I started watching this series to scout out the shiny new card game. What I came out from, 65 episodes later, was something that was... pleasant. Not wonderful, but good.
What was good? The card games were realistic. Though some situations were contrived in a way to drive the plot, this can be expected. I must make the tired old comparison here to Yugioh. In Yugioh, the rules of the game were different from what you bought in the shop, and odd, supernatural situations often shook the game up further. Vanguard has... none of this, apart from two examples: one, a psychic power PSYqualia that makes the user incredibly lucky and savvy at the game, which is fine as a plot device and is generally presented as a bad thing; two, special rules in some of the season two matches, but those are stated to be exceptions.
The villain is a Stop Having Fun Guy
that everyone can all hate together, and the mentor
group are all very likeable, with a good attitude to the game. Drama surfaces quite often, feels justified by the events of the plot. There's even a lovely Shout Out
to Super Robot
anime like the Brave Series
in episode 18 of the second season.
And the bad? The supporting cast. I wish we could be just rid of Nagisa
, and Kamui's two friends and the inordinate amount of padding
they cause. Far, far too often is the plot derailed for Nagisa to chase Kamui around, or Katsumi to start mooning over Kourin. Hell, Kamui himself gets especially annoying when time is spent on his crush on Emi. It doesn't serve the plot and simply pisses off those who are trying to follow said plot.
Also rather disconcerting is the inconsistency between the first and sewcond seasons. Most of the drama and plot of the later half of the first season revolved around PSYqualia
, which was always an obstacle in the way of Aichi
. Come the second season, after it's been defeated
, it's back, and... nobody seems to remember it! Not even the three people most involved with it last time around - Aichi
, and Ren
seem to have any recollection of its destructive influence anymore.
If you can overlook these faults, though, this is a solid anime for anyone looking to research the Trading Card Game
, or even just for some light fun centred around a tabletop game.