Tag Archives: free will

Destiny and free will in anime

In anime series Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, protagonist Judai Yuki duels destiny at least three times.

The first time, he goes on a voyage to rekindle his spirit, infusing his deck with power from outer space (“Neo-Space”) to defeat Edo Phoenix.

Next, Judai defeats Sartorius, antagonist of Season 2 who plays with a deck focused on determining outcomes that favor him and put Judai at a disadvantage. Sartorius wonders beforehand whether Judai is unique in his ability to defy destiny.

In Season 4, Judai and Sartorius duel again. Judai says Sartorius of all people should know that destiny cannot be controlled. This does not stop Sartorius from attempting to determine Judai’s fate: a loss, so that Sartorius’ sister Mizuchi can be saved.

With his back against the wall, and with his destiny all but decided, Judai turns things around with the Monster “Miracle Flipper”. Miracle Flipper allows him to tip the scales and escape Sartorius’ fate-deciding combo and win the duel.

Miracle Flipper’s card art

Judai is simultaneously able to fight destiny, but recognizes the futility of trying to controlling it. Still–he shows that one can overcome seemingly-hopeless situations, ones that may be imposed on us from the outside.

Philosophically, exercising our free will in a deterministic universe consists of choosing between genuine alternative paths (even if the end is already decided). If destiny cannot be controlled, determinism’s role is set in stone.

Perhaps being able to affirm our free will and win life’s games means pulling out a miracle when losing seems inevitable?