Loot Anime Offers Yu-Gi-Oh! Prizes in Mini Kaiju Crate

June 16, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Posted in Other Stuff, Yu-Gi-Oh! | Leave a comment
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Loot Anime's July 2017 Mini Kaiju Crate Yu-Gi-Oh! Prize Pack

Yu-Gi-Oh! has returned to Loot Anime! This month, all subscribers of the anime- and manga-themed mystery box service will be entered to win one of ten Mini Kaiju Crate prize packs featuring some sweet Yu-Gi-Oh! merchandise. Up for grabs are:

Everyone who signs up for Loot Anime by June 27 will be automatically registered to win.

Loot Anime previously partnered with 4K Media to include exclusive Yu-Gi-Oh! socks in one of last year’s crates. Could more Loot Anime Yu-Gi-Oh! merch be on the way?

Video Interview: Yu-Gi-Oh! Composers Álvarez, Sheinfeld on All Access

May 11, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Posted in English dubbed, Other Stuff, Yu-Gi-Oh! | Leave a comment
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Elik Álvarez and Freddy Sheinfeld in an interview on Film.Music.Media: All Access
Yu-Gi-Oh! composers Elik Álvarez (left) and Freddy Sheinfeld

Last week, Elik Álvarez and Freddy Sheinfeld, two members of the Yu-Gi-Oh! music composition team, appeared on All Access, a video series that features in-depth interviews with composers. The program is produced by Kaya Savas of Film.Music.Media, a website dedicated to the ins and outs of the film music industry.

Álvarez and Sheinfeld, both originally from Venezuela, talk about how they met in the United States and started their own company and how they dove into the world of composing for animations like Yu-Gi-Oh!, from the Pyramid of Light to The Dark Side of Dimensions and everything in between. Some of the topics they discuss include:

  • Their musical backgrounds and how they discovered film music.
  • How they define the sound of a show and their approaches to thematic writing.
  • What it’s like composing with each other and what happens when there’s a disagreement.
  • How their approach to composition differs when writing for narrative fictions and nature documentaries.
  • The aspects of a movie or show — whether the cinematography, script, characters, or story itself — that draw the first note out of them.
  • The negatives of the film composition industry, like the decay in appreciation of quality film music and the need for composers to follow popular trends.
  • The positives of the industry, like the influx of new directors, fresh content, opportunities to grow.

There are numerous funny and enlightening moments in this interview. Álvarez and Sheinfeld got a good laugh remembering when they first met in the U.S. at a conducting class. At the time, they didn’t realize that they were both from Venezuela. They only spoke to each other in English, each thinking that the other was Greek or German.

Álvarez explained how, when composing for Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s, they enjoyed going “really dark” with the scores because it was such a change in style for them compared to the previous series. Unfortunately for them, they never got anywhere with this new sound. After writing close to an entire episode, the producers asked them to dial it down a notch. It was “too Nine Inch Nails meets Yu-Gi-Oh!” laughed Sheinfeld.

A show’s sounds sometimes develop organically and in unexpected ways. Sheinfeld reminisced about writing Yu-Gi-Oh! GX’s rock-oriented score and how the music he submitted was really similar to the ones that he used to play with his college rock band. As luck would have it, the producers really liked this style, so writing for that show became like a jam session for him and his style was integrated with the sounds of the show.

Give this interview a listen to hear more great moments like these!

(h/t Freddy Sheinfeld)

Related posts:
Composer Elik Álvarez Talks Yu-Gi-Oh! Music
Yu-Gi-Oh! Composers Álvarez, Sheinfeld Talk The Dark Side of Dimensions
Yu-Gi-Oh! Composers Álvarez, Sheinfeld Interviewed on Soundtrack Alley Podcast

Yu-Gi-Oh! Composers Álvarez, Sheinfeld Interviewed on Soundtrack Alley Podcast

April 9, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Posted in English dubbed, Other Stuff, The Dark Side of Dimensions, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 1 Comment
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Photos of Yu-Gi-Oh! composers Elik Álvarez and Freddy Sheinfeld
Yu-Gi-Oh! composers Elik Álvarez (left) and Freddy Sheinfeld

On Friday, Elik Álvarez and Freddy Sheinfeld, two members of a team of talented composers for the many Yu-Gi-Oh! series and movies, appeared on the most recent episode of Soundtrack Alley, a podcast that celebrates the love of movie soundtracks. In a 40-minute interview, the duo speak with podcast host Randy Williams about their work in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions and other recent projects. This post includes a few highlights from the interview.

Adding a New Flavor to an Old Favorite

Elik Álvarez and Freddy Sheinfeld are both composers originally from Venezuela who are now working out of Los Angeles. Their involvement in Yu-Gi-Oh! began with the first Yu-Gi-Oh! movie, Pyramid of Light, which led them to work on season 3 of the classic Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters series and, eventually, every season and spin-off since then. For Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions, the pair tried to move away from the style of music seen in the TV series in an effort to make the score a little more cinematic, explained Álvarez.

“How [do you] make it more cinematic?” asked Álvarez. “Well, you just do. That’s what you do as a composer. You are able to switch gears when they need to.”

One of the things that the two composers really pressed for in The Dark Side of Dimensions was the inclusion of more choirs.

“That doesn’t mean we haven’t used choirs in the rest of the series, but not as much probably as we do in this one. We really pushed hard for that one,” Álvarez added. But the most challenging aspect of scoring wasn’t actually the composition process.

Álvarez continued: “What is difficult is to have people who oversee the music — the music producer, the producers, the writers, whoever is listening to the score — this movie is a little bit different because even people in Japan were listening to this, people in Konami, I believe. So the difficult part is to convince them, ‘Listen, let’s try to do something different.’ They are so used to listening to a certain style of music. To propose something new takes time and persuasion and things like that. But to switch gears, in my opinion, is something that comes very natural to us.”

Sheinfeld noted that the their experience with Yu-Gi-Oh! has come full circle. The pair began with Duel Monsters, which had a certain style of music. They then moved on to other series, each with their own unique sound; GX was a little more rock-oriented and 5D’s had electronic industrial elements. Now, after more than ten years, they’ve returned to the original Yu-Gi-Oh! and needed to approach it with a fresh perspective.

“We kind of came back to some of the original ideas as far as the themes that we needed to use because those are characters that everybody knows,” said Sheinfeld. “But at the same time, we wanted to do, like Elik said, something fresh, something more cinematic. And somehow, the way it worked, to sound a little bit more cinematic was actually going a little bit old school.

“It’s funny because in the original Yu-Gi-Oh!, if you listen to the music, there’s a lot of electronics going on. A lot of electronic percussion, a lot of techno stuff combined with an orchestra. But [for The Dark Side of Dimensions], we were a little bit more pure. We tried to avoid that just a little bit just to sound a little bit more modern, which is weird but it kind of worked that way. A lot of those sounds [in the original Yu-Gi-Oh!] now sound a little bit dated if we use it, so to sound fresh, we avoided it as much as we could. We were for a more traditional sound. You know, still mixing some of the modern electronic sounds that we use these days to still have that modern feel. But overall, it was a little bit more traditional orchestration approach to this film.”

Getting the Style Just Right

Both Álvarez and Sheinfeld gave a lot of credit to Mike Brady, 4K Media’s music producer, who offers them lots of freedom to compose to picture. Brady doesn’t give the composers a temp track — a sample piece of filler music that editors and producers use to set the mood of a scene.

“We just get plain animation with dialog and rough sound effects and sometimes rough dialog, and we just write music to it,” explained Álvarez. “So that’s a very, very important point I want to make. We’re pretty lucky with this because temp tracks sometimes could be a big help, sometimes they don’t. So one thing for this is we don’t get any temp tracks. He just sends us picture with dialog, and that’s it. There is no music there. So we really create from scratch.”

“I think the producer, Mike, is very good at what he does,” Sheinfeld said. “Like Elik says, he doesn’t give a temp track, but he has a very specific idea of how the show works. It took a long time to understand it but now it’s a matter of trying to understand what is important, what you need to accomplish with the music, and on the other side, what you can add to it as far as being creative. So it’s always that balance. You want to make it work and you also want to make it as cool as possible. There’s a lot of work involved. As far as making things work, it’s funny because it’s even though it’s an animation, I think the level of thought that goes behind each detail is much more deeper than a lot of the dramatic films that I’ve done in the past.”

After working on Yu-Gi-Oh! for more than ten years, Álvarez and Sheinfeld have a good feel for what the producers are looking for and what style of music works well in the anime.

“We understand the language pretty well of these types of animations,” said Álvarez. “I gotta tell you, it’s very, very complex. It’s very complex. Sometimes, on TV, you don’t really listen that much to the music. There is a lot of dialog. They don’t mix the music that loud. But it’s very complex what we do over here, and it took us quite a few years just to nail down the style and not to be afraid.”

And getting the style just right really is the key, since the music dictates so much of how characters and scenes are perceived by the viewers.

“As Freddy said, each of the characters over there, they have their own personality and we need to make sure that people can understand that,” Álvarez said. He elaborated on this point using Kaiba as an example, explaining that when composing for this character, Brady emphasized not to treat Kaiba as a bad, evil guy but also not as a good, heroic guy.

“These characters are complex. And you know, people don’t realize that,” stated Álvarez. “And again, when you see it on TV, and there is a lot of dialog going on all the time. But we’re behind that trying to make sure that people don’t perceive Kaiba as an evil guy because he’s not. So how do you make that balance?”

Teamwork, Inspirations, Future Projects, and More

Elik Álvarez and Freddy Sheinfeld discussed several more topics with Randy Williams, including how they have honed their skills from working together, how they met fellow Yu-Gi-Oh! composer Joel Douek, what types of film music they enjoy, and what some of their future project include. It’s a smart and enlightening interview, so give it a listen! Be sure to listen all the way to the end because they share a few of their full-length pieces from Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions and other works.

Related posts:
Composer Elik Álvarez Talks Yu-Gi-Oh! Music
Yu-Gi-Oh! Composers Álvarez, Sheinfeld Talk The Dark Side of Dimensions

Yu-Gi-Oh! Animate Cafe Gets New Menu Items

March 2, 2017 at 8:00 am | Posted in Japanese, Other Stuff, Yu-Gi-Oh! | Leave a comment
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Today, Animate’s Yu-Gi-Oh! Cafes are swapping out some of their food and drinks for a few brand-new tasty eats. Check out these concoctions that are being added to the menu!

Shrimp, sweet red bean, and rice ball dishes at the Yu-Gi-Oh! Animate Cafe

“Red Dorm’s Fake Fried Shrimp” – Breaded shrimp cutlets, tartar sauce, adzuki bean wafer

“Very Sweet Red Bean Soup Noodles” – Red bean soup, udon, grilled rice cake, printed adzuki bean wafer, pine-shaped cookies

“Yuma’s Duel Meal ~With ‘Numbers’~” – Round rice ball, fried mackerel marinated in spiced vinegar (“namban-zuke”), pickled radish, pickled eggplant and cucumber

Hell Kaiser Ryo Marufuji's rice flour dumplings and Ryo Shark Kamishiro's pancake at the Yu-Gi-Oh! Animate Cafe

“Hell Kaiser’s Five Strikes (‘Go-Ren-Da’) Rice Flour Dumplings” – Powdered green tea ice cream, corn flakes, vanilla ice cream, brown sugar gelatin, rice flour dumplings, powdered green tea pancake, molasses, whipped cream, silver leaf

“Shark’s Magic Combo! Aqua Jet Pancake” – Fluffy Japanese pancake, whipped cream, adzuki bean wafer, shark cookie, foam, blue syrup, cocoa powder, margarine, maple syrup (the text on the pancake says “Irattokuruze!” which is localized as “That really ticks me off!”)

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's Clear Mind drink with glowing ice cube at the Yu-Gi-Oh! Animate Cafe

“A New Drink! Over Top Clear Mind!” – Ginger ale, star-shaped pineapples, light-up ice cubes (not edible)

Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V Smile World drink and wafer designs at the Yu-Gi-Oh! Animate Cafe

“Make People Smile by Dueling…! Smile World Soft Drink” – Blue syrup, white grape soda, colored tapioca, whipped cream, four different printed adzuki bean wafers

Sora Shiunin's hot milk, corn soup, and Kuriboh latte at the Yu-Gi-Oh! Animate Cafe

“Come Forth! Death-Toy Scissors Hot Milk!” – Hot milk, white chocolate syrup, strawberry syrup, lollipop

“Can☆Corn Soup” – Cream of corn soup, star-shaped carrots, printed adzuki bean wafer

“Reverse Card Open! Latte of Summoning Kuriboh!” – Cappuccino, three different cocoa powder designs

The new menu items will be available from now until the end of the cafe’s run on March 29.

(News from Animate Cafe Ikebukuro’s Twitter @animatecafe_ike)

Previously:
Yu-Gi-Oh! Animate Cafe

Crunchyroll Now on Amazon Fire TV

February 23, 2017 at 10:00 pm | Posted in Other Stuff | Leave a comment
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Joey freaking out when he answers the phone in episode 56

Crunchyroll announced today that its newest update to the Crunchyroll Amazon app includes support for a long-requested device — Amazon Fire TV! Furthermore, support has also returned for Fire tablets, many of which haven’t been able to run the app for months on end now due to Amazon’s security updates.

The CR app is free to download and offers both Premium and free ad-supported viewing experiences. Now you can watch all of the Yu-Gi-Oh! series and other great anime in even more places. Hooray!

(News from Crunchyroll.)

More Photos from the U.S. Premiere of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions

February 3, 2017 at 10:00 pm | Posted in Konami, Other Stuff, The Dark Side of Dimensions | 2 Comments
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Voice actors Eric Stuart and Dan Green striking a funny pose at the U.S. Premiere of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions

4K Media has posted over 160 new photos from the January 24 U.S. premiere of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions in New York City. Tons of voice actors, tons of fans, tons of important people who help make Yu-Gi-Oh! a reality for all of us… How many voice actors can you pick out? Be sure to check out my previous coverage of the premiere and my thoughts on the movie too.

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions is in theaters for just one more week. Check yugiohtickets.com for locations and ticket sales. Don’t miss it!

Today Only: $9.99 Weekly Shonen Jump Subscription

January 30, 2017 at 3:30 am | Posted in Other Stuff | Leave a comment
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Yuzu's dreams of getting rich in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V manga chapter 2
“…I’ll save a bunch of money!”

VIZ Media’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine has turned five years old. And to celebrate, the company is selling a one-year subscription to WSJ for $9.99 — the lowest price that it has ever been in these five years. That’s less than $0.21 per issue, or a savings of over 60 percent off the normal subscription price of $25.99!

If you’ve ever wanted to follow series like Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, One Piece, My Hero Academia, Food Wars!, and more, this is the day to subscribe. A subscription includes 48 issues of manga simulpubs, and each issue averages around 200 pages.

This offer is only valid for 24 hours today, January 30, until 2:59 am ET/11:59 pm PT.

The only downside is that there are no Yu-Gi-Oh! cards included with this offer, but for such a steep discount, it’s hard to complain.

You can read your Weekly Shonen Jump issues on the web at VIZ.com and on your Android and iOS devices.

ShopYuGiOh.com – The Official Yu-Gi-Oh! Merchandise Shop

January 25, 2017 at 10:00 am | Posted in Konami, Other Stuff, The Dark Side of Dimensions, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 1 Comment

Banner from ShopYuGiOh.com

Yu-Gi-Oh! now has its own official online merchandise shop! ShopYuGiOh.com is 4K Media’s new website that sells licensed Yu-Gi-Oh! clothes and accessories. Currently, the store is filled with dozens of exclusive Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions shirts, hoodies, and phone and tablet cases. Team Yugi, Team Kaiba, and Team Aigami are all represented. Check it out.

ShopYuGiOh.com was unveiled on a flyer handed out at last night’s U.S. premiere of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions in New York City.

ShopYuGiOh.com flyer from the U.S. premiere of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions

…That’s right, at the U.S. premiere! Stay tuned for coverage of the monumental event.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Animate Cafe

January 14, 2017 at 9:00 am | Posted in Japanese, Other Stuff, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 1 Comment
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Yu-Gi-Oh! 20th Anniversary Animate Cafe banner

Ready for another Yu-Gi-Oh! Cafe? Oh yes! Between February 1 and March 29, the Animate Cafes in Ikebukuro, Tennoji, Sendai, and Okayama will celebrate the franchise’s 20th anniversary with their own Yu-Gi-Oh! collaboration cafes. Animate is the largest retailer in Japan of otaku-related goods and has 11 cafes (and a food truck!) that get decked out with the characters and themes of popular anime, manga, and games all year round.

Yesterday, Animate Cafe’s websites updated with pictures of the exclusive Yu-Gi-Oh! keychains, coasters, buttons, and other cute merch that customers can soon pick up. It also posted photos of its Yu-Gi-Oh!-themed menu. Will you dine like a king with Jack Atlas’ latest ramen concoction? Or eat the hearty stew of Shun Kurosaki and the Xyz resistance fighters? Or maybe you’ll want to dine on all five Yu-Gi-Oh! protagonists in the special 20th anniversary pasta! Let’s see what there is to eat.

Yu-Gi-Oh! 20th Special Pasta at the Yu-Gi-Oh! Animate Cafe

“Yu-Gi-Oh! 20th Special Pasta” – Pasta pescatore (star-shaped yellow bell pepper, Chinese jellyfish, red snow crab, shrimp, cherry tomato), flat-leaved parsley

Shun Kurosaki's stew and Jonouchi Katsuya's mapo tofu at the Yu-Gi-Oh! Animate Cafe

“‘Will of Iron and Strength of Steel’ Flavors – Soup Kitchen of the Resistance” – Beef stew, penne pasta, mashed potatoes, adzuki bean wafer

“‘Jonouchi Fire!!’ Mapo Tofu Meal ~Very Spicy Lava Golem Style~” – Mapo tofu, rice, shredded chili peppers, very spicy sauce, paprika powder

Jack Atlas' ramen and Yuma and Astral's sandwich at the Yu-Gi-Oh! Animate Cafe

“Jack Deluxe! Spicy Curry Ramen” – Curry ramen (boiled egg, roasted pork fillet, finely chopped green onions, naruto), printed adzuki bean wafer

“‘Let’s Overlay!’ Yuma and Astral’s Xyz Sandwich” – Bread, shrimp, red cabbage marinade, red leaf lettuce, cheese, French mustard sauce, avocado filling, consommé

Jack Atlas' Blue-Eyes Mountain coffee at the Yu-Gi-Oh! Animate Cafe

“Blue-Eyes Mountain” – Blue Mountain Premium coffee, blueberry tart, whipped cream, printed soy sheet (also includes Jack’s A-shaped earring as a keychain!)

Yubel, Shingo Sawatari, and Kaito and Haruto's desserts at the Yu-Gi-Oh! Animate Cafe

“‘But That’s Love, Isn’t It?’ Yubel’s Love Overflows Like Molten Chocolate Cake” – Molten chocolate cake, blueberry sauce, coffee sauce, blackcurrant sherbet, orange, kiwi, whipped cream, printed cookie

“Sawatari-Style Fruit Cocktail” – No-bake cheesecake mousse, fruit cocktail, gelatin, strawberries, cherry, mint”

“Kaito and Haruto’s Bonds – Heartland Parfait” – Spongecake, fruit sauce (kiwi, strawberry, mango), vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, chocolate heart, mini cone, caramel, whipped cream, corn flakes

Mixed drinks and teas at the Yu-Gi-Oh! Animate Cafe

A: “Three Phantom Gods Drink: ‘I Summon Slifer the Sky Dragon!'” – Strawberry soda, red sherbet, blue gelatin, whipped cream, printed adzuki bean wafer

B: “Three Phantom Gods Drink: ‘Come Forth, Obelisk!'” – Apple drink, blue syrup, whipped cream, blue gelatin, printed adzuki bean wafer

C: “Three Phantom Gods Drink: ‘I Never Expected That I’d Be Showing You Ra’s True Form'” – Mango puree, White Water, mango, whipped cream, printed adzuki bean wafer

D: “Next time, ‘Apricot Soda.’ Duel Standby!” – Apricot syrup, seltzer water, whipped cream, dried apricot

E: “Duel Academia’s Heroine Drink – Asuka, Rei’s Cranberry Peach Drink” – Cranberry drink, white peach juice, blue syrup, whipped cream, printed adzuki bean wafer

F: “‘Black Flowers, Bloom!’ Aki Izayoi’s Black Rose Iced Tea” – Rose syrup, iced tea, bell rose, lemon

Kotori Mizuki and Yuzu's teas at the Yu-Gi-Oh! Animate Cafe

G: “Kotori Mizuki’s ‘Kotori-na Shining Romanov Powdered Green Tea Latte'” – Hot powdered green tea latte, strawberry powder

H: “Yuzu Series” – Hot yuzu tea, printed cookie, whipped cream, four colors of syrups (powdered green tea, blueberry, white nectar, and molasses)

Check out the official Animate Cafe Twitter @animate_cafe for more details and updates. Entry into the Ikebukuro, Tennoji, and Sendai cafes requires reservations, which are held by online lottery. (Okayama does not.) Each location offers the same menu and merchandise.

Previously:
Yu-Gi-Oh! Tower Records Cafe

Update (March 2): The Animate Yu-Gi-Oh! Cafe is swapping some new food and drinks into the menu today!

Yu-Gi-Oh! For the Holidays (YGOFTH): 2016 Edition

December 1, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Posted in Other Stuff, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 2 Comments

Joey nervously watching the outcome of his die roll in episode 135
The face of an anxious Yu-Gi-Oh! gift giver. Don’t let this be you!

Thanksgiving has come and gone and we have now entered the month of December, which can only mean one thing: we are neck-deep in the Christmas and holiday shopping season! With more official Yu-Gi-Oh! merch available this year than there has been in recent history, are you stressing out about what to buy for a discerning Yu-Gi-Oh! fan, besides the obvious choice of Yu-Gi-Oh! trading cards, anime, and manga? Have no fear.

Presenting: Yu-Gi-Oh! For the Holidays (YGOFTH)! This month, I’ll be highlighting some licensed Yu-Gi-Oh! products that are currently available in the West for both young and old fans of Yugi and his gang. The action begins tomorrow!

Check back here at 6 pm ET/3 pm PT on each of the following dates for this year’s YGOFTH entries:

Friday, December 2: Yu-Gi-Oh! Top Trumps
Tuesday, December 6: Yu-Gi-Oh! Collectible Silver Coins
Friday, December 9: Yu-Gi-Oh! Mugs by GB eye
Tuesday, December 13: Yu-Gi-Oh! Playing Cards by Aquarius
Friday, December 16: Yu-Gi-Oh! Monopoly by USAopoly
Tuesday, December 20: Yu-Gi-Oh! Collector Pins by Grin Studios

Know of a Yu-Gi-Oh! product that you think would make a great gift for someone? Let me know and maybe I’ll highlight it here.

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