ANIME & MANGA - Review
15:00 - 30th July 2016, by NEO Staff

Yu-Gi-Oh! Season 4

Following the aftermath of the Battle City Championships, Yugi Muto now possesses all three Egyptian god cards. Of course, it isn’t long before another nefarious organisation hell-bent on prophecy and domination seeks to shatter the status quo. Led by Dartz, the Order of Orichalcos steal said god cards, draining their power to fuel the revival of the ancient dragon, Leviathan. The dorky trinity of Yugi, Joey and Seto Kaiba are each granted a legendary dragon card to fend off the baddies in a 40-episode melange of strategy, schmaltz and self-belief.

Yu-Gi-Oh! nurtured a generation of western millennials, some of whom grew up otaku while others couldn’t tell the difference between Digimon and Duel Monsters. For those of us who lovingly tuned in and believed in the heart of the trading cards, the DVD release is somewhat of a scant nostalgia trip. The theme tune and archaic animation might make us long for PJs and cereal, but beyond that it’s all a bit flat. Maybe the abridged series had it right all along?

The lack of the original Japanese dub does leave you feeling short-changed, but the English speaking cast, who crystalized clichés we still know and love today, are nothing short of iconic. It’s difficult to imagine any others filling in for Joey’s hackneyed accent or Yugi’s juvenile wheeze.

The franchise always relied more on the strength of its merchandising, particularly the trading cards themselves, than the quality of its narrative or animation. In its fourth series, whatever strange charm Yu-Gi-Oh! once had is lost amongst its weighty lore and unnecessarily dense plots. And yet, its protracted card battles, with all their backsliding, face down traps, and bonkers monsters, still offer a little thrill.

By connecting too many historical dots and plumbing the depths of Egyptian mythology, the series begins to break under the weight of its own messy lore.
SCORE: 2/5
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