The whole concept of "Action Dueling" is awesome in itself: You can summon a monster and actually ride it through the battlefield."Card Games on Motorcyles" meet "Card Games on Duel Monsters."
Even if it comes across as an Ass Pull, Yuya's pendulum's transforming his cards and allowing him to perform the very first Pendulum Summon does feature an awesome sequence with awesome BGM. His determined smile at the end of the first episode says it all.
Even though his "Odd-Eyes Dragon + Wonder Balloon" One-Turn-Kill combo failed to defeat Ishijima, the fact remains that Yuya managed to make a champion Duelist momentarily go Oh, Crap.
Yuzu's defeating Yuya. Granted, Yuya had been more focused on trying to figure out how to perform a Pendulum Summon instead of winning, but as presented, Yuzu had pretty good odds of winning anyway. And in this franchise, the female lead's beating the male lead in the second episode is a major step in the right direction.
Reiji intimidates Sawatari without raising his voice.
Sawatari's Pendulum Summoning. This is the first time in the series that Pendulum Summoning is used by someone other than Yuya. Sawatari's excitement says it all.
Sora Shiun'in makes his debut via beating Sawatari and his gang with a lollipop stick. Seriously, he beats them up by throwing a LOLLIPOP STICK!
The moment Yuya recovers the stolen Pendulum Monsters all the way to the end of the Duel, making a literal show of taking down the overly-arrogant elitist Sawatari for his friends who had been held hostage up to that point.
Sora finally decided to play seriously against Yuya when he almost beaten Yuya with his Frightfur Bear's rapid attack combo. And take notice that he haven't revealed everything yet...
Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon!
Yuzu deserves a ton of credit for standing up to Sawatari and getting off a few choice insults... She didn't get to duel him like she wanted, but the girl has guts.
Never in another anime series did we have two decks dedicated to different types of advanced summoning be used against each other.
How Yuya won the duel. He used Xyz's feature against them. He played Magical Star Illusion, which had both side's monster to gain ATK based on the number of Levels the controller had. As Hokuto only had Xyz (which have Ranks instead of Levels), he had no Level value. So, Yuya's monsters got a major power-up while Hokuto's monsters stayed the same.
Yuya's revealing that he isn't limited to using the Gazer Magicians to Pendulum Summon is a shock to everybody.
Masumi beats Yuzu in a One-Turn-Kill with Gem-Knight Master Diamond by using its ability to copy that of Gem-Knight Topaz.
Gongenzaka's dueling style surprises everyone except Yuya. He purposely has a deck made up of nothing but Monsters, which is usually suicide in the game, but he manages not only to hold his own but also to almost win and even manages to shock the normally unflappable Sora into dropping his lollipop.
When Hokuto and Yaiba begin insulting Yuya's dad, Reiji quickly yells at them to shut up. They become stiff and do so.
Reiji's almost beating Yuya in the deciding Duel. Yuya's strategy backfired, and it seems like that Reiji would have ended it with that one card.
Reiji's respectfully leaving the Duel because of the incident report, and then there is his calm introduction to Yuya.
Shuzou Hiragi proved his mettle by executing a combo against Yuya that involved snatching Yuya's Pendulum Cards from his hand and summoning his teamwork-based monsters. He would've won that turn had his card not prevented him from conducting his Battle Phase, and he subsequently lost, but the combo is certainly a feat in and of itself.
The Dark Duelist and Sora's going ninja, jumping around and clashing their Duel Disks in MID-AIR.
Yuya's defeating Michio Mokota by attacking with Performapal Hammer Mammoth, leader of the Performapals. It's great to see Yuya beat his opponent using something other than Odd-Eyes every once in a while.
In a flashback, Yuto stands in a ruined city. A D-Wheeler appears on top of building and attacks him, causing the Yuto to fend him off ON FOOT. Sure, they're interrupted, but it's awesome nonetheless.
Yuya's victory over Eita Kyuando. Not only did Yuya manage to weaponize his inability to answer quiz questions to inflict massive damage to the little freak (5000 life points, mind you), but he also managed to outsmart his Morton's Fork antics and nail him with Odd-Eyes.
Yuya ramped up his strategy with Fusion Summon, being the first protagonist to do so since Yusei! The monster he summons? It's Rune-Eyes Pendulum Dragon!◊
The duel's utterly amazing. The LDS trio go all out with their respective summons and bring out 2 or more of their respective Extra Deck monsters each, including their aces. Hokuto returns all of their opponent's monsters to his hand, Yaiba discards said monsters and destroys all of his Spells and Traps, and Masumi inflicts heavy effect damage upon him. But the tide turns when their opponent uses a card from his Graveyard to prevent himself from losing, Xyz Summons his "Raid Raptors - Rise Falcon", and uses its effect to obtain a catastrophic 16400 ATK and attack every single one of their monsters!
Reiji's re-entering and walking calmly between lines of his subordinates, all set to his Crowning Music of Awesome theme, DDD.
Gongenzaka Synchro Summons his new monster, Superheavy Warlord Susano-O! Everyone is utterly floored to see him pull it out.
Gongenzaka's convincing his father to not cancel the duel because Steadfast Dueling needs to evolve too.
By the end of the duel, even his father was impressed by the amazing duel and accepts the fact that Gongenzaka is taking Steadfast Dueling to a new level.
Yuya's summoning Rune-Eyes without a Polymerization by using a Pendulum Effect!
Yuya's Rune-Eyes Pendulum Dragon + Performapal Camelose combo to destroy Susano-O, followed by the awaited glorious appearance of Beast-Eyes Pendulum Dragon!
Yuya has been getting more and more flexible when he duels, becoming more efficient in using Pendulum Summoning. First, he uses completely different monsters in the Pendulum Scales and summons Stargazer Magician. Second, he finally uses Hip Hippo's effect for the first time since episode 1 and Tribute Summons Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon. And then he Fusion Summons twice.
Gongenzaka's managing to go around his rule of not using Spell/Trap Cards by using a monster's effect that allows him to use spells from his opponent's Graveyard. That's a pretty cool effect.
Yuya was selected to give the oath of fair play much to his surprise. After initially fumbling and getting over his shock, he gives such a heartwarming speech over how his father's disappearance affected him and how initially he ran from dueling but dueling against powerful duelists have helped him learn to love dueling again that everybody cheered. Even Reiji clapped at the speech.
Though she lost, Ayu did well in her first on-screen duel. It's just too bad that her opponent's deck could counter whatever strategy she (or anyone else for that matter) uses.
Yuzu surprising Masumi by Fusion summoning.
Masumi reveals her true ace, Gem-Knight Lady Brilliant Diamond.
Yuzu beats Masumi by diving for an action card by jumping from a high height and having her monster catch her.
The duel itself is amazing, letting Fusion Summoning shine with both Masumi AND Yuzu's doing five Fusion Summonings with only one Polymerization card being used by showing the other ways a Fusion Summon can be done.
An Offscreen Moment of Awesome; Yuya not only held off four Duelists at once but also entertained them to boot. It even involves rainbow!
Despite Ankokuji's putting him through the ringer mentally and taking control of his monsters to disrupt his Synchro Summoning, Gongenzaka utterly flattens him. Special mention goes to a) being pushed all the way to the edge of a cliff by his own monster's attack, b) karate-chopping the spike off Battleguard Mad Shaman's arm, and c) performing a move that would normally be a gamble but actually isn't note His monster's effect required him to draw a Superheavy Samurai monster - literally every single card in his deck. to reduce Ankokuji's monster to 0 ATK so that Susano-O can OTK it as he'd earlier promised.
And how does Gongenzaka Synchro Summon Susano-O? By using a Tuner Monster that can use an opponent's monster as a Synchro Material.
For whatever reason, at the beginning of the duel, Gongenzaka and Ankokuji have a sparring match as they do the Action Duel intro. And it's awesome.
Sawatari Pendulum Summoning is less of a merit for him, and more of one for Reiji, since he made them and got them to work.
Sawatari's "Yosen Lost Tornado" combo is pretty impressive. He manages to return all of Yuya's cards on the field to his deck in a single turn.
Yuya uses the Nameless trap to seal some of the Yosenju by taking their names away, limiting the damage they can do, but more importantly, meaning they will return to the deck instead of the hand. Even Sawatari is impressed.
Yuya avoids destruction by baiting Sawatari to attack him where he knows an action card is. The card? Great Escape. This also steals the hearts of the people in the audience.
Sawatari's improvement is noted by the LDS trio themselves, even if reluctantly.
Yuya reveals to everybody that doesn't yet know about it that he can use Pendulum summoning in tandem with Fusion summoning, shocking them and impressing even Reiji.
On an overall note, the duel was just that awesome, impressing audiences in-universe and out.
Sawatari: What are you smiling at!? Do you know what kind of situation you're in?
Yuya: I do! But... The audience is excited! It's not just me... Our unpredictable show is getting the crowd hyped! I've found a new possibility! That's why I can't help enjoying this!
The duel started of slow but after Shun brings out his Xyz monster and destroys Sora's monsters, Sora goes all Psychotic Smirk on us and says he's now going to go all out. Makes you excited to see the next episode.
In Episode 1, we have a CMOA for the production team in using two monsters that haven't seen any screen time in a duel since the Duelist Kingdom Arc of Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel monsters: Swamp Battleguard and Lava Battleguard, even if it was to set up for a Tribute Summon. Just goes to show that even through all the emphasis on archetypes and new summoning systems (Synchro, Xyz, and now Pendulum) that Konami and TV Tokyo haven't forgotten the monsters and sets that started the game.
That the female lead even duels. The only other girl that has been in the spotlight and duels regularly is Aki. And even then, when her spotlight got taken by Crow, she is reduced to a mere cheerleader via Chickification.
In grand Yu-Gi-Oh! tradition, the main characters have cards no other player has. Be it the Egyptian God Cards, the Signer Dragons, the Neos/Neo-Spacian family, or the Number cards, this unique privilege can, at times, makes the characters seem overpowered. The same thing happened in Arc-V with Pendulum Summon, and we actually get to see people point out 'that's cheating'. This theme, while somewhat touched on in Zexal with the Number cards, took a while to be brought up. Arc-V did it far more explicitly at the series' beginning!
In episode 3, it is mentioned that there are classes at the Leo Duel School that teach Synchro Summoning and Xyz Summoning. Zexal quietly ignored the existence of Synchro Monsters, and many feared that the same would happen to both of them once Arc-V came around. It's a great thing to see it doesn't happen!
Sora's Fusion Summoning. This is huge as 5Ds and Zexal almost never shown other special summons to focus on their new summoning methods (Synchro and Xyz, respectively). That the producers decided to focus on another Special Summon besides Pendulum is simply amazing. Fridge Brilliance sets in when you remember that Pendulum Summoning can easily be used in tandem with older summoning methods.
Normally cards from the anime and TCG/OCG cards tend not to overlap, most Archetypes such as Hieratics getting a token cameo at best. Not so with Arc-V, as in Episode 9, Hokuto explicitly uses a Constellar deck, including performing an Xyz Change into Constellar Ptolemy M7. For those who've always lamented how few of these cool Archetypes never showed up in the anime, this is truly an awesome moment.
Yaiba reintroduces Synchro Summoning to the Yu-Gi-Oh anime in epic fashion by summoning both X-Saber Souza and XX-Saber Gottoms in ONE turn. They even kept the Synchro Summon animation similar to the one from 5D's.
Reji proves his merit by doing something any other duelist in canon has yet to do; use FOUR advanced Special Summoning methods in one duel (Fusion, Synchro, Xyz, and Pendulum).
The re-appearance of the Duel Runner, surprising many older fans.
Mieru's reintroducing Ritual Summoning to the anime (Last seen for a brief moment in Zexal) and being the first Ritual user in a long while. The Ritual Summoning animation is even more awesome, a circle of fire representing the levels, a beam of light reaching to the sky, and the Ritual Monster finally descending, Aesir-style.
Sawatari bringing the Yosenju Archetype to the spotlight, and actually manages to corner Yuya in their duel.