If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Yu-Gi-Oh! has become the most successful card game and card game anime in the world. With Zexal currently airing, some wonder what the most recently finished series, 5D's, stacks up. Well, let's find out.
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's takes place in a futuristic city called Neo Domino City, where the game Duel Monsters has "evolved", or devolved as you might say,lol, into what is called Riding Duels, where players play the game on motorcycles called "D-Wheels" which change up the rules and adds an element of speed to the original rules of the game. An explosion called Zero Reverse, which occured 17 years prior, has split the into 2 parts: The city, where the middle and higher class lives, and the Satellite, an almost garbage wasteland where people have to uses trash and scraps just to survive. Our main character, Yusei Fudo, is a duelist living in Satellite who, along with the help of a few of his friends, builds a D-Wheel in order to geti nto the City and confront his old rival, Jack Atlas, who stole Yusei's ace card, Stardust Dragon, and went into the city becoming the kind of duels. When Yusei confronts Jack in a duel, he suddenly gains a mysterious mark on his arm and discovers a plot within the citys higher ranks involving an ancient Incan legend.
The plot sounds weird and straightforward at first, but as it goes along, it proves to be much deeper and even has some unexpected twists and turns. The whole motorcycle dueling does seem a little weird and I can understand if people get pushed away because of it, but it does lend itself pretty well. It finds a way to add tension to the duels. The duels also are a lot of fun, some are even really creative. There some duels that actually involve cards from the very first generation of Yu-Gi-Oh and it is well executed and helps change the pace of the duels. The plot even has ties to Bonds Beyond Time, which I reviewed. It even has some good comedic moments. The plot even does what the past series have failed to do: Actually address the logic of having this game being the center point of the conflict. It does this in a smart way by showing the games connection to the supernatural elements the show and does this well. The story is also more streamlined thanks to some good characters. Yusei does come off as a little bland at the start, but as it goes, he starts to show more emotion and show us that he is much deeper than first realized. The same goes with a few of the villians, they at first seem like just plain villians and they even do villianous things, but then it shows a non-malicious side of them even makes them the tragic villians, villians who were wronged or just want to do the right thing the wrong way.
With only 154 episodes, this is the shortest running Yu-Gi-Oh! series out of all of them. Airing from 2008 to 2011, this was the first time that TV Tokyo used HD for anime and it looks FANTASTIC. It is really smooth and even uses very good AR-like graphics for some monsters and looks great. The HD upgrade also allows it to follow the Riding duel action very well and reallt lets you know what is going on. The voice acting is good also, every character sounds they they act and feel. The music also is excellent, the best in the series. The score hits the times perfectly, changing tone when the tone of the scene changes, each song fits into what is happening at the time, it is a delight to listen to.
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's is hands down the best Yu-Gi-Oh series yet. Great plot, well developed characters, looks and sounds really good and this proves that TV Tokyo was at the top of it's game when this aired. It taps into unknown territory at times with its mythology and themes, plus it has the guts to touch on touchy subjects. The whole concept of dueling om motorcycles will push some people away, but if you can accept that, this is a really well done series and proves that there is a good story among the whole card game motif.
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's (Japanese Subbed): Low First Class