Anime / Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS
Take hold of the wind, Playmaker!

"Take hold of the wind - Into the VRAINS"

Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS is the sixth series in the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise. It began airing in May 10, 2017 as part of the Spring 2017 Anime lineup. A TV special, Yu-Gi-Oh! LABO, was aired between April 5, 2017 and May 3, 2017 to introduce its characters and setting. It can be legally watched on Crunchyroll with subtitles here.

In Den City, the advanced networking technologies created by the "SOL Technologies" corporation has produced an amazing virtual world known as "Link VRAINS" (Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence Network System). Within the cyberspace of Link VRAINS, duelists transform into colourful alter-ego avatars and compete against each other, with the most popular competitors making a living as online celebrities called "Charisma Duelists".

However, a mysterious group called the Knights of Hanoi are illegally hacking into the virtual world and wreaking havoc. Their goal is to find and destroy Cyberse, a sanctuary network for Artificial Intelligences hidden somewhere within Link VRAINS.

Yet one duelist has become famous for leading the fight against Hanoi: the enigmatic "Playmaker". In the real world, Playmaker is an unassuming Ordinary High-School Student and computer hacker named Yusaku Fujiki, who is exploring Link VRAINS for answers to a certain incident in his past. One day he captures a mysterious A.I. program being pursued by both SOL and Hanoi, one that holds the secret to Cyberse. With this, the winds of the "Data Storm" begin to blow through Link VRAINS once again.

Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS provides examples of the following:

  • Adults Are Useless: Played with like the last series. Shoichi helps Yusaku hack but doesn't really duel, the Knights of Hanoi are largely run by adults but their leader is of indeterminate age, and Akira Zaizen runs most of the plot-relevant activity on SOL tech's end but mostly hires other people. In short, adults help with everything except dueling.
  • Arc Number: Three.
    • When questioned why he does things, Yusaku gives three reasons for his decisions. Revolver does the same.
    • By the rules of Speed Duels, only three monsters can be in play at a time, save for Extra Deck monsters. Accordingly, Yusaku's ace monster Decode Talker is a Link-3 monster.
    • SOL Technologies has three main leaders that Akira speaks to.
    • Counting Yusaku himself, there are three groups competing for control of Ignis; Yusaku, SOL, and the Knights of Hanoi.
    • Go Onizuka, playing on wrestling tropes, counts 1-2-3 in his duels.
    • Blue Angel's Skill, Trickstar Fraud, makes the opponent draw until they have three cards in their hand, which also complements her Death of a Thousand Cuts play style.
  • Central Theme: As the Tagline says: never surrender and keep trying.
  • Cool Board: Charisma Duelists ride floating surfboards named D-Boards during Speed Duels.
  • Cyber Punk: VRAINS appears to be this thanks to its futuristic themes.
  • Cyberspace: VR Duels are set in a cyberspace constructed with the latest technology.
  • Darker and Edgier: While ARC-V is just as dark as the original manga, its main themes are, ironically, happiness and entertainment. VRAINS makes it clear that it's at least darker than ZEXAL and has the potential to become even darker than ARC-V. It's also worth mentioning that Yusaku is the first main character in the franchise who started out as a Jerkass Anti-Hero instead of a Hot-Blooded Idiot Hero or an All-Loving Hero and treats Dueling as weapons for his quest of Revenge.
  • Decomposite Character: Yusaku, Aoi, Go, and Revolver represent a part of Kaiba: Yusaku has his Jerkass attitude, Aoi has his wealthy background and position as an adopted family member, Go has his orphaned upbringing, and Revolver has the rest of him (rivalry with the main character, opposite color scheme, dragon-like 3000 ATK ace monsters, and introduced as a villain).
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The following lyrics for the first ED (Believe In Magic) has "Akiramenai sa (I won't give up), Never Give Up Never!".
  • Determinator: Enforced as with ARC-V; the show's main theme is "Take a step forward and try!", the premise being that kids should try things out instead of giving up at the first try due to being overwhelmed by information.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Along with Spear Counterpart. Aoi and Go use decks with heavy feminine and masculine overtones, respectively. Aoi has Magic Idol Singers and Go has Wrestlers with animal themes. Finally, they have the two major factions setting them up to duel against Playmaker for Ignis, with SOL Technologies recruiting GO while the Knights of Hanoi manipulate Blue Angel.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The Eye of Wdjat appears in the first OP, "With the Wind", for the first time in the franchise since GX.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Network System.
  • From a Certain Point of View: Akira tells Go several basic facts at least some of which are known to be completely true (and some of unknown validity), but phrases what he says in a way that makes it sound like Playmaker stole something valuable from SOL Technologies.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • In #4, Ignis recruits Roboppy and convinces her to do... it's never actually said what they were trying to do, but from the noises and their behavior it's pretty clearly meant to be sex.
    • In #6, Shoichi and Ai convince Yusaku to try to get to know Aoi in order to get information from her brother. They then spend the rest of the episode teasing him about his skills with women and how attractive Aoi is.
  • Gratuitous English: "Into the VRAINS!"
  • Hollywood Hacking:
    • Credit for showing the viewers that the camera is skipping the long, boring hours spent staring at pages of programming language, and enough appropriately placed Techno Babble to show that the writers have probably skimmed a programming book. The trope still counts due to Shoichi and Yusaku using Extreme Graphical Representation, seemingly for no reason other than to give the kids in the audience a basic understanding of what they're doing.
    • There's no way Shoichi could've broken the block featured in #4 unless he'd done it before against the exact same block and just re-ran the code he created last time.
  • Japanese School Club: The Duel Club, which Yusaku joins against his will thanks to Ignis.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: Much like Arc-V, right off the bat the audience starts getting clues about major mysteries and dangling plot threads.
  • Love Chart: Non-romantic variant; the official website has relationship charts in the characters page, separate ones for both Den City and Link VRAINS.
  • Magical Incantation: While there are so far no unique summoning chants for specific Link Monsters, when performing a Link Summon, the Duelist says some variation of:
    "Arrowheads confirmed! The Summoning condition(s) is/are [Link Materials]! I set [Monsters] into the Link Marker(s)! Circuit Combine! Link Summon! Come forth, Link [Number]! [Link Monster's Name]!"
  • Magic Versus Science: VRAINS has heavier focus on science than the previous entries, even more so than ARC-V.
  • Mega Corp.: SOL Technology Inc.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Knights of Hanoi's main objective is to annihilate the VR world, but their reasons are yet to be revealed.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Playmaker and GO's Duel is accompanied with one after the former Link Summons Decode Talker.
  • Online Alias: All Charisma Duelists have one.
  • Orphanage of Love: Go comes from one, and he continues to be a patron of it.
  • Portmanteau: The title is actually a combination of 3 Acronyms of "VR"note , "AI"note , and "NS"note .
  • The Power of Friendship: In this case, VRAINS deals with how friendship can make a person stand out and try new things.
  • Real Place Background: Part of Den City, the setting of VRAINS, resembles the 109 building in Shibuya.
  • Rule of Three: Which also doubles as the series' Arc Number, with counts of three being pretty common.
  • Shades of Conflict: Once again, there are multiple factions with different motivations and resources involved in the central conflict of the story:
  • Signature Move: Duelists in Speed Duels gain access to Skills, once-per-game abilities that can grant them a boon to maintain dominance or stage a comeback. It is not known how the Skill is determined, but it is apparently tailored to the duelist's playstyle.
  • Something Completely Different: The series runs on pure science, has a main character who is a Jerkass, and has two new Dueling rules.
    • There are two Duel types now: Master duel which is the normal duel rules, and Speed Duel, which is a Modified version of the Speed Duel Rules from Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links except deck sizes stay the same. They also retain the Skills system from that game. Speed duels are done on D-Boards similar to Riding Duels on D-Wheels.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": "Cyberse" has also been transliterated as "Cyverse".
  • Spinoff: The fifth one in the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise.
  • Stealth Pun: Originally it was announced that the new Speed Duel format would be replacing the previous standard format for the series; however, it was later revealed that standard dueling rules would still apply to ground-based duels. The new rules only apply to the duels taking place on hoverboards; they really are Speed Duels!
  • Subverted Trope: Continuing where ARC-V left off, VRAINS has the following:
    • The previous main characters of their respective series are introduced as either recklessly Hot-Blooded or empathetic. Yusaku is neither: he acts like a Kaiba archetype instead of a Yugi archetype. Not to mention, he's also The Unchosen One who knows that he has unique powers at the start of the series.
    • The same can also be said for the previous rival characters of their respective series, as they ranged from Jerkasses to Cool Big Bros: Revolver is not only flat-out villainous (even more so than Death-T Kaiba) but also leads a group of Omnicidal Maniacs.
    • The first duel a main character usually fights is usually a recurring or at least named character, but the Starter Villain here is instead an unnamed member of the Knights of Hanoi.
    • Usually a main character loses or is forced to end early in the second on-screen Duel, be it in the moment or via a memory. Yugi had the least have some LP left after playing a timed match with Pegasus, Judai's duel with Manjoume had to be called off before it could be finished, Yusei was shown losing to Jack in a flashback, Todoroki beat Yuma while Yuzu defeated Yuya. Yusaku's second duel shown was a victory against Go.
  • Tagline: "Take a step forward and try!"
  • Title Drop: "Into the VRAINS!"
  • Transformation Sequence: Some characters undergo a change in appearance in this manner when logging into Link VRAINS. Only Yusaku's/Playmaker's has been shown thus far.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Taking too much damage in Link VRAINS will have adverse effect on a Duelist's physical brain that could potentially make them a brain-dead vegetable. An average duel might not cause that much damage, but falling off a D-Board in a Speed Duel could prove to be fatal.

Into the VRAINS!