[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B0006FNWYK][/pullquote] Yu-Gi-Oh! is a Manga and Anime that, for some reason, got a very big following in the West. Mostly due to the English dub, the anime was shown on Western channels (mostly children’s) and was a huge success. However, the show was heavily edited for children’s channels, even though the original show wasn’t all that explicit, which drew heavy criticism from fans of the original Japanese show. The anime is down there with the worst of the genre (I’m looking at you Vampire Knight), and while you have to have an open mind about these things, some films make it very difficult.
Yu-Gi-Oh! takes place after Season 3, where Yugi Muto (voiced by Dan Green in the English dub, Shunsuke Kazama in the Japanese version) won the Battle City Tournament, and now has all three Egyptian god cards (the rarest and most powerful cards in Duel Monsters, the card game the story focuses around). Seto Kaiba (Eric Stuart English, Kenjiro Tsuda Japanese), disgusted at his defeat, challenges Yugi to a rematch. However, he accidentally uses a card, bringing forth Anubis (Scottie Ray English, Kouji Ishii Japanese), the Egyptian god of death, who wants to destroy the world as he tried to do 5000 years ago.
The whole concept and plot of Yu-Gi-Oh is really baffling. Card games? Mystical powers? Egyptian gods? How on earth can those things fit together? Well, they manage to at least try to make this work, but the key here is execution. This is where the film fails. There’s no suspense because the villain is revealed right at the start. Several things are never explained, and there are only short breaks before we’re back playing another card game. And the dialogue in the card game (or ˜duel’ as they like to call it) segments is just awful.
The constant ˜I’m going to summon X, which makes you vulnerable to Y’ gets really irritating and pointless. You can pretty much recite word for word what they’re going to say before they’ve said it just by watching one duel. The animation is mediocre at best, with competent art, but some weird David Lynch-esque dream sequences that are more confusing than scary. The voice acting is horrible, the English dub actors especially being annoying and over-the-top.
Overall, Yu-Gi-Oh! fails in almost every aspect, even in it’s premise. The dialogue is annoying and repetitive; the card games/duels are just plain boring, and the idea of ancient Egyptian card games having the power to summon an ancient evil from 5000 years ago that threatens to destroy the planet for some unknown reason is just silly.