First depicted as an all-out villain, and later as the clever anti-hero, Seto Kaiba is a fan-favorite character of the world-wide Yu-Gi-Oh! phenomenon. He's also experienced arguably the highest amount of character development in the entire series, serving as the means of communicating some of the show's most valuable life lessons. That's why we're happy the manga's creator Kazuki Takahashi decided to stick with the character and make him one of the show's protagonists, despite initially intending otherwise.
Here's what we know about Seto Kaiba: The show depicts him as a brilliant, self-serving, and arrogant multi-millionaire business owner with a passion for games (that is, winning). Seto's little brother, Mokuba, follows him at every step and is perhaps the only person Seto initially cares about. Orphaned as a child, Seto struggles to prove himself and fights to acquire what he believes is rightfully his, overthrowing his stepfather and acquiring KaibaCorp for himself. He has an endless ego and a thirst to prove his superiority to everyone, no matter the cost.
However, today, we take a look at some of the lesser-known facts about this influential character, delving into his history, inspirations, and motives for his actions. These are the 10 things you didn't know about Seto Kaiba.
10 Kaiba has a card named after him
Inspired and thought to be created by Seto Kaiba himself, Kaibaman is an interesting monster card many fans probably remember from the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game. After Jaden and his friends enter the Duel Monsters Spirit World through a portal in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, the same card shows up as a character voiced by the same actor who portrayed Seto Kaiba.
Kaibaman sports a distinctive look eerily reminiscent of a long-haired Seto Kaiba, wearing a Blue-Eyes White Dragon helmet and Duel Disk. Even his clothes are similar to those worn by Kaiba at the Battle City Tournament in the original anime. Notably, Kaibaman is the second character to beat Jaden Yuki in a duel, following Zane Truesdale.
9 Seto Kaiba's real family is still unknown
Abandoned in an orphanage as a little child, along with his little brother Mokuba, Seto Kaiba never learns the identity of his real father. Therefore, neither sibling knows the family they come from. The last name the two take belongs to a tycoon who adopted them after Seto displayed immense strategic skill by beating the former in a game of chess.
This conundrum continues through the entire run of Yu-Gi-Oh! without any clues provided as to who Seto's and Mokuba's real family could be.
8 Kaiba stole & killed for his blue-eyed white dragon cards
Kaiba's favorite and most powerful cards, the Blue-Eyes White Dragons, were actually stolen - all three of them. Back in the first season of Yu-Gi-Oh!, we find out that there are only four of these cards in existence. Kaiba owns three, while the fourth is in the possession of Yugi's grandfather. According to the original Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, Kaiba - a genius millionaire, businessman, and heir to KaibaCorp - figured the best he could do with his money and power was chase down the original owners of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon cards and force them into bankruptcy or suicide, all so he would be stronger in a card game.
Regardless of how much sense that makes, the fact that he owned three of the most powerful cards in the game (the maximum number which could be included in a deck) wasn't enough for Kaiba. Since he was aware one Blue-Eyes White Dragon was still out there, his ego did not allow him to risk another one of these cards being used against him, so Seto straight up tore the fourth one in half, after winning it from Yugi's grandfather.
7 At first, Kaiba has completely green hair
Toei's Yu-Gi-Oh! was the first anime adaptation of the manga and started airing on October 1998. Although it never got an English dub, many fans still remember it as either season 1 or season 0 of Yu-Gi-Oh!. Along with different character developments, appearances, and completely different voice actors, a notable difference between the original anime and the later Duel Monsters series was Kaiba's hair, which was completely green.
During the Battle City tournament in the Duel Monsters anime, the characters are thrown into the virtual world where they meet Gozaburo Kaiba's real son, Noah. The kid was an exceedingly bright student and heir to KaibaCorp until he experienced a horrible car accident at the age of 12, which resulted in his mind being programmed into a computer. In a supposed effort to make him more intimidating and reminiscent of the story's anti-villain Seto Kaiba, the writers gave him a green-haired look inspired by Kaiba in the original show.
6 He's probably the best duelist in Yu-Gi-Oh!
If you think about it, Seto Kaiba never lost a fair duel, making him legitimately the best duelist in the series. From the start of the series, he is introduced as a self-proclaimed top-ranking duelist; at least, until Yugi teaches him a lesson and Pegasus embarrasses Seto even further. However, these are the only two individuals who beat Kaiba in a legitimate duel, and what do they have in common? That's right, the millennium items. Pegasus' Millennium Eye allows him to read other people's minds, making him virtually unbeatable, while Yugi invokes a spirit of a 5000-year old Pharaoh to assist him, making it two against one.
Seto's other two losses were included in the anime's filler episodes, so they are not legitimate. In a duel against Noah, Kaiba decides to lose on purpose to save Mokuba, while in his duel with Yugi against Dartz, he sacrifices himself so Yugi could gain more life points and finish Dartz off.
5 In One Day, Seto converted a $10,000,000 company share into a hundred times that amount
Seto's stepfather Gozaburo raised Seto on the belief that he'll eventually inherit their massive Family enterprise dubbed KaibaCorp. One day, as a birthday gift, Seto was given a 2% share of the company (which was said to be worth $10 million in the anime) on a promise that he is to return the money within one year, hundredfold.
If he failed, both Seto and Mokuba would be sent back to the orphanage. Seto, being a cunning and brilliant strategist, managed to do so in one single day. He allegedly did this by finding a smaller company that deeply cares about its employees and buying it out. He then used the owner's sentiment against him and threatened to shut down the company (leaving the employees on the streets) unless he would buy it back from him a hundred times the price. In the English dub, the amount Seto was to return was toned down from 100 to 10 times, making the whole situation a tad more realistic.
4 Seto drove his stepfather to suicide
After Seto proved he was more apt at leading KaibaCorp than his stepfather, Seto decided to overthrow him. Seto used the fact that his stepfather treated his subordinates, also known as the Big Five, poorly and promised to be kinder. Together, they had a combined shareholder value of 49%. Kaiba also made sure his stepfather was aware of his plans to overthrow him, so he let his little brother Mokuba (owning 2% of the company) snitch on him and make his stepfather believe he is on his side.
However, Seto knew what he was doing and Mokuba voted for his brother, allowing him to grasp a combined 51% company share and overthrow his Gozaburo. In the events of the original manga, Gozaburo committed suicide by throwing himself out of the window.
3 Seto Kaiba is voiced by the same voice actor as Pokemon's Brock Harrison
Seto Kaiba is voiced by voice-actor Eric Stuart, who is also the voice of the lovable and friendly Brock Harrison from Pokémon. This goes for the 4Kids TV adaptations dubbed in English.
The guy also voiced a ton of other high-profile anime characters, such as Yu-Gi-Oh! GX's Bastion, Dinosaur King's Dr. Z, Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal's Jinlon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Hamato Yoshi, and was even the narrator for the notorious 4Kids dub of One Piece.
2 In the manga, Seto's stepfather uses his technology for weaponry
Being a brilliant engineer and programmer, Seto Kaiba was able to develop a unique and innovative video game software he intended to use for Duel Monsters. His plan had always been to turn KaibaCorp into a gaming software development company after he inherited it, as well as creating a personal theme park called Kaiba Land.
In the manga, Seto learns that his father intends to use this advanced software for war. Seto is horrified and disappointed to learn that all his stepfather cares about is beating his rivals and gaining power. Ironically, Seto would turn out the same way only a few years later.
1 Inspired by a real person & an Egyptian god
The manga's creator Kazuki Takahashi explained that the idea for the character of Seto Kaiba came to fruition after one uncomfortable encounter with an arrogant card game collector. The person refused to teach Takahashi the rules to a card game stating that he could return when he had collected 10 000 cards. In Yu-Gi-Oh!, we see an almost identical scene play out between Seto Kaiba and Jonouchi (future Joey Wheeler) on the pages of the original manga.
When the idea for Kaiba came to be, his name might have been taken from the Egyptian god Seth (pronounced "Seto" in Japanese), who was often depicted as violent, deceitful, and in conflict with the god Horus. He was also often shown carrying a scepter, much like the Millennium Rod that Kaiba's ancient counterpart, Priest Seto, bears in the manga.