The show was designed for a private audience, and the pilot shot on June 26, 2002 as an experiment to test some new camera equipment. The series was originally not intended to continue, but the studio had also acquired footage documenting the Duel Monsters Tournament
that the Pokémon Trainers Club
was hosting that summer.
The abundance of footage resulted in a documentary first season
, but after Ni-Ki-Oh! S01E07 - Vacca's Revenge
, the producers and cast met and decided that Ni-Ki-Oh!
should be more than video documentation of a card tournament.
They created a spoof on the popular anime Yu-Gi-Oh!
, commenting on how such game shows generate random rules as the show progresses to keep it engaging and to ensure that the hero always wins. Over time, production values increased, with specific costumes and hairstyles for each character, strict usage of the names of the characters over the actors' names, a basic story, and set and prop construction.
became an immense project with an extensive storyline that gradually deviated from its forefather, although the premise did remain the same. A young boy named Niki
unlocks the power of the ancient Millennium Puzzle
and must use his knowledge of the Duel Monsters
card game to combat evil and save the world from destruction.