Australian Council on Children and the Media

Yu-Gi-Oh!—The Movie—Pyramid of Light

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8s, PG to 13 (Viol. Scary stuff)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Yu-Gi-Oh!—The Movie—Pyramid of Light
  • a review of Yu-Gi-Oh!—The Movie—Pyramid of Light completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 19 September 2004.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Due to the frequency of violence and repeated visual images of scary monsters, the film is not suitable for children under the age of eight years, particularly preschoolers.
Children aged 8-13 The frequency of the violence could be an issue of concern for children over the age of eight years including early adolescents.
Children over the age of 13 Most children over the age of 13 should be ok to see this movie with or without parental guidance.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Yu-Gi-Oh!—The Movie—Pyramid of Light
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Low level violence
Length 91 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Yu-Gi-Oh! is a 90-minute cartoon representation of the card game Yu-Gi-Oh, which is based upon a Japanese comic book. In the movie, the main character, Yugi Moto is the world’s number one Duel Master. Yugi’s alter ego is Pharaoh, whom Yugi can summon to assist him in winning ‘Duel Monsters’, a card game involving holographic monsters that do battle. His arch-enemy is a video game entrepreneur named Seto Kaiba. Anubis, the Egyptian god of the dead is another enemy who wants to take revenge against Pharaoh.

Kaiba challenges Yugi to a duel during which both players activate an array of monsters, magicians, knights and Egyptian gods. Yugi and his friends fend off hordes of rotting Mummies and attempt to destroy Anubis and save the world.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

  • The entire film consists of cartoon characters performing acts of violence, as the sole aim of the game ‘Duel Monsters’ is for one player’s monsters, magicians, knights, fairies etc to defeat the opposing player’s monsters, magicians, knights and fairies through acts of violence. The more violent and powerful the monster, magician, knight or fairy, the greater the player’s chance of winning.
  • The monsters were gigantic, powerful and terrifying, the knights wore shiny armour and were valiant, the magicians were dark, powerful and mysterious and the fairies powerful, impish, and sensuous. No duel monster was presented as weak or ineffective, and when clowns were used they were presented as evil and wicked rather than funny or silly.
  • As all of the Duel Monsters were holographic images, there were no real life consequences resulting from their violent acts. When a monster, knight or fairy was killed, they simply disappeared, and when the right card was activated, the dead could be instantly bought back from the grave. At times the players themselves would be attacked by an opposing player’s monster. For example, during one duel Pharaoh was impaled through the back with a sword, but as the monster was holographic, so too was the wound, with Pharaoh only temporarily wounded.
  • While adults would interpret the characters presented in Yu-Gi-Oh and their violent acts as comical if not ridiculous, young adolescents and especially younger children would interpret the violent acts in a far more realistic and meaningful manner.
  • The film presented both male and female Duel Monsters with both being equally adept in their use of violence, as were fairies, magician and elves. However, on the whole male characters were the more powerful and successful fighters. The players themselves were only ever males and at no point during the film did a female character appear as a player.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Many young children, particularly preschoolers, would find the monsters terrifying:

  • many of the monsters were gigantic and resembled dragons, dinosaurs or demons capable of vomiting fire
  • monsters had rows of razor sharp teeth, dagger like claws, demonic eyes and wings etc.
  • in some instances, several of the monsters were able to join together to form super monsters
  • the knights, paladins and magicians had a dark and threatening appearance
  • at one point, a creature resembling a mutated octopus appeared with tentacles that infected the opponent’s deck of cards with a virus.
  • Other scenes that could disturb children under the age of eight are:
  • Yugi and his friends were chased by decomposing Egyptian mummies with images of separated body parts such as hands and heads pursuing the children
  • scenes involving explosions and a collapsing building, rubble falling on the heads of Yugi’s friends
  • players themselves were attacked by the duel monsters and were struck by fire and power beams, kicked in the back, received a giant injection in the bottom, had the life force suck out of them
  • Pharaoh’s smoking body collapsed on the ground, being impaled through the back with a sword.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group would also be scared by the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children between the ages of eight and thirteen in general should be capable of appreciating the comical, non-realistic nature of the Duel Monsters and associated violence. However, the frequency with which the violent images are presented may have negative effects on this age group.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

The comical and non-realistic nature of the monsters and violence would be interpreted by children over the age of thirteen years as just that. However, it is still possible that the frequency with which the violent images are presented may have negative effects on adolescents over the age of thirteen.

Product placement

The entire movie was about the Yu-Gi-Oh product and an extensive line of Yu-Gi-Oh cards and gadgetry was used throughout the movie. The film could easily be interpreted as a 90 minute commercial designed to entice the child audience into buying booster packs of cards.

Sexual references

The film contained no sexual references.

Nudity and sexual activity

There were no scenes involving nudity or sexual activity. However, fairies and female elves were represented as attractive young females with well formed breasts, wearing short skirts and low cut tops showing lots of cleavage.

Use of substances

There were a few references to substances:

  • one of the characters, Pegasus, has a nightmare and when he wakes up makes reference to not consuming white wine before going to bed
  • Pegasus lounges by the pool consuming a glass of red wine and makes reference to the wine. An image of a vintage bottle of wine on a table next to the pool was included in the scene.
  • one of the duelling scenes involved a fairy called ‘Injection Fairy’. Injection Fairy appeared as a sensuous young woman holding a syringe the size of the fairy. Injection Fairy used the syringe to inject the opposing player in the bottom. The scene appeared as comical and non-realistic.

Coarse language

There was no use of coarse language.

There was some use of toilet humour and one reference to vomiting ‘I’m going to blow chunks’. There was also some use of sarcasm and put-downs.

In a nutshell

The take home messages of Yu-Gi-Oh are that good will triumph over evil and that friendship never fails.

Positive values presented in the movie that parents may wish to encourage include: friendship, loyalty and endurance through adversity.

Parents may wish to discuss the film’s continuous use of violence as a means of conflict resolution, and the manner in which the film presented unequal gender roles.

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