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!
[B] Roadshow Ent.
[D] Hulu English (SD)
[E] Hulu Japanese (SD)
[F] Hulu English (HD)
[G] Hulu Japanese (HD)
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 is 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.
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.
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)
Disc count: Two double-layer DVD discs
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (16:9)
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 (English)
Closed Captions: Yes
Tags: anime convention, littlekuriboh, momocon, teamfourstar.com, youmacon, youtube
It’s not the new episode that she’s gawking at…
And so, the Battle City tournament ends. I sure hope Kaiba isn’t butthurt about the outcome and doesn’t do something drastic, like blow up the island and kill everyone! Check out LittleKuriboh’s Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged episode 62, “Winged Dragon Of Rawr!” now available at TeamFourStar.com. New episodes will be available exclusively on TFS for one week before being uploaded to YouTube.
LittleKuriboh had previewed an incomplete version of YGOTAS episode 62 at conventions earlier this year before premiering the full product at Anime Expo in July.
A month ago, LK had stated that he was holding off on releasing the new episode because of some “big news” that he was waiting to announce. For those out of the loop, LK has made Team Four Star’s website his new home for videos after Blip.tv closed his account at the start of this month.
“[W]e wanted to make sure we actually had a place to put the episode before uploading it,” wrote LK’s wife Marianne Miller in a new post on TFS that further clarifies the situation.
To help raise awareness of his move, LittleKuriboh today also released “‘Where’s The New Episode?!’ – a short film” costarring fellow voice actor and abridger xthedarkone. (Why are you watching this when you could be watching the new episode?!)
LittleKuriboh’s home on TFS is gradually coming together as videos continue to be added and he gets his own section in the drop-down menu at the top of the page. I’ve added LK’s newest videos to my page for YGOTAS streams and will update the old links to point to his other TFS uploads once the dust has settled over there. I haven’t decided if I’ll update my YGOTAS downloads page since it doesn’t look like LK will be offering downloads any more. When Blip.tv discontinued support for iTunes distribution earlier this year, neither LK nor YGOTAS fans made a stink about it, so there doesn’t seem to be much demand for downloads anyway.
Anime Convention Update: Youmacon 2014
In a move that surprised nobody, Detroit anime convention Youmacon announced last week that LittleKuriboh will return as a guest to help celebrate the con’s 10th year! Also in the guest line-up are the members of Team Four Star and loads of anime voice actors, including Steve Blum, Caitlin Glass, and Johnny Yong Bosch.
Attendees of last year’s Youmacon got a special treat when LK announced that he had obtained the full script for Naruto The Abridged Movie (yes, the real Naruto The Abridged Movie) from MasakoX. As longtime followers of Naruto Abridged know, Vegeta3986 announced the production and casting of the movie back in October 2009. The movie was only partially completed and the subpar eight-minute clip that was made became a running joke among abridgers for its quality and long production time.
LittleKuriboh, Team Four Star, and Linkara performed a live reading of the script at Youmacon 2013, including the parts that never made it onto video, getting about halfway through the script before their panel time ran out. Lanipator and LK haphazardly suggested that they would finish the reading this year. Will attendees get to hear the thrilling conclusion to the story that was never be produced? I sure hope they continue. What kind of awful people would they be if they just left it on a cliffhanger?
Youmacon will be held on October 30 through November 2 at the COBO Center and the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan. This will be LK’s sixth Youmacon appearance.
More Anime Cons for 2015: AOD, MomoCon
LittleKuriboh also has two more cons booked for 2015. First is Animation on Display (AOD), which will be held on January 31 and February 1, 2015 in Burlingame, California. Joining LK in the spotlight will be Marianne Miller and Robbie Daymond, who plays Tuxedo Mask in VIZ’s new production of Sailor Moon.
Then, from May 28 through 31, LittleKuriboh will be returning to MomoCon in Atlanta, Georgia. LK had hinted earlier this year that MomoCon would be a possibility, and it’s exciting to see him welcomed back. Other guests announced so far include comic and animation writer Greg Weisman and actors Keith David, Crispin Freeman, and Steve Blum.
My page for LK’s Anime Convention Schedule is now updated with these latest stops.
If you’ve always wanted to meet the American voice actors of the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime and get their autographs but just never had the chance to, listen up! 4K Media (Konami) has kicked off a new giveaway today on YUGIOH.com for a complete set of autographed Classic Yu-Gi-Oh! DVDs! One super lucky winner will walk away with all of Cinedigm’s DVD box sets of seasons 1 through 5, each featuring the signature of an actor of the English dub. Included are:
- Season 1 autographed by Eric Stuart (Kaiba)
- Season 2 autographed by Dan Green (Yami Yugi, Yugi Muto)
- Season 3 autographed by Wayne Grayson (Joey Wheeler)
- Season 4 autographed by Erica Schroeder (second Mai Valentine, Dark Magician Girl)
- Season 5 autographed by Darren Dunstan (Maximillion Pegasus)
This sweepstakes runs from September 13 through 26 and is open to all U.S. residents age 6 and older. Check the official rules for more details.
Tags: roadshow entertainment
Home video releases of Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL continue today for our friends Down Under with volume 7, “Double Jeopardy,” from Australia’s Roadshow Entertainment. This region 4 DVD contains the English-dubbed versions of episodes 37 through 42 produced by 4K Media.
Yuma is one heart piece away from advancing to the finals of the Duel Carnival. But when Flip’s swindling ways get him in trouble with Dextra and Nistro, Yuma puts his own dueling career on the line in a 2-on-1 duel to save his friend from getting forever banned from the Duel Carnival. But with Astral fighting his own battle against Dark Mist and unable to lend Yuma his assistance, is Yuma skillful enough to prevail? Later, Hart uses his powers to escape his confines, hoping to find a precious item from his memories. Dextra and Nistro go on the hunt to bring him back, but Vetrix finds him first and captures him for his own heinous plans. When Yuma and Kite manage to track Hart down, they are forced into a tag-team duel by Trey and Quattro. Will the pair be able to save Kite’s little brother before it’s too late? All this and more in volume 7!
With news that the U.S. will at last be getting our first Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL DVDs later this month, I’ve decided to only keep following Roadshow Entertainment’s releases until the end of season 1 (assuming it gets that far). After that, my focus will only be on Cinedigm’s region 1 releases.
Es hora d-d-d-d-d-d-del duelo!
Hulu’s episodes include the same Spanish dub found on volumes 1 through 11 of FUNimation’s season 1 DVD singles released between 2002 and 2003. (Oddly, the season’s last five DVDs don’t include a Spanish track.) FUNimation also released the Spanish episodes on VHS. This dub was produced for the U.S. and Latin America and differs from the Castilian Spanish dub produced in Spain by Jonu Media.
Hulu began introducing Spanish-language programming to its network in late 2011 when it signed a licensing deal with U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster Univision and launched Hulu Latino. Yu-Gi-Oh! joins Hulu’s growing selection of Spanish media, including anime like Pokemon and Inazuma Eleven.
If you like watching Yu-Gi-Oh! in Spanish, be sure to subscribe to the show on Hulu to show your support and to keep up to date on any new uploads.
Tags: blip.tv, littlekuriboh, teamfourstar.com, youtube
I knew it! He spends his weekends counting the millions that he’s made from YGOTAS!
Tomorrow is the end of an era for LittleKuriboh, the world’s most superior abrigadier. In his new video, “LITTLEKURIBOH SELLS OUT,” released earlier this evening, LittleKuriboh announced that he is leaving Blip.tv and relocating his content to Team Four Star’s website. From now on, Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged, the Naruto Spoof Series, and LK’s other video projects can be found at: http://teamfourstar.com/littlekuriboh/
“Very, very soon, you’ll see all of my content on there, and you’ll be seeing new videos,” LK assured his fans. “You’ll be seeing a lot more new videos, I guarantee it. You guys have had the patience of saints. I’ve said it so many times: my fans are the most patient people in the world and I feel really bad for basically resting on my laurels as long as I have. Your patience will be rewarded. I promise.”
LittleKuriboh further revealed that his main YouTube channel, CardGamesFTW, will no longer be repeatedly terminated. H-How can this be?! What magic did LK pull out of a hat to make this possible?
“I’ve signed on with a network, and so [...] CardGamesFTW will actually be staying up from now on,” LK explained. “There won’t be any more major gaps of time where my channel has just disappeared with no explanation. It’s going to stay up, it’s going to be a stable channel.”
LittleKuriboh isn’t leaving Blip.tv of his own accord. Rather, the video hosting and distribution website is kicking him out. Even Marianne, LK’s wife, who once had her own Blip account, saw her channel removed in 2013.
Although LK didn’t describe the details that he received from Blip regarding his account’s removal, Blip’s actions are well documented on the Internet and account deletions have been ongoing since late 2012. In short, Blip has been growing tremendously since its inception and is now dedicating all of its resources to only the most successful and marketable content. Well, at least Blip actually gave LK a warning before shutting him down. Some content creators have alleged that they were never notified and that their videos just up and vanished one day.
LittleKuriboh first set up on Blip.tv in December 2009.
LittleKuriboh on Kate & Mim-Mim
LittleKuriboh continues making exciting headway in the world of professional voice acting. Yesterday, LK revealed that he is the voice of Mim-Mim, a giant purple bunny in Kate & Mim-Mim, an animated children’s show that has been airing on the BBC’s CBeebies channel in the UK. The show is about a five-year-old girl and her adventures with her toy bunny in their make-believe world.
Back in March 2014 at Animarathon, LittleKuriboh teased his fans about this role without actually providing the name of the show. LK recalled his experience auditioning for the part at his Q&A panel.
“I just got booked on a show and I auditioned basically with the Tristan voice with a British accent and I got the part,” LK told the crowd, who responded with plenty of laughs.
“So he’s basically like this the whole time,” LK continued while doing the voice. “It’s sort of like a really, really bizarro John Lennon kind of thing going on. But he’s a lot of fun to voice. I love doing that character. He’s pretty cool and hopefully you’ll see him somewhere on TVs.”
British Tristan and bizarro John Lennon? Heehee, sounds pretty accurate.
It feels like the beginning of the end in the latest chapter of the Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL manga, out today in issue #39 of VIZ Media’s Weekly Shonen Jump. Yuma, Ryoga, and Kaito are finally going toe to toe against Kyoji Yagumo, who has now unveiled the horrific truth about him and his brother and the circumstances that led him to become the destructive person that he is. With all of the players in place, ZEXAL could very well wind down in a few more chapters.
So if you have been on the verge of subscribing and don’t want to miss the impending end of Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, now’s the time to do it. And to help sweeten the deal, VIZ today announced the next Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG promo card to be included for subscribers:
Ebonics Ebon Illusion Magician!
For $25.99, you get a 12-month subscription of WSJ, which brings you Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL and other JUMP manga the same day they are released in Japan, readable on your computer or any iOS or Android device. Plus, you get four Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG promo cards mailed straight to your door. Check it out!
Amazing Yu-Gi-Oh! announcements just keep coming and coming! 4K Media revealed yesterday on Facebook that the English dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s will at long last be released in the United States on DVD. Season 1 will be available sometime in January 2015. More details to follow as they are announced by 4K Media.
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s and Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL are the two series that have high definition assets and that 4K Media previously stated would be released on Blu-ray. Both series’ home video announcements have thus far specified only a DVD release, however. Let’s hope BDs are still part of the deal.
The English version of the Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s anime has up to now only landed on home video in Australia, where independent media distributor Madman Entertainment released season 1 on five 2-disc DVD volumes between 2010 and 2012. Season 2 has not yet been released anywhere.
So… Has July 2014 been one heck of a month for Yu-Gi-Oh! fans or what? So many awesome new products, so many awesome events, and so many awesome announcements!
TV Tokyo has announced that the Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters and Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V anime will be streamed online in Japan beginning in August. That’s right, Japanese fans will finally be getting their own legal, official Yu-Gi-Oh! video streams! Websites that will have the shows include Niconico, Amazon Japan Instant Video, Yahoo Japan’s GyaO!, and Rakuten SHOWTIME. A full list of the websites is provided in TV Tokyo’s announcement.
Exact dates and times for the series’ online premieres will vary depending on the distributor. Niconico will live stream episodes 1 through 16 of Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V on August 2 and episode 17 on August 9, putting its stream about a week behind TV Tokyo’s telecast. Niconico will also add the Duelist Kingdom story arc of Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters on August 20. The streams will only be accessible within Japan.
TV Tokyo first teased fans about the “huge decision” to stream the shows early this morning on its official Yu-Gi-Oh! Twitter account. Huge indeed. Official Yu-Gi-Oh! streams are long overdue for Japan’s video market and it’s fantastic to finally see significant progress being made.
Tags: art book, udon
On Saturday, UDON Entertainment announced at its San Diego Comic Con panel that it will be publishing Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Art, a collection of Yu-Gi-Oh! art work by Kazuki Takahashi. The 127-page art book includes sketches, line art, and full-color illustrations of characters, monsters, and settings from the original Yu-Gi-Oh!, GX, 5D’s, and ZEXAL series. It also includes commentary from Takahashi about the creation of some of his artwork. The book will be released sometime in 2015.
The original Japanese Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Art book was released on December 16, 2011 by Shueisha under its V Jump Special Book line. The first printing promptly sold out, leading the publisher to reprint the book for its second run a mere one month later. To celebrate the release of the book, Konami gave away 10,000 copies of the OCG card The Creator God of Light, Horakhty in a lottery. The card has yet to be released anywhere else in the world.
UDON is an art collective and publisher of comics, manga, and art books based in Canada. It is probably most well known for its numerous books of Capcom properties, like Street Fighter and Mega Man.