Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions: An Overview of the English Blu-ray and DVD Products

June 28, 2017 at 12:00 am | Posted in English dubbed, Japanese, Konami, The Dark Side of Dimensions, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 18 Comments
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Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions Blu-ray and DVD cover mock-ups from Anchor Bay Entertainment

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions has arrived on Blu-ray and DVD from Anchor Bay
Entertainment! The United States and Canada are the last of the major English-speaking markets to receive this movie on home video. Yu-Gi-Oh! fans in the United Kingdom received their own copy from Manga Entertainment UK on May 29, while Australia and New Zealand received it shortly after that on June 7 from Madman Entertainment.

Surprisingly, each of the companies offers different content and extras with their home video releases. Some of them even contain unwanted content, like cropped videos, incorrect aspect ratios, and dubtitles. Argh! Which version should the discerning Yu-Gi-Oh! fan buy?

This post offers an overview and comparison of the Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions Blu-ray and DVD products from Anchor Bay, Manga UK, and Madman. It also takes a brief look at the BD and DVD products from Marvelous in Japan. Screenshots captured from all of the discussed products are at the end of this post.

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions from Anchor Bay Entertainment

Anchor Bay’s region A Blu-ray and region 1 DVD (pictured above) include both the English and Japanese audio tracks of the movie. Both languages have a 5.1 surround sound mix. The English version of the movie includes subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing (SDH) that can be toggled on and off. The Japanese version includes subtitles that are automatically turned on, though they fortunately aren’t burned into the video (“hard subbed”). More on these subtitles in a moment.

Anchor Bay’s BD and DVD have the distinction of being the only releases that contain two video tracks. One is the English-language video with translated cards, signs, and credits. The other is the original Japanese-language video with Japanese credits. However, the song “To Believe In Something,” which plays during the credits in Marvelous’ BD and DVD, does not play here during the Japanese credits. Instead, viewers hear a longer version of “Yu-Gi-Oh! Theme: The Dark Side of Dimensions” as the credits roll. (This was also the case when Eleven Arts screened the Japanese version of the movie in theaters. Looks like music licensing issues rear their ugly heads yet again.)

Furthermore, only Anchor Bay’s BD and DVD have the English dub that includes the winners of 4K Media’s voice-over contest. The English dub released in other territories have the winners’ lines read by the movie’s other cast members.

Anchor Bay’s releases include four special features. In “Favorite Moments with the Cast,” the voice actors of the main characters reminisce about performing in the original anime. “Q&A with Dan Green” and “Q&A with Eric Stuart” feature the two leading men chatting about their history and memories with the show and what they think of the characters they play. And last but not least, “Show Us Your Cards!” immortalizes the biggest Yu-Gi-Oh! fans and their favorite cards on a massive wall of selfies.

Anchor Bay’s products suffer from two glaring problems. The first is its subtitle track for the Japanese version of the movie. These subtitles aren’t actually a translation of the Japanese dialogue. Instead, the lines are taken directly from the English SDH — in other words, they are dubtitles. Sadly, this is not the first time that an Anchor Bay anime has been plagued by dubtitles. Most recently, the company’s Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex BD released earlier this year suffered from dubtitles and bizarre audio errors. The company further drew the ire of anime fans when it tried to brush this problem under the rug.

The second problem is the aspect ratio of the picture. As seen in the screenshots below, DSoD is presented here in 1.78:1, which completely fills the screen of a standard widescreen display. However, the correct aspect ratio is supposed to be 1.85:1 letterboxed. In order to maintain the 1.78:1 ratio, some of the left and right sides of the picture have been cropped out. Anchor Bay is the only distributor of this movie to hack up the video in this way.

I’ve reached out to Anchor Bay about these issues and will post an update if I receive a response. Update (July 11): Anchor Bay has responded and outlined a replacement program for its products.

Anchor Bay’s Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions BD and DVD sell for a suggested retail price of $24.99 and $19.98 respectively. Each includes a Gold Rare Obelisk the Tormentor card, while supplies last.

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions from Manga Entertainment UK

Manga UK’s region B Blu-ray and region 2 DVD (pictured below) also include both the English and Japanese audio of the movie. Both languages have a 2.0 stereo and 5.1 surround sound mix. However, only the English-language video with translated cards and signs is present; the Japanese-language video is not. But since there are no cuts to the movie, both the English and Japanese audio align with the visuals without any problems.

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions Blu-ray and DVD cover mock-ups from Manga UK

Manga UK includes one set of subtitles with its videos: an accurate translation of the Japanese dialogue. These subtitles are, as far as I can tell, the same subtitles that appeared in Eleven Arts’ theatrical screenings.

Manga UK’s DVD is the only one out of all the DVDs discussed here that uses the PAL encoding system. Madman Entertainment’s DVD does not, even though Oceania has traditionally used this format. Playing at 25 frames per second instead of 23.97, videos converted into PAL characteristically have slightly higher-pitched audio and poorer video quality.

Oddly enough, while Manga UK’s videos do utilize letterboxing to maintain a wider picture than Anchor Bay’s videos, they are not quite at the 1.85:1 ratio; they are more like 1.89:1 or so. What’s the reasoning behind this?

Manga UK’s releases do not include any video extras. Both the BD and DVD include a Gold Rare Obelisk card, while supplies last.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Movie Pack Blu-ray and DVD cover mock-ups from Manga UK

DSoD is also being offered in Manga UK’s Yu-Gi-Oh! Movie Pack (pictured above), a two-disc set that includes this movie and Bonds Beyond Time. The Movie Pack is available in both BD and DVD formats. The BBT discs are identical to the ones Manga UK sold in 2011, so there’s probably no reason to buy this pack if you already own BBT. These products do not include any cards.

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions from Madman Entertainment

Madman’s region 4 DVD (pictured below left) contains only the English version of the movie. The audio is available in a 2.0 stereo and 5.1 surround sound mix. The company did not put out a Blu-ray counterpart. On the plus side, the picture on the DVD is properly letterboxed, and the DVD contains two theatrical trailers as extras.

Cover mock-ups of Madman's Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions DVD and the JB Hi-Fi exclusive version

Australian and New Zealand retailer JB Hi-Fi sells an exclusive version of DSoD on DVD (pictured above right), which includes a unique slipcase and a Gold Rare Obelisk card. (Special thanks to Armaan Swaich for the tip!) Regular versions of the DVD don’t include a slipcase or card. Aside from these two extras, JB Hi-Fi’s product is otherwise the same as the regular DVD.

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions from Marvelous

Marvelous, a Tokyo-based developer and producer of games, software, and audio-visual content — and the producer of all Yu-Gi-Oh! home videos in Japan — released DSoD on region A Blu-ray and region 2 DVD.

Marvelous’ BD is considered a premium product and contains a 2.0 stereo and 5.1 surround sound mix, as well as a DTS Headphone:X mix. It also includes a commentary track featuring the voice actors for Yugi, Kaiba, Jonouchi, and Mokuba. The BD is available in a standard edition and a limited edition with additional goods.

Both the BD and DVD have optional Japanese subtitles and include three trailers as extras. The DVD lacks the DTS Headphone:X track and commentary track.

Marvelous’ BD is the only BD out of this bunch whose picture correctly has a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Its DVD, on the other hand, is a hot mess. Not only is the picture’s aspect ratio wrong (it’s something around 1.83:1), the letterboxing is completely uneven. The bottom matte is significantly thicker than the top one. Furthermore, the video suffers from the same sort of artifacting that has been present in all of the Japanese Yu-Gi-Oh! DVDs ever since 5D’s.

Video Screenshot Comparison

So ultimately, which release looks the best? As usual, I’ll let the screenshots do the talking.

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

 

[1]
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions screenshot 1 thumbnail - Kaiba Corporation space station

[2]
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions screenshot 2 thumbnail - Yugi Muto

[3]
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions screenshot 3 thumbnail - Seto Kaiba

[4]
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions screenshot 4 thumbnail - Aigami's cube

[5]
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions screenshot 5 thumbnail - Joey Wheeler

[6]
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions screenshot 6 thumbnail - ATK

[7]
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions screenshot 7 thumbnail - Dark Horizon

[A] Anchor Bay BD (Eng)

A1

A2

A3

A4

A5

A6

A7

[B] Anchor Bay BD (Jpn)

B1

B2

B3

B4

B5

B6

B7

[c] Manga UK BD

C1

C2

C3

C4

C5

C6

C7

[D] Marvelous BD

D1

D2

D3

D4

D5

D6

D7

[E] Anchor Bay DVD (Eng)

E1

E2

E3

E4

E5

E6

E7

[F] Anchor Bay DVD (Jpn)

F1

F2

F3

F4

F5

F6

F7

[G] Manga UK DVD

G1

G2

G3

G4

G5

G6

G7

[H] Madman DVD

H1

H2

H3

H4

H5

H6

H7

[I] Marvelous DVD

I1

I2

I3

I4

I5

I6

I7

For whatever reason, out of the three Blu-ray products discussed here, only Marvelous’ release has a picture that shows the correct 1.85:1 letterboxing. Likewise, out of the four DVD products, only Madman’s picture has this correct aspect ratio.

Other video product overviews:
Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V Season 1 Vol. 1 DVD & Blu-ray
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Season 1 DVD Box Set
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Season 1 DVD Box Set
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

18 Comments »

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  1. Hello. Thanks for your analysis. It’s really informative. I saw this information:
    Dark Side of Dimensions Home Release Error and Replacement
    https://ygorganization.com/dsod-home-release-error/
    It seems that the Official will correct the problem but I’m not sure when or how.

  2. I’m still awaiting an official publishable comment from Anchor Bay that addresses the dubtitles, replacement, and some other questions I asked. Stay tuned.

  3. Now, somebody needs to work on adding the Japanese music to the English 5.1

  4. Wha?

  5. I never knew that JB Hi was selling a limited edition version of the DVD – looks like i need to get that for October (if “Kabia” doesn’t change his plans). Thanks for that <3

  6. Yay! I think it’s pretty cool to have cover art that no one else uses, so props to Madman and JB Hi-Fi for that.

  7. Looking at your image [2] it seems that the Manga UK Blu-ray release contains the same image information as the Marvelous JP release, but a different aspect ratio. The characters appear more squashed from top-to-bottom. The Marvelous JP release is much sharper than the other versions, indicating it is at the true native resolution. The Manga UK and Anchor Bay US releases are equally blurry so both have been rescaled. They are still quite sharp because most scenes in Dark Side of Dimensions appear to have been digitally created at 1080p and are not 720p upscales like most anime.

    Note that the Manga UK and Anchor Bay US Blu-ray releases also have a different color temperature compared to the Marvelous JP release, which is greener. To me that’s not a big deal as you can easily adjust that on the TV if it matters to you.

    Anchor Bay is supposedly going to offer replacements for the dubtitles but I doubt the video will be changed. I’ll be satisfied with that.

    P.S. – My Obelisk the Tormentor card has a bent corner.

  8. Great comment, you have really good eyes! Or really good image analysis software. :0) I’m very impressed with the picture quality of all the BDs (even Anchor Bay’s) because, like you said, of how sharp everything looks. It’s a world of difference compared to Yu-Gi-Oh! TV anime. Marvelous’ does look the best.

    I don’t expect that there will be a resolution to the dubtitles problem anytime soon because the discs need to be reauthored. We could be waiting for awhile. Anchor Bay’s GitS: SAC release I mentioned in the post came out in February and there is still no replacement for that.

    I, too, doubt the video will be changed. After all, someone made the conscious decision to crop it this way. I’ve heard anecdotal evidence that Americans prefer videos that completely fill their screens without any matting. The crop job isn’t the worst thing in the world; I’m just annoyed it happened in the first place and I feel duty-bound to bring it up.

    Sorry to hear about your Obelisk. :( There are many near-mint condition ones for sale on eBay for less than $5 if you’re interested.

  9. Anchor Bay is offering a replacement program for the dubtitles, but only to customers in the US. (so if you imported the American release…you’re out of luck) If you call or email their customer service with proof of purchase, they’ll send out a new copy that has proper subtitles.

  10. Thanks. That’s what people have been claiming, but I suspect that this won’t be resolved so quickly — unless there are already replacement discs printed. And if there are, that raises a whole host of other questions… Anyway, I’m still waiting for certain answers and until I get them, I won’t be publishing a post instructing anyone to do anything. The last thing that I want is to publish a wishy-washy post that lacks specific details about how and when this will be resolved.

  11. Thanks ravegrl! I really appreciate you looking into this and hopefully getting some solid answers! Your “journalistic integrity” is why you are my #1 source for Yu-Gi-Oh! news. I definitely won’t be making any purchase until you post an update!

  12. Thanks for reading and for your support!

  13. When you say that Anchor Bay’s Blu-ray doesn’t have burned-in subtitles, do you mean that there’s a way to turn them off? Because I can’t find a way to do so.

  14. I’ve been aware of the subtitle mistake for a few days now. Quite honestly I don’t know what to say because, I haven’t watch the movie yet on DVD. Even if there is a mistake on the discs, I’m not going to reach to Anchor Bay Entertainment to get replacements. That’s a hassle I can do without. I’ve decided to buy the Manga UK DSOD DVD. Sure, I don’t have a region free DVD player, but I have software that will allow it to play on my laptop.

    Anyways, overall I believe Anchor Bay could’ve at least done a product check or screening before shipping out the discs. I don’t know if this mistake was deliberate or not, but at least fans in the US will get replacements.

  15. @Samuel “The Japanese version includes subtitles that are automatically turned on.” …So no, there isn’t a way to turn them off, at least not on a standard DVD player. Some DVD-playing software for your computer can override that.

    @DISNEYGIRL Of course the mistake wasn’t deliberate. Why would it be deliberate? XDDD The company now has to spend time and money reauthoring, reprinting, and sending out new discs.

  16. Interesting to the analysis, ravegrl.

    It is unfortunate that despite the good initiative, these companies let such mistakes escape.

    Interesting Madman’s initiative to include the audio of both versions of the movie on the same track, privileging the scenes of the western version. By the way, this is an initiative that could be done without major problems also in Bonds Beyond Time.
    Of course, anyone who appreciates Yu-Gi-Oh! outside Japan, outside English-speaking countries or even outside France, Germany and Italy, is far less fortunate. In addition to having no prediction of when The Dark Side Of Dimensions will be released in other countries, it is not known whether they will be careful with dubbing, and whether they will launch in the home video market. Moreover, in specific cases like Brazil, neither Bonds Beyond Time had a decent release until today, being that they delayed to dub (the process only occurred in 2012, and still had the bad luck to have had a dubbing of quality inferior, without the presence of the popular voice actor Yugi Muto, which is not guaranteed in an eventual dubbing of The Dark Side Of Dimensions in that country) and took time to release to the public (it was only released in late 2013, however, it only came to a good platform in 2016).

    Funny that when dealing with the Yu-Gi-Oh! movies, it is noticed that 4K Media itself, for some reason, leaves Pyramid Of Light to corner. Is it because Warner still owns some of the rights to the film? Not even credits on the film are mentioned on Yu-Gi-Oh!’s official website.

    It would be very interesting if 4K Media authorized the launch of a box with the three films, putting both the Western and the original version, and in the case of BBT and DSoD, put the original track in the western video, as did Madman in the United Kingdom.

  17. Outside the U.S., 4K Media isn’t involved with the production of the local language dub. It’s up to the licensees to treat the property well. I would hope that they all make every effort to get the original voice actors since nostalgia is such an important part of this movie, but I understand if they can’t. It’s too bad if that’s what ends up happening. I don’t know what’s going on with the Pyramid of Light today, but I do know that Warner Bros. still owned the distribution rights back in 2012.

  18. I used my sharingan eyes to notice the aspect ratio difference, it’s part of my ninja training! It’s possible Anchor Bay deliberately made the decision to do the subtitles that way but caved in to fan outcry to make the change. Or it could have been an oversight. I don’t care to find out. Joey said it was on purpose.


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