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Friday, June 01 2012 22:43

KAIJUDO: RISE OF THE DUEL MASTERS (Sneak Preview TV Review)

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As someone that has never been able to get into and enjoy any of the countless Trading Card Games that have been released over the past few decades, I was a bit skeptical when The Hub asked me to check out their new series, KAIJUDO: RISE OF THE DUEL MASTERS, a loose ''re-imagination'' of the long-running DUEL MASTERS card game by Wizards of the Coast. After a mysterious package arrived here at Rock Father HQ earlier this week, my daughter and I sat down to immerse ourselves in the world of KAIJUDO via the first two episodes.

overview-visualPresented in a manner that requires no knowledge of the previous series or the card game that inspired it, KAIJUDO gets started right with a quick introduction to our hero, Ray (short for Rayden), and his band of friends as they're invited to "see if they are worthy" to fight alongside an ancient group of warriors tasked with protecting the world from some hideous supernatural beasts. Right off the bat there's something familiar about all of this, and that's exactly why it works so well. There's elements of "the hero cycle" present, along with familiar set pieces that would fit right in with STAR WARS, CLASH OF THE TITANS, and countless other fantastic adventures throughout history. Here we have the young boy and his friends, called upon to join a cause that requires mastering an ancient art (Kaijudo) and joining a secret order (Duel Masters). A little bit Jedi - a little bit Mortal Kombat.

Factor in a series of five "civilizations" that exist "beyond our own," and you have Fire, Water, Light, Darkness, and Nature - all elements that popped up recently in SKYLANDERS, where players could also "summon" certain creatures to call upon their distinct powers. Not the first time we've seen this, and it certainly won't be the last.

Familiarity aside, the storytelling is brisk as we're dropped right into the action as Ray learns of the DUEL MASTERS and his quest to become one of them. Partnered with a creature from another dimension, Ray is able to take on other baddies with mixed results. After all, you can't have a scuffle without a few scratches.

Kaijudo BobandRayFire

IMG 8848While the first episode gave us the set-up, the second brings the first true challenge as a character we met briefly in the premiere is revealed to be aligned The Choten - a baddie set on ruling both the natural and supernatural worlds. A couple diversions and a broken-into vault, and next we have Ray and his friends Gabe and Allie facing off with a real enemy, while bonding with their creatures - especially Ray and Tatsurion the Unchained, whom he affectionately nicknames "Bob." 

"I will be proud to fight with you for as long as you last..." says Bob after sending some monsters back to the dimension from which they came.

RayOnBobsShoulder

KAIJUDO: RISE OF THE DUEL MASTERS is fast-paced and packed with action. Based on the two episodes we've been able to preview, I expect it to gain a sizeable audience of kids and adults alike - regardless of whether or not they're into the TCG scene.

KAIJUDO: RISE OF THE DUEL MASTERS premieres Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8pm ET/PT.

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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