Reviews: Yu Gi Oh Arc V
Best Yugioh Yet
This show is the best Yugioh ever, surpassing even the original. It started off "meh" and then went to "awesome"... and kept going! I felt like I just had to keep watching until I ran out of episodes. The writing is awesome. There is not a single filler episode in the entire first season. And Yugioh loves its pointless filler, but not here. Every episode either advances some part of the main story, develops the characters, or introduces a new character. It's highly serialized, the tight plotting and good pacing put this season above the others for the writing strength alone. Even the inevitable Tournament Arc, every duel we see has some value to the larger plot going on. Speaking of, the story is good, paying tribute to all that has come before while also telling its own story. There's character arcs, good ones. The main trio evolve their decks by incorporating new strategies and monsters, and they grow and change as people. We have a female lead that does something! Yuzu gets to duel regularly and has a subplot dedicated to her learning Fusion Summons. Finally, Yugioh gives us a proper female protagonist. I remember past series where it seemed duelists ran dozens of trap cards to negate attacks and/or draw cards so the writers can keep the duel going. Not here. Action Cards are nothing flashy, they usually just raise stats for one turn or negate an attack. It's the typical Yugioh Ass Pull when Yuya always finds Evade or Miracle just in time to stop an attack, but the trade-off is his main deck isn't saturated with cards for the same, and not every duel is an Action Duel so there's less Ass Pulls, anyway. Pendulum is a good mechanic, it supports existing archetypes instead of being one itself, and it's awesome watching different dueling styles clash, like Xyz vs Fusion. No other series has done this and it's cool. Duels last only one or two episodes, and for the better. Duels are much more fast-paced and interesting because they don't take four episodes to complete, and we have much fewer gimmicky joke duelists, so duels feel more realistic and are thus more enjoyable. The music is striking and memorable, sometimes it's happy and upbeat, other times dark and foreboding, and it's used well in the episodes. Arc-V makes other Yugioh franchises look like a stumbling mess. After five series, they're finally doing everything right
Worth the Wait
With a year of Arc-V out, I thought it prudent to re-review the series. Arc-V is a very strong series. After a holding period of only a little bit of information, the plot starts moving in a big way, and keeps moving. You learn the pieces one by one, and while all of the characters hold a piece of the puzzle, none of them hold all of them. That 'holding period' I mentioned earlier? Just because it doesn't whack you over the head with plot does not mean that it is useless. Some episodes are slower, or more subdued, but not one of them is a useless one. There is no filler in Arc-V, and pretty much every single thing is going to play a part, have a purpose. Will the lulls annoy you? Yes. They will. But if you can hold on, know that it not only gets better, but holds its own with the best of the best of Yu-Gi-Oh, then you will be rewarded. Also- let's not forget that every Yu-Gi-Oh! Series has its ups and downs. None of them are perfect, and we managed to like those ones just fine. ;)
Arc-V had a weak beginning, but it was rarely dull looking at you Eita and Michio. But it is easily shown that it was all set up, while we waited half a year for the set up to finish, the show kept us entertained with foreshadowing, plot devices and interesting characters till finally it burst open at once and refuses. to. stop. ever. Every episode and character had a purpose, unlike a lot Yu-Gi-Oh! shows. What we got wasn't what we expected, instead of a cheesy silly narm filled show, we got a brutal, realistic depiction of war with a few concepts that are out there(its Yu-Gi-Oh!, what do you expect) but one that made sense. There are flaws though, Futoshi's shivers, the reuse of Egao scene(which luckily seems to be going away) and the whole Yuyas and Yuzus look alike thing. But its seems to be fixing all the flaws of previous series, stronger female involvement, Yuzu, Serena, Ruri and Rin are strongly connected to the plot. Deeper character development, Yuya is easily the most complex anime protag we had, more complex plot development and more diversified duels thanks to every summoning type being present.
Best "Yu-Gi-Oh!" anime so far!
So, here it is! After some times airing, the anime has reached a point far enough where I can write a review and not just editing articles. When I watched the first 2 episodes, I thought that, "Seriously? Another Shining Draw protagonist? And what's up with those Action Cards!?"; yes, it's awesome and all but the ass-pull amount was unforgivable... ...At least until I watched the next episodes. Instead of being bored to death, I got a love letter from the creators as I was faced with complex plot, breathtaking duels, parental care (Yes, gotta write that), mysteries and nice series tone. And I like how they deconstruct Yu-Gi-Oh! aspects, have been waiting for that! Oh, and they also got Fusion, Ritual, Synchro and Xyz! Plus some TCG/OCG stuff! Good Heavens! The plot is so well-developed in this anime, and if it's not because of #1 and #2, it'd be so much better. I'm surprised that there are many three-dimensional characters in this series. At first, I kinda expected some people playing children's card game, bonding with card boards and be done with it. Instead, I got a deep protagonist, an actually good heroine, a perfect rival, and good parents, among other things! Many characters are memorable (For good or bad, lookin' at ya Eita!), and I actually love most of them. Lots of the cards also counts. It does help that the new Solid Vision gave them more life and depth. About the duel choreography... Despite having some of the most kickass duels, several duels used too many A-Cards and some of the duels are kinda boring, such as #16~17 and 19~20. Visual-wise, lots of the monsters look badass! The summon animations are awesome, and seems like the peeps who do the visuals are going all-out! Special mention goes to Action Duel, which makes dueling both mind game and Parkour. The music is great, as expected from a "Yu-Gi-Oh!" anime. Some of them can be ear-worms, while some of them are outright awesome. The OP and ED are catchy, and they do deliver the series to the audience. All in all, I can say that this is the best "Yu-Gi-Oh!" anime I've watched so far. If you're a Yu-Gi-Oh! fan like I am, I totally recommend this anime. Don't give up or judge the anime by episode 1 and 2 (Determination is the show's theme, accidentally), since the rest of the episodes are mostly totally and utterly awesome!
The Resonating Dragons (Episode 36)
This review has spoilers, so if you're not at this point in Yu-Gi-Oh Arc-V, and want to find out what happens for yourself, stop reading this review. I personally have some mixed feelings about this episode. Last episode we saw a bit of Sora dueling Yuto before Yuya came in the duel. I was really excited for the next episode and how it would turn out. But sadly, this episode's main focus wasn't on dueling. The duel only lasts 3 turns before getting called off, and the most interesting thing was when it looked like Yuya's dragon was actually fighting Yuto's dragon. Fortunately, it's main focus is on explaining what's going on, so we can finally get some answers. We get to find out that Sora, Yuto, and Shun are from different dimensions. I had suspicions that it was the case, but it's pretty cool to get confirmation. We also finally get answers on what Academia has done, attacking Yuto and Shun's home city and trapping many people into cards. We also get a hint on who the actual Big Bad is when they show a mysterious man who looks like the headmaster of Academia when Sora is forced back to Academia. And there's some mysterious glow that causes pain when Yuya's and Yuto's dragons meet for some reason. A minor nitpick of mine is how the dimensions were labeled. They classify the dimensions based off the summoning techniques used there. Sora is from the fusion dimension, Sora and Shun are from the XYZ dimension, and Yuya and the rest of his friends are part of the standard dimension since they use all forms of summoning techniques. Am I the only one who thinks that's stupid? Also we get to see Yugo, the guy on the D-Wheel, with his helmet off for the first time. He apparently looks like Yuya and Yuto, hinting that there are lookalikes for everybody in the dimensions, but I just can't help but focus on how stupid his Anime Hair looks like (even for Yu-Gi-Oh standards) to notice any similarities. This episode seems to be more focused on getting us prepped for later episodes of the series. The episode wasn't bad, but I personally can't find myself rewatching it since I now know everything it has to tell us. After that, all it has is a short unfinished duel. But it did a good job at getting me hyped and giving us answers making Yuto and Shun less mysterious and more sympathetic. 7/10
If you only saw the very first episode, and decided to judge it on that, then it would be fair to call the series out on it. As far as first episodes go, it isn't promising, and in fact, is very confusing. You're thrown in wholesale, without anything to judge. Episode 2 is where things get stronger. Yuya's creation of the Pendulum mechanic and monsters mid-duel mean that most people consider him a cheat, and those that don't have painted a target on his back. Yuya's self confidence also takes a huge hit, and we can see that he's easily one of the most emotionally vulnerable of the heroes. The only really annoying aspect of the series so far are the sound effects, such as Yuya's snoring. And that's fortunately dropped for the serious parts. In short, hold off your judgements until you've seen episode two. This is a series that's worth a second chance.
Not a Promising First Episode
I try to go into new series with an open mind, but I was pretty certain from the instant I heard the basic premise of this show that everything I disliked about Zexal was going to carry over to Arc-V. And having watched the first episode, I was pretty much right. In fact, if anything, this is an even less interesting first episode than Zexal's. Pretty much all Yu-Gi-Ohs seem to open with an introduction to the protagonist followed by a card game against a bad guy, but this time the stakes seem nonexistent. The only problem is Yuya's dad is missing, an idea that is not elaborated on much (AND was already used in Zexal). I mean, let's say Yuya loses the duel next episode (SPOILER: He won't). What's the worst that will happen? He'll be very sad? Why should I care about this character? And his opponent doesn't do anything particularly unsympathetic, either, besides some trash talk, but he looks like a generic buff thug, so I guess he's evil or something. The other issue carried over from Zexal is the zaniness and garish colors. I mean, Yuya is introduced riding on a pink hippo, and before his duel he dresses up as a clown for no reason. That should tell you everything you need to know about the tone of this show. And speaking of ways this show is exactly the same as Zexal, Yuya has a pendant that gives him a special new type of card so he can win the duel without any actual skill or effort. I'm sure the Number- I mean, err, Pendulum Monsters will be the focus of the plot in the episodes to come, but for now they just seem to inexplicably and arbitrarily appear with no hint or promise of their nature (at least the Numbers got that demon gate dream sequence). Another minor nitpick: The Action Duels seem cheap. The characters can just grab whatever cards they need from the environment now? That means duels will be even more scripted and fake than before! And it turns it into more of a physical activity rather than a turn-based strategy game. There are some good things, though. I like the card designs. Despite being too brightly colored, Yuya's circus-themed cards are at least distinct and memorable, and his ace Dragon and Magician cards look pretty awesome. And given the lack of plot in this episode, it's possible the story will actually be interesting whenever it starts happening. I'm just not holding my breath.