Ask Kazuki Takahashi Using #‎yugiohQA‬

June 29, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Posted in Konami, Other Stuff, Yu-Gi-Oh! | Leave a comment
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Use hashtag yugiohQA to ask Kazuki Takahashi your questions for his SDCC 2015 panel

Do you have a burning question you want to ask Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi? Can’t make it to San Diego Comic Con 2015? Don’t fret! 4K Media (Konami) is giving everyone a chance to have their questions answered live on stage during Takahashi’s panel. Just submit your questions on Twitter using the hashtag ‪#‎yugiohQA.

And don’t forget to follow the official Yu-Gi-Oh! Twitter @yugioh and Facebook page!

Previously:
2016 Yu-Gi-Oh! Movie Trailer to Premiere at SDCC 2015

Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V English Dub Episode 2 Previewed During 2015 NAWCQ Live Stream

June 27, 2015 at 11:57 pm | Posted in ARC-V, English dubbed, Konami, Yu-Gi-Oh! | Leave a comment
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Declan Akaba demanding to know more about Yuya Sakaki and Pendulum Summoning in ARC-V episode 2

The 2015 Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG North American World Championship Qualifier is on! Over 2,000 duelists have descended upon the Nashville Music City Center in Tennessee for a chance to win a trip to Japan for this year’s World Championship. And once again, Konami’s live stream of the event didn’t disappoint Yu-Gi-Oh! anime fans tuning in from afar. Not only did it deliver the English dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V episode 1 (twice!), it also showed episode 2! Watch them both while they’re still saved:

If you missed out when ARC-V episode 1 was first live streamed during the 150th YCS in May, here’s your chance to see it. Carve the arc of victory!

During today’s live stream, Konami also played episodes 99 and 100 of Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL and reminded viewers that season 3 is available exclusively on Hulu and YUGIOH.com.

Whew, what a long day. The live stream just wrapped up a some minutes ago after nine rounds of Swiss. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Official Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG YouTube and Twitch channels to see more action at the North American WCQ tomorrow.

2016 Yu-Gi-Oh! Movie Trailer to Premiere at SDCC 2015

June 26, 2015 at 9:00 pm | Posted in English dubbed, Konami, Yu-Gi-Oh! | Leave a comment
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Yugi's Millennium Puzzle glowing as he is about to transform into Yami Yugi in episode 81

The official trailer for the new 2016 Yu-Gi-Oh! movie will premiere at this year’s San Diego Comic Con! This bombshell was dropped today by Elik Álvarez, one of the composers for the Yu-Gi-Oh! series, during a live interview on the Everything Geek Podcast.

Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi has been invited as a special guest to SDCC 2015 and will hold a panel dedicated in part to the still unnamed 2016 movie.

Previously:
Kazuki Takahashi’s SDCC Appearance to Include ‘Special Yu-Gi-Oh! Movie Panel’

Composer Elik Álvarez Talks Yu-Gi-Oh! Music

June 26, 2015 at 8:43 pm | Posted in 4Kids, English dubbed, Konami, Other Stuff, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 2 Comments
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Elik Alvarez and many Yu-Gi-Oh! logos

Elik Álvarez, one of a team of composers who has written music for every Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series and film produced by 4Kids Entertainment and 4K Media, was interviewed live today on the Everything Geek Podcast. Álvarez and host Ruari Williamson spent 40 minutes talking about his decision to pursue music composition as a career, his favorite types of Yu-Gi-Oh! music, and even some juicy tidbits about the upcoming Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V series and 2016 Yu-Gi-Oh! movie. This post contains highlights from the show.

Originally from Venezuela, Elik Álvarez has been surrounded by music his entire life. His grandfather, who emigrated from Ukraine to Venezuela, embraced classical music and shared that love with Álvarez. Álvarez’s father gave him his first record, the Star Wars soundtrack by John Williams, which further fueled his interest in orchestral music.

“Many, many film composers of this era, we are heavily influenced by Williams,” said Álvarez. “He’s the maestro. […] He, in my opinion, has defined the career of many film composers working today. I had the opportunity to meet him probably a couple of times and had just a couple of quick chats. And I have to tell you, he’s just out of this world.”

Growing up, Álvarez studied piano for almost 10 years. And like so many young people with an interest in music often do, he joined a rock band. When he was 15 years old, Álvarez heard the theme song for The Simpsons TV show and thought it would be cool to do an arrangement of the song with his band. After that, he began perceiving film music with a more critical ear.

After graduating from Berklee College of Music, Álvarez moved to Los Angeles looking for work and was fortunate enough to land a job working on 4Kids’ Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, Ultraman Tiga, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. When Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie was developed, Álvarez was invited to work on the project, which opened the door for him to then compose for the Classic Yu-Gi-Oh! TV series and all of its spin-offs.

Writing For Yu-Gi-Oh!

All of the Yu-Gi-Oh! series called for Elik Álvarez and the shows’ other composers to write very melodic pieces.

“[A] melody is going to stick in your mind for the rest of your life if you like [it],” explained Álvarez. “And it’s been fantastic writing for that show for that reason. We get to write big orchestration with big strong melodies.”

Because of the tremendous number of Yu-Gi-Oh! episodes and production time constraints, writing for all the series was a “huge, huge training for me,” said Álvarez of the composition process. “In every sense. In orchestration, melody writing, modulations, writing fast. It’s really tough. It’s not easy to do in such a short period of time.”

“We do original music for 10 to 12 episodes,” Álvarez explained. “Music is scored to picture, and this is just because of budget reasons and also practicality. Writing 20 minutes of music every day will kill you, so what we do is we write the music, and the music editors — great music editors, fantastic music editors — come to life and start re-editing the music. But after that, we also get to write when a new character comes, a new monster, […] we do that music as well.”

Over the years that Álvarez and the team of Yu-Gi-Oh! composers have worked with 4Kids and 4K Media’s producers, they have developed a strong sense of trust with one another. The producers extend a great amount a freedom to Yu-Gi-Oh!’s composers, even more so than many producers of other big-name projects that Álvarez has worked with.

“One particular very good thing about the series is that we never get any temp tracks,” said Álvarez, referring to the temporary filler music that editors, directors, and producers stick in when editing video footage to get a sense of how the scene will turn out. “So, I never hear any of the Japanese versions, and I never hear any other versions tried, like ‘Okay, this is what you should do.’ We just get plain visuals with dialogue and some sound effects and we need to create the music from scratch.

“And that’s fantastic because temp tracks are great for reference, but the problem is when you start copying temp tracks or making something similar, really it stops the originality of your work. So for this series, it’s all plain. ‘Here it is. Write your thing.'”

Álvarez has worked with all types of directors and producers, from those who rely strictly on temp tracks to those who offer him an extensive amount of freedom. He recognizes that ultimately, the strength and quality of the music rest on the shoulders of the composers.

“Your job as a composer, even if you get a temp track and they want to do something similar, still you’ve got to make sure you write something original,” said Álvarez. “So that’s where really the skill comes. Because there are many amazing composers out there. It’s a matter of figuring out if somebody’s trying to put you in a box, how can you make that box great? If it’s a little box, how can you make sure that while you’re writing that little, little, little box, it still is going to be great and it’s going to sound original? That’s probably one of the biggest challenges that you get when being a film composer.”

Favorite Yu-Gi-Oh! Music

Elik Álvarez and the other Yu-Gi-Oh! composers have written such an immense amount of music under such tight deadlines. So when he was asked about his favorite pieces, it was challenging for him to point to specific ones.

“It’s a very tough question. Whatever I answer right now, it could be different maybe in a month or a year,” Álvarez joked.

“I wrote the opening sequence in the Yu-Gi-Oh! movie, the first one. That was very special,” said Álvarez.

“In ZEXAL, any scene that has Astral going on over there, even if it was a comedic one or an action one, I really enjoyed because we got to use choirs and voices,” Álvarez added. “I think there is one episode too which is called ‘Battle of Dragons’ that I really enjoyed doing. That’s a big choir piece.”

Álvarez related his love for his work on Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL to the freedom that he was given while working on it.

“With Yu-Gi-Oh!, I know what [the producers] are expecting, I know what they want. Sometimes I try to push a little bit. ‘Ah, let me do something different.’ I know they may react to that and sometimes they don’t. The inclusion of choirs on ZEXAL and for Astral, they didn’t mention that. That’s something that I wrote. ‘Hey listen, how about we do ZEXAL with a little chant under [Astral]?’ And they loved it. They may as well have said, ‘We don’t like that. Do something different.’ That’s the way it goes.”

Álvarez also expressed his enjoyment doing the rock-based score for Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, which he worked on with his then guitar-playing writing partner Freddy Sheinfeld, as well as the more sophisticated scores of 5D’s.

“We got the chance to do something a little bit different, especially with GX and 5D’s,” he said. “Sometimes, that’s not quite easy to do because this is a franchise and [viewers] are used to listening to certain styles of music, so we get a lot of reactions for those two for that particular reason. Because it’s different. 5D’s we got darker, and GX was mainly rock.”

Looking Forward: Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V and the 2016 Movie

Elik Álvarez last worked on the music for Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V in September 2014. He is ecstatic about the series and knows that fans will be too when it comes out. (And before anyone asks, no, he does not know when it will premiere in the U.S. Only 4K Media’s brass know.)

“That show I really like. Really, really like it. It’s very, very strong,” he said. “I like the story and the plot that’s going on over there. For that one, we were writing so much as well. What can I tell you? There are many great action cues.

“In this particular [series], I really like the action scenes. They are big, they are epic, they are huge, they are strong. There are a few scenes where you see buildings falling down and things like that that did require writing some big, big music.”

This week, Álvarez just finished the trailer for the upcoming 2016 Yu-Gi-Oh! movie. Having only done the music for the trailer, he doesn’t know exact details about the movie. However, Álvarez noted that the trailer will premiere at San Diego Comic Con.

As for the movie itself, “We should start working on music for the movie probably [in] September, October. We don’t know, I can’t say anything,” explained Álvarez. “That project with Yu-Gi-Oh! is coming. I don’t know any details about the movie, if it’s going to be a big release, if it’s going to be a limited release, but I think we’re pretty excited about this one.

“I don’t want to reveal any details for what I saw in the trailer, but I think a lot of fans are going to be happy about it.”

Duel Art Update: Limited Number to be Sold Early at SDCC 2015

June 23, 2015 at 5:20 pm | Posted in Yu-Gi-Oh! | Leave a comment
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Yami Yugi preparing to duel Noah in episode 119

While there is still not yet an exact release date for Kazuki Takahashi’s Duel Art Yu-Gi-Oh! book, publisher UDON Entertainment today confirmed that a small number of books will be available for sale early at this year’s San Diego Comic Con, where Takahashi has been invited as a special guest.

“The Duel Art book is scheduled to be released this summer with a limited number which will be sold early at SDCC 2015,” said an UDON rep.

UDON also confirmed that the January 2016 release date currently making the rounds is incorrect. The misinformation appears to have originated from Amazon’s Duel Art product listing.

“Amazon tends to change release dates in their system which is (a lot of times) out of our control,” explained UDON. “That is not our intended date for the book to be released.”

This certainly isn’t the first time that online retailers have posted incorrect information; Amazon seems to be a routine offender, which is unfortunate as other websites will scrape Amazon’s listings and further disseminate the bad information. Never rely solely on an online retailer’s listing for product details!

“[W]e will communicate with them to get a more realistic date on their site,” UDON added.

Previously:
UDON Delays Duel Art

Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL Manga Ends with Rank 55

June 22, 2015 at 1:37 pm | Posted in Yu-Gi-Oh!, ZEXAL | Leave a comment
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Astral asking Yuma for a favor in the Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL manga chapter 54
Here come the tears again…

After 55 chapters, Yuma and Astral’s adventures have reached their end. The Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL manga concludes in this week’s issue of Weekly Shonen Jump from VIZ Media. The same chapter was published in the August 2015 issue of Shueisha’s V Jump magazine, which hit newsstands in Japan this past Saturday, June 20. According to V Jump, the ninth volume of the series will be published in Japan on October 2, 2015. Unlike the conclusion of the Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s manga, there was no mention of any further chapters following ZEXAL’s ending.

The Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL manga is written by Shin Yoshida and illustrated by Naohito Miyoshi and began serialization in V Jump in its February 2011 issue. Yoshida was also responsible for the structure of the ZEXAL anime and wrote the screenplays for over 50 episodes of the series, including more than half of the show’s first story arc.

The ZEXAL manga starts off similarly enough to the anime, likely because of Yoshida’s direction. But beginning in volume 2, the manga changes course, introducing original storylines, characters, and character back stories that are often considerably darker than those in the anime. Fans (and non-fans) of the anime who still haven’t read the manga won’t want to miss out on this rendition of the ZEXAL universe!

VIZ Media has released six volumes of Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL so far in North America in print and digital formats. The seventh volume is currently scheduled for September 2015.

New Yu-Gi-Oh! Character Guide

The August 2015 issue of V Jump also includes the announcement of a new Yu-Gi-Oh! character guide, which will be published in Japan on July 17, 2015. The book, titled Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters Guide Book: Millennium Book, celebrates the franchise’s 20th anniversary and will include a new cover illustration by Kazuki Takahashi, an interview with the creator himself, and details about the 2016 Yu-Gi-Oh! movie. The book will also include new printings of the Yu-Gi-Oh! OCG cards Yu-Jo Friendship and Unity and will retail for 820 yen (about $6.70).

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist Announced For PlayStation 4, Xbox One

June 4, 2015 at 8:35 pm | Posted in Konami, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 1 Comment
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Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist logo
For PS4 and Xbox One? Oh Konami, you never cease to amaze Yu-Gi-Oh! fans.

Today, Konami formally announced the upcoming release of Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist, the first Yu-Gi-Oh! video game to be released for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles. Legacy of the Duelist is a dueling simulator that will allow players to replay famous duels from the Classic Yu-Gi-Oh!, GX, 5D’s, ZEXAL, and ARC-V eras in its story mode. The game boasts a library of over 6,600 cards and 90 characters, with additional cards, characters, and duels available for download.

In another Yu-Gi-Oh! first, players will be able to compete in Sealed Pack Play and Draft Play formats against both in-game characters and online duelists. The game will support the Battle Pack: Epic Dawn, Battle Pack 2: War of the Giants, and War of the Giants: Round 2 formats.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist will be available for download this summer for $19.99. Add-on content will cost $4.99.

News about the impending release of a new Yu-Gi-Oh! game first leaked late last month when Siliconera reported that Germany’s video game regulation board had rated a game titled Legacy of the Duelist.

Kazuki Takahashi’s SDCC Appearance to Include ‘Special Yu-Gi-Oh! Movie Panel’

June 2, 2015 at 9:46 pm | Posted in Japanese, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 4 Comments
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Yami Yugi about to be attacked by Orichalcos Gigas in episode 164

The countdown is on for San Diego Comic Con, and details about Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi’s hugely anticipated guest appearance at the event have begun trickling in. YUGIOH.com today announced that Takahashi will appear at a special panel about the new Yu-Gi-Oh! movie slated to premiere in 2016. This will be followed by an autograph signing.

Will fans get an inside scoop of the story and the characters in the new movie? How about some new artwork? Or maybe even a trailer? Stay tuned.

Update (June 10): According to today’s press release from 4K Media, “Mr. Takahashi will address Comic-Con fans about the preparations and production underway for the highly anticipated third Yu-Gi-Oh! feature film” and “will also explore his passions for illustration, design and gaming and how they meld into inspiring new ideas that have kept the Yu-Gi-Oh! brand fresh and engaging for nearly two decades.” Furthermore, he has provided an original illustration of Yugi for SDCC’s Souvenir Book.

Previously:
Kazuki Takahashi to Attend San Diego Comic Con 2015

LittleKuriboh Does Hot Pepper Gaming

June 1, 2015 at 8:53 pm | Posted in Other Stuff, Yu-Gi-Oh: The Abridged Series | 3 Comments
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LittleKuriboh about to bite into a habanero pepper
Licking your lips? Admit it, you were so ready for that pepper!

LittleKuriboh today fulfills a personal goal by appearing in the latest episode of Hot Pepper Gaming, the popular YouTube show where participants ingest a dangerously spicy variety of hot pepper then proceed to review a video game (and the pepper!). Watch as LK takes a big bite of a habanero pepper then talks up Undead Lab’s State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition, which he calls his “favorite zombie survival game of its kind.”

Other than turning into YGOTAS Espa Roba for a few moments, LK barely flinched. C’mon, Hot Pepper Gaming, don’t you know this man has taken on the Orochon Ramen Special #2 and its secret spice recipe more than once? A habanero is child’s play for him!

“I really do need to return and take on that ghost pepper,” LK tweeted, then adding that he “really did ask to do a ghost pepper but they wouldn’t let me.”

WE’LL GET YOU BACK,” promised HPG’s creative director Vernon Shaw.

LK joins a long list of Internet celebs like Markiplier, EgoRaptor, and Octopimp and even voice actor Matt Mercer to participate in HPG.

LittleKuriboh Anime Convention Updates: Otakon, AAC, C+A+D

Since my last update, LittleKuriboh has added a few more anime con stops to his busy 2015 schedule. Let’s see what’s new.

First, LK has confirmed that he will return to this year’s Otakon, to be held in Baltimore, Maryland between July 24 and 26. Otakon has yet to release panel information, so there’s no word yet on whether or not LK will get to hold a panel this year. Stay tuned to Otakon’s website and social media channels to find out.

Second, LK has been invited to attend Another Anime Convention in Manchester, New Hampshire from October 16 through 18. This will be LK’s second guest appearance at the event.

And third, LK has confirmed that he will be attending Con Alt Delete in Rosemont, Illinois from December 18 through 20. This will also be LK’s second time attending this event as a guest.

Check my page dedicated to LittleKuriboh’s anime convention visits to see his other announced stops this year.

LittleKuriboh Video Updates

LittleKuriboh may not have uploaded any new Yu-Gi-Oh!-related videos recently, but that doesn’t mean those updates have stopped. On TeamFourStar.com, YGOTAS episodes 32, 46, and 47 were made available last month after they had been accidentally hidden when the site first went live. As such, I have added links to these videos to my YGOTAS streams and downloads pages. I’ve also added a few older YGOTAS side videos for download.

As for where the new YGOTAS episode is, it’s in the works! LK’s most recent replies say that it will be released “soonish” and “hopefully within the next month [June] or so.” Don’t worry, LK, take your time.

In the meantime, LK has been finding a lot of success with We’re Still Here, a vlog series where he shares his struggles with depression and how he has learned to battle the disorder, and with The Mark Remark, a satirical news show documenting the antics of WWE wrestling. Why not give those a shot?

Yu-Gi-Oh! Arrives in the Middle East

May 29, 2015 at 9:12 am | Posted in Konami, Other Stuff | 1 Comment
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Young Marik and Ishizu Ishtar encounter a stranger in the market in episode 95
Yu-Gi-Oh! in Egypt?

The world’s most popular trading card game just got a little bit bigger. On Thursday, Konami announced that the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG is now officially available in the Middle East, giving duelists in the region the opportunity to play in local sanctioned tournaments for the first time ever. To bring official Yu-Gi-Oh! products and tournaments to the region, Konami has partnered with Dueling Area, a Kuwait-based company established in 2013 by fans of trading card games. Dueling Area is already a distributor of Bushiroad’s Cardfight!! Vanguard game.

Dueling Area will be responsible for distributing Yu-Gi-Oh! products and organizing events in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The region’s first sanctioned tournament will be the World Championship Qualifier: Kuwaiti National Championship, which takes place on June 6.

Read more about Yu-Gi-Oh!’s exciting expansion into the Middle Eastern market in Konami’s press release and check out Dueling Area on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook.

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