Yu-Gi-Oh! Volume 3

Warning: may contain spoilers

Prejudice comes from being in the dark; sunlight disinfects it.”  Muhammad Ali

The semi-finals of the Battle City Tournament are now due, taking place on a remote island owned by Seto Kiba, who is also one of the semi-finalists along with Yugi Mutou, Joey Wheeler, and the evil Marik. Marik is threatening to conquer the world if he wins the final, as well as to send Yugi and his friends to the “Shadow Realm” – something he seems to keep reminding people about once a sentence.

However, as the airship everyone is on approaches the island, the controls are taken over by a boy named Noah. He forces those on board the ship to meet up with the “Big Five”, the board of directors at Kiba Corp. who threaten to take over control of the company from Seto. Their method for doing this is to drag Seto, his younger brother Mokuba, Yugi, Joey, Joey’s sister Serenity, and their friends Tea, Tristan and Duke, to enter a virtual world in which they are separated from each other. The only way out is to beat each of the Big Five and Noah. Anyone who is defeated will be forced to spend the rest of the lives trapped in this virtual world, with no physical body.

While we do learn a bit about the background of the Kiba brothers, most of this story feels like filler and it is not until half-way through this collection that we finally return to the Battle City Tournament itself. Joey is determined to defeat Marik after he sends another of their friends, Mai, to the Shadow Realm.

However, Marik, Yugi and Seto each have a special “Egyptian God Card” that has a huge range of special abilities that Joey does not possess. Plus Yugi and Marik both have their “Millennium Items” to help them too. Meanwhile Seto just wants to beat Yugi in order to prove that he is the best at playing the Duel Monsters game.

This box-set has the same problems as the previous collections. There is no Japanese dub, just the badly-acted English dub from 4kids; there are no extras at all, not even English-language subtitles for the hard-of-hearing; and the scene selection is reliable. However, as stated before, you still do get a lot of episodes to watch: 47 in total, so there is plenty of stuff to see.

This collection though is the poorest so far. The first arc is mainly filler that does not seem to advance the story at all, unless you count background information about certain characters. The second arc, which is actually the conclusion of the story that began in the second collection, again has its moments, but the character of Marik is so infuriating. This cliche, stereotypical, over-the-top villain just gets annoying. Every time he utters the words “Shadow Realm” you just want lash out.

I do think there is a way that you can enjoy this anime however, despite its many flaws. As this is an anime about games, I think you should turn the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime into a game: specifically, a drinking game. I call it Yu-Gi-Oh-My-Head! after the hangover you get the following morning. Rules are simple: you have to drinking whenever a particular word or phrase is mentioned. These include (but are not limited to) “Shadow Realm”, “Millennium” (e.g. “Millennium Item”, “Millennium Puzzle” etc.), or a player’s favourite card (e.g. Yugi’s Dark Magician, Seto’s Blue-Eyes White Dragon etc.) Extra rules can be set depending on the characters, plot and cards played. For example, in these episodes, you might have a rule where you drink whenever an Egyptian God Card is mentioned.

Please remember of course that all drinking games do have an element of risk to your health of course. Admittedly not as risky as being sent to the Shadow Realm (there’s one drink already).

3 / 10

Ian Wolf

Ian works as an anime and manga critic for Anime UK News, and was also the manga critic for MyM Magazine. Outside of anime, he is data specialist for the British Comedy Guide, is QI's most pedantic viewer, has written questions for both The Wall and Richard Osman's House of Games, and has been a contestant on Mastermind.

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