Lostorage incited WIXOSS Review

Wixoss returns with its third season. The first two seasons were pretty fun and mainly just got held back by an unfortunate subplot. This time around Wixoss has no such characters to stop it. I mean, the main villain is kinda suspect but nothing too crazy. Lostorage incited is a very solid all around show. It does a good job of introducing all of the characters and giving us another good installment here. The ending’s a bit somber for some characters but since there’s a season 4 you suspect that this isn’t quite the end to the story. That said, it would actually work really well as an ending either way so if you’re not a big sequel person you can end it here and still be fine. The ending may not be super happy but it is pretty definitive.

The show starts by introducing us to two characters who were best friends as kids: Suzuko and Chinatsu. Eventually Suzuko had to move away though. Despite writing to Chinatsu consistently the two lost touch because none of her letters were returned. Suzuko figures Chinatsu probably moved away as well. She’s ready to have a good time at school when a Wixoss card appears and tells Suzuko that she has been chosen as a Selector. This isn’t something you can say no to either. This time around the characters are given 5 coins. If you don’t fight within a certain amount of time then you will lose one of them. If you win a fight then you get to claim one. Additionally you can bet a coin on the match to use a special ability. If you win then you will get the coin back in addition to a new one but if you lose then you’ll lose 2 coins this way. Even though you have 5 coins at the start, 2 are grayed out since otherwise a single win would have you win a tournament right off the bat.

Suzuko would usually be happy to play a game like this but she doesn’t appreciate the stakes. There are quite a few rules here to consider. If you lose all of your coins then you will disappear. Much like the first seasons, your LRig will take over your body while your original self gets thrown into the void hopefully to be reborn as an LRig someday. If you win all of your coins then you can manipulate your memory. You can remember something that you’ve forgotten, forget something you no longer wish to remember, or even alter your memories to be happier ones. There is nothing to suggest that this will actually rewrite events though so worst case you’ll have inaccurate memories that can trip you up. The winning prize isn’t quite as enticing as getting any wish of your desires so a big thing here is just that you may not want to destroy other people by winning your match.

The time limit here is a pretty interesting way to up the stakes though. In the first two seasons you could theoretically just not fight and you would be okay. With the time limit here you absolutely have to participate at some point or you’ll lose your memories. I suppose you may not disappear and would just forget a bunch of stuff since your coins would just be grayed out. It’s hard to confirm that though as no character gets to that point. There’s a chance you would just completely disappear in the same way as losing. A pretty good chance honestly so that’s a pretty good incentive to keep on fighting.

Suzuko is just one half of the main plot. Meanwhile Chinatsu is also a main character. It’s a nice dynamic as I always like having two characters sharing the lead spot particularly when they’re split up. It works as a nice build up to the inevitable confrontation they’ll need to have. So Chinatsu was always a kid who tried to do the right things. She would stick up for Suzuko and help her succeed. She would support her parents when her father was having trouble holding down a job and would keep all of the things she was worrying about to herself. She just did her best not to make anyone worry but now that she’s a teenager this is becoming more than she can bear. Her father has lost his job again so they may have to move which means Chinatsu won’t be able to get into her next school. Chinatsu also lost her current job so she isn’t able to help bring in money.

That’s when the game of Wixoss really brings her in. She is offered a job by Satomi to basically trick people into signing contracts with him and then they are stuck with playing more and more matches. It’s obviously a scam set up and not something she should really be doing but she is desperate enough to make this call. She wants to lose her memories of Suzuko because she believes that they are part of the problem. Deep down Chinatsu really blames herself here. She wants to be able to be a tougher person who can make selfish decisions but feels like she can’t do so without discarding her past. As a result she will get the other characters into sticky situations if it means that it’ll benefit her. So she’s going on the dark path while Suzuko is staying heroic so you can see how their clash of ideals will be a big plot point later on.

That’s probably the longest plot description I’ve given in a while but there’s just a lot to unpack there so it’s necessary. The animation is definitely pretty solid here. We get a lot of nice shots during the action scenes and in general the character designs are on point as well. The animation is nice and smooth. I wouldn’t say there has been a big change since the first two seasons. The contract scenes are still the best looking ones in the series and you don’t really get much of that here but it’s a consistent art style that always looks good. The soundtrack is also really solid. You’ve got a lot of good tunes here including some nice battle themes and a catchy opening. The series has never disappointed in those areas.

Suzuko is a solid new main character. She’s fairly quick at getting used to the game and really giving it her all. While I wouldn’t say she can get as fiery as the original lead, she’s still a fun heroine to follow around. Her main goal is to finally be friends with Chinatsu again and she is resolute in that. It’s enough of a motivation to keep her character interesting. I don’t expect she will really break out as one of the big characters in the series though. Her partner Ril is also solid. When the season first began I thought to an extent it was Chinatsu. Sort of like a fake version of her born from Suzuko’s mind. The show doesn’t really go in that direction but she acts enough like her where I consider that to be true in my head canon. She’s a solid companion. Ril may not be as strong as Tama but I would say she is one of the stronger fighters.

Then you have Chinatsu who really goes into the dark side. She’s a fun hero to have around but she goes so far as being a villain that it’s hard to buy into her being a sympathetic character by the end. In particular she pulls some big tricks on Shohei who was just trying his best to be a hero til the end. Her goals are also naturally a lot shakier than Suzuko’s. Chinatsu believes that cutting out her memories of Suzuko using this game will allow her to be free but will it? Part of the goal here is that by being free she will no longer have to be such a nice person but she seems to be doing a good job of pushing everyone away even with her memories in tact. It’s not like this would make her home situation much better either.

It’s a solid plot because it does show that the burden of always having to be the tough mature character helping everyone out will take its toll. In the end it did end up breaking her and unfortunately she got in with the wrong crowd. I wasn’t really a fan of her by the end. I don’t mind a character arc of going to the dark side but also dooming everyone else through the contracts and being Satomi’s underling? Yeah that’s pretty suspect. Her partner Mel is also interesting because she actually acts sorta shady. It makes it less likely that she is a version of Suzuko. While this isn’t really delved into, you get the feeling that she was goading Chinatsu on at times. She certainly made no effort to put her back on the right track and seemed to enjoy being the villain.

Shou is one of the other Wixoss players. He had a tragic story of his younger sister vanishing after getting involved with the game. He hadn’t paid much attention back then and regrets it now. This may be part of what got him into the game although he never makes much progress. I wouldn’t say he does all that well as one of the big characters. His whole dynamic with his L Rig is definitely not all that great and at the end of the day he’s kind of weak and easily manipulated. Especially given what the stakes are here like finding out what happened to his sister I would have expected him to be a whole lot more serious when it counted.

Then you’ve got Shohei who is actually a great character. In fact I would say that he is the best character here. He actually takes the high road over the other characters by refusing to play the game so nobody gets hurt. It’s an easy strategy to use at its core except for the fact that you’ll end up losing all of your memories and then disappearing from the world forever if you don’t battle. At the end of the day none of the other characters no matter how heroic are willing to make this sacrifice. They want their wish no matter what even if the other characters end up falling to the wayside. Shohei wasn’t having any of that and I can respect it. At the end of the day in the first series I applauded Ruko deciding that her wish was to save everyone. I much prefer that kind of goal because you save everyone while fighting. In this case there are no wishes though so it’s hard to see what else Shohei can do. Sitting back to just accept your death doesn’t sound great but he isn’t hurting anyone this way and it’s hard to think of a workaround. Things may not have gone over very well for him but I can’t fault the decision. I’ve got a lot of respect for the guy and if anything it’s too bad he couldn’t have appeared more.

Hanna is Suzuko’s main friend here. She’s a step up from the friend in the first seasons but I never became a big fan. Hanna is said to be an excellent Wixoss fighter and strategist but you don’t see a whole lot of that here. To me she seemed rather average and quickly surpassed by Suzuko. She certainly has a tragic past of her own to get to. Considering what her goal was I thought she could have handled the new knowledge a little better but I suppose it was pretty intense either way. Her fighter is Nanashi, a fairly mysterious fighter who doesn’t really give her input much. She doesn’t mind being a villain or a hero so long as she is having fun. In a way that makes her one of the more dangerous figures since you absolutely can’t trust her at any point.

Aya is Shou’s LRig and definitely one of the meanest ones. Usually your LRig is someone you can count on at all times but not in this case. She’s constantly insulting him and granted, he does earn it some of the time. Holding back against an opponent in this game is something you must never do since your life and memories are on the line but Shou has a lot of easily exploited weaknesses. In comparison you’ve got Dona who is Shouhei’s LRig and a supportive partner to have. She’s not thrilled about his decision to stay away from the fights but does support him as best she can. She gets a fairly big role for being an LRig and is always right there ready to participate in the action.

There’s not much to say about Sou as his role here is pretty small. He’s definitely a pretty rude guy who only likes fighting people he thinks is weak so that tells you what you need to know about the guy’s confident. He’s pretty willing to be a lowly subordinate if it means he can get wins. Then he’s got a super timid LRig in Guzuko who is one of the worst ones in the game. It definitely makes them an odd pairing but also shows why they are so weak. They aren’t on the same page at all.

Then you have Rio who is a little kid that was selected. In a lot of ways that makes her a tragic character because she can’t possibly comprehend the stakes at the moment. She wants to make her mother well again and figures that by being in the game she will be able to do this. Well of course that may have been true in the first two seasons but since the prize here is only to manipulate memories and not change real world events, you can’t help but feel like this plan couldn’t possibly work out. This also makes her a bit of a tough opponent to fight against since nobody wants to actually take her out for the count since they know what’ll end up happening. Her LRig is named Mama and seems like a nice LRig on the surface but I’m not so sure. I guess it seems like I don’t trust any of them but why would I? They all know the rules but rarely ever let their controllers know until it’s too late. Rio isn’t as charismatic as the little girl from the first two seasons but she was still fun.

Satomi is the big villain of the series and well he’s definitely not my kind of villain. Every single line he has is an innuendo as he constantly messes with the heroes and heroines. The guy manipulates them so easily that you’ll be shaking your head. Why do they always get so flustered so easily? In general this season just had a lot of fun with that and it would continue on to the next season too as the characters intentionally frame things in a suggestive way. It’s all obvious enough where I’d love a character to play dumb and just accept the challenge. At the end of the day the characters are just asking if you want to have a match with them. Instead of being flustered or stammering just accept the challenge with a “Yeah, let’s have a great game ” and that would be an excellent comeback.

Back to Satomi though. His general goal is he wants to make everyone as miserable as possible. He’s definitely in the right field for this since that’s not a very difficult task to do at all. He’s also a very strong Wixoss player so it’s not like you can just disregard him either. The guy needs to be treated as a serious opponent and taken down right away. The problem is that there are very few characters in the series who can match him. This is because his chosen fighter Carnival is incredibly powerful. Carnival can reach elusive levels that only fighters like Tama could match and she has the nice ability of being able to use everyone’s ability. It’s always really hard to match a fighter like that because it breaks the balance of the game. If your opponent knows you’ve only got 1 skill while they can choose any, that’s naturally going to be very difficult to counter.

Kiyoi appears here but very briefly. She is seen as a powerful opponent who was even able to dominate Chinatsu. Then just as quickly she disappears from the season after having one more big fight. She clearly wants to stop Satomi’s plans but isn’t working with the rest of the group. She’s a mysterious loner and makes for a very interesting character. We’ll learn more about her in the next season though so this was really just a little quick set of appearances to set that up. Kiyoi was definitely a great character in this season.

Overall, This is the best season of Wixoss yet. While the memories angle seems like it makes the stakes a little lower than putting your immortal soul on the line for a wish, the end result is still basically the same. At the end of the day if you lose all of your memories you still do vanish so that hasn’t changed. The writing may not be amazing at times like with all of the characters getting flustered so easily by the most basic of suggestive phrases but the show has a lot of good plot lines and action to keep it going on a strong note. It’s a pretty interesting story all told and one that was able to survive on the new characters without needing the older ones to appear. I don’t have any real issues with the season and would definitely recommend giving it a watch. You don’t even need the first two seasons for context since it’s a whole new cast although it should be noted that this is in the old continuity and there are definitely references to that.

Overall 7/10

Cardfight!! Vanguard: Shinemon Review

It’s time to take a look at the next season of Cardfight Vanguard. The franchise has definitely been going quite strong for many years now. It’s easily outlasted Buddyfight at this point and now there are over 10 seasons of the show. That’s pretty crazy when you think about it. When’s the last time you had a show go all the way through, do the big next generations series with a new cast, get several sequels to that one, and then do the modern reboot of the original? Well, that’s what Cardfight has done and now we’re getting the prequel to the reboot and it looks like we’re getting close to a reboot of the next generation show. It’s really quite impressive and this is definitely staying up there as one of my favorite franchises of all time. Shin actually holds his own show quite well. While this one can’t match some of the earlier seasons for sure, it’s still a great anime.

The show starts by introducing us to Shin, possibly the youngest cardshop owner out there. However, his ownership of the place is a bit questionable. See, he decided to take it over when Misaki’s parents died as a last wish in order to keep her safe. Shin feels like he owes it to them and has quickly found his place in the cardshop setting. The problem is that he is still attending school and so he can’t be at the shop most of the time. A rich lady by the name of Esuka also wants to own the shop for personal reasons of her own. She has a fair argument for why she would be the best person for the job. She’s not a random villain or some petty person that wants to make some cash. She knew the parents as well and to be honest she seems like she would do a much better job. The show debatably has 2 main arcs, the fight against Esuka and then the G prequel arc about dimension hopping.

For most of the first half of the show Shin does his best to fight against Esuka and her corporation. The thing is, are you even rooting for him? Neither side is evil so you don’t have to worry about that. At the end of the day you have to think about who would run the shop better and I have to give the nod to Esuka here. Fortunately for Shin she also looks after him quite a bit and goes easy on the lead. For most of the series she seems to be way more skilled than he is and definitely has more resources. I have to admit that I was rooting for her the whole time. Shin’s a solid lead and all but he was too young to run a cardshop and I think this begun to sink in a little later on. Shin can be pretty stubborn though.

Then for the climax of the series we have Ryuzu showing up. Fans of the G series will remember him as one of the big villains. The guy is a little less crazy at this point in time though so this is sort of seeing how he went off the wrong path. He wants to harness energy from the other planet in order to make Earth a better place. The warning bells that trigger with statements like that though is that when you take energy from one place to make the other one better, it’s inevitable that one of the worlds won’t be doing so well at this point. It’s a conversation that he doesn’t seem willing to have at the moment. None of the other characters are really persistent about bringing it up though so it’s hard to blame him. How does Shin even fit in to all of this? Well, Rive is on Shin’s team but he may have to miss the tournament because of all this so now Shin has been roped into finding out what’s going on. It’s a pretty fun climax even if the characters could be a bit annoying at times. I think Ryuzu could have easily been encouraged to keep doing his research in a safe manner but nobody was really trying.

Going back to Shin, it’s amazing how far he has come from the original series. The other way of looking at it is how far he has fallen since his younger days I guess. This version of Shin is a lot more fiery and isn’t afraid to pick a fight. He does lose his motivation pretty quick when defeated but he always starts out strong. He has a great fight against Esuka in their first round and shows similar energy in most of his duels. I also like his go to card. It’s incredibly strong and also shows how one powerful card can take you a long way. Shin uses this as a crutch for a while in the series before eventually improving his all around skills.

While I wasn’t on Shin’s side in the debate against Esuka, at least his reasons for doing so were good. At the end of the day he just wanted to make sure Misaki could retain ownership of the shop and he needed to keep custody of it until she was old enough to do so. Shin’s always thinking about how he could help Misaki. Really my only problem with Shin is how he basically threw away one of the tournaments. After Mark had gone to the trouble of exceeding his limits and winning so many battles I thought that was just disrespectful. It’s a horrible way to lose the tournament if you ask me.

Mark is one of Shin’s best friends and so he gets a pretty big role here. Like Shin I was never particularly a fan of the guy in the main series. He is reasonable here though. While the series tries to make him look a little too powerful towards the end for plot convenience, the guy always had Shin’s back which is definitely important. Without him the heroes would have been in trouble during the tournament. He’s also a lot more reliable than Rive, who is mainly just here to be annoying most of the time. He participates in risky experiments and flakes whenever a big match is coming up. Shin and the others cut him a ton of slack but the guy is really not trust worthy. It just comes across as a betrayal when the team is counting on him to win the big tournament and he just ducks out of there. That’s completely unreasonable and I never liked him in the main series either so it’s pretty consistent. His big moment at the end also feels pretty pointless because he could have jumped to the monster along with Chrono. Deep down he didn’t seem to care a whole lot about getting back to Earth. That ending was rushed in quite a few different ways. It makes the monsters in Chrono’s deck actually seem a bit on the evil side with how they just allowed Rive to be trapped when they clearly could have done something.

Tatsuya’s role here is definitely a lot different than what I would have expected. He starts out as a nice enough kid who looks up to Shin and gradually gets a much bigger role. By the end of the series he’s a solid genius who has his own goals. Tatsuya makes for a solid antagonist because his motivation is a solid one. If anything the counter arguments that the heroes give in return are quite weak. It’s at the point where you are likely to be rooting for Tatsuya for a while. The heroes’ arguments all rest on hypotheticals and things that they can’t actually prove. Either way it’s a pretty fun battle though.

Mikuru is another one of Shin’s best friends and gets a big role. She never really gets to duel which does limit how much she can contribute compared to the others. Still, I did enjoy all of the crazy nicknames she would give Shin. His name rhymes with a whole lot of adjectives and she makes sure not to miss a beat. Misaki and Chrono don’t get to do a whole lot since they’re kids in this version. We briefly see them back to normal age at the end though and they should be quality characters as always. This just wasn’t their story this time.

Esuka’s a really fun character and she goes in a much different direction than what I would have expected. She’s definitely not your average rich tycoon. If anything it’s a bit of a subversion because to the characters she acts in much the same way as most rich villains. She uses some bribery and tricks to get her way so the heroes never trust her. The thing is, she usually means well and just has a hard time not acting like a rich tycoon. For example, she offers to make one of the characters rich and famous. The heroes assume she has some kind of ulterior motive and get out of there but she actually was going to try and make that happen. It’s fair that the other characters are suspicious though, it’s just a fun thing to note. She also isn’t afraid to go into the front lines herself like when she infiltrated Ryuzu’s base.

Nanami is Esuka’s main fighter and she gets a pretty big role in the series. She’s effectively a child prodigy and can keep up with the pros. Her deck’s pretty solid and I definitely like her confidence. Tonori is another one of Esuka’s top fighters alongside Nanami. His thing is that he gets stronger the hungrier he is. It’s a bit of an odd gimmick but it works well. He’s a bit underused though as he gets maybe 1-2 big fights in the series and that’s it. I also thought he was really nerfed because he shouldn’t have lost the final fight. The plot demanded it but I wasn’t able to buy that. He’s fun enough though.

Kanzaki got a big role in G and while his role here is a lot smaller, it’s a nice throwback to the G days. He still only thinks about power and yells that weakness is a crime. It can be a bit hard to take him seriously with that at times but he does win most of his fights here so I guess he earned it. He also paid Mark some respect in their close fight which was pretty solid. I probably would like his character more here if I hadn’t seen G first. He’s a bit one note though and his cool design can’t save him. Ryutarou is one of the members of Kanzaki’s team. I think he tries too hard to be Kanzaki’s opposite. He doesn’t really care about winning and just likes a good fight. That’s fine, but he tends to lose a lot so it almost seems like an excuse. The whole “I only lost because I didn’t care about winning” thing doesn’t tend to go well. To be fair, he never uses that excuse but I do think he should take the fights more seriously.

Ruga is definitely one of the most tragic characters in this series. All he wants is to have a serious fight with Rive and yet the guy always runs off. I don’t get why Rive is being so cold here. They used to be best friends and then Rive grew distant as soon as he got married. Yeah, both of them agreed not to get married but Ruga would have been a lot more understanding if Rive didn’t suddenly ditch like that. The only reason Ruga was opposed to this was because he felt like it would take up all of Rive’s time…and then his fears came true. Rive could have absolutely mended the bridge with Ruga if he wanted too and as a result Ruga became even more obsessive.

Finally we have Ryuzu who has always been a fun villain. His goals are pretty interesting. In this series at least I wouldn’t consider him a villain since he is still trying to help the world. Things don’t always go his way but at least he tries his best. His deck is solid and he is usually one step ahead of the other characters. At least he is actually doing something important. Towards the end of the series they try to make a case that playing a normal game of Cardfight is just as important as making research that can save the lives of millions. Ryuzu is really at a loss for words at this and I kind of was as well. Ryuzu may not be perfect but at least he is trying to better society, can Shin and the others really say the same?

Shinemon is definitely the right way to do a prequel. Each episode is a lot of fun and it develops the characters rather quickly. You know the setting and everyone in it within the first 3 episodes. From there we are able to jump into the duels. The series doesn’t really have high stakes like some of the other seasons but that’s fine. In a prequel you already know most of the characters are safe anyway and it would be difficult to jump to end of the world stuff so quickly. That’s why the series focuses more on powerful character moments and sharp duels. The series is just a lot of fun and taps into the early G feels. Shin’s also a very different main character from Chrono and Aichi which helps to differentiate him. I really had no complaints with the title. If anything I wouldn’t have minded if it got more episodes but in a way I like the short seasons because it helps the franchise keep going further. I want to see how many seasons it can churn out.

As expected the animation here is quite sharp. The animations are very clear and smooth. Whenever a monster is summoned it also looks quite crisp and it’s clear that they’re not phoning it in for any of these episodes. I’ve always liked the style that they use for Cardfight. It’s pretty simple in terms of design and such so they’re able to put a lot of effort into the colors. I’ve greatly enjoyed anime with detailed or simple designs so both can definitely work as long as you put the effort in and this one definitely did. Meanwhile the soundtrack is pretty great as always. I’m not really sure if this one added any new themes but at this point the series has so many that you barely need to do that. It grabs some themes from G and the reboot seasons so that’s already a good amount of variety.

Overall, Shinemon is a great season and a nice way to handle the prequel. It really shows us that Shin used to be a cool character as opposed to being one of the blandest characters I had ever seen in the main seasons. I’d consider that to be a bit of a soft reboot since it’s impossible to picture Shin being this great back in the day. The final episodes even try to give a reason for why he changed so much at the end and it’s a nice attempt although you will still have a tough time buying it I’m sure. Since this is a bit of an origin story you can easily watch it without seeing any of the previous seasons. It is one of those prequels made to be watched after experiencing the originals but that doesn’t matter much until the final 2-3 episodes. Either way you should have a blast.

Overall 8/10

Cardfight Vanguard Zero Review

It’s time to look at a recent app that I downloaded. I’ve always enjoyed watching the Cardfight Vanguard show so I figured playing through an app game would be pretty fun too. It’s got a unique gameplay style that is different from Yugioh and I’ve never gotten to play it in action before. This was my chance to change that and the game is definitely a lot of fun. It’s also very challenging so you can rest assured that it will force you to become a better player as the levels go on. With an active user base and ongoing events there will be enough content to keep you entertained for the long haul.

As with most mobile games there are a ton of options that greet you on the menu. It can all be pretty overwhelming so the game wisely locks a lot of the options behind level ups so you experience them all gradually. You’ll likely be spending most of your time in the story of playing online battles. Aside from that you can also clear daily missions, fight practice battles, customize your deck, and buy more cards. While there are some paid options you can do the game is 100% free to play and you can do quite well without spending any money. It’s the kind of game where you can absolutely hold your own without spending a dime.

The story mode has 11 chapters which consist of around 50 rides. While you might think you can clear those right away, it will take a lot of time. Every 3-4 rides you have to go and do other tasks to unlock the next ones. These range from beating an opponent 5 times to fighting online for 3 battles. There are a lot of different tasks and it is the game’s way of making sure you try everything out. I could be a little annoyed at having to take a break from the story so often but I understand the logic. I don’t approve, but it is what it is and the rest of the modes are all fun as well which helps a lot.

The story mode covers the first season of the show although I expect as more and more levels are added it will eventually cover the entire series. It’s been pretty detailed at trying to grab almost every fight and the game actually plays whole anime scenes which is pretty cool. You don’t see a lot of mobile games do that so it was pretty nice. I made it through around half of the rides before doing this review and they’ve been fun.

I’ll quickly go over the gameplay but it’ll be difficult to go too in depth due to how many rules there are. First off you start with a hand of 5-6 cards and then each player rides a grade 0 Unit. As each turn passes you can ride a card with 1 grade higher until you get to the max of 3. (There are future cards that go higher but I doubt they’ll be added anytime soon) There are 3 columns and 2 rows which you can rill with monsters. Only the 3 monsters in the front row can attack and the one in the middle is your Vanguard. He gets a Drive Check which has the potential to strengthen your team, heal your damage, or do something else. The first player to get to 6 damage loses the match. The only way to deal damage is to attack your opponent’s vanguard with a monster stronger than his own. The attacking player has the advantages of having a support monster to boost attack as well as the drive check so attacking is quite easy.

You’ve also got a bunch of other mechanics like sentinels and intercepts so you’ll want to study a bit. There are a few rules that are simplified here compared to the actual show and I imagine it was to help balance the game as well as make it go quickly. Depending on how many rules were added each round could take forever. As it stands most duels aren’t very long although I can’t say that I’ve actually counted how long any of them took me. I imagine they may be around 10 minutes or so. The deck I went with was Kagero and it served me well. Ultimately the battle I ended up getting stuck on was Aichi on Hard mode. That guy’s pretty hard to deal with and he’s also got a permanent attack boost on all of his monsters which is a little suspect if you ask me.

As for the graphics, the game looks quite good. Aichi’s character model is the only one that looks unfinished but everything else is very polished and holds up quite well. The soundtrack is excellent with the full anime opening being the intro music. I definitely appreciated that nod and in general it’s all very high energy so you’re always right in the thick of the action. It makes every duel even more enjoyable and for a mobile game the key is making the game easy to pick up and play at a moment’s notice. This game achieves that because you’ve always got time for a quick duel. I think card games really excel in the card game format and this one is no exception.

Overall, Cardfight Vanguard Zero is a great game. You’ll have a lot of fun here and even if you’ve never played before you’ll be fine. The game gives very detailed tutorials and the online community will also be more than willing to help you out. There’s a good amount of support here and a lot to do. I’m definitely confident that you will be engaged for the long haul. Right now I’m pretty busy with Final Fantasy VII Remake but Zero was definitely a whole lot of fun and I look forward to seeing the game grow. As with most mobile games this is where my journey will end, but it was still a pretty fun experience.

Overall 8/10


The latest Yugioh series is finally here! I’ve only seen the first episode of this show so far, but it’s already setting up a lot of hype plot points for the future. Make no mistake, this is a show that is certainly going places. It’s already got all the makings of a great show, the only question is how it will fare against the other Yugioh titles. I shall have a review with all of those answers once the show is over.

Overall 8/10

Yugioh Ultimate Masters World Championship 2007 Stats and Records

Stats time!

Overall Duel Record 96-88 (I stayed in the green)
Duel Record against monsters W-L
Winged Kuriboh 5-0
Fox Fire 5-2
Des Wombat 5-2
Snipe Hunter 5-3
Eria the Water Charmer 5-6
Dark Red Enchanter 5-1
Ultimate Tyranno 5-4
Dark Ruler Ha Des 5-6
Tualatin 5-3
Hilta the Fire Charmer 5-6
Frostosaurus 5-8
Ancient Gear Beast 5-4
Yamata Dragon 5-7
Neo=Parshath the Sky Paladin 5-12
Allure Queen Lv 5 5-2
Infernal Dragon 5-5
The End of Anubis 5-4
Fusilier Dragon, The Dual Mode Beast 5-3
Levia Dragon 1-3
Sacred Phoenix of Nephthys 1-0
Cyber End Dragon 1-4
Horus the Black Flame Dragon Lv 8 1-0
Thestalos the Firestorm Monarch 1-0
Destiny Hero Dogma 1-3

Cards Collected 381

% of Decks completed below
Legend of the White Dragon 18%
Powerful Seal 14%
Established Chaos 7%
Shadow Magicians 61%
Scarlet Firestorm 10%
Summoning Thunder 9%
Ultimate Power 10%
Requirements of a Hero 98%
Confusion Envoy 5%
Toon Revenge 1%
Machines Unleashed 3%
Reboot Electronics 33%
Eternal Mentor 20%
Thirst for Victory 1%
Ominous Fiends 39%
War Against Dragons 75%
Gravekeeper’s Destiny 45%
Union Strength 1%
Sword and Sorcery Combo 24%
Messenger from the Sky 43%
Temple of the King 41%
Destroyer from Light 3%
Wrath of Evil 65%
Destruction and Rebirth 3%
Light into Darkness 48%
Deep Shadows 1%
Dark World Invasion 5%
Dark Collection 1 56%

Yugioh Ultimate Masters World Championship 2007 Review

It’s been a long while, but now I can finally jump onto the next installment in the Yugioh World Championships. I believe I am only missing around 4 of them now. The games lasted for quite a while back then and it’s a shame that they’ve stopped. Imagine how many cards a World Championship 2017 would have had. I suppose that with Duel Links the franchise may be wondering how they can top that, but I’d still like to see an attempt. While I prefer humanoid opponents to monsters in the WC series, this game holds up as well as any of the others. It’s pretty well optimized and the load times are nonexistent so that’s a win-win.

The main mode you’ll be playing here is the campaign. Essentially you start off at Level 1 where there are 6 opponents. To unlock the next level you must defeat each opponent 5 times. Fortunately this is now the only requirement to unlock the next level as previous games forced you to achieve a specific victory ratio. That required you to keep on resetting the game right before defeat which was tedious so this is a big improvement. There were opponents in this game that I had a losing record against so I am definitely glad that I don’t have to worry about that now. It makes gathering money a little easier since you actually get to keep it even through defeat.

There are 5-6 levels in the game, but only the first 4 are accessible without having to enter other modes so that’s where I stopped. My final record at the end was 96 wins and 88 losses which isn’t so bad if you ask me. I was just glad to stay above a 50% win ratio so that was satisfying enough. This main mode will likely take you at least 10 hours, but it’ll certainly depend on the deck that you create. Naturally there is a large amount of luck involved on which cards you get and such, but mitigating the risk is part of what makes you a good deck builder. Try to build a lot of combos into your deck so that no matter what you draw it’ll be a good one.

I focused my deck on Elemental Heroes. Sure, it may be borrowed from Jaden, but that’s exactly why I went with the deck. If it was good enough for him to wreck everybody then it’s good enough for me. I added in some extra spells and traps to make the deck a lot easier to counter with so at times it did backfire. Let me say that getting a hand with all traps and no monsters is no good. You always want to have a monster ready to summon or you’re really going to be in a pickle. At the same time, the final opponents all have very cheesy summons and combos so having a trap that automatically destroys the monster and wastes the last 5 minutes of their effort is a must.

The graphics are pretty clean. It’s not as if they’re doing anything too special but it’s easy to look at. The duel field isn’t cluttered and it’s always easy to see what is going on. As for the soundtrack, it’s okay. I think Tag Force has spoiled me a little as the themes there were just super awesome throughout, but the peaceful World Championship score isn’t bad. Honestly I’m usually way too focused on playing my trap cards and going through memes in my mind to actually notice it all that much.

It goes without saying that there is a ton of replay value in this game. After beating all of the main opponents you can go to the other modes that I referenced earlier. One such mode is the Limited Duel. Essentially you have to beat an opponent while adhering to certain limitations. Another one is the Duel Puzzle. You’ll be thrown in the middle of a duel and have to figure out how to win it in one turn. Despite the fact that there are only so many ways you can play your turn, this can actually be extremely difficult. Seriously, don’t underestimate just how tough this is. It’s pretty entertaining though so while it’ll take a while, you’ll have fun trying it out. Honestly it could probably take you as long as an RPG’s game length to tackle everything in this game. I won’t even count collecting all of the hundreds of cards since that would be even crazier. I have around 400 cards and I don’t think I’m even halfway there yet. Not to mention that you buy them lottery style so there is some luck at play there.

You couldn’t really ask for a better Yugioh simulator. Since the game even has mini animations for the big monsters, you really feel like you’re in the duel. The music will also change if you destroy your opponent’s ace monster. As I mentioned, the controls are really smooth so you’re not going to attack the wrong person by mistake. The turns are pretty quick so it’s not as if the long loading times exist to deter you. The amount of cards at play is also pretty good and earning money is quick so you are always ready to buy your next pack. As such I don’t really have any complaints for this game. A minor nitpick would be that I’d prefer to have fought some of Jaden’s opponents from the show instead of generic monsters. The classic Yugioh games all had you fight with iconic characters like Kaiba and Pegasus. There weren’t cutscenes or anything, but at least it would feel more like you were fighting an actual opponent. As you went up the levels you would fight stronger/more popular fighters. Here…I guess having Cyber End Dragon in World 4 makes a lot of sense, but I didn’t even know a bunch of the other monsters. It was just an odd change although the last Yugioh GX game did that as well so maybe it’s just GX’s gimmick or something.

One of these days I’m definitely going to have to make a list where I place all of the Yugioh Games from best to worst. Such a list would be super hype and perhaps I should make that an article. Keep your eyes out for that even if it may not have the clickbait headline that I usually try to have accompanying it. The highest game for Yugioh on my backburner is Duelist of the Rose, which will likely come up pretty soon. It technically is pretty short since there are only about 7-8 duels as opposed to close to 200 in this one, but I’ve heard they are super tough to compensate for that.

Pro tip for when you fight the opponents. Stalling them usually won’t work. I was able to really take advantage of that in the Wii game, but here they always have some kind of fancy combo to wipe the field so they can usually outlast you. If you have the edge in battle, just throw out an attack. Odds are that it will succeed and you’ll be glad that you did. Surprisingly most opponents don’t have a trap card to punish your attack in the later levels as mostly it’s just the intro opponents who will do that.

Overall, If you’re into Yugioh, then this is a solid game to get. My personal favorite World Championship game may still be 2006 because I felt the gameplay was the best from all of them, but I also may be bias because that game had my favorite deck. I went through all of the options for hours in that game and finally came out with a really hype fire deck. Every card had a lot of power behind it and I cruised through the game. Still, I made a pretty solid deck in the end through this game as well and it would be fun if I could fight myself with it. 2010 is also a pretty great title since that one did actually have a main story as well. I’m not sure which WC game I’ll get next, but 2005 is definitely the cheapest one which sounds good to me. I believe it is the final classic Yu-Gi-Oh title that I have not purchased yet.

Overall 8/10

Yugioh Zexal Review

Time to look at the final Yu-Gi-Oh spinoff manga for now. It was fun to have GX, 5Ds, and Zexal all going at one point. I’ll finally be able to start the Arc V manga soon so that’ll be cool since not having any Yugioh titles for a little while it rough. While the Zexal manga was not quite able to defeat the GX or 5Ds anime, it surprisingly had the best manga adaption. It made the risky decision of adding two new characters for the manga, but it actually worked really well as the new characters were excellent. I dare say that this manga just had more stakes and overall epicness than the former. As they were all 9 volumes, this helped clinch it.

Yuma was not a great duelist, but then he met Astral. Astral was an alien from another planet who had been stripped of his memories and most of his skills. The one thing that he remembers is that he is a master duelist. Yuma now needs to collect all of the Number Cards to get Astral’s memories back, but it’ll be difficult since several factions are after it. Yuma’s group is Team 1 and he has several friends helping him out. Team 2 is Shark’s group. The mysterious Luna is helping him gather the cards so he can defeat Kyoji, a guy who has obtained dark powers and may not be fully human anymore. The third group is Team Kite. He needs the Numbers to help bring his brother back from a crazed state and is essentially being blackmailed through that. Finally, we have Kyoji. His motivations are unknown, but he intends to get in everyone’s way.

What helps a lot here is that I like virtually all of the main characters. Yuma’s friends aren’t all that great, but they never do all that much and are stuck in the background. Yuma is a fun lead character. He may not be quite as charismatic as Jaden or as serious as Yusei, but he’s a good guy. He gradually gets better at dueling as the series goes on and has to make a lot of tough decisions. He always tries to find a way out for everyone. His Super Saiyan form is also really awesome even if it doesn’t technically do all that much. It does help for the space battles though and the Shining Draw shouldn’t be underestimated.

Astral is not nearly as interesting or likable. He typically makes all the wrong decisions and is willing to sacrifice many lives if it will help fulfill his mission. He’s the kind of guy that you really just can’t trust. His dueling skills are exceptional and he is one of the strongest fighters so it is hard to get past him. He probably would be more likable if he had all of his memories, but it would be a very different series if that was the case.

Shark is one of the main rivals in the series and he is a lot more reasonable than how he was towards the end of the anime. He is actively trying to protect the world here as he fights to stop Kyoji. It’s also rather personal due to them growing up together. Shark’s cards may not be as fancy as Kite’s or Yuma’s, but he gets the job done with pure skills. Luna is essentially his adviser in this series as she helps him become aware of what is happening and even gives him some cards to give Shark a boost. She’s a pretty powerful duelist in her own right and works well as one of the mysterious characters of the series. Luna was necessary to ensure that Shark had at least one ally on his team and to widen the gap between him and Yuma.

Kite is always a cool rival and that doesn’t change in the manga. His Galaxy Photon Dragons are always a treat to watch and his “Destroy Them All” deck is my favorite kind. It’s similar to how Kaiba duels which makes sense since you expect the rival to be like that. Zexal is similar to GX in that sense as both titles had two rivals. Aster and Zane vs Shark and Kite. Kite is the best rival as Zane was in GX, but they’re both pretty solid. Kite really does a good job of staying tough right up til the very end.

Time for the two made up villains of the series. Luna was the third of the 3 Original characters and the author did a really good job of making them all good. Kyoji has a great design and his spider abilities are very versatile. He has a really good deck and has his own motivations for doing all of this. His backstory is surprisingly dark though and makes a lot of characters look really bad. So, his brother was murdered by a random guy who assumed the brother’s identity and nobody ever realized. Kyoji took care of this guy, but couldn’t really cope with the tragedy as a whole and surrendered to the powers of darkness. He cracked from there. Kyoji was definitely a very imposing villain and while you would be sympathetic enough to root for him, he’s not completely crazy to the point where you wince whenever he’s on screen. He’s pretty cool and works well as the big boss.

Zexal decided to pull a Naruto and randomly added a cosmic villain of ultimate power by the name of E’Rah. She is the Goddess of Despair and all of her cards as pretty over the top. She’s very powerful and I actually like it when big villains suddenly show up like that. Kaguya, Tabuu, Nightshroud, etc. Unfortunately, it sometimes comes at the expense of a better villain like in this example and Naruto, but I suppose it’s worth the price. The climax just kept on escalating with each chapter. There’s no reason not to like E’Rah as she talks a really good game and has a solid design. She gives off a cosmic vibe throughout the duel.

Zexal never stepped on the brakes and just kept on going full speed ahead towards the end. There is constantly a duel going on and I’m not sure if we ever got a chapter without one. I feel like we must have, but at the very least it would have been a very rare occurrence. I am glad that the manga diverged from the anime early on as I always think that the manga titles should be very different. There really isn’t much point in adapting the anime faithfully since you’ll have ideally already seen what is going to happen. All of the Yugioh spinoffs did their own story and it’s worked out well so far. The plot with Kyoji started off right away and that’s when the series really took off.

The art was very good for Zexal. I’d say that it was better than GX, but maybe slightly worse than 5Ds. It’s close and I guess you could say they’re about equal. The pages will get quite busy during the duels as some monsters can take up half of the page and with all of the spells and traps being activated left and right, you have to really take a good look at each page to see everything. Not to mention that there is a lot of text on each page so it takes longer than the average volume as a result. This does help give you some more value for your money though right?

Overall, Yugioh Zexal was a great way to end off the current Yugioh spinoffs that I was reading. It’s very action packed with a great cast of characters. The duels are a lot of fun as always and they cover a whole lot in the 9 volumes. You’ll certainly never be bored as you’re reading the series and it sets a high bar for all of the other titles. You don’t always need to be a long running series to get a high score as long as you cut to the chase right away. This will also help me get all set for the upcoming Yugioh film and the Arc V manga. Both are bound to be great as Yugioh never disappoints. I recommend reading this manga ASAP and then hurrying off to the theater to help support the Yugioh nation!

Overall 9/10

Yugioh 5Ds Duel Transer Review

It’s been a while, but I finally got to go back and complete one of the old Yugioh games that I’ve had on the back burner for a while now. It feels good to finally take it down for the count. It suffers from the usual problem that Yugioh games have on the home console and that’s the long loading times. Still, that’s really the only main problem for the title as it still does a good job of capturing the Yugioh enjoyment that I’ve come to expect from the series. It’s long and it’s difficult, but the game can also be very satisfying. After all, what’s more fun than having a quick round of Yugioh?

This title also does have a plot which is something that you can’t really say for many of the other Yugioh games. Where this takes place in the anime is a little vague, but all that you really need to know is that many of the world’s greatest duelists have been trapped inside of a large tower. The only way to get out is to duel everyone and prove yourself to be the strongest. The problem is that there are no pushovers here and some of the villains may decide not to play by the rules. You control an original character who has arrived at this tower. He may not have a rep yet, but he is actually the greatest duelist of all time. Not too shabby eh? Can Terry (That’s what I called him) save the world or is he doomed? Time to find out!

We may as well go over the technical aspects of the game first. The graphics look fairly good here. Everyone is a little pixelated, but in retrospect, a lot of the Wii games had similar issues with the character designs. It still looks rather well considering. I also liked the designs for the new characters. They stood out and were original. Odin had a cool armor and his true identity was also pretty intense. That definitely worked well for the final boss. As for the soundtrack, it is fairly solid. A theme will come up if you are close to winning and likewise if you are close to losing. There are quite a number of good tunes here although the soundtrack definitely could have been larger. It’s mostly all fast paced and fits well for the duels.

Time to quickly explain the gameplay system in case you have never had a duel before. Each player starts with 5 cards and then you draw another one each turn. You summon monsters to the field (1 per turn although you can special summon others) and use them to attack your opponent’s life points. Spell and Trap cards are also allowed into the mix of course. The first person to land at 0 life points loses the round. The concept is simple enough, but there are many rules and complexities surrounding this so you’ll still have a lot to take in when you first boot up the game. I recommend working on building your first deck to start things off. Choose each card yourself so you know exactly what they do and when to activate each card.

I recommend holding down the B button during the turns if you know that you won’t be using a Trap Card. Otherwise, it will ask you this question throughout every phase of the turn, which can slow the game down considerably. I ended up going with a deck that was heavy on trap cards and anti trap cards. My deck was a little larger than most people would recommend it be, but this served me well twice. There is one character in the game who has an incredible defensive strategy. Her name is Luna and she won’t hesitate to time you out. Our duel went into the 80s I believe, but luckily my deck was a lot larger than hers so that ended up earning me the win. She tried the same tactic later on and I used the same counter. Don’t underestimate trap cards. They are extremely valuable in this game.

You will need to really enjoy the duels to get any fun out of this title. That’s because the game is over 20 hours long and that equals a lot of duels. There are roughly 13-15 levels in the game, but each one has up to 5 duels and sometimes even more. You also shouldn’t expect to coast by either as these guys tend to put up quite the fight. Many of them took me several tries to defeat, but naturally none of them could ultimately stop me from reaching the goal. Ironically, the second last boss is probably the easiest in the game. I happened to get a really good hand, but even considering that, a perfect 8000-0 battle is pretty rare.

As for replay value, there is a lot of that. After beating the game, you will unlock a few more levels where you can fight opponents with incredibly strong decks and get more cards. There are hundreds, if not thousands of cards in this game so collecting them all will be a very tough thing to do. That is sure to buy you a lot of time. One thing that I don’t like is that you can’t use some of the cards that you obtain because they are deemed illegal. If that’s the case, why put them in the game at all? Even if the computers keep on using them anyway, we shouldn’t be able to buy those cards if they are just going to sit around.

The gameplay’s a lot of fun as you can tell, but the game did have one thing holding it back. The long loading times. I can’t stress this enough. If a game takes a while to get through each duel, then the adventure will start to feel a little too much like a grind by the end. For some reason, this always happens to the home console version of these titles. The DS World Championships and the PSP Tag Force games are always lightning fast and I dare say that they are more intuitive. After all, in those games, you could activate magic cards whenever you want. Now, you have to wait until it’s your turn.

Overall, It feels good to have finally completed Duel Transer. That game was certainly on the backburner for a long time so this is a big moment. Next up, I aim to take down the Yugioh game for the Gamecube. The plot is definitely very odd (and boring) and the game is even slower paced than this one. Ah well, we’re just going to have to wait a while before we get a really fast title I suppose. At the very least, this just goes to show how popular Yugioh is. It’ll always have more games to play. If you’re a big fan of Yugioh, then I definitely recommend this game quite a lot. You may never get to Synchro Summon since the rules seem more complex than usual, but at least you’ll get to fight many powerful foes. If you’ve never played Yugioh before, then you may want to start with World Championship instead as it does a good job of easing you into the challenge.

Overall 7/10

Cardfight Vanguard Review

Cardfight Vanguard has quickly risen up the anime ranks and it is currently the third greatest show of all time. The series controversially decided to leave the old cast so that we could get a sequel series in the form of Cardfight Vanguard G. I have no doubt that it will be a great sequel, but I can’t help thinking that they’ve made a grave mistake. It’ll be extremely difficult to pass this series. If you’re looking for action and good visuals, you’ve definitely come to the right place!

The first season is around 60-70 episodes and it starts the franchise off on a high note. The world is engrossed with a mysterious game called Cardfight Vanguard. Aichi Sendou is your average student who is a little on the timid side, but he’s always liked the game. A bully steals his card, but then gets it taken from the local pro so Aichi is forced to duel this kid. His name is Toshiki Kai and Aichi crushes him in the first episode. Of course, that means that Aichi is now on everyone’s radar! The show stays on a day by day schedule for a while until the plot really begins. Kai had a friend who goes by the name of Ren. Ren has now unlocked Psyqualia, which allows you to win any game of Cardfight. This is practically cheating so Aichi needs to put him in his place, but that will be difficult. He enters a lot of tournaments and gains experience, but defeating Ren and crushing his evil ambitions may get dangerous. Aichi is also getting tempted to join the dark side.

Season 2 began the Asia Circuit and once again, life was back to normal. Everyone just had fun playing Vanguard and things seemed right with the world. This couldn’t last as Aichi woke up one day to find that his deck was erased from history. The whole clan had been wiped out or so it would seem. None of his friends have any memory of it. Aichi’s only chance is to win the VF circuit so that he could meet Takuto and force him to spill the beans. Takuto is suspect number one since he always has an evil grin, happens to be rich, and just looked downright sinister. Aichi teams up with Kamui and Misaki, but this isn’t quite the dream team that you would expect because Kai has joined up with Ren on another team. No worries, Ren’s a good guy now, but this will make Aichi’s journey a lot more difficult. Throw in new teams like I.T. Genius and Leon’s group and the journey will definitely get intense. The climax also involves a mysterious entity that sticks around for the next 90-100 episodes.

Next up was the Link Joker arc and it’s easily the best arc in the entire franchise as well as being one of the best arcs in anime history. I would probably say that it is the second best arc of all time behind GX’s Yubel story. The theme song perfectly sums up the plot as Aichi appears with his friends and then they start to disappear. See, a mysterious foe known as Link Joker has appeared on the planet Cray (I’ll talk about that later) and it is eliminating all of the clans. The infection spreads to the human world and it takes over Takuto, using him to take over Kai. Kai is now going across the planet as he defeats many fighters. When a character loses to someone with Link Joker’s power, they are reversed. Being “reversed” means that the person now works for Link Joker and their dueling abilities are greatly strengthened. One by one, most of Aichi’s friends are corrupted by this force and he will have to finally win on his own. His friends have provided him with strength in the past and now Aichi will get to return the favor. Still, can he beat a foe who was able to beat Kai (Arc 1 Boss), Ren (Season 1 Boss), I.T. Genius, (Season 2 Sub Boss) and almost all of Aichi’s other friends? This will definitely be Aichi’s toughest challenge. It’s also the final season of this saga that is dubbed, but at least it got to end on a high note.

Finally, the anime took a pretty big turn as the final arc is pretty different from the others. Aichi has disappeared..the main character is gone! Kai realizes that nobody else remembers who Aichi is (Sounds like season 2’s plot a little eh?) and that people only remember if he defeats them in a Cardfight. He recovers the memories of Misaki, Miwa, and Kamui. Before they can help the other friends, a group called the Quatre Knights appears and warns them not to interfere. The heroes are crushed by these new villains and they will need to get a lot stronger if they want to win. They will have to do this on their own since letting the other friends in on the action will put them in danger. Kai has been through a lot of tough duels, but this will be his toughest challenge yet. The question is…what happened to Aichi and why are these Quatre Knights able to use super powers? It’s time to find out!

Before I go into the characters or why the show is so awesome or even about the planet Cray, let’s go through some of the more basic positives. One of them is the stunning animation. It really looks dynamite and it puts a lot of other current shows to shame. NarutocoughShippudencough. The colors are all very vibrant and I really like just about all of the character designs. You can bet that I won’t be forgetting Aichi or Kai anytime soon. Aichi’s new look for the final 2 episodes of the show is more than a little dicey, but it’s only 2 episodes and I liked his first 3-5 designs so I’d say that the show more than filled the bill there. Watching the monsters duke it out is great and they look very intimidating. Watching the Link Joker arc will let you see just how intense a cardfight can really get. It’s pretty amazing just how great everything looks.

Naturally, this wouldn’t be a proper 9 star rating without an elite soundtrack right? I’m confident that it could have theoretically gotten a 9 anyway, but soundtracks are so pivotal for shows that I’m glad Cardfight brought us such a good one. The themes are great right from season 1 and we also get a signature theme for Link Joker in the third season. I can’t think of any new tunes from seasons 2 and 4, but I’m sure that they brought in something. The battle themes really make sense and some characters like Kamui have their own themes, which makes their battles feel more unique. The show also had 8 openings and they are all good. Some are definitely better than others and I don’t think that the first opening of Link Joker aged very well. That’s quickly countered by the other two Link Joker openings, which are downright amazing. Season 4’s second theme is pretty incredible as well. Once again, Cardfight manages to never let us down in any of the areas that really matter.
All right, let’s take a look at the cast. Aichi Sendou is the main character and he definitely gets a lot of character development as the series progresses. He goes from being a total rookie to being one of the most respected and talented individuals to ever play Cardfight Vanguard. His confidence also goes up through the series and we see him become very heroic and noble once the Link Joker arc occurs. He’s essentially the perfect main character and he’s basically flawless. Aichi can be a little naive as he believes that anyone who plays the game must be a good person deep down, but at least he always tries to see the best in everyone. His role in season 4 is controversial to say the least, but I’ll discuss that later on. All in all, it’s really tough for a lead to pass Aichi and he’ll forever be known as one of the elite characters.

Toshiki Kai is the rival of the series and he eventually becomes the main character for the final season. It’s a pretty big step up since it’s rare for the rival to steal the spotlight from the lead. He starts out as a loner who is obsessed with being the best player in the world, but through his own strength. He doesn’t wasn’t Psyqualia or any shortcuts to get more power. He has a brilliant speech in his two part battle against Takuto, but the ending gets a little dicey for him. His character development is much like Sasuke’s, but you could argue that it’s a little more emotional. Kai’s easily my favorite character in the series and he does a good job of playing the rival role. He maybe gets a little too into the friendship angle in season 4, but he more than makes up for this once he duels the opponents. He is easily one of the best rivals of all time.

Misaki started out as the senior member of Aichi’s little group. Kai was the mean loner, Aichi was the heroic rookie, and Kamui was the inexperienced kid who always rushed in first. The dynamic definitely made the team feel complete. Unfortunately, Misaki started to get the shaft towards the end of the series. After the pre arc in season 3, she only got a few duels and she didn’t even get to win any of them in season 4. She definitely ended on a relatively low note. Her dueling abilities never seemed to be very impressive as her skills seemed to halt after the VF circuit. It’s entirely possible that Kamui and Naoki surpassed her. She’s a good ally to have on the team and her strategic style of playing the game was unique. Misaki may not have had much to do at the end, but she’s probably one of the best main Cardfighting heroines that we’ve seen so far.

Kamui rounds out Team Q4. You could say that he’s the lucky member as he gets to be a main character for the sequel series as well as this one. He does get phased out during season 3 in favor or Naoki, but he still gets a mini arc there, which isn’t bad. His hot headed personality definitely makes him a fun character to root for. Unfortunately, he does have a subplot where he has fallen into romance with one girl while another tries to divert his attention to her. That subplot I definitely could have done without and it never goes anywhere so it really was pointless in the end. Kamui may not always have the skills to back up his tough talk, but he’s definitely an exceptional fighter in his own right. He was one of the few characters to get his own theme, which is pretty impressive.

Ren is the main villain of season 1 and he may remind you of Creed from Black Cat, at least his attire. He was corrupted by the abilities granted to him by Psyqualia and he will use these new talents to take over the world. This skill has allowed him to surpass even the great Toshiki Kai so you can imagine why he is so feared at this point. In season 2, he becomes more of a rival. He interacts with Aichi, but he’s more of a rival/friend to Kai as they used to be when they were kids. Perhaps to make up for his evil ways, Ren is now extremely polite and nice. His character definitely did a complete 180 to how he was before the Psyqualia. That’s how he stays until the series ends. Ren still keeps his dominant Cardfighting abilities though and while he may not be stronger than Kai anymore, they are certainly at the same level and continue to pass each other.

Leon has a pretty sad history and it resulted in him going with a dark power to survive this ordeal. He makes for a pretty climactic boss in season 2 and his skills are to be feared. After that, he helps out a lot in the climax of season 3 and he even trains the heroes in the final season. He’s a rival figure like Ren and I would say that this mainly applies to Aichi this time. Leon rarely interacts with Kai and they don’t even get to fight in season 3. That would have been great, but it’s safe to say that Leon was outmatched. I consider Leon to be a little weaker than Ren and it was cool to see Leon face off against his future self. There are some plot elements that makes this a little dicey, but it was a daring strategy that was fun to see. It shows that you always have to duel with your best effort since the future is now. Leon’s wind gimmick is also a pretty good one as it never gets annoying or too obvious.

Kourin is the main member of Ultra Rare as she certainly appears a lot more than the other two members. She is a mysterious figure who arrives to challenge the heroes randomly during the first 2 seasons. She works for a mysterious man named Takuto and she is also a master Vanguard player even though she is supposed to be a pop idol who shouldn’t even know much about the game. She eventually rises up to become a main character during season 3 and a lot of twists start to occur. Kourin definitely gets one of the saddest conclusions to a character arc from anyone in the show. Things just don’t end on a happy note for her and it can be tough on her fans. She was a good character from start to finish, which is why it’s regrettable that she couldn’t stick around. Her final deck is very dangerous and even Kai has a lot of trouble with it.
Naoki goes from being a character who missed the first 2 seasons to ultimately being one of the most important supporting characters. His role is probably the most important aside from Kai once he is introduced. He just started playing the game so he is a rookie, but that doesn’t stop him from challenging pros like Kai and Aichi. He improves at a rapid pace as he duels the other opponents and he’s a serious contender for world tournaments by the end. He’s more of a hot head than Kamui and he used to be known as a bit of a delinquent so he definitely doesn’t back down from the villains. He does a good job of standing up to his opponents and his confidence never wavers. His deck may not be as flashy as some of the other characters, but he gets the job done. While his appearance does start to throw Kamui and Misaki out of the show, it’s hard not to like him. The show did a good job of making him likable so quickly considering that he entered the show pretty late.

Shingo is another new character who debuted alongside Naoki and he’s not even close to as talented as Naoki. He loves reading about Vanguard, but that doesn’t always translate well into pure skill. You could say that he is more of a beginner at this point and even by the end he is not a serious threat to any of the villains. He continues to insist that he is a better cardfighter than Naoki, but nobody ever really buys that. His dedication to the game is impressive I suppose, but I definitely wouldn’t have minded if he had not been introduced. Shingo’s a good example of a supporting character who came in too late and didn’t end up becoming likable.

Morikawa is one of Aichi’s pals from season 1 and he eventually becomes more of a guest star figure who pops up once in a while. He’s always very confident and it can be easy to root for him, but his obsession with Kourin definitely hurts any chance that he had of really being a likable character. It turns out that he is actually pretty good at the game when he doesn’t have to create a deck. (So he would fit in pretty well over in Buddyfight) but that’s more of a comedy gag than anything. He never gets any serious moments so he really is used as the comic relief of the show. Admirable, but he could have been better. At least having one cool moment or big fight would have been epic.

Miwa has been Kai’s best friend for quite a while and he always helps the rival when he is in a pinch. Whenever Kai is in a pinch, Miwa is ready to step in and help. His duels are always full of passion and Miwa tends to bring a well rehearsed speech with him, but he is almost always doomed to be defeated. It’s too bad since he’s a likable character, but he rarely ever gets to win. I can’t think of a single high stakes duel where he was able to be the victor and that’s pretty sad. Nobody wants to lose all of the time and Miwa is shown to be a very good duelist, he just happens to always fight top tier opponents.

Emi is Aichi’s sister and she’s a supporting character who appears quite a few times. She never gets a big moment where she has to face one of the villains or anything like that, but it’s good that she likes Vanguard. It’s possible that she could eventually get a big role in Cardfight G since she is probably a very good player by now. Likewise, Manager Shin is another character who is always around, but never gets to duel. He likes to crack jokes and keep the atmospheare light so that the heroes can bounce back a little easier after they are crushed in Cardfights. It would be good if he could at least fight a little though since he’s so far out of the loop that he can barely even give moral support.

Rekka is one of the other members of Ultra Rare and while her role is not huge, it’s of a decent size. She gets a good amount of duels and she even becomes a temporary rival for Misaki. Her abilities are definitely potent even if her deck doesn’t appear to be very good. She’s always pretty cheerful and in that sense she’s similar to Ratie Curti. She does like to taunt her opponents once she’s safely in the lead though so it’s definitely not all nice when facing her. She makes for a good antagonist.

Suiko is the third member of Ultra Rare and you’ll ultimately wonder what the point of her addition was. She mostly just trolls the other two members and she rarely ever gets to duel. She’s meant to be the mysterious member of the group, but since that plot ultimately doesn’t go anywhere, it just ends up feeling a little pointless. I definitely did not care for her character.

Takuto is the leader of Ultra Rare and he’s a pretty sinister figure. He wants to help the Planet Cray so he’s always involving people in his plots. He actually erased the memories of the Ultra Rare members, which is how he brought them over to his side. It reminds you that this guy can’t be trusted and he’s definitely a villain. Takuto also doesn’t let Aichi know why the Royal Paladins were taken away and it’s definitely hard to forget that. When Takuto is taken over in season 3, it’s hard to feel bad for the guy. Takuto ends up being one of the strongest cardfighters to end up playing the game, but it doesn’t help his personality. As long as you remember to think of him as a villain, he’s not bad. He’s definitely pretty threatening and his evil voice is intense. It’s like a DBZ moment as he continues to power up.

Tetsu is the muscle of Ren’s organization and he’s always ready for a good fight. His skills are definitely formidable and while he is not at Kai’s level, he can win some tournaments on his own. He grew up with Ren and Kai so it’s only natural that he inheiret some skills. He does whatever Ren wants and I think that he should have tried to stop his ally when Ren went off the deep end. Tetsu definitely isn’t perfect, but he’s a nice guy deep down, which is what counts. He’s certainly not evil and he makes sure not to drag innocents into Ren’s plans.

Asuka is the third member of the team and she always wants to impress Ren with her circus themed deck. It doesn’t make for very entertaining duels, but Asuka is definitely a talented fighter. She goes up against Misaki a few times and she typically seems like the more impressive Vanguard player. She doesn’t really level up or switch decks though so she always appears to be at the same level. It’s a high level so that’s good, but it would be nice to see her get some development and a new deck to boot. Her infatuation with Ren can be a bit much, but she’s likable otherwise.

Koutei is the leader of Team Caesar and he’s pretty great. He’s extremely optimistic and whenever he makes a speech, the theme song tends to play in the background. He uses a Mecha deck and it has really helped him through the years. He makes it to the final round almost every year and it’s just his bad luck that Ren is always around. It’s a bit of a running gag that he always loses the fights that matter, but he manages to stay really confident despite all this. He never lets anything get him down and he’s a shining beacon throughout the series. I definitely became a fan of his rather quickly and it’s always a thrill to see him duel. It’s no exaggeration to say that he’s one of the best characters in the series!

Yuri is on Koutei’s team and she ends up being yet another rival for Misaki. Misaki ultimately ended up with 3 rivals, which is pretty impressive since some characters like Kamui never got to have a true rival. Yuri is the tough member of the group and while she is not as strong as Koutei, she was good enough to make it to the finals in the team tournament. Koutei always blew that opportunity since he simply cannot beat Ren so Yuri always did her part. She’s a pretty good character and her bond with the other members is a strong one. The third member is the one who doesn’t really have a point here. His name is Gai, but he is usually pushed around by Yuri and he’s actually not a very good duelist. You could say that he is basically just along for the ride….no wonder his role is so small eh?
Gouki is the leader of Team Handsome and he is only a threat for a couple of episodes in the early part of season 1. He’s fairly weak, but he can be considered tough when you are just starting out in the world. You can compare him to Iruka from Naruto. Naruto probably couldn’t defeat Iruka when he was just starting out, but by the time he got to the Chunin Exams you could make the case that it could actually be a close fight. Gouki definitely helps Aichi improve his skills, but he doesn’t do much after that. He was never my favorite character so I wasn’t sad to see him go, but he was still pretty decent.

Chris is the leader of team genius and he’s the only member who really matters. His two sidekicks never really get to do anything and while they talk tough, I was not impressed with them. Chris unlocks the power of Psyqualia, which greatly improves his game. While one of his partners is distracted with romance and the other one’s desire to be the best isn’t very strong, Chris is the capable leader of the group. He always shows up when there is trouble and he proves to be a tough obstacle when he is reversed. I never liked him as a character though because he is a little too full of himself and he doesn’t seem like he can back it up. He’s too inexperienced to compete with the other big leaguers like Kai, Leon, or Ren. He’s naturally still a pro, but he’s definitely not the best one.

Gaillard is the (unofficial) leader of the Quatre Knights and his abilities are exceptional. Not only is he one of the best European fighters on the planet, but he has supernatural abilities that come from his ring. He has the ability to create blue fire and he can create his own environments for when he is cardfighting. The loser receives “judgment” which means that they suffer a severe burning. Gaillard can be pretty unreasonable at times, but he does everything in the name of justice and he believes that he is doing the right thing. He makes for a good rival to Kai in season 4 and it would be cool to see him appear again. Gaillard could very well be in the top 5 strongest characters in the series and it would be fun to see him fight someone like Ren or Leon.

Neve is another member of the group and his powers involve thunder poles that zap his opponents. He may get to have the most impressive resume from the group since he never loses to anyone aside from Aichi Sendou. It’s all right to lose to the world champ so there’s definitely no shame there. Neve’s country is in the middle of a civil war so his circumstances are pretty dangerous. This has also helped him to close off his feelings for when he’s in the middle of a job and he always brings his A game to a cardfight. He’s certainly not as interesting as Gaillard, but he’s a great fighter.

Serra is the only member who doesn’t have any heroic ambitions for what he does and let’s just say that his sob story is a little sinister. In his family everyone had to fight in order to survive with the loser being thrown out and losing his finances. Serra beat everyone, which is how he survived and he is a tough cardfighter. It’s hard to gauge just how tough he is, but his skills do seem to be worthy for that of a Quatre Knight’s. You’ll likely be rooting against him whenever the guy is on screen and he is certainly the least likable member of the team.

Ratie Curti probably has the best backstory since she always liked donuts. When she first appears, you’ll probably be expecting her to troll the main characters before she beats them up, but she is just naturally happy. It can make losing to her all the more bitter as she’ll be having fun as you get stabbed by her vine powers. She’s doing what she needs too in order to save Planet Cray so she’s all right with taking down a few heroes. If they’re in her way, then it’s time for them to be removed. By the end of the show, she has learned more things and she will probably end up being a more likable character.

Now, you’re probably wondering what the rules for Cardfight are right? It’s significantly different compared to Yugioh, which is good since it means that Cardfight was able to make it into the world on its own merits. On your turn, you are able to “ride” (summon) a unit of your choice as the vanguard. You must start at 0 and every turn you are able to level it up. You can have up to 3 monsters in the front row at once and then you can put 3 in the back to power up the front row units. Whenever you attack with your avatar (center monster) you can flip over a card in the deck. If it has a symbol on the top right hand corner, then it will give you some kind of bonus effect based on what color it is. You may not want to always summon all of the cards in your hand either since those are used to block attacks when it is your opponent’s turn. Level 1 cards can perfectly nullify any attack if you discard another one. Those are the basic rules of the game.

More advanced techniques start to show themselves as the season goes on. You lose when you take 6 damage. There is a chance to not take a damage point when you flip over the card from your deck. Before putting it in the damage zone, check to see if it has a green chest on the top right. If it does, then you can recover one damage. You can also flip over 2 damage points to activate one of your counter blast’s. (A technique that a monster has) You don’t heal the 2 damage, but it’s still useful. A Limit Break requires you to flip 3 cards and it’s an even stronger ability. There are other abilities like riding the same monster on top of another one and using “Seek the Mate!” That’s the final ability used in the series and it’s definitely not the greatest one out there. The whole 4th season was about this, but I was never crazy about the addition. Basically, you can summon 2 monsters in the center circle instead of one, which makes for a better ability. So, it’s technically strong, but it’s just not as impressive as some of the other abilities.

Season 4 will definitely raise a lot of questions and I think that the show went a little too far in its quest to make Aichi look like the ultimate villain. Before now, Aichi was rather timid although he became commanding when the stakes were high. In season 4, Aichi travels the world recruiting powerful Cardfighters to help him and his personality definitely seems a little different. Even as he attempts to recruit Ren, he doesn’t seem like the Aichi that we remember from the old days. Where did he get the money for his constant road trips and how did he harness his Link Joker abilities to perfectly? Aichi created a large fortress on the moon and warped himself there while also giving Kourin back her memories before transporting her to the moon. He found out how to seal the Link Joker seed and also gave the Quatre Knights objects of power that gave them super abilities. It even allowed them to erase everyone’s memories. The abilities are pretty cool, but Aichi naturally loses them when he turns good, which is regrettable. I think the writers could have found some more realistic ways to make Aichi undergo this big character change, but the premise is pretty hard to swallow as it is so I suppose that there wasn’t a whole lot of things that the writers could do this time. He even bashes the concept of friendship and lets the heroes know that it can’t solve everything. The scene will make you take a step back as you quickly start to root against Aichi. (Although he does make for a great villain)
The writers do a good job of handling the victory speeches that the heroes make. Typically, a character wins when he makes a really heartwarming speech, but that is not always the case here. There are many times where the stakes are high and the main character makes a huge speech, (Sometimes even a 2 episode speech) but ultimately ends up losing the match. You’ll find yourself shocked at the outcome more than once and that’s definitely impressive. I think that this maybe goes a little too far in season 4 when the heroes manage to lose just about every fight, but it still ends up being pretty unexpected so I’ll give the writers some props there. By the end of the show, Aichi and Kai may be two of the greatest cardfighters on the planet, but the show wasn’t too cheesy and showed that the other characters are still pretty outclassed compared to the pros. I wanted Misaki and Kamui to win at least one match, but technically I suppose that they would be expected to lose such a fight.

Cardfight Vanguard’s writing is very good and that comes in handy for the early part of every season. As with Yugioh GX, the show typically has a very light themed atmosphere that quickly grows darker during the climax each season. So, we know what to expect when a season starts and it’s easy to wish that the plot can start. Typically, the plot won’t begin for maybe even the first 15+ episodes so it can be a long wait. If the wrong writers were involved, it could be a chore to see the heroes tackle their filler opponents. Luckily, the pre arcs are still a lot of fun. There are no real stakes in the duel, but the actual duels are still entertaining enough that you can watch them with ease.

Season 3’s start was probably the slowest as we had to get used to new characters like Naoki and Shingo while losing a fan favorite in the form of Kamui. It still did get better as it went along and it was fun to see the student council oppose the heroes. Season 1 and 2’s beginnings were also rather slow, but we got to see new characters and the heroes entered many tournaments. There are few shows that have as many tournaments as Cardfight and it’s always fun to see them enter these competitions. I’ve been a big fan of tournaments since before I even started watching anime and it’s a great way to develop the heroes while introducing potential rivals and enemies.

Cardfight Vanguard really did just about everything correctly in just about every area. It was able to introduce new main characters, which is always a risk and the progression of the main characters was rock solid. You can clearly see the development that they’ve had if you watch part of season 1 and then skip to season 4 or 3. You are able to grow up with the characters as you watch the show and it’s probably the most realistic cardfighting show that I’ve seen yet. (In a good way since realistic typically doesn’t translate into a positive thing) There is naturally a lot more to the show than can ever be covered in a review so that’s why you need to check it out to see everything for yourself.

The big question is..does this match up to Yugioh? I actually do think that this show beats all of the Yugioh series aside from GX so that’s a pretty great start to the franchise. I do prefer Yugioh’s actual gameplay since it’s a lot deeper and the luck factor is lessened. That being said, Cardfight’s pacing is a lot faster because of the simplistic rules and battles can easily be finished in one episode even if it’s a long fight. Since this is Cardfight’s first show, we should just count it as such and since it’s beating the classic Yugioh show, we can say that the Cardfight anime franchise has the lead at the moment. Yugioh is winning by sheer numbers, but let’s see how close it’ll be when both franchises have 5 shows. G is almost definitely going to lose to GX so we’ll need to see where Cardfight goes from there. Yugioh is likely not going to relax either as Arc V is still airing so the gap may never lessen. This means that Cardfight will likely never pass Yugioh, but at the same time, I don’t see any other card franchise ever passing Cardfight. We’ll have to see if Buddyfight ultimately gets to hold the third place spot or not.
Overall, Cardfight Vanguard is one of the greatest shows of all time. It has a fun cast and the animation is excellent. The soundtrack is certainly worthy of such an all star title and you’ll be at the edge of your seat in each season. The climax of each arc never disappoints and watching the characters develop their skills and personality is part of the joy of watching this title. I recommend this to anyone that wants to watch a fun anime with a lot of action and excitement. At around 200 episodes, it makes for a pretty satisfying watch.

Overall 9/10