Fundamental to the show’s success is its excellent characterization. The varying philosophies of each prominent Vanguard fighter is delienated, providing insights on what Vanguard means to them at crucial junctures in the story. It can be said that what defines the protagonist’s team is how different they are from one another. Before the external threat is introduced , the members’ clashing ideologies thus create tension from within. It is insufficient to determinedly improve themselves as fighters and it is made clear that the self-improvement necessary to put these differences aside is imperative in advancing in the Vanguard world.
Once we care about the characters, it is easier to pay attention to the game mechanics, especially for non-players. The writers appear to follow two guiding principles: firstly, to only depict cardfights which contribute to the narrative’s development and a comprehensive understanding of the game and secondly, to include players of varying skill levels.The wide range of perspectives and players represented thus functions to promote the game to a broad demographic and convinces the audience on why Vanguard plays a major role in the characters’ lives.
The emergence of the supernatural elements seem antithetical to the established sense of realism in earlier episodes. However, I would like to point out that even mid-way through the series ( approximately Ep 34 out of 65), the writers still made the creative decision to have the audience get to know the characters in what some view as “filler” episodes rather than relentlessly raise the stakes. The more we care for these kids, the more we are genuinely unsettled when an unknown force inevitably sneaks up on them and threaten their happy, peaceful lives.
Furthermore, as the supernatural only comes into play near the show’s climax, it is thus less a thematic formality and more of a dramatic device to reinforce the mythic tradition of the protagonist’s monomyth. Unlike other protagonists of the sub-genre who merely undertake the role of in-verse mythical supermen, he is hence elevated to the position of an archetypal hero comparable to others in narratives across all genres and cultures. Therefore, in fulfilling conventions beyond those stipulated in its sub-genre, we can arguably say that the fantastical in CFV has the positive effect of making it transcendent.