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  Directed by
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  Specs
  • Full Frame
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
  • None
  Extras
  • 8 Cast/crew biographies - Duellist and Monster bios
  • Music video - Yu-Gi-Oh! Rap

Yu-Gi-Oh! 1.1 - The Heart of the Cards

Magna/Magna . R4 . COLOR . 60 mins . G . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Not content to merely make collectable card games from shows anymore, now they just make a show that promotes a game. Clever marketing? Genuine story? Sell out? Who can say? I could, but it might sound rude.

Yu-Gi-Oh is a concoction like all classic television heroes in that only when desperately required does he appear. The alter-ego of a kid called Yugi (huge leap there) he is all tall and confident and a master of the cards in the Shadow Games.

It’s a pretty thin premise for a storyline really; a boy with only his grandpa left in the whole world has friends and enjoys playing a tournament card game with them. It’s a happy coincidence that Grandpa (who is dressed mysteriously like Super Mario on a bad hair-day, squared) runs a game shop where all the cards are available to buy. Naturally, many stories of friendship and helping Grandpa make up most of this show, alongside at least one battle royale with the cards per episode. These battles are cleverly staged in a holographic amphitheatre (?!) where the cards’ characters come magically to holographic life. Or something.

This reviewer was pretty nonplussed about this obvious vehicle to sell shitloads of cards at exorbitant prices despite costing sod all to print. However, the kids all seem to like it and can’t see through the thin veneer hiding the cash register, so my opinion will hardly matter. On top of that, this disc only contains three episodes of the show and runs for a total of 60 minutes. I couldn’t determine if this was single or dual layered, but I didn’t see enough on the disc to warrant a second layer really.

The first three episodes run thus:

  • Episode 01: The Heart of the Cards. This sees us introduced to Yugi and his Grandpa and Yugi’s friends. We learn Grandpa has a super special card that tournament champion Sato Kaiba wants badly. He battles Grandpa for it and cheats, leaving Grandpa clinging to life in the hospital. Now Yu-Gi-Oh turns up to avenge Grandpa.
  • Episode 02: The Gauntlet is Thrown. Yugi and chums are watching a tournament on telly when a package arrives from Maximillian Pegasus, the creator of Duel Monsters. In a videotape, (and using magic) Yugi is forced to fight Pegasus for Grandpa’s very soul!
    (I was hoping they’d see The Ring)
  • Episode 03: The Duellist Kingdom. Yugi and his pals travel to the Duellist Kingdom on invitation to play a major tournament. A cheat throws Yugi’s best cards into the sea on the way, trying to outwit him. And there’s another battle.

  Video
Contract

Delivered in the blistering television ratio of 4:3, this resembles every other cheap Japanese animation I’ve ever seen. Limited animation in favour of panned stills, mouth movement only a lot of the time and repeated sections from other episodes (like when Yugi becomes Yu-Gi-Oh in truly Prince Adam to He-Man style).

Whilst the colours on the show look great, a good deal of the backgrounds have been more hastily rendered than some more quality productions. Some of the close-ups get a little aliased and pixelly in the linework, but this is fairly minor. Blacks are mostly good, although they go a little green in the credits and of course shadow detail is fine.

  Audio
Contract

Dolby Digital stereo delivers the sound and it’s the usual TV fare. Brassy music with little resonance is mostly what we hear, although there are moments of subtle humour as well. Sound effects are pretty good with all sorts of whooshings and ker-pccoosh explodey noises and violent windstorms and they all sound fine, if a little stocktastic.

As to dialogue, it’s naturally pretty cornball with some grown men talking like choir-boys caught on an electric fence. And they’re all deadly serious about card playing too... a little too serious, like they’ve tipped over the brink and gone crazy with the power. It’s all easily understood though and little boys everywhere will no doubt think it’s too cool for school.

  Extras
Contract

Some thin inclusions to pad out this thin DVD. The first is two Duellist bios which are just Yami Yugi and Grandpa. One page specials with really very little to impart.

Our second contestant is in the Monster Stats which are almost bios, but are more like information about certain characters’ attack and defence values. There are six monsters featured with one page on each (who all feature prominently in the three episodes herein).

Lastly, there’s a music video that runs for a whopping 1:15 and is schoolyard quality rapping from some undisclosed gangsta or something. The clip just features more highlights from the show as well, with no rappers present. Big surprise.

Like I said, a pretty thin offering which doesn’t do much to enhance the DVD's value, unless of course you are big on this card/game/show/Gameboy/Playstation vehicle.

Seriously, can no one hear that ringing?

  Overall  
Contract

This isn’t cutting edge animation, nor is it even close. It is hastily produced on a limited budget and is really just TV fodder. The fact they’ve not even tried to hide the marketing angle is amazing in itself, and in every episode there is obvious hints and such at aiming at a good deck of cards etc. Ka-ching!

The boys will like it, and while there is a female friend in the group of Yugi’s, I can’t really see it appealing to girls much. Still, each generation has there fads and favourites and I guess this is just one of the current batch.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=3087
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      And I quote...
    "Seriously, does no one even try to hide the marketing angle anymore? This show is about using the products it advertises!"
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nintaus DVD-N9901
    • TV:
          Sony 51cm
    • Receiver:
          Diamond
    • Speakers:
          Diamond
    • Surrounds:
          No Name
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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