The return of the Pharaoh is on everyone’s minds. But a new threat changes everything – everything except for Kaiba’s determination to finally defeat his one true rival.
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions
Created by: Kazuki Takahashi
Production Companies: Studio Gallop, Konami Digital Entertainment, Nihon Ad Systems (NAS), Shueisha, TV Tokyo
Distributor: Toei Company, 4K Media Group, Eleven Arts, Screenvision Media,
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Theatrical Release: April 23, 2016 (Japan), January 27, 2017 (USA)
Blu-Ray Release: March 8, 2017 (Japan), June 27, 2017 (USA)
Sub Version Available: Yes
Dub Version Available: Yes
What You Need to Know:
Fun Fact: Yu-Gi-Oh! Dark Side of Dimensions was released in celebration of the 20th Anniversary celebration of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise.
Dark Side of Dimensions takes place roughly one year after the end of the original story; one year after the Final Duel between Yugi Mutou and Pharaoh Atem. The Pharaoh’s spirit has moved on to the afterlife, the Millennium Items were lost as the site of the duel caved in, and life has since returned to normal for Yugi and his friends.
What You’ll Find Out:
Seto Kaiba is driven by two goals. To continue to push past the limits of dueling technology – and technology in general – and to get his revenge on the one opponent he could never settle things with. Pharaoh Atem. He’s built himself an impossible, sub-orbital satellite office station over Domino City. Connected to the KaibaCorp building by a state-of-the-art high-speed elevator. While he’s alone at this station, his security and dozens of hired excavators work tirelessly in the desert of Egypt under Mokuba’s direct supervision. After a scolding by the head of the security crew, reminding them of their urgency, one worker pulls out an image of Yugi, focusing in on the golden Millennium Puzzle, as he ponders if the object truly exists. Indicating that the Puzzle is what they’re searching for.
Over in Domino City, Japan, Yugi Mutou is stopped by his grandfather who wants to know why Téa Gardner no longer meets him for the walk to school. Yugi awkwardly explains he’s too old for that before heading off … to meet Téa at a mid-way point on the journey to school. When they get to school they spot Ryou Bakura, caught in a cluster of female classmates. Meanwhile, Joey Wheeler is running late, tearing through the city on his bike to make it to class on time. He nearly collides with a man named Sanpei, whom he’s apparently done this to previously, and in the process receives a bucket of water on his head. Moments later he has to swerve to avoid crashing into an officer. A couple of blocks later he finds his best friend, Tristan Taylor, racing on foot toward the school as well. Tristan hops on the back of Joey’s bike and the duo slide through the school gate just before it’s closed.
The group of friends make their way to the roof at lunchtime and discuss their plans for after high school. Téa reveals that she’s been accepted into a study abroad program at a dancing academy. Joey, of course, dreams of becoming a professional duelist, while Tristan’s been roped into a smalltime job at his family’s business. With some prompting Yugi admits that while he intends to stay and help his grandfather run the game shop, he also wants to create new games. He hopes that, someday, he’ll create a new game that catches on and they can all play it together.
When lunch is over the group heads back to class, but come up short when Joey spots a newer student in the back corner. He’s sure he knows the male, but can’t for the life of him remember the boy’s name. One by one the rest of the group realizes that they can’t quite identify him, either, until finally, Tristan recalls the student’s name: Aigami. Everyone recognizes the name just as the teacher calls the class to order.
Yugi, Joey, and Téa walk home after school together, but Yugi lags behind, having extracted his duel deck and finding himself staring down at the familiar Dark Magician. Joey and Téa notice as well and, once prompted, Yugi admits he was thinking about him – about Atem. He feels bad for mentioning their friend who’s passed on, but Joey and Téa remind him they understand. Atem was their friend, too, but Yugi shared the strongest bond with him. Of course, he’d miss the Pharaoh the most. Yugi confesses he still thinks about Atem every day, wishing he’d at least had a chance to actually say goodbye after the Final Duel. But before the conversation can go any further Joey spots their odd classmate, Aigami, being bullied at the base of the bridge they’re walking over.
Joey leaps over the side to help before the bullying can get too physical, interrupting the leader of the makeshift gang, Scud, who’d been in the middle of threatening Aigami with what his buddies were about to do to him. Seeing they’d been caught, but still wanting to film Aigami’s beating, Scud dares Aigami to meet him alone at a construction site later that night. Then he and his gang leave, allowing Joey to believe he’d scared them off. Yugi and Téa run up, having taken the more reasonable approach of rushing around the bridge and down the slope of the grass, to see if their help is still needed. Aigami thanks them all kindly for stepping in for him but dismisses their offer to walk him somewhere safe, assuring them all he’ll be fine. He walks away calmly, leaving the others in a state of confusion over his behavior. But Joey brushes it off, declaring that no matter how weird things get, one thing will always be certain. “I’m starvin’!”
That night, Aigami arrives at the designated KaibaCorp construction site just as Scud demanded. Once Scud gets over his mocking laughter at Aigami’s idiocy for actually showing up he declares that he’ll be recording while his friends beat on Aigami. However, Aigami has other ideas as the lights around them go out and he produces an odd, glowing cube and an upside-down golden triangle appears on his forehead. Around him ghost-like children of varying ages appear, surrounding everyone, all with yellow-gold glowing eyes and matching triangles on their foreheads. Scud and his bullies begin to panic as Aigami explains that his mission is to use his power, which he calls the Plana, to purge the world of evil like them and make it a peaceful, beautiful place. To make his point Scud glows a bright, burning orange-gold before promptly disintegrating, his camera falling to the ground. His friends follow moments later. Once the bullies are completely gone, the children disappear and Aigami walks off. He returns from another angle to reclaim the camera.
Elsewhere, the echo of confident steps on a stone hallway precedes the arrival of Pharaoh Atem, dressed in the familiar modern attire he wore before passing into the afterlife, with the additions of simple golden armbands around his biceps. He steps into an almost colosseum-like room with large, church-style stained glass windows and stone archways. Across from him is his opponent, Seto Kaiba. Kaiba dons new tech, a headset framing his left eye with a black, blue-glowing object adorning his left forearm where his duel disk should be. They greet each other, Kaiba challenging Atem to another duel and promptly revealing that the new tech is, of course, his latest duel disk technology, involving holographic card readouts and better holographic monster displays. Atem, of course, accepts the duel, using his standard duel disk.
The duelists waste no time summoning their trademark creatures, Atem’s faithful Dark Magician and a new variation of Kaiba’s trademark Blue Eyes White Dragon. They trade blow after blow, perfectly blocking and counterattacking. Kaiba reflects on how hard he’s worked, how important it is for him to finally defeat this man, the “closest he’s ever come” to a worthy opponent. He’s still haunted by what he feels what his humiliating defeat at the hands of Atem and the unstoppable Exodia so long ago. He declares his intent and his certainty that he’ll finally win, and Atem returns with a laugh that Kaiba’s “been saying that for years.” A few more turns pass and Atem lures Kaiba into the perfect trap, but Kaiba’s prepared and finally pulls off his long-desired win.
Moments after Atem’s life points hit zero and the dust fades everything around Kaiba falls away, revealing a mostly empty laboratory space with Kaiba in the center. Atem and the church setting were virtual projections. Examples of Kaiba’s holographic technology’s enhanced capabilities. A group of scientists rushes in, praising Kaiba’s successful testing and amazing prowess. But Kaiba is frustrated because he recognizes that no matter how realistic the virtual reconstruction of Atem was, it wasn’t the real deal. His victory holds no meaning. In frustration, he declares the test a fail but is interrupted by a call from Mokuba, who brings good news. The excavation is a success – they’ve found the pieces of the Millennium Puzzle.
Yugi, Téa, Tristan, and Bakura are gathered for lunch at the open-air mall where both Joey and their other friend Duke work. Duke, who works as a waiter, brings them their treats while Tristan makes repairs on Joey’s beloved duel disk. Joey is busy handing out balloons to children while dressed in an oversized dog costume. Téa comes across an article about the mysterious disappearance of Scud and his gang. Further reading and discussion reveal that groups of people have been disappearing under similarly mysterious circumstances recently all over the world.
Upon the second level, Aigami watches Yugi, Bakura, and the others interact. He reflects on his desire for vengeance as his mind wanders to recent memory. In another dimension, on what appears to be a floating plateau, Aigami and many other children are gathered. The center of the plateau sports seven deliberate pillars, each engraved with the symbols of one of the Millennium Items. Aigami stands nearest the pillar for the Millennium Key. Most of the children are sitting or kneeling, fading in and fading out silently. This plateau is their safe place, the dimension home of their power, the Plana. A power they were given upon the passing of their beloved Master Shin, who taught them to use it for peace, to create a better world. That they needed not to be afraid, not to let hatred into their hearts.
A girl comes up beside him, pleading with him not to proceed with his plan. She addresses him as “Diva.” Aigami, whose real name is Diva, argues with her – Sera – about the right thing to do. The dissent between them, even despite their lifelong history, is mirrored in the matching dissent among the rest of the children. Another of their group, a boy named Manny, steps up to join their conversation. Diva makes his final point to Sera – that it’s not hatred, but justice – and takes his leave. Manny holds her gaze for a moment without a word but follows after Diva in a show of support.
Returning his focus to the present, it takes Diva a moment to realize Manny has appeared beside him and is trying to get his attention. Manny takes his own stab at attempting to talk Diva out of his quest, saying it’s not what Master Shin would have wanted. Diva never takes his eyes off Yugi and Bakura, shutting down Manny’s argument. So Manny informs him their fears have been realized. Kaiba has found the Millennium Puzzle. At this news, the pair head for Egypt.
Moments later Seto Kaiba appears on all the monitors in the mall, drawing the attention of Yugi and everyone else as he declares he has once again changed the face of Duel Monsters. He reveals his latest high-tech duel disk system and announces a demonstration event to be held in the near future. While Yugi thinks the new duel disk looks interesting, Joey laments that it also looks expensive.
In Kul Elna, Egypt, Mokuba and their head of security, Roland, stand outside the excavation site as Seto arrives in his one-of-a-kind Blue Eyes White Dragon Jet. Kaiba leads the way into the chamber while Roland and Mokuba explain that the pieces have all been gathered and locked in his state-of-the-art security box as requested. The workers are gathered to the sides, giving Kaiba a wide berth as he steps up to see his prize for himself. Mokuba asks his brother how he plans to reassemble the puzzle when it took Yugi eight years to do so. Kaiba remarks that Yugi was a mere, “simple-minded child,” implying that he, of course, knows what he’s doing. But when his men tell him it will be several minutes before the box is ready to be loaded onto their helicopter for transport, Kaiba notices something odd and calls out their mysterious intruder, Diva.
Diva steps forward, revealing himself in his true garb instead of Domino High’s school uniform. He praises Kaiba for discerning his presence, and again for somehow knowing his real name. Then he accuses Kaiba of being among the worst of those he’s banished from the world, promising to do the same to him. One of Kaiba’s men comes up behind him with a gun, but Diva summons his cube and the guard dissolves in moments, only the weapon left behind. Then Diva turns his attention to Kaiba and Kaiba’s body begins to glow, too. Just as Mokuba starts to panic in fear of losing his elder brother, Kaiba activates his new duel disk technology, which is connected all times to the device he wears on his head, and in a brilliant flash of light, the power of the Plana is overwhelmed. Kaiba assures Diva that no magic is stronger than the power of his brain, which in turn powers his technology, and so Diva stands no chance.
With no other course of action, but still desperate to keep Kaiba from attaining the Millennium Puzzle, Diva challenges Kaiba to a duel. Kaiba gladly accepts, not knowing that Diva intends to warp the reality around them with the magic of his cube, making their duel into what he calls a Dimension Duel. Different than either a regular duel or a Shadow Duel, Dimension Duels require the duelist to use their spirit to infuse their monster with strength. The stronger their monster, the greater risk to themselves. But they can summon any monster they want without making a sacrifice first because in theory any monster can be summoned with zero attack or defense points. Diva’s cube transforms into a cubic object shaped like a duel disk and the duel is on.
Having always been a brute force duelist, Kaiba wastes no time summoning his mighty Blue Eyes to the field at full strength. Diva duels with zero attack point creatures he calls Vejam. But these Vejam have multiple abilities, including poisoning monsters which have attacked them and merging together to form more powerful monsters at the duelist’s whim. Kaiba’s field is soon full of statue-like dragons he can neither get rid of or attack with and Diva seems to have him on the ropes. But Seto Kaiba never backs down to an opponent, and all he needs is to summon one monster which has the ability to absorb others in order to clear his field and destroy his opponent. One such monster that supposedly no longer exists … except for somewhere within the depths of the very tomb, they’re dueling over. On what will surely be his last turn, Kaiba cries out and slams his fist onto the ground for his Draw Phase. Blue-white light overwhelms the field, pushing against the Dimension field, and Kaiba summons the impossible: the Egyptian God Card, Obelisk the Tormentor.
Diva’s fate is all but sealed. He has nothing which can stand against an Egyptian God. Just by the activation of Obelisk’s ability, Diva’s life points are reduced to a mere 1,000. In the moment that follows, however, Mokuba shouts to his brother the good news – they’re ready to go. The secure box containing the pieces of the Millennium Puzzle is being air-lifted as he speaks. He himself is even sitting on it. Diva abandons the duel in favor of stopping Mokuba from taking the puzzle, using his power to break through the glass and reach for the pieces inside. Mokuba shoves him off quickly and is pulled safely into the helicopter with the pieces of the Millennium Puzzle.
While Diva is up above, and after the excavation site has rapidly emptied, Manny notices something still glowing within the pit the Millennium Puzzle had been pulled from. He teleports closer and spots the Millennium Ring.
The next day, while Yugi is rehearsing his speech at the Domino High graduation rehearsal, Diva stands at the back of the room silently observing his enemy. Sera appears, having heard the Millennium Puzzle was found. They briefly discuss the heavy potential that brings, for the prophecy says that should the Pharaoh ever return, the power of the Plana “will be recanted.” But Diva isn’t worried about it, and when Sera asks why, he holds out his hand and gives her a single piece of the puzzle. Revealing that he’d managed to steal one when he’d gotten his hand inside the box. Without all the pieces, the puzzle can never be completed, and thus, the Pharaoh cannot be reborn. He asks her to trust him, and to hold on to the piece for him, and she vanishes. After she leaves he returns his gaze to Yugi, thinking there is one other way to prevent the Pharaoh’s return. If the Pharaoh has no vessel to possess, he would have nobody to return to….
Once the rehearsal is over, Diva approaches Yugi and his friends, expressing interest in joining them for the day and getting to know them better. Always open to making new friends, they accept and all head out for lunch together. While at lunch the group get to talking about Duel Monsters and eventually agree to have a friendly tournament the next day, with Joey jokingly commenting that the prize will be a chance for the winner to duel against him.
With his plans set in motion, Seto Kaiba takes the high-speed single person elevator up to his personalized space station, Millennium Puzzle pieces in hand. He’s got an area on the station all set up for exactly this project and he places the box containing what he believes to be all the pieces into place as soon as he arrives. The station’s AI takes over explaining the entire process, including the estimation that it will take approximately six hours to complete the puzzle. When Kaiba finally interrupts its ramblings with the reminder that he was the one who built the program, the AI states it has noted Kaiba’s affinity for being reminded of his genius.
Joey, Bakura, and the classmate they know as Aigami, are walking together on their way to Yugi’s the following day. ‘Aigami’ has his cube out, though this time it’s not glowing at all, and upon questioning he claims it to be merely an old artifact he keeps for good luck. Bakura comments that he and his father used to travel the world looking for artifacts and Diva hones in on this, pushing for more information.
Alone at the game shop, Yugi is putting together his deck for the day’s tournament when he looks up and realizes unexpectedly that he’s not alone. An unfamiliar girl, Sera, is standing before him. She sees the Millennium Box and comments on its beauty. Yugi tells her it’s where he keeps his most treasured cards and she corrects him – that it’s where he keeps those cards which are most valued by both him and the Pharaoh. Surprised that she could know about Atem, Yugi hesitates, and Sera takes him to see the realm of the Plana as she briefly explains about her people and their power. How it has great strength and could be used to create a wonderful world of peace – but can also be easily corrupted. She returns them to the shop, disappearing without another word, but when Yugi looks back inside his Millennium Box he finds her lone piece of the Millennium Puzzle.
Simultaneously, Kaiba glares in frustration at the unsuccessful outcome before him. His reconstruction program has failed him. Not because it was flawed, but because two pieces of the puzzle are missing. It takes him only a minute to remember Diva managing to break through the glass, so he knows Diva was the one to have taken the pieces. Now he has to go get them.
At Diva’s prompting, Bakura reluctantly tells of a time when he was young when he stowed away on a cargo ship in Egypt, to accompany his father. Claiming he’d had a ‘bad feeling.’ Bakura cuts himself off, not wanting to continue the rest of the story, but Diva forces him with the power of the Plana as the ghostly children surround them. At this point Joey moves to Bakura’s side to get him to his feet, as he’s collapsed to his knees in an effort to repel the memory, trying to get Bakura to leave with him. When Bakura is unable to move Joey turns on Diva, ready to fight him off to defend his friend. At the first sign of Joey’s willingness to use violence Diva smirks and uses his power to send Joey away like he has all the others.
Joey finds himself on a crowded sidewalk which looks fairly normal but quickly realizes everyone around him is unresponsive. Diva’s disembodied voice tauntingly assures Joey that he’ll never be able to escape this world and that once his memories disappear, so will he. And Diva intends to help the process along by actively erasing the memories one by one, so Joey begins running as everything around him starts to disappear. Joey fights to remember it all, pointing out Sanpei as he passes and expects to get water in the face once more. He recognizes the policeman he nearly collided with before. But still, things vanish.
Yugi is sitting at home, waiting for his friends, when Tristan bursts in declaring the tournament canceled, as something has happened to Joey. Yugi climbs onto the back of Tristan’s motorcycle and they ride off, meeting up with Téa at the site of Joey’s abandoned bicycle and treasured duel disk. Proof that Joey is, in fact, missing. The friends agree to split up and search the city for Joey, and Bakura as well, knowing Bakura was supposed to be with him.
Meanwhile, Diva still has a quivering Bakura cornered with the power of his cube. Bakura begs him to stop, not to force him to relive that terrible memory. Diva asks if Bakura really doesn’t remember, before saying that he does, because he was there, too. Using the power of the Plana he conjures a vision of the past, forcing them both to relive it.
Shadi Shin, wielder of the Millennium Key, sits inside an Egyptian shrine, surrounded by a group of children, including younger versions of Diva, Sera, and Manny. Nearby lies the Tablet of the Pharaoh’s Memories, which still holds the Millennium Items Ring and Scales. Shadi tells the children of the power of the Millennium Items and the power of the Plana. He explains that once the seven Millennium Items are gathered, the pathway to the realm of the Plana will open, but only once the Pharaoh’s spirit has left their world will the power be released. He goes on to explain to them about the importance of understanding the dangers of fear and hate, and not letting themselves succumb to it. At first, the children are confused, naïve to the idea, but then young Diva stands and earnestly declares that he is no longer afraid of anything. He has nothing to fear with Master Shin at his side. Shadi sadly tells him that that is the very definition of fear.
But their conversation is interrupted by the intrusion of a wild-eyed elderly explorer who rushes into the room. Shadi steps forward to greet him and see what he desires. The man, Bakura’s father, barely acknowledges him until after he’s seen for himself that the Millennium Ring really is within the Tablet. He offers Shadi money, but Shadi refuses. Shadi tries to talk him out of it but is ultimately powerless to stop him, as he is sworn not to directly interfere. He tells Bakura’s father that the Ring is not for sale, but that he can put it on as a test, and he may have it if the Ring finds him worthy. Bakura’s father does so immediately, but after only a moment the dark energy of the Ring throws him mercilessly backward and detaches itself from his neck.
Seeing his father hurt, young Bakura ran forward from his hiding spot to try and help. But his father, still desperate to possess the Ring, begs him to retrieve it. Bakura does so with hesitancy, ignoring Shadi’s pleas of warning. As soon as Bakura touches the Ring the darkness swirls to life and it embeds itself within Bakura’s chest. Yami Bakura rises to his feet and speaks with an evil, twisted voice, attacking Shadi gleefully. He then kills Bakura’s father before turning his attention to the children.
Amidst the chaos, a dying Shadi passes along the cube, and within it the power of the Plana, to Diva. Telling him, and the rest of the children, to please remember his teachings. Shadi dies moments later and when Yami Bakura returns his attention to them they’re forced to flee for their lives.
The vision fades, leaving Bakura in tears and Diva’s rage renewed. Bakura begs Diva to understand that what happened wasn’t his fault but the fault of the spirit within the Millennium Ring. More tears fall as he stands and adds that he is, however, very sorry for the loss Diva suffered that night. After all, he knows what it’s like to lose someone close, too. Diva seems taken aback by this, even commenting, “So you do.” The calm is shattered when Manny appears, behaving strangely. He’s been possessed by the spirit of the Millennium Ring, which he’d taken from the pit after Diva’s altercation with Kaiba.
Yami Manny attacks Bakura, claiming Diva’s prior intent was the right one all along when he’s really merely seeking his own revenge. But Diva recognizes the difference in his surrogate brother and calls to him, pleading with him to stop. Manny manages to override the spirit of the Ring for a brief time, bringing the Ring forward to reveal the reason for his behavior and explaining that he can’t control it. He drops Bakura, who immediately backs far away in terror. The Ring flares again as Manny tries to tell Diva to flee, but it’s too late. Bakura vanishes to one dimension. Diva and Manny, now grievously wounded, appear in another. Diva stays with Manny until Manny passes, his body dissolving in the wind. Leaving behind only the Millennium Ring. Diva’s gaze lingers on it as if he’s considering picking it up, until the distant cries of Yugi’s voice calling for Joey reach his ears.
Diva reappears in Domino City Plaza, in front of Yugi, Téa, and Tristan, who’ve all gathered beneath a tall city clock. He appears in his true garb and reveals his true identity to Yugi and the others as it starts to rain.
Joey continues running, the world around him now almost entirely white and empty. He can barely make out the city clock up ahead, symbolizing his final memory, but his body is failing him. He collapses as the memory begins to fade. Joey notices that even his own body is disappearing and realizes there’s nothing more he can do. He can no longer run, and even if he could, he has nowhere to run to. But in that final moment, he hears the echo of a familiar tone and pillar of golden light pierces through the spot he’d been trying to reach. Joey looks over and squints, and through the light, he realizes he can see … Atem.
A burst of light appears between Diva and Yugi, fading away to reveal Joey, once again where he belongs and once again whole. Diva is surprised while Yugi and the others rush up to him, thrilled to have him back. Joey declares to Diva that some of his memories “are forever,” and Diva departs. With Diva gone the group agrees they still need to find Bakura and split up again, and though Joey calls out to Yugi with the intent to tell him about seeing Atem, he changes his mind and brushes it off.
On the roof of a nearby building, Diva is quickly surrounded by armed KaibaCorp security lowered from hovering helicopters. They slip a sensory deprivation helmet over his head, covering his ears and eyes, and someone grabs the cube from his hands simultaneously. Diva congratulates Kaiba on catching him off guard and Kaiba has him hauled away.
Yugi stops at an intersection, waiting for the light and taking a moment to catch his breath in the rain. Car horns start blaring and Yugi looks around, finding traffic stalled despite the light change. Then he spots Seto Kaiba standing in the center of the intersection. Yugi jogs up to Kaiba, assuming he’s the reason Kaiba’s there, and Kaiba promptly informs him that he’s expected at Kaiba’s upcoming event. Specifically, Yugi is to bring his piece of the Millennium Puzzle, which Kaiba knows he has because the event is where Kaiba intends to have his duel with Atem. To prove his point, he shows Yugi that he has the mostly-completely Millennium Puzzle. Yugi’s shocked at the sight of the puzzle, as well as Kaiba’s demand, and then Kaiba is airlifted by helicopter out of the intersection. Yugi sees that somehow the Millennium Box, still containing his piece of the puzzle, has appeared on the ground a few feet away. He rushes to grab it as traffic begins to move, immediately finding himself staring down the face of an oncoming truck.
Sera teleports Yugi to the sidewalk moments before he would have been killed by the truck. She tells him it is his choice whether or not to resurrect the Pharaoh, but she has one request. Whatever else he does, she begs of him to please save her brother, Diva.
Diva awakens from flashbacks of his rough childhood in Egypt to find himself trapped to a chair inside a glass box. Mokuba Kaiba, as well as multiple security guards, are standing before him, and Mokuba has the cube. Mokuba tells Diva they’ve figured out that he hid his piece of the Millennium Puzzle inside the cube somehow, and what they need from him is the answer on getting it out. Diva refuses, declaring it wouldn’t matter, as they’ll never find the second piece. Mokuba responds by saying they know exactly where it is and images of Sera pop up in front of Diva, causing Diva to worry.
The day of the demonstration has arrived and a massive crowd, including Joey, Tristan, and Téa, has gathered to witness it. They believe themselves to be standing in an open-air arena, and the demonstration begins with the launch of three jets flying overhead, but one of the jets malfunctions and starts falling toward the crowd. People scream in panic until Neo Blue Eyes White Dragon swoops in, destroying the jet before anyone is hurt. Seto Kaiba then takes the stage on a floating pedestal, proclaiming everything to have been part of the demonstration of the capabilities of his new system. He promises his new system will surpass anything they’ve seen before, boasting about the imagery and endless possibilities – likening himself to a god.
Once his opening speech is done, Kaiba reveals his chosen duelists – Yugi and Diva. He declares that as they fall they will deliver to him their respective piece of the Millennium Puzzle. As soon as Diva learns that Yugi is now the bearer of the last piece of the puzzle, Sera appears to him and apologizes. But she also maintains that she did what was right because Diva has lost his way. Diva is relieved to see her unharmed, though frustrated that she gave her piece to Yugi. Kaiba decides he will duel Diva first, but before Diva can step from his platform to the dueling platform Yugi interrupts, addressing Kaiba. Yugi firmly insists on dueling Diva, stating that Bakura’s life is in danger and defeating Diva is likely the only way to save him. He reminds Kaiba of how persistent he can be when his friends need him and dares Kaiba to refuse. Kaiba stares him down for a minute before agreeing to the change and tossing Yugi one of his new duel disks, saying, “You’ll need it.”
Diva and Yugi take up their stances on the dueling platform, with Diva once again using his cube as a dueling disk and transforming the arena into a Dimension Duel. Yugi’s a quick study, but Diva isn’t holding back. He’s hell-bent on destroying the Pharaoh’s vessel to permanently prevent any chances of the Pharaoh’s return. Though Yugi lands a couple of blows, Diva manages to get Yugi’s life points dangerously low in a startlingly short period of time. Yugi tries talking Diva down, getting Diva to see something better, but Diva defends his perspective by arguing that all he wants is to purge the darkness from the world. To create a world of peace and beauty; a world without hate. He doesn’t think humanity is capable of that. But as they talk he seems to rethink his words and suggests perhaps Yugi is the exception. He offers Yugi the chance to join him, to join them in the world he wants to create. Yugi declines, declaring that ‘hate’ seems to be the only thing Diva knows. And he’s not willing to give up on the rest of the world, anyway. Angered, Diva decides to show Yugi the world he as he knows it, and he gives Yugi a vision of his past.
Younger Diva, and Sera return from the town market in Egypt to present what money they were able to make to their caretaker. Their caretaker is displeased and angrily declares they won’t be fed again that night. Diva and Sera rejoin their other adoptive siblings, including Manny, in a separate hut and briefly talk about how hungry they are. The angry caretaker stomps in when he hears them talking and threatens them. Shadi Shin appears in the doorway, telling the man he will not harm the children any longer, and the man becomes immobile. Shadi proceeds to plant magical triangles on Diva, Sera, Manny, and the other children’s foreheads, promising them they will never go hungry again. He sends them away from there before extracting the cube and destroying the caretaker.
The vision ends, but it doesn’t change Yugi’s mind, and the duel resumes. At what seems like the last minute Yugi pulls out a trump card and turns the duel around, managing to defeat Diva. Winning Diva’s piece of the Millennium Puzzle. Shocked by his own defeat, Diva disappears. Moments after his disappearance a bright light shoots up from the crowd not far from Joey and the others, and when the group makes their way to it, they find Bakura. Alive, shaken, but unharmed.
Kaiba then approaches the platform with the Millennium Puzzle in hand. Once he confirms Yugi now has possession of both pieces of the puzzle, Kaiba demands Yugi insert them and again release the Pharaoh into his body. He makes no bones about the fact that he only seeks to duel Atem. As he speaks, he places the Millennium Puzzle into a sort of levitation beam between himself and Yugi. Instead of inserting the remaining pieces, Yugi tells Kaiba he understands Kaiba’s desire. He tries to explain that Kaiba’s wish is impossible, but Kaiba cuts him off, deciding to simply force Yugi to unleash Atem by crushing him in a duel. Yugi accepts the challenge, unsurprised, and the two take their positions.
By the end of the first round, both duelists have managed to summon their respective trademark monsters, Blue Eyes White Dragon for Kaiba and Dark Magician for Yugi. Setting a tone for the duel of dragon vs magician, as the duel wastes no time building in intensity. All the while the conversation between Yugi and Kaiba is eerily calm, reflecting the history and years of familiarity each has with their opponents’ deck and strategy types. A familiarity perfectly exemplified when Yugi destroys another of Kaiba’s dragons and Kaiba calmly remarks that Yugi “really hate[s] dragons, don’t you?”
The duel ramps up when Yugi’s life points take a critical hit and he summons his own impressive dragon, forcing Kaiba to sacrifice an ace monster to save himself. Thinking he’s won when the battlefield is free of monsters, Kaiba tries again to make his point, that he’ll stop at nothing to get a final duel with Atem. Recognizing Kaiba’s determination, or perhaps desperation, Yugi walks up to the still-floating puzzle, saying it might be better if he shows Kaiba what he’s been trying to tell him. That reviving Atem isn’t up to either of them.
With the crowd, their friends, watching in anticipation, Yugi inserts the final two pieces of the Millennium Puzzle. He pushes the main front piece into proper position with an echoing click as everyone waits in silence.
Meanwhile, Diva wanders, broken in the face of his defeat, in the same white-sand dimension where Manny died. The cube containing the power of the Plana held loosely in one hand. As he walks, his foot brushes against something solid in the sand. The Millennium Ring. The Ring takes hold of him before he can flee and he screams in pain, crying for Sera to save him, though she cannot hear him.
Back in the dome, Sera and her fellow members of the Plana watch tearfully as they realize the Pharaoh has not returned. Yugi explains to Kaiba – and everyone – that Atem’s spirit has been set free from the Millennium Puzzle. “He’s gone, Kaiba. Gone forever.” Yugi confesses that he still struggles with it, too, but they all need to accept it. He returns the completed puzzle to the levitation beam and steps back with a solemn expression.
After a moment of silence Kaiba, stubborn to the end, declares angrily that Yugi is lying. He’s now convinced Atem is simply hiding in fear, knowing that this time he wouldn’t be able to win and unable to face defeat at Kaiba’s hands. Yugi steps back in shock at Kaiba’s refusal to believe the truth and Kaiba return to the duel they’d never finished, activating a face-down card on his field. In two swift moves, Kaiba’s comeback is cut short and Yugi has him facing defeat at the hands of the resurrected Dark Magician, whose attack strength exactly matches Kaiba’s remaining life points.
Kaiba’s life point counter stops reducing at 100, indicating the remaining face-down on his field might save him. However, the duel is interrupted as the lights in the stadium fail and ominous chuckling catches their attention. The levitation field fails and the puzzle falls to the platform. Diva’s cube appears, glowing, near Yugi’s and Kaiba’s feet, and Yugi quickly recognizes the symbol of the Millennium Ring etched into the side. Indicating nothing good. Dark energy swirls out of the cube as it begins to float, the laughter echoing from it. Sera calls to Diva from up in the rafters and a warped voice claims to be Diva, “better than ever” before a monster-like figure emerges from the depths of the cube, with the Millennium Ring embedded in its chest.
People in the crowd start screaming as their souls are sucked away by the dark swirling energy. Sera and several of her pseudo-siblings appear on the platform with Yugi and Kaiba, Sera calling desperately to Diva. The creature informs her Diva is no longer in control while continuing to address her as ‘sister.’ He’s bonded his Millennium Ring with the power of the cube, confirming that he is, indeed, a warped manifestation of the dark spirit within the ring. Sera panic, explaining how dangerous the power of the cube can be when poisoned by darkness, and revealing the truth about the cube – that it is actually the Eight Millennium Item. She pleads with the creature to stand down and he responds by absorbing her and her siblings’ souls.
Down below, Téa calls out in fear to Yugi as everyone around them continues to collapse. Yugi realizes time is running out to do something about this threat and, still standing beside him, Kaiba decides aloud that if this foe wants to kill him, he’s not just going to stand still for it. Yugi looks up at him, understanding – with surprise – Kaiba’s unspoken suggestion. A tag-team duel. Together the rivals challenge Yami Diva to a duel and the creature readily accepts, eager to take his time destroying two of his long-time enemies.
Yami Diva takes the first turn, summoning a cubic monster, but a fiendish-type version as the spirit of the Millennium Ring has always preferred. The monster immediately deals damage to Yugi’s and Kaiba’s life points, and only then does Yami Diva inform them that this isn’t just a Dimension Duel, it is also a Shadow Game. Meaning to lose the duel will quite literally cost them their lives. Both have dueled in and survived Shadow duels before, however, and take no time adjusting to this threat. But Kaiba does voice concern for Yugi after his first turn when he realizes that his dragon’s abilities had no impact on Yami Diva’s creature.
The duel only gets harder after the first round. Kaiba and Yugi quickly learn when one of their monsters is destroyed, the other’s monster on the field is weakened. And Yami Diva is full of tricks to multiply his nearly indestructible beast by three, before then merging it into one more perilous monster. In almost no time at all Yugi’s life points are dangerously low and neither of them has anything other than a single face-down to defend with. Yami Diva initiates an attack that will kill Yugi, sending him once and for all to the Shadows.
Kaiba intervenes with his face-down, forcing the attack to him instead. Knowing full well he doesn’t have the life points to survive it, either. He takes the attack head-on, standing proudly, and shocking Yugi. Before Kaiba’s body vanishes, Yugi rushes to him, asking why he would do such an uncharacteristic thing – let alone for him. Kaiba answers that he did it “for him. For the Pharaoh.” He hands over the Millennium Puzzle and tells Yugi to bring him back before the Shadows finally claim him and Seto Kaiba disappears.
In the face of Kaiba’s sacrifice, Yugi dons the Millennium Puzzle and turns again to face his latest enemy. But the odds are against him. He manages to survive the next attack, despite losing half of his remaining life points. Everyone in the audience, including his friends, have lost consciousness or been completely absorbed by now. Yugi can barely rise to his knees to draw his next card, knowing it’s likely his last chance to save the world. He tries to call upon the “heart of the cards,” but before he can draw, he collapses.
As Yugi’s unconscious body falls to the platform the Millennium Puzzle flares and is struck by a beam of golden light. A familiar tone rings out, the light immediately radiating out and shattering the swirling streams of dark energy that have expanded to engulf the city. Yami Diva cries out in shock and fear, clearly recognizing the threat that comes with the golden light. Energy like fire forms and builds around Yugi until it shapes into a body, standing upright once more. But it isn’t Yugi. It’s Pharaoh Atem.
Yami Diva realizes too late that the return of the Pharaoh means defeat. With nothing but an angry glare, Atem uses Destiny Draw to summon the spirit of an old friend in the form a duel monster. The Egyptian sorcerer offers a brilliant display and destroys Yami Diva’s creature in one blow. Following that, the spirit of the Millennium Ring is forced out of Diva and forcibly separated from the Plana. Seemingly destroyed. Diva, himself again, disappears in a golden shower of light. Beams of golden energy rain down all over Domino City as the audience reappears, merely asleep, in their seats. Mokuba, his guards, and even Seto Kaiba reappear where they were. Once everyone else has been restored, Atem smiles and grabs hold of the chain around his neck, closing his eyes.
The shadow of Yugi appears beside him, then they are standing face to face, smiling. No words are spoken, but the look on Yugi’s face assures he’s finally getting a sense of that closure he always felt he was missing. Atem smiles, Yugi nods, and Atem lifts his hand to the puzzle, tapping it. The echoing tone rings once more as it glows before it, and him, vanish once more in an upward rain of golden light.
Diva awakens on a rooftop, surrounded by Sera and the others. Sera assures him they understand he wasn’t the one who did those horrible things, but reminds him that even so, since the Pharaoh did return, their power has been lost. Manny steps up, saying it’s probably for the best, and Diva shows surprise at seeing his friend and brother alive again, before agreeing that Manny’s probably right.
With everyone back on their feet inside the Kaiba Dome, Joey and friends have gathered around Yugi, and they’re glad to hear that Yugi was able to see Atem again. Yugi says he wished them all well a moment before Kaiba, Mokuba at his side, walks up and with only mild arrogance informs them “I told you so.” Yugi graciously accedes that Kaiba was right about Atem’s return, to which Kaiba explains that while Yugi may have a special bond with the Pharaoh, he has his own kind of bond with the Pharaoh, too. He bids Yugi what seems like a sincere farewell, including a not-so-ominous ‘until we meet again,’ and the Kaiba brothers take their leave with Yugi calling a thank you in their wake.
In the days that follow Yugi, Joey, Tristan, Téa, and Bakura finally graduate high school. Diva, Manny, and Sera return to Egypt, with Manny separating from them for a time while Diva and Sera stay together. After graduation Yugi and the gang, Grandpa included, see Téa off at the airport, where she’s headed to her overseas college in hopes of pursuing her dancing dreams.
Kaiba has returned to his personal satellite station with a new mission. Though Mokuba tries to caution him, reminding him they haven’t tested the prototype, Kaiba has decided it’s time. He’s seated in a solo pod reminiscent of the virtual reality pods he and the others had once been trapped within, and when he activates the system it rotates until it’s pointed down, back down the elevator chamber which usually carries him to and from the station. The system powers up and he is launched at high speed down the tube … where he lands seemingly in Egypt, dressed in his usual attire but covered in a full-body version of his latest high-tech Duel Disk technology. He walks right into the palace, stopping in the middle of the room, standing before Pharaoh Atem, and wordlessly challenges him to a duel. The Pharaoh stands, the puzzle hanging around his neck, and smiles.
What Just Happened?
In their own ways, everyone from Yugi to the Kaiba brothers has spent a year dealing with the loss of Pharaoh Atem. In fact, the theme of loss, and how to deal with it, pervades a lot of the movie. And as in real life, everyone handles the loss of a loved or respected individual differently.
Yugi, who literally shared his body with Atem’s spirit for years, struggles quietly with missing the Pharaoh. He’s mostly accepted that his partner has passed, but this acceptance doesn’t ease the pain and sadness. What he regrets most was his lack of an opportunity to say a real goodbye before Atem crossed over. But he’s lucky to have his friends, also Atem’s friends, around him every day to help him through.
Kaiba’s stuck hard on denial. Somehow convinced the spirit of his ancient rival lives still in the Millennium Puzzle, and the only problem is that the puzzle was lost when the tomb caved in. He goes to arguably insane lengths to get his opportunity at a final duel of his own, a chance to defeat his one worthy opponent. Only in the end does he seem to finally accept that Atem might be gone – or, at least, have gone somewhere hard to get to.
Then there’s the villain, Diva. Grieving the loss of his beloved Master Shin. A grief that seems to have ravaged his heart so thoroughly that he’s forgotten the teachings Shadi Shin imparted to him as a child. His grief takes the form of anger, causing him to lash out in violence he claims to be justified. Against the ‘evil’ people in the world. He seeks revenge against Bakura, recognizing the face of his master’s killer instead of the soul – the Millennium Ring.
In the end, after a beautiful and rather epic, classically Yu-Gi-Oh, last-minute save, everyone gets what they actually needed. Even if it wasn’t what they thought they wanted. Atem returns just long enough to literally save the world, making the damage reverse as if it’d never happened, and giving Yugi that final moment to say goodbye that Yugi needed to really let go. The spirit of the Millennium Ring is vanquished, and with it, Diva’s anger seems to also fade. Kaiba may not have gotten his duel, but he had a hand in the Pharaoh’s resurrection. Being the one who enabled the Pharaoh’s return and allowed him the chance to save the world has given Kaiba at least a temporary sense of victory.
And again, like always, life goes on.
Final Thoughts: Wow! This is the Yu-Gi-Oh! movie we’ve always wanted! What do I mean? Well, let’s be honest, the previous films have been disappointing and a bit painful to endure for the most part. Sure, the animation – or at least the coloring – is usually pretty to look at, but the storyline? The writing? Pfff, just mute it and watch the rainbow. Unless you just like the baritone of a particular voice. In Dark Side of Dimensions, though, we actually get what feels like a full story fit for the franchise in one movie. Most all your favorite characters (apparently they couldn’t figure out how to fit in Mai), an entirely new plot with new subplots to match, and probably the cleanest animation in the series.
Let’s tackle the main new character, Diva. A brand-new, developed villain with a good, believable-but-surprising tie-in to the standard Ancient Egyptian mythos of the series. Even better, a villain with a sympathetic background that keeps the audience from just outright hating him, and for once, one whose original goal actually had nothing to do with Yugi! Yeah, I didn’t see that coming, either. His character design was really nice and I appreciated that we didn’t learn all of his secrets in the first ten minutes. We didn’t even learn that the cube was actually the Eight Millennium Item until nearly the end of the film! (But that does explain Shadi’s involvement.)
Actually, I want to talk about Shadi’s role for a moment. This is probably the part of the movie that bothers me the most. Because it feels the most inconsistent with the series. Shadi Shin is no stranger to Yu-Gi-Oh! fans. In fact, he’s always been one of my favorite Millennium Item bearers. Now I’ll admit that my knowledge of his character’s story is a bit rusty, but I don’t recall him somehow being dead when he was introduced during the Duelist Kingdom arc, let alone later when he returned. However according to Diva’s memory/flashback he’d have had to be dead by then, as Bakura – a character depicted as roughly Yugi’s age – was a young child at the time of Shadi’s death. I have a hard time imagining Shadi would have faked his death and abandoned the children he’d taken such care to rescue and train in his ways, which would really be the only other explanation. So there is certainly an inconsistency here unless my memory is failing me.
Now I’ll switch gears and talk about one of the things that made me happiest with this movie. And it’s actually got nothing to do with the plot! I can’t speak for the Japanese version, as never in my life have I watched the Japanese version, but since this is an anniversary movie, the powers that be went the extra mile when it came time to dub. The entire original English Dubbed voice cast returned for this film. From Yugi and Kaiba all the way down to Duke Devlin’s three-minute role. All the voices we remember the most – Tristan’s main voice, Mokuba’s longest-running voice, etc – reprised their roles with almost flawless performances. That’s right, my friends, Brooklyn Joey was in the house! Because when we got to see Kaiba’s belittling arrogance on full display, we all know it would lose a lot of effect without the proper voice to deliver it. So well done, producers of the English Dub, well done. I appreciate your successful effort in resurrecting my childhood and that pure, unadulterated giddiness that comes from watching your favorite character kick ass in a children’s card game. (Now what will it take to get a full series run with the original cast, Atem included?)
Speaking of Atem. Firstly, this updated animation style is amazing. Not only did none of the characters look stringy at any point, but Atem had arm muscles. (And Kaiba had a six pack, oh wow.) I try not to fangirl too hard in my reviews, but I could stand to watch more of these matured versions of Atem and Kaiba…. Which isn’t the point! Back to the all-powerful Pharaoh, I feel conflicted about his role. On the one hand, they did an amazing job. I’m grateful for the scene near the beginning with virtual-Atem dueling Kaiba, as that was the only scene where we got to hear him speak. And I love the way he showed up at the very end to rescue everyone and didn’t have to say a word to blow away the enemy. The awe-inspiring difference in his fully-unleashed power from the power we saw in him before is beautiful and amazing. It was awesome to watch the series co-protagonist just show up, flick his wrist, and wipe away the competition. My heart warmed watching the wordless scene between him and Yugi afterward, showing that even after a year they were still close enough to communicate without saying a thing. The understanding and the real final farewell was so well done. Plus I loved the scene after in Egypt, which I’ll get to shortly.
My confliction comes in because though I love what they did, I wanted more of Atem. Atem is my favorite character from the original Yu-Gi-Oh!, if not the entire franchise, and the only time we got to hear him speak it technically wasn’t him. As a fan of the character, I do feel disappointed there. I don’t know how it could have been done differently without losing the magnificent impact, but I wish there were away. Because I feel like a real scene of reunion – somehow – would have been so well received. (Also, I just wish we could have a way to get him back alive without trapping him again in Yugi’s body, but that’s basically me plotting out a fanfiction so I won’t go there!)
Seto Kaiba. Most of you know the old joke. “Screw the rules, I have money!” I think he’s finally heard it, too. Don’t get me wrong, I love Kaiba. He’s perhaps my favorite anti-hero ever. I have no idea how he can possibly be so self-confident and not hated by everyone around him, or how he can be so busy creating new tech and obsessing over duel monsters at the same time, but he pulls it all off. Dare I say, with style. I was surprised by exactly how much of this movie was Kaiba-centric, to be honest. But since his bull-headed determination to resurrect the Pharaoh really was, in the end, what enabled Atem’s brief return, in hindsight, I do understand why Kaiba played such an integral role. Honestly, in a weird way, I suspect Kaiba was having a particularly hard time dealing with Atem’s passing. While he’s not the character I’d have picked for that problem, and he most certainly would never agree with my assessment, I personally think it adds another level of humanization to a character who can easily come across as off-putting. Making him that much more sympathetic in his own unique way.
Before I wrap this up, let’s talk about a particular piece of Kaiba’s … style. Any fan will agree that he’s always leaned toward the obsessive. He will die with the belief that technology is better than any form of magic. However, that ending was something else. It was, and I think for the better, a bit vague, but nonetheless a little too over-the-top, even for Kaiba. (At least without more explanation and development – perhaps another movie?) Did Kaiba invent an actual time machine and the suit he’s wearing is something akin to an anchor which enables him to return so that he could go all the way to Ancient Egypt and duel the Pharaoh in his real life? I mean, that’d be crazy as hell, right? But Kaiba lives for a challenge ‘worthy of him,’ so it’s not entirely outside of the realm of believability. Or did he create an incredibly realistic virtual reality program and insert himself into a virtual iteration of Ancient Egypt, meaning the movie essentially ended where it began, with Kaiba dueling a virtual projection of Atem?
In my opinion, I find the virtual reality option more believable within the already-given parameters of the Yu-Gi-Oh! canon. KaibaCorp. definitely has the technology for it and we have already seen evidence of him using this brand of technology for such a purpose. However, that very argument is why I hesitate to buy the easier-to-swallow theory. Kaiba isn’t exactly known to repeat an unsatisfying experience. From a writer’s standpoint, returning a key character to a scenario they created at the very beginning of a story shows a complete lack of development. But also?
Well, in the confirmed virtual-duel scene, Kaiba elaborates on how long it took him to properly recall and design Atem’s character. To get his deck right, to get his appearance and voice right, right down to his “perfectly coiffed hair.” The Atem in that scenario was the most commonly seen version, in his Battle City attire. If getting those more familiar details took concentrated time and effort, I find it hard to believe that in a short time span Kaiba could create such a realistic, familiar Ancient Egyptian setting and find Atem as we’ve seen him before, in his Pharaoh garb, sitting upon his throne. It may seem like silly logic at best, and perhaps it is, but I do believe that if anyone in the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise is going to invent time-travel, it really should be Seto Kaiba. So, outrageous as it is, that’s the possible interpretation of the ending that I’m going with. Whether or not it works for you, you’ll have to decide!
Join our Age of Social Media Network consisting of X-Men, Marvel, DC, Superhero and Action Movies, Anime, Indie Comics, and numerous fan pages. Interested in becoming a member? Join us by clicking here and pick your favorite group!
User Review( votes)