General Review of 5Ds (up to the point I gave up).
When I first heard of this series, I jumped ship. The concept seemed stupid, and GX had been declining for a good year. I spent the next year sticking exclusively to the original seasons, or jumping from one series to another. However, as I browsed the wiki, my curiosity got the better of me. I went to You Tube
, searched for the first episode, and beheld the adventures of the Signers for hours.
This series was everything that I hated about GX reversed. The animation quality was a notch up, leading to better fights than GX's "monster flies at another, puff of smoke" battles. Yusei was stoic, smart, and, most importantly, fallible
, providing a breath of fresh air to Judai's retarded invincibility. Jack Atlas was a joy to watch, containing many of Kaiba's better traits while still providing his own character. Dark Signers? Genuinely horrifying on a lot of levels. Card games on motorbikes? Hell, they actually pulled them off. The plot moved at a tight pace. Even the new Decks were splashable, versatile, and varied, not like GX's impenetrable archetypes.
My greatest love was the leading lady, Aki Izayoi. Kicking the old gender bias that had permeated the series to the curb, she was powerful, exciting, intimidating, and pretty damn sexy, to boot. Even her deck, a Plant Deck, showed 5Ds' healing hand, transforming an archetype used by nobody into one that grows Synchros quicker than the metaphorical bamboo.
Then there came Crow.
Crow is pointless, flat, and invincible. Nearly every scene with him is pretty much exactly like bad self-insert fanfic. He exists solely to show off Black Feathers and knock Aki out of third-billing.
By the time the third season had risen, nearly every good thing I listed up there had been siphoned out. Yusei was unstoppable. Jack was Jounouchi lite. The Dark Signers were gone. The plot was laden down with filler. The new Decks fell into the archetype trap.
And then there's Aki.
Gone is the mystery. Gone is the presence. Gone is even the skill. You could replace her with Anzu and nobody would notice.
One of the things it left behind from GX, evidently, was that GX, say what you will, knew how to improve with time and develop plots and characters. 5Ds... doesn't.
The first two seasons are some of the best in any series. As for the third? It ended with that last zoom-in on Daedalus Bridge.