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Yu-Gi-Oh: Bonds Beyond Time Anime DVD Review

9 min read

If only real world problems could be solved by beating each other at a children’s card game…like watching movies about children’s card games…

What They Say:
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 re-writing 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!

The Review:
Audio:
With only one language selection I listened to the English track…or that’s what the DVD seems to suggest to you. The audio in 5.1 is excellent, I can’t fault that – I couldn’t really see how it effected with subtitles when I watched it as well but there’s no problems regarding distortion. The problem is that it also has a Japanese track – which is very hidden in the Extras selection under ‘Original Japanese Version’ in stereo format. This is not what I expected as this wasn’t in any description and almost was like they were trying to hide it. The sound is again very good though, but the subtitles seem almost like an awkward afterthought so again couldn’t see how it worked – they flowed nicely enough but it wasn’t like any other subtitled release I was used to.

Video:
As mentioned above, it’s weird when you put the subtitles on as you can only put it on during the Japanese watching and it’s automatic, and it does look out of touch with the video. As I don’t have a 3D TV, I can’t tell you if the 3D Effect is any good or not, but this version was without any effect anyway and it was a very colourful affair in widescreen effect – and whilst there was no problems with timing with the subtitles, it did feel a little off putting. That’s just me being funny after being used to Manga Entertainment’s subtitles for such a while though so overall it’s not a real problem.

Packaging:
There was no packaging for this release.

Menu:
I’ve already mentioned this briefly, but whilst the menus are well presented, they are quite misleading. The fact that on the extra menu and not in a language select is the Japanese release is definitely surprising and confusing as I didn’t even know about it until I went into extras as from experience, YGO releases are dub only so it definitely caught me off guard. They are set up as play movie, scenes, (scene selections included as well), extras on top of a YGO pyramid sign to select – with extra slides when you select extras on same menu for sub extras, plus you have to select the 5.1/2.0 audio choice when you are watching the movie – as there was no audio selection on the menus (which of course led to my confusion with the Japanese audio). It looks nice enough but definite felt quite rushed with a few obvious errors.

Extras:
The big extra of course is that there is a Japanese only release of the movie on the DVD, which is quite big as from what I knew, the English YGO releases were only done in English, not sure if this has been done in recent releases but this was a shock. It shows the movie in its original format (and you can tell from it the hack and slash job the English version in changing some of the words and also adding the recap part at the beginning). Speaking of which as well, the whole Bonds Beyond recap section is basically the dubbed extra that was put on the beginning of the English version of the movie. Which basically means it’s an extra that is pretty much pointless if you watched the movie first. Lastly, there is a YGO Movie 3D Trailer which is pretty standard. To say these are extras are really stretching the point as one should have been in a language selection, one is unnecessary and one is standard.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I will confess to actually being part of the YGO crowd when it first came over to the West, and even was a player of the card game. But times change and the ridiculousness of the concept (lampooned in some very famous parodies and abridged series) has made me completely obliviousness to the series. However, due to a certain running gag I have with a certain Mr Beveridge (which will come to an end this week), I felt it was my duty to wonder what has happened since Yugi Moto as I never watched GX or 3D.

To say I haven’t missed much is an understatement. The movie basically is just the same scenario – children’s card games used to do something amazing, in this case save the world. Which after watching Season 3 of Yu-Gi-Oh, know it was done before. However, credit where credit is due, they at least make a good attempt at a unique way of getting to the point.

The English version has a recap which I will admit is actually a good addition if like myself, you’ve been desensitized to the recent YGO phenomena, as it gives recaps of the main characters of all three seasons, the one I remember Yugi Moto, the protagonist of GX Jaden, and 3D’s hero Yusei, all with clips from their respective series on how they saved their respective worlds. In the Japanese version, you’re just thrown straight in (which isn’t a surprise as I’d assume anyone who went to see this would know all the characters anyway) so at least that helped me get into it as a newcomer in some ways to the franchise.

The first one we see after the recap is Jaden, who is on the run from some apparent real monsters and his connection with duel spirits – the ability to almost communicate with his cards. Obviously this is something I wouldn’t have known from watching the show, but the movie does manage to weave everything to a point where everything is explained enough so first time viewers can understand what is going on. We cut to Yusei who wakes up from a dream about his father’s research, as we see that Yusei is the furthest in the future. He sees a new duel runner (a duelist on a motorcycle which I assume is how YGO 5D sets it’s games)– and the newcomer draws a blank card and steals Yusei’s best monster somehow onto the guard. Yusei chases him as he and his friends wonder if something is going wrong in the passage of time, whilst back at base, they look at a picture of Pegasus and Yugi from the first series – and they realize from the picture that Yusei’s Stardust Dragon is appearing in a different time. Using his rider, Yusei follows the light that somehow connects the paths together to see if he can travel back in time as it links with this mysterious battler…

We cut back to Jaden as the guy from the bike was the same person who attacked him with the real monsters, and just as he’s about to kill Jaden, Yusei saves him! They introduce each other –but the rider tells them all times will change and he will change history. Suddenly Jaden’s main card Neos also vanishes…

And we cut to the Domino duel tournament from Yugi’s time. We see basically the scene where the picture that Yusei was looking at is from, but when Pegasus arrives – the masked man appears and ‘severly hurts’ (read ‘kills’) Pegasus and his grandfather. Yusei and Jaden travel back in time when seeing this to just before the attack as the masking man reveals his plan…he wishes get rid of duel monsters because..

…well, actually it’s not really well explained. The man is named Paradox, basically says that in the future because of the duel monsters the future is desolate…yeah, I think you can see why I wasn’t holding much hope for this to change my opinion on YGO after this scene. Yusei realizes if Pegasus dies their futures of the evolution of the New domino City, schools, etc will become nothing. And of course, in typical (and hypocritical) fashion, the fate of 20 minutes before Pegasus is supposed to arrive is ended in a card game between Paradox vs. Yugi/Jaden/Yusei.

It then ends as you expect – they have their own unique dueling styles, with Yugi perplexed at the way his futuristic counterparts duel and what cards they use, and the fact that the cards Paradox stole were to basically enhance his own deck (again, a tad hypocritical). Of course, the three work together and manage to defeat him before Pegasus is attacked, which ends up being a rather anticlimactic ending when Yusei simply just returns to the future.

Yeah, the movie isn’t really much to say to be honest. It’s very standard YGO but it doesn’t take 6 episodes to tell – it’s unique in the way that all three protagonists have to team up from different times, but it a) doesn’t explain about the time travel very well and b) the antagonists reasons are not explained very well, if at all about why he wants to get rid of what is basically a card game. Card games are the cause of the holocaust now? I’d best stop playing poker…

It does do a slightly good job however in basically getting all three together, with enough info so you know who they are, what they do and how well they work together. And the animation is fantastic, with some very good uses of CGI – of course, the dub is infamous with its cutting (especially as with the Japanese release they tried to hide, you can see what they changed – which makes the cuts even more ridiculous) but I did get a nostalgic feeling listening to the theme song – they went with the original one which I will admit is awesome. However, it’s really only recommended to die hard YGO fans – as someone with a passing interest like me could only see the sillyness of what was trying to be accomplished.

In Summary:
Bonds Beyond Time tries to link all three of it’s series into an under hour movie with mixed results. It does it’s job well in bringing the antagonists together and you can see what they would be like together as duelists, but the way it’s set up and the way the antagonist thinks is silly and hypocritical. The animation is great and I get the feeling with the monsters and CGI effects it would look fantastic in 3D, but this is really for die hard YGO fans only.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles

Content Grade: C-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade:
Menu Grade: C
Extras Grade: C+

Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: July 25th, 2011
Running Time: 60 mins
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 4:3

Review Equipment:
Playstation3, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.

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