Analysis: Cardfight!! Vanguard
Characters on Earth in Relation to Characters on Cray
If you were to ask a fan of Vanguard which card they most associate with Aichi, chances are the reply you'll get is 'Blaster Blade'. This is understandable, as the card fulfills a role something akin to that played by Dark Magician inYu-Gi-Oh!
and Stardust Dragon in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds
, a signature card belonging to the main character. However, if we examine Blaster Blade's lore, then compare it to Aichi's story, it doesn't seem to fit. This could be excused except for one thing: There is a Unit which Aichi has used whose lore actually correlates to his own character arc. That Unit is in fact Blaster Dark
The gist of Blaster Dark's backstory is that he aspired to be a hero and as such trained to wield the Blaster Blade sword. However, when he attempted to wield the sword, he was found lacking and unworthy to use its true power. While Blaster Blade was chosen to wield the sword instead, Blaster Dark looked on in jealousy, jealousy which left him open to corruption by Phantom Blaster Dragon. Preying on the knight's jealousy, Phantom Blaster Dragon gave him raw power through the Blaster Dark sword, setting Dark up to confront the one he believed to have wronged him. However, when their confrontation finally happened, it ended with an unexpected result. Blaster Dark and Blade came to understand one another, and Dark handed Blade his sword, allowing Blaster Blade to become Majesty Lord Blaster and fight Phantom Blaster Overlord.
Taking the specific steps of Dark's story, we can compare them to parts of Aichi's.
- Dark's training to become worthy of the Blaster Blade fits Aichi's attempts to get better at Vanguard to earn Kai's acknowledgement.
- Dark's rejection by the Blaster Blade sword fits specifically the moment where Aichi is turned aside by Kai, being told that he has only gotten weaker by embracing PSY Qualia.
- Although it might be expected that the parallel to Blaster Dark being given his sword and power by Phantom Blaster Dragon would be Aichi's first use of PSY Qualia, in truth, the event which better fits Dark's story is Ren giving Aichi the Shadow Paladin deck. Indeed, this is in tune with Dark's storyline, while Phantom Blaster Dragon manipulated Dark's jealousy to drag him into darkness, Dark felt that jealousy long before Phantom Blaster Dragon appeared. Similarly, Aichi had experienced PSY Qualia prior to Ren's interference, but the Shadow Paladin deck Ren gives him only drives him to become addicted to Qualia and embrace its full power.
- Dark's confrontation with Blade is represented by Aichi's fight with Kai at the Underground Fight Arena. Here, as Blade and Dark are able to understand one another through their duel, Kai is able to break through to Aichi and make him remember the fight he truly wanted to have. At this point, the story diverges. Dark plays no further role in the storyline that we know of (presumably he survived and possibly was sealed away with other leading members of the Shadow Paladins), whereas Aichi goes on to take the role of Blaster Blade in fighting the climactic battle by facing the villain head-on.
Expanding from this, the other major Blasters have their own counterparts. Kai represents Blaster Blade, a figure known for strength and courage who sets something to be aspired to. On Cray, the Blaster Blade sword is something of a mythical weapon hinted to possess a legendary past. On Earth, Kai sets a standard in the series for strength which is only surpassed by Ren through the use of PSY Qualia. Both Kai and Blaster Blade serve as inspirations to the protagonist figures of Aichi and Blaster Dark respectively, but where Aichi's quest to gain Kai's acknowledgment is good-natured (if somewhat obsessive), Dark's relationship with Blade is one of envy and bitterness.
Phantom Blaster Dragon also has its counterpart in the story of Vanguard, namely Ren. Both of them are manipulative, cruel villains who play on the flaws of others to lure them into darkness, before casting aside those they no longer need without a second's thought or regret. Phantom Blaster Dragon abuses Dark's envy of Blade just as Ren plays on Aichi's desire to be acknowledged by Kai, both giving the tempted figures a token of their power, the Blaster Dark sword in Phantom Blaster Dragon's case, the Shadow Paladin deck in Ren's. As Phantom Blaster Dragon cuts down its allies to fuel its Damned Charging Lance
, Ren doesn't hesitate to have those who fail him removed from Foo Fighter AL4, as illustrated by his cruel treatment of Asaka in Episode 62. However, both of them also share a similar tragic origin in that both were once innocent figures who were dragged into darkness by their own flaws, just as Phantom Blaster Dragon was brought to despair by the inner darkness of those it wanted to protect, Ren became consumed by PSY Qualia when he embraced its power to try and help his friends achieve their dream.