Bakura: Wait a minute, if these are all the Yu-Gi-Oh villains, what about those stupid motorcycle freaks? Y’know, the ones from Season 4?
Marik: You mean the season nobody liked?
Bakura: That’s the one.
Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged: Marik’s Evil Council Of Doom.
What They Say:
After the conclusion of the Battle City Finals, chaos erupts once again! The three Egyptian God Cards are stolen! A terrifying new villain emerges! And as if things couldn’t get any worse, real monsters begin to appear around the world, terrorizing the population! Are these strange events connected, and can they be resolved?! Yugi and the gang better find out… before the planet faces total destruction!
Set in 2.0 in English only, in terms of sound quality on the whole there is nothing majorly wrong with it – with no subtitle option (other than manually if you are doing it on a PC you can have captions in CAPS LOCK which are the subtitles), the audio is more than acceptable on the majority, however there is one major issue I noticed. If you pause it, during a part when there is a fade to black, sometimes when you unpause it, the sound actually vanishes – you have to go back a scene without pausing it for it to return. This is very noticeable and happened on almost every disc so this is a very annoying issue and also holds to another issue with the video quality as well…
Video wise, colours were fine and flashy, and no issues in terms of video to audio on a 16:9 – 1.78:1 aspect ratio though set NTSC style with top/bottom wide screen, no problem on the whole with the animation which in general is pretty standard (no huge CGI effects) but it is very colourful and holds up well considering the series is over a decade old – however, this is one of the first releases in quite a while that when you pause, the animation kind of fades and scratches out, making it look blurry. Also, there is a significant delay when the show fades to black which always happens once an episode – almost like it is loading the screen. With the audio issue mentioned above, this is a significant and eye-catching thing which can cause minor annoyances with the viewing.
There was no packing for this test release.
The menu is very basic – there are no selections for audio or extras (as there isn’t any) and it is actually hard to see the Play All selection at the top as the colouring isn’t as distinctive as the episode choice – also if like me at first you assumed that picking episode 1 meant you play all, when the episode finishes you return back to the menu screen which is something that has happened in a few releases so whilst annoying isn’t totally misunderstanding. The images are the same of the pharaoh (Yami) on the right hand side on a stone tablet background with hieroglyphics going up and down whilst the English theme song plays. Very basic but does its job.
There are no extras with this release.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It is funny as the quote for the review is from a Youtube series which made people more interested or became interested in Yu-Gi-Oh – making you wonder if considering some of the ludcriousy of previous seasons why is this one got a bit more of a reputation? Well, the fact it is an original season (what most would call as filler) means it doesn’t have the back up of being canon to the manga – but does it mean it really is that bad? I mean, aside from the fact that saving the world, friends, souls via a children’s card game has to sound appropriate?
Well that was the case in the previous seasons…this one won’t make the same thing happen right?
The first episode pretty much sets the tone – it appears that Duel Monsters have actually become alive (despite Kaiba continuously believing they are all holograms and doesn’t believe in magic – something that really suspends disbelief in this season) – meanwhile Yugi and Yami are searching into Yami’s past using the Egyptian God Cards from last season, but are suddenly stolen by a group of people on motorcycles (insert card games on motorcycles joke here) – and of course, the only way to stop them is via duelling (suspend disbelief – it will happen a lot). However, a new thing happens with these duels – a card is introduced called the Seal of Orichalcos, which when played by the end of the duel, the loser actually loses their soul. Added to the fact all monsters on the users’ side gain 500 attack points, it makes Yugi/Yami and anyone else up against it has a few more problems than normal.
Yugi/Yami do win the opening duel though, which leads them to enlist the help of a couple of old friends, Arthur and Rebecca Hopkins who last appeared at the end of Season 1 – they have a much bigger role though as part exposition, part storytelling and also…part making Tea jealous as Rebecca has grown up a bit and clearly has a crush on Yugi (also as a fun pub quiz anime question: Rebecca is the only character to actually kiss Yugi despite what fanfics would have you believe) – one thing this series has a little of is hints of how the duel monster cards may have been based on people of the Pharaoh’s past – for example, Yugi, Kaiba and Joey all get a mythical dragon card called upon by the Dark Magician Girl but she seems to explain the history far too well for it to be a coincidence (especially as she is only in Yugi’s deck yet is shown for all three characters).
These motorcyclist duellist’s works for a man named Dartz, who seems to have taken all these duellists who are looking against revenge against the world, or Kaiba, or something in particular as a vision. This also brings some old friends back as Pegasus (who actually died in the manga but was so popular as a villain he was in this season, some of GX and the movies – it was left quite ambiguous in the 1st season of the show) as Kaiba suspects him of trying to take over his company, but Pegasus has sent a video to Yugi to invite him over as well as giving him a card that can help him out. However, another old friend visits Pegasus and seems to be a tad different to how we remembered her…
Indeed, Kaiba goes to see Pegasus with his suspicions and whilst it is a duel of Pegasus’ trademark Toons there seems something different. And indeed, Pegasus is revealed to be one of the motorcyclists Alastair, who has a grudge over how Kaiba’s stepfather caused a civil war in his country and got them ‘seperated’ from his brother – whilst Kaiba survives this battle, the war is still on when Yugi and go head to California (with comic side characters Rex and Weevil hitching for the ride and later meeting up with Duke who just so happened to be there) but when they get involved with the bikers, they seem to be saved by a very familiar gorgeous woman…who looks similar to the woman who took out Pegasus…
The one thing this series I felt did do quite well is this character – Mai Valentine. Mai was always a favourite of mine, whilst seemingly selfish, was just looking for friends, and found some in Yugi’s group, especially Joey (and can be interpreted as more than friends as well) – however something has changed in her. She is crueller, wanting for power, yet seems to still hold some contempt in her heart. She is now working for Dartz, wishing for power and to be out of the shadow of Joey – Joey of course wants the old Mai back – but thanks to another of Dartz’s men Valon (who has an Australian accent for some reason) who has a thing for Mai despite her verbal abuse to him, they retreat.
During looking for Pegasus, they learn that Dartz is looking for souls to revive something called the Great Leviathan to destroy/cleanse the world – and Yugi gets a card that might stop him. However, the one legit interesting member of Dartz’ squad, Raphael, does the near impossible.
He beats Yugi in a duel.
Surprisingly this holds more weight for a few episodes – first, he tricks Yugi to using the Seal of Orichalcos which brings out Yami’s dark side more, sacrifices monsters and using them as pawns compared to Raphael, who tries his best to not kill any of his monsters, and is convince the Pharaoh is evil, so whilst the way he goes through things isn’t the best, you can tell he has some good in him, and his past is revealed in how he was a survivor – and Dartz may have fed him a few lies. The big thing is when Yami loses, Yugi sacrifices his soul so for the first time, we have Yami for most of the series on his own – this causes him a lot of sadness as he realises how much of a douche he has been and now the gang has to find Dartz, to rescue the souls of Yugi, Pegasus, to snap Mai out of whatever has happened, and for Kaiba, to stop Dartz taking over Kaibacorp.
For a while we get pretty much just many delays involving the gang members, Rex and Weevil to delay the heroes from getting to Dartz – Rex and Weevil for example join Dartz due to wanting revenge for how Yugi and Joey beat them back in Season 1 and now they are jokes rather than one time champions, a strange episode where they meet some ghostly figures (which actually becomes quite important when we learn Dartz back-story) where Yami actually duels Yugi to try and rid the darkness in his heart, and then the pre-requisite villains face off against our heroes – Alastair vs. Kaiba, Valon vs. Joey, and Raphael vs. Yami. All of them seem to actually show their good inside them before they inevitably lose – however Joey also has to face Mai which after his soul draining duel with Valon causes him to lose and his soul taken, snapping Mai out of her funk. She goes to fight Dartz but is stopped by Raphael with her soul taken, leaving Yami vs. Raphael as the big battle, where Raphael shows out of the villains he was easily the most developed, actually stopping the darkness take his soul and teams up with the good guys (sadly to not much avail) before the final battle with Dartz.
The show tries its best to show Dartz history with the Orichalcos with its connection to the lost city of Atlantis – that he was actually part of Atlantis and lost his wife, so Orichalcos wishes to collect souls to purge mankind and restore it to paradise. This was stopped by the three dragons that our heroes have in their decks – so whilst he duels Kaiba and Yami, all the seals of Orichalcos come into play, causing Dartz’ life points to increase to huge degrees, and eventually Kaiba loses his life points – leaving Dartz to talk with his history of the pharaoh….all whilst the fate of the world is in this card game. Yes, despite the apparently history it wants to project to you, the fact that most of the series is still about the card games (granted it does give a bit more into the history of them with Atlantis and Ancient Egypt but still…)
Anyway, Yami defeats Dartz but Dartz’ soul gets consumed which is enough for the Great Leviathan to be released – however the card Pegasus gave Yami, the Legendary Knights which caused him to win also come to life to release the souls of Yugi, Kaiba and Joey – the three try to stop him (hilariously Kaiba still refuses to believe in this despite his soul in another world he saw and the fact he is BEING SWALLOWED BY A GIANT SERPENT…Kaiba actually showed more rage when he learned someone else defeated Yugi in a duel for crying out loud ^^) – they recovered the God cards and eventually defeat the Leviathan, with all the people whose souls were taken recovered with a glimpse of what may happen in the future…
So this season is…strange. It is hard to take it seriously a lot of the time – it is basically a retelling of the ancient city of Atlantis, combining it with Ancient Egypt and intertwining the Pharaoh’s real history with Dartz (it isn’t hugely explained how he is still alive after all these years) and the fact that Duel Monsters were based on real monsters and/or people of the Pharaoh’s life (a definite suggestion is that whoever the Dark Magican Girl is based off was Yami’s wife/girlfriend – the last season did something similar with Kaiba being someone from the past) and there is the feeling of a lot of epic moments and history – Alastair has a legit sad past with his brother, Valon whilst not as heavy handed was a criminal reformed by Dartz’ thoughts on life, and his care for Mai and his eventual respect for Joey makes him quite endearing, and Raphael being the first guy to actually beat Yami combined with his actual philosophies makes him actually on par with Dartz as far as character development is concerned…
…but in the end, it is just done as an excuse for more card games. The ludicrousy of course is that to save the world, it involves duelling. And of course, the same issues I have with the show occur – the fact that everyone seems to have the exact right card in their hand, or on the field, or about to draw – being an actual YGO player in the past (with a hand destruction deck) and more now just for fun (with a toon deck) I know this would not happen so constantly – of course it is an anime show so it shouldn’t be so serious, but considering the themes it has to be.
Also as a filler season, Kaiba really, REALLY is suspending disbelief with his non belief of magic – I really think this might be a dub decision rather than what it was in the original Japanese because it is getting ridiculous. Dartz as well despite some interesting history is forgiven way too easily by the end (and it is only alluded in a couple of episodes with those ghostly relatives otherwise bar the reveal of his deceased wife he would really be quite shallow as a villain and even with that pales compared to Pegasus, Marik and Bakura). And whilst it was great to see Pegasus back as well as Rebecca, they still only played a minor role (though Rebecca making Tea jealous was quite hilarious) as did the attempts to make Rex and Weevil more important (and considering they weren’t exactly popular, it didn’t really work in comparison to Mai who was already quite popular, this season made her both more badass and sympathetic).
In fact, the best thing about this season was the portrayals of Yami with his darker side, and the fact he had to acknowledge that, and parting with Yugi caused him a lot of heartache, realising he had to change and not let darkness consume him. This is constant throughout the season, even up until the last episode, and that actually was something we haven’t seen from the Pharaoh and hopefully with the final season, we get the true history which was glimpsed at. The other good thing was the Mai/Joey relationship, one that does get overlooked in the fandom compared to Yami/Yugi and Yami/Kaiba – was surprisingly well done. Mai is clearly a great duellist, but she always seems to be used as a foil for the stronger players or protagonists (she lost to both Joey and Yami in Season 1, and in Season 2 was the first victim of Marik) and feels inadequate so she goes to Dartz for power – granted it does seem strange just to be the strongest duellist in the world to use the Seal and seal Joey’s soul, but you can tell it is due to her soul corrupted. When it actually happens, she is devastated – whether anything really happens between the two is still open to interpretation (Valon even mentions he is sure she is in love with Joey) but I really liked the interaction between the two – so basically the Yami/Yugi and Joey/Mai relationships were well explored.
Everything else? Kaiba, the long term anti-hero fan favourite? Whilst he does get involved, his lack of believing in magic makes him stand alone with no real sympathetic moments even when his company is taken over – he does help Yami and Joey right at the end, but the only time he really gets emotional is when he learns Yugi has lost a duel – priorities Kaiba? Most of the cast are reduced to bit roles like Tristan, Duke, Tea, Rebecca, Arthur, etc – was there even a point to putting Rex and Weevil as opponents – it definitely felt like filler within a filler season. And whilst the duels were still entertaining, in the end, that is the crux of the show so if you are familiar with that, you’ve seen one season, you’ve seen them all.
This season can easily be skipped – nothing of major significance happens bar more character development, a kiss on the cheek to Yugi from a female character to get the yaoi fans enraged, a little bit of significance to the cards origins and a few new cards introduced to replace the Egyptian God cards. The villains whilst entertaining at parts are not on the level of previous villains, and whilst significantly better than the filler arc of Season 2, it still isn’t necessary.
However, next season brings us lots of Bakura so….
Yu-Gi-Oh Season 4 is fine for watching for the card games, but not so much for intriguing villains – whilst entertaining seem to be just there to wait for the manga to catch up. The Mai bad guy route was interesting, Yugi’s sacrifice gave some much needed character development for Yami, and the links to Atlantis/Egypt were genuinely interesting as was some of the bad guys motives…the problem is they aren’t explored enough to overshadow the card games, and bar Raphael beating Yami, it was as predictable as you’d expect. It isn’t necessary to watch this season if you are going by the manga – though it might be worth it just for completion and a few choice moments.
English 2.0 Language
Content Grade: C
Audio Grade: C+
Video Grade: C+
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: April 4th, 2016
Running Time: 880 minutes
Video Encoding: PAL
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 – 1.33:1
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.