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Yu-Gi-Oh! 3D: Bonds Beyond Time PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Thursday, 08 September 2011 00:00
Yu-Gi-Oh! 3D: Bonds Beyond TimeI make it a principle that I watch every review copy I get sent - if a company goes out of their way to send me a DVD that I'd otherwise have to pay for, I figure it's the best I can do to repay them by watching and writing about it. That doesn't guarantee a good review, though, as Yu-Gi-Oh! 3D is about to prove...

In the future, the world has taken a turn for the worse. Civilization is on the brink of extinction and all hope of a brighter tomorrow has been cloaked with dark uncertainty. One man, however, thinks he can do something about it. With his world crumbling into chaos, a maniacal masked menace known as Paradox figures out a way to travel through time so that he can eliminate the scourge that he believes is responsible for causing his world to decay – the Duel Monsters card game! Paradox, determined to eradicate this perilous threat from the annals of time, begins rewriting the future by erasing the game – one card at a time. But standing in his way are three legendary duelists who will do whatever it takes to save what’s on the line – their friends, their family and the game they love. For the first time ever, Yugi, Jaden and Yusei will team together and battle with all their hearts in a duel that will decide the past, the present and the future!

Dragon overloadHeroes

Gang's all hereMalefic red dragon

When I wrote about Uta no Prince-sama recently, I mentioned that there are some titles where I'm so far out of the target demographic that I'm not even on the radar, and I have to say up front that Yu-Gi-Oh! 3D is one of those titles. While I'm quite partial to playing trading card games, watching shows about them is something else, as you'll have noticed if you read my First Thoughts piece on Cardfight!! Vanguard. Yu-Gi-Oh! is the big daddy of TCG-based shows, in the west at least, and it's aimed squarely at the younger audience - so we have a dub-only release here that brings together several characters from the property's mythology into one special feature.

Since I have no idea who Yugi, Jaden and Yusei are, it's probably just as well that the movie - which is only an hour long - spends its first 11 minutes giving a potted history of Yu-Gi-Oh! (from the anime's perspective) and the main characters, so that you've got no excuse for not knowing where they all came from. Quite thoughtful. I can't claim that I was particularly drawn to any of them, but it soon became clear that that wasn't particularly necessary anyway as (whisper it) the movie's story doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense.

So. Paradox (not how the name working into the time-travel theme, as any time-travel will naturally result in a paradox) wants to rid the world of the Yu-Gi-Oh! game. Fair enough, I can't fault him for that. His method, though, seems to have two key planks: a) rampage through time destroying cards before any future players can acquire them; and b) learn to play the game so well that he believes himself to be unbeatable. The first part of that is presented as a battle in middle-ages Venice, and destroying chunks of one of my favourite places on Earth earns the movie black marks for starters. It also serves simple as a hook to bring the three lead characters together, and allow them to do what the movie really wants us to see: play a game against Paradox, which is where b) comes in.

Unlike Cardfight!, where the players were clearly playing on a table with the visualised battles being little more than imagination at work, Yu-Gi-Oh! presents its duels as affecting the 'real' world - play a dragon card, and a dragon will come into existence, with all the resultant destruction if you unleash it. That leads to some pretty good action, and with a theatrical budget at work it does look quite impressive. But those cardgame mechanics are impossible to get away from, and the second half of the movie quickly degenerates into a stream of shouted cardnames, interrupt effects and whatever. "I activate my card's ability!" "No you don't! I activate this other ability, causing my previously-lost card returns to the field and prevent your action!!" "No!! You can't do that!!!" ::headdesk:: There has be be a better way to present TCGs on screen than by resorting to this. It just feels so cheap, contrived and lazy - half the script could well have been created by the production team sitting down, playing a few hands, and writing down the play-by-play.

I know I'm not the target audience for this - I've never laid a hand on a Yu-Gi-Oh! card, and I likely never will. I know that kids who are into the game will probably lap this up, and that the movie is essentially "fanservice" for them. It falls into the same category as the many B-list science fiction movie that I've watched over the years, knowing that they were absolute crap but hey, it was science fiction (Moon 44, anyone?). Science fiction is my weakness; TCG-based anime isn't. If TCG-based anime is your weakness, then here - enjoy Yu-Gi-Oh!. Otherwise, avoid.

Rating - *

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