Accidental Innuendo: The word Mate is becoming this in the latest season, the Legion Mate Arc. It's funny enough to say it to another person that is of the opposite gender, it's even funnier to say it to a person with the samegender.
The problem is that the anime seems to be using it in the British/Australian sense of a friend. But between the word's endless repetition and a certain other use it has, it's very easy to start seeing it as innuendo.
Even the British/Australians see it as an innuendo.
The Engrish lyrics to the first theme song: "We can't hold back this feeling any longer. Come on, tear off everything you've got! Get crazy way!" It doesn't help that this is shown over images of Aichi and Kai.
Anti-Climax Boss: Ren in the final arc of season 1. Made worse by being a combination of this trope and Idiot Ball—Against Kai he plays very well, but when he goes up against Aichi? He practically throws his hand away on early guard and call maneuvers that don't match up with his established play style, lucks into drawing Phantom Blaster Overlord, and he attacks a unit that Aichi would have had to voluntarily retire anyway for his own strategy to work. Compared to the previous four, incredibly tense and wildly unpredictable fights it comes off as a major letdown.
Arguably justified. He wanted to toy with Aichi, and generally cause him to suffer a slow defeat before succumbing to PSYqualia. He thought he'd win regardless, and didn't realize he could lose until it was too late to do anything about it.
Leon in the season 2 finale. The lack of padding in the final episode made the end of the match feel incredibly rushed and anti climactic.
Not to mention the Kai vs. Leon fight was done so poorly, Kai had 3 chances of winning the game but screwed it up, causing Leon to win the fight. Fans had pointed out that a fighter like Kai should know better than to commit those mistakes but since the Aichi vs. Leon fight must go off, Leon has the Plot Armor in the fight.
Aichi's final turn against Void Agent Takuto in the penultimate fight. Void Agent Takuto didn't even bother to guard even when he has the handsize to do it after Monarch Sanctuary Alfred's Limit Break. But this was clarified after Void Agent Takuto's Omega Glendios decklist was revealed. Let's just say Morikawa will be proud of the decklist.
In Season 4, Raul Serra. He finally makes his move, explaining how nearly everything since the reveal of the Quatre Knights has been his machinations and was ready to make a play to become the true master of Link Joker. It's expected that he'd get the power and we'd see Kai (or Aichi) take on the first truly evil person in the series in a huge final fight. Instead, Gaillard, who had just lost to Kai only a couple of episodes ago, ends up defeating him and sending him away before he does anything of worth. He went from Magnificent Bastard to Smug Snake to Ineffectual Villain within one episode.
Awesome Music: The openings aside, the soundtrack of the anime is very good until fans are wondering when will the OST be released.
As it turns out, the OST will be released in September 2012 along with special boxes of Set 8.
Arc 2 of Link Joker has provided some very excellent music for the series.
Misaki suffers a lot from this in Season 2 so far. Fans are particularly bitter about it because not only has she had one win (against a C-List Fodder guy), all of her losses have been against Limit Break Units. So the common belief is that she's losing just to promote Limit Breakas an awesome mechanic.
She averts this later in the season when she rebuilds her deck from the Tsukuyomi/Amaterasu build to the soulless Scarlet Witch, Co Co build and stops losing altogether. Later she obtains the Goddess of Sun, Amaterasu crossride which has a Limit Break and she continues to win.
It becomes much worse in Season 4 as she loses every fight she is involved with. And this is after Season 3 where she had gone undefeated the whole season with the same clan.
And Team Caesar. Despite being former National Champions, the only time they're capable of winning onscreen is when they're fighting Team Q4. And they now seem to be Season 2's go-to Worf candidates, since not only have they been beaten by Team SIT Genius, but New AL4 too. Though to be fair Kenji does beat Ren, the only time a character other than Aichi or Kai has ever defeated Ren.
Kai is the biggest offender of this. After 2 seasons of winning every fight (Not counting his first one with Aichi at the very start) only to lose to the season's Big Bad, fans has noted Kai as "The guy who will win every fight in the season but lose to the final boss of that season."
In Legion Mate Kai goes further into the trope, Justifies it...and then averts it in the end. After becoming the Main Character he goes on to shortly lose as many fights in one season as he has lost in the entire SERIES up to that point, including losses to two characters he had easily defeated multiple times in the past. And one of his wins was Ren who essentially threw the fight. The justification comes from the fact that he wasn't using his usual Kagero or Narukami clan but the Royal Paladins. While a strong deck that he has used in the past, it's not one he's had much success with and doesn't fit his style of play. However, once he obtains his Kagero Deck again he doesn't lose a fight for the rest of the season.
Though there is some middle ground where he's likeable, but his portrayal in official material like his profile, and his portrayal in show don't line up. This troper's major issue with Kai is the inconsistency here, but he is still likeable as an elite, cool player.
The introduction of Psyqualia. While the things it brought to the show are generally well-regarded ( Aichi's arc involving it is widely considered some of the show's best episodes), others feel that the anime's charm was in how mundane the playing of the game was, and that introducing supernatural elements ruined that factor.
Kai's turn to evil in Season 3. Well-done engaging Character Development clearing up hanging character threads from Season 1, or a cheap rehash of Aichi's corruption by Psyqualia in Season 1?
Star-vader, Omega Glendios' Instant-Win Condition. An impractical skill which gets overhyped by the anime, or a sign that Bushiroad just doesn't care about making a balanced game anymore?
Kai appearing as the cover character for the Seeker Trial Deck, indicating that he will be Season 4's protagonist instead of Aichi. A potentially interesting change in protagonist which could result in a great redemption arc of a season, or more aggressive shilling for a character who's already had the lion's share of it in the tail end of Season 3?
Legion Mate, with uneven writing and some predictable and repetitive fights making it not live up to Link Joker's level of quality, with some people declaring it even worse than Asia Circuit.
Vanguard G completely discarded explaining how the game is developing, units' skills in favor of giving the units a much more variety of movement (Some say it has taken the Wixoss route), a point which was brought up by the director of the Neon Messiah movie. While some fans welcomed the change, but others want the development of the fight and the skills be explained.
This can be especially jarring to fans as Vanguard G is supposed to be a series reboot both for the anime and the game. Those that appreciate the changes also note that this also gives way to more character development as time is not spent explaining skills. Those that have problems note that the lack of rule explanation will give newcomers a hard time to get into the game both in the anime and in real life. This is most apparent in the first episode where first episodes of new seasons of Vanguard reintroduces the game, it's rules and the new mechanic introduced in the season. The first episode of G only explain a small chunk of the rules, especially the conditions for the new Generation Stride mechanic. Needless to say, these fans were elated when they showed a single Drive Trigger Check in the fifth episode.
They have started explaining skills in larger fights so at least in higher stakes matches, we can follow the action more easily.
Big Lipped Alligator Moment: In Episode 46 of Vanguard G, after losing to Chrono and resigning his post as the Branch Manager of the United Sanctuary district Kanzaki rides his horse down the side of the UN HQ building on his way out. No, really.
Crowning Music of Awesome: The openings. They're done by JAM Project, what do you expect? In Season 3, Psychic Lover took over in performing the first and third openings, while DAIGO performed the second one. Even so, they are still awesome.
For the BGM, there's also In Order to Move Forward, which is with a single exception only used for the last fight of the season so far.
Other pieces of awesome from the BGM are Kai's Theme, Kai's Determination, The Power of Psyqualia, Ren's Power, and from unreleased tracks from Link Joker Hen, Ren's new theme and the Link Joker theme.
Vanguard G gets off to a great start with its opening, Break It, sung by none other than Mamoru Miyano. He later goes on to another great opening with Shout a great opening matching the tone of Stride Gate.
Designated Villain: The Quatre Knights pretty much seem to be this. Even though they're the antagonists of Season 4, all of them except Neve (in his first appearance anyway) are fairly respectful to the mates despite the whole Judgment thing, and it's being heavily suggested that they're keeping Aichi sealed away to protect the world from Link Joker. Never mind that Aichi himself chose them and asked them to do it. The only reason that they're antagonists is that they're standing between the mates and Aichi.
Ensemble Darkhorse: The Nubatama Clan largely because it was neglected by Bushiroad thanks to balance issues, until BT 13.
Amongst the new main cast in season 3, Naoki Ishida have been the most popular, being well liked for his hilarious and awesome moments and a subject of Memetic Mutation.
Among the Quatre Knights, Rati is liked for her quirky manner, and her mechanically fun deck. The fact that in G She's All Grown Up and is studying in Yale with Aichi helps things.
Of the G era characters, nobody comes close to the epicness that is Kanzaki. Dispite being the main antagonist of Season 1 of Vanguard G, he steals every scene he shows up in due to his over the top personality and style.
Epileptic Trees: Some started growing early in when Shin read out the marketing fluff for the Vanguard Gloves, which stated they had 'crystals mined from the Planet Cray', Cray being the planet on which the Units battle. These trees got a right watering after one of Kai's lines in Episode 40 to Aichi regarding PSY Qualia, said line being 'you're the one who's doing the fighting'. Fans have theorized from this that Cray is real and that PSY Qualia is allowing your Vanguard to take control of the fight in your place.
And to everyone's surprise, that's not far off, just the other way around. Cray is real, and when two Vanguard players with PSY Qualia fight, they control the outcome of the battles raging across Cray.
Fandom Nod: Bushiroad's April Fools joke for 2013 was announcing a Vanguard MMO called Chronicles of Cray, with one of the starting Clans for the game being Sky Paladin. Sky Paladins were a fan-made Clan created by a user on the Vanguard wiki.
Game Breaker: A Majesty Lord Blaster deck. The deck is obscenely broken. Not only does its ace card have the potential for a permanent extra Critical and 12000 Power, said ace has a dedicated searcher (Wingal Brave), which happens to be the deck's starter Vanguard and can also search out either of the two cards needed to activate Majesty's skill. Then there's Starcall Trumpeter, which can call out Blaster Blade or Blaster Dark from the deck for Counterblast 2. And finally, Solitary Knight Gancelot, which can return itself from the hand to the deck to search out Blaster Blade from the deck. It's a ridiculously efficient Toolbox which creates a monster of a Vanguard, usually by Turn 3 (not coincidentally when you'll tend to Ride Majesty Lord Blaster). Once this combo is fully set up, the opponent may as well just give up there, because bar extremely ridiculous luck, they're pretty much doomed to lose.
Subverted with the rest of the game, as Vanguard is noted as an exceptionally balanced card game. However, much much earlier around set 2 there was Barcgal, who wasn't a Game Breaker on his own—it was his ability to unavoidably add five cards to the soul and set up Soul Saver Dragon's soulblast that made him broken. This ruined the Japanese national competition at the time, as the entire senior division was won by Royal Paladin Barcgal-SSD decks(the junior division was considerably more creative.) It's difficult to tell how much of this was actually broken though, and how much of it was the mindset that it was broken encouraging people to use Royal Paladins before the other clans, as Barcgal is now restricted in the Japanese format...and not in the English one. The Majesty Lord Blaster deck was also recently proven in Japan's competitions to still be vulnerable to the other clans' GameBreakers, like Dragonic Overlord The End and Phantom Blaster Overlord, bringing into question if the game was really broken or just broken for those outside the three 12000-13000 power clans.
Hilarious in Hindsight: When Episode 33 first aired, there was some speculation among fans that Koutei had a way to Superior Ride Daiyusha, explaining how he had a Grade 3 Vanguard while Ren was at Grade 1. Cue the July 2012 issue of Kero Kero Ace, revealing that in Set 8, exactly such a Unit will be released, Dimensional Robot, Gouyusha.
Les Yay: Misaki and Asaka get just a bit in Episode 84. Just a little.
Emi and Mai spend all of episode 115 fangirling over Rekka.
In Episode 118, Kourin and Misaki get cast in the parts of King of Knights, Alfred and CEO Amaterasu in Shingo's play. In a play where the two play out a 'knight saves princess from dragon' story. Not to mention a shot where Misaki is lying on her bed, watching Ultra Rare perform on TV.
From the card game lore, Dark Cloak Revenger, Tartu's Card of the Day profile consists of laying on the Les Yay of her obsession with Darkness Maiden, Macha.
Luna and Am from GIRS Crisis, mostly on Luna's side though. One has to wonder if it's truly just respect and admiration she feels for her Idol sempai Am.
Mary Sue: Blond Ezel is frequently accused of being one, owing to his sudden appearance and Word of God that he was previously in the Royal Paladins all along, being universally loved in the United Sanctuary, taking over for the previous heroes when they were sealed, and eventually defying the previously stated canon (specifically the need for all seven Sacred Beast Armors to free the trapped heroes) to break the seal just by going into his Super Mode. And judging by his artwork for Set 14, he's now gained the ability of "Unlock", with no mention of where and from whom he learned it from.
Mind Game Ship: Ren enjoys screwing around with Aichi's already rather shaky self-confidence a bit much, and basically slowly pushing him over the edge. At the very least the guy's good at knowing which buttons to push. While watching Aichi's match with Kenji, Ren's main concern is having Aichi fall to the power of Psyqualia again and show him the victory he desires.
Narm: The Stand Up! Vanguard live-action drama quickly degenerates into hilarity even when it's trying to be serious. One of the most drastic examples is when Hiroki's teacher is hit by a car. The scene degenerates into Narm because it's shot at a bizarre angle, making it look like she's actually flying.
Narm Charm: That said, the drama still manages to be entertaining, if only because of Daigo.
Legion Mate. Just Legion Mate. If you watch an episode without any context (and even with), the season sounds a Harem Anime wherein Kai gathers a bunch of people to be mates while yearning for his own (Aichi).
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Kai, big time. By the end of Season 3, many fans were annoyed with him becoming the Final Boss for no apparent reason other than Bushiroad deciding to resurrect Overlord out of the blue to push even more Kagero cards. This wasn't helped by the implication that Kai was going to be Easily Forgiven for all the evil he'd allowed to happen and participated in through a Brainwashed and CrazyHand Wave, leaving him to become Season 4's protagonist. THEN Episode 162 aired, revealing that Kai wasn't Brainwashed and Crazy and knew what he was doing the whole time, but couldn't stop himself because he's addicted to power to the point he couldn't refuse Link Joker despite knowing it was evil. Add in the idea that he truly hates himself for doing it and hurting Aichi, and that he wants to commit suicide and with just one episode, Kai was solidly rescued. Even the idea of him as Season 4's protagonist was helped by the implication that he's trying to save Aichi to find redemption for what he did.
From Season 4, Philip Neve. Initially, he was criticised by the fans for being a bland, uninteresting Jerkass. However, once Episode 182 revealed his backstory and toned down his Jerkass side, fans warmed to him, particularly because of how much of a sympathetic badass his backstory made him.
Seasonal Rot: A frequent complaint about Asia Circuit Hen, coupled with the time-old accusation that the writers ran out of ideas after Season 1.
Case in point, Team Q4 has lost every stage they've been in (despite winning smaller fights). One episode even goes so far as to talk about the "value of losing"...
Legion Mate, for many of the same reasons Asia Circuit has been accused of.
Shocking Swerve: Notoriously in Episode 64, the tense fight between Aichi and Ren which the entire series had built up was eclipsed at its halfway point by the revelation that Cray was real and that their fight was effectively deciding a totally stupid and pointless civil war between Royal Paladins and Shadow Paladins.
So Okay, It's Average: The general consensus on the dub is this. It's considered better than the average 4Kids dubbed anime, but it isn't regarded as anything particularly amazing. It doesn't help that some of the voicing work is questionable, particularly Kai and Kamui's dub voices.
The Scrappy: In the card game, Murakumo. They're seen as a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Nubatama, and the common belief is that Bushiroad only created Murakumo to avoid following up Nubatama because the latter are too hard to balance (their gimmick being hand destruction in a game where the hand is very important). It doesn't help that in the manga, the first Murakumo cards were Nubatama.
However, the Set 9 boosts to Murakumo have made the fanbase warm up to them a bit more.
Shingo is one for the anime. There isn't much that he contributes to, well, anything. He's also not that great of a cardfighter, but endlessly insults Naoki for being "A beginner". Not to mention underestimating people's talent for ridiculous reasons (Not seeing them in a Vanguard magazine or enjoying a deck with cute cards). He also switches deck nearly every fight, not sticking to the deck he is most likely to win with which is a Murakumo deck ironically.
Ezel, as shown by the negative reaction to his return in Set 14. He's frequently seen as a Mary Sue due to the Aborted Arc of the Seven Beast Armors resulting in the focus of the end of the War of Liberation being on his Super Mode (which apparently was able to break the seal despite it previously being stated all seven armors were needed for that). That combined with how bad Season 2 is considered to be resulted in Ezel becoming fairly despised. Then his first mention in Set 15's lore was him unreversing Luquier with the suggestion that he's going to single-handedly unreverse ALL of the Reverses (not helped by the clear implication that he was the mysterious figure who unreversed Ethics Buster), and the fandom's dislike of him only grew.
Another example from the anime is Nagisa. Literally the only thing in her personality is being a Stalker with a Crush for Kamui. No matter what episode she appears in she only ever talks about Kamui and how he's her boyfriend and they will get married one day. This one aspect made many fans dislike her, especially since Kamui doesn't like her that way, and it is implied that Nagisa knows how he really feels about her and doesn't care because she will force him to marry her. It also doesn't help that at times nobody else ever realizes that Kamui doesn't like her. Even the girl that he really likes, Emi, is oblivious to is suffering and supports him being with Nagisa and has no idea he actually likes her.
There are early indications that Kourin disapproved of what Suiko was up to, and was going to interfere and become a Spanner in the Works. This... kind of goes nowhere since although Kourin's intervention does help to break Aichi out of his addiction to PSY Qualia, there was no overall interference with the plan.
All she seemed to care about was Aichi's wellbeing, there was little to suggest she had a problem with the plan as a whole. So, once helping Aichi, she had no more reason to interfere.
Similarly, there were a few hints that Kai and Tetsu were going to fight at some point. This never happens. The fans particularly seize on this one because Tetsu's fight with Kamui was astoundingly poorly choreographed (the most notorious example being the time Kamui uses a Perfect Guard against Tetsu's 12000 Power Still Vampyr while he had at least one 10000 Shield card in his hand). Said fight also had the issue that Kamui and Tetsu had no real connection whatsoever (this was even highlighted right before the fight when Tetsu doesn't even know Kamui is a member of Q4), whereas Tetsu is Kai's Evil Counterpart.
They were pretty much forced into a corner with that one. Someone on Q4 had to lose in order for the Final Fight between Ren and Aichi to take place and a lot of time was spent building up the fact that Misaki was going to get her revenge on Asaka for the previous Nationals. Add to the fact that there's no way in hell they were going to let Kai lose to a non-Big Bad along with Kamui's arc on bailing on Q4 in the previous nationals and...well, they sent him in to take the loss.
The Seven Sacred Beast armors were well done initially, especially the concept of each armor bearer being an ace card to focus a deck around. Then they were aborted with three bearers unreleased (and at the time, one armor unrevealed), leaving Ezel to take the spotlight.
Take That, Scrappy!: Liberator, Monarch Sanctuary Alfred's lore notes that Ezel was decisively defeated by Link Joker.
The Untwist: Many fans thought Ace was a disguised Am well before it was confirmed in episode 17 of GIRS Crisis. It became more obvious when the episode preview showed that Ace's clan was a Granblue deck focusing on Nightrose, Am's deck.
Viewer Gender Confusion: Fans were debating Ren's gender up until the first episode where he got speaking lines aired.
When the preview of the anime was released, many people actually thought that Aichi is the HEROINE of the anime until anime fans who had long followed TCG animes shouting that they finally have a female as a main character for a TCG anime. Too bad, Aichi is a 15 year old teenage boy and the spot was taken later by Chiharafuyu.
The Woobie: Following Episode 24 and her backstory, Misaki may just count. Having her parents die in a tragic accident while she was young is bad enough, but due to her 'perfect memory', any time she gets too involved in Vanguard somehow, all the painful memories come flooding back. She spent whoever knows how long avoiding playing, but ultimately in Episode 24, it all comes crashing down...
Wangst: Although she gets over it eventually, Misaki's angst stemming from her parents' deaths falls into this.
Well, to be fair, she does relive the event constantly in her mind due to her memory, so the pain stays rather fresh.
The angst Aichi was feeling over his loss to Tetsu was kinda unreasonable and handled badly, considering how he acknowledged that he's not that good a Vanguard player and even he volunteered to be the member of the team to sit out of the fights at the nationals. And then he lost to one of the best Vanguard players on a top rated team, and then started angsting about it as if it were the end of the world.
This make a bit more sense if you realize that the problem wasn't that he lost, he was a bit disappointed about it, but was otherwise fine. The problem is that he thinks that it's entirely his fault that his team lost. (Which is nonsense, since Misaki lost too, but Ren basically hammered it into his head.) And his team includes Kai, and Aichi is obsessed with trying to get Kai to acknowledge him.
Though honestly, a pretty large portion of that is probably Ren's fault. He seemed at least not as bad until Ren decided to rub it into his face.
Well...Ren actually isn't too far off, though obviously it was just to kick Aichi when he was down. Remember that Aichi was the one that ended up deciding the order for their first match against Jurassic Party. Due to the way the tiebreaker worked, which was where a team received a point for a game win and lost one for a game loss, had Aichi sent Kai in first or second they would've forced another tie with the team that ended up moving on in second place in the block. On top of that, compared to his other teammates, he was the only one who did not win a single game over any of the matches which also would've helped them advance from the block. In the end, that's what really hurt. Not only was Ren essentially kicking him while he was down he knew that, how unfair it might be to bring on someone with his limited national experience, he maintained a lot of blame for them not moving on (Kamui being the other big offender for bailing).
Shion during Girs Crisis. After the first G-Quest event, Shion, who had just been named the new head of the Kiba family, was coxed into a sealed cardfight (fighting out of the packs) with the stakes being his family's sword. Upon losing, he finds out that those weren't the only stakes. There was a takeover in progress of the Kiba company but it was still on the fence, unfortunately, Shion's actions ended up tilting it against his favor. As such, the business was taken over, his family losing nearly all of their riches, and Shion is forced to move to an apartment by himself. And then Kai shows up as Shion, at his lowest point, challenges Kai to cardfight after cardfight, losing all of them. Fortunately, this does nothing but light a fire in his heart giving him a very strong character arc throughout Girs Crisis and Stride Gate.
Woolseyism: Aside from not using honorifics, the "sub-manager" (i.e., the shop cat/kitten) is referred to as the "Assita-cat" in the dub.
Team Foo Fighter was renamed "Team Asteroid". It's either this or a Macekre depending on who you ask.note They are both astronomy based terms ("foo fighter" is a slang term for a UFO), however, the original version calls them one name, while the dub calls them by a completely different name.
This may be due to the presence of the real-life Foo Fighters, a rather famous rock band who are still active today. American viewers would probably associate the name more with the band than the slang.
This gets annoying when the official English subs decided to start subtitling "Foo Fighter" as "Asteroid" - even though "Foo Fighter" is said in English. This is not too bad, since to western viewers - as noted above - "Foo Fighter" is probably more associated with the band, and doesn't sound as cool as "Asteroid". However: In a season 3 episode, Tetsu calls a young Ren a "Foo Fighter", which he explains is a "Strong, yet mysterious fighter". None of this is changed in the subs, resulting in Ren bizarrely leaping from him and Tetsu forming a team of Foo Fighter that shall be named... "Team Asteroid"....