Daniel J. Edwards (Aigami) Talks Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions

January 17, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Posted in English dubbed, Konami, The Dark Side of Dimensions, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 1 Comment
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Daniel J. Edwards in a behind-the-scenes look at Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions

What kind of character is Aigami and what are his goals? Actor and singer Daniel J. Edwards tells it like it is in this second behind-the-scenes interview promoting Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions. Daniel also talks about what it’s like being a part of such an iconic anime series that he enjoyed years ago in middle school. And once again, there are many new clips from the movie!

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions premieres January 27 in the U.S. and Canada. Ticket sales and theater locations are available at yugiohtickets.com. The site now has over 430 theaters listed, and new locations will continue to be added up to opening day.

Previously:
Eric Stuart (Seto Kaiba) Talks Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions

Eric Stuart (Seto Kaiba) Talks Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions

January 10, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Posted in English dubbed, Konami, The Dark Side of Dimensions, Yu-Gi-Oh! | Leave a comment
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Eric Stuart in a behind-the-scenes look at Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions

What does voice actor and musician Eric Stuart think about returning to play Seto Kaiba after all these years? Check out an interview with the man himself in this first behind-the-scenes look at Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions. Eric talks about his initial impressions of the film, his connection to Seto Kaiba, and how he is portraying the character in this movie. Plus, there are lots of new clips from the movie!

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions opens January 27 in the U.S. and Canada. For theater locations and ticket sales, visit yugiohtickets.com. There are 380 theaters listed as of this writing, with over 500 total theaters planning to screen the film. New locations will be added up to the release date.

If you don’t see your local theater listed, don’t be afraid to reach out to them to ask them to play the film. Theaters want to play movies that people want to see, so hit them up on Facebook, Twitter, or even with an old-fashioned phone call and show them that there’s interest!

Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Scale 8: ‘Sora’s Hospitality!’ + Kazuki Takahashi Interview

March 21, 2016 at 9:03 pm | Posted in ARC-V, Yu-Gi-Oh! | Leave a comment
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Sora Shiunin and his Candy Park Action Field in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V manga chapter 8

Yuya and Yuzu have left the safe haven of Yuya’s hideout after learning the whereabouts of Genesis Omega Dragon. But it was all just a trick by Sora Shiunin, who is eager to squeeze some answers out of Yuya about his mysterious past and his cryptic hacking and dueling abilities. Now, with Yuya trapped in a locked room, Shiunin has him right where he wants him.

Shiunin snaps his fingers and a bright, prismatic Action Field materializes before their eyes, completely lighting up the dark and empty lab. It’s Candy Park, a world filled with giant succulent sweets of all kinds — massive colorful lollipops jutting out of the ground, chocolate truffles drenched in ganache, decadent flans, fluffy cotton candy…

But the playful field hides some unfriendly booby traps, as Yuya soon learns. Spotting an Action Card in the sky, Yuya hops onto a large balloon floating in front of him, only for it to burst, sending him plummeting to the ground. Shiunin snickers and wastes no time snatching the Action Card for himself then Fusion summoning his first monster, Frightfur Bear. A towering, grotesque stuffed animal emerges behind Shiunin. Its body is mutilated by a pair of scissors sticking out of its severed torso. Each of its severed arms are attached to its body by the blades of a pair of scissors jammed into its shoulder and arm sockets.

Yuya goes on the offensive, setting his Pendulum scale with Enter-Mate Ballad and Enter-Mate Barracuda, a pair of beautiful boy monsters. He then Pendulum summons Handsome Liger, an equally beautiful samurai who wears traditional samurai waist and thigh protectors, but a rockin’ modern overcoat. Frightfur Bear has more attack points than Handsome Liger, but Yuya’s Pendulum monsters use their abilities to weaken the menacing stuffed animal, allowing the samurai to cut it down with his sword.

Sora Shiunin winces as his monster falls, but he is ready to retaliate. He activates Frightfur Reborn, which brings Frightfur Bear back from the graveyard. Free of the ill effects of Enter-Mate Ballad and Barracuda’s attack-weakening abilities, Frightfur Bear now attacks Handsome Liger, launching one of its scissor-stuffed arms at the samurai. Yuya knows that he can bolster Handsome Liger’s attack points with a trap card, but just as he is about to activate it…

A small piece of paper flutters down from the sky. Shiunin gasps nervously as Yuya reaches for it. It’s a photograph of Shiunin and his little sister. She is smiling and sitting upright in a hospital bed. Yuya and Yuzu glance over at Shiunin, who is now trembling, his eyes welling up with tears.

“I… can’t lose this duel…no matter what!” he exclaims. “I have a sick little sister… But Reiji Akaba took her hostage… If I don’t defeat you, he’ll kill my sister!”

Yuya and Yuzu are petrified by Shiunin’s revelation. Tears begin streaming down Shiunin’s face as he begs Yuya to let him win. Yuya relents and doesn’t activate his trap. Frightfur Bear annihilates Handsome Liger and the destructive impact sends Yuya and Yuzu tumbling backward.

In a control room at LC headquarters, Reiji Akaba, Shingo Sawatari, and Shun Kurosaki watch the action unfold. Kurosaki is outraged by Akaba’s actions, vowing to “dispense justice.” He demands LC’s president reveal the truth about what happened to Shiunin’s sister. Akaba sits stoically in his chair with his fingers steepled. He doesn’t respond.

Yuya is on his knees, contemplating what to do next, when he hears a familiar voice mocking him for being weak. But before Yuya can respond, the voice makes his presence felt, literally.

Yuri in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V manga chapter 8

“This looks like a job for me!” the voice proclaims. Suddenly, after a twirl and flourish of Yuya’s cloak, a new figure is standing in front of Shiunin and Yuzu. It’s Yuri, the cape-wearing boy from Yuya’s mind! And this personality isn’t impressed at all with Shiunin or his sister.

Who cares about that?!” he asserts. “You can both die for all I care!”

Thoughts

Sora! A moral dilemma! What an unexpected turn of events. What is Yuya supposed to do? Let Sora win? But if that happens, Yuya’s loss basically gives Reiji an open invitation to capture him. If Yugi were dueling here, he would be skillful enough to end the game in a way that doesn’t hurt either duelist. Maybe he would reduce both players’ life points to zero at the same time so that there wouldn’t be a true winner or loser, and both of them could walk away and duel again another day. Is Yuya that clever? It might not matter at this point because Yuri has taken over, and it’s pretty clear what his intentions are. And although Yuri might be cutthroat, maybe this is because he recognizes something that Yuya doesn’t — like how Sora might actually be lying.

Playboy Yuya returns in this chapter. Thank you for carrying attractive monsters that appeal to both sexes, Yuya, hahaha.

There’s a charming visual gag that appears after Enter-Mate Ballad uses its effect. When Sora’s Frightfur Bear wilts while losing attack points, it goes walleyed, trembles, and releases a sweat drop. Then its scissors momentarily transform from razor-sharp killing machines into blunt-tipped child-safe utensils. Cute.

Hey, Shingo and Shun are so funny together! They should star in their own comedy spin-off series.

Shun seems to have revealed himself to be a good person in this chapter, not just a cold, calculating duelist who plays for keeps. Reiji appears to take special notice of Shun’s words — that Shun will “dispense justice” if Reiji really did take Sora’s sister hostage. Shingo breaks up this serious moment when he realizes that Shun had kidnapped someone as well, haha.

What happened when Yuya attempted to reach the second Action Card and stepped onto the exploding balloon? Did he use his Solid Vision manipulation abilities to teleport back next to Yuzu? Whatever happened, he looked genuinely confused for a moment. Is there something going on with his body or mind that hasn’t been revealed yet?

Interview with Kazuki Takahashi at Jump Festa 2016

Last December, VIZ’s Shonen Jump crew caught up with numerous manga creators at Jump Festa — Shueisha’s annual convention for all things Jump — and asked them each for their thoughts on what Shonen Jump and manga mean to them, the things that they are really excited about this year, and more. Today’s issue contains Team Jump’s interview with Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi. Which of his characters would Takahashi like to hang out with at a New Year’s party? Does he ever dream about his characters? What video game has he been trying to get into? Find out as Team Jump picks his brain in this issue!

* * *

Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Scale 8: “Sora’s Hospitality!” is available now in VIZ Media’s Weekly Shonen Jump No. 16 (March 21, 2016). Grab the issue from VIZ, Amazon, and comiXology.

Previous chapter:
Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Scale 7: “Genesis Omega Dragon!”

Next chapter:
Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Scale 9: “Fusion vs. Fusion”

Photo: Taro-kun, Kazuki Takahashi’s Dog

February 6, 2016 at 9:54 pm | Posted in Japanese, Other Stuff, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 3 Comments
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Photo of Kazuki Takahashi's dog Taro-kun tweeted by Jump Ryu!

The staff at Shueisha’s new Jump Ryu! series has been busy interviewing Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi and captured an adorable photo of his dog, Taro-kun, pictured above. D’awww. Taro, complete with green bandanna, is of course the inspiration behind the Yu-Gi-Oh! card Shiba-Warrior Taro released in the 2008 Anniversary Pack.

Jump Ryu! staff also tweeted a picture of a massive display case filled with Yu-Gi-Oh! merchandise at Takahashi’s workplace. Wow! How many of those Yu-Gi-Oh! goods can you pick out?

Jump Ryu! is a magazine and DVD series that profiles Jump manga creators, offering a special in-depth look at their lives and works. Kazuki Takahashi will appear in the series’ eighth volume, which hits Japanese newsstands on April 21.

Previously:
Kazuki Takahashi to be Featured in Jump Ryu! Magazine/DVD Series

Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Scale 5: ‘Assault! Raidraptors!!’ + Kazuki Takahashi Interview

December 21, 2015 at 5:48 pm | Posted in ARC-V, Yu-Gi-Oh! | Leave a comment
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Shun Kurosaki, angry but driven after getting attacked by Yuya in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V manga chapter 5

Somewhere in the suburbs of Maiami City, a gargantuan Solid Vision bird cage takes form in an empty field. In the center of the cage rests a colossal tree-like tower, its body distressingly gnarled and full of knots. All around the tower float several small wooden islands. This is Shun Kurosaki’s Sky Tree Bird Cage Action Field. Yuya recognizes this to be the setting of a midair duel and is pumped to take on Kurosaki.

Yuzu looks up and sees Syu Zo hanging high off the ground, the back of his coat caught on a branch extending out of the tower. She rushes inside and discovers a spiral staircase lining the tower’s inner walls. She begins the exhausting climb up to reach her dad. Outside the tower, Yuya and Kurosaki begin their duel.

Yuya is already at a disadvantage. There are Action Cards floating in the sky, but after Kurosaki’s Raidraptor – Napalm Dragonius cooks Yuya’s precious little Poppo, Yuya’s deck is left without any flying monsters.

Yuto knows that Kurosaki watched Yuya’s previous duel and is waiting for Odd-Eyes Phantom Dragon. He warns Yuya to be cautious of Kurosaki’s game. Yuya won’t have any of it though.

“Giving people what they want is a Duel-tainer’s job!!” Yuya exclaims.

Yuya Pendulum Summons Odd-Eyes and is prepared to destroy Raidraptor – Napalm Dragonius, but Kurosaki saves his monster with a Trap Card. Odd-Eyes’ special ability still gets the better of Kurosaki though, bleeding his life points to a mere 100. Yuya and Yuto watch in horror as Kurosaki cries out in agony and excitingly eats it all up.

“This pain… This pain is what gets me serious!”

Thoughts

Whoa. Shun. This guy is hardcore. And his Action Field is awesome. The twisted and complex tree tower is almost like a reflection of his frightening personality. Hopefully Yuya will crush him quickly and more details about how Shun came to be this way will then be revealed.

It took five chapters to get to it, but the manga finally explains the Pendulum Summoning mechanic to the reader and to the characters. Considering how powerful and exceptional it is to be able to perform such a move in their world, it’s a little surprising that the characters don’t react more enthusiastically about what they are witnessing.

Yuya Sakaki! You playboy, you…

Yuya Sakaki posing with Enter-Mate Uni and Enter-Mate Corn in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V manga chapter 5

Haha, is that a very regrettably placed sound effect or what?

Yuzu is none too happy that Yuya is chilling with some voluptuous monsters. Maybe she’s even jealous of the attention that he’s paying them. Even though she has only just met him, could she have already developed a crush on him?

Interview with Kazuki Takahashi

In addition to including the latest chapter of Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, this week’s issue of Weekly Shonen Jump also has a special two-page interview with Kazuki Takahashi! The creator of Yu-Gi-Oh! takes on questions from the WSJ crew about his artistic influences, interest in Egypt, and favorite games. Takahashi also answers three questions that fans on Twitter originally submitted to WSJ back when he attended San Diego Comic Con in July.

* * *

Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Scale 5: “Assault! Raidraptors!!” is available now in VIZ Media’s Weekly Shonen Jump No. 3/4 (December 21, 2015). Grab the issue from VIZ, Amazon, and comiXology.

Previous chapter:
Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Scale 4: “The Hungry Assassin!”

Next chapter:
Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Scale 6: “Feeling Alive!!”

Kazuki Takahashi to be Featured in Jump Ryu! Magazine/DVD Series

December 6, 2015 at 10:11 pm | Posted in Japanese, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 2 Comments
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Jump Ryu! announcement in Shueisha's 2016 Weekly Shonen Jump issue 1

Out on newsstands in Japan today, the first 2016 issue of Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine announced that Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi will be highlighted in an upcoming volume of Jump Ryu!, a new series from Shueisha that shines the spotlight on the lives of the creators of WSJ manga.

Each volume of Jump Ryu! will include a magazine and DVD that tell the behind-the-scenes stories of one creator’s debut and offer interviews, art tutorials, and original illustrations. Also included is tracing paper that will help readers reproduce the creator’s most famous scenes.

Takahashi will appear in the series’ April 21, 2016 volume. Jump Ryu! will feature 25 legends of manga, including Akira Toriyama (the creator of Dragon Ball), Masashi Kishimoto (Naruto), Eiichiro Oda (One Piece), and Tite Kubo (Bleach). The first volume will be released on January 7, 2016. New volumes will be published every first and third Thursday of each month.

News about the production of Jump Ryu! was first announced last month in Shueisha’s 49th 2015 issue of WSJ. There is no word yet on whether or not the series will see an English-language release.

Check out Shueisha’s official Jump Ryu! website (in Japanese) at jumpryu.com.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Art Interview with UDON Editor in Chief Erik Ko

September 22, 2015 at 9:00 am | Posted in Yu-Gi-Oh! | 4 Comments
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Duel Art English title page

Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Art — or more formally, DUEL ART: Kazuki Takahashi Yu-Gi-Oh! illustrations — is a collection of gorgeous full-color artwork, line art, and concept sketches straight from the creator of Yu-Gi-Oh! himself. The hardcover book includes images of characters and monsters from the classic Yu-Gi-Oh!, GX, 5D’s, and ZEXAL series. Takahashi also offers a step-by-step walkthrough of his creative design process and sits down for an exclusive interview where he reveals his influences, methods, and development as an artist.

Duel Art was originally published in Japan by Shueisha under its V Jump Special Book line in 2011. At San Diego Comic Con 2014, North American publisher and art collective UDON Entertainment revealed that it had acquired the rights to publish an English-language version. One year later at SDCC 2015, a small number of copies of the book were sold before it was finally officially released to the masses last week.

In a special interview, Erik Ko, the Editor in Chief of UDON, graciously provides some insight into the licensing and production of Duel Art and what makes the book a must-have for all Yu-Gi-Oh! fans.

News that UDON would be releasing Duel Art came as a surprise to some Yu-Gi-Oh! fans because the book was originally published in Japan way back in December 2011. What led UDON to decide to release Duel Art?

Erik Ko: The answer is actually very simple — a lot of us here at UDON are really big fans of Yu-Gi-Oh! And we admire Takahashi-sensei’s artwork a lot! So, when the opportunity to work on the English version of Duel Art came about, we (without any hesitation) were very excited to start working on publishing Duel Art for the U.S. market.

In the West, rights to the Yu-Gi-Oh! property are owned by a few different companies. For example, VIZ Media handles the manga, 4K Media handles the anime and merchandising, and Konami Digital Entertainment handles the card game and video games. Did UDON work with any of these companies to bring over Duel Art, or did you approach Shueisha directly?

EK: UDON has very friendly relations with all these companies, and after a few meetings, UDON secured the deal to publish the Yu-Gi-Oh! book. Also, we would like to take this opportunity to send a big “thank you” to all those involved who helped us facilitate this deal!

Did UDON encounter any unexpected challenges while working on Duel Art? Are you able to comment on why the book was delayed from its original May 2015 release date?

EK: First and foremost, UDON has been known to put the reproduction quality of our books as our top priority. The Duel Art art book was no exception to this priority. To ensure that our English edition was highly compatible to the superb Japanese original by Shueisha, we worked very hard and took our time with the printers and the editors at Shueisha to cross check the print proofs and compared them to the original Japanese version. Upon seeing the colorful results in Duel Art, we felt it was worth the extended wait!

What was the best part about working on Duel Art? Do any of Takahashi’s pieces stand out as a favorite for you?

EK: The best part was of course being able to admire Takahashi-sensei’s art up close! Each piece has so much detail. Fun fact: Did you know, in order to truly reproduce Takahashi-sensei’s original colors, a special fifth ink was used in the book to enhance the vibrancy of his art!

Back in 2013, UDON announced a deal with comiXology to bring many of your books to the digital realm. Do you have any plans to distribute Duel Art digitally?

EK: The comiXology deal was geared mainly for our Street Fighter comics, and for some of our select manga titles. While the digital market is growing for us, we believe art books are best served in physical book format so that fans and art book collectors can actually experience every page and admire the amazing artwork up close. We feel it just isn’t the same seeing pixels of artwork on a screen!

I agree with that sentiment. Do you have any further thoughts or tidbits about Duel Art that you would like to share with Yu-Gi-Oh! fans?

EK: As I mentioned previously, all of us at UDON are huge fans of Yu-Gi-Oh!. UDON is looking at Duel Art as our first official Yu-Gi-Oh! project, with the possibility to do more books in the future if this book is deemed successful. We have spent a lot of love and effort in producing this book, and hope Duel Art will get the fan support it deserves! So, I hope if you are a Yu-Gi-Oh! fan reading this, please help spread the word that the official English edition of Duel Art is now available!!

Thank you again for your insight. And on behalf of English-speaking Yu-Gi-Oh! fans, thank you for releasing such an awesome product.

EK: Thank you again for your support!!

* * *

Check out UDON’s website for an overview of Duel Art and a preview of some of the fantastic artwork between its covers.

UDON is also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and DeviantArt.

[SDCC 2015] ‘Spotlight on Yu-Gi-Oh! & Creator Kazuki Takahashi’ Panel

July 18, 2015 at 9:43 am | Posted in English dubbed, Japanese, Konami, The Dark Side of Dimensions, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 5 Comments
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Schedule posted on the door of room 7AB at San Diego Comic Con 2015
Sadly, photography and videography were prohibited during the panel.
But I assure you, with all my heart, that the panel that took place beyond this door was nothing short of a magical experience.

On the afternoon of Saturday, July 11, around 480 people packed into a corner room at the San Diego Convention Center. They had come to see one of the most influential and beloved artists and storytellers in the world of Japanese manga and anime, a man who rarely makes public appearances. His name is Kazuki Takahashi and he is the creator of Yu-Gi-Oh!.

“This is going to be a very special presentation. This is going to be a panel that you will not forget,” promised an excited middle-aged gentleman standing at the lectern. He was this panel’s moderator and this was his first emcee job. “This is the very first time — the very first time — that Takahashi-sensei has been to the United States and will address the fans at Comic Con.

“I’m going to tell you what. The timing couldn’t be any better because next year, 2016, is the 20th anniversary of Yu-Gi-Oh!. And that success we share with you fans. And this panel today is our way of saying thank you to each and every one of you for your support in making Yu-Gi-Oh! truly a global franchise.”

And with that, the historic “Spotlight on Yu-Gi-Oh! and Creator Kazuki Takahashi” panel of SDCC 2015 was underway. The room was filled with fans from around the globe, eager to see the man who has made such an extraordinary impact on their lives with his stories of epic gaming and themes of bonds and friendship.

But before the panel could really begin, the moderator needed to make sure that the audience was really ready for what was to come. And what better way to pump up the crowd than with some chanting?

“We all want to make Takahashi-sensei feel a warm U.S. welcome,” said the moderator. “Now, as many of you probably know, he doesn’t speak a whole lot of English, but there’s four words that he does know. Anybody want to take a guess?” The audience of course knew the answer.

“It’s time to duel!”

The moderator led the crowd for two rounds of synchronized “It’s time to duel!” shouts. Neighboring rooms probably wondered what sort of madness was taking place on the other side of their walls. All the while, a Japanese camera crew working with the Yu-Gi-Oh! licensors was on hand, capturing every thunderously loud moment. The footage and photographs from this panel would be used to market the new Yu-Gi-Oh! movie and maybe even air on Japanese television.

“You guys are going to become international superstars,” the moderator joked.

Press Conference

The panel kicked off with a short press conference. Five of the top Yu-Gi-Oh! business and production experts were on hand to offer their knowledge about the franchise. They were:

  • Shoji Dewa, corporate officer at Konami Digital Entertainment
  • Takahiko Aikawa, editor of Shueisha’s V Jump magazine (“I am a duelist!” he proclaimed, with cheers from the audience.)
  • Arthur “Sam” Murakami, producer at 4K Media and the panel’s translator (“My favorite monster is Kuriboh.”)
  • Teruaki Jitsumatsu, producer at NAS and of the new movie (he is also a producer of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s and was present at the SDCC 2008 panel where that show premiered)
  • Shane Guenego, producer at 4K Media, who was sporting a Duel Disk (he, too, was at the SDCC 2008 panel)

The moderator did not introduce himself, but noted that he’s the Hollywood PR agent for Yu-Gi-Oh! and had business cards at the ready for potential new clients. Who knows whether or not he was serious.

Kazuki Takahashi’s seat on the panel was empty. He was not in the room.

V Jump Editor Takahiko Aikawa began the press conference by providing a brief history of the Yu-Gi-Oh! property. Yu-Gi-Oh! began running in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1996 and became a huge sensation in Japan, he said. In 2001, the TV series began airing in the United States and would subsequently be broadcast in over 65 countries across the world. Aikawa later tweeted two photos of the panel and the excited crowd.

Next, 4K Media Producer Shane Guenego reminded the listeners that a big Yu-Gi-Oh! announcement was made at Anime Expo the prior week: English-subtitled episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX were coming to Crunchyroll. He then dropped a bombshell that no one saw coming: the original Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters series was now available in Japanese with English subs! The first five episodes would be posted immediately after the panel, he said, and new episodes would be added each month.

Konami executive Shoji Dewa next lauded the success of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game, which has sold over 25.1 billion cards in over 60 countries, and which entered the Guinness Book of World Records in July 2009 as the best-selling card game of all time.

Yu-Gi-Oh! has also been branching off into other products aside from trading card games, added Guenego, and the franchise is looking at new opportunities down the line. Already available are the miniature figures game Yu-Gi-Oh! Heroclix and the dice-rolling game Yu-Gi-Oh! Dice Masters, he said. Both products are produced by WizKids.

“Wow, that’s a lot of stuff, a lot of success there,” said the moderator. “Why don’t we introduce the person behind it?”

The original Yu-Gi-Oh! theme song began to play…

Kazuki Takahashi Enters

“I’m sure you all realize what a rare occurrence that this is today,” the moderator further teased. “To actually see and hear our sensei, who still prefers to walk among us without being seen or recognized, perhaps to get honest reactions to his art, or maybe he’s just terribly shy. But we can all recognize his work in a heartbeat, can’t we?

“We know his characters, his storylines as if they were part of our own story. That’s why he has risen from being an unknown manga artist to our hero and teacher. The success was not overnight. It took a lot of sketches and projects before he finally found a voice that would resonate with all of us.

“And like that voice, he never game up, he never stopped trying, and he always believed that he would find the voice that would touch us all and that would launch a truly global phenomenon. Ladies and gentlemen, Sensei Tashahaki [sic].”

Yes, this was the moderator’s first emcee gig. And now, possibly his last. Some of the audience giggled at the gaffe, but that was quickly forgotten as everyone rose to their feet and shouted exhilaratingly as the man of the hour entered the room.

Kazuki Takahashi was wearing Cospa’s black “Start the Game of Darkness” T-shirt, a black blazer, and a stylish white sports watch. His jet-black, wavy hair was neatly cut. The stubble on his face was greying. His kind eyes and shy, gentle smile reminded me of Yugi. He took a seat next to 4K Media Producer Arthur Murakami.

“Thank you so much for coming,” said the moderator. “I know this is the first time you’ve been here on a panel in the United States and we are extremely happy to have you here hosting us today. How do you feel about seeing this crowd and witnessing the popularity of Yu-Gi-Oh! in the United States?”

“I’m very thankful to all you fans from the bottom of my heart for bringing me to Comic Con here in San Diego,” Takahashi responded. “The fact that Yu-Gi-Oh! has spread worldwide and everybody has supported Yu-Gi-Oh! and kept me propped up and supported me and showed me love, I’m very thankful from the bottom of my heart.”

Questions and Answers with Kazuki Takahashi

At the end of June, 4K Media launched the #yugiohQA Twitter campaign, amassing questions from fans to ask Kazuki Takahashi on the panel. Takahashi said he welcomed the questions.

The moderator started off by asking what Takahashi’s inspiration was in creating the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga.

“I really love American comics, especially fighting comics,” said Takahashi to the delight of the Comic Con attendees. He recounted his earliest experiences working on manga and how this influenced the development of Yu-Gi-Oh!.

Takahashi had been working a part-time job at a game company and submitting manga to Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine. He had been trying different story concepts but none of them were successful. When he was suddenly fired from his job, he no longer had an income and everyday life became a struggle. Takahashi used that as a catalyst to try doing manga again.

During that time period, there was a lot of fighting and martial arts-types of manga. And though Takahashi loved the genre, “I felt that I could not defeat Dragon Ball.”

The listeners understood and laughed ecstatically.

“So, I thought that incorporating fighting and incorporating gaming together and combining them into one — maybe that will create a new kind of genre, a new kind of fighting genre, that hasn’t been explored before,” explained Takahashi. “And that’s how Yu-Gi-Oh! was created.”

* * *

“There’s a lot of fans out there that want to know what you’re particularly careful about,” the moderator stated. “What are your sensibilities when you’re looking and you’re creating manga?”

“For Weekly Shonen Jump, I had to draw 20 new pages every single week,” said Takahashi. “So the very most important thing, the most important first thing is to have a good idea. And if that idea can surprise and shock the audience, that’s what makes it really good.

“Also, are the characters fully lively? Are they brought to life on the page? Are the monster battle scenes drawn really coolly? Those are the things that I focused on.”

* * *

“A big milestone for you and the characters was when it became an animated TV series. How did you feel when your manga became an animated TV series?” asked the moderator.

“I was very excited to see that what I created on the page was now moving around on the screen,” replied Takahashi. “Because there’s also voices, there’s also the sound, there’s also the music.

“When I draw my manga, it’s always in black and white. There are times when I looked at the show and said ‘Oh, that’s what it looks like in color!’ for the first time.”

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions Unveiled

A lot of people on Twitter and in the room want to know what’s next for Yu-Gi-Oh!, said the moderator.

“Are you asking about the movie?” Takahashi asked with a slightly suggestive smile on his face. They audience started to cry out. They wanted to know anything and everything.

“Takahashi-sensei is going to be the executive producer,” revealed the moderator. The audience erupted in cheers.

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions was the name of the new movie. Producer Teruaki Jitsumatsu used this opportunity to reveal the movie poster on the projector screen, explaining that Takahashi personally created the image himself specifically for the film.

“Sensei, how did you feel when you drew this image for the movie?” asked Jitsumatsu.

“If you look at the image, Kaiba is at the center of the image,” replied Takahashi. “So in this story, Kaiba is going to do a lot of things.”

The audience cheered approvingly.

“The storyline for this movie takes place after the end of the original manga,” he continued. “Because of the manga ending, what I couldn’t draw then, I can write about now. I left the series with a lot of mysteries still open so I want to answer some of those.

“It might be hard to see this image but Kaiba is wearing a new Duel Disk. So in that way, I think I can show new types of dueling.”

Takahashi’s Roles in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions

“I have written a script for this movie,” explained Takahashi. “Also, new character designs, new monster designs. Pretty much everything.”

“And we’re assuming there’s new monsters, right?” the moderator asked.

“Yes, there is,” Takahashi replied. “Without getting too specific, I did a lot of new monster designs. For example, a new Blue-Eyes.

“The sponsors were saying, ‘Hey, I want to see Blue-Eyes evolve even more.’ [But I replied] ‘I can’t anymore, I can’t anymore!’ […] With that back and forth, that’s how it progressed. I also designed very powerful-looking monsters for the new villain.”

Konami executive Dewa chimed in with some welcome news for Yu-Gi-Oh! card game players and collectors.

“For the new monsters that are going to appear, I’m of course looking to turn them into cards for you to have,” said Dewa. The crowd cheered.

“He’s the sponsor,” Takahashi stated, drawing laughs from the listeners.

The Return of the Original Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters

“So are our favorite Duel Monsters characters coming back too?” asked the moderator.

“Yes,” Takahashi replied. “Of course Yugi will come back. Of course Kaiba will come back. And also some of our favorite characters will come back.”

A line drawing appeared on the screen and the crowd burst into cheers. It was Yugi Muto — a more mature-looking Yugi Muto — that Takahashi had created for the movie.

“When I was asked to draw Yugi again, I was just naturally drawing him. When I was designing the character, he naturally became more older,” Takahashi explained, referring to Yugi’s slightly more sophisticated facial features. “Since the story takes place six months after the end of the original manga, that’s why he looks a bit older, or more mature.”

* * *

Line art of another fan favorite character drawn by Takahashi appeared next: Seto Kaiba.

“Kaiba kind of looks a bit villainous,” said Takahashi. “Kaiba plays a very prominent role at the center of the storyline of this movie.”

Line art of Kaiba wearing a new type of Duel Disk followed. It has multiple small parts covering the forearm, shoulder, and side of the face (similar to the Duel Gazer seen in Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL). The functionality of the Duel Disk is complex, said Takahashi, and he didn’t want to get into it at the moment.

* * *

Next, new line art of Téa was shown. She is sporting a new hairstyle and has a rather particular update to her wardrobe.

“Téa is now a bit, um, more sexy. In Japan, socks that go above the knees are kind of trendy,” said Takahashi, with some giggling and applauding from the audience. “She’s more powered up than what she was in the past.”

* * *

The crowd broke out in cheers and screams when line art of Joey appeared next.

“For Joey, to be honest, his personality hasn’t changed very much,” said Takahashi. The crowd whooped with approval.

“He’s very passionate about friendship,” Takahashi continued. “In the past, it was hard to kind of animate him, so I kind of drew him with less lines so he could be animated better.”

* * *

As amazing as these line illustrations were, Takahashi felt that they wouldn’t be enough to satisfy the audience, so he brought some “top secret information” with him. The audience would be the first people to see the storyboards for the new movie created by the director!

In the storyboards, Yugi is shown drawing his cards. Then, Kaiba is shown facing off against Yugi. Bright lights and mysterious, obscured characters are shown. What could it all mean?! The audience wouldn’t be handed the answers so easily.

World Premiere of the Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions Trailer

At any other venue, being the first to see just the line art from the new movie would have been incredible. And not only had Kazuki Takahashi and the other panelists brought the line art, they also brought the storyboards. Still, they knew that the storyboards would not satisfy the thirst of the crowd. This was Comic Con, and Comic Con just wouldn’t be Comic Con without its incredible exclusives. But they were ready.

As an exclusive world premiere, the audience would get to see the trailer for the new movie! The room erupted into the loudest screams since the panel began.

The audience turned its gaze to the screen and saw the Blu-ray player firing up… but nothing happened. Everyone mumbled anxiously. You could almost hear the pounding hearts of the fans.

Hopefully get to see the trailer,” quipped translator Arthur Murakami. People laughed, and within a few seconds, the disc was playing.

A loud boom startled some of the audience. Suddenly, here it was. Ominous music. Strings. Choric chanting. Large text filling the screen. Yugi and Kaiba gesturing dramatically as they dueled. Yugi’s friends looking on in a crowd. A door opening suspensefully. Footsteps. Bright lights. Long shadows. The animation was gorgeous and so fluid. The shots were so theatrically styled. Shrieking throughout from the audience. Then silence. And more cheering.

One minute later, it was over.

4K Media and everyone else had been calling this a “trailer,” but it was really more of a teaser. Still, it was no less impactful or meaningful to the viewers that wanted to see all of their original Yu-Gi-Oh! friends in a new adventure. Clearly, great things are coming, and they are coming from creator Takahashi himself.

It took a few moments before the room settled down.

“We promised you a very special presentation so we’re going to continue to keep going at it here and reveal even more information about the new movie, if that’s okay with you guys,” stated the moderator. Of course it was. The room quickly composed itself.

Great Expectations

“The title is The Dark Side of Dimensions, so what can we expect to see in the movie? Can you give us a hint?” the moderator asked Takahashi.

“Like I said previously, this story takes place after the end of the original manga,” responded Takahashi. “And this story is going to be a little bit dark. There will be Kaiba, Yugi, and a mysterious third person. In this current dimension that we all live in, this person is going to kind of cause a disturbance within it. I think it’s going to be quite impactful. Please look forward to it.”

The other panelists confirmed that the film will be released in the Spring of 2016 in Japan. Outside of Japan, they are targeting a late 2016 release but the exact date is going to vary from country to country.

Takahashi concluded by reminding fans that they’ll get to meet their favorite characters in the movie and asked everyone to look forward to it. The moderator thanked Takahashi for bringing so much information about the new film, then returned to doing more Q&As.

A Special Request

“Takahashi-sensei, when you draw manga, can you tell us a little about your work process?” asked the moderator. “For example, can you tell us what your workroom or desk looks like and how it’s changed over the years?”

“My desk is not clean,” Takahashi stated unabashedly, prompting laughs from the listeners.

“When I was working on the manga, when the manga was being serialized, I was working with my staff,” he continued. “But I have switched over to digital so, more often than not, I work alone.”

“So does that mean that you won’t draw in front of a crowd?” the moderator asked. The crowd gasped.

“You know, since you’ve come all this way.”

What’s this now…?!

“It’s one of the most requested questions/comments from our fans, if you could please draw Yugi for them,” the moderator added.

The crowd gasped again. They knew something very special was about to happen.

“Yes,” Takahashi answered. The room erupted with screams.

Kazuki Takahashi Draws Live

A member of Comic Con’s tech support staff brought out a camera that had been hiding beneath the panel table. Takahashi took out his canvas and pens. He had brought two boards with him to draw on, he said, in case he messes up during his first attempt. The crowd laughed, but quickly quieted down as Takahashi put his pen to paper and began to draw.

For the first time since the panel began, the audience was almost completely silent. They recognized the significance of the event that was unfolding right in front of them.

“You might be surprised but when I draw Yugi, I start with the eyes,” explained Takahashi as he worked.

“Is that because that’s the hardest part to draw?” asked the moderator.

“Yugi is pretty much determined by his eyes, so if I mess up on the eyes, then I will start over,” he replied. “So when I draw the eyes, please don’t say anything because I have to really focus.”

Takahashi continued to work on the eyes, then paused and gazed thoughtfully at his progress.

“When I’m looking at it right now, I’m thinking, ‘These look like Yugi’s eyes,'” he said.

“Next is the nose,” he said as he continued drawing. “Next of course is the hair. A lot of people ask, when it comes to Yugi’s hair, why is it so wild? I thought of this hair because I wanted to create an impactful character.”

There are two sides to Yugi’s design, explained Takahashi. One, the good side, is that Yugi is identifiable just from his silhouette. But the bad side is that his hair is so unique. Too unique. When Takahashi needed to design enemy characters’ hairstyles, he had to make them even more outrageous.

So with every new Yu-Gi-Oh! series that is developed, “the hairstyles have to get more and more impactful,” said Takahashi. “Therefore, I’m willing to take submissions on hairstyles from you.”

* * *

“I’m curious who your favorite characters are to design and draw,” asked the moderator.

“My favorite character to design is Yami Yugi,” answered Takahashi.

At this point, Takahashi had been drawing Yugi’s hair. The design of the hair is enormous and the audience chuckled as he drew in the long, pointy lines.

“I have to be careful about this section right here,” said Takahashi. “When I draw the hair up like this, sometimes I extend out of the paper. Today, I was barely able to fit it in.”

The audience got a kick out of that, but Takahashi smiled and appeared genuinely relieved, commenting that he thought “it went really well this time around.”

More Questions and Answers with Kazuki Takahashi

Time flies when you’re having fun. The end of the panel was fast approaching, so the moderator used the last remaining minutes to squeeze in a few more questions for Takahashi as he continued to work.

“Which do you prefer to draw,” he asked. “The Blue-Eyes or Dark Magician?”

“Kuriboh.”

The audience laughed and applauded.

* * *

“What do you think your favorite part of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga storyline is to write?” the moderator continued.

“It wasn’t in the animated series, but in the manga, there was a storyline called Death-T,” Takahashi replied. Many people howled enthusiastically.

“In that storyline, Yugi’s Exodia clashed against Kaiba’s Blue-Eyes. I believe that that’s what determined the style of Yu-Gi-Oh! at that point.”

* * *

“What character do you identify with the most? Or which character do you think you have the most in common with?” asked the moderator.

“I really love Yugi but I wanted to be Joey,” Takahashi said. “I feel that as I get older, I would be like Grandpa Muto.”

The listeners laughed adoringly.

* * *

“And how long did it take for you to come up with the idea of Yu-Gi-Oh!?”

“[From] when I first started conceptualizing the idea to when it started being serialized, it took about a year,” said Takahashi. “I worked alongside my editor to make that happen.

“The original concept was that [Yugi] would defeat all these enemies with all these different types of games, but then this became a lot of work. So when I had this image of monsters emerging out of cards, that’s when I felt like a new type of Yu-Gi-Oh! style had been determined, and then the structure of Yu-Gi-Oh! suddenly formed from all this.

“There’s times when I was just writing stories and then new ideas would just come to me.”

* * *

The moderator wrapped up with one final question: “How much research did you do about ancient Egypt when working on Yu-Gi-Oh!?”

“I learned, when I was studying the history of games, that games originated 5,000 years ago in ancient Egypt,” Takahashi explained. “I went to Egypt once before I started this series, and then I was inspired by all of it.”

San Diego Comic Con’s Inkpot Award

As Takahashi put the final touches on his drawing, the moderator used the remaining time to announce some good news.

In recognition of his contributions to the worlds of anime and manga, San Diego Comic Con had selected Kazuki Takahashi as a recipient of its Inkpot Award this year. The award is bestowed upon “individuals for their contributions to the worlds of comics, science fiction/fantasy, film, television, animation, and fandom services” and has been awarded to the biggest names in the industry since 1974.

Adam Liest, the assistant to the director of programming at SDCC, presented the award to Takahashi. A photographer accompanying him asked Takahashi to stand in front of the SDCC backdrop banner to be photographed. A deluge of blinding flashes emanated from his camera while the audience cheered.

Takahashi looked painfully uncomfortable from all of the attention, but did his best to smile. He then held the award in one hand and gave the camera an awkward thumbs up with his other.

The announcement, presentation of the award, and photographing drew the longest and greatest amount of applause from the audience out of the entire panel. The Japanese camera crew seized the moment to record the enthusiastic crowd one last time.

Farewell, Kazuki Takahashi

No sooner had Takahashi been presented with the award than the panel was called to an end.

“Fans, fans, they’re kicking us off the stage,” said the moderator. The audience wailed disappointingly, then gave the panelists a big hand.

The attendees were asked not to rush the stage and directed to a side exit door. On the way out, everyone received a small Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions poster.

Kazuki Takahashi exchanged a few quick words with the panelists, members of his entourage, and the American execs who were accompanying him. As the next panel began to fill the room, they filed out quickly and disappeared into Comic Con’s massive crowds.

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.”

Whachow! Podcast Features YGOTAS Translation Hell / Pasta Cats / New Charity Event Coming Soon

May 1, 2014 at 7:55 am | Posted in Other Stuff, Yu-Gi-Oh: The Abridged Series | 2 Comments
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Whachow! podcast episode 332 image

Fans of Psyguy’s Whachow! podcast probably haven’t forgotten the recent “translation hell” script of The Lion King. In an enthralling event that spanned seven weeks, the Whachow! gang read the entire movie’s script, which had been machine translated from English into Spanish, then into German, then back into English, resulting in a god-awful mess of hilarious proportions. Yesterday, Psyguy brought that same magic to Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged.

Check out “A group of monsters in a train,” the 332nd episode of Whachow!, where the cast — including LittleKuriboh — read the translation hell script of YGOTAS episodes 1 and 2. It’s unexpectedly obscene and violent, but predictably laugh-out-loud funny. Special appearances include a sexy grandfather and Danganronpa Abridged’s Kiyotaka Ishimaru as Weevil.

And if you’ve never listened to Whachow! before, give it a shot! It’s an hour of unrefined fun with a cast of eccentric personalities talking about games, geekdom, and whatever else is on their minds.

For the Love of Pasta Cats

With all of the madness and drama that too often go hand in hand with the Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged fandom, it’s easy to forget that behind the hordes of screaming fans who love quoting LittleKuriboh’s works are some generous and kindhearted people. This benevolence really showed through early last month when LittleKuriboh and his wife Marianne discovered that their cat Spaghetti had a life-threatening congenital condition.

“My cat Spaghetti is having to be kept overnight at the vet,” tweeted LK on April 9. “He’s not doing so good. Positive vibes.”

Spaghetti was given an x-ray, which revealed that his intestines were wrapped around his heart sac, among other problems. He was rushed to an emergency center, where LK learned that Spaghetti would require surgery. The cost? Between $5,000 and $7,000. LK and Marianne aren’t so well off to be able to afford that, and they only had two days to come up with the money. Marianne’s friend and fellow voice actor Patrick Seitz texted them, reminding them that they had a huge support base and urging them to do a fundraiser. Heck, if things went well, they might even raise enough to cover half of the costs.

“If we did a GoFundMe, would anyone be interested in helping?” LittleKuriboh asked his Twitter followers. The response was overwhelmingly positive.

Still with Spaghetti at his side in the emergency ward, LK downloaded the GoFundMe app and set up the fundraiser. Within about 10 minutes, they raised $2,000. And within 2 hours, they raised enough for the surgery. LK was overwhelmed with gratitude. On Tumblr, LK summarized the day’s events and posted photos of Spaghetti’s x-ray and hospital bills.

They ultimately raised so much money that they were able to donate the excess to Kitten Rescue and Guardians of all Creatures, two animal welfare organizations in southern California. LK’s friends 1KidsEntertainment and Nowacking got in on the action too, running a day-long Pokemon LeafGreen live stream (complete with call-in guests like LK) while raising money in their own campaign for Kitten Rescue.

In the end, Spaghetti’s surgery was a success. On his new YouTube channel, Pasta Cats, LittleKuriboh posted a video thanking each of the nearly 300 people who donated. He and Marianne will continue to add new videos of their cats to the channel. If the Internet has taught me anything, it’s that everyone loves cats, so I unquestionably expect Pasta Cats to become LK’s most popular channel by the end of the week.

Coming Soon: A Charity Event for RAINN

Speaking of donating money to worthy causes, LittleKuriboh revealed in a group interview held at the Middle Tennessee Anime Convention (MTAC) in mid-April that he and Marianne will be running a big charity event on June 15 to raise money for RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), an American anti-sexual violence organization. The fundraiser will be live streamed and will feature live auctions and an even bigger line-up of guests than their last charity event, Card Games For Charity #6 in December 2012.

Like many of LK’s other sit-down interviews, this one is loaded with interesting factoids and is well worth listening to. In addition to his announcement about the upcoming fundraiser, he also talks about his biggest regrets while making YGOTAS, his love for tabletop games, how he met his wife and moved to the United States, and much more.

This interview was recorded by Andrew Byrd, the host of the A man & his pod comedy podcast.

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