BLU-RAY REVIEW: Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions


THE SET-UP
In a tale written by Yu-Gi-Oh creator Kazuki Takahashi, fan-favorite characters Yugi Muto, Seto Kaiba, Joey Wheeler, Tristan Taylor, Tea Gardner, and Bakura all return in a quest to seize the Millennium Puzzle, which has the power to return the Pharaoh to their world. Features the voices of Dan Green and Eric Stuart.
Directed by Satoshi Kuwabara

THE DELIVERY
In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit: I know nothing about Yu-Gi-Oh. Not the game, and not the anime show. Even so, I consider myself an anime fan, so I was looking forward to giving Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions a try, just to see what the fuss was about.

The story, outside of all the card-based fighting, involves a quest for the Millennium Puzzle, the pieces of which can summon the all-powerful Pharaoh, who has been banished from the world. The pieces of the puzzle will allow the Pharaoh to take his chosen human vessel, who just happens to be the main protagonist, Yugi Muto.


The film features various dragons (although they aren’t traditional dragons), teen angst, more Egyptian references than a Mummy movie, and what appears to be anime’s version of the Children of the Corn. Unless you are steeped in the mythology of the game and the anime, you’ll be lost as to what it all means. There isn’t much explanation of the fighting rules or the story’s background, so the assumption is made that if you are watching, you’re a fan and don’t need a primer.

Although I’m not a fan of card games like Yu-Gi-Oh, I found the film to be fairly entertaining, and anchored by some lengthy yet fantastic fight sequences. One battle, between Diva and Seto Kaiba, lasts a good 15 minutes and involves a bunch of dragons and an Egyptian god. Which is a pretty big thing, apparently.

There’s a lot of back story presented here, which I’m sure fans will appreciate, but a newbie like me will find it all a bit tedious. Some of it was interesting, but I came for the fighting, not a sad story about orphans.

The animation is first-rate, and the inclusion of 3D animation blends well with the hand-drawn work.


Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions hits the mark for fans, who will delight at seeing their favorite characters given a solid big-screen adventure. Nostalgia plays a big part in the enjoyment factor, which is not a bad thing. After all, it worked for The Force Awakens.

VIDEO AND AUDIO
The high definition image looks fantastic. Some of the imagery (both 2D and 3D) is stunning, and with the inclusion of the CGI animation in particular, it’s certainly fun to look at. Edging is razor-sharp, and colors are deep and bold.

Lionsgate put a little extra effort into this disc and gave us not only the English dub in 5.1 Dolby Digital, but the original Japanese dub as well. There’s a nice surround effect, and good channel balance.


SPECIAL FEATURES
There are only a handful of special features, but since most feature the American voice actors discussing the film, they are fun to watch.

Special Features include:

*“Favorite Moments with the Cast” featurette. The American voice actors share their favorite moments from the series. Eric Stuart, Wayne Grayson, Greg Abbey, Amy Birnbaum, Ted Lewis, and Dan Green all participate. Running time: 3:30

*“Q&A with Dan Green” featurette. The voice of Yugi Muto discusses his history with the character. Running time: 5:35

*“Q&A with Eric Stuart” featurette. The voice of Seto Kaiba talks about how he won the role and his experiences with the show. Running time: 6:40


*“Show Us Your Cards!” featurette. Photos of dozens of fans showing off their best cards are featured in this music montage. Running time: 3:45

*Digital Copy. A code for a digital copy of the film, compatible with the Ultraviolet video streaming service, is included.

*Collectible Card. An exclusive collectible trading card is included. It is not clear if the card is the same in every package, but our card was an Obelisk the Tormentor card. Woo-hoo!

THE BOTTOM LINE: Fans of Yu-Gi-Oh will embrace The Dark Side of Dimensions
An understanding of the background story is necessary to fully appreciate it, but since The Dark Side of Dimensions is a love letter to the fans, it works well.

BLU-RAY SPECS
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Rating: PG
Running time: 91 minutes (English version), 89 minutes (Original Japanese version)
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English and Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English
Special Features: “Favorite Moments with the Cast” featurette; “Q&A with Dan Green” featurette; “Q&A with Eric Stuart” featurette; “Show Us Your Cards!” featurette; Digital copy; collectible trading card.

Click here to order Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Dark Side of Dimensions on Blu-ray!

Victor Medina is a freelance writer based in Dallas. He is the editor of several websites, and his writing credits include The Dallas Morning News, Yahoo News, Cinelinx.com and SportsIllustrated.com. He has served as a Dallas County election judge and on the Board of Directors of The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas. You can follow him on his blog, VictorMedina.com or on Twitter at @mrvictormedina. He can be reached by email at vic@victormedina.com.

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