A little while ago I wrote my first impressions of the first three Yugioh series. I had already seen the original Yugioh and GX looked childish so I went to 5Ds as something to watch.
My first impression of 5Ds was of a segregated dystopia with a good amount of darkness and a villain called Jack Atlas. As the series goes on it is revealed that Jack isn’t really a bad guy, just an arrogant one. The main villain isn’t revealed until much later in the series. The first series had many twists and turns and had the classic idea of the protagonists saving the world somehow, this is pretty much how all Yugioh goes but now the characters have motorbikes. The motorbikes come with a new duelling style and the introduction of Synchro monsters. The whole thing revolves around the Nazca lines and five dragons and an all powerful crimson dragon which lends its power to the protagonists. There’re gangs, prisons, psychics and high stakes in almost every episode with a few calmer ones centred around character development, with Yusei (the main protagonist) eventually hating the idea of destiny as it’s just a way to justify villainy. The team of heroes is built up quite cleverly over the whole series and there are a lot of characters but never too many at the same time so it all fits together quite nicely.
The second series is a bit less clever, the main villain is made clear sooner and messages of self doubt and reliance on friendship are reinforced in the episodes after being touched upon in the first series. Many of the characters in the first series are forgotten about and the dystopian segregation has been repaired, the world is more directly in danger and there is a bigger challenge for our heroes as they prepare for a duelling grand prix, synchro monsters are no longer enough and new techniques must be embraced for victory to be possible. Character arcs are resolved and plotlines spring up all over the place until it gets to the actual grand prix where everything is focused on saving the world. This one wasn’t as good as the first 5Ds series but it’s still worth a watch. It does weirdly end quickly after the villain is defeated (a villain who has an interesting backstory) , a journalist shows up and it’s done, there’s no show of aftermath or consequences which made it seem a bit sudden.
I did eventually warm up to the theme music and think it’s quite good when I hear it now.