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Yu-Gi-Oh Classic Complete Series
Yu-Gi-Oh! is an anime phenomenon. No matter your feelings on it, you can't deny that. When you talk about how anime started to have a resurgence in popularity in the late 1990's, most people think of the two juggernauts that paved the way for it's rise back to mainstream popularity, Dragon Ball Z and Pokémon, but I don't think you can have that conversation without including Yu-Gi-Oh!, debatably one of the most popular anime titles of all time. The original anime series was so popular that it has spawned one of the most popular trading card games of all time, countless anime spinoffs, several movies, video games, comic books, clothes, and well... pretty much anything you can think of. For the first time ever, every single episode of the original Yu-Gi-Oh! series is available in one box set, is it worth checking out?
The first season consisting of 49 episodes primarily focuses on the Duelist Kingdom arc where Maximillion Pegasus (voiced by Darren Dunstan), the chairman of Industrial Illusions and creator of Duel Monsters, hosts a tournament that will award the winner a $3 million cash prize, the title of "King of Games", and one wish from Pegasus. It's here that we're introduced to our protagonists, Yugi Moto, a shy and timid but kind boy, decides to enter the tournament after Pegasus, who holds interest in Yugi's Millennium puzzle, steals his grandfather's soul.
Also along for the ride is Joey Wheeler (voiced by Wayne Grayson) whom receives news that his sister, Serenity, needs surgery to repair her vision. After learning of the lucrative prize money from the tournament, Joey decides to enter the tournament with Yugi while promising to help rescue his grandfather, regardless of the outcome. Along for support are friends Tristan (Greg Abbey) and Tea (Amy Birnbaum).
Elsewhere, Seto Kaiba (voiced by Eric Stuart), a power hungry duelist and owner of KaibaCorp who holds a grudge against Yugi for past events, also decides to join the competition after losing his company and his brother to Pegasus.
The second season consisting of the next 48 episodes of the series picks up where the previous season left off with Pegasus's defeat at the hands of Yugi. Yugi and friends are facing yet another threat in the form of Marik Ishtar (viced by Jonathan Todd Ross), an evil duelist who hopes to rule the world with the power of his sacred Egyptian God cards when has collected them all. Yugi, Joey, Tristan and Téa travel to the Battle City tournament on a quest to prevent Marik's tyranny from spreading further.
Yugi and friends end up relying on receiving help in the form of an unlikely ally, Seto Kaiba, Yugi's arch rival, whom has possession of the fourth Egyptian God card.
Season 3 picks up immediately where season 2 had left off of and the season is split up into two different storylines.
The first part of the season takes a bit of a detour from the Battle City tournament from the second season where the passengers on Seto Kaiba's company blimp, including Yugi, Joey, Tristan, Tea, Serenity, Seto, among others, are suddenly warped to a virtual reality by Noah, the step brother of Kaiba and controller of the realm. There Yugi and his comrades must face off against Noah and the Big Five, former executives of KaibaCorp who attempted to take control of the company from Kaiba back in season 1 wit Pegasus.
The second half of the season resumes the Battle City Semi-Finals on KaibaCorp. Island between Yugi, Joey, Marik and Kaiba where the duelers must stop Marik from unleashing his evil into the world.
In the semi-finals, Joey attempts to put an end to Marik in a hard fought battle that leaves Joey unconscious, while Yugi must face off once again with his rival in the most explosive duel yet. After predictably defeating Kaiba, all the pieces are set into motion for Yugi to put down Marik once and for all as we reach the finals of the tournament.
As the finals get underway, Kaiba decides that he must come to terms and confront his past, his father, and his brother, once and for all.
After the last few seasons being connected to each other, Season 4 takes a change of course where it is its own story. The storyline of the season is based around the King of Atlantis, Dartz of the Doma organization whom uses the card known as "The Seal of Orichalcos" to entrap the souls of people and duel monsters in an effort to revive the ancient dragon, called The Great Leviathan, which was responsible for the destruction of Atlantis.
Dartz, along with his servants, Alister, Rafael, and Valon, uses the Seal of Orichalcos to steal Yugi's Egyptian god cards, along with the souls of Yugi himself, his friend Joey and even past villain, Pegasus. When all hope appears to be lost, It may be up to Kaiba, whom is currently in a power struggle with Dartz over the fate of his company, to save them all.
The final season of the original series is split up into two different story arcs.
The first arc spans 14 episodes and picks up right after the defeat of Dartz. Yugi and friends have no funds to return home, and once again Kaiba steps in to "save the day" so to speak, with the announcement of the KC Grand Championship tournament in his newly constructed KaibaLand. Kaiba invites Yugi to take part in return for a ride home.
The last storyline of the series takes up the final 20 episodes of the show, which revolves around Yugi's past. In these final episodes, the Millennium puzzle pieces have finally been pieced back together, releasing the Egyptian Pharaoh Atem, whom has resided within Yugi.
Through the magic of the three Egyptian God Cards, Yugi, his friends, and the Pharaoh are suddenly transported 5,000 years back in time. Together, they will discover Yugi and the Amnesia ridden Pharoah's past while having to battle the ultimate evil force to not only save the world from absolute devastation, but if the past is destroyed, the future they all know will be no more.
Movie - Bonds Beyond Time:
NAS produced this film bringing together the franchise's three lead characters Yugi, Jaden, and Yusei as a special 10th anniversary present to the fans of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise. In this film, our three heroes team up to battle Paradox (voice of Sean Schemmel.) Paradox is a mysterious Turbo Duelist who can jump around timelines, bending time to his own will, and is hell bent on killing Pegasus, the main antagonist to the first classic season. Paradox believes killing off Pegasus will wipe out the existence of Duel Monsters, effectively changing the course of his timelines history. The three duelist's must band together to put an end to Paradox's schemes.
+ Nostalgic for the older fans.
+ It can be a fun show.
+ Great video transfer.
+ The animation holds up well for being nearly 20 years old.
+ Bond Beyond Time was a nice addition.
- Too often the show got overdramatic.
- Too much filler.
- 4Kids edited hatchet job of the series.
- The majority of the dub. I'll probably get some flak for this statement from nostalgic fans but the dub is pretty much a joke. Eric Stuart is great as Kaiba though and Dan Green is solid as Yugi, but they're the only two who do not sound like they're reading their lines off a sheet of paper...
Video and Audio:
I'm actually shocked and impressed as to how nice Yu-Gi-Oh! looks on this set. for a show that's nearly twenty years old, the series looks quite solid. No real signs of grain, the animation is fluid throughout the series, although the faraway shots are poorly detailed. Everything looks great and fans of the show should be very happy.
I have read many complaints that there have been issues in the past with previous Yu-Gi-Oh! releases where audio dropped from entire episodes, I'm happy to report that everything has been corrected with this complete box set. I had no experiences of any dropout or distortions with my copy.
Yu-Gi-Oh! isn't all that special of a show. At it's heights (funnily enough, it's final episodes), it was still pretty average, but when the writing was off, it was a really bad show. With the high price tag on this one, I'd personally skip it. I wouldn't recommend this to really anyone whose not a hardcore fan already, or has a kid. With all of that said, I do respect the impact it's had in the states, and I can appreciate what it's done to help anime get some exposure. Rent it.