Some time back earlier this year in August, the team behind the Yu-Gi-Oh! fan channel Yugimation (portmanteau of “Yu-Gi-Oh!” and “animation”) on YouTube uploaded part one to their first episode of what would be their largest-scale project thus far – the Duel Terminal Animated Series. By the start of November, it has accumulated close to 30000 views.
Prior to this undertaking, the channel was known for uploading animated shorts that tell inside jokes about the effects of individual powerful or controversial cards in this anime-based trading card game (TCG). Now, they are recreating the story of the Duel Terminal, an aspect of the franchise that is more readily accessible to the Japanese players of the Official Card Game (OCG) and less so for its Western players of the TCG.
The clip, which took the team two and a half months to animate, starts with the Worm archetype’s invasion in the start of the Duel Terminal story and ends with the Mist Valley‘s announcement of their separation from their allies.
After the invasion, the clip introduces the 4 elemental tribes central to the next part, Flamevell, X-Sabers, Ice Barrier and Mist Valley, which correspond to the four traditional elements Fire, Earth, Water and Air/Wind. To some, the style of animation set to medieval music might trigger reminders of the intro narration about the four Nations in the Avatar Western animation series.
For the rest of the clip, the animation style is a rather distinct western, a twist to the anime-centric feels of the franchise which first started out as a manga and then an anime series, perhaps as an affirmation to the popularity of the game in the West and its common comparison to another top-selling TCG, the Western-fantasy-based Magic: The Gathering. A female narrator tells the story in a cryptic, prophetic tone to the clip, which comprises mostly static images and characters being rotated or having effects overlaid over them,
with the exception of a battle scene, in which the style switches to a flat cartoony.
Comments to the video were mostly positive, lauding the team’s effort in creating the clip from ground up, and anticipation for its future episodes.
Duel Terminals are Konami’s long-running attempt at providing a cross between casual arcade gaming and the tabletop aspect of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG. These arcade machines are prominent in Japan and to a lesser extent, parts of America, that provide fans a chance to play a watered-down version of the TCG, after which the machine dispenses cards from an exclusive Duel Terminal set that can be played in the physical game afterwards.
Usually, the archetypes (families of monsters and relevant spells with related effects) depicted in these sets are usually not featured prominently in the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series. The Duel Terminal story revolves more on the game-universe inter-archetype conflicts in contrast to the anime’s method of assigning monster archetypes to individual human characters to tell a story.
As with many other novelty devices in game-centered franchises, this nifty cabinet met better reception in Japan than in the West, with its compelling story published in one of the franchise’s Japanese guidebooks, the Master Guide Volume 3.
Due to the differences in popularity, the Duel Terminal cards are not directly translated into the TCG format. Instead, they are released in repackaged Hidden Arsenal booster sets without the machine, with slightly less official emphasis on the lore, a gap which Yugimation attempts to fill in the months to come.
Interested fans of the series are recommended watch the clip here and keep abreast of the channel’s updates.
Source: Yugimation, Yu-Gi-Oh! Edition Singapore FaceBook Page, Yu-Gi-Oh! Wikia