Manga released season 1 of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’sback in June earlier this year, and like that release, Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds Season 2 utilises Flatiron’s NTSC disc masters. Once again, this release is dubbed only, but that is potentially for the best to ensure consistency throughout their range of Yu-Gi-Oh! releases. Unfortunately, that had no real impact upon the show’s season 1 release but does have a disappointing effect upon this release, during the latter half. It should be noted that Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds is available, in its entirety, subtitled on Crunchyroll, and I’ll outline later how that is of use.
This season 2 collection is actually made up of what was broadcast on television as seasons 3 and 4, though the US season 4 is actually just 29 episodes out of the Japanese season 4’s 42 episodes and the first 2 episodes of the Japanese season 5. The Bonds Beyond Time 3D movie, which Manga released back in 2011 on 3D Blu-ray and DVD but is now out of print, takes place between series 3 and 4 – that’s after episode 28 as per the numbering on this release. Seeing as the movie is canon, it’s a shame Manga didn’t opt for at least a reprint of the DVD version alongside this release.
The first arc, season 3, known as Road To Destiny in the dub, focuses on the lead up to the World Racing Grand Prix. This arc is filled with a lot of smaller stories, each taking place over no more than a few episodes; although some of these can feel filler-esque, it never becomes tedious as each is interesting and even allow for some focus on specific characters rather than the group as a whole. Interspersed through this arc is some important development, with new recurring characters being introduced, alongside new villains, the three emperors of Yliaster. Additionally, the secrets of Accel Synchro are unveiled to Yusei, driving him to work on a new duel engine to support it.
The second arc, season 4, known as World Racing Grand Prix, centres on the WRGP. Team 5D’s compete and manage to enter the finals with relative ease. Team Ragnarok, who also seem very protagonist-esque compete, but are eventually defeated by 5D’s and they leave pass on the destiny of saving the world to Yusei and the other signers. The latter half of this arc deals with Team 5D’s’ battle with the emperors of Yliaster after the appearance of the Divine Temple in the sky – it’s a shame the dub never actually reveals what the Divine Temple really is.
Visually, this release is excellent; the series was animated at 540p, so the quality loss for an NTSC DVD is minimal. Thankfully, Manga just ported the US release for UK fans, so the dub is presented as it should be, without any speedup or pitching issues. It’s dubbed only, just like their earlier Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters releases so is the perfect addition to the collection of anyone who owns those releases, or for those that want a Yu-Gi-Oh! anime that feels less childish than the original series did. That’s not to say that this series is as dark as the first 7 volumes of the original Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, but the story is most certainly both better written and more comprehensively thought out than the original series. It’s really a shame that this season 2 collection then leaves things poorly resolved thanks to 4Kids, but at least the subtitled version is available legally for those that want to supplement their viewing of the dub, or just watch it subbed instead.
For reference, to ensure you get the complete story, after episode 46, “Primo’s Plan, Part 5”, you should watch episodes 111 through 122 subbed on Crunchyroll. Then watch episodes 47 through 57 of the dub from this release. Instead of watching episodes 58 and 59 from this release, go and watch subtitled episodes 135 through 154 on Crunchyroll. Episode 130 was also skipped in the dub, but as it’s a recap episode, it’s of no importance.
As was to be expected, there are no special features in this release, but at sub-£30 for 59 episodes, that is to be expected and is an excellent price for so much content. Additionally, while the release itself is billed as “Season 2”, the disc art is split into “Season 2 Vol 3” and “Season 2 Vol 4”; this is made more inconsistent through the disc menus – Season 2 Vol 5 through Season 2 Vol 8, with two discs per volume as per the menus. This is perfectly acceptable as a side effect of utilising the NTSC disc masters rather than authoring PAL discs and giving the show PAL speedup.
I didn’t enjoy watching season 2 dubbed as much as season 1, but this was due to the skipping of episodes 111 through 122, episode 130, and episodes 137 through 154. The omission of episode 130 can be forgiven due to it being a recap episode, with minimal new animations, but episodes 111 through 122 contained valuable backstory for the series’ overarching story, with episodes 137 onwards providing the true conclusion to the series. Meanwhile, this dubbed version cops out when it comes to this overarching story, despite having dubbed the Bonds Beyond Time movie which plays a part in it, and instead have a “happily ever after” moment slapped on the end of the episodes which introduce the true architect of everything that has transpired. In the subbed version, this defeat of the “big bad” was subverted excellently and led to the final arc of the series, arguably the most impactful of all five arcs. Perhaps worst of all, though, Leo never actually gets his moment in the dub.
Although Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's remains potentially the greatest Yu-Gi-Oh! series, the way 4Kids treated it back when they were still responsible for the series has resulted in a release which does the series a great disservice. This is through no fault of Manga Entertainment; they have released, as available to them, the complete Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's as it was dubbed. I recommend you pick up this release to support the franchise, but, as outlined above, at least head over to Crunchyroll to watch the sub for a decent chunk of 5D's that was skipped by 4Kids.