Ah, nostalgia: the ultimate double-edged sword. It’s a bittersweet memory of a cherished past, of places we used to visit, people from long ago, and our favorite pieces of media. Yugioh Duel Monsters is certainly a tremendous piece of nostalgia for millions of late 90s and 2000s kids who grew up with the infamous 4Kids block, with their charmingly cheezy dubbing of this show among many others, combined with the most infamous censorship in the history of anime localization as well as the industry in general. It’s a show I remember fondly from watching reruns as a kid alongside airings of Yugioh 5Ds and Zexal prior to the block shifting to a channel I did not have.
The thing is, while I love feeling nostalgic for things of my childhood, revisiting nostalgia can be rather scary. Things change. People change. While coming back can help you relive fond memories, it can also lead to disappointment. Nowhere is this more of a risk than with revisiting your favorite TV shows and movies, as your tastes change and your critical understanding of media does as well. Some things can stand the test of time, but Yugioh is not one of them.
Frankly, Yugioh’s fuckin stupid. That’s not automatically a bad thing if the show embraces its ridiculous nature, or if it’s so batshit insane that it loops back around to being enjoyable. Sure, a show can do both and still be terribly written, but that can still be fun. For the record, Yugioh does this a lot, both in the original Duel Monsters, and throughout several of its iterations (in both good and bad ways) as I’ve been told. I’m going to be using the dub names for most or all characters in the case of Duel Monsters, but I’ll mainly be looking at the subtitled version of these shows, as that version doesn’t contain all of the irritating localization problems or that godforsaken commercial transition they use 4 times an episode. The dub voice acting is fun and all for Duel Monsters in particular, but let’s just say I’ll only be using them as a primary way of watching the movies rather than the shows. Note that I will only be publishing reviews on other website for shows I’ve managed to complete, so if I drop a show, what gets put up here will be the end of it. It will be interesting to revisit Duel Monsters, 5Ds, and Zexal especially the latter two since I’ve never actually seen season 5 of 5Ds due to it not getting dubbed, and I never saw the latter half of Zexal Second Season due to 4Kids switching from the CW block to Nicktoons and me only having the former.
This post will be updated with the release of each part until the retrospective is complete, which will probably be around when the new entry, Yugioh Sevens, comes to a close in a couple years which will force me to finish and add that one to the retrospective.
Part 1: Yugioh Duel Monsters
Part 2: Yugioh GX
Part 3: Yugioh 5D’s
Part 4: Yugioh Zexal
Part 5: Yugioh Zexal Second
Part 6: Yugioh Arc-V
Part 7: Yugioh VRAINS
I’ll probably throw in parts for the movies, maybe. If at some point I stumble upon a version of Season 0 with decent audio and visual quality, I’ll take a look at it. For now, I’ll just be doing the mainline installments.