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

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, 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!


ZEXAL episode 1 screenshot 1 thumbnail - Yuma Tsukumo

ZEXAL episode 1 screenshot 2 thumbnail - Door

ZEXAL episode 1 screenshot 3 thumbnail - Tori Meadows

ZEXAL episode 1 screenshot 4 thumbnail - Reginald Shark Kastle

ZEXAL episode 1 screenshot 5 thumbnail - Bronk Stone

ZEXAL episode 1 screenshot 6 thumbnail - Shark's Cards

ZEXAL episode 1 screenshot 7 thumbnail - Leviathan Dragon

[A] Cinedigm








[B] Roadshow Ent.








[C] MarvelousAQL








[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 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

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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  1. As much as I want to buy this, I am going to hold off until the Season sets make an appearance. This will also give me time to focus on GX as it’s being released.

  2. “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.”

    What extras are you referring too? The inclusion of Bonds Beyond Time?

  3. Man, can’t believe I misspelled “to.” Shows how much my English major is worth.

  4. @Charles Martin
    Where did you hear about season sets getting a release?
    I guess the movie could be considered an extra, but I was thinking of the ornate packaging and the booklet. There are pictures in the linked post.

  5. @ravegrl I didn’t hear it from anywhere, but I have a feeling that Zexal Season sets will be released once Season sets have been entirely released for GX and 5D’S.

  6. Hmm, maybe. But if ZEXAL’s season sets are going to be exactly like Classic’s, I personally don’t see a lot of added value for Cinedigm to go from single volumes to season sets, other than the addition of a box. I’d love to see every series get an elaborately designed Megaset like Classic did though.

  7. Personally, I didn’t like the Megaset. Not to mention I even saw a review online of a brand new Megaset being purchased and it having a lot of problems, including missing discs, cheap boxing material and scratches on the discs:

    I also think the designs of the Season sets look much better and more organized than it’s successor.

  8. Whoa, missing discs? And so much damage! I don’t know what happened to his item that caused it to be in that condition but I hope he got a refund. I’m sure that’s just an anomaly. Mine is in perfect shape. He’s right about the cheap materials though, but then again, the same can be said for the seasons sets, so I pay no mind to it. Cinedigm’s Yu-Gi-Oh! products aren’t exactly top-of-the-line stuff.

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