Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Dark Side Of The Dimensions (& Packs!)

So a Yu-Gi-Oh! centered blogpost has been long overdue on here. Let me just warn you right now that those of you who never saw the original Yu-Gi-Oh! anime or read the manga's may want to skip this one out.

I'm a millennial (shocker, I know), I skew towards the younger half of the generation that juuust missed the start of Pokemon, so I didn't really latch onto anything until Yu-Gi-Oh! happened a few years afterwards.

Yu-Gi-Oh!, the popular trading card game where the game has so many rules and things to know that your brain gives up half way through the rulebook, is Konami's big franchise has spawned countless anime series', manga series' and even a few movies.

One of those movies I saw just recently after I returned to America, The Dark Side Of The Dimensions.

This was a movie I felt obligated to see purely for nostalgic reasons. In that the story and plot of the film revolves around the characters from the first Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters. More specifically, what happens after the events of said anime series. The series I grew up with, the series that a lot of people my age grew up with and still remember to this day.

I mean look, Konami's not dumb. They weren't going to devote a whole film to anything that doesn't involve Yugi or Yami (two key characters from the original series) in some capacity. They also likely knew that the core audience that watched their Yu-Gi-Oh! anime's way back when are now older and have some more disposable income now that they're largely in their early to mid 20's (shitty economy not withstanding). And the success of Pokemon Go! last year probably made this a safer bet to take.

Without trying to give too much stuff away about the original series (or the movie), the main plot is that Seto Kaiba wants to duel Pharaoh Atem to prove he's the best duelist ever. The only things in his way are Yugi Muto (Atem's host body) and the antagonist Aigami.

I won't go into the nitty gritty but I did like (and dislike) a fair number of the things about the movie. Keep in mind that this is from the perspective of someone who came into it knowing what happened before the events in the movie.

What I Liked:

*Just seeing the characters again

Just seeing and hearing the characters from my grade-school days felt nice for the two hours I was in the theater.

*The new animation

Design-wise not much is different about the characters but the artistic style is a little different from the original series. Then again, it's been a decade since the original series ended and animation in Japan has changed. I liked it, it was clear and crisp.

*The "humor"

I saw the American version of this film (I'll get around to seeing the Japanese one eventually). The American version of the movie and the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime were both done by 4Kids Entertainment. 4Kids has largely been laughed at through the years because their methods of dubbing kinda suck. Granted, Japanese humor is very hard to translate and use in the English language, but 4Kids' methods were, laughably bad. It's clear that the 4Kids dubbing team decided to just make jokes about how silly the whole concept behind the movie is. At this point I'm 100% certain they've seen Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, so they know what to make fun of. Like Yugi's weird hair.

*Dark Magician Girl

The OG waifu that sparked an entire generation of weaboos.

What I Disliked:

*The replacement music

Something I've always disliked about the English dub of YGO is the way the US staff pretty much removed the soundtrack/music from the original. That sucks, the music is supposed to complement the animation, that's the way it was intended to be seen/heard by the staff that made it. What makes it worse is that the original Japanese Yu-Gi-Oh! series'/movies have some of the best anime soundtracks ever. I mean just listen to this,

Mmm, the orchestral soundtrack is where it's at man! Although I will cede when it comes to the English theme song. 4Kids did a great job with that one.

*The morons talking with their friends the entire time

This isn't a negative about the movie, so much as the other movie goers. I get that they were all excited about seeing the movie (for the record everybody was pretty much my age and of various races and ethnicities), but for Pete's sake, pipe down. I don't want to hear how the way that one character moved his arm reminded you of Naruto.

*No cameos by other Yu-Gi-Oh! protagonists

This wasn't necessarily something I was expecting to happen, but a small part of me wanted a small nod to the other Yu-Gi-Oh! series' that came after Duel Monsters. Like maybe a cameo appearance in a crowd shot. Granted the timelines between the series' are different and kinda disjointed, but a cameo by young Jaden Yuki (the protagonist of the spinoff series Yu-Gi-Oh! GX) would've been nice.

So do I think the film is great? Well I enjoyed it, but I enjoyed it because I was a fan of the original subject material. If you didn't grow up with this show, this movie is not a very good introduction (to be really honest) to the series, and definitely not towards the card game. If you didn't like Yu-Gi-Oh! in the first place this will definitely not change your mind. I say watch it if you're a fan of the original series and want some closure.

Right so with that half-assed "review" of the film done, let's get to what is probably more relevant to this blog, cards!

That's right, after the movie ended I wanted to bust open some Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card packs. Granted I haven't played the game in a while, but opening cards is never a bad idea in my book.

I actually brought some unopened packs from Japan with me because I knew I'd want to see the movie in America (it already ended in Japan before I got there) and I'd want some cards. So lets look at jet-lagged Yu-Gi-Oh! cards from Japan!

First up is a pack, er so "movie pack," of the Japanese Dark Side Of The Dimensions set. These are kinda costly in that it was like $6 for five cards, but there's a reason for that.

Well okay, the scan didn't do these cards justice. Let me offer a pic with my phone so you folks can better see the way these cards shine.

Can you see the near KC Royals logo in the card? Well all of these cards shine like that. They're all Kaiba Corp parallels.

Next up is a pack of the Japanese version of Duelist Pack: Pharaoh's Memories. Which focuses a lot more on the cards from the original series, somewhat modified to be more usable with modern day decks.

Silent Magician became a prominent member of Yugi Muto's deck somewhere down the line, and I got two of them.

Every pack includes one parallel where the font is written in silver gloss (the rest are just printed). Personally I think this is a path worth taking for Topps and other baseball card companies too.

Okay, fast forward to the current generation of Yu-Gi-Oh! with the current anime protagonist Yuya on the cover of the pack.

Even though 5DS is supposed to be all about pendulum summoning I got two cards used for XYZ summoning, a game mechanic associated more with the previous anime series Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL.

The parallel in this pack (which has an x-fractor shine to it) even features Number 39: Utopia, Yuma's (the Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL protagonist) signature card.

Another set based on modern times called Raging Tempest.

Yeah, sorry, as a guy who stopped following/playing the card game after the Elemental Hero days I have no clue whether I pulled anything good or not (probably not).

Here is 運命の決闘者 or the Duelists of Fate.

Simple enough for even a guy like me who gave up a long time ago. Two fusion monsters, a trap card, and a flip monster that has an effect that doesn't sound half bad.

Oh and a continuous spell to give an advantage to water-type decks.

We end this post with Maximum Crisis, which is a good way to describe how I feel trying to get back into this card game.

Ugh, yeah no. Nothing I can use for my Hero deck (obviously).

Yikes, I couldn't offer one piece of relevant commentary for any of those cards. I need to work on my trading card game knowledge.

Anyway, I'm ending this clumsy post here. As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

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