YuGiOh (Uncut) Vol. #03: Blue-Eyes White Dragon (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, February 22, 2005
What They Say
It’s Yu-Gi-Oh! like you’ve never seen before: Unedited, Unchanged and Uncut! Experience all the action, all the monsters and all the duels in their original Japanese form! It’s Your Move!
Episode 1: Kairyu-shin
Episode 2: Stolen Blue-Eyes White Dragon
Episode 3: Magical Hats to save the game
With regular battles going on for Yugi and something more complicated for Kaiba, YuGiOh slowly moves forward in its current story arc.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix for the show is pretty much a standard one with some minor directionality to it but an overall full feeling for the dialogue. Some bits are coming from the left and right but it's not terribly noticeable for the bulk of the show. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 1998, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The transfer for this show overall looks quite good with bright bold colors, clean simple lines for its character designs and overall a very kid-friendly feel but with still enough detail and fluid movement to it that it'll appeal across the board. The transfer is generally free of any serious problems though there's a touch of aliasing and cross coloration here and there, there isn't anything that's a deal breaker. The print is nicely clean and free of any physical damage to it.
With a very dark blue background, the image of Kaiba on the left almost blends into it though the white dragon to his right helps expand the colors and nature of the cover with something for the eye to focus on. Mixing in some of the other elements of the show with the bars around the characters and the standard US logo for the show, it's a fairly decent if mediocre cover that has to deal with what artwork is available; since I'm no fan of the character designs it's not surprising it has less appeal. The back cover has lots of open space as we get the same two characters from the front in different poses along with a few words on what the uncut release is about and then the episode list. The discs features, which is minimal, is also listed here but there's nothing that actually talks about what these episodes are about. The cover isn't reversible and no insert was included with this release.
The main menu is a simple static piece of artwork that has the two designs from the front cover split across from each other with the selections lined down the middle as some dramatic music plays along. The background itself is a fairly indistinct piece but overall it's a decent if uninspiring menu. Access times are nice and fast and the disc correctly read our players language presets.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With this release of the uncut version of YuGiOh, I've finally ended up experiencing the show that I've managed to avoid since it first came stateside and became rather popular. Between it being a very kids oriented show and focused on card gaming and tournament fighting, never mind the character designs that I didn't find all that interesting, it wasn't difficult to avoid the property. But this volume ended up in my hands so I decided to see how they were doing with it.
With the nature of the beast of the show, its focus is on the card game combat sequences where our heroes are now traveling along for a two-day event. The only thing they've forgotten in signing up for this gig is to bring food with them so they're rather hungry and looking for a way of scoring a meal. Luck happens to lead them to a cliff by the ocean where someone has several fish on sticks just waiting to be eaten. As it turns out, this is the first bit of food that Kajiki has gotten from his dives into the ocean and he's ready to kill anyone who's had a bite of it. But when he finds out that Yugi is in the group, he's all friendly and wanting to help out.
Of course, everyone has their own agenda and Kajiki's is to play Yugi so that he can defeat the one who seems like a guaranteed winner of the competition. This brings them into a match of water vs. land where the darker and more competent side of Yugi comes out to play. It's a fairly interesting match since Yugi can't see who his opponents are for a lot of it as they're underwater and it provides plenty of challenge for him but as the hero, you know he's got the moves at the end that will save the day.
The show does move forward with some of the plot that Pegasus is running with in regards to his entire tournament, though we learn that it's best not to interrupt him when he's reading his funny rabbit comics, but he continues to look at Yugi as central to everything going on. We also get to see some flashback material to what Kaiba was up to in regards to the device he's building that will allow him to challenge Yugi anywhere and anytime that he can. His defeat at the hands of Yugi continue to torment him and it even causes a ripple effect on his younger brother who is determined to make sure it doesn't happen again. It's interesting to see Kaiba working through what it was that caused him to lose and to try and figure out how he needs to master that side of things in order to truly win.
The uncut release of YuGiOh is essentially no different than the first two volumes which means it suffers from one major flaw. While we do at long last get an uncut visual present and an uncut audio presented, complete with Japanese language songs and translated lyrics as well as the original credit sequences, the subtitle track is identical to the dub track other than the names being changed. While we've certainly heard a number of very accurate dubs in the past, this goes way too far in that direction and we've essentially got a dubtitled release instead of a properly translated one. While everything else is spot-on and great to see, the inclusion of this kind of subtitle track in effect makes the entire thing useless.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: C
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B-
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
Running time: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2