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)

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[B] Anchor Bay BD (Jpn)

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[c] Manga UK BD

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[D] Marvelous BD

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[E] Anchor Bay DVD (Eng)

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[F] Anchor Bay DVD (Jpn)

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[G] Manga UK DVD

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[H] Madman DVD

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[I] Marvelous DVD

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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

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