Ninjas on Motorcycles! A Live Bloggination of a Naruto/Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's Crossover!


Chapter 7: Strolling into Sector Stupidity HQ

Yes, another late entry. My apologies, blame school reconvening and/or anime conventions, whichever you dislike more. But anyways, this is Kasumi: The Last Signer, and this time we are covering the climax to the first major arc! Letís see how badly the author messes it up!

Chapter 7: Raiding Sector Security HQ

The chapter starts with Kasumi dueling Inari, because she hates him and wants to publicly humiliate him or something. I really donít know. I guess Inari was too stupid to learn through duel puzzles?

That would actually make sense, considering Inariís horrible archetype. Heís running Gravekeeperís before they were actually good. Itís never really pointed out, he just runs Gravekeeperís for some reason. He also tries to attack Mist with one of his monsters, even though Kasumi has Micaiah on her field and will annihilate him next turn. Well, she does so that turn instead of the next via the Switch trap card, but my point stands.

Inari then acts as if heís hot shit, saying Kasumiís getting good at it and that he can barely get a lead, as if he didnít just get his ass handed to him with Kasumi still having most of her Life Points. Kasumi counters by saying heís improved, but sheís been having ~SPECIAL DUELING TRAINING~ since she was born so he could never defeat her ever. I would just like to ask: If Inari is improving so rapidly, but is still this bad, how bad was he to start?

Kakashi congratulates Kasumi because she needs to be complimented at every turn her control over her psychic powers has been improving, shown by her not harming Inari. Why would she train him like this in the first place if this was a risk?

ďAlright, Inari, come at me!Ē

ďBut Kasumi, your psychic powersĖĒ

ďPsh, itíll be fine, Kakashi-papa! All Iíll do is horribly injure him then not get scolded for it at all!Ē

Thereís also the matter of Kasumi apparently needing incessant praise, but the horse is probably far past dead by now.

Kakashi tells Kasumi that her meditating is really just helping her to control her emotions, which dictate her psychic powers in turn. This causes Kasumi to make a sloppy reference to Akiís past, when she went crazy while at a duel academy. Weirdly, she calls it Duel Academy, as if it was the only one to ever exist. Iím pretty sure that GX, 5Dís, and ''ZeXal'' donít all have the exact same academy. Unless they like completely rebuilding it between every series.

After more needless praise from Kakashi, Kasumi asks where the Genin are. He tells her that they are still training, and that Naruto and Sasuke are at each otherís throats again. In another sloppy reference to 5Dís, (methinks this is to try to convince the readers that the author actually watched it), she compares them to Jack and Yusei because every Friendly Rivalry ever is the exact same.

Later at dinner, Sakura and Kasumi notice Sasuke and Naruto still at it, and they only sigh, with Sakura having become a big sister figure to Kasumi at some point.

"Rivalry" I muttered "That's what it is."

No, really, author? I thought they were actually going out and were going to go furiously at it in bed after this! Thanks for clarifying!

The brief scene ends soon after, its sole purpose apparently being to let the author tell us things about the characters because actual characterization is for losers. There comes a time skip of a week, and the characters are getting antsy about Zabuzaís return, especially considering the attack from Gatoís samurai henchmen that happened during the time skip.

I would say I donít understand why the author skipped over this, but I actually kind of do; itís just a stupid reason. In canon, this scene helped show Narutoís true nature despite his moronic exterior, and it was what truly started Inariís growth. Here, however, Kasumi is the only one allowed to be inspirational to anyone, and Naruto is instead only allowed to act like an idiot at all times. As a result, what was an important scene became background fluff that doesnít actually affect anything.

One day, while the group escorts Tazuna as he works on the bridge, a thick mist clogs their vision, and Haku and Zabuza appear before them. Haku warns Kasumi that she shouldnít have come.

"I'm not the type to sit around Haku. I've gotta be with Kakashi-Papa."

Thereís a weird juxtaposition going on here. On one hand, she wants to be ACTIVE and an AFFIRMATIVE ROLE MODEL FOR FEMALES EVERYWHERE. On the other, ďOH SAVE ME KAKASHI-PAPA I DONíT WANNA BE ALONE.Ē I wouldnít mind her having multiple reasons for coming along, but these reasons are completely contradictory.

Zabuza makes a vaguely pedophiliac comment, Kasumi completely contradicts one of her reasons for coming by sitting out of the fights, and the fights start, with Kakashi fighting Zabuza and Naruto and Sasuke fighting Haku.

Well, no, I lied; descriptions of the fights start. Clearly, since Kasumi is not directly involved, itís not important enough to actually narrate. Instead, we get Kasumi describing these fights in a weirdly detached way, as if she doesnít care at all for any involved. That is, until, Kakashi pins Zabuza and starts to use Lightning Edge. Haku, having been basically defeated by this point, moves to take the attack, but Kasumi stops him by activating Scrap Iron Scarecrow to block him. When he asks why, she explains that he shouldnít give his life for someone thatís evil.

Wow, Zabuza got hit really hard by the authorís Flanderization of all the characters. In Naruto, while Zabuza was indeed evil, nobody ever explicitly said ďOh, heís so evil!Ē* Instead, his actions spoke for themselves, and this allowed him to not be completely two-dimensional. Haku actually does die here in the source material, and Zabuza expresses genuine regret for him; he was generally a terrible person, but he still had Haku to act as a Morality Pet, to show that he wasnít just a generic antagonist for the heroes, and that he didnít just use Haku.

His wanting to kidnap Kasumi for his own ends only makes this worse; the manga and anime only have him hired by Gato. So, while he was a Psycho for Hire, he had no personal vendetta against any of the main heroes; he was just doing business. Here, though, he is much more actively antagonizing them, and he has no sort of redeeming qualities.

Long story short, the author sucks at writing complex characters.

Getting back to the actual plot, such as it is, Haku disappears after Kasumi proposes that he and she donít have to be enemies, telling Zabuza heíll have to think on it. Kakashi skewers him immediately after; so much for that.

Gato then appears by magic, commenting that even Zabuza has now failed him twice. He expresses a desire to get Kasumi to join him, saying her powers would be an asset to him, but Kasumi spews the same bile about not joining anyone evil.

In doing so, she also brings up her dead father for no real reason, prompting Gato to relate the time he met Yusei! Was this really needed? Not only is Gato joining the legion of villains that wants Kasumiís powers for some vague reason, but now he needs to know her family from somewhere. If he was to become a recurring villain, I wouldnít mind as much, but this is last-minute exposition before heís offed.

Also, Gato turbo dueled. I thought it simultaneously interesting and idiotic.

When he is about to order his men to attack her, though*, Haku appears and attacks his men! Yep, Haku sure did think about that for a while. Long enough to get that pesky Zabuza out of the way, at least.

Haku declares that he is now siding with Kasumi, for she is a Signer, a true hero. She hasnít done anything particularly heroic yet, how does she suddenly deserve this moniker? Kasumi here reminds me of Hilbert from the beginning of Last Scenario: flaunting a title and ancestor to make herself seem like a hero. The difference is that weíre supposed to think Hilbertís an idiot; not so for Kasumi, who could never possibly be wrong!

Haku allows Kasumi to finish off Gato, since itís her duty or some crap like that, and she materializes a Killing Edge from her deck. As she approaches Gato, he pleads, saying that she wouldnít kill him. She says that she normally wouldnít, but that he had to pay for everything he had done. Yep, you just keep using that to justify your actions, Kasumi, so you can kill as much as you want. At least when she killed Divine, it wasnít directly.

Oh, never mind, she stops herself, saying she canít let herself be so vengeful, and instead tells Kakashi to finish him off. I wouldnít say the vengeance excuse is so bad, considering how she justifies any sort of murder later.

As Kakashi slays Gato, Haku confirms that he is, in fact, on their side, in the process neglecting the skewered body of one of his few friends. Just as a note, to compound Zabuza being so much more one-note here, Zabuza originally finished off Gato after the latter insulted the dead Haku. Here? Pff, nobody cares about that evil man!

Time skip to one week later, with the finished bridge. Thatís basically all that the author says before time skipping again, with the main characters back at the village. No farewells to any involved or any sort of resolution for Inari or Haku; the whole thing just sort of peters out.

As Kakashi and Kasumi relay how the mission went to the Hokage, he expresses disbelief at the prospect of Kasumi being a Signer, but he believes her once she shows him her Signer mark. I find it weird that he instantly believes her due to this mark; his initial doubt more seems to be about the existence of Signers in general. ďOh yeah, Signers totally exist, look at this Signer mark youíve never before seen nor heard of as proof!Ē

This story is enough to convince the Hokage to hire a team of bodyguards for her, special as she is. Haku enters immediately after because he has taken up stalking Kasumi as his new profession, and he volunteers to join her team of bodyguards. He then reveals that he knew her mother through more than just rumors; she was actually his teacher at the duel academy! She apparently made him promise to protect Kasumi if anything happened to her and Yusei. How convenient that Haku was the student Aki chose for this task out of the entire class.

Furthermore, Haku reveals that he wouldíve betrayed Zabuza if things had gone south for the heroes. Good to know the author is undermining Zabuza as a character even in death. He also tells Kasumi how much her mother praised her because she needs that so badly at this point, and the Hokage relents in letting Haku protect her.

At one point, he calls her Lady Kasumi, which irritates her due to its formality, but the Hokage tells her that she should get used to it, since word of her being a Signer will spread quickly. That news could spread quickly if people sucked at keeping secrets, but why would it matter to most people? If the Hokage didnít really know what it was, how would the common folk?

Haku then exposits about a time Aki saved him from a person who hated Signers, an event which really serves no purpose. I honestly donít get all these references to events that neither happened within the actual canon of either story, nor have any real bearing on the plot. Itís as if the author is making every tenuous connection possible to make this crossover less inherently ridiculous.

This is the moment the Hokage decides to ruin everyoneís mood for no real reason by bringing up the ANBU squad he had sent to Kasumiís old home. He confirms that all of her family had indeed died, which nobody really doubted. Did the author want to make one of them survive, then decide against it, or what? Not only does it make the author appear to have no clue as to what to do with the story, but it makes this whole event ultimately pointless.

Kasumi laments her passed family, as well as the fact that sheís the only line of defense against any Dark Signers that may invade, because she thinks theyíre still around for some reason. However, Haku vows to fight the Dark Signers alongside Kasumi, even though only Signers can defeat them. I would bring up Crow as a counterpoint, since he defeated a Dark Signer while not yet a Signer himself, but as we all know, the world of 5Dís conforms to the will of Crow.

The Hokage dismisses all of them, and Kakashi tells Kasumi to be home for dinner before leaving. Kakashi Hatake, the widely feared and renowned Copy Ninja, reduced to a stay-at-home dad.

Haku and Kasumi continue to traverse the village, and they soon run into Shikamaru, along with his teammates. He and Kasumi exchange greetings, before he asks about Haku, who reveals himself to be Kasumiís bodyguard.

"Bodyguard?" Shikamaru asked "What kind of troublesome times have you been getting yourself into Kasumi?"

That wording is just awkward. Who would actually say something like that? I canít think of anyone who would say something like ďtroublesome timesĒ instead of just ďtrouble.Ē This especially applies to Shikamaru, considering he is definitely not the type to say things that are especially elaborate or flowery.

Kasumi replies that itís just the usual, with people wanting to kidnap her and use her for their own evil ends. Author, Lampshade Hanging can work in some situations to help take away the triteness of some device, provided its presence isnít overbearing in the first place. However, this is not one of those situations; we have no reason to believe why every single villain ever is after Kasumi. The only ends stated for them are ďpowerĒ or ďevilĒ or something along those lines; that may work for some, but for others itís just stupid. If you point it out, youíre acknowledging itís there, but you do nothing about it, as if you donít even think thereís anything wrong with it, which makes it even more grating!

Introductions continue, with Shikamaru introducing his teammates Ino and Choji to Kasumi, and Ino muses that Kasumi is the one whom Shikamaru has been visiting every night. Given what sheís implying, this could be a funny scene if it made sense chronologically. Unless Shikamaru has somehow been able to get to the Land of Waves every night and return to the Leaf Village by morning, thereís no way he could have visited her to do the duel puzzles for the last month or so, at least.

When Ino queries about Kasumiís Duel Disk, Shikamaru mentions that heís been trying to find one and notices that Haku has one, also. When the three start to discuss dueling, Ino and Choji are left in the dust, so Shikamaru explains to them that the giant rose dragon that appeared a while ago was Kasumiís doing, in the process showing an uncharacteristic amount of enthusiasm. He proceeds to explain her psychic powers, with which I doubt sheís comfortable, and Choji muses how cool it is what she can do with her cards.

"That is just totally cool wish I could do that with my potato chips."

What? I donít think I understand. Itís supposed to be funny, but I donít get the punchline. Is it that heís fat?

I really need to stop getting caught up on inconsequential lines. Haku explains how he got his duel disk, in the process mentioning his tutelage under Aki, and Ino exclaims that she must have been a kick ass duelist. Oh hey, this causes Kasumi to start angsting about her parents being deaaaaaaad. Itís been a while since the slightest mention of her family caused that.

When Kasumi and Haku explain the whole ordeal in the Land of Waves, Shikamaru immediately abandons his team so that he can instead become a bodyguard for this girl whom heís only known as a tutor for a childrenís game. I see Kasumi inherited the world revolving around her from Crow.

Shikamaru laments that he doesnít have an actual deck, though, so Kasumi decides that the best way to get him one is to rob Sector Security, of course! After she explains what Sector Security is to Ino and Choji, Haku tries to warn her against it, since she probably wouldnít get away with it. When Kasumi brings up that Crow got away with it, Haku points out he kind of had a flying motorcycle*. However, she says they have no other way to get a deck for him, since Sector Security has taken over dueling.

First of all, how have they taken over dueling? The author canít just say this and expect the readers to swallow it; itís not as if that happened in 5Dís at all. The author might think it did generally, but it only did in Satellite because of the whole Urban Segregation fiasco; thatís why Crow, who lived in Satellite, had to do this.

Speaking of Crow, why are you taking after his example? Crow is a horrible role model, being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold at his best. Related to this is what is perhaps the most grating aspect of the whole thing: the author completely trivializes the ethical aspects of the fact that theyíre stealing from the police. Whenever someone did so in the anime, it was somewhat understandable, because they were overly harsh on Satellite citizens, who were the only ones ever shown to be stealing from them. This is reflected through the infrequency of the thefts after Satellite and Neo Domino are connected. Here, though? Zero excuse.

Kasumi laments rather randomly that sheís becoming like Yusei when it comes to her friends, which I honestly donít get. Sheís like her father because she helps people, apparently. The difference is that it actually mattered when Yusei did so, since the situations were much more threatening than, ďOh no, Shikamaru wants a deck so he can duel!Ē

Haku points out the many run-ins Yusei has had with Sector Security, in particular Trudge, who never forgave Yusei for what he did. Haku, youíre so silly, making up stupid shit on the spot to provoke a reaction.

Oh wait, heís serious? Nah, he canít be. Nobody could take such a stupid prospect seriously.

Shikamaru relents if itís the only way he could get a duel disk (hint: itís not), and Kasumi waves off the risk by saying the worst theyíll do is throw them in the detention center since theyíre so young. Oh, no, she corrects herself, saying that thatís the worst theyíll do to her; she doesnít know about them. Good to know our protagonist has zero regard for anyone else. She is exactly like Yusei, isnít she?

Haku says theyíll have to prepare for the operation and come up with a plan. Kasumi states they should bring Kakashi along since itís going to be so risky, because she canít go to the detention center, sheís too precious! Choji and Ino also volunteer to go along because they feel like it, as does Asuma, the leader of Shikamaruís squad who appears from thin air.

Also, in noticing Asuma, the first person point of view slips again. Just something worth noting.

As Asuma talks about the Hokage would surely approve of a mission for stealing from the police, he refers to Kasumi as Lady Kasumi, which confuses Shikamaru. Goddamn, News Travels Fast. Itís been what, ten minutes since they finished the mission report? From whom did Asuma even learn of this? Either Kakashi or the Hokage must have just been printing fliers en masse advertising the great and omnipotent Lady Kasumi.

When Shikamaru vocalizes his confusion, Haku tells Kasumi to raise her arm. She does so, showing off her Signer mark. Shikamaru knows both what Signers are and that this means her parents were also Signers for the sake of avoiding exposition, but then Choji messes it up by asking what a Signer is. How many times has this explanation happened? Would the narrative really have suffered if Choji just knew what a Signer was to start? Signers are important background information for 5Dís; fans of it arenít going to forget what one is between reading chapters of a fan fic.

All present exposit to Choji, except for Asuma who disappeared because he apparently realized this whole thing is stupid, and Haku declares that her status as a Signer automatically makes her famous and bestows upon her the title of Lady. Go figure, I certainly donít remember that happening to any of the Signers canonically. The author must be deeply entrenched in the lore of the series to remember such a minute detail that might or might not have actually existed!

Haku then contradicts himself by saying Kasumiís parents werenít very famous in Neo Domino because it was a bigger city. Then what is he basing this idea off of? Even if Signer-dom was passed genetically, are readers really supposed to believe Neo Domino was the biggest city any Signer ever lived in?

Kasumi performs another awkward Title Drop and makes a trite speech about protecting the world from darkness, then explains that her being so special is the reason she needs bodyguards. Therefore, she commands Shikamaru and his team to accompany her on her journey, even though they already said they would help her.

Shikamaru repeats himself about becoming her bodyguard after getting a deck, then mutters that heíll have to find another opponent, since the only ones available are Kasumi and Haku. More talk about only Signers being able to defeat other Signers, yadda yadda yadda.

This conversation is getting really disjointed at this point, for Choji asks Kasumi if she really wants to go back, since itís where her family lies. I would hope theyíre not there anymore and that someone found and buried them in the months that have passed since then. A burning house isnít exactly hard to notice.

Kasumi lies some more about being like Yusei before declaring that sheíll make an official mission request to get Shikamaru a duel disk and deck. So, since sheís going on the mission, is she going to pay herself for doing this? It doesnít even need to be put up as a mission; just get an okay from the Hokage.

With that, they part ways, Haku and Kasumi only doing so when they get to Kasumiís house, because Haku suddenly has an apartment of his own now. Kasumi explains to Kakashi about the mission, and heís totally okay with it because even if he says no, sheíll go anyway. Kakashi, youíre a high-ranked ninja, sheís a ten-year-old girl! I think you can stop her if need be!

And then heís also totally okay with performing illegal activities with them. Itís actually the only condition he had to allow her to go on the mission. Apparently, even trained professionals want to steal from authority for petty reasons. Kasumi goes to write up the mission request, only for Kakashi to stop her because only missions written by adults are accepted. I would think the Hokage would first refuse the mission because sheís performing it herself, but whatever.

Kasumi goes to bed and learns the next day that the Hokage accepted her mission request, for some ungodly reason. Kakashi tells her that Kureni Kurenai, a new Jounin, will act as leader of his squad while heís helping Kasumi with this mission. So, if sheís doing that, whoís leading her own squad? Does the author just not care about Hinata, Kiba, and Shino? Or maybe they donít actually exist and were just figments of Masashi Kishimotoís imagination. Spooky.

Kasumi and Kakashi arrive in the Hokageís tower to hear about the mission, Haku arriving shortly after and scaring Kasumi in what I can only assume is supposed to be comic relief. Upon inspecting the mission some more, he decides to give it to Shikamaruís team conveniently enough, team 10, though he calls them team 6 for some reason.

They all leave together for Neo Domino as random villagers give Kasumi more praise than she could ever possibly need, especially considering they call her such things as a savior when she has yet to do anything. After a few hours of traveling, during which Kakashi casually relates Kasumiís tragic back story to Asuma, they arrive at the city.

Some random asshole almost runs them all over on a Duel Runner, so Kasumi decides that the most logical course of retaliation is to blast him off his Duel Runner with a burst of psychic energy. Wait, since when could she do that?! How can she do that?! Aki certainly couldnít!

Sheís never done this before, yet nobody that knows her well is surprised in the slightest; Kakashi in particular just basically nods and says, ďYep, she can do that.Ē Even the guy she attacked takes it for granted, considering he just gets up and moves to retaliate for her potentially killing him.

Haku apparently takes the insults to Kasumi personally, because he grabs the guy by the neck with one hand when he calls Kasumi a witch and tells her that sheís a good friend and the daughter of Neo Dominoís former champion. In order: sheís not a good friend to him, considering she just attacked him, and since when do her connections excuse everything she does?

The man hears sirens, causing him to freak out, but Haku refuses to let him go. When the man asks what heíll do, Haku proceeds to stab him. Gotta love how Kasumi is being portrayed as unambiguously in the right here, considering she was the one to inflate the conflict by knocking the guy off his Duel Runner.

Anyway, the sirens turn out to be from Sector Security, who has surrounded the group by now, and among them turns out to be Trudge. He blocks the man Haku nearly killed (yes, he survived being stabbed in the heart) before recognizing Kasumi and expressing disbelief at her still being alive. He thanks her for helping catch this criminal. See, itís okay for Kasumi and Haku to do what they did to this man because he committed crimes that were totally irrelevant to this!

When Trudge asks who Haku is, Haku replies with a tale of him humiliating Trudge in front of the entire academy in a duel, and it was apparently his worst defeat ever. Considering how much the author is talking about Haku being an awesome duelist, itís as if itís supposed to convince us instead of his actual duels. ďYeah, guys, ignore, his terrible deck, heís a good duelist! Really!Ē

Kasumi taunts Trudge because the author harbors a personal dislike for him presumably, and he responds that he could beat her in a Turbo Duel. Congratulations, Trudge, you can win a duel by default. Apparently satisfied with this, he drives off with the rest of Sector Security, and Kasumi explains their vehicles to the others after they are gone.

They go buy a duel disk for Shikamaru, which makes me question why they need to rob Sector Security for a deck. If duel disks are widely available, why would decks not be? Itís counterintuitive, because nobody would want to buy duel disks if there were no decks to use with them, so the shops selling them would go out of business. Maybe Shikamaru is just too lazy to try his luck by buying tons of booster packs.

As they traverse the city afterward, they come across the wreckage of Kasumiís old house, which has not yet been cleaned up for whatever reason. Amongst it she finds Akiís corpse, because bodies donít decompose at all, they just lie there forever. Yep. Kasumi vows to make her parents proud, then proceeds to do exactly the opposite of that by grave robbing her father, taking his signature Stardust Dragon card from his dead body. Kasumi is really bad at this whole ďpromiseĒ thing.

She turns to Kakashi and tells him she wants ANBU to give her parents a proper burial, in the process giving us perhaps the authorís worst typo to date:

"I'd like for the ANBU to pick my parent's body's up and give them a proper barrel."

Clearly, the River Styx has a shortage of boats, and theyíll use the barrel to float down it! Ingenious!

The ANBU, omniscient as they are, immediately appear to Kasumi and tell her that the Hokage has given his consent to burying them. As they leave with the bodies, Kasumi laments her inability as a ten-year-old girl to save her family from a group of ninja, and vows eventual vengeance on Orochimaru. So much for not killing out of vengeance; she didnít even take a chapter to change her mind about that.

The author then abandons that train of thought to return to things that are actually relevant to the matter at hand, as the group continues to Sector Security HQ. Shikamaru complains that itíll be inordinately difficult for a D-rank mission, which I have to actually agree with; given that they have to contend with the police, wouldnít this warrant at least a C rank? C rank missions are ones that feature human opposition excluding ninja, after all.

When Kasumi talks about them needing someone that is very fast to be able to avoid and disable the cameras, Haku volunteers.

"I know every inch in their HQ since I dueled Officer Trudge five years ago."

So I know every square inch of the fast food restaurant I ordered at yesterday because I got something in the drive-thru?

Haku disguises himself as a member of Sector Security, which is apparently something that requires great speed, and he disables the security measures once he gets into the security room. From there, Kasumi and Shikamaru enter through vaguely-worded means, and Kasumi uses some goggles she suddenly has to see infrared lasers. She says she got them from Crow, but he doesnít strike me as the type to just randomly give something like that away.

Well, okay, he actually does, but some previous mention of it would have been nice. Also, why does she even need the goggles? Itís mentioned that Haku disabled them, so she has no reason to put them on.

The two find the room where Sector Security stores all their decks, which strikes me as a bit stupid on their part. Why would they keep everything in one place? It might be inconvenient for them, true, but it would also make things more difficult for potential thieves if theyíre looking for something specific.

When Shikamaru finds a deck to his liking, the security measures are reactivated right then, conveniently enough, and Kasumi and Shikamaru have to escape through an air vent. She says the whole situation is ironic; I would have called it banal instead. Also, why can Haku not just disable the security again? Until proven otherwise, Iím just going to say he didnít care enough, and he left to get something to eat.

However, a laser grazes Kasumi as the two are escaping, alerting the officers to their presence. As they make their way to and into the vent, Shikamaru ends up tricking them by transforming into Trudge and claiming he was giving her a tour of the facility, since she is planning to become an officer. Yes, Iím sure the air vent is extremely interesting, considering how incredibly large it apparently is. Also, I really donít want to meet the police force that allows ten-year-old girls into its ranks.

The officers leave, buying Shikamaru and Kasumi enough time to escape the facility and jump into the arms of Kakashi and Asuma. This just makes me wonder why anyone other than Kasumi, Shikamaru, or Haku was necessary; hell, when was the last time Ino and Choji were even mentioned?

The group then leaves the facility and returns to the remains of Kasumiís old house, which have yet to be cleaned up, as Sector Security passes. They do not manage to get a good look at Kasumi, so they think nothing of it, but Trudge stops to tell Kasumi thereís nothing there. When Kasumi replies sheís paying respect to the departed, Trudge starts rambling about how much more respectful she is than Yusei, because Trudge and Yusei totally didnít end up rectifying their relationship in the slightest, nope.

An officer still at the HQ then reports to Trudge, though, that they have noticed a deck missing, and they think it very likely they have a traitor in their midst, considering the ease with which they got around the security. For all the efforts the author makes to have the two series blend together, I find it strange that sector security donít consider the idea of ninjas for one second. At least, you would think they would change their facility to require more of an identification, considering the sudden prominence of ninja.

Kasumi then admits to doing it by giving Trudge money to pay for it, saying thatís how much decks normally cost. Wait, if decks have a set market price, that means you actually can buy them. Then what was even the point of going through all the trouble of getting one from Sector Security? If you can just buy them from Sector Security, she shouldíve done that in the first place! She tries to justify it by saying they wouldnít give a deck to a newbie so easily, but then why not have Haku buy it? Heís apparently a good enough duelist to effortlessly defeat one of Sector Securityís top authorities.

Trudge decides sheís off the hook because she did it for a friend, despite that being the reason Yusei did most everything he did to antagonize Trudge. However, he will only let her go if whomever she got the deck for duels him. Shikamaru steps up as that person, and Trudge lays out the conditions: if he wins, Shikamaru returns the deck, and Kasumi goes free, albeit with a criminal record. If Shikamaru wins, Kasumi goes free without any record. So not only do none of them get arrested if Trudge wins, but the only one to get any sort of demerit for it is Kasumi? This has probably been the first time that the person laying out the conditions is the idiot, instead of the one accepting them.

The duel begins after Shikamaru agrees, and Shikamaru starts the duel by summoning Tuned Magician, then setting two cards. Trudge responds by summoning Blast Hound in defenseĖ no, Iím sorry, DEF mode, and ending his turn.

Shikamaru claims that Trudge fell into his trap, for his set-up starts to pay off as he finally... Oh, he just gemini summons Tuned Magician, so itís now a Tuner. He destroys Blast Hound, but Trudge activates its effect to summon another from his deck. Shikamaru activates Wave Motion Cannon, a continuous spell, but when Ino asks what it does, Kasumi says she wants to keep it a surprise to Trudge. If Trudge knew anything about this game, he would already know what this card does.

Trudge takes his turn again, summoning Jutte Fighter and tuning it to Blast Hound in order to summon Goyo Guardian. The text describes it as ďa big red warrior,Ē which isnít how I would really describe it.

Trudge uses Goyo Guardian (in the process calling it Guro Guardian) to attack Tuned Magician, but Shikamaru activates Zero Guard, reducing Tuned Magicianís attack to zero to prevent it from being destroyed in battle. However, this just heightens the damage he takes from the attack, and Trudge sets a card to end his turn. Shikamaru immediately activates Dust Tornado in response, destroying the face down Mirror Force because damn it, Shikamaru is a genius and the author must show this by having him be very lucky with his draws!

Kasumi compliments the destruction of Mirror Force, because apparently if it was a less important card, Shikamaru would have had the foresight to not destroy it without knowing what it was. Or something. Shikamaru starts his turn by summoning Apprentice Magician, to which he immediately tunes Tuned Magician.

"That's a level six Synchro Monster!" Trudge proclaimed.

NAW! I thought 4 plus 2 was equal to 9! Youíre so keen-eyed, Trudge!

After a forgettable Synchro chant, Shikamaru summons Tempest Magician. Oh, thatís interesting, Shikamaru apparently runs Spell Counter burn. Letís see how the author handles it.

Not at all, apparently, since Shikamaru instantly equips it with Stealth Shadow, a new card that is not related to burn strategies in the slightest. Shikamaru announces the first of its effects: since Trudge controls a monster with higher attack than the equipped card, all his monsters lose half their attack points. The thing about this is, the cardís effect is broken.

Not in the ďThis card is overpowered, ban itĒ sense of broken, either, at least not here; itís literally a broken card, since it creates an infinite loop. If the opponentís monsterís attack is lowered to below the equipped cardís by Stealth Shadowís effect, that means their attack will return to normal, since the opponent no longer has a monster stronger than it. This then causes the effect to activate again, lowering the attack and making the equipped card the strongest monster again, so the effect is no longer active and the attack returns to normal...

Yeah, itís kind of a mess. It could be easily fixed by just having it that their attack is lowered if their original attack is higher, but the author does not realize how broken this card is.

Trudge shrugs off his monster being weakened, until Shikamaru activates the effect of Wave Motion Cannon, destroying it to inflict 1000 points of damage to Trudge for each Standby phase it has been out. It has been out for 1, so Trudge takes 1000 damage. It should be 2000, considering Stealth Shadow also doubles any damage the opponent takes at all. Yep, itís actually broken in both senses of the word.

Shikamaru then activates Tempest Magicianís effect, discarding two cards to give it two Spell counters, before activating its other effect to remove each one to inflict 500 damage to Trudge for each. However, given the damage-doubling effect of Stealth Shadow which now exists, it ends up instead being 1000 damage for each, so Trudge is left with 1000 Life Points. For the killing blow, Tempest Magician attacks Goyo Guardian, the duel ending with Shikamaruís victory.

Trudge takes his defeat with surprising grace, even giving Kasumi another deck in case another of her friends wants to duel. Iím sure this bit of dramatic convenience will never be important. Nope, nothing of significance will come of this, most certainly not.

Trudge leaves with the other Sector Security officers, and the others congratulate Shikamaru for his victory. He didnít actually do much, and I would have commented more on that within the duel itself, but this installment is getting far too long for its own good. I blame the length of this chapter.

Shikamaru again offers to be Kasumiís bodyguard, and she accepts, with his tenure as a bodyguard starting after he performs a mission with his team tomorrow. He and Haku again discuss how important and special Kasumi is, being THE LAST SIGNER AND ALL DID YOU GET THE TITLE DROP YET, and the group decides to rest in Neo Domino for the night, ending the chapter.

For once, thereís actually nothing notable enough to comment upon in the end authorís notes, so I can skip those entirely for the first time in a while. With that, then, join me for the next installment, in which Kasumiís gradual sliding down the slippery slope becomes a rapid descent!