DVD Review: Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds – Season 1
05/09/2016 Leave a comment
It’s time to rev-it-up as the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise makes it’s return to the UK in the form of MangaUK’s release of Yu-Gi-Oh! – Season 1; but is this a release that will speed off into the distance for the win? or will it crash and burn? Well let’s put on our training wheels and find out!
Many years in the future after the exploits of Yugi Mutou, Domino City has become a shadow of its former self: Neo Domino City. There lies a strong divide between the rich and the poor, and bridging that gap proves to be difficult. Neo Domino seems fit to entertain itself with a wild new event called “Riding Duels,” the newest form of playing the ever popular Duel Monsters card game.
Enter Yusei Fudou, a young man who lives on the edge of the law, making his own rules. His desire to reclaim what is rightly his from an old friend turns into much more than what he and many of his newfound companions called “Signers” would have ever bargained for.
The expansive Yu-Gi-Oh! Storyline continues within the seemingly post-apocalyptic-world of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s as not only has the world changed; but so have the rules. If Yu-Gi-Oh!, and it’s spiritual successor Yu-Gi-Oh! GX (which will also receive a UK DVD release by Manga Entertainment UK in the near future) were the positive fun-loving-sides of the franchise, albeit with a slight dark agenda, then this 5D’s addition is its much darker side. You see Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s takes place within the futuristic variation of Domino City (otherwise known as New Domino City) and it sees its residents separated into the high-class city and its slums known as the Satellite. Those who are successful manage to live well and prosper to great success; but those unfortunate enough to commit criminal acts or just be down on their luck will find themselves thrown into the Slums and it is here where the story begins.
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s follows the adventures of Yusei Fudou as he attempts to retrieve his Stardust Dragon card that his best friend Jack Atlus stole from him in the past; however in order to make this dream a reality Yusei must escape from the satellite and reach the distant location of New Domino City to where Jack currently resides as the Turbo Duel Champion. The reason for this ‘desire’ is because Yusei believes that upon reclaiming the card and defeating Jack Atlus it will pave a way for both him and his friends in the satellite to create a new lifes within New Domino City. It’s not a simple task and as a result of this vendetta against Jack Yusei finds himself constantly chased down by local law enforcement until he is inevitably captured and thrown into the local correctional facility. This may seem pointless and a way for the series to start and it may seem like it is simply expanding its episode count but it actually paves the way for new friends to be made; such as the introduction to previous pro-league champion Tanner, comical but insanely crazy Gramps as well as upon Yusei’s exit from the facility the introduction of the lovable, but quirky, twins Luna and Leo. All of the characters may have short parts at this point; but as the episodes play-out their roles become more important and vital to the story being told; the story of the signers.
As a result of this new story unfolding Yusei is invited to the fortune cup an event which will see eight pre-determined duelists fight to compete in the tournament; with a duel against Jack Atlus being the top prize but in actuality it is all just a ruse set by Jack’s advisor Goodwin. Everyone within the fortune cup believes they are competing for a chance to win the Duel King crown; but in actuality it is a tournament setup by Goodwin as he attempts to track-down the legendary signers; a group of people predicted in having great power that could either protect the world or destroy it. As you can imagine each duel within this sector of the series pans out at exploring the potential power of each signer with both main and support characters (including both Luna and Leo) getting their share of screen time; and while the event comes to a conclusion it paves way to a new type of threat. That threat being the arrival of the Dark Signers and the revival of the shadow games.
The arrival of the Dark Signers sparks the beginning of the ‘second arc’ of this Season 1 collection and it sees the newly recruited good signers – which consist of Yusei, Jack and Luna – venturing around the city in order to stop the Dark Signers from causing chaos. Interestingly enough however it doesn’t stop there as not only are new characters introduced, such as Crow Hogan, but it seems some of the best aspects of Yu-GI-Oh! 5D’s come to life; namely the fast-paced duelling (both on bikes and normal) as well as the shadow world with the lingering fear of death in the background. Unlike the ‘first arc’ there doesn’t seem to be much of a progressive storyline but watch it over an extensive period and you’ll see the bigger picture begin to unfold; especially when it comes to the three-part-penultimate duel.
Personally this ‘second arc’ of this season 1 collections provides a more thrilling and engaging experience than the first arc as it sees the characters all working together trying to protect each other and make the world a better place; but that’s not all as the more varied characters, both in monsters and people, make it much more enjoyable to watch and probably one of the best Yu-Gi-Oh! experiences to date.
Unfortunately this release does not contain any bonus features; which is a shame but considering it uses the edited 4Kids variation of the show then it is to be expected.
The DVD Menu for each disc however features a list of each episode as well as a ‘Play All’ button at the button. As expected the Play All button will play all of the episodes back-to-back whereas selecting a single episode will only play that single episode. If you do chose a single episode then once it has finished you will be returned to this menu main.
Media: DVD 9 x8
Running Time: 2:56:25 (Disc 1), 2:52:45 (Disc 2), 3:00:21 (Disc 4), 2:33:14 (Disc 4), 2:56:48 (Disc 5), 2:35:49 (Disc 6), 3:25:08 (Disc 7), 3:26:44 (Disc 8)
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (English)
Resolution: 720 x 480 (480p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 30 fps
This release of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s contains the first two seasons of the anime, which consist of the Fortune Cup arc (Episodes 1 to 26) and the Dark Signers arc (Episode 27 – 64), bundled into a Season 1 collection and as a result it sees viewers introduced to the protagonists, their desires, the world they inhabit, and then the challenge that awaits them. It’s a nice steady progressive story and while the 4KIDs Dub can be ‘overwhelming’ at times in long hauls it does provide one of the better experiences than compared to other dubbed shows – especially the opening song.
While the progressive nature of the story is accurately paced and entertaining enough to keep you watching some questions have to be raised about the authoring choices and quality of the show. For starters the discs are labelled Season 1 Volume 1 Disc 1 – 4 and then Season 1 Volume 2 Disc 1 – 4 suggesting that (at some point) the series would have been released in two separate parts (such as Fortune Cup arc and Dark Signers arc) like I mentioned in the preivous paragraph. If that’s not all then the disc menu’s themselves are listed as Volume 1 (Disc 1 & 2), Volume 2 (Disc 3 & 4), Volume 3 (Disc 5 & 6) and Volume 4 (Disc 7 & 8) which further adds to the confusion. The reason for these ‘varying covers and menu titles’ is because they are using the assets provided by Cinedigm/FLATRION Film Company which previously released the series in separate volumes shortly before (or after) turning them into a complete season collection. Basically MangaUK are just re-using the disc assets provided to them by the American company.
This may seem like a bad thing but actually it is a positive as it means we receive the NTSC variations of the show, so no PAL speedup/slowdown, and it also means we can receive the series much faster than usual – as demonstrated by Season 2’s up and coming release. Of course this could lead to the next potential problem; on certain displays (and playbacks) the visual appearance of the series wasn’t at the quality I expected to be. Panning shots seemed to stutter slightly and on occasion lines can be screen across the viewing area itself. Another issue is that the chapter markers are in obsecure places so if you wish to skip the ‘Hyper Drive’ opening you would need to fast forward as skipping the chapter will result in you being take three minutes into the episode itself. Of course this ‘chapter issue’ was apparent in the US release as well; so like I said before it’s MangaUK just re-using the original American authored discs.
Of course all of this could be irrelevant when you consider that this UK release of Season 1 features more than 22 hours (22 Hours, 55 Minutes and 14 seconds to be exact) worth of viewing content for the same price as a traditional 26 episode set. In short Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s – Season 1 does have a few faults, such as disc presentation and chapter designs, but in exchange for putting up with these faults you are treated to an extensive amount of ‘edited’ anime viewing that progressively gets more entertaining and enjoyable the future your progress into it. If you aren’t a fan of English dubs (or the Yu-Gi-Oh! Franchise in general) then I would probably avoid this set; but if you are looking to pass a long period of time with some entertaining English anime then this is would the be the one to go for; as it provides a nice race to the finish.
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s is now available on DVD within the UK.