Yu☆Gi☆Oh! 5D's, set in the not too distant future, is the sequel to Yu☆Gi☆Oh!: Duel Monsters GX. Following on from its predecessors, the show is centered on the Duel Monsters Card Game.
Neo Domino City, a newer, evolved city is the largest in the world, watched over by its Director, Rex Godwin. Satellite, the renamed old Domino City, is now the city's main waste disposal area and the inhabitants who live there, Satellites, live in poor conditions and are forbidden from Duelling.
Fudou Yuusei, the shows main protagonist, has built a D-Wheel (used for the new form of duelling, Riding Duels) in the hope that he can escape to Neo Domino City. Spurred on by revenge towards Jack Atlus, the King of Riding Duels, he manages to escape and duel Jack for his precious card, Stardust Dragon. However when it is summoned along with Jack's ace monster, Red Demons Dragon, a wondrous Crimson Dragon appears, along with a mysterious Birthmark on Yuusei's arm.
From here on, Yuusei and his friends are thrown into a world of Darkness, from which they must duel their way out and attempt to save the world from the destructive forces that soon appear.
#01: "Kizuna" by Kra (eps 01-26) #02: "Last train (New Morning)" by Knotlmp (eps 27-64) #03: "FREEDOM" by La-Vie (eps 65-103) #04: "BELIEVE IN NEXUS" by Masaki Endoh (eps 104-129) #05: "Road to Tomorrow - Going My Way!!" by Masaaki Endoh (eps 130-154)
#1: "START" by Nakagauchi Masataka (eps 01-26) #2: "CROSS GAME" by alice nine. (eps 27-64) #3: "-OZONE-" by vistlip (eps 65-103) #4: "Close to You" by ALvino (eps 104-129) #5: "Future Colours" by Plastic Tree (eps 130-154)
take the scenario from Terminator + tons of mindless violence + card games on motorcycles (that are surprisingly good) + a badass protagonist: Welcome to 5ds!
5ds revitalized the game when it needed it most. Konami created new types of cards (synchros) and introduced them through an anime so good that people actually got over the fact that Konami was creating new rules again (The same tactic was repeated quite successfully with Arc V and completely failed with Zexal). The duels suddenly became A LOT faster and more enjoyable and the game that was going downhill until then suddenly stepped up.
For starters FINALLY we're through with
"school children protagonists". Yusei was already 18 when the show started, had already trouble with cops and was basically living in a giant scrapyard/post-apocalyptic city. Literally from the first minutes of the anime all you can say is "wow, is this really yugioh?!". Obviously the super-added levels of violence meant that 4kids butchered the anime even more than usual in the dub, making it utterly unwatchable, but that's hardly the original's fault.
And staying on the "violence makes good" theme, lets talk about emotional violence as well. Aki, the show's female lead is quite clearly a girl with a LOT of problems and torn between her loyalties, from the start to the end. On the one hand she wants to go with the protagonist... Mostly because she just fancies him, on the other she wants to stay with her boss, who she also fancies (kinda, and also kinda sees him as a fatherly figure, honestly it's a pretty interesting subplot). And the main reason she can't choose is that in 5ds, there is no clearly evil character. Obviously the protagonist is good, but there is no character you can clearly call an "one-sided villain", including her boss. On one hand that makes for a much more mature plot, on other it doesn't allow for the sheer evil badassness that Vector was (read my zexal II review). In fact even the last main villain of the anime, the big bad behind it all, STILL isn't evil. Misguided maybe, yes, but he only had the best of intentions (you know, unlike the motherfu%$ing Vector and the others).
The protagonist, Yusei, best of all, never jokes, almost never smiles and is in fact from start to finish dead serious about everything. The fact that he can outrun security (constantly), beat the crap out of everyone (no, I don't mean in a card game, I mean literally, beat the crap out of people), build 2 whole motorcycles from scrap and understand physics (without ever going to school mind you) makes him a total boss. After him comes Jack Atlas, the second male lead, who gets almost equal screentime, and is a fan-favourite due to his dueling style and unparalleled ego. He makes for an amazing antagonist and surprisingly well-written character (and is in fact the only character in the anime to get more chicks than Yusei). Lets be honest here, EVERYONE who has seen 5ds was hyped every time that "Red Demon's Dragon" was summoned. (Come on, you can even recite the summoning chant)
The plot starts from post-apocalyptic future, goes to "suck my Aztec d$%^" and ends up Terminator (down to the last detail). While pretty light on twists there are a few that really make for interesting story (for example who the final opponents of the second and final Arcs were). Most of the anime is delightfully dark, with purple and dark blue being the primarly used colors. (As far as I can remember you almost never see the sun in the first Arcs).
When it comes to animation and OSTes 5ds was way above the antagonism. In fact when it came out, I quite honestly thought it had the best OST in anime after Bleach (Fairy Tail hadn't come out yet). The animation has a unique dark style to it that really makes the anime enjoyable and you asking for more.
It doesn't matter if you didn't like yugioh in general, at least the first 8-9 episodes of this one are a must-watch.
When looking at a series, is it better to start strong but end weak or start weak but end strong? I believe a strong finish is better than a strong start because while it won't hook people immediately, it will allow for people to have something to look forward to while watching. The problem with 5D's is that it follows the latter, being a disappointment after the first season, which ends at the end of the dark signer arc. The unfortunate truth behind this is that the director for the fortune cup arc left to work on Symphogear, leaving behind notes for the dark signer
arc. The new director followed these notes, but once the dark signer arc finished, he unfortunately screwed up a lot of things. If I could rate the seasons seperately, I'd give the first season a 9 and the second season a 5. So let's delve into some of the best and worst yugioh has to offer.
The story for the first season is structured pretty well. There is little to no filler and you can feel the progression. At the start, Yusei just wants to get back the card that symbolizes his bonds, Stardust Dragon, but then he gets stuck in Godwin's plan and becomes a signer. While the plot doesn't stand out, it also doesn't falter, allowing for strong character development. The second season has a convoluted plot where all the problems are solved because of Yusei suddenly becoming overpowered. It just sucks when the solution to every plot related problem winds up being Yusei. Another major issue is how there are 6 signer dragons when the original plot wanted 5. It felt like they wanted to give a character signer status just so he could stay with the main cast instead of a legitimate reason. It all just felt like so much of the original intent spiraled down into a cesspool of absurdity.
The art and sound are pretty spot on, with the soundtrack containing some of the best vocal pieces in the yugioh franchise with songs like CROSS GAME and Clear Mind. The structural and artistic design of each D-wheel definitely shows each character's personality. The duel disks are designed to look like their respective D-wheels, as the motorcycles are a hybrid of transportation and a dueling machine.
The biggest divide between the seasons is how the characters are handled. The first season had some of the best character development, delving deep into what makes each character and how they all overcome their mental and physical barriers to become stronger and better people. Overcoming the darkness in your heart is a prevalent theme within the dark signer arc, and it made the development even better. Unfortunately, the second season throws much of the development out the window and streamlines every character's personalities and emotions. There could have been so much more done with the characters introduced in the second season to make them meaningful and not just a bland sideshow.
I heavily enjoyed the first season, and it became one of my favorite parts of yugioh. It's a engrossing and fulfilling experience that you should experience. The second season, however I didn't enjoy so much. I did manage to watch through it all, and it was about the same as Zexal 1. I recommend only watching the first season while completely ignoring the second season, unless if you want to laugh at the problems it has. Remember kids, you can turn off the monitor whenever you want.
5D's, my favorite show of all time. This show is a beautiful work of art, with some of the most real characters I have ever experienced. However, between Dark Signers and Pre-WRPG there is a huge shift, however I personally adore season 2 for there depiction of the main threat of the series, Yliaster.
The art is beautiful, and the monsters are some of the most beautiful we've gotten yet. The Signer Dragon's complexity could make them hard to look at if your use to the original, but once adjusted they are some of the best designed monsters in the franchise. The Earthbound Immortals could
be considered simple, and they are simplified black versions of the Nazca Line the represent with a different color line vairty across them, but they somehow manage to still look amazingly badass. The Machine Emperors are just sheer eye candy to anyone a fan of machines in general, and the characters still have gravity-defying hair, making certain characters(ESPICALLY APORIA) a pain to draw.
The Voice Acting is sheer beautiful, from the sexy voices of Yusei Fudo and Aporia to just the plain awesome voice work that is given to Lucciano. However the music is where it really shines. Almost all OSTs are amazing, including Yusei's theme, Lucciano/Skiel's theme, Light and Dark, Placido's theme and many MANY others. However the openings, endings and inserts are where they just BOMB IT. 5D's and GX are the only shows were I love every single opening and ending, and my god, do they not disappoint. Future Colors, Cross Game, Start, Last Train, Going my Way!!, Believe in Nexus, Freedom, -OZONE-, Close to You and Kizuna are the best songs in the entire franchise by far, and we have the all holy insert song sung by freaking Masaaki Endoh known as Clear Mind.
I will admit I have a crush on Placido to the point where it's kinda scary and sad, but the characters feel so real. Yusei and Jack are by far the best Yugi/Kaiba duo yet, and the entire major rest of the list excluding the characters from Secruity and Satellite are amazing. Rua, Ruka, and Lucciano are by far the best children characters in this franchise along with Arc-V's Sora, and damn does Z-One troll everyone. There's even a character exclusive to the spinoff Bonds Beyond Time who gets mentioned, and well, just watch the freaking show.
I have never enjoyed a show this much. Every episode, even the filler, was good in some way. My personal favorite episodes are 105-110(the Placido VS Yusei mini-arc as I like to call it). But just, watch it.
This franchise is amazing, and this series is a treat from beyond heaven. If you like anime in general, WATCH YU-GI-OH! 5D'S RIGHT NOW.
This is my personal favorite entry into the yugioh franchise of the 3 that I have watched (Duel Monsters, GX, and 5Ds). This brings us a fairly different take on some duels in the form of riding duels while still keeping the heart of the yugioh franchise alive.
As with any yugioh series, the story follows a series of adventures our heroes must take on against antagonists to save the world. How do they do it? In a series of card games, of course. However, I feel like the in-depth plot development of these arcs were very well-done. The audience was given a chance to
understand the viewpoints of both the antagonists and our protagonists. The overall theme of the show is something along the lines of 'the importance of bonds between friends'. The show demonstrated this theme several times through the character's actions as well as through monologues and speeches made.
This show introduces the concept of dueling while riding a D Wheeler, basically a motorcycle. At first this idea seems silly, but the atmosphere of riding duels was very exciting. The characters and monsters were constantly in motion so there was a lot more going on than just finger pointing and monsters just chilling in front of our duelists.
We are also introduced to a new summoning technique, synchro summoning, to bring out new synchro monsters. This is what is used to bring out most of the new powerful monster, but it did not feel overpowered and was not the absolute single summoning technique in the show either. It brought a new update to the game that only served to make the duels more interesting to watch.
The character designs were on-point with yugioh's crazy hairstyles while managing to keep the overall deign of characters balanced. The background design of the different settings were distinct and unique. My main issue is that the quality of animation was somewhat inconsistent. Some episodes, we had breathtaking animation with fluid motion with excellent layout designs. Other episodes, the characters would look out of proportion even during closeups. The 3D models used worked very well for the most part even though it was fairly obvious that the characters/monsters were not drawn. There were a few times where the 3D just didn't work very well.
5Ds knew exactly where it was going with its sound. The openings were all fantastic in terms of both music and animation while keeping with the overall theme of 'bonds'. The battle music helped several duels go from exciting to on-the-edge-of-my-seat exciting.
Yusei is our first and only yugioh protagonist to start out at the age of 18. Not only that, he has had to deal with issues such as poverty and being an orphan as a child which made him grow up to be a strong adult. The rest of the cast each get the spotlight for their character development when necessary and are fleshed out very well. There were a few characters who had a lot of potential for better development and a larger role in the story that were slowly left out of the plot.
I laughed, I cried, and there were whole scenes that I re-watched at least 5 times because of how amazing they were. It was great seeing an older cast and the slight darker tomes the show had.
I would recommend this to anyone trying to get into the yugioh franchise and even if they weren't. You do not need to have watched any of the other yugioh shows to jump into this one, but be warned that the show does not hand-hold the audience through the rules of duel monsters that other yugioh shows might do.
Admit it! You really do wish you could burn rubber on a 2-wheeled beauty, as you race through neon-lit Tokyo streets. Speed demons may need to check out some of the following motorbikes in anime in order to get their adrenaline rush!
The opening theme to an anime, or any television show for that matter, is a crucial element to the show's success. This will often be the first thing that an audience sees, and for Yu☆Gi☆Oh! Arc-V that means it's the first chance to introduce audiences to the majesty of Pendulum Summoning!