In all of Yu-Gi-Oh, fewer main characters arguably get more of a raw deal than Téa Gardner. She's there for Yugi and the crew through thick and thin, but she rarely gets her time in the spotlight. You can count all of her duels on one hand. Not to mention she's the only girl in the main cast of duelists.
It's no surprise that fans probably don't know very much about her in the first place. Don't let the friendship speech jokes fool you, Téa is a very important character in the Yu-Gi-Oh universe. This list will give you some lesser-known information about this unsung dueling hero.
10 She's (Technically) Not Really Named Téa
When Yu-Gi-Oh first came stateside, it was during a unique time for localizing anime. Dubs were usually aired in Saturday morning cartoon lineups where the original Japanese names got changed out for "Americanized" ones. This was the case for Yu-Gi-Oh, which was dubbed by the infamous 4Kids Entertainment. While some characters got out unscathed (Congrats, Yugi and Bakura), Téa wasn't so lucky. As it would turn out, her real name is Anzu Mazaki. Anzu is a Japanese word that translates into "apricot." Fitting for such a sweet character, no?
9 She Worked for Kaiba Once
If you're only watching the Yu-Gi-Oh anime that was exported to the West, you're missing out on a lot of content. Hardcore fans know of "Season 0," the anime adaptation based on the first seven volumes of the manga.
This told the story of Yugi's first interactions with Atem, where the now-friendly spirit was a chaotic, mega-violent entity. One of the later story arcs in this first season revolved around Kaiba inviting the gang to his theme park for the first time. In the middle of a deadly challenge Seto creates, they stumble upon Téa herself working there. She has a brief stint as the park's laser tag hostess but quickly abandons it to help her friends not get murdered. That's real friendship.
8 She's Not Afraid to Throw Down
Try not to let all the pink outfits and platform shoes fool you; Téa is not someone that you want to mess with. Before her time at Kaibaland, Téa famously had a stint serving at Burger World. When she ran into Yugi and Joey there, she had to think of something fast if she didn't want word of her job to get out. Solution: threaten her classmates in ketchup writing.
This isn't the first time Téa has been tough as nails, either. Let's not forget that she managed to defeat Mai, who played the rest of Duelist Kingdom like a fiddle. Sure, it was on a technicality, but the fact that she was brave enough to take her on should count.
7 She Almost Got Herself Blown Up for Love
This one takes things back to Season 0 where the relationship between Yugi and Téa saw more development. Their friendship is largely shown to be platonic in the "main" series. In Season 0, however, Yugi is absolutely enamored with the girl. The trouble is, Téa doesn't feel the same.
Instead, she's head over heels for Atem, then just known as "Other Yugi." The things she did to get his attention weren't exactly pretty. At one point, she takes poor Yugi up on a water park date as an excuse to get to see Other Yugi. The problem arises when there turns out to be a bomber loose in the park. Téa, showing her teenage wisdom, decides to get on a Ferris wheel he's targeting to scare Yugi into letting his other side out. In the end, it worked and she makes it out okay. But it's hard to say that it was a good call on her part. Kids will be kids.
6 She's One of the Only Characters to Beat Mai
As mentioned earlier, Téa has had the honor of taking out Mai Valentine, also known as Mai Kujaku, on the dueling field. During the Duelist Kingdom arc, the two squared off so she could earn the star chips Yugi lost to Kaiba. Téa has basically everyone doubting her going in, but she prevails and get Yugi into the castle.
This is pretty impressive in its own right. The number of characters who have beaten this harpie-wielding heavyweight is few and far between. This means that Téa is in the club with the likes of dueling champions like Yugi and Joey. It is worth mentioning, though, that Mai kind of let her win. If she'd played her Harpie's Feather Duster, Téa would have been toast. Then again, Harpie's Feather Duster is banned now. Let's call it a wash.
5 She Loves Noodles
Some Yu-Gi-Oh fans might only be familiar with the anime. Again, these fans are missing out big time. The manga is packed with bonus information about the main characters that you might miss even if you've seen every episode. This includes their favorite and least favorite foods.
You might already know that Yugi is a big fan of burgers. Téa, on the other hand, is closer to her Japanese roots. According to the official character information, her favorite food is ramen. Her least favorite is grated yams, a dish often known as Tororo. At least Téa would get along with Naruto.
4 She's a Leo
For all the astrology fans out there, it's basically impossible to get Téa's birth chart. Fictional characters don't usually have their time of birth worked out. Her birthday can be found in the manga, though, and it's actually August 18th, meaning that she's a Leo.
Leos are fire signs. This is contrary to Téa's soft exterior, but it's right in line with her occasional intense anger. According to astrology, Leos are also usually headstrong, kind, and fun to be around. This would make perfect sense for bubbly, supportive Téa. All in all, it's just the right sign for her. She's warm and generous ... but watch out if you cross her.
3 She Wasn't Always the Only Girl
Yu-Gi-Oh fans often take note of the fact that Téa is really the only lady in the main crew. While other characters like Mai and Serenity come in and out, Téa is the only main fixture.
It wasn't always like this, though. Going back to Season 0, there was a second girl in Yugi's friend group who came along on their adventures. This was Miho, a blue-haired, slightly ditzy classmate of Téa's. She was the object of Tristan's affections and only had a limited role in the manga. In the anime, she was there almost as often as Téa and was considered a main character. When the series moved on to Duelist Kingdom, she was nixed and never seen again. This brought things back to a one-girl arrangement. Poor Téa.
2 She's Undefeated
Just about every character in Yu-Gi-Oh! loses at least once, no matter how good. Kaiba, Joey, Pegasus, and even Atem all watch their life points drop to zero at some point.
Not Téa, though. In the entire main series, she hasn't lost a single duel that she's participated in. On the other hand, it's worth mentioning that Téa has only really participated in two duels in the first place. One was the aforementioned face-off against Mai. The other was against the penguin-man Crump during the Virtual World Arc. Only two, but so what? It's still an achievement that very few characters in the series can claim.
1 She Was Taken Hostage Once
This one takes it all back to Season 0, and it's a doozy. During Téa's time working at Burger World, an armed escaped convict took her hostage. As dark as that is, it only got worse. She was blindfolded by her captor. In order to save her, Atem manifested and challenged the gunman to a game involving balancing lighters on their hands.
Ultimately, this ended with carefully placed alcohol setting the convict on fire. Yes, you read that right. Atem set a man on fire to save Téa's life. Again, it worked out well for them, but the method is still a little questionable. Téa doesn't seem bothered by the ordeal, at least. She mostly just got excited about hearing Atem's voice.