I watched some of Yu-Gi-Oh! as a kid and was mostly familiar with the trading card game, but I’m cool to review the anime as long as Blue Eyes White Dragon is about – that’s still a thing, right?
Starting from Season 3 was a bit jarring, more so as the first episode is even numbered as 98 and I can really only rely on the ‘last time on Yu-Gi-Oh!’ segment to catch-up, but thankfully my Yu-Gi-Oh! knowledge isn’t completely awful and it’s not a hard show to keep up with. When Yugi tells me it’s time to duel, I mean it’s time to duel, you guys. Yugi managed to unveil the secrets of the Millennium Puzzle which awakened an alter-ego inside his body, one who doesn’t mind taking a bit of a risk – this alter-ego comes out to play when it’s time to duel and enjoys gambling.
I can’t remember Yu-Gi-Oh! being so hilarious but it’s so 90’s that I can’t help but laugh – some of the jokes and dialogue are top-notch. The story is ridiculous and the show revels in that, and it’s clear that the scriptwriters and English voice-cast had a blast. Alter-egos, bodily possession via card games, being trapped in virtual worlds, some of those hairstyles… it’s all over the place but it’s hard to hate as it’s such good fun to watch! I can’t take it seriously and it probably doesn’t help that I was never a huge fan to begin with and although I’ve quite enjoyed Season 3, I’m not in any rush to revisit the first two seasons.
The DVD remaster is surprisingly very impressive considering the age of the show! The animation is very 90’s but it holds up well although I’m not particularly fond of the artstyle myself – it reminds me vaguely of Akira Toriyama’s artwork in the sense that everything is rather… square. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, it’s just a personal taste and I’ma ware that the artstyle is what helps make it nostalgic for many people – it’s so incredibly 90’s! It’s age is made even more apparent with the shows 4:3 aspect ratio.
There’s a huge range of monsters in the games that they play and so obviously there are some really cool looking monsters like the Blue Eyed White Dragon and Dark Magician, along with some duds and more disgusting and terrifying looking creatures who tend to look out of play on the heroes teams. I love the creativity and it’s no wonder that I enjoyed the trading card game so much when I was a child, although I never quite enjoyed Yu-Gi-Oh! as much as Pokemon and my personal favourite Digimon. The character designs are great too with a heavy Egyptian theme running through the show which shows in quite a few characters.
The English dub cracks me up. I can’t say I recognise any of the main voice cast and pretty much just the one side-character (who Sam Riegel voices many of and I’m very familiar with his works), but they’ve done a fantastic job in making me laugh and highlighting how ludicrous the show is – it’s almost as if they’re poking fun at it. This might not be to everyone’s liking but I really enjoyed this aspect of it and considering that the show has a large focus on games, it’s nice to see a lot of fun clearly being had. The OP is iconic although far from one of my favourites, although I’m struggling even now to recall the ED or any of the OST past the catchy OP.
I can’t say I’m the biggest Yu-Gi-Oh! fan but understand that it has a massive fanbase still to this day, although it doesn’t really appeal to me much outside of the trading card game (although the only card game I play nowadays is Weiss Schwarz and well, standard playing cards), and it’s nice to see it remain popular. I don’t think I’ll ever have the passion that a lot of hardcore fans do for Yu-Gi-Oh! but the DVD collections have proven to be a good watch with a high quality remaster and so fans won’t want to miss out on Manga UK’s release of one of their favourite shows. To those who’ve never really enjoyed Yu-Gi-Oh! or have never seen it, then it’s a far harder sell and you might want to give it a whirl first – I think it’s on Netflix – before buying.
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