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Yu-Gi-Oh!: Season 1, Volume 1

Score: 88%
Rating: Not Rated
Publisher: Flatiron Film Company
Region: 1
Media: DVD/3
Running Time: 8 Hrs., 16 Mins.
Genre: Anime/Action/Fantasy
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo English
Subtitles: English

Yu-Gi-Oh!: Season 1, Volume 1 kicks off the 2001 anime series that not only brought an interesting set of characters to the United States, but also a collectible card game.

This particular DVD collection puts the first half of the inaugural season on three DVDs. It kicks off with Yugi challenging the reigning Duel Monsters world champion, Seto Kaiba, to a duel and concludes with the pair facing off again, but this time in drastically different circumstances.

Yugi is your typical smaller-than-average-sized kid who just happens to have a knack for what seems like a normal card game. His grandfather owns a local game shop and has taught little Yugi everything he knows about playing the game. The most important thing he has imparted, though, is what they call The Heart of the Cards. This is a firm belief that both characters have that if you have enough faith in a deck, then it will not fail you.

When business tycoon and teenage billionaire Kaiba learns that Yugi's grandpa has one of the four rare Blue-Eyes White Dragon cards, he challenges the older man to a duel and wins the rare card. In order to teach Kaiba a lesson and help avenge his grandfather's humiliation, Yugi steps up and challenges the world champion in a duel that will have repercussions throughout the rest of the series.

When Kaiba is actually defeated by the no-name contender, he ends up going on a bit of a soul search in order to figure out just how Yugi beat him. Meanwhile, the creator of Duel Monsters, Maximillion Pegasus, takes note of Yugi. It turns out that Pegasus finds Yugi interesting, not only because of his apparent skill at Duel Monsters, but also because the boy possesses an ancient relic called the Millenium Puzzle.

Pegasus challenges Yugi to a duel, but in a manner Yugi has never seen before. The pair are sucked into a place Pegasus calls the Shadow Realm and before too long, Pegasus has used his own artifact, the Millennium Eye, to capture Yugi's grandpa's soul. Now Yugi has to compete in a major tournament with the hopes of climbing the ranks and facing Pegasus again. If he can beat the game's creator, then he can free his grandfather's soul.

The tournament takes place on an island known as Duelist Kingdom, but Yugi doesn't take the trip alone. His friends Joey, Tristan and Tea sneak onto the island. Tristan and Tea are there for moral support, but Joey joins in to actually compete. His goal is to win the massive grand prize so that he can help pay for a surgery his sister desperately needs.

Yu-Gi-Oh!: Season 1, Volume 1 has Yugi and Joey facing off against several enemies. Among these are the insect-type specialist, Weevil Underwood, the reptile user Rex Raptor, the sea-lover Mako Tsunami and a female duelist called Mai. Yugi and his friends have more than just the other contestants to worry about. Also on the island is another classmate of theirs named Bakura who reveals that he also contains a Millennium item, the Millennium Ring. The resulting Shadow Game pits the spirits trapped in the two items against each other with the souls of Yugi, Tristan, Tea and Bakura on the line.

The volume ends with two multi-part duels. The first has Joey and Yugi teaming up against the Paradox Brothers who specialize in team-matches using a labyrinth system, but when they get past that duo and have the necessary points to enter the final playing grounds, they are stopped when Kaiba appears and challenges Yugi to another duel. This time, Kaiba has something more to fight for than just his pride.

Yu-Gi-Oh! is generally a good anime, especially for one that is mainly designed to get people interested in the card game of the same name. This first volume does a great job of not only kicking things off, but keeping the action up and leaving viewers begging for more. Any fan of the show, new or old, should be interested in this collection.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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