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Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Movie
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 01/13/2005

When Yugi solves an ancient Egyptian artifact called the millennium puzzle, the spirit of the pharaoh overcomes him. Yugi gains great abilities that eventually enable him to master dueling with mystical cards, such that he becomes the world-recognized champion. When Yugi's greatest rival, Seto Kaiba, acquires a couple of powerful cards from the game creator Maximillion Pegasus, Kaiba unknowingly becomes the pawn of an ancient evil that the pharoah has struggled to keep in check...

I watched Yu-Gi-Oh the Movie without any TV series background, despite having read several reviews which claimed that people who knew nothing about Yu-Gi-Oh would most probably fail to grasp it. But at one point in my life I was addicted to the card game Magic the Gathering, and so I did not at any time feel lost or alienated by this movie. If anything, I found it to be very clear and simple.

Yu-Gi-Oh the Movie is actually a complete story in itself. It shows us how Yugi came to be the card dueling champion and then builds up from there. The Egyptian god of death Anubis has awakened, and he wants to destroy the world as he originally intended ages ago had the pharaoh not interfered. Seto Kaiba wants to defeat Yugi so much that he becomes the perfect pawn for Anubis, who wants to defeat the pharaoh. A critical duel between Yugi and Kaiba ensues, with the world's fate hanging in the balance. Of course, a good percentage of screening time is devoted to the card duels rather than character or plot development. The duelers would pull out their card, state the card's name, and explain exactly what the card does. It's really more of a visual treat for card game enthusiasts rather than anime fans in general. I found the whole concept of card dueling via holographic images fascinating though, and out of the whole movie I actually enjoyed watching the duels most.

The art and animation can be considered above average. The characters all sport really stiff-looking hair with strands which look like they were bent into shape with a mallet. The dueling monsters and spell effects are drawn and designed very well though. Surprisingly, the English dubbing was quite good.

Yu-Gi-Oh the Movie is so predictable that you already know how it's going to end when you're nowhere near halfway through it. I wouldn't say it's a bad movie, but avid card dueling game fans are those who stand to get the most out of it. To say that those without Yu-Gi-Oh background would be lost is inaccurate, I'd say those who are totally unfamiliar with this type of card games would be the ones who'll be more hard-pressed to find coherence.

Yu-Gi-Oh the Movie's US release is the edited version of the original Japanese movie.

Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Movie
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Review Title:
Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Movie
Alternative Titles:
Yugioh! Duel Monsters, Pyramid of Light
120 Minutes
General Rating:
3 out of 5 stars
Suitable For:
Older Children
Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy,
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