Special one of a kind dragon that takes the form of a Duel Monsters card and used by Signers.
Standing Duel: A Duel conducted on foot with duel disks.

The anime ran from April 2nd, 2008 to March 30th, 2011 reaching 154 episodes during its run. The anime in Japan is licensed by NAS/TV Tokyo and in English it was dubbed by 4kids. While 4kids is still airing dubbed episodes, NAS/TV Tokyo recently revoked their license to the series and sued them.

The Star of Satellite: Yusei Fudo

Yusei Fudo is the protagonist of 5D’s and was raised in Satellite. He also is a reincarnated Signer, and carried a mark of the Crimson Dragon. Even though he’s proud of his upbringing, he actually was born in one of the richest areas of Neo Domino, and his father was apart of the momentum project that caused Zero Reverse because of one member’s sabotaging. During the Zero Reverse incident as just a mere infant, his father insured that he would survive and sacrificed himself. His foster parent named Martha, who also raised his two friends, Jack Atlas and Crow Hogan, provides his upbringing. Then up to into the beginning of the series, he spent his time in a gang before it disbanded and built a D-Wheel. But it and his key card were stolen by Jack in order to gain entry into Neo Domino and become a pop idol through his dueling talents. The series focused him and others rebuilding their bonds, kindling new friendships, discovering their Signer powers and defeating those who come to oppose them.

What’s noticeable about him is that he prefers to be the reserved one and keeps himself occupied with his machines. But he’s actually a big friending magnet and strikes several friendships over the course of the series. He holds the bonds toward each and every one of them and wouldn’t do a thing to severe them. He’s very cool headed and keeps his emotions in check save for certain circumstances but he won’t hesitate to fight physically if he needs to. He also has a talent not just fixing machines, but in people too. He finds their faults, troubles and gets into knowing them and tries to repair them, whether they like it or not.

The God of Death and Rebirth: Kiryu Kyosuke
Original Image

Kiryu Kyosuke is a side character and a villain in the Dark Signer arc. He doesn’t appear regularly (In fact he only appears in about 17 episodes out of 154 episodes). But he has probably one of the better character development arcs of the series regardless.

His origins are pretty much a mystery up until he’s reached adulthood. All we can infer without applying fanon is that he lived in Satellite for the majority or all of his life. He met Yusei and his two friends sometime while the threesome was in their teens and proposed to make the best of their crummy situation by defeating each and every one of the gangs in Satellite and earning more turf. They accept and form Team Satisfaction. Despite the daunting task, they succeed and became the top dogs in Satellite. Eventually however, Kiryuu went mad with power, attempting to drive out every duelist and going so far as to attack a small child to flush out competition.This forces the team's disbandment as the other members find themselves unwilling to go through with his increasingly ambitious goals, which eventually escalate into the idea of Team Satisfaction challenging Security themselves. Kiryu is thrown in prison and executed for his crimes. But at the moment of his death, he is resurrected by one of the Earthbound Gods, Ccapac Apu, and came back to life. He seeks to kill the man who he trusted and thought to betray him through a series of unfortunate circumstances, Yusei Fudo. During the Dark Signer arc, however he is defeated and comes back to make amends. The final part of his character journey shown thus far is sometime between the second and third arcs, he travels to Crashtown and tries to make a death wish in order to atone for his sins by “dying with the duel”.

Kiryu in the beginning is very trusting towards his fellow teammates. But he expects the same courtesy out of them. He would be willing to die for them, and vice versa. He’s a born leader at his core and wishes to be the best at what he does. But his dreams and eventual power cloud his judgment, causing him to go too far. When the team separates, this triggers his abandonment issues and it makes him go down a violent road. Trust had been broken and he felt his world become shittier because of it. Hence why he felt the need to take the Earthbound’s offer to be resurrected. He also becomes… quite crazy, earning a memetic laugh and mood swings that change on the drop of the hat and shows bitterness towards his former teammates. In the Crashtown arc, his role changes into that of a atoner, someone who seemingly lost the need to care about anything concerning himself and atone for his sins.

The Three Eras:

There are three periods of time that Yusei and Kiryu have their onscreen interaction: Team Satisfaction, Dark Signers and Crashtown. I will dissect all three of them separately. Feel free to skip these if you’re familiar with the series, as it’s a long section summarizing the events between the two.

Team Satisfaction

This era is shown entirely in flashbacks during the Dark Signer Arc, episodes 33-34 and episodes 54-55 for those who are curious and not canon familiar.

Ah yes, at the beginning of their friendship, Yusei had met Kiryu supposedly when he was a teenager. But canon was never clear upon that. Perhaps Kiryu simply was amazed at Yusei’s skill. Afterwards Kiryu invites Yusei and his friends from childhood, Jack Atlas and Crow Hogan into a gang in the notion to “satisfy” themselves out of their local dystopia. Now, Yusei isn’t somebody who would serve under somebody else, the fact that he joined and stuck by him under that position was proof that he respected Kiryu highly as a duelist and teammate. And how much Kiryu treasured their relationship is shown while conquering the last turf area of Satellite.

In the last turf battle for Satellite, Team Satisfaction goes about challenging every gang member in sight, sometimes taking on multiple members at the same time. When Yusei reaches the roof of a building and takes out two people on his own, he is tricked by one member and pulled out towards the empty space between the two buildings using a rope. Fortunately Kiryu is there to assist him in the nick of time, but he himself cannot pull Yusei to safety and nearly risks his own life from the reckless action of not letting go. But thankfully, Crow and Jack arrive at the scene to assist them.

True, Kiryu would have done the risky action to any of his fine teammates, but it also proves how close the two were even after only a year or two since Team Satisfaction formed.

But this is where it goes sour, as Kiryu wasn’t just “satisfied” with claiming every single space of turf in his gang’s name. Nope. Soon he went after every duelist in the area, including children, attacking them and forcing them into duels they couldn’t win. Needless to say Jack and Crow (Crow especially since he had a soft spot for children and looked after orphans) were appalled and broke away from the group. But one person stayed by his side, Yusei.

Yusei refuses to let Kiryu down however, and would keep Team Satisfaction going as a two-person group. But over time Kiryu cropped up more signs of his insanity as he decided to take on the cops known as Security for their outlawing of duel gangs. But this was a dangerous mission, in fact impossible for two people to take on hundreds of officers with no outside help. Yusei had to balk at this, walking away from Kiryu and saying that he would not join in with the mission. Kiryu regardless of being alone, attacks officers and blows up a station, making him a wanted outlaw. Yusei concerned for his friend, gathers up Crow and Jack and finds Kiryu hiding out in an abandoned building where mobs of Security have surrounded the place. But Kiryu is happy actually, since his gang is reunited and they can have one last duel against Security. This elicits a hell no from the rest as they drag Kiryu off into the night away from Security.

They somehow become separated during the night and it’s of course Yusei who finds Kiryu. who happens to attempt to beat the shit out of a cop. Not good and Yusei throws himself over Kiryu to prevent that. After some brawling in the rain happens, Yusei conceives of a plan to prevent Kiryu from going to jail and getting off scot free. Yusei will surrender and lie to the officers about him being the leader of Satisfaction and the cause of all incidents Kiryu made. This comes with the ultimate price for Yusei’s freedom, as he will spend the rest of his life behind bars and marked a criminal for life. But just like Kiryu did earlier, Yusei will put up his own life for the other in a heartbeat.

Alas the plan does not work, Kiryu is found anyway and arrested as one officer talks to Yusei about finding his friend, giving him a pat on the back. Kiryu witnesses this and fills with rage, concluding that Yusei betrayed him for his own gain, yelling out traitor as he is hauled off to prison. Yusei is stricken with a huge amount of guilt, sorrow and remorse, crying out his troubles.

Thus, the era of Team Satisfaction draws to a close.

Between the Team Satisfaction era and Dark Signer era, both characters go through some changes. Yusei earns a criminal marker for trespassing, his power tattoo that connects him to the legendary Signers and becomes the Duel King of Neo Domino, which allows him to travel back and forth between the brilliant city and the slum island as he wishes. Kiryu on the other hand, has his deck taken away, abused by prison workers and slowly dies. In his final moments inside a cell, the spirit of the Earthbound Gods consults him and gives him a deal to revive him in order to seek revenge against Yusei. He dies and is reborn into a Dark Signer. So now they are destined enemies!

Dark Signer Arc

At the end of episode 32, Kiryu in Dark Signer mode makes his appearance in the Satellite area. His personality shifts from leader to a batshit insane laughing maniac. He gleefully cackles when his former teammates show up, but it is Yusei who he shows the most interest in, forcing him into a dangerous duel of darkness.

Now why ship something in which one person wants them dead besides the hatesex? You’ll see :).

First off Kiryu, while angry at Yusei, truly hasn’t forgotten at all about the memories of Team Satisfaction. In fact he clings to the precious memories and deep down inside he doesn’t want to kill Yusei under his layers of hatred. As for Yusei, he wants to save Kiryu, from his deep-rooted savior guilt complex that first took hold because his father was held responsible for Zero Reverse.

Now during the duel of the first Yusei and Kiryu battle, Kiryu actually does manage to injure his friend, almost killing him with one swoop from his Earthbound God’s attack. Fortunately Yusei survives the attack and only has a deep gash on his stomach and gains a fear for the Earthbound Gods. A fear that almost resulted in a Herioc BSOD moment which is eventually ended thanks to a Get Ahold Of Yourself moment from one of his friends.

SO, they have a rematch some time later, this time a victor will emerge and the loser will lose his life. Of course, Yusei being the hero wins and even uses an appropriate card to win (Savior Star Dragon). This results in probably one of the most shippest scenes for the pairing in my opinion.

[video of the scene in question]

Yusei: Hang on Kiryu! I won’t abandon a friend! I’m going to save you this time!
Kiryu: Yusei.. Earthbound God Ccapac Apu’s effect… will inflict damage equal to the attack power of a destroyed monster’s effect, which means I.. receive a total of 3800 damage…
Kiryu: When I became a Dark Signer, I asked for one more wish. I wanted to play Team Satisfaction’s last duel, the one that never came true back then.
Yusei: Kiryu…
Kiryu: I wasn’t able… to stay mad at you. Talk about lame. This isn’t enough to satisfy me…
[Kiryu fades into dust, dying]
Yusei: Kiryu…

Directly following this scene is a scene showing Yusei’s anguish over Kiryu’s death.

You were my friend.
I will… for my friend, for you.. be sure to defeat the Dark Signers!

One major thing of significance in here is that Yusei hardly ever cries. One of those rare times actually, was with Kiryu’s arrest incidentally. I think this illustrates for both of them that they do care a lot about each other, and simply can't draw themselves away from each other. It's also the moment I started to take on a bigger interest in the pairing, but I'll get to that later.

While Kiryu does come back to life, thanks to power of the Crimson Dragon, along with the rest of the Dark Signers, this scene still impacts Yusei greatly, making him strive even harder towards his goals.

Crashtown Arc

The Crashtown arc is a short seven episode long filler miniarc, focusing on Kiryu that runs from episodes 86-92.

After several months pass after the Dark Signer arc, Yusei receives a letter concerning a friend of his that is in danger of dying in a town called simply Crashtown. This town is styled straight out of an old western film, with many clichés abound (complete with gun shaped duel disks) and two heads of a group of families, Ramon and Malcolm fighting over domination of the town. So how does this pertain to Yusei and Kiryu? Kiryu, the friend mentioned in the letter, happens to be working with Ramon to eliminate the duelists during “Duel Time”, a duel right at sundown. Every duelist who is eliminated is banished into the mountain mines to work until their die. Kiryu plans to work under Ramon until he is defeated so that he can go off and die, his motive being that he should suffer for the damage he caused as a Dark Signer.

Yusei goes into rescuing him, joining up with the opposing family and tries to talk him out during their duel. But Kiryu has been reduced to a shell of himself, stoic, blank and forgotten what "satisfaction" is. Thanks to a set up by Barbara and Lotten, a member of Malcolm's gang and Malcolm's brother respectively, they get captured and sent into the mountains at the conclusion of the duel.

However, Yusei is determined to get Kiryu out of the mountain, no ifs ands or buts. And that includes punching Kiryu in the stomach so hard he passes out so that he can carry the man out of the mountain himself (while touching his ass). When Kiryu recovers his consciousness, he asks why does he need to be saved and continues to blame himself further for the deaths that happened. But Yusei insists to stop blaming himself for the things that have happened. Then Nico and West, two children who are friends with Kiryu in the town, meet up with them shortly afterwards with Yusei's D-Wheel in tow to try to get them to escape from the mountain. Kiryu asks again why did they try to save him when they both tell him that he is their hero, as they admire his strength and pride as a duelist. Cue a bit later, Lotten showing up to try to recapture the duo and they split up, with Lotten dueling Yusei and Kiryu, Nico and West trying to find Nico/West's father in the mountain and escaping.

Well Lotten manages to light up a stack of dynamite in the mines, causing a big explosion and splitting up the group even more, with Nico and West in one group, Kiryu and Yusei falling down a steep canyon from the gravity of the blast. When they wake up after blacking out (don't ask me why they got away unscathed doing that), Kiryu realizes that its his duty to protect the town so that nobody else will die on the mountains. So they both head back down to the town to challenge Lotten to a 1 vs 2 duel to take back the town. Cue back to back badasses working in unison and defeating Lotten in spectacular fashion.

While the town is saved and Kiryu works on rebuilding the place, Yusei has to say goodbye to him, as important plot stuff requires him to be back in the city. But even though they now live in separate places and separate lives, its obvious that Yusei will return one day.

Why Ship Them?

So now I will share my personal history with the pairing. Like many older fans, I was introduced into the Yu-Gi-Oh! Franchise as a child when it was airing on KidsWB. I stopped watching around the DOMA arc, and just lurked forever until 5D's started airing in Japan. I fell in love with the complex characters, plot and mythology was deep for a shonen series, let alone a merchandise driven children's show. When Kiryu was first introduced, I didn't really ship Kiryu and Yusei much, but I did like him as a character and Team Satisfaction in general. As I stated above, I really started to ship them after Kiryu's "death" as I was able to see how deep their relationship after that and partly in thanks to [livejournal.com profile] calaidi's fanfics about them.

So why ship Yusei and Kiryu together, especially since Yusei has plenty of options going for him, being that it's practically a joke that he's the fandom motorcycle bicycle.

For Yusei’s side, I think that he cares deeply about the other man, willing to go to hell and back for him. He’s risked throwing his life away or dying a horrible death many times for Kiryu’s sake. Despite the fact that they live now in different areas and lives, they still share a strong connection after all they’ve been through. And concerning other pairings, while I do dabble in some of the other Yusei ships (Yusei/Jack, Yusei/Sherry and Yusei/Bruno), this one is definitely my favorite of the bunch. Yusei shares a developed relationship with him, and its not cut short, shoved aside, or one sided like almost all of the other viable pairings for him.

Some poeple like to disagree because Yusei could be considered asexual, and while it may be a possibility, he may just never show proper attraction because he puts his friendships above everything else in the world, never leaving time for romance (that and this is a shonen show). Even if he is asexual, there's no reason he can't share a deep meaningful relationship with Kiryu, platonic or not.

For Kiryu, it’s a simpler answer. Yusei is whom he has the most interaction with on screen with, the best chemistry and Yusei is like his own savior, coming out and always pulling him from the darkness. Despite the fallings out they had, he can't forget or hate Yusei deep down and he openly admitted that. Almost all of his other pairings (which are just a small handful compared to Yusei XD) don't mesh with him as great as Yusei does or they don't have any interaction or development shown on their bonds.

Overall, I think it just works right, with Yusei and Kiryu balancing each other out perfectly. Yusei is the calm one of the two while Kiryu is more passionate and impulsive. It has tragedy, angst, sparkles and carefree in nature packed into the pairing. It can be written in so many ways and many possibilities, its amazing that way.

Sharing is Caring

Fortunately, Yusei/Kiryu is quite popular in the fandom, the only more popular pairings are Yusei/Aki, Jack/Carly and Yusei/Jack. So I have plenty of fanwork to share with you guys. But as a note, while I do try to credit the original artist by linking to their website and stuff, sometimes they delete their stuff and I can't credit properly :c


Together Apart by Triste/[livejournal.com profile] yumemiya: A simple short piece of Yusei leaving Crashtown.

Unyielding by Triste/[livejournal.com profile] yumemiya: A small collection of drabbles into the changes over Yusei and Kiryu's relationship

Vacant by Calaidi/[livejournal.com profile] calaidi:A oneshot AU branching off after Yusei’s recovery from his first duel from Kiryu

The Martyr!verse series: A collection of oneshots stemming from the change of Yusei getting arrested instead of Kiryu. Yusei's focus oneshots are written by Artemis Ignitan/[livejournal.com profile] northwind_gale and Kiryu's by w nymph/[livejournal.com profile] fortuneladyicey

Yusei's POV fics:
One Single Change
Consequences of Change
To Fight Against Change is Futile
But We Still Fight Against Change Regardless

Kiryu's POV fics:
The Driven Leader
The Obessesed Hunter
The Lost Friend
Darkest Before Dawn


IN RE:TURN - Circle: MellowLife - Scanner: [livejournal.com profile] universeheart [Download]

Prince of Darkness - Circle: Hitsune - Scanner: [livejournal.com profile] lokcha [Download]

Artist Recs:

ヌ ルンジ:
[NSFW] [Genderswap]

: Unfortunately I would show you a link to this person’s pixiv page, but as far as I know, it and her/his artwork has been deleted off of the site. But I have created a zip file filled with all the artwork she did for the pairing and 5D’s in general. This actually happens to be one of my favorite Kiryu/Yusei art pieces.
[NSFW] [Crossdressing]

– Like the above case, Merula has a habit of deleting her pixiv pages and moving her site around, along with deleting some of her art. But again I’ve prepared a zip of her files here. You can find her current web site here

: An artist that draws various characters and more pairing in addition to Kiryu/Yusei. I highly recommend her doujinshi works as well.
[NSFW] [Genderswap]

Mocha - I'm not quite sure where the site this group of artwork is now, I've looked through various bookmarks and logs to try to find it, but again it may have been deleted so I have a zip that includes all their work.

Individual Art Recs:

Frighted Cuddling (pixiv) (imgur)
The Three Chibi Stages (pixiv) (imgur)
Profile Shots (pixiv) (imgur)
Just a Flesh Wound (imgur)
The Spiders Thread (imgur)
Sketch (devart) (imgur)
Come Back To Me (pixiv) (imgur: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

There is tons and tons of art out there then what I included. A good place to go for more is to search "不動遊星 鬼柳京介" on Pixiv. Or go to The Kiryu/Yusei Devart club or by looking at the Yusei/Kiryu section at 5D's Navi.


Taking Over Me [Download]
Yusei vs Kiryu - The Last Duel! [Download]
Get No Satisfaction [Download]
Red Faction: Kiryu [Download] Technically the video is more centered around Kiryu but it’s a well made MAD regardless.


The Other Side of the Crash – A Kiryu/Yusei Fan Soundtrack (The entry is locked, but you can join the community freely): What it says on the tin. It’s also written like a musical which makes it even more fun :D
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