Ahem. So, I have a confession to make. I like bad boys. I was a Kaiba girl back in the day. I wasn’t a HUGE bad-guy kind of person, but I had my moments of digging the more brutish and cold main characters in media. In the case of season 2 of Yu-Gi-Oh!, I can’t deny there was an appeal to evil Marik. He had that kind of bad boy walk and pose. He had those emo clothes (sans khakis) and weird hair. On second thought, I actually hated the hair. He was trying so hard to be Yami/Yugi, in his super-powered evil form, but the end result was actually kind of ugly. But I digress. I understand the pull of Marik. He definitely looks cooler than the obnoxiously flamboyant Pegasus from season 1, and his personality is nowhere near as grating.
Marik Ishtar was a boy born into tradition. He was raised to guard the secrets of his family and country, tying him to the legacy of The Pharaoh, Yami Yugi, supposedly for the rest of his life. However, young Marik desired more; he DEMANDED more. During his coming-of-age ritual conducted by his abusive father, (which involved some pretty serious back tattoos), his traumatic physical and mental pain created an entity within him called Yami Marik, an evil form of Marik’s worst thoughts and beliefs. Yami Marik was a cruel murderer, who had no qualms on killing and torturing to get what he wanted. This led to the main plot of season 2 are, “Battle City Tournament,’ and his rampage against Yugi and the gang.
The best feature of Marik was the fact that his older sister was a total BEAST, the monotone, GODDESS, the one and only bad ass who could out-freeze Seto Kaiba himself, Ishizu Ishtar. Having such a baller as an older sister is a hard shadow to get out from underneath, and Marik doesn’t quite reach that level. The only reason he ever comes close is when he’s possessed by Yami Marik. Yami Marik was a dick, but he was an entertaining psychopath. He gave the audience a charismatic villain. I mean, sure, he had the same old goals, with the usual dreams of world domination, ultimate power, wielding darkness, blah blah blah. But he commanded the room, you know? You couldn’t help but pay attention to him, but maybe that was because most Yu-Gi-Oh! characters are designed to stand out in a crowd. It’s funny, because the more I write this article, the more I realize the only thing I really dug about Marik/Yami Marik was his outer appearance. His gold jewelry and flowy, purple cape? Absolute perfection. Other than that, he was more creepy than anything. He was a whiny baby and kind of personality-less for a while there without his insane alter ego inside him, egging him on.
In short, Marik had an interesting time as the main antagonist on Yu-Gi-Oh!. His pain was forged from trauma, and while we can remain sympathetic to his plight, we do not forgive those khakis. I’m joking. (Or am I?)