DVD Review: Yu-Gi-Oh! GX – Season 2

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Manga Entertainment UK continues to push-out the nostalgia into the UK Home video market and this time we take a look at their latest offering; namely the second season of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX which is of course the direct sequel (of sorts) to the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series. So; what can one expect from this particular release? Well let’s take a look!

Synopsis:

It’s year two at Duel Academy, and this semester is more intense than ever! Jaden somehow passed his finals, so he is now back with his friends to continue his training at the world’s most prestigious dueling school! But it’s not all about classes and textbooks.

This year is filled with one high-stakes battle after another as Jaden faces all new rivals like Pro League All-Star Aster Phoenix, dino duelist Tyranno Hassleberry and the sinister Sartorius!

Our View:

For those unfamiliar Yu-Gi-Oh! GX takes place ten years after the events of the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series and sees hot-shot duelist Jaden Yukki enrol at Duel Academy which teaches budding young duelists on how to go pro in this fictional universe.

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The first season of the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX anime neatly introduced the main cast of characters, such as Alexis, Sirus, Chazz and Zane, as well as the potential dangers that lie within Duel Academy, such as Shadow Duelists and the Shadow dragons; of which our main protagonists – which mostly consisted of Jaden, Alexis, Chazz and Sirus – overcame the task of protecting the Sacred Beast keys from the notorious Shadow Riders. It was action-packed and enjoyable from start to finish; with the season ending on a bit of high-note with Jaden being classed as the top duelist in the school.

This second season of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX continues this momentum with a bit of comedy and some daft ‘fourth-wall-breaking’ narrative whereby Jaden explains the differences from this second year and the previous year; namely the confirmation that Doctor Crowler has been promoted to school chancellor (principal) with bonepart, a new character to the series, being introduced as the vice-principal of the school. Of course this introduction is cut-short by the start of a new duel; namely a duel between Jaden Yukki and newcomer AP – who is later to be revealed as Pro Duelist Aster Phoenix.

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As one would expect it’s a rather strong first episode by throwing everything ‘new’ to the viewer; such as new monsters, new characters and new duels – but sadly it goes slightly down hill from here as we settle into a relatively dreary selection of episodes that do nothing but offer filler-styled-duels, bad comedy and drip-fed-content with a slight twist of personalised character development (such as Chazz being accepted once again and Sirus becoming more familiar with his deck).

Why exactly? Well although these particular episodes expand upon character personalities, espiecally Sirus with his doubts on using the Power Bond card and Jaden going on a guilt-trip to destory a new deck, the actual storyline for this second season is that a that a man known as Sartorious plans to brainwash the entire planet through the use of Duel Monsters. Of course for his plan to succeed the top duelists, in this case Zane, Jaden and Chazz, need to be put of commission and as a result Aster Phoenix enrols in the school to make this a reality.

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It’s a long winded storyline and it’s one that is quickly overshadow by other events of this second series, especially filler type duels; but we do get to see the characters evolve and learn new skills – including Jaden who manages to acquire a selective new set of cards through some bizarre dream-come-reality experience. It’s not just Jaden that learns some new skills either; as each one of the characters featured within this second season, including the newcomer Hassleberry, even find time to shine and develop their decks and skills – something which wasn’t always apparent within the first season.

Alas that’s not all this second season of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX offers; as while the storyline of Sartorious slowing taking over the school through his “Society of Light” campaign – of which sees pupils brainwashed and form their own dorm on campus; we also see a new duealing tournament take place throughout with a selection of the strongest duealist across the world, including cameo’s from the original Yu-GI-Oh! series, making a return.

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For me the series started off relatively weak; but by the time the series gets on to the third disc the storyline begins to make an appearance and the duels become more entertaining than comical; but alas the 4KIDS produced dub still manages to make several bad puns throughout and in turn came hamper a somewhat nostalgic experience indeed. This is a nostalgic experience but unlike the original series – and in turn 5D’s – it’s not really stood the test of time very well as it features far too many bad puns and some questionable voice-over work from the original 4Kids Dubbing team.

Extras:

Sadly just like with the previous Yu-Gi-Oh! and Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s DVD releases there are no bonus features included; which is a shame but to be expected.

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Instead, as shown above, all fans are treated to is a rather static DVD Menu which lists all included episodes with an instrumental of the opening song.

Specs:

Media: DVD 9 x6
Region: 2
Running Time: 3:06:38 (Disc 1), 3:06:43 (Disc 2), 3:08:40 (Disc 3), 3:03:21 (Disc 4), 2:45:38 (Disc 5), 2:40:51 (Disc 6)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (English)
Subtitles: N/A (Closed Captions in English are available)
Resolution: 720 x 480 (480p)
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Frame Rate: 30 fps

Overall:

Yu-Gi-Oh! once again returns to home video in the form of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX – Season 2; the second instalment into the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX franchise and a continuation of the previous Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series. In this latest instalment we see the second school year commence with no trials and tribulations for our group of protagonists to endure; but sadly it’s not without some disappointment. They say nostalgia can cloud a persons view on a particular topic and sadly this is the case with this second season of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX as I didn’t enjoy this second season as much as I remembered – but it still offers some great elements from time to time.

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In any event; this second season follows the events of Jaden, Sirus, Chazz and Alexis – who are joined by newcomers Aster and Hassleberry – as they attempt to protect their dorm from being destroyed (thanks to Crowlers new sidekick), defend themselves within the duel tournament and discover the truth behind the society of light and it’s leader Sartorious. As you can imagine with fifty-two-episodes included in this six-dvd-set a lot can happen; and as such you’ll find hours of duelling against varying types of people (including cameo’s from the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime), personalities growing and new bonds form that promise an entertaining experience with questionable bad comedy.

Sadly for me I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would and unlike Yu-Gi-Oh! and Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s (both of which seemingly offer a more direct narrative) this second season of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX felt like it just “went with the flow” as while one particular episode could follow the events of Sartorious and his plan for domination the following episode could just be a comical episode (that actually wasn’t that funny) about Curry food. Bad pacing and an English Dub that started to become tedious is what caused my experience to be disappointing; but on the positive it’s great to see the sequel to the classic series being brought to home video – as despite my negativity it’s still great to finally own it and watch it all.

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It’s not just my experience of watching the series being mixed either; as my experience with the DVD’s provided by MangaUK are also quite mixed. For starters the DVD’s are replica’s of those released in America (so we see all the American related logos at the start) but alas this means we receive the original NTSC and 4:3 format, so no PAL slow-down/speed-ups which is of course a good thing; however while this is a good thing it also means we also receive the poor chapter markings and indivdiaul episode playback. Chapter markings are set to every five minutes so those wishing to skip the opening (and why would you) would actually skip five minutes into the show; furthermore when chosing a single episode it will return to the main menu as opposed to playing the next episode – which isn’t exactly good if you want to bulk watch some episodes.

For context a play all button is also available on each disc menu; but alas it would’ve been nice for the following episode to playback automatically. In regards to picture quality then my experience was also mixed; playback on a HP Laptop (and desktop PC) through regular DVD Software proved fine but using VLC Media player would result in jagged lines and lower quality. Fortunately watching on TV (through any time of input method) did not create this oddities so it’s most likely a software/codec related error through VLC Media player.

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Overall MangaUK have once again been able to provide a nostalgic series in it’s entirety and while it may have some flaws, such as chapter marking, it’s everything I remember about the second season of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX within one set and it’s ideal for fans of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise. Those new to GX may be confused but what this second season has to offer; but thanks to the narrative at the start of the first episode it’s easy for newcomers to become accustomed; but ideally this is for the fans.

Score: review-stars-3

Yu-Gi-Oh! GX – Season 2 will be available on DVD from the 6th February 2017 within the UK.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked on ZOMGPlay and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita or Xbox One.

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