By the halfway point in the series, we get back to the main plot. And unfortunately, not only is the main plot is absurdly convoluted, it has nearly nothing to do with the first half if the series. The subtext of the dark mystery of a universe with transferrable memories is dropped in favor of a bizarre adventure concerning Warp, King of Memories, and the power struggle over the domain he controls. Memories go from thought-provoking Speculative Fiction
to a plot device used in relation to the power struggle. It's a big disappointment in many ways- the main one being that the rebel forces, which had first been mentioned in the second episode, are described as terrorists who attack memory tanks. We even have an episode where Kaiba meets one such rebel. But the reason for these attacks ends up going largely unexplained- it's not at all clear how they're supposed to assist in the rebel's goals.
What gets even worse treatment, though, is the sub-plot about the girl in the locket. Eventually, the full details of this relationship are explained- and it's a complete letdown. Again, it wouldn't be so bad, except that in an episode in the first half of the season, Kaiba meets her but doesn't realize it until the end, as neither of them are using their original bodies at that time
, and the portrayal here is astonishingly poignant. The ten minutes spent in a later episode explaining how they came to know each other before the series starts comes off as incredibly cheap by comparison, and entirely unworthy of the emotional impact garnered by the spoiler'd episode.
Another problem is that a whole new set of characters is introduced in the second half of the series. None of them are given enough characterization for the viewer to really care about them, and the storm of reveals in the last few episodes comes off as extremely bland as a result.
I think if this were a 25-episode series a much better job could have bee done. It's hard to escape the feeling that eighteen episodes worth of material were crammed into just six episodes. As is such, I recommend watching the first six episodes, and then quitting while you're ahead on that high note.