After reading the manga for the third time, I've decided to write a review on it.
Plot and story:
The Yu-Gi-Oh GX manga has one long story, unlike the anime where there's a new 'story' for each season.
The story follows Jaden on his journey to become like his idols - Yugi and Koyo.
The antagonist is the father of one of the characters and is being possessed by the shadows. He uses the power of the shadows to take control of strong duelists and use them as puppets for his plan of gaining ultimate power.
One minor problem the story has is that they don't show when Jaden starts at the academy and meets the other characters.
I mean, I know how Jaden met them since I've watched the anime. But what about the people who haven't watched it?
However, they made a good choice in introducing the characters as the story progresses rather than introducing everyone at once.
In the anime, Jaden is somewhat of an OP character who almost never loses and we don't get to see much of his past. Here, they show more about Jaden's past. Like where he got the Elemental Heroes from and why dueling is so important to him. Jaden also (Spoiler), with one of them being a (Spoiler). This story made it much easier to relate to him.
The manga version of Chazz, Jaden's rival, is much better than his character in the anime. He's not a lovestruck goof, he's actually more powerful than Jaden and he has a good development. He also has a better reason of wanting to become a pro duelist than in the anime.
Even Syrus has a better character in the manga. Unlike in the anime where Syrus constantly is in need of help and doubts himself, Syrus has a strong will to surpass his older brother and is confident.
Alexis is not a damsel in distress anymore. She can take care of herself just fine. However, they didn't show anything of Alexis' past, what her goal is or her bond with Atticus.
Bastion is more powerful than in the anime and they make a better job with showing Bastion's analyzing skills.
Jesse was kind of disappointing, which bothers me since he's my favorite character in Yu-Gi-Oh GX. We don't get to see anything of his past, we have no idea what his goal is, he doesn't have the Crystal Beasts anymore and he doesn't have a strong bond with Jaden. But he remains as his adorkable self.
Adrian is a sweetheart compared to how he is in the anime. In this story, Adrian's goal is to become a pro duelist like Aster so he can get money for his little brother's surgery. Isn't that better than sacrificing someone for power?
As for the new characters; Koyo, Midori, Mac and David - The only person who wasn't really developed was David. The others were developed and relevant to the story.
But why wasn't Hassleberry there? And why did Zane duel only once?
Design and art:
Most of them look the same as in the anime. One of the exceptions is Alexis, who looks...meh.
Other than that, they did a good job with drawing the monster cards. Both the cards who appeared in the anime as well as the new cards from the manga.
I love how Jaden isn't the only hero in this story.
In the anime, it's only Jaden who saves the day with an exception being when he became the Supreme King in season 3 and Zane had to take him down. Even then, it was Jaden who had to duel against the antagonist.
While in this manga, Jaden takes on the antagonist together with Chazz.
Although I would've prefered it being Jaden and Jesse dueling against the enemy like they did in season 4, it was still good. Great teamwork between Jaden and Chazz.
The main characters are much better here than they are in the anime. More relatable, better development, stronger and more interesting in general.
They did a great job with using some elements from the anime (Such as the Shadow Games, as well as the abandoned dorm) and writing it in their own way.
And the best part is; There is no Yubel.
To be honest, I would rather have this manga as the canon story rather than the anime.
I'm giving this manga an 8. Although it's better than the anime in several different ways (in my opinion), there are some cons that lowers the score to 8.
I recommend this manga to people who are fans of the Yu-Gi-Oh series or people who simply are curious about Yu-Gi-Oh.
Plus, the manga is only 64 chapters (9 volumes), so it doesn't take that long to finish it.