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.
Presented 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.
While 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.
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.