Reading Between Reviews: Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions

The recent revival of an original series that many people thought was long gone, Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Dark Side of Dimensions brought back the original Yu-Gi-Oh! series for a final ride, the theoretically final chapter in a beloved franchise.  At first, many people were skeptical- the original series had ended in a great, definitive way, how could a reboot possibly work out?

Well.  As an avid fan of the original series, and someone who just recently watched the movie, here’s a short answer- it definitely worked out.  The movie had its flaws, to be sure, but man, it was a ride from start to finish.

This review won’t contain any real spoilers for the movie, so.  If you haven’t watched, don’t worry!   But also, because of the nature of the movie, I’ll be including two different ratings- one for how the movie is on its own, and another for fans of the series.  That being said, let’s get to it!

1. Story: 6.5 — 8.0

The story of Dark Side of Dimensions is…rather interesting, honestly.  Continuing, at least in the English Dub, six months after the passing on of Atem- Yugi’s long-time companion.  Posing as a transfer student, Aigami, or rather, “Diva,” with a mysterious power known as the Plana, wishes to rid the world of evil people, but there’s a catch. If Atem ever comes back, the power of the Plana is revoked- and as such, Diva wishes to keep an eye on Yugi, worried that this event might come to pass..

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At the same time, we get to see Seto Kaiba, desperate to bring his rival Atem back from the grave for a final duel, attempt to find and rebuild the Millennium Puzzle.  This course of action causes his and Diva’s paths to cross, spiraling into a conflict that sparks old rivalries, pushes our characters to new limits, and of course, endangers the fate of the whole world.

The story of Dark Side of Dimensions is rather bare bones, and banks very much on the characters it introduces, which, thankfully, are done very well.  However, the Plana is not given much explanation, the reasons behind certain events are handwaved, and although it looks cool, there are a few moments in the movie that are honestly, very, very hit-or-miss.

That being said, there are ALSO times where, if you’re a fan of the original series great call backs are made, plot details are revealed, and characters have standout moments that are a treat to see.  To fans of the old series, it can be GREAT, but to those who don’t remember, or don’t know the original, I can see it being…rather convoluted, honestly.

2. Characters: 7.5 — 8.5

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The crew’s all here!

Dark Side of Dimensions is very much a character based movie.  It reintroduces to the original cast we know and love, and introduces some new characters and boy, it does them quite well.  First, I’d like to talk about Aigami, or Diva- and surprisingly, honestly, he’s actually done very well for a movie villain.

We get glimpses of his past, we learn his motivations, and by the end of the movie, we have a villain that has a lot more depth than even some of those in the actual anime series.  Match this with a great voice actor, and a slick design, and you get a new, original villain that meshes very well with the cast of the old series.

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He has the hair of a main character, so he must be important.

Speaking of which, of course, we’ve got Yugi Muto, Joey, Tea, Tristan, Bakura, all voiced by their original actors, and we get to see some great things from them.  Their personalities remain as lovable and old-school as ever, but, through some moments in the film, you see that they’ve grown from their original status in the anime.  We get to see this from Yugi especially, showcasing his immense amount of character growth, but every character is portrayed very well, especially… freaking Seto Kaiba.

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He’s back, and edgier than ever.

This movie is about Seto Kaiba in so many ways.  He kick starts the plot, is responsible for basically every interesting thing in the movie, and pushes both Yugi and Aigami to their limits.  But that’s not a bad thing at all- in fact, his delightful, over the top narcissism and snark is certainly my favorite part of the movie.

He’s low-key a hilarious character, with quips and off-hand sayings that are completely in line with his personality, but are just corny enough to fit well with the vibe of the movie.  With excessive amounts of ham, a great sense of absolute confidence, and a better, cooler deck than ever, Seto Kaiba freaking shines in this movie.  It’s his day in the limelight, and personally, I freaking loved it.

3. Art/Style: 8.5 — 9.4

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Just look at that scenery man.

The one thing I’m sure of, is that the art and style of Dark Side of Dimensions was the greatest part of this movie, with CG that was extremely effective, music cues that really get you excited, and over-the-top duels that are a spectacle to watch.

Regardless of your personal experience with Yu-Gi-Oh! in the past, the movie looks beautiful.   The animation is a vast improvement from what you’d expect a normal anime to be like, and despite being a two hour movie, the pacing and action of the film makes sure you’re entertained the whole way through.

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Just an example of the flashiness of the CG/drawn animation.

The new art style, the different kinds of panning shots, the music, everything feels very much like old-school Yu-Gi-Oh!.  The pace of the action, calling out different trap cards, getting out of binds, even the updated life-point bars, everything feels very new, but so, so much like original.

Every stylistic choice, from the updated character designs, to the CG monsters, to remixed music straight from the old series, does a wonderful job of giving fans that dose of nostalgia that we’ve desired.  Honestly, even from a critical, outsider point of view, it’s hard to fault-the movie looks and sounds great.

4. Personal Enjoyment: 8.0 — 9.5

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Obviously, this part is a bit biased, considering I AM a fan of the series, but…regardless of what perspective I choose, I have to say, this movie was just a good time.  For fans of the series, I almost guarantee it will hit a few great points for you, with new monsters, revamped designs, and hammy dialogue, this movie was certainly designed with fans in mind.

For others, however, you might have to go into the movie with an honest appraisal of what it’s aiming for.  It’s not the epitome of a story, it’s not supposed to be completely serious, and if you expect a plot that logically makes sense, or is constructed in a “good” way, then this might not be the movie for you.

All things considered, this movie is FOR fans of the original.  Think about it critically, and it might not be the best in the world, but honestly, this movie isn’t aiming for that.  It’s fanservice, plain and simple, and it does its job wonderfully.

All things considered, I think I’ll have to give this movie two ratings, actually.  So much of it panders to fans of the series, that I wouldn’t feel right just giving it one whole rating.  For fans, The Dark Side of Dimensions is a straight up 8.85 out of 10– a must see, for any fan of the original series.  However, on its own merit, I can give the movie a 7.625 out of 10– it’s not the best thing in the world, but it provides its own sort of corny thrills, with multiple great moments, just…don’t look into it too hard.

Well.  Those’re my thoughts on the movie.  What did you guys think, if you watched?  Is this a fair rating?  Leave your thoughts down below!

 

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