Crunchyroll to Stream All Yu-Gi-Oh! Series Worldwide Starting November 15

November 14, 2014 at 6:58 pm | Posted in 5D's, Capsule Monsters, Duel Monsters, English dubbed, GX, Konami, Yu-Gi-Oh!, ZEXAL | 4 Comments
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The Millennium Puzzle against a backdrop of Egyptian hieroglyphs in episode 81

Extraordinary news for Yu-Gi-Oh! anime fans worldwide! 4K Media (Konami) announced today that Crunchyroll will begin international streaming of all four English-dubbed Yu-Gi-Oh! series — Classic Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s, and Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL — starting tomorrow, November 15. The availability of the series is as follows:

  • Yu-Gi-Oh! – All territories except most of Asia*, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, San Marino, and Vatican City
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX – All territories except most of Asia*, the United States, Italy, San Marino, and Vatican City
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s – All territories except most of Asia*, the United States, Italy, San Marino, and Vatican City
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL Season 1 – All territories except most of Asia*, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, San Marino, and Vatican City

Today’s tremendous news follows the addition of Classic Yu-Gi-Oh! on Netflix, which was announced at the beginning of this month. Netflix’s streams are available to viewers based in the United States, Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

Yu-Gi-Oh! fans in the United States can also continue to find all of the series on Hulu and on YUGIOH.com.

4K Media again reiterated today that there will be even more news regarding the international streaming of subtitled and local language versions in the coming months.

Three cheers to 4K Media for making such phenomenal progress!

* The excluded Asian countries are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Laos, Macao, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa (Western), Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Update: There were some discrepancies between 4K Media and Crunchyroll about which territories have access to each of the series. My list above has been updated with the correct availabilities.

[YGO: TAS] Episode 63 – Yu-Gi-Oh Kai!

November 10, 2014 at 8:30 pm | Posted in Duel Monsters, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yu-Gi-Oh: The Abridged Series | Leave a comment
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It looks like this meme... is really old. YYYEEEEEAAAAHHH! From YGOTAS episode 63

Hey, remember when Tea and Serenity wander around the city, reminiscing about the events of the past two seasons? Let’s have a flashback about it! I’m sure this will be both memorable and hilarious. Check out LittleKuriboh’s new YGOTAS video uploaded earlier today: episode 63, “Yu-Gi-Oh Kai!” with special guests TeamFourStar, the cast of Pokémon ‘Bridged, and Kirbopher! Pingu fans might want to skip this one though…

“There are way too many references in these flashbacks.” Righto, Serenity. You’d think that with 1KidsEntertainment doing the editing, the references would have been left on the cutting room floor, resulting in a 30-second episode. Wait, what…?

Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged’s New Editor: 1KidsEntertainment

It’s true, LittleKuriboh is no longer editing YGOTAS. Instead, he has handed over the reins to his friend and fellow abridger 1KidsEntertainment, with “Yu-Gi-Oh Kai!” being the first ever episode to be edited by him.

“I’d like to formally announce that @OneKids will be taking over editing duties for Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged,” LK tweeted last week. “I will still be writing and voicing the show, but in order to deal with my current schedule and still give you videos consistently, I turned to @onekids, knowing that he is skilled and experienced enough to edit my crappy humor into a watchable video. I want you guys to get more videos, more quickly. This decision was made in order to give you better content, at a more consistent rate. I will still be editing Naruto Spoof. And yes, there is more Naruto Spoof content on the way.”

For anyone who thinks this might affect the contents and direction of the show, 1KidsEntertainment sets the story straight.

“For the record, @yugiohtas maintains 100% creative control over his show,” he tweeted. “Does all of the writing, voicing, and comedic timing.”

And how will this affect 1KidsEntertainment’s own project, his famed Pokémon ‘Bridged series?

“[T]hat will still be happening. It can’t get much slower than it is,” he quipped. “By contrast, editing is all on my time. I can make progress on projects pretty much every day if they’re written and voiced already.”

Sounds good to me. He did one heck of a job on this episode!

Update (November 18): YGOTAS episode 63 has now been added to LK’s CardGamesFTW YouTube channel.

[YGO: TAS] Marik Plays Bloodlines Returns / LK’s 2015 Anime Con Appearances

November 7, 2014 at 6:15 pm | Posted in Yu-Gi-Oh: The Abridged Series | Leave a comment
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Title card for LittleKuriboh's Marik Plays Bloodlines episode 11

It’s been almost one year since Marik last powered up his PC and settled down for a game of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, but he’s back! Today, LittleKuriboh’s Let’s Play series featuring everyone’s favorite Egyptian villain returned with episode 11, “Face/Off”! What crazy antics will Marik get into this time? Will he build a rapport with a fellow evil, sexy, blond megalomaniac with a split personality? Will there be characters wearing hot pants? Or will Marik just be enjoying the city’s many back alleys and rear entrances? Spoiler: Some deadly frenching goes on.

LittleKuriboh is committed to keeping Marik Plays as a regular thing, having already recorded enough content for several new episodes.

“Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines’ just got patched to 9.0 – Jesus, has a game ever had this committed a fanbase for fixing its problems?” asked LK back in May. “I’m gonna patch the game and add a bunch of mods that make it considerably prettier for the next time I record footage for it. Which may be sooner than you all think. I’ve actually recorded all the way to getting out of Santa Monica already, which is enough for another 5 or 6 videos.”

At a few of his convention panels earlier this year, LK confirmed that he has built up a healthy cache of Marik Plays and hopes to release them on a consistent weekly basis.

Keep it tuned to TeamFourStar.com to see more of LK’s Let’s Play videos.

LittleKuriboh first began publishing Let’s Plays in December 2010, releasing episode 1 of Marik Plays Bloodlines and himself playing the comic book-style game Red Hawk for the Commodore 64 to his YouTube channel ObeyMyRod.

LK’s Super Anime Convention Appearance Update

Yesterday, Marianne Miller posted a huge list of LittleKuriboh’s convention appearances for 2015. They include conventions like MTAC, which had previously announced LK as a guest but had only recently finalized the event’s date and venue, and completely new announcements like Anime Expo.

Here are LK’s 2015 stops from the post:

There are more announcements to come, but don’t be too surprised if LK doesn’t make as many appearances as he’s done in previous years.

“Gonna be super happy when we cut back on cons next year and don’t have to deal with leaving multiple times a month,” tweeted Marianne earlier this year.

LK has one more stop to make before the end of this year: Yama-Con in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee from December 5 through 7.

See a list of all of his previously announced stops on my page for LK’s Anime Convention Schedule.

Netflix Adds Classic Yu-Gi-Oh! Anime

October 31, 2014 at 5:46 pm | Posted in Duel Monsters, English dubbed, Konami, Yu-Gi-Oh! | Leave a comment
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Pegasus viewing updates of the Duelist Kingdom tournament in episode 8

It’s been a long time coming, but the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime has at last found its way onto the holy grail of video streaming platforms: Netflix! 4K Media (Konami) announced earlier today that English-dubbed episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! are coming to Netflix, beginning with season 1 tomorrow, November 1. The videos will be accessible not only to fans residing in the United States, but also to those in Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. International fans will have even more streaming options to look forward to on YUGIOH.com in the coming months, 4K Media noted.

Yu-Gi-Oh! streams have come a long, long way since the early 2000s when they were only available on 4Kids Entertainment’s websites. In the U.S. alone, various Yu-Gi-Oh! videos can today be found on a slew of online platforms, including Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, iTunes, Nicktoons, the PlayStation Store, Vudu, Xbox Video, and more. Adding the coveted Netflix deal to the list is quite a feather in 4K Media’s cap.

4K Media’s announcement also highlights Manga UK’s DVD release of Yu-Gi-Oh! season 1 across the pond on November 17. Manga UK formally announced the release just prior to the MCM London Comic Con last weekend, though eagle-eyed fans may have spotted it when it was first added to Manga UK’s store earlier this month.

ADK, NAS, Other Anime Producers to Establish ‘Anime Consortium Japan’ Video Streaming Development Firm

October 31, 2014 at 6:37 am | Posted in Japanese, Other Stuff | Leave a comment

Yugi cooking up a strategy against Johnson in episode 112

On Thursday, Japanese anime producers Asatsu-DK (ADK), Bandai Namco Holdings, and Aniplex announced the upcoming launch of Anime Consortium Japan, Inc. (ACJ), a new company that will develop a platform for streaming anime worldwide and selling anime-related merchandise. The trio bring to the table ¥500 million (about $4.5 million) and will be further backed by the Japanese government’s Cool Japan Fund, which will contribute another ¥1 billion (about $9 million). The new online video platform will deliver simulcasts of new titles in multiple languages as well as previously aired programs.

Other shareholders in this endeavor will include ADK’s wholly-owned subsidiary Nihon Ad Systems (NAS), Toei Animation, TMS Entertainment, Dentsu, and Bandai Namco Holding’s subsidiary Sunrise, all of whom were also shareholders in the Japanese streaming and E-commerce website Daisuki. Daisuki will be folded into ACJ.

Yu-Gi-Oh! anime fans might recognize ADK and NAS as members of a consortium that own and license the Yu-Gi-Oh! property. ADK and NAS together owned nearly 40 percent of Daisuki.

ACJ will be set up on November 7 and expects to have its streaming platform ready in April 2015. Full details about the initiative are available in releases from ADK and the Cool Japan Fund.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Generation Mobile App Game Launches in U.S.

October 29, 2014 at 11:47 pm | Posted in Konami | Leave a comment
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Title screen of Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Generation

Konami is back with another new Yu-Gi-Oh! game! Today, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Generation, a Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG simulator for mobile tablets, quietly launched in the U.S. market with a release on the Apple App Store. The free-to-play game includes over 6,000 cards and allows players to duel both online and offline.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Generation has some similarities to Xbox and PSN’s Millennium Duels game. Duel Generation features a single-player Campaign mode that allows players to duel against 80 characters from the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series and win Duel Points (the in-game currency) and new cards. Players who register for a Duelist Account can also play against opponents online in the Duel League for a chance at becoming an internationally ranked duelist.

Duel Generation starts new players off with a mediocre selection of weak cards to build their first deck. Players have the option to enhance their collection by purchasing Decks and Support Packs. Pre-constructed Decks sell for $4.99 and are themed collections each containing 40+ cards and provide players everything they need to duel. Support Packs sell for $3.99 and are archetype-specific collections that provide players three copies of all of the cards from that archetype. About half of the game’s 6,000+ cards can be purchased using DP and won through the Campaign mode, while the remaining must be purchased with real money.

Prior to today’s release, Duel Generation was previewed at some of Konami’s major Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG events and soft launched last Friday in the Canadian market.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Generation complements Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Arena, a browser-based Flash game that officially launched in June earlier this year and that features a different monetization model.

Although today’s soft launch only offers Duel Generation to iPad users, Konami notes that the game will also be available for Android tablets and the Kindle Fire. Expect to hear more about those options once Konami formally announces Duel Generation’s release.

Update (October 30): Konami has pulled the game from the U.S. App Store. Some players have noted that the game has been repeatedly crashing.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Tag Force Games Return with ARC-V Tag Force Special

October 17, 2014 at 6:42 pm | Posted in ARC-V, Japanese, Yu-Gi-Oh! | Leave a comment
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Jack Atlas laughing at Yusei Fudo in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 5

Thought you’d seen the last of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Tag Force games? Guess again! Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V Tag Force Special is the newest addition to the series and is scheduled to hit the Japanese market this winter, reports Siliconera (via Crunchyroll). The game continues the fine tradition of appearing on the PSP, though this installment will also be compatible with the PS Vita.

Tag Force Special will feature over 7,000 cards, including those from the upcoming Secrets of Eternity booster set, and will bring together the heroes from the five Yu-Gi-Oh! series: Yugi Muto, Jaden Yuki, Yusei Fudo, Yuma Tsukumo, and Yuya Sakaki. Crunchyroll has collected some photos of the announcement captured from the upcoming December issue of V Jump magazine.

The Yu-Gi-Oh! Tag Force games first debuted in 2006 for the PSP with Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force. Up through 2011, Konami had been releasing one new game annually, with the Japan-exclusive Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Tag Force 6 being the most recent installment. There’s no word yet whether Tag Force Special will see a release outside Japan.

A new Tag Force game, eh? Who’d have thunk it! What’s more surprising? The fact that the series is still alive? Or that it’s still being made for an aging game console?

Update (October 21): Konami’s official website for the game is now live.

[NTACFSSS] Episode 9 – FENG SHUI NO JUTSU

October 15, 2014 at 3:25 pm | Posted in Other Stuff | Leave a comment
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Sasuke's memories of Naruto and more in episode 9 of the Naruto Abridged Spoof

The Naruto manga might be ending in fewer than five weeks, but LittleKuriboh’s Naruto: The Abridged Comedy Fandub Spoof Series Show has just gotten a new breath of life with episode 9, “FENG SHUI NO JUTSU“!

When we last saw our vulgar orange-clad hero (over two years ago!), Naruto and Sasuke were busy climbing trees to hone their ninja superpowers. Meanwhile, Zabuza and Haku readied their devious plan to kill that old guy. Which side will come out on top in the epic ninja showdown? Will Naruto be able to summon the powers of a decade-old viral video to stop Haku’s water abilities? Or will Haku’s Crystal Ice Mirror technique prove to be too much for Naruto-kun and Sasuke-kun? All this and more in today’s episode of Extreme Ninja Home Makeover!

LK first previewed episode 9 at Otakon in August before premiering the final product at Mythicon last month. Catch up on all of his old Naruto Spoof episodes, now on TeamFourStar.com.

Update (November 17): This episode is now also available on LK’s Ninjabridge YouTube channel.

Cinedigm’s Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Season 1 DVD Box Set: An Overview

October 14, 2014 at 5:53 pm | Posted in English dubbed, GX, Konami, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 3 Comments
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Cinedigm's Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Season 1, Volume 1, Disc 1 DVD menu

Yu-Gi-Oh! GX returns to the home video market today, giving school duel fanatics an opportunity to own the complete first season of the English-dubbed series on DVD in one complete package. “Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Season 1″ is a three-volume, six-disc box set from Cinedigm’s Flatiron Film Company label that includes episodes 1 through 52 of the anime. The DVDs are locked to region 1 and retail for $44.99.

Previously, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX was released on home video in the U.S. by FUNimation between 2006 and 2009. The series was also added to Hulu in late 2010, where it is still available today. This post will provide a short overview of Cinedigm’s new Yu-Gi-Oh! GX product and compare it to these previous releases, and will also briefly touch upon the Japanese- and English-language DVDs released outside the U.S.

Yu-Gi-Oh! GX DVDs in America

4Kids Entertainment’s English dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX made its home video debut in several territories worldwide at roughly the same time in the fall of 2006. In the United States, FUNimation distributed the anime on DVD for 4Kids. The first 28 episodes of the series were released between 2006 and 2007 over four single-disc volumes. It would take over a year before episodes 29 through 40 would be released in 2008, arriving in a two-disc volume. This was followed by episodes 41 through 52 in 2009, also in a two-disc volume. These were among FUNimation’s last Yu-Gi-Oh! video products.

The English dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has never seen a complete home video release anywhere in the world. But thanks to 4K Media and Cinedigm, every Duel Academy student at heart will finally get the chance to own the series.

Cinedigm’s Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Season 1 box set is very similar in style, contents, and quality to its Yu-Gi-Oh! The Official First Season box set. Each of the three volumes uses a black Amaray clamshell case with a swing tray. The box and volume cover artwork include some character and monster images that hadn’t previously appeared on FUNimation’s covers (a sight for sore eyes!). Together, the volumes are housed in a card stock slipcover box. The spines of the DVD volumes line up to form a larger picture of Elemental HERO Neos, while the spine of the box includes the first part of a larger image of Jaden Yuki. Each DVD contains eight or nine episodes. No extras are included.

Unlike its Classic Yu-Gi-Oh! releases, Cinedigm is not selling the single volumes of GX individually, so if you are strapped for cash, or you already own part of season 1 from FUNimation and want to fill the gaps in your collection without overlaps, you’re out of luck.

Yu-Gi-Oh! GX DVDs in Australia, the UK, and Canada

Around the same time it made its U.S. home video debut, 4Kids’ English-dubbed version of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX was also released on DVD in Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Sadly, none of these releases got any further than FUNimation’s did.

In Australia, Magna Pacific released the entire first season on six 2-disc volumes. Each volume included a reversible slick and each DVD contained between four and six episodes.

The United Kingdom’s Contender Entertainment didn’t fare nearly as well with its products. The company released a mere 20 episodes over three single-disc volumes. All three volumes were then packaged in a box set.

Canada fared even worse, with Quebec-based distributor Imavision releasing only one volume. Fortunately for GX fans north of the border, Canada shares the same DVD region code as the United States, allowing them to import compatible American releases.

The above three companies had previously distributed Classic Yu-Gi-Oh! in their respective territories, also with varying levels of success.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters GX DVDs in Japan

In Japan, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters GX was released on home video in 15 box sets by King Records and Marvelous Entertainment (MMV) between 2005 and 2009. The first of their region 2 releases, “Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters GX Duel Box 1,” hit store shelves in June 2005 and included the first 12 episodes in three volumes. Each volume included a two-sided slick and contained a double-layered DVD that held four episodes and the clean (textless) opening and ending animations.

Also enclosed were four postcards and a booklet featuring an episode guide and line art of main characters and their monsters. All of the items were encased in a glossy chipboard artbox adorned with original art work of Judai and his friends. Each Duel Box retailed for a cool $160 and included a Japanese language track only.

Video Screenshot Comparison

Below is a table with links to a few screenshots from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX episode 1. They were captured from Cinedigm and FUNimation’s DVDs and Hulu’s streams (on the “high quality” setting). Screenshots from the Japanese release from King Records/MMV are also included for additional comparison.

All links open in a new window. Warning: Uncropped, full-size PNG images!

 

[1]
GX episode 1 screenshot 1 thumbnail - Jaden Yuki

[2]
GX episode 1 screenshot 2 thumbnail - Vellian Crowler

[3]
GX episode 1 screenshot 3 thumbnail - Card close-up

[4]
GX episode 1 screenshot 4 thumbnail - Wicked Token

[5]
GX episode 1 screenshot 5 thumbnail - Elemental HERO Flame Wingman

[6]
GX episode 1 screenshot 6 thumbnail - Ancient Gear Golem

[A] Cinedigm

A1

A2

A3

A4

A5

A6

[B] FUNimation

B1

B2

B3

B4

B5

B6

[C] Hulu

C1

C2

C3

C4

C5

C6

[D] King Records/MMV

D1

D2

D3

D4

D5

D6

The most noticeable difference between Cinedigm’s release and the others’ is the absence of the black bars on the left and right of the picture. To retain the correct aspect ratio, Cinedigm cropped out a few pixels from the top and bottom of the picture, then upsampled the picture to retain its proper resolution. The end result is the inclusion of some unsightly blocking and ringing artifacts. There is also a defect in the bottom four or so horizontal lines of the picture. Yikes.

If these flaws are already quite noticeable to a non-videophile like me, they’re going to stand out like a sore thumb to the anime fans who put all of their collections under the microscope. C’mon, Cinedigm, you are better than this!

Product Summary

Title: Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Season 1
Street Date: October 14, 2014
Distributor: Cinedigm Entertainment
Label: Flatiron Film Company
Licensed by: 4K Media (Konami)
Region: 1
MSRP: $44.99
Disc count: Six double-layer DVD discs
Video: Fullscreen (4:3)
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0
Episodes: 1-52
Language: English
Closed Captions: Yes

Other product overviews:
- Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL Season 1, Volume 1 DVD
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Bonds Beyond Time DVD and Blu-ray
- Yu-Gi-Oh! The Official First Season DVD box set

Cinedigm’s Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL Season 1, Volume 1 DVD: An Overview

September 16, 2014 at 10:51 pm | Posted in English dubbed, Konami, Yu-Gi-Oh!, ZEXAL | 8 Comments
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Cinedigm's Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL Season 1, Volume 1, Disc 1 menu

The first Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL DVD hit store shelves in the U.S. today. The release of “Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL Season 1, Volume 1″ from Cinedigm marks the first time this anime has been made available to the American home video market. But while today is the fifth Yu-Gi-Oh! series’ debut on home video, the show has long been available to American fans on Hulu and YUGIOH.com, as well as to the Australian and Japanese home video markets. This post will provide a brief overview of the contents of Cinedigm’s new release and will compare it to these other Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL video products.

Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL from Cinedigm

Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL Season 1, Volume 1 comes from Cinedigm’s Flatiron Film Company label and includes the first 16 English-dubbed episodes of the show in a two-disc DVD volume. The DVDs are housed in a black Amaray clamshell case with a swing tray. This release’s eight-episode-per-disc count is in line with that of Cinedigm’s Classic Yu-Gi-Oh! DVDs, but is a bit high when compared to other anime DVDs in today’s market. No extras are included, which is unfortunate but not entirely unexpected as none of Cinedigm’s other Yu-Gi-Oh! video products include any extras either, other than its premium Yu-Gi-Oh! The Complete Set release.

Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL from Australia’s Roadshow Entertainment

Australia was the first country to put out the English dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL on home video. Australian video producer, distributor, and marketer Roadshow Entertainment released the first ZEXAL DVD for the region 4 market in June 2013. The company has released one new volume about every three months, with each volume containing six episodes on a double-layer DVD. Releases are ongoing as of this writing.

While the video contents of Roadshow’s DVDs are comparable to those of Cinedigm’s, Roadshow has Cinedigm beat in the extras department. During their first print run, volumes 1 and 2 each included a 1st edition Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG card pack from the Star Pack 2013 set. In March 2014, Roadshow began including a voucher redeemable for gift cards to local theme parks and attractions with many of its children’s video titles. Roadshow’s April 2014 release of volume 5 was the first ZEXAL DVD to take part in the promotion and included a $15 voucher. When volumes 1 through 4 were reprinted, a $10 voucher was included with each. The promotion will continue until the last day of 2014.

Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL from Japan’s MarvelousAQL and King Records

Japan got its first Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL home video release in October 2011 with “Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL Duel Box 1″ by MarvelousAQL and King Records. The box set included three single-DVD volumes, with each double-layer disc containing four episodes. The DVDs were made for region 2 and are in Japanese only with no subtitles.

As expected, the Japanese Duel Box 1 release slaughters the American and Australian releases with its extras. The bonuses include a booklet with an episode guide and character and monster line art, and a dueling field for the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game featuring original artwork of Yuma and Astral. Each DVD included a double-sided slick and clean (textless) videos of the opening and ending animations, and everything was housed in a glossy chipboard art box.

And not surprisingly, the Japanese ZEXAL Duel Boxes are all sold at exorbitant collector’s prices, each with a suggested retail price of over $160.

Video Screenshot Comparison

So how well does Cinedigm’s videos compare with these other streaming and DVD releases? Below is a table with some screenshots captured from Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL episode 1. Included are screenshots from Cinedigm, Roadshow Entertainment, and MarvelousAQL/King Record’s DVDs, as well as Hulu’s streams in both English and Japanese on the high quality (SD) and high definition (HD) settings.

All links open in a new window. Warning: Uncropped, full-size PNG images!

 

[1]
ZEXAL episode 1 screenshot 1 thumbnail - Yuma Tsukumo

[2]
ZEXAL episode 1 screenshot 2 thumbnail - Door

[3]
ZEXAL episode 1 screenshot 3 thumbnail - Tori Meadows

[4]
ZEXAL episode 1 screenshot 4 thumbnail - Reginald Shark Kastle

[5]
ZEXAL episode 1 screenshot 5 thumbnail - Bronk Stone

[6]
ZEXAL episode 1 screenshot 6 thumbnail - Shark's Cards

[7]
ZEXAL episode 1 screenshot 7 thumbnail - Leviathan Dragon

[A] Cinedigm

A1

A2

A3

A4

A5

A6

A7

[B] Roadshow Ent.

B1

B2

B3

B4

B5

B6

B7

[C] MarvelousAQL

C1

C2

C3

C4

C5

C6

C7

[D] Hulu English (SD)

D1

D2

D3

D4

D5

D6

D7

[E] Hulu Japanese (SD)

E1

E2

E3

E4

E5

E6

E7

[F] Hulu English (HD)

F1

F2

F3

F4

F5

F6

F7

[G] Hulu Japanese (HD)

G1

G2

G3

G4

G5

G6

G7

A note about the screenshot dimensions: Cinedigm and MarvelousAQL’s DVDs follow the NTSC encoding system familiar to Americans and have a source resolution of 720×480. Roadshow Entertainment’s DVD uses the PAL encoding system and has a resolution of 720×576. All three DVDs are anamorphic widescreen so they are flagged to display at a 16:9 aspect ratio and the screenshots are presented here in this ratio. Hulu’s SD videos have a resolution of 720×400, which are also flagged to display at a 16:9 aspect ratio. Hulu’s HD videos have both a source and display resolution of 1280×720.

Card Backings in Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL

One of the more interesting things about all of these Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL releases is seeing the different card backings that are used across the different versions of the show.

The original and edited card backings seen in ZEXAL episode 1

When Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL first aired in the United States in October 2011, the show retained the realistic-looking design of the card backing used in the Japanese version of the show, which matches the backing used in the real-life Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG and OCG. This was quite a surprise and a big deal at the time as it made ZEXAL the first Yu-Gi-Oh! anime that used that design. The unedited card backing remained for the first eight episodes. When these episodes made it onto Hulu, they were the same versions used in the initial broadcast and also featured the original, realistic card backing.

Beginning with episode 9, the card backings were replaced with the plain brown background and grey center oval design used in all of the prior series. In all subsequent airings of episodes 1 through 8, the cards appear with the edited backing. The edited backing would continue to be used until episode 26, when the Japanese version of the show introduced a new vortex-like swirl design resembling a dangerous Beyblade. The English version would retain this new backing in its episodes and continues to use it today.

The cards seen on the first 25 episodes on the Japanese ZEXAL DVDs unsurprisingly feature the original backing. The U.S. and Australian DVDs feature the plain, edited backing, even for the first nine episodes. The only place to watch the English dub with the original, realistic backing is Hulu and the Hulu embeds on YUGIOH.com.

Why was the backing changed in the English version after the ninth episode? It’s a story for another day.

Product Summary

Title: Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL Season 1, Volume 1
Street Date: September 16, 2014
Distributor: Cinedigm Entertainment
Label: Flatiron Film Company
Licensed by: 4K Media (Konami)
Region: 1
MSRP: $24.95
Disc count: Two double-layer DVD discs
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (16:9)
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0
Episodes: 1-16
Language: English
Closed Captions: Yes

Other product overviews:
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Bonds Beyond Time DVD and Blu-ray
- Yu-Gi-Oh! The Official First Season DVD box set

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