It’s been quite a while since the last Yu-gi-oh! movie had a theatre release in Canada and now 4K Media is back with Yugi and Kaiba in a way you would expect and not expect. Like it’s previous North American showing, this movie also marks the anniversary of Yu-gi-oh! (specifically the 15th). But unlike the predecessor, this movie more about enforcing what is loved about the classic Yu-gi-oh! cast and less about being a relatively coherent story.
In the front of the Yu-gi-oh! nostalgia parade was Atem (more commonly known as Yami or the Pharoah). This movie is set after Yugi Motoh defeated Atem in the last episode of the first series. As the movie rolls along, each character is filled with memories of Atem and how much each of them miss him: Yugi misses the fact that he shared a body; Téa misses Atem being there; Joey reminding himself that the most important person in his life was Atem. Atem was so important in their lives that Yugi felt uncertain without him; Téa offhandedly thinks about Atem (let’s face it; she was into Atem, not Yugi); and when Joey was going to fade away via magical memory deletion, his most important person was not Mai Valentine nor his sister Serenity, but Atem because he was a great duelist. Each instance comically reinforced some popular fan thoeries out on the internet so well that the audience could hardly contain themselves.
The next biggest attraction in the parade was Seto Kaiba’s ego. If you thought Kaiba was a badass, Kaiba thought so too. His ego was so humongous that he programmed a talking Millennium Puzzle builder that would remind him of his greatness. He walked with so much bravado that when the enemy thought he cornered Kaiba with magic, he scoffed and dispelled the magic with the best technology around: Kaiba Corp. technology. Kaiba was not just some rich and successful business man; he was the God of Yugi’s hometown, Domino City. Imagine Steve Jobs as a narcissist and that is Seto Kaiba; god of the world’s most successful tech and always coming out with a flamboyant presentation for one new product.
Kaiba also had an unending hunger to see Atem; surely not because he was in love with Atem (possibly), but because he wanted to definitively beat him. In fact, this whole movie was about Kaiba meeting Atem. It was strange and refreshing to see the Yugi group share more of the spotlight with Seto while they welded the cliché altruistic friendliness theme throughout the movie (it wasn’t well integrated). At the end of it all, the audience was presented with Atem and Kaiba used a Back-to-the-Future trick to get what he was hungering for the entire time.
Characters aside, the movie was constructed with iconic elements. Anyone remember the Joey chin? It’s back! Can you believe that of all the duels that took place, only once was the popular, “Let’s Duel” line was used? Remember Duke Devlin? Duke’s now a burger flipper! There’s many more to list but it’s just easier to watch the movie.
All in all, depending on what your looking for in this movie, it could be the most entertaining night of your recent life or the largest waste of time in history. I forgot to mention there was an antagonist, but he was confused about his objectives and only had enough presence to fill this sentence. Leaving my seat behind after the credit roll, I certainly came out feeling like dusting off my old deck and challenging someone to a duel. I also felt like it was one the biggest jokes of 2017. If I could rename this movie, it would probably be, “Yu-gi-oh! Everyone’s Crazy about Atem, Not Yugi.”