Yu-Gi-Oh! Kawaii Cubes Coming Soon

September 28, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Posted in Konami, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 3 Comments
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Wish Factory Kawaii Cubes logo

4K Media (Konami) announced today that it has partnered with youth lifestyle product developer The Wish Factory to produce Yu-Gi-Oh! Kawaii Cubes, a line of stylized, super-deformed, stackable plush toys designed around the shape of a cube.

Kawaii Cubes launched its first line of toys earlier this year featuring characters from the DC Universe and other Warner Brothers properties. The brand is also set to create Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers toys in the near future.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Kawaii Cubes will be available in multiple sizes this holiday season at mass market retailers like Amazon, Target, and Toys”R”US, as well as at special retailers like Hot Topic, Party City, and your local comic shop.

To see more pictures of geometric cuteness, check out Kawaii Cubes on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Scale 14: ‘Where It Began!’

September 26, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Posted in ARC-V, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 2 Comments
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Yuya wants to talk to Reiji Akaba alone in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V manga chapter 14

Yuya Sakaki is jostled awake. He sits up on his couch, face covered in cold sweat. His head is pounding. What’s he doing in his hideout? Yuto and Yuri help him fill in the blanks. Yuya collapsed while dueling Sora Shiunin. Yugo was able to bring him back here, but then someone with a Duel Runner from the future infiltrated Yuya’s mind. Yugo fought him off before collapsing himself.

“A third enemy, huh?” wonders Yuya. “I thought they’d show up eventually, but I didn’t think they’d go straight for my memory.”

Yuya walks over to his computer. While he was sleeping, someone messed with his security system and now a “friend” is on his way over.

Yuzu, just back from a shopping trip, is relieved to see Yuya up and about. She wants to prepare some food for Yuya and his guest, but it seems that he has already arrived. A shadowy figure stands calmly by a staircase across the room. The scarf around his neck flaps wildly. He steps forward. It’s Reiji Akaba.

“I’m sorry but I do not consider you a friend!” exclaims Akaba.

Yuya and Akaba are both “from the same era,” Yuya tells Yuzu. And people who duel Akaba… don’t usually survive.

“If I don’t come back, you can sell my stuff!” Yuya laughs. Before Yuzu can even figure out what’s happening, Yuya approaches Akaba and snaps his fingers. A trap door opens beneath their feet, then clangs shut. Yuzu looks on completely horrified. They were gone.

Shingo Sawatari and Shun Kurosaki on their way to the Leo Corporation excavation site in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V manga chapter 14

Across the city, a restless Shingo Sawatari and Shun Kurosaki decide to survey the Leo Corporation excavation site that Reiji Akaba visited earlier. After crisscrossing through a network of tunnels, the duo approach the same large steel door that Akaba had passed through.

Sawatari and Kurosaki enter and find a room filled with old upturned furniture and tattered belongings, just as Akaba had left it. Kurosaki picks up a digital clock, its display frozen in time. He notices a stack of science magazines strewn on a counter top. His eyes narrow.

“What is this room?” Kurosaki asks. “All the dates are more than twenty years in the future…”

Yuya Sakaki and Reiji Akaba land in a spacious cavern far below Yuya’s hideout. A cylindrical single-person escape pod is embedded in the ground nearby. Its hatch is open. Akaba eyes the apparatus.

“Is this where you started in this era?” Akaba asks Yuya.

Yuya looks down at his feet. “After my dad triggered the World Illusion, I ended up here,” he replies. “He was researching Solid Vision with your father, Doctor Leo Akaba.”

“When I heard your name in this era, I knew you had to come find me,” continues Yuya. “But there’s no bad blood between you and me so do we have to fight?”

“As Originals from the future, it is our destiny to fight!!” asserts Akaba. “I will stop you no matter what!! I won’t let you control G.O.D.!”

Thoughts

Sorry but I can’t even finish writing a narrative for this chapter because I’m losing my marbles here. This chapter is crazy. Just when you think you’re starting to get a grip on the universe that the story is taking place in — bam — time travel. What what what?! I’m trying hard to curb the urge to draw comparisons between this story and the Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s anime. Yeah, they both feature Duel Runners and an apocalyptic component involving time travel, but they can’t be related, right? They just can’t be! DX

This chapter, with its time travel revelation, feels very much like it could be a make-or-break chapter for readers who are on the fence about following this manga. If readers feel that the story hasn’t been captivating enough or has been too confusing, this element might cause them to drop the series. Hopefully writer Shin Yoshida knows where he’s going with this.

So there’s an escape pod under Yuya’s hideout, eh? An escape pod, a la Superman. Or like Yusei Fudo. (No wait! I said I wouldn’t talk about the Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s anime!)

An escape pod under Yuya Sakaki's hideout in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V manga chapter 14

So Yuya is Superman? No, he’s from the future, not from outer space. He’s one of the Originals. Wait, an Original? Like in The Vampire Diaries? So Yuya’s a vampire? From the future! What?! No, that’s not right either.

Haha, okay, in all seriousness, what is even going on here? Is everything that we’ve learned about Yuya a lie? Sora was right — Yuya isn’t actually an infamous hacker. It’s too bad that Sora wasn’t able to finish his investigation and is now MIA.

Why does Reiji need to duel Yuya? What happened to Reiji’s father? Yuya and Reiji spend a good six or seven pages expounding on their history. Then Ren returns with a cameo to reveal a secret about Reiji. This is definitely all something you have to read for yourself.

The World Illusion. Ah, finally, the details are slowly coming. Yuya says that Yusho triggered the World Illusion, but Ren, during his duel with Yugo, said that both Yusho and Leo Akaba were responsible. Does Ren know something that Reiji doesn’t?

Also, Reiji’s father is apparently named Leo, not Reo as was stated earlier. Suddenly, the name of the Reiji’s company makes sense. It isn’t just a name with fancy heraldic lions around the company logo.

Reiji Akaba's motorcycle and magazines in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V manga chapter 14

Reiji’s motorcycle looks really detailed and kind of vintage when considering the futuristic setting of this manga. The design might be based on an actual bike. Chime in if you know the model! Hey Reiji, don’t you know that you shouldn’t have loose clothing fluttering around like that when you’re riding a motorcycle? Your scarf might get snagged on something!

Seeing Reiji’s science magazines makes me think that there will soon be a D/D Albert Einstein monster. There already are D/D Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla monsters that just came out in The Dark Illusion set.

VIZ Media's Weekly Shonen Jump No. 43 magazine cover and table of contents page

Hey, Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V is on the cover of this week’s WSJ! That’s Yuya and Odd-Eyes Phantom Dragon from the cover of the Japanese volume 1 compilation of the manga. And not only that, Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V is also in the first position in the magazine instead of being tacked on at the end like it usually is. Hooray!

* * *

Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Scale 14: “Where It Began!” is available now in VIZ Media’s Weekly Shonen Jump No. 43 (September 26, 2016). Grab the issue from VIZ, Amazon, and comiXology.

Previous chapter:
Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Scale 13: “The Adam Factor!”

Next chapter:
Coming soon

Akihabara Yu-Gi-Oh! Cafe Menu Unveiled

September 24, 2016 at 11:00 am | Posted in Japanese, Other Stuff, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 2 Comments
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ADORES’s hit Yu-Gi-Oh! Cafe will be opening its doors for a third run in October, but you don’t have to wait until then to check out its new menu items! The AnimePlaza store in Akihabara yesterday posted its upcoming line-up of mouth-watering drinks, main dishes, and desserts. There are plenty of new selections, plus a few small tweaks to a lot of the returning favorites.

And look who got all fancy new courses this round: Kaiba did! Very fitting, since his birthday is coming up next month — the 25th of October to be exact.

Seto Kaiba's grapefruitade drink at the AnimePlaza Yu-Gi-Oh! Cafe

Drinks:

  • Kaiba – “Crushing force! Honorable defeat! Great applause!!” – Ginger ale, Blue Hawaii syrup, fresh cream, pink grapefruitade, pineapple, silver dragées.
  • Yami Yugi – “Millennium Puzzle Drink” – Grape soda, Blue Hawaii syrup, mixed berries, chocolate cream, sponge cake, adzuki bean wafer.
  • Jonouchi – “Dark Mega Flare” – Cola, strawberry syrup, blackcurrant sorbet, adzuki bean wafer, silver dragées.
  • Judai – “Gotcha☆ Let’s Duel!” – Strawberry Curaçao, cola, strawberries, apples, fresh cream.
  • Manjome – “Ojamas Have Also Appeared!? Manjome Thunder” – Chocolate syrup, coffee, milk, banana, Pocky.
  • Yusei – “For Now, I’d Like Some Milk…” – Milk.
  • Jack – “Blue-Eyes Mountain with Shortcake” – Coffee (Blue Mountain), shortcake
  • Yuma – “I’m Gonna KattoPink Lady Soda!” – Pink grapeade, strawberryade, soda, fresh cream, pineapple gelatin, sugar, cherry.
  • Kaito – “Kaito’s Hot Cocoa” – Hot cocoa, milk, fresh cream, chocolate sauce
  • Yuya – “Now The Fun Has Really Begun!” – Melon soda, vanilla ice cream, nata de coco, tomato.

Seto Kaiba's oden main dish at the AnimePlaza Yu-Gi-Oh! Cafe

Main dishes:

  • Kaiba – “Isono: ‘Mr. Kaiba, this is your meal.’ Seto: ‘…Isono!’ French-Style Oden” – Oden, mustard, parsley, basil.
  • Jonouchi – “Jonouchi Deluxe! Friendship Curry!” – Rice and curry, beef, onions.
  • Anzu – “Anzu’s If You Tell, Then… Burger – Act 2” – Teriyaki hamburger, mayonnaise.
  • Judai – “Salmon Summon! Ms. Tome’s Deluxe Late-Night Rice Ball Snack” – Salmon rice ball, plum rice ball, bonito rice ball, pickled radish.
  • Kiryu – “This Will Have to Satisfy Me! Kyosuke Kiryu Satisfaction Pasta” – Pasta carbonara, meat sauce, seafood mix, Parmesan cheese.
  • Number 39: Utopia – “The Bearer of the White Wings of Hope!” – Japanese rice omelet, white sauce, mint cherry, ketchup.
  • Yuya – “Yuya’s Goggle Salad☆” – Tomatoes, meatball, teriyaki sauce, potato salad, ham, grated cheese, lettuce.

Blue-Eyes White Dragon parfait at the AnimePlaza Yu-Gi-Oh! Cafe

Desserts:

  • Blue-Eyes White Dragon – “Burst Stream of Destruction Parfait” – Pineapple gelatin, corn flakes, Ramune ice cream, bananas, strawberries, Blue Hawaii syrup, fresh cream, silver dragées, adzuki bean wafer.
  • Yugi – “Marshmallon’s Sugary Marshmallow Toast” – Toast, marshmallows, cocoa powder, chocolate sauce, fresh cream, adzuki bean wafer.
  • Kuriboh – “Kuriboh & Winged Kuriboh’s Mont Blanc” – Chocolate Mont Blanc, regular Mont Blanc, fresh cream.
  • Sora – “I Use ‘Ice Cream’ and ‘Pudding’ to Fusion Summon!” – Pudding, marbled ice cream, sponge cake, fresh cream, candy.
  • Shingo – “Sweet Milk Apple-Berry Pie with Melted Honey” – Apple pie, fresh cream, blueberries, honey, caramel sauce, nut topping, mint.

The Yu-Gi-Oh! Cafe will run at AnimePlaza Akihabara from October 1 through 30. Be sure to follow the store on Twitter @anipla_akiba for all the latest updates.

Previously:
Yu-Gi-Oh! Cafe Heads to Akihabara in October

4K Media’s Yu-Gi-Oh! September 2016 Sweepstakes

September 23, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Posted in Konami | Leave a comment
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Yu-Gi-Oh! September 2016 Sweepstakes banner from YUGIOH.com

Seto Kaiba fans, this month is for you! 4K Media (Konami) launched its Yu-Gi-Oh! September Sweepstakes today and it’s full of new products featuring Yugi’s eternal rival. One lucky winner will receive the following prizes:

  • One Seto Kaiba .999 fine silver coin from the New Zealand Mint
  • Two Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG 2016 Mega-Tins, one of Yugi and one of Kaiba
  • Five Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Duelist Pack: Rivals of the Pharaoh boosters packs
  • One Seto Kaiba wall scroll poster from CWS Media Group

This sweepstakes is open to U.S. residents ages 6 and up. The entry period begins today and runs through September 29. Check the official rules for more details.

4Licensing Corporation Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

September 23, 2016 at 7:00 am | Posted in 4Kids, Other Stuff | Leave a comment
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4Licensing Corporation logo
Closing the book on a former licensing juggernaut

Former longtime Yu-Gi-Oh! licensee 4Licensing Corporation announced yesterday evening that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In a terse press release, the company once known as 4Kids Entertainment Inc. stated that its “management does not currently anticipate any recovery for shareholders.” Ouch.

After selling its animation production arm and the Yu-Gi-Oh! License to Konami in 2012, 4Kids pivoted, reincorporating as 4Licensing Corporation and entering the sports licensing industry. The company’s flagship product was isoBLOX, an impact protection and absorption technology that it sought to sell to make protective sports equipment. At the time, the company also still owned the rights to various children’s entertainment properties, like Dinosaur King, Robot Monkeys, and Tai Chi Chasers.

4Licensing, a publicly traded company, last submitted a filing to the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission on March 21, 2016. 4Licensing noted then that it was being operated by a lone individual from an Oklahoma-based investment management firm that owns 33 percent of the company. All of 4Licensing’s other board members and employees had resigned and the company has “substantial unpaid liabilities.”

Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V in VIZ’s Fall 2016 WSJ Jump Pack

September 19, 2016 at 8:00 am | Posted in ARC-V, Yu-Gi-Oh! | Leave a comment
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Cover of VIZ Media's Fall 2016 WSJ Jump Pack

VIZ Media is back this quarter with another issue of its Weekly Shonen Jump print magazine, and Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V is one of four hot titles that’s included inside. The Fall 2016 edition of the WSJ Jump Pack is a 96-page look at some of the most popular Jump manga currently on the market. Included are:

  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, chapter 2
  • Haikyu!!, chapter 2
  • My Hero Academia, chapter 2
  • Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring, chapter 1

Plus, new Yu-Gi-Oh! duelists and collectors won’t want to miss all of the extras that are included in the Jump Pack:

  • An Ultra Rare Dark Magician Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG card, drawn and signed by Kazuki Takahashi. This is a reprint of the card included in the April 2011 issue of SJ.
  • A Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG fold-out paper game mat and beginner’s guide.
  • A 20-card Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG demo deck that accompanies the guide.
  • A coupon for one free copy of any Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Starter Deck, redeemable at your local Official Tournament Store (OTS).
  • A promo code for $5 off an annual subscription of Weekly Shonen Jump — a sweet deal that’ll let you keep up with the monthly Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V simulpubs, plus all of the other WSJ manga.

The magazine also features an article that introduces all of the different activities that are available at an OTS near you, like official tournaments, Battle City, Sneak Peeks, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Day.

The Weekly Shonen Jump Fall 2016 Jump Pack is available now at Scholastic book fairs throughout the U.S. for $10.99. Visit Scholastic’s website to find a book fair near you. All purchases made at these book fairs help financially support the host school, so maybe consider picking up an extra item or two while you’re there. I’m sure the WSJ staff and the school would appreciate it!

Previously:
Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V in Spring 2016 WSJ Jump Pack

Table of contents of the Weekly Shonen Jump Fall 2016 Jump Pack

Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG cards and extras included with the Weekly Shonen Jump Fall 2016 Jump Pack

Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Starter Deck coupon and Dark Magician card included with the Weekly Shonen Jump Fall 2016 Jump Pack

Close-up of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Dark Magician card included with the Weekly Shonen Jump Fall 2016 Jump Pack

Cinedigm’s Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V Season 1 Vol. 1 DVD & Blu-ray: An Overview

September 6, 2016 at 10:00 pm | Posted in ARC-V, English dubbed, Konami, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 3 Comments
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Cinedigm's Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V Season 1, Volume 1, Disc 1 Blu-ray menu

The Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V anime makes its debut on home video today in the U.S. and Canada with the first 24 episodes landing on both DVD and Blu-ray! However, you would be forgiven for not being aware of this since 4K Media (Konami) has not formally announced the availability of this title, nor has distributor Cinedigm Entertainment added these products to its online catalog. With all of the radio silence, it wasn’t clear if orders would even be filled. Thankfully, they were.

Cinedigm’s Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V home video release is one of many firsts. This post will look at what makes this title special, examine what’s included with Cinedigm’s products, and compare them to the only other physical ARC-V home video product currently on the market — the Japanese DVD from Marvelous.

Yu-Gi-Oh! History is Made Again

Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V marks the first time any Yu-Gi-Oh! TV series has received a high-definition Blu-ray release. While Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s and Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL both made their debut in the era of HD broadcasting, neither received a BD release, not even in Japan. Both series do have HD download-to-own options in North America, however. Up until today, the only Yu-Gi-Oh! BD product was for the movie Yu-Gi-Oh! Bonds Beyond Time.

Speaking of download-to-own options, Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V is also the first series to have episode downloads released simultaneously while the show is still on the air, ahead of the home video release. Cinedigm has been adding DTO episodes to popular video platforms as they air on Nicktoons, with the option to buy a season pass. Fourteen episodes were uploaded before Nicktoons went into reruns. But as of today, episodes 1 through 24 of Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V are available for download on various platforms, including Amazon, Google Play Movies & TV, iTunes, Microsoft Movies & TV, PlayStation Video, and VUDU.

Today’s Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V release is also the first time that an English dub has landed on home video first in North America since the days of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX — that was way, way back when FUNimation was distributing that show between 2006 and 2009! Since then, the English-language releases of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s and Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL both debuted on DVD in Australia long before they made it to this side of the planet. (However, Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s never saw season 2 over there, and ZEXAL didn’t even finish season 1.) And Manga UK, the British division of Manga Entertainment, was the first to bring out Yu-Gi-Oh! Bonds Beyond Time on DVD and Blu-ray for the British market.

Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V from Cinedigm

The Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V Season 1 Volume 1 DVD and Blu-ray are released on Cinedigm’s Flatiron Film Company label and include episodes 1 through 24 of 4K Media’s English dub. Both products include three double-layer discs. Curiously, there are eight episodes on disc 1, nine on disc 2, and seven on disc 3. Among anime releases, putting eight episodes on one disc is a bit much for DVD, but is not at all unusual for BD. Some other anime publishers often squeeze thirteen HD episodes onto one BD disc (which isn’t necessarily detrimental to the video quality; it depends on the show), so Cinedigm handled the data spacing challenges well here.

Both versions include the basic single-page menu pictured at the top of this post. Yuya’s pendant swings back and forth in the background while the harmony for the theme song, “Can You Feel The Power?” loops.

The DVDs are housed in a black Amaray clamshell case with a double-sided swing tray. The BDs sit in a typical blue-colored clamshell case with a double-sided swing tray and is a few millimeters thinner than a DVD case. On the cover of both products is Yuya Sakaki, Timegazer Magician, and Stargazer Magician. The spine of the DVD volume shows part of an image of Performapal Hip Hippo which, when placed beside future releases, will form a larger picture. The BD case does not have an image on its spine; it has only the text “ARC-V Season 1 Vol. 1.”

Neither the DVDs nor the BDs include any extras, as has been the trend with almost all of Cinedigm’s Yu-Gi-Oh! releases. Both products are region locked — the DVDs to region 1 and the BDs to region A.

4K Media opted not to release Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V in a season set, a decision last seen in September 2014 with the Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL Season 1 Volume 1 DVD. It remains to be seen whether Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V will get season box sets. (ZEXAL eventually did.)

Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V from Japan’s Marvelous

Japan saw its first Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V DVD in September 2014 from Marvelous. The show’s home video release in Japan is noteworthy in its own way because of its elimination of box sets. For the first time since the Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters days, Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V is sold only as single volumes.

As expected from a Japanese anime home video, Marvelous’ volume 1 DVD includes only the first four episodes for a cool 6,264 yen (about 62 of today’s U.S. dollars). Naturally, the product is locked to region 2 and includes no subtitles.

Despite not being included as part of a larger set, volume 1 nevertheless contains numerous extras on the disc, like the clean (textless) opening and ending; a line art gallery of the main characters and monsters; commercials for the ARC-V anime, DVD, and music CD; and a 20-minute round table where the voice actors for Yuya, Yuzu, and Syuzo chat about the show’s characters. First printings of volume 1 also included an application to see a special ARC-V talk show that took place in February 2015, plus three photos of the show’s characters.

Video Screenshot Comparison

The table below contains links to a few screenshots from Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V episode 1. There are only three products to compare: Cinedigm’s DVD and Blu-ray and Marvelous’ Japanese DVD.

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

 

[1]
ARC-V episode 1 screenshot 1 thumbnail - Skip Boyle

[2]
ARC-V episode 1 screenshot 2 thumbnail - Castle of Chaos

[3]
ARC-V episode 1 screenshot 3 thumbnail - Yuya's Pendant

[4]
ARC-V episode 1 screenshot 4 thumbnail - Battleguard King

[5]
ARC-V episode 1 screenshot 5 thumbnail - Battleguard Magic

[6]
ARC-V episode 1 screenshot 6 thumbnail - Sad Yuya Sakaki

[7]
ARC-V episode 1 screenshot 7 thumbnail - Cards in Hand

[A] Cinedigm Blu-ray

A1

A2

A3

A4

A5

A6

A7

[B] Cinedigm DVD

B1

B2

B3

B4

B5

B6

B7

[C] Marvelous DVD

C1

C2

C3

C4

C5

C6

C7

The video quality of Cinedigm and Marvelous’ Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V DVDs aren’t all that different from their previous releases, especially when compared to their handling of the anamorphic widescreen Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s and ZEXAL DVDs.

Once again, Cinedigm’s video has the better crop and better colors. And yet, Cinedigm’s video still suffers from the same defect with the horizontal lines at the very bottom of the picture seen in its Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, 5D’s, and ZEXAL DVDs. In the ARC-V screenshots, the problem is most noticeable in B2, right below the lower button of Nico Smiley’s suit jacket. While the video is playing, this problem doesn’t really stand out, but the mere fact that this is still an issue after so many DVDs have been created is an annoyance. Fortunately, Cinedigm’s BD doesn’t have this problem.

Marvelous’ video once again suffers from ugly ringing artifacts that are present throughout. This is especially pronounced in an image like C6, where the picture is mostly still and features large sections of solid color. The artifacts are all too visible all around the borders of Yuya’s hair, face, and clothes. Also note the substantial bleeding of the red text outlines in C4.

Cinedigm’s Blu-ray plays very smoothly and would be fantastic if not for one glaring problem: the colors look way off. The reds in the picture aren’t red enough while the greens are much too green. The amount of blue seems to be okay. At first, I thought my computer wasn’t correctly calibrated to play BDs, but Cinedigm’s Bonds Beyond Time BD doesn’t suffer any color problems during playback. So what’s the deal here? Anime videophiles, let me know what your experience is with these products.

Cinedigm's Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V DVD and Blu-ray cover art

Product Summaries

Title: Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V Season 1 Vol. 1
Street Date: September 6, 2016
Distributor: Cinedigm Entertainment
Label: Flatiron Film Company
Licensed by: 4K Media (Konami)

DVD
Region: 1
MSRP: $19.95
Disc count: Three double-layer DVD discs
Language: English
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (16:9)
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0
Closed Captions: Yes

Blu-ray
Region: A
MSRP: $29.93
Disc count: Three double-layer BD discs
Language: English
Video: 1920×1080 (16:9) at 23.976 fps
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Closed Captions: Yes

Also available for download on various digital platforms.

Scholastic’s Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Handbook: An Overview

August 30, 2016 at 10:00 am | Posted in Duel Monsters, English dubbed, Konami, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 7 Comments
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Cover of Scholastic's Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Handbook

Yu-Gi-Oh! makes its big return to the children’s book market today with Scholastic’s Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Handbook, the first Yu-Gi-Oh! title to come from the publisher in nearly ten years. The 144-page paperback is lauded by 4K Media as the “definitive resource for young, English-speaking Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters fans.”

This post will provide a brief overview of this new book while touching on some of Scholastic’s history with the Yu-Gi-Oh! brand.

A Brief History of Scholastic and Yu-Gi-Oh!

Scholastic Inc., the biggest publisher and distributor of children’s books in the world, has a long history with Yu-Gi-Oh! books dating back to the mid-2000s. During the heyday of Yu-Gi-Oh!, the company partnered with VIZ Media to release Scholastic versions of Yu-Gi-Oh! manga and with 4Kids Entertainment to publish Yu-Gi-Oh!-themed activity books filled with puzzles and mazes, chapter books with stories inspired by the anime, sticker books, and more.

But perhaps Scholastic’s most popular Yu-Gi-Oh! titles were its trivia and data books. The company published over a dozen of these books between 2005 and 2007. Some titles serve as guide books touching upon all aspects of the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime, like Yu-Gi-Oh! Monster Duel Official Handbook and Yu-Gi-Oh! Dueling Legends Official Handbook. Others titles focus on one specific character and his role in the Yu-Gi-Oh! story, like Yugi Muto and Marik Ishtar. Still others, like Ancient Egypt and Duelists Unite, center around a particular story line or group of characters. Each book is authored or co-authored by Arthur “Sam” Murakami, a longtime Yu-Gi-Oh! producer at 4Kids and 4K Media.

Murakami’s books are filled with plot summaries and monster listings, as expected of data books. However, they were especially well-liked for including a wealth of Yu-Gi-Oh! trivia that was, at the time, hard to come by on the internet. Scattered throughout the books are details like the characters’ ages, birthdays, astrological signs, and favorite foods, which are translated directly from Shueisha’s Japanese data book Yu-Gi-Oh! Character Guidebook: The Gospel of Truth. The specifics of many monsters’ first appearances in the anime and their attack names are neatly cataloged in various tables. And all kinds of funny character quotes and arcane minutiae abound. Young Yu-Gi-Oh! fans had plenty of factoids to absorb and lots of titles to choose from and collect. The books were cherished by a generation of readers, then went out of print and were forgotten.

Now, almost ten years after its last Yu-Gi-Oh! publication, Scholastic has returned with Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Handbook to excite a new generation of children.

What is Inside?

Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Handbook is a 144-page full-color softcover book with a gloss laminate cover. It can be divided roughly into three sections.

Welcome to the World of Yu-Gi-Oh in Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Handbook

A page of the Duel Monsters timeline in Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Handbook

The first section provides an overview of the world of Yu-Gi-Oh! and the history of Duel Monsters, from its origins as a game played by ancient Egyptian pharaohs and sorcerers, to Maximillion Pegasus’ revival of the game for modern times. A bullet-point timeline lists the major events of the Duel Monsters universe, beginning with the emergence of Zorc and Aknadin’s creation of the Millennium Items, then highlights Yugi Muto’s adventures throughout the anime, from the Duelist Kingdom tournament to his and Atem’s final duel. Finally, the seven Millennium Items are listed.

Yugi Muto's biography in Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Handbook

One of Joey's Big Moments in Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Handbook

Some of Mai's Monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Handbook

The second section describes the series’ major characters. Short biographies detail the characters’ lives and personalities, experience with Duel Monsters, and relationships and friendships. Their “big moments” — significant events in the series that shape their lives and the story — receive headlines in their own sub-section. And many of their monsters receive special attention with an image and one-line description. As expected, Yugi and his monsters are featured most prominently. The other characters that are given the most attention are Joey, Bakura, Kaiba, Mai, Pegasus, Marik, Noah, and Dartz.

First page of More Duelists A-Z section in Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Handbook

The third section, “More Duelists A-Z,” features many of Yugi’s other friends and opponents that he encounters throughout the series. Included are Ishizu, Shadi, the businessmen of the Big Five, the six Guardians of the Pharoah, and more. Even one-off duelists like Gurimo, Johnny Steps, and Jean Claude Magnum aren’t forgotten. The duelists each have a few sentences included about their role in the story and their major monsters.

The last page of the book teases that Yugi and his friends will be embarking on new adventure and notes that they will battle in new duels and take on a new threat to the world.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Handbook is heavily illustrated and includes both familiar artwork of characters and monsters as well as various screenshots from the anime. Character quotes make occasional appearances and are sprinkled throughout the book. The character biography pages have an Egyptian hieroglyphic motif, while the monster pages are lit up by a background with blue and white energy beams. In the vast majority of the book, the text is large, well-spaced, and easy to read, ideal for intermediate independent readers. However, in a few instances, the book uses the font Handel Gothic for prose, for which it is not very suitable and somewhat of an eyesore.

How Does It Measure Up?

Since Scholastic has such a notable history with the Yu-Gi-Oh! brand, it’s hard not to compare this newest title with its previous releases. Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Handbook is a compendious work similar in scope to Scholastic’s old Yu-Gi-Oh! Monster Duel Official Handbook and Yu-Gi-Oh! Dueling Legends Official Handbook. However, it devotes more pages to describing the story and significant plot events than either of these two titles. It also has significantly more screenshots than any of Scholastic’s other Yu-Gi-Oh! books (other than Yu-Gi-Oh! Ultimate Episode Guide).

But with only 144 pages, Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Handbook doesn’t have enough room for everything. There is no tabular data in this book, so some of the information organized this way in Murakami’s books, like the character profiles from The Gospel of Truth and monster attack names, don’t make the cut. There also isn’t as much Yu-Gi-Oh! trivia laid out in Q&A format as there are in the old books; though in all fairness, much of the trivia can simply be inferred by reading the prose. (You won’t find any of the more wacky factoids though, like the name of Téa’s fake missing cat or what attractions are present at Kaiba Land.) There also aren’t as many character quotes included.

Naturally, there will always be debates about what kinds of information belong in guide books like this one. Yu-Gi-Oh! anime fans will always want to see their favorite facts validated. 4K Media has the Herculean task of compiling the information, all while making sure everything stays official and accessible to its audience.

About the Author

Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Handbook is written by Tracey West, who is best known for her numerous chapter books for children based on big-name properties like Naruto, Pokemon, Star Wars, and WWE. West is the author of the official Yu-Gi-Oh! Ultimate Episode Guide and several Yu-Gi-Oh! GX chapter books, which were all published in the mid-2000s by Scholastic.

Product Summary

Title: Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Handbook
Author: Tracey West
Street Date: August 30, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
MSRP: $8.99
Format: Paperback
Pages: 144
Dimensions: 6″ x 9″
Age Range: 8-12 years
Grades: 3-7

Tara Sands Returns in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions

August 27, 2016 at 3:14 pm | Posted in English dubbed, Konami, The Dark Side of Dimensions, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 2 Comments
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Eric Stuart and Tara Sands holding fan art of Kaiba and Mokuba at AkaiCon 2016
Eric Stuart (left) and Tara Sands
Photo by @eric_stuart

Tara Sands will reprise her role as Mokuba Kaiba in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions. That’s the word from Eric Stuart, the voice of Seto Kaiba, who tweeted the announcement along with the photo above earlier today. The duo, along with fellow Yu-Gi-Oh! actor Dan Green, are guesting at AkaiCon this weekend in Nashville, Tennessee.

Tara Sands played Mokuba Kaiba in seasons 1 through 4 of 4Kids Entertainment’s English dub of classic Yu-Gi-Oh! and in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie. She left New York after season 4 and was replaced by Carrie Keranen in season 5 of the series. Today, Tara (and Carrie) is based out of Los Angeles, California, and is still active in anime voice-overs.

Good Smile Company’s figma Dark Magician Girl

August 24, 2016 at 12:00 pm | Posted in Duel Monsters, Konami, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 3 Comments
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Good Smile Company's figma Dark Magician Girl figure

The next Yu-Gi-Oh! figure from Good Smile Company is heading our way! 4K Media (Konami) has formally announced the upcoming release of figma Dark Magician Girl, arriving this December straight from the Japan-based producer and distributor of collectible figures.

Dark Magician Girl is a non-scale figure standing about 5.9 inches with posable joints. She includes three face plates, her wand, Magic Formula spell book, bent lower leg, and a figma stand.

Good Smile’s global online shop is now accepting pre-orders for figma DMG for ¥6,480 (approximately $65). Customers who pre-order directly from them will receive the parts for a Dark Burning Attack effect.

figma Dark Magician Girl joins Good Smile’s other two Yu-Gi-Oh! figures — figma Yami Yugi and 1/7th scale Dark Magician Girl — in being available directly to fans in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and Europe.

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