Cardfight!! Vanguard overDress Season 2 Review


To put it mildly I was not a big fan of the first season. For a franchise that is used to getting 9s and 8s before, that one only got a 6. It had a lot of glaring issues and would have been a whole lot lower if not for Tohya taking the whole season on his back and keeping it afloat. I’ve rewatched his fights many times on Youtube while I have not rewatched any of the other episodes at all. Well, season 2 seems to have gotten the memo as Tohya is a full main character now and we even got a big fight between groups here. Season 2 is a complete step up in every way and while Tohya still carries all of the best moments, the episodes without him as the focus are finally solid here. We’re not quite at the great level yet but now I can say this season is pretty good.

Last time Tohya torched the banner of Team Blackout and Danji ran off somewhere. So this season begins with the fallout from that. Tohya is trying to make amends for what he has done and is starting by getting the banner back together and fixing the amusement park. He’s done rather well for himself and gradually everyone starts hanging out with him and acknowledging him as a good guy. Tohya is not very comfortable being part of a group and so he has to get used to this. There isn’t a lot of time to take it easy though as a group has started going around burning other team’s banners and they’re doing this across the country.

Tohya’s old partner is in on this but the mastermind is Mirei, the leader of team Daybreak. She will have to be taken down to restore peace in the Cardfight community. It won’t be easy though as she is the head of a multi million dollar company and her bodyguard is…Danji? Why has he crossed over to the villain’s side and will Tohya be able to take him down this time? So far he has not proven up to the task but now is his chance to win the rematch and help his new friends out at the same time. He can’t afford to lose!

With season 1 one of the many issues was just how aimless it could be. You would barely have a cardfight even happen sometimes. The humor didn’t work and Yuyu was a rather sad main character. Well, season 2 works on this by having more of a plot right away. Having Tohya work to atone from last time is already a good starting premise since it reminds you of the stakes from last time. We’ve also got an actual villain that isn’t comic relief here. (Referring to Tohya’s partner from last time) So the stakes are higher and the season is a lot more personal. Danji’s got his own plot here too but I’ll stick to the heroes for now.

Tohya is still my favorite character and it isn’t even close. He just does a really great job and you can tell that he’s a very responsible person too. He’s not taking the easy way here. He also didn’t have to be the guy to shut down team Daybreak but he goes in anyway. Then when he fights Danji he doesn’t back down and challenges him to a Cardfight. That’s exactly what I want to see from the tough rival here.

There are a lot of callbacks to the original fight. When Tohya asks Danji if he has any drive left that’s when the music starts up and you get pumped. Man that episode has a ton of great replay value and you could watch the fight so many times. There are fake-outs and moments when both combatants seem like they are going to win. It just doesn’t end and you can really feel satisfaction for the victor when it’s all over. It’s a spectacular fight and a 9/10 episode. Definitely the pinnacle for the season even if it wasn’t the end arc fight.

But we already knew that the Tohya parts were going to be great. We knew that he was the guy who carried season 1 so you are probably more curious about the rest of the cast and events. Well, that’s definitely fair and that’s exactly where this season excels over the first. So lets head over to the Danji plot now. Mirei is his younger sister and she is blind which is naturally quite rough if you want to play the game of Cardfight. They were very close back in the day but one day she was to be put into an arranged marriage and Danji found out that the guy was no good so he caused a scene and cancelled the wedding.

Only he knows the truth and everyone else thought he was acting out since Danji used to be a bit of a delinquent. So Danji was basically forced out and Mirei’s guardian Haruka told the world that he was dead. They even had a funeral for him. Well, now her overall goal is to use Cardfight to bring people together in a way where everyone can be equal. By each group having their own flag it means that can’t happen so they all have to be burned. Additionally no emotions are allowed during the games so that people don’t feel sad when they lose.

In a way she has turned her tragic past into her drive to make Cardfight the safest game around. A game where you can always be happy and the groups she takes out will thank her someday. It’s definitely an overly optimistic view of how things would go since you can probably imagine how each of the groups are quite upset at her for burning their flags. Who would be happy about that right? To an extent she has been tricked by Haruka who just wants Mirei to be happy but it’s also partially that Mirei has been sheltered from the actual effects of her policies. A lot of people also support them so she just doesn’t have a proper worldview now.

Danji is basically blackmailed into being her driver by Haruka. He is not to let her know that he’s the long lost brother and has to play it cool. He does want to be with her so this is how he does it but along the way that means he is basically overlooking all the crazy things that the group is doing. I heavily disagreed with Danji on this and in general he doesn’t look great in this season. He should have come clean to Mirei a lot sooner. Sure he might get sued and chased out of town again but she deserves to know and the longer he doesn’t say anything, the more it is like he’s basically tricking her too.

Particularly as we see later on that Haruka records all of their conversations. Danji knows this and doesn’t say anything so now this is also an invasion of privacy since Mirei is talking to him in confidence and doesn’t realize that she’s being recorded. Danji is passive as she meets with the heroes and debates. It’s all rather hard on him but he’s just not as outgoing and decisive as he was in season 1. He’ll be back to normal for season 3 but he’s just disappointing throughout the entire season. He makes all of the wrong calls and found himself on the wrong side. In a way the show may have been paralleling how Tohya atoned the right way and Danji as being in the wrong here but I’m not sure if that’s 100% intentional. It makes a lot of sense so I can roll with that though.

This shouldn’t be used as an excuse for Danji during his battle with Tohya though. Listen when you take the field in a Cardfight battle then you have to accept the results no matter the outcome. So even if he was dealing with some things, there is no backing out now. Danji may have been super annoying the whole time but at least he still does have a lot of skills and I doubt Yuyu would have been able to stop him.

As for Yuyu, he is still the main character and it’s fair to say that he gets the most screen time but at this point he shares so much time with both Danji and Tohya that it’s not by a huge margin. I’m completely cool with this because I’m still not a big fan of his. He does make some good speeches during the duels but he’s another character who is just a bit too passive and doesn’t just get out there. He has a little more confidence than he used to, but still just lets Mirei walk all over him in their verbal debate. If he keeps up the upwards trend then he should be set for season 3 but we’ll see how that goes.

As for Mirei, she’s the main villain and will be appearing a lot so it’s important that she be a good character as well. Fortunately I would say that she is fairly solid. I wouldn’t say her goals make a whole lot of sense when you think about it and she gets manipulated a lot but that’s why making her blind was a very smart decision. It makes a lot of her choices believable because your whole worldview is just so different if you have to rely on what other people tell you your whole life. I can’t really imagine what it’s like to be blind and this did have a big toll on her.

So while I think she could have handled things differently, it’s not something that I would seriously hold against her. Particularly when the heroes have multiple opportunities to talk to her and end up chickening out each time. Perhaps they would have been able to have gotten through to her a little sooner. Her guardian Haruka is also responsible for a lot of this as she takes the job a little too seriously. Haruka tries to keep Mirei in a bubble and make decisions for her but this doesn’t tend to end well. I can appreciate her intent but I would say she handled things poorly as well. If Haruka had realized the truth behind the arranged marriage and why Danji broke it up then that would be one thing but without that she is on the losing side here.

Then there’s Megumi who is still the main heroine…sorta. I feel like her role is so small that you almost forget that she is the heroine. She is around a lot of course but doesn’t get a whole lot to do. In part this is because she doesn’t have a big rival like the others although they try to play the kid up as her rival. He’s not much of a threat compared to the others but he can duel so I suppose that will have to do. Megumi is a solid character either way.

Tomari gets some action here and shows that she can still duel with the best of them. She is a member of the team after all so you’d expect her to be able to duel. I was glad she got a little shine here. Tomari tends to serve as one of the more experienced members of the group so she should absolutely be able to pitch in when needed and she keeps the characters sharp. Zakusa is also around but I was never as much of a fan of him. He has his whole punk angle where he starts to talk tough and then he’s usually mild mannered but that whole dynamic never works. It definitely doesn’t for Zakusa and he just isn’t very interesting to me. It doesn’t help that he’s another very passive character.

This may be why I like Tohya so much since he actually goes out there and gets things done while the other characters prefer to just talk and talk all the time. The cast isn’t very strong yet which also didn’t help season 1 since that was all about the characters. Here we have a lot of duels and the impending threat of team Daybreak so that kept everyone focused. The duels are really good so I do want to emphasize that the show did that justice. The stakes are high and the music is very fitting for each one of the duels.

Finally there’s Masanori and I still can’t take him seriously as a villain. I get that he’s always around and seems to be the mastermind behind everything but he takes so many Ls and at what point is he supposed to start being a serious threat? Right now it doesn’t seem like he can beat the heroes even if he tries his best and I don’t get the feeling that he even knows what he will do next. The guy is a true wild card without a doubt but not one that you need to fear.

The soundtrack is quite excellent. The gyroaxia song returns for Tohya as he questions Danji’s drive and it really is a song that gets you pumped up. The animation is also fairly solid. I don’t think there’s any scene that quite matches when Tohya pulled off his special transformation in season 1 but it’s all pretty solid though. You shouldn’t have any complaints on the technical side here as they don’t phone any of that in.

In terms of negatives, I’d say the only thing here is that the first half of the season can be a little weak. The show builds up to the war against Daybreak so in the first episodes you hear about them and see Mirei through the Danji subplot but not a whole lot happens. It’s got that season 1 vibe of being more of an aimless slice of life. It’s better this time though because it isn’t truly aimless, not to mention the episodes aren’t as weak. We don’t get a whole episode of Yuyu being sick after all.

In the main plot we have Tohya trying to get the town to accept him and in the B plot we have Danji getting absolutely devastated in every scene. So at least things are happening and there’s always a duel around. It’s just not until the second part of the season where we kick things into high gear with the big battles of clan against clan. The show’s humor is also fairly decent. The heroes running around trying to get a free meal was decent enough. If the whole show was like this then I’m sure it would have lost a star and been around the first season’s level but we did get the action so this ended up making it.

Cardfight also tends to be about a clash of ideals. Whether it is power vs enjoyment in Aichi vs Ren, Acceptance vs Change in Chrono vs the kid who lose his parents, or now Discarding vs Embracing the flames in Danji vs Tohya. There always tends to be something deeper behind each duel which is part of what makes the series is a blast. Naturally we have those themes in these duels as well. I would say in particular Danji vs Tohya and Yuyu vs Mirei would fall into those camps so lets quickly look at those two duels since they were some of the best in the season.

So for Danji and Tohya I mentioned there were a lot of callbacks to the first season’s fight. That time Danji won as he pointed out that Tohya was too fixated on power and ended up losing his strength as a result. So initially Tohya thought he had to discard his flames and completely change himself but instead of doing this he ultimately decided to embrace them. Danji didn’t particularly agree but also said it’s a choice each person had to make. Tohya won the duel but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s right. It does mean that he successfully defended his ideals though.

Danji wasn’t defending anything in this season which is part of why Tohya’s win was so important here to get Danji back into his groove. As for the Yuyu duel, well of course he believes that you should be able to have fun and laugh while playing Cardfight. This emotionless way of dueling that Mirei teaches goes against Yuyu’s ideas here. Instead of making the game completely equal, it takes away from the fun.

Neither character is as eloquent in this duel since they’re both a little on the younger side but they still do their best and it is a pretty intense battle. There’s a lot of good back and forth here and I will always say that my one complement for Yuyu is that he gives good speeches. Sometimes they are thrown right back at him like Tohya when he turned the tables but Yuyu has a lot of passion in his duels. If he could keep this up outside of the dueling table then he could definitely join Chrono and Aichi as some of the higher tier main characters someday. As long as we keep up these emotional duels then the series is in a great spot and I don’t see that changing.

Overall, OverDress still has a ways to go if it wants to catch up to any of the other parts of the franchise but an upwards trend is always good. As long as Tohya is here you know you’re guaranteed to have at least one excellent match in the season too. He always brings in the passion and emotion that you want to see from the main characters. He could really teach the other characters a thing or two. The third season looks to be finally adding in some tournament action so that sounds really promising. Who knows, it could end up being the best season yet!

Overall 7/10

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.