Yu-Gi-Oh The Dark Side of Dimensions Review
The original Yu-Gi-Oh anime concluded many years ago, though its follow-up series still continue to this day. While those chronicle the adventures of new characters, we occasionally visit Yugi and the gang through new movies—enter The Dark Side of Dimensions.
A feature-length film that picks up after the end of the original series, Dark Side shows Kaiba attempt to resurrect the Pharoah and conclude their rivalry. Meanwhile, Yugi and his friends prepare for graduation, but everyone's paths collide when the mysterious Aigami reveals a new Millennium item: the Quantum Cube.
So, how does the film hold up? Read on to discover the successes and failures of Yu-Gi-Oh The Dark Side of Dimensions!
Dark Side of Dimensions Trailer
- Great graphics and music
- Intriguing villain
- Action-packed duels
- Impressive build-up with huge payoff
Plot and Characters
Over two hours long, the film works hard to construct its story. This isn't Citizen Kane, but it has enough depth to hold your interest. Occasionally, you might grow weary of the downtime between duels, but they're sprinkled throughout the flick, and you'll usually be engrossed thanks to the engaging cast. Kaiba plays a central and fantastic role, Yugi is humble and determined as ever, and treacherous Aigami is surprisingly sympathetic.
Plus, the writers paid homage to the original series by revisiting familiar faces such as Shadi and Yami Bakura. Joey's lack of any duels is a touch disappointing, and Tristan, Duke, and Tea serve only as cheerleaders, but that's basically what they did in the anime anyways.
The movie hints and hints toward the appearance of Yugi's cooler alter-ego, the Pharaoh Atem. It builds suspense spectacularly for his possible return, and in the brief moments you glimpse him, you'll be on the edge of your seat. Without spoiling too much, let's just say the wait pays off with a fitting tribute.
Graphics and Music
This movie looks absolutely beautiful. If I knew nothing of Yu-Gi-Oh, I could still appreciate the vivid colors and sharp contrast displayed throughout the movie. Some monsters are rendered in 3D, and it works surprisingly well. Be on the lookout for Obelisk the Tormentor looking better than ever.
Plus, characters who needed a redesign receive it. Yugi dresses in more interesting outfits than his boring blue school duds, and even the famed Dark Magician card displays a sleek new aesthetic.
With orchestrated tracks and remixes of classic tunes, there's plenty hear for fans to savor. What else can I say? I was impressed with the euphonic music throughout the movie.
- Stale dialogue
- Long running time
- Altered duels
Yu-Gi-Oh dialogue has always been spotty, and just like in the series. you'll hear some real groaners. These guys cannot deliver taunts to save their lives; what's intended as scathing insults comes out as blithering messes. Still, it's lovably dorky, and the odd clever line can be found. I enjoyed when Aigami eliminates some local thugs, one of which yells "He's history!" upon seeing his friend killed. Aigami calmly replies "No.. History gets remembered." Ouch.
Still, most lines are pretty cheesy. Check out some highlights below.
I went to a great deal of trouble recreating the Pharoah's deck, strategies, even his perfectly-quaffed hair!
Fortunately for you, you get to summon the two Blue-Eyes in your hand.. oh wait, did I say fortunately? I lied!
You think you've taken things to the next level...you've given me no choice but to take things to the maximum level!
The movie runs longer than you might expect, arguably excessively. Still, the length helps ensure a fleshed-out story. Again, it's a shame Joey never duels, but I understand sacrifices had to be made, and he's always shined third behind Kaiba and Yugi.
As mentioned, dueling is fast and action-packed, with several Spells and Traps played each turn. That said, the film doesn't have time to explain the effects of every card, and some matches feel forced. You'll see illegal summons and fictional cards, which detract from the feeling of a true duel, but it's the price we pay for concise and interesting clashes.
The film also utilizes older rules; the first player draws on their initial turn, and our protagonists access banned cards like Monster Reborn. Additionally, some of the matches are new "Dimension Duels," which are essentially an excuse for the writers to alter the rules when necessary. Nonetheless, regardless of the outdated format, avid players will enjoy the battles despite cringing whenever a rule is bent.
If you're not a Yu-Gi-Oh fan, this movie probably won't win you over. Many of its nostalgic elements will pass over your head, and at least some understanding of the card game would really enhance the tension of the duels.
But for anyone who enjoys Yu-Gi-Oh, DSOD ups the ante with an impressive story, art style, and soundtrack. A few hiccups like broken rules and lacking dialogue hardly diminish the experience, and it's by far my favorite Yu-Gi-Oh movie yet.
Feel free to share your thoughts of the film, and I'll see you at our next review!