Blu-Ray Review: Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie

After a painfully long wait the original feature-length Yu-Gi-Oh! film makes its High Definition debut on Blu-Ray via Manga Entertainment UK; but does the film stand up to the recent movie additions and more importantly what can one expect from this Blu-Ray release? Well let’s take a look!

Synopsis:

After the conclusion of the Battle City Tournament, deep below the sands of Egypt, an ancient evil has awakened. Anubis, who was defeated centuries ago by Yugi’s mysterious alter ego – the ancient Pharaoh – has returned for revenge.

Wielding the power of the Eighth Millennium Item, Anubis is determined to destroy Yugi and take over the world…

Our View:

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie, otherwise known as Yu-Gi-Oh! The Pyramid of Light, is a feature-length-film based upon the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime but unlike the aforementioned anime series, otherwise known as Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters, this animated film was produced by 4K!DS Entertainment and released by Warner Bros in North America and Europe rather than being produced in Japan. It’s one of those rare occasion where the dubbing company in North America took the lead on creating a brand new entry into a pre-existing franchise; but regardless of this fact this film is a worthy addition to the franchise and even today, more than a decade after its original cinematic release, it still stands the test of time as a good Yu-Gi-Oh! film.

Presented in High Definition, and with its original English voice cast, Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie takes place after the events of Battle City, or more precisely after Season 4, to which Yugi Moto defeats Seto Kaiba and becomes crowned the Battle City Victory. Angered by this loss Seto Kaiba runs countless simulations in an attempt to find a way to beat Yugi but when all the simulations end the same way he ventures to Pegasus, the creator of Duel Monsters, in order to find a way to beat Yugi and in turn his infamous God Cards. Elsewhere meanwhile Yugi is suffering from his new found fame and as a result is constantly challenged to duelists by those wanting to take his crown as the best duelist in the world; but while hiding from this new found fame he stumbles into the newly opened Egyptian Exhibit which introduces attendees to the world of Anubis.

This exhibit showcases Anubis belongings, including his coffin, and an item that looks mysteriously similar to Yugi’s millennium puzzle, but when Yugi’s Grandpa finishes reading the prophecy of Anubis on a nearby sculpture the group are attacked by spirits and the items belonging to Anubis disappear. Creepy. At the same time Yugi envisions a match with Seto Kaiba in which he is being controlled by Anubis and destruction rains upon the world. Concerned by this new found information Yugi leaves the museum in hopes of confronting Kaiba to learn more. Unfortunately for Yugi, Kaiba has already obtained the cards he needs to defeat Yugi from Pegasus and in turn issues Yugi a challenge; a challenge which will result in Yugi’s vision becoming reality.

As one would expect the duel starts off rather normal (well as far as Yu-Gi-Oh! duels go at least) but during the battle the possession of Kaiba splits and as a result Anubis shows his true form and thus taking the duel in his own hands; by creating a Shadow Game. This Shadow Game soon sees Pharaoh Atem and Yugi’s soul split with Yugi – and in turn his friends – sent to the Shadow Realm and tasked with fending themselves off against mummies and mysterious creatures while the Pharaoh does battle with Anubis. A duel that will either save the earth from destruction or cause its doom; but naturally only one card is needed to potentially win or loose this duel of the ages.

As far as storylines go Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie is a one track minded film with Kaiba seeking vengeance on Yugi for beating him during Battle City; this vengeance – and with the discovery of Anubis’s tomb – causes Anubis spirit to attach to Kaiba and fester until the Pharaoh’s spirit is displayed for Anubis to step in. The film does feature a variety of duels, whether it be the ‘simulated duel’ between Kaiba and Yugi or the ‘decoy duels’ between Joey and random duelists; everyone manages to get in on the film and share some screen time – which is a nice thing for the story creators and animators to do.

For me though the highlight isn’t the story, as the story is – at times – clutching at straws, but it is the pop-rock styled soundtrack that goes along with the film (pretty well I might add) and that it is a simple story to follow. It’s all about bringing the best duelist to the big screen with better animation; and at the time (2004) this was a ‘BIG THING’ and even though the animation quality is better than the TV animation used in Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc V and Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS. Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie is, for Yu-Gi-Oh! fans, a nostalgia trip with a simplistic story that still holds well today; and even better is that the film is presented in its (much requested) High Definition format.

Extras:

Unfortunately this Blu-Ray release of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie does not feature any bonus materials which is disappointing especially as the original DVD release, of which was released by Warner Bros Home Entertainment, did feature a small selection of bonus features that included both a cinematic trailer and music clip shorts featuring music and scenes from the film.

In this case the only bonus feature is the ‘slightly’ interactive menu (which moves with light slightly and has music in the background) that has a scene selection sub-menu.

Specs:

Media:  BD 25
Region: B
Running Time: 1:29:31
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: N/A
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie, otherwise known as Yu-Gi-Oh! The Pyramid of Light, is a feature-length-film produced by the North American production companies, and animated by the Japanese animators, to deliver a simplistic story that once again sees Yugi and Kaiba duel for the number one spot. Unfortunately this duel is interrupted by the arrival of Anubis, whose tomb was recently located and curse unleashed, who possess Kaiba in order to use his deck (and Anubis’s own cards) to defeat the Pharaoh located within the Millennium Puzzle. A two-pronged approach to story telling; but realistically the story is just the duel between Kaiba and Yugi.

In terms of this Blu-Ray release by Manga Entertainment then the audio and visual quality is on par with the previous release of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Darkside of Dimensions, disregarding the updated animation styles of course, and as this was produced by American companies the film features full English cards rather than simplistic edits as seen in the TV series.

Although the film retains its quality, both with its cheesy English Dub produced by 4K!DS Entertainment and its High Definition visuals, the Blu-Ray does not feature any bonus features nor does it feature a Japanese audio track. We should mentioned that the original DVD release by Warner Bros Pictures did not feature a Japanese audio track either; but seeing as a Japanese audio track does exist it would have been nice to have that Japanese experience to match with the other films (i.e. Darkside of Dimensions and Bonds Beyond Time). Note: We’ve been informed that the Japanese version of this film was presented differently to this English counterpart and as such the Japanese audio would not sync up with how this English version is presented.

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie is ‘as expected’ with the original film remastered in 4K High Definition, but presented in 1080p, and while it only features English audio options (yet again expected) and no bonus features it does provided that High Definition experience of the original Yu-Gi-Oh film that fans have been waiting for.

Score: review-stars-3

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie will be availble on Blu-Ray and DVD via Manga Entertainment UK on the 8th October 2018.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock 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, PS4 or Xbox One.

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