Kaiba: You really hate dragons don’t you?
Beware: Spoilers may follow.
In 2016 we got yet another Yugioh movie involving the original series and protagonists. Many fans love the original series even to this day for various reasons. This movie brought back much of what fans loved about the original series and proved to be a cinematically entertaining.
The story is that six months after the end of the original series, Seto Kaiba and his company are looking to reassemble the disassembled Millennium Puzzle, which once contained the spirit of Kaiba’s dueling rival Pharaoh Atem. Kaiba hopes to bring back Atem to settle their score. But a new villain named Diva aka Aigami stands in the way. Through a series of events Yugi and his friends are roped into the whole thing as well.
The interesting thing about this movie is the reversal of the roles. In the show, Yugi and the gang’s conflict with the villain was something that would tie into the ancient past whereas Kaiba would get roped as the villain would often get in his way of focusing on the present and future. Here, Kaiba is the one who has a conflict rooted long in the past whereas Yugi and his friends have moved on from Atem and are focused on their prospects for their future (being in their final year of high school) and get pulled into this conflict out of no mere interests of their own.
The past/present/future motifs are heavily emphasized in the duels of this series. For instance, in Yugi’s duel against Kaiba, towards the end, Yugi gives Monster Reborn to Kaiba. This is symbolic as it was the last card played in the Ceremonial duel but it signifies Yugi has finally let go of the past and is willing to be his own man. Yugi’s deck in this movie in many ways, mixes the past and the present. He still uses monsters that Atem has used such as Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl but mixes them in with modern-like cards that reflect his young but growing nature like Marshmacron, Metamorphortress, Lemon and Apple Magician Girl, and Gandora. The same can be said for Kaiba who still uses various dragons all throughout, but combines them with modern support that reflect the fast pace of the game. Throughout their duel Kaiba inflicts the harsher blows on Yugi’s life points which emphasizes the extremes he’s willing to go bring Atem back.
The animation is a spectacle in this movie. All the lighting, colors, angles, and updated monster designs are incredible and give each duel a grand feel to it. And it is rather grand as the rules are screwed to a much lesser extent and they FINALLY switched to starting 8000 life points instead of the usual 4000. It works amazingly in showing grand rivalries and plays during each duel whether it be the surprise appearance of Obelisk, Atem’s return mid-battle, or the show’s return to its root with the final duel against Yugi and Kaiba. Outside of Kaiba’s simulation, Atem doesn’t say a single word in this whole movie even when he returns and yet his expressions and movements are perfectly defined (in conjunction with a great score) allowing familiarity with the fans.
Even though years have passed since they have done so, Eric Stuart and Dan Green still have got it in voicing these classic characters. Kaiba is still as hilariously petty as ever creating a perfect virtual simulation of Atem to quell his desires to duel the real deal. The one-liners they give him for this movie (specifically in the dub) are hilarious and it shows that the writers have still got it as well. While most fans associated the anime with Dan Green’s Atem voice we don’t see it here and are instead treated to a lot more of Yugi. But they made Yugi a far more confident and poised character. We saw that in GX that he would grow up to look exactly like Atem, and this movie shows that he’s somewhere in between. Dan Green makes Yugi sound much more adult and the animators made him look as such.
If there is one real flaw with the characters it’s Diva. His motives seemed a tad too complex for this movie and unlike past villains like Marik, Zigfried, Pegasus, Noah, etc. his voice actor doesn’t have much that sticks out.
Yugioh: Dark Side of Dimensions is the Yugioh movie that fans have wanted for a long time. If you’re not a fan of the series this is probably not for you (outside of maybe some nice visuals). But for fans it ups the look, intensity, and fun of the original show and serves as a nice reunion for the heroes we grew up with.