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Stand Up! Vanguard!!

Picture it. We're astral bodies that have appeared on Cray, a planet very much like Earth...

Aichi Sendou is a shy and lonely Ordinary Middle School Student who collects "Cardfight!! Vanguard" cards, a popular Collectible Card Game. One day he meets Toshiki Kai, an experienced Vanguard player who gives him the rare card "Blaster Blade" and encourages Aichi to become a player as well. As Aichi learns the rules of Vanguard and improves his skills, he slowly comes out of his shell and starts to make true friends, all with the goal of one day battling Kai on equal grounds and receiving his recognition.

The original anime aired from January 2011 to April 2012. It was popular enough to earn a second season, Asia Circuit, which aired from April 2012 to January 2013. In this season, Aichi and his teammates receive an invite to the prestigious "Vanguard Fight Circuit", a cross-country tournament pitting the top players of Asia against each other for the ultimate prize. However, there is a darker angle to the competition: the Royal Paladin, Kagero and Shadow Paladin clans have mysteriously disappeared from the world, and only the benefactor of the Vanguard Fight Circuit seems to hold the answers, which he promises to the grand winner.


A third season, Link Joker, began airing in January 2013. It tells the story of Aichi entering high school and forming a "Cardfight Club" with the intention of spreading the game amongst the heavily-conservative academy, despite the opposition of the Absurdly Powerful Student Council. But the story takes a dark turn when an evil force known as "Link Joker" appears and begins to spread like a virus, possessing innocent people and turning them into twisted reflections of their normal selves.

The fourth season, Legion Mate, began airing in March 2014. When Aichi suddenly disappears from the world overnight, Kai realises that he is the only one who remembers the existence of his best friend and rival. Taking up a Royal Paladin deck with the new "Legion" ability, Kai begins his quest to rescue Aichi from whatever fate has befallen him. Standing between him and the truth are the enigmatic "Quatre Knights", a dark counterpart to Team Q4 who seem to safeguard the secrets behind Aichi's disappearance.


The Movie, Neon Messiah, which takes place after Legion Mate, was released in Autumn 2014. When Vanguard cards all over the world turn blank, the cause is traced to Kouji Ibuki: a childhood friend of Kai who now threatens the world itself with his eldritch "Deleter" deck. To stop him, Aichi and Kai must enter the "Messiah Scramble" tournament and win the world-changing "Harmonics Messiah" card before Ibuki can get his hands on it.

Episodes are available subbed on Crunchyroll (Original and reboot [Barring the first season and the Neon Messiah movie of the original anime]). Dubbed episodes of the second (Asia Circuit), third (Link Joker), and first season of G, as well as both subs and dubs of later seasons are on Youtube (Barring the fourth season, Legion Mate). Though it should be noted that Legion Mate was skipped over in the dub in favor of G.

For the sequel see: Cardfight!! Vanguard G

For the reboot see: Cardfight!! Vanguard (V Series)

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Tropes associated with Cardfight! Vanguard

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: In Neon Messiah, Ibuki's Deletors are rendered in CGI, presumably to emphasise their alien and otherworldly nature.
  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: The Miyaji Academy student council in Link Joker.
  • The Ace: Kai, Ren.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Episodes 130 to 134 focus heavily on Ren and his efforts to free his friends from the possession of Link Joker.
    • Immediately afterwards, Episodes 135 to 138 show Koutei's fall to Reverse, his reversal of Yuri and Team SIT, and Leon's attempt to free him.
    • Episodes starting from 141 focuses on Kamui's effort to deal with a Reversed Team Handsome, and Reversed Rekka, while saving his two "princesses."
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: In episode 141, Gouki says this word for word when challenging Kamui to a cardfight.
  • Apocalypse How: By the Asia-Hen finale, Cray is verging on a Class 6. If it had its way, Void would be on its way to doing the same to Earth.
  • All There in the Manual: 0 Start Set reveals that Suiko was the one who first introduced Ren to the concept of Psyqualia and set him on the path to becoming Drunk on the Dark Side. This makes their match in episode 130 much more meaningful (especially when you take into account reversed Suiko's comments about Ren being corrupted by darkness once already), rather than it just being an interesting matchup.
  • Animation Bump: That one scene in Episode 138 where Kenji rides Super Dimensional Robo, Daikaiser is clearly drawn differently than the series, because the animation of only that scene was directed by Masami Obari, the designer/illustrator of said unit.
  • Anti-Climactic Unmasking: Jun tries to pull a dramatic unmask on Aichi in the Japan Stage of the Circuit, only for it to fall flat due to the fact that, even without the mask, Aichi has no clue who he is. It's justified though, as though he knows of Aichi due to helping to set up his and Kai's fight in episode 50, they've never been formally introduced.
  • Arc Words: "Image/picture it."
    • Mate is becoming this in the latest season Legion Mate arc.
  • Artistic Age: During Seasons 1 and 2 the shop cat is at least 10, Kourin is 15, Gouki is 16, Suiko is 17.
    • Actually, this seems to apply all over the board. During the first season Aichi is apparently 15, Kai 16, Kamui 12. All of them look and act around two to three years younger.
    • Special mention to Team Caesar, who even in G don't look at day older than when they met, at least two years before the original series.
  • As You Know: Done by Ultra Rare to gloss over the national tournament rules during the second nationals of season 1.
  • Authority Equals Ass Kicking: King of Knights, Alfred can be quite fearsome when he is together with his fellow Paladins.
    In response to the opponent's remark that Alfred was all alone on the battlefield:
    Aichi: I have my companions! *Calls forth an army*
    • On a similar note, the same goes to Ezel (All 3 forms), both Alfred's later forms, and especially the Aqua Force clan.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Megablasts, Vanguard's first attempt at a game-changing "ultimate" ability. While powerful, the cost (Soulblast 8 & Counterblast 5) was so high it made Megablasts nigh-unplayable. To put it into perspective, a cost of Counterblast 3 by itself was considered one of the highest costs you could reasonably pay, as it effectively restricted the skill to one use per game (without Heal Triggers or Countercharge skills).
    • There are decks that can effectively utilize this (mainly soul based clans like Oracle Think Tank and Dark Irregulars) but only in the soul building, they still need to get to five UNUSED counterblast to use it.
    • The two alternate win condition cards, Star Vader, "Omega" Glendios and Original Deletor, Egorg, both belonging to the Link Joker clan:
      • Glendios wins if the opponent has 5 locked rear guards at the beginning of your turn while you are on Ultimate Break (Limit Break 5). The way it does this is with its Omega Lock ability which prevents locked units from unlocking at the end of the opponent's turn. Sounds simple enough so how does he lock units as well as Omega Lock them, by calling Reversed units from other clans as well as pitching them to Omega Lock them. Sounds fine on paper, is an absolute nightmare to construct. First your deck has to consist of units from another clan which is problematic by itself if you happen to ride those units, second those units are ALL GRADE 3, which then means you have to revolve your deck around that. Finally, you have to be at 5 damage by that time, which most players run Critical Triggers so your damage would go from 4 to 6 in an instant. There are ways to help Glendios but those have to be considered for deck construction. And then there are the units and clans that can naturally unlock...
      • Egorg wins if your opponent has thirteen face down units in the bind zone and your opponent is at four damage at the time you use Egorg's skill. The binded units will most likely come from the deletors' Vanish Delete skill which forces the opponent to bind cards from the drop zone face down. This is much easier to achieve due to later deletors having Vanish Delete built in but this method takes far too long to be effective.
  • Badass Arm-Fold: Aichi gets one in Episode 97. Take a look here.
    • Dauntless Drive Dragon. That dragon has the pose of Gunbuster of all things.
  • Badass Boast: Aichi makes a rather dark one to Kyou at the end of Episode 41.
    Now, picture this. You defeated before an overwhelming force.
    • Misaki has several in Episode 62.
    Misaki: This, this fight, is controlled by me!
  • Badass Creed: A recurring statement by users of Psyqualia, namely Aichi and Ren, throughout the first season acts as this.
    Despair to the powerless, and all glory to the one with the power.
  • Badass Crew: Team Q4/Team Mate.
  • Badass Longcoat: Ren in season 1. Also, Kai in the manga.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Misaki has a few outfits like this between the manga and the anime.
  • Battle Aura: Used both for artistic effect when characters make critical moves, and also as a sign of Psyqualia.
    • Link Joker possessed fighters have a nasty looking blood red one.
  • Battle in the Rain: Though they're fighting inside, it starts pouring with rain the moment Ren and reversed Suiko ride their starting vanguards. Kyou and his gang fighting the masses of Link Joker possessed Fukuhara students play it much straighter.
  • Beach Episode: Episode 35, 84 and 85. They're notable for not just being simple filler episodes, instead bringing in serious plot/character developments. Episode 35 is the start of the Aichi Psyqualia arc, and episode 85 marks Aichi accepting the Gold Paladins as his comrades and not just tools to get the Royal Paladins back.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Morikawa often uses this to justify his losses as a series of ever-more ridiculous twists of fate, such as the planets not being aligned right. In Episode 15, he even goes to the point of calling his horoscope his 'bible'.
    • In Episode 73, a team that consists of fortune tellers appears as Q4's opponents in the Asia Circuit, tells Q4 that they will lose, because destiny says so. They all lose.
    • Episode 155, Reverse Leon tells Leon that he is destined to lose. But Leon manages to pull double criticals to screw that.
  • Berserk Button: Kai practically flips out when he catches Aichi, Kamui and Miwa trying to follow him home. By his standards, anyway. Note that this is pretty much the first time he ever seems genuinely angry and not either faking a mean persona or being bored.
    • That's not much compared to the second episode when he pretty much bites Aichi's head off for having an image of him based on what he was like as a kid.
    • Aichi has one when Ren starts insulting Kai and calling him weak after beating him in a fight the night before. He's doing it to get Aichi's Psyqualia active again. And it works.
    • The above gets used again, but in reverse; Kai snaps at Leon and claims he's insulting Aichi because they were both in some form of fighting alone, but Leon took the offer from Void to work against everyone else. What Kai does is inadvertently hit Leon's own Berserk Button, who's insulted that he's comparing Leon and Aichi's situations.
  • Be Yourself: The message of Season 1. Psyqualia is shown to completely corrupt those who use it, both of these users having embraced it to impress Kai, and Kai sees it as a false strength compared to Aichi's resolve and courage, his true strength which he always had. Aichi's greatest conflict in the latter half of the season is his struggle between the part of him which wants to embrace Psyqualia, and the part of him which rejects that power. Ultimately he comes to accept both sides as a part of him, symbolically claiming both Blaster Blade and Blaster Dark as his avatars.
  • Big Bad: Ren Suzugamori, for Season 1. Void for seasons 2 and 3.
  • Big Fancy HQ: Team Foo Fighter's HQ is huge: several stories high, lots of space, multiple scientists working there, even more players training there, some expensive-looking training equipment... In fact, on the outside it can be mistaken for the HQ of a big corporation.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in the Link Joker Arc, it was revealed that the Foo Fighters also has their own High-School, Fukuhara. Said school is even connected to the HQ building. And Misaki and Kourin even quoted the interior looks more like a sophisticated department store (That sells branded goods!)
  • Big Brother Mentor: Kamui first starts referring to Aichi as "onii-san" because he has a crush on Aichi's younger sister Emi, but later he seems to start looking up to Aichi as this, even though he's actually a stronger fighter than him for the majority of the first season.
    • And interestingly, Aichi seems to show a bit of Big Brother Instinct in return when Kamui walks out on the team right before the nationals after a bad disagreement with Kai. After the arc concludes and Kamui returns to the team, Aichi no longer constantly objects to Kamui calling him "onii-san", which had been something of a Running Gag before. (He could've just been giving in to the inevitable, though.)
    • Yuri from Team Caesar plays a big sister mentor role to Aichi, giving him tips as to how to refine his deck.
  • Bishōnen: Kai, Kenji from Team Caesar, and Ren. Ren especially. Aichi is more of a cute little boy. An entire team of these also makes an appearance, complete with Bishie Sparkle and the name Team Good-looking Men.
    • And then there's the Foo Fighters sub-team, Brilliant Stars, which is full of Bishōnen with obligatory Bishie Sparkle, and even has an accompanying team of fangirls.
  • Black Knight: The Shadow Paladins. Particularly Blaster Dark, given the second opening plays up the contrast between it and Blaster Blade.
  • Blessed with Suck: Misaki has a perfect memory, which as Kamui points out, could help the team analyze their opponents' Decks and prepare counters. Unfortunately, this 'perfect memory' seems so perfect she literally cannot forget anything and the memories even force themselves on her at times, including the traumatic ones involving her parents' deaths. Episode 24 details quite nastily the effect this has on her, culminating in an utter emotional breakdown.
    Misaki: There are some things I don't want to remember.
  • Book-Ends: The first two Triggers Aichi checks in the series are Yggdrasil Maiden Elaine and Bringer of Good Luck, Epona. The last two Triggers he checks in Season 1 are also Yggdrasil Maiden, Elaine and Bringer of Good Luck, Epona. Bonus points for checking them under identical circumstances (as his sixth Damage for Elaine, and to break his opponent's guard and win for Epona).
    • Also, the first fight which starts onscreen in the series is Aichi vs. Kai. The last fight of Season 1 is also Aichi vs. Kai. The last fight to start onscreen at the end of season 4 is also Aichi vs Kai.
    • An even longer one. The first fight between Aichi and Kai, and indeed the first fight of the series, ends with Blaster Blade attacking Dragonic Overlord. The last fight of season 3 between Aichi and Kai ends with Blaster Blade Liberator attacking Dragonic Overlord "The Яe-birth".
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: What happens to anyone who loses to a Reverse Fighter.
  • Butt-Monkey: Morikawa. He currently has a pathetic on-screen win record because of his god-awful deck balance (his deck is mostly grade 3 cards, which is useless due to the lack of lower grades to support them). His purpose is usually comic relief mixed with being the opponent of choice for characters to prove themselves against. We're provided with a very entertaining sum-up of Morikawa by Misaki in Episode 3 in one subber's translation: 'Noob'.
    • Averted, however, whenever someone tricks/forces him to use a well-constructed. Without his unbalanced deck holding him back, he is likely one of the strongest characters in the series, in one instance winning a shop tournament with an unbeaten streak. And then someone gives him Kai's "The End" deck...
  • Call-Back: Episode 65 has several. Aichi catches a falling Ren, exactly as Kai did in Episode 49's flashback. Majesty Lord Blaster impaling Phantom Blaster Overlord with his sword brings to mind Blaster Blade doing the same to Dragonic Overlord in Episode 2.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Done every so often for significant cards, but an absolutely epic one is done in episode 82, where Koutei superior-crossrides his most powerful unit, Ultimate Dimensional Robo, Great Daiyusha.
  • The Cameo: The anime has poster cameos of the Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Games in the background in episode 3.
    • Also in Episode 3, the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game poster actually featured official artwork for AIR for some reason, even though AIR isn't geared toward the same audience and doesn't have its own card game.
    • The girls of Tantei Opera Milky Holmes appeared in Episodes 13, 14, 15, 16 and 36, among many others. They have also appeared in the background of ending themes as well.
    • In the movie, Neon Messiah, you can see multiple characters from Future Card Buddyfight in the crowds during Ultra Rare's song, Bravery Flame.
    • The Etranger clan appears to consist entirely of characters from other sources, starting with Blaster Keroro: Keroro cosplaying as Blaster Blade. "Etranger" literally translates as "foreigner".
    • Towards the end of the Link Joker Arc, some characters from the 3DS games (Notably Ryouta and Luna) can be seen looking at the giant Link Joker ring in the sky.
  • Canon Immigrant: Daigo, a character from the Vanguard live-action movie who appears occasionaly, starting with Episode 83.
    • Ibuki Kyoji, from the manga, appears as the antagonist in the Neon Messiah movie and later as a heroic supporting character in Vanguard G.
  • Can't Catch Up: A lot of emphasis is placed on Aichi and Ren's attempts to try and get good enough at Vanguard for Kai to acknowledge them, and how they are ultimately led to embrace their PSY Qualia to try and get stronger.
    • In Link Joker, Izaki reveals that he once felt this towards Aichi, but eventually grows out of it. This is in direct contrast to Kai, whose inferiority complex about not being able to match the strength of Aichi and Ren is what causes him to accept the power of Link Joker.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Aichi has a Psyqualia induced one in episode 45.
  • Card Games: This is a card game-based anime. Naturally there are card games involved.
  • Catchphrase: "Stand up, my avatar: Blaster Blade!" for Aichi.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Let's face it, Ren's arrival more-or-less shook up the formula. Particularly since the next episode had Misaki's tear-jerking backstory laid bare, and ended with her suffering what can only be described as a breakdown and abandoning Vanguard, seemingly for good.
    • Cerebus Rollercoaster: After the aforementioned, the show goes back to being its normal, quirky self until Q4 lose at the Nationals when things start to get darker again, followed by a Beach Episode, then back to what could be its grimmest episodes with the Psyqualia incident, culminating in Aichi and Kai's rematch. Immediately afterwards, it shoots back to another lighthearted shop tournament, building up the main team again before flying off the dark end again with Ren and Kai's match leading into the Q4/AL4 rematch and Ren/Aichi's fight, complete with Mind Rape and ominous background music all over the place.
    • Kai getting corrupted by Link Joker is clearly the point where things start getting dark in series 3.
    • And it only gets worse. Immediately after Link Joker's conclusion and the small breath of relief it brings, Aichi disappears and when answers are finally given, he turns out to have been implanted with Link Joker's seed after his battle with Link!Takuto, and made the decision to isolate himself to prevent Link Joker from coming back.
  • Character Tic: Dr. O has a habit of forming an O symbol with his thumbs and index fingers whenever an "oh" sound appears in his dialogue (which he also emphasises).
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Blaster Blade in his PR card. Now check out Blaster Dark who was introduced much later.
    • It should be noted that Blaster Blade and Blaster Dark are two separate individuals, meaning the trope is partially subverted.
  • Child Prodigy: Kamui may count due to being an extremely talented cardfighter at his young age.
    • S.I.T Genius. They are Kamui's age and are attending an elite college.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Mark-sensei hasn't been seen outside of character montages since the first shop tournament arc. This may have something to do with the appearance of a new character with a very similar voice.
    • This seems to have changed as of Episode 110, however, with Mark-sensei transferring to Hitsue's high school division, now acting as faculty adviser to their Cardfight club, and appearing again later in his Ninja Master M persona. Only time will tell if he gets shafted again as the season continues
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Ren and Daigo. It doesn't stop them from being funny and awesome at all.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Each member of Team Q4 has a color associated with them, which is reflected in the cover of their Fight Gloves: Aichi is blue, Kai red, Misaki green, Kamui orange.
  • Combining Mecha: The Dimensional Robos. A Shout-Out to the Brave Series, there is a combining sequence in episode 82 of Goyusha, Daibattle, Dailander, Daimariner, and Daidragon into Ultimate Dimensional Robo, Great Daiyusha, complete with a reprise of the first episode's opening theme. It is ''EPIC''!
  • Comeback Mechanic: The Counterblast mechanic is designed so that a player who is losing has more currency to spend on special skills that can help them out.
    • Limit Break, introduced in Breaker of Limits, is a more obvious form of this. It grants special abilities so long as the player has at least four (out of six) points of damage.
      • Ultimate Breaks, introduced in Clash of Knights & Dragons are Limit Breaks that activate when the player has five (out of six) points of damage.
    • Break Ride, introduced in Triumphant Return Of The King Of Knights, combines the strengths and weaknesses of both Limit Break and Crossrides. It grants a powerful one-turn ability when you ride any Grade 3 or greater unit over a Break Ride unit, but only when you have four (out of six) points of damage.
    • Inverted when the game released what players call Limit Break Enablers, Grade 1 units who allows the player to use Limit Break abilities before they have 4 or more points of damage while they are on the field. Note that they only allow Limit Break 4 abilities and not Ultimate Break 5 abilities.
  • The Corruption: Psyqualia to Aichi and Ren.
    • And Chris. Void to Leon, and tries to be to Aichi.
    • Link Joker to Takuto, Kai, Asaka, Tetsu, Suiko, Team Handsome and Team Brilliant Stars in season 3.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Katsumi Morikawa has too many Grade 3s in his deck, to the point where he doesn't have enough Grade 1 or 2 cards to be able to actually play them. He's so obsessed with Grade 3s that he dismisses any lower grade as worthless (despite the fact they may have incredibly useful effects) or will even mulligan a perfectly good hand just to get more Grade 3s. On the rare occasions when he is tricked/forced to use a normal deck, he often beats the pants off everyone present.
  • Crossdressing Voices: Kamui, Takuto, Eiji, Reiji, Christopher and Lee.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: At first, Misaki looks like the type who'll get curbstomped by Aichi since she's never played before. Then she proceeds to crush him, revealing that even though she's never played, she picked up the game rules just by watching from the counter of the card shop.
    • Miwa is more of a straight example.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Every single Kai cardfight after the first. Any game against Morikawa becomes one in short course. This rapidly becomes much less funny in Episode 24 when Misaki beats Aichi this way. It should be awesome. Seriously, it isn't, mainly because of the fact that the viewer can see just how screwed-up Misaki is to the point that she's hearing her dead parents' voices in memory announcing her plays.
    • Ren versus Kenji Mitsusada, at the final fight of the National Championship. Completely one-sided. In fact, we never saw Ren Ride a Grade 3 unit, just the Grade 2 Blaster Dark. Despite that he won with no trouble at all.
    • In episode 49, we learn that after Ren first gained his Psyqualia, he dealt this out to Tetsu, and Kai of all people.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Aichi, Ren and Asaka.
  • The Corrupter: Season 1 has Ren being this for Aichi.
    • Season 2 gives Takuto for Christopher by way of giving him Psyqualia, and to a lesser extent Aichi and Ren due to reactivating theirs.
    • Void Agent Takuto is also this in Season 3, as Kai can attest.
    • 0 Start Set reveals that Suiko was this for Ren, as she first introduced him to the concept of Psyqualia.
  • Cute Kitten: The shop kitten (whom the shop owner refers to as the "sub-manager", also known as Assistacat in the dub).
    • Ahem, I believe it's "manager".
    • Though the fact it was around when Misaki was around seven or eight may move it out of the 'kitten' age.
  • Darker and Edgier: This trope takes effect since Link Joker. While it starts off lighthearted with normal tournament-based episode early on, things had gone for the worse once the "Reverse" phenomenon occur.
  • Dark Is Evil: Team AL4 all run dark-themed Clans, Spike Brothers, Pale Moon, Dark Irregulars and Shadow Paladins. Surprise surprise, they're the villains.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Episode 64 shows that darkness isn't always necessarily evil with a single moment.
    Aichi: Light isn't the only thing standing beside him. Darkness also stands with the King of Knights. Stand, my avatar! I call... Blaster Dark!
  • Deal with the Devil: While predicting or talking to cards makes you stronger and nearly unbeatable, they also turn the person evil, as seen in Episode 41 where Aichi's personality is seen starting to go down the path of evil.
    • Leon also made one with VOID in order to resurrect Aqua Force.
    • Kai, of all people, makes one with Link Joker in order to gain enough power to match the likes of Aichi and Ren.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Misaki.
  • Deconstruction: For once, one that isn't Darker and Edgier until Link Joker.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Aichi's Gold Paladin attack and the invocation the comes with it
    • "Break the limit... Limit Break!"note 
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: An example shows in Episode 24. Misaki is having the memories of her parents' deaths come back strongly, and is literally torn between the game and the memories. All the others, bar Shin (who can tell something's wrong), are doing is talking about how her 'perfect memory' will help them win Nationals.
  • Disappeared Dad/Missing Mom: While the anime does show us some of the main cast's parents, mainly Aichi's Mom, the missing parents aren't so much as referenced in any of the family talk that crops up every once and a while.
  • Dissonant Serenity: As Aichi falls further under the influence of Psyqualia, his attitude during battle begins to take this stance. What might be worse is that he gives off both a more confident presence than before, but also a sort of "broken" feeling even though he's now more powerful.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Nagisa's Unrequited Love for Kamui tends to lead to her chasing and tackling him despite his highly vocal protests. This is Played for Laughs.
    • To be fair, there's not really any abuse involved, just annoyance.
  • The Dragon: Tetsu to Ren.
  • Dramatic Thunder: All over the place during reversed Suiko's fight with Ren in episode 130.
  • Dramatic Wind: Out in full force during Aichi and Kai's fight in episode 50, as well as Kai and Ren's fight in episode 58.
    • Also present whenever Leon fights in season 2, though this is actually caused by Void.
    • Done by Leon again, in Episode 125, when he used a Sentinel to block against a 51000 power, critical 2 attack.
  • Dub Name Change: Team Foo Fighter becomes Team Asteroid in the English language dub, perhaps to avoid affiliation with the american band of the same name.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Aichi is jokingly mistaken as the heroine, not the hero, of the story.
    • And then there's Ren...
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Aichi became like this starting in episode 41 due to his Psyqualia, until Kai defeated him and snapped him out of it in episode 50. Ren is revealed to have been drunk on Psyqualia for years until his defeat at Aichi's hands in the first season finale.
    • Happens to Christopher Lo and Ren in Asia Circuit Hen after Takuto grants (in Ren's case, re-grants) them Psyqualia. Ren seems perfectly normal after the fight though.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: In Season 3. Despite the season opening with a monologue that describes how "card games have become a part of everyday life", no-one in Miyaji High School (with the exception of Shingo) has heard of Vanguard or gives Aichi the respect he probably deserves for being the champion of Asia.
  • Elite Mooks: In the lore for the card game, Kai's Kagero are described as an elite assault unit for the Dragon Empire nation. Note that this perfectly fits how the guy himself is depicted in-show.
  • Epic Fail: Everything Ninja Master M does outside of Vanguard. Note his pathetic smoke bomb and absolute failure at disguising himself as a shop wall.
  • Evil Costume Switch: When Ren becomes corrupted by Psyqualia, he starts wearing a Badass Longcoat and a collar.
    • Kyou also switches to a much darker ensemble after being booted out of Foo Fighters and forming Team Avengers. However, he eventually switches back to his original outfit.
  • Evil Counterpart: Blaster Dark to Blaster Blade, Shadow Paladins to the Royal Paladins in general.
    • No longer true with their return in season 3. They become the Darkerand Edgier counterparts.
  • Evil Detecting Cat: The shop cat is shown to be noticeably freaked out when it's in close proximity to someone possessed by Link Joker.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Ren, of course. In the Japanese, his voice is actually high pitched and soft, for extra creepiness.
    • When Aichi is under the influence of Psyqualia, his voice while battling drops an octave and gains a more threatening edge to it.
  • Evolving Credits: Starting with episode 92 the OP of the second season changed to show Leon's team in place of the various teams Team Q4 fought previously
  • Fake Memories: Everyone except Aichi in Asia Circuit-Hen.
    • Everyone except Kai in Legion Mate-Hen has forgotten about Aichi.
  • Facial Markings: Sported by everyone possessed by Link Joker, including Tetsu, Suiko, Kai, and Takuto.
  • Final Boss Preview: Episode 23, which has Aichi, Misaki and Kamui witnessing Ren defeat Kourin in a mirror match. It wasn't even close.
    • This is repeated with Leon defeating Daigo in season 2.
  • Five-Man Band: In Season 3, although there's not a real group defined within the Reverse fighters the roles are roughly filled among the major cases.
  • Foreshadowing: Quite a few things in essence foreshadow Episode 24's Reveal about Misaki's parents being dead and thus her aversion to Vanguard. First off, in Episode 4, Misaki drops her Deck, which is excused as her 'not being familiar with handling the cards'. Episode 24 supports this point, and elaborates something, the fact that she's also reluctant to get into a Cardfight. There's also the fact that she knows the Oracle Think Tank so well from the start, which at first seems like a trait of her picking up the rules of Vanguard by listening to games, but actually comes from the fact the cards were used by her parents and she spent quite a bit of time as a child going over those cards.
    • Also, if you pay close attention to some of Shin's dialogue earlier, there's a line about him buying outfits for Misaki. At the time, it may seem fairly comedic, but then you realize why he does so, he's Misaki's legal guardian because her parents are dead. The fact that Misaki's parents are never mentioned prior to Episode 24 also counts. Really it's quite clever how the writers seeded these hints in, but kept them seemingly insignificant or Handwaved them in-episode that they only became meaningful once Episode 24 rolled around.
    • In the second opening, at the very end there's a revolving card which changes between Blaster Blade and Blaster Dark, before fading out into Aichi. Not only does this foreshadow his deck change to Shadow Paladins and his subsequent change back to Royal Paladins, but it also foreshadows his use of Blaster Dark in his Royal Paladin deck in the last fight of Season 1.
    • There's plenty of foreshadowing towards Aichi possessing Psyqualia, some even before Ren shows up. In his match with Gouki, he sees his deck glowing and claims to hear a voice, (as well as one of the glowing bubbles associated with it flashing across the screen). Some interpret his seeing Kai's deck glow in the second episode another signal.
    • Takuto's first appearance consists of briefly appearing in a group of people in Ren's flashbacks near the end of season 1, several episodes before being important in seasons 2 and 3.
  • Foregone Conclusion: All over the place, usually setting up the unfavorable party's Heroic Second Wind. This is heavily lampshaded during Izaki's fight with Aichi in season 3, because of course someone who's just one part of Those Two Guys is no match for a the person who won both the Vanguard Nationals and the Asia Circuit...right?
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: A justified example in Season 2. Psyqualia returns after its disappearance at the end of Season 1, but the three characters most involved with it during the first season - Aichi, Ren, and Kai - seem to have forgotten it existed. This is because Takuto tampered with everyone's memories. Aichi seems to remember on some level that he had it, as he tries to warn people a few times that they shouldn't use it, but he can't quite remember why he's so uneasy about it.
    • After Season 2 this is averted, as Psyqualia is definitely remembered by Aichi and Ren.
    • Oddly enough, when Jun comes back into the picture during the Japan stage of the Circuit, he does remember it (or what little he would have) and the Kai/Aichi fight.
  • Friendly Enemy: Team Handsome and Team Caesar to Q4 in season 1.
    • Everyone during the high school tournament in season 3.
  • From Zero to Hero: Aichi Sendou starts the story as an Extreme Doormat with no friends who is frequently bullied by his peers - to the point that he had to change schools. Over the course of the series, he grows into a confident young man with great leadership skills, many close friends, and is hailed as Asia's Vanguard Champion.
  • Gang of Hats: Very common in the teams Q4 faces during the regionals. Let's see, we have the cheerleader team, the martial arts team, the scientist team, the dark mysterious cloaked team...
    • Team Handsome and Team Jurassic Army fall into this too, with one being the pirate team and the other being the military team.
  • Gretzky Has the Ball: Barcgal is banned as a starting Vanguard in real life following the first Japanese nationals, but that has stopped exactly no one in the anime.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: During Aichi's Despair Event Horizon, which culminates in him accepting the Shadow Paladin deck from Ren, it's pouring with rain.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Ren has shown these. Aichi has as well, seeing as it's a sign of Psyqualia.
    • Therefore anyone else with Psyqualia.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: Kyou and his team can be considered this.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Aichi in Episode 41, who declares the card he'll beat Kyou with and starts putting the guy down without a thought. His final line just screams this. Though, it's because of his Psyqualia corrupting him.
    Aichi: *Slasher Smile* Now, picture this. You, defeated before an overwhelming power.
  • Gratuitous English: All over the place. Most of the card names are in English, and the characters also say "Stand up, Vanguard!" and "Stand and draw" and so on during games. Then there's also Kai's (and Ren's, and Misaki's, apparently) Catchphrase "Final Turn," and Kai, Ren, and Kouji's "stand up THE Vanguard" (probably because it sounds cooler, or whatever).
    • DAIGO. Full stop-WISH!
  • Hammerspace: In episode 19 after Nagisa beats Kamui during the regionals, she is somehow wearing a wedding dress. Keep in mind that Nagisa made Kamui "promise" that he would marry her if she beat him....
  • Hellish Pupils: Ren has slits for pupils, while the PSY trio don't have any at all.
  • Heroic BSoD: Episode 24. By the end, Misaki is pretty much staggering away after her cardfight with Aichi, despite the fact she won. It's both shocking and tearjerking to watch.
    • Aichi suffers a particularly brutal one at the hands of Ren after he loses to Tetsu.
  • Hidden Eyes: All of Gouki's Link Joker possessed mooks have these.
  • Hidden Depths: Kai can cook very well.
  • Hope Spot: What's that? You've dealt 6 damage to the opponent? Pity that last damage trigger check produced a heal trigger...
    • Subverted much later, when Aichi dealt 2 damage in addition to the 5 damage Team Jurassic has. First check: Heal trigger! Second check: No trigger. I lost.
    • Done quite nastily in Episode 62. After Asaka loses to Misaki, Ren compliments her, making her think that maybe he won't kick her off of AL4. He then proceeds to comment that a loss is a loss, and as such, she's off the team, which completely crushes her.
    • Two very nasty ones in Kai's direction in Episode 58. At the fight' climax, Kai's got all he needs and launches an attack with The End, calling out to Ren in a way not like himself. A drawn-out build-up follows with Ren smiling and the attack playing out. Then Ren's smile quickly changes to a Psychotic Smirk. And Kai knows he's not done. In the next turn, Ren has his counterattack and hits Kai with Phantom Blaster Overlord at Critical 3; Kai can make it if he pulls 2 Heal Triggers. His second is a Heal. The third? No.
  • Hot-Blooded: Kamui, Koutei, Morikawa, and Naoki from the 3rd Season.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Asaka has these.
    • Aichi also has these while under Psyqualia
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Kai's fights against Aichi in Episodes 49/50 and Ren in Episodes 57/58.
    • Every fight against someone possessed by Link Joker.
  • Identical Stranger: When Team Q4 comes at their hotel in Singapore early in the Asia Circuit arc, the hotel's bellhop is identical to Gouki. And of course he haves a younger sister who is Nagisa's dead ringer.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode is called a "ride".
  • Imagine Spot: Emi uses hers to picture Morikawa and his friend as delinquents ready to beat up Aichi.
    • This is also how the series makes up for the lack of holographic devices/supernatural stuff to provide a visual medium. Essentially Aichi imagines his Units facing his opponent's on Planet Cray, and Kai does so as well (he was the one, more or less, who got Aichi into this habit).
    • Kamui gets multiple ones about Emi, such as him teaching her how to play Vanguard and her feeding him. Of course, they never go as planned.
  • Informed Attribute: In Kai's official profile, it's stated he's a skilled player with nationals level ability who could take the pro scene by storm if he wanted to. But from his actual games in Vanguard, those that we've seen fully anyway, he seems to win more by gratuitous Trigger pulling then any real skill. The exemplification of this point is his final turn in Episode 20, where he had a perfectly good play combo which was reasonably complex set up to empower his Vanguard to 16,000 Power... and won by pulling two Triggers in a row. Which he didn't even need. It was even called 'overkill' in-universe.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Both Aichi and Emi have them, as do Misaki and the shop cat.
  • Innocent Cohabitation: Episode 3 makes it look like it's this with Emi, and doesn't clarify their relationship up until the very end, when Aichi says that she's his sister.
  • Invincible Hero:
    • Completely subverted. The best way to maintain a high win ratio in Vanguard is to not fight. Averted for Aichi, who has only won slightly over half his fights (even less if you count the training camp's half-offscreen half-on matches). Justified in that he's still a newbie at the game. Played irritatingly straight with Kai due to his unbelievable luck at pulling Triggers, his only onscreen losses being to Aichi in Episode 2 (and it's implied he deliberately wasn't playing at full strength, since that was a training match) and Ren in episode 58, and Leon at the end of season 2.
    • Kai. Only Aichi, Ren and Leon have beaten him. This sounds fine until you note two things. A) His characterization. And B) Who he happens to beat, including the winner of the shop tournament for the previous year. While commenting exactly the same as he does when beating Morikawa. Legion Mate only proves the first point even further. Kai's win ratio takes a huge blow after being promoted to main character, losing against Kamui and Kourin (who he had beaten in previous seasons), as well as newcomer Gaillard. Even his victory against Ren is because Ren himself allowed it, as he could've easily won if he wanted to. That said, once he obtains Kagero, he's back to winning every fight, even against Aichi.
  • Invocation: Everytime a named character rides/calls a significant unit or uses Limit Break, lengthy speeches are done in almost every possible way.
    • From Legion Mate, every time someone uses Seek Mate.
    • A much more serious one occurs in the final match of the first season. With Aichi (using Psyqualia) telling Ren that he's the one that will suffer despair and humiliation.:
  • Jerkass: Ren during Season 1. Also Kyou and anyone under the influence of PSY qualia.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: On a level, Kai. Kamui to some extent as well, who can get pretty rude towards people he doesn't respect.
  • Kick the Dog: Ren, fullstop. After Aichi's loss to Tetsu, he shows up, initially to talk to Kai, but it quickly turns into the guy pretty much verbally kicking Aichi up and down the street over the loss.
    • Another case of Kick the Dogs or World:
    MC: Could you say a few words to Cardfighters across the nation?
    Ren: Everyone was quite strong. *changes to a Slasher Smile* Please continue doing your best at wasting time and effort.
    MC: And how about a few words to the people you fought against?
    Ren: There's nothing to say.
    MC: Then what did you think about the tournament this year?
    Ren: It was boring.
    • Aichi at the end of Episode 47, Kamui's expression in the next episode certainly carries a heavy hint of 'kicked dog'.
    • Kai reiterates his reason for accepting the power of Link Joker after defeating Aichi, who is on his knees and screaming as he fights the effects of Reverse.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Ren is implied to do so. It's complicated. After Kyou's loss to Kai after the guy had spent pretty much all his screentime being an obnoxious, arrogant brat, it's very implied that Ren does something to him which leaves the guy a trembling, speechless wreck cowering on a bench. And Tetsu later says that Kyou has been sent back to headquarters for 'retraining'.
    • Kicked some more by Tetsu and Asaka: first Tetsu tells him Foo Fighter has no need for losers and revokes his membership, then Asaka tells him he lacks ability and to get out.
    • Kicked even more by Aichi, in episodes 41 and 42.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Aichi's Deck-Type, Royal Paladin, is this, mostly.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Ren's appearance in season 1 introduces the person who will cause the main character to suffer a major breakdown and become Drunk on the Dark Side, and comes right before some of the darkest episodes in the series.
    • In season 3, Takuto is most certainly this. The very next episode after his introduction sees the first case of Link Joker possession. Not to mention the episode after that has him reduce Kai to an emotional wreck, which drives him to embrace the power of Link Joker.
    • In Season 4, Gaillard. While the season is certainly more downtrodden at the beginning than previous seasons due to Aichi's disappearance and everyone forgetting him, his arrival leads to hell. The second he arrives he defeats Kai, using Aichi's Gold Paladin deck no less and forces him to suffer Judgment. Then his compatriots do it to the rest of his team. This is basically the start of Kai's team getting punked over and over again by the Quatre Knights.
  • Large Ham: Katsumi Morikawa.
  • Legacy Character: Ninja Master M
  • Light Is Good: Aichi's Royal Paladins are the best example, but Misaki's Oracle Think Tank Deck counts too.
    • Light Is Not Good: A member of team Foo Fighter Brilliant Stars, Hiromi, also uses Royal Paladins.
  • Limit Break: Introduced in Asia Circuit-Hen.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Not quite, since everyone changes outfits once summer begins... but they're not seen changing clothes on a day to day basis. May also have to do with School Uniforms Are the New Black.
    • As of the second season, most of the main cast changes outfits.
    • In both Link Joker and Legion Mate, the cast seems to have a grand total of two outfits each: their school uniform and casual clothes.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: Card Shop PSY.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Misaki deliberately does this to Kamui about Emi's relationship with Aichi.
    • Hilariously done with Kyou in season 3. Having just infiltrated Fukuhara, he has no idea about the mass Link Joker brainwashing session going on there, and so challenges a bunch of brainwashed students to a fight without knowing the stakes involved if he loses. Come the next episode preview, he's angrily wondering what the hell's going on and why he's feeling so pumped up about facing a bunch of people who he thinks are just random mooks.
    • Done to the entire Miyaji Cardfight Club. Ever since Episode 127, the focus of the show was shifted to other characters dealing with Link Joker's invasion with Kai being the first one to be reversed. Then it switches to Ren dealing with the entire reversed Fukuhara. Next it switches to Leon dealing with a reversed Kenji, the Kamui dealiing with the mass conversion of Miyaji Academy. Aichi and friends are stuck on a bus in traffic the entire time.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Ren.
  • Lost in Translation: The dub has had to change some of the jokes in order to makes sense to native English speakers. However, the "Make-mi"note  joke was ignored completely.note 
    • This is also a problem for Dragonic Overlord the "Яebirth", as its name exploits a phonetic pun in Japanese (Reverse and Rebirth are pronounced exactly the same, this is why the Яebirth is treated as a Яeverse unit).
  • Love at First Sight: Kamui fell in love with Emi.
  • Magical Girl: Top Idol Pacifica looks and acts a bit like one. Also Kirara and Quilt.
  • The Magic Poker Equation: If a character needs to pull a Trigger, they inevitably will.
    • Taken Up to Eleven by Daigo in the live-action. Not only does he topdeck Majesty Lord Blaster with Sage of Guidance, Zenon's skill, he proceeds to Twin Drive into not one, but TWO Critical Triggers, letting him take his opponent from two Damage to six.
    • Two big examples come from Legion Mate. The first is Kai vs Gaillard's last fight, in which the entirety of the fight falls into this trope, with constant trigger pulling that defies luck, in a way no fight before or since has quite matched. The second is Aichi vs Kai. Kai manages to pull not two, but FOUR Critical Triggers in a row in order to beat Aichi.
    • In a more subtle example, in over 200 episodes altogether between the original series and G, the only fighters to ever be unable to ride due to lacking a card of the right grade in their hand are Aichi, Goki, and Morikawa. For both Aichi and Goki, this is a rare event. Aichi is unable to ride to grade 2 in episode 24, and unable to use Lew's combo with Barckgal and Flogal due to Misaki denying him the counterblast. Goki ends up lacking the correct card to ride twice in his fight against Kotei in Season 2, however he's able to use Granblue skills to ride the a card of the correct grade from the drop zone each time. For Morikawa, (whose unbalanced deck makes it far more likely he won't have a grade 1 or 2) the problem is so common it's more surprising when he **doesn't** get Grade Stuck.
  • Malaproper: Kamui whenever he tries to use complicated words such as (as Crunchyroll translates it) "lady-cress"note .
  • Malicious Misnaming: It's Katsumi, not "Make-mi" (Lose-umi).
  • Meaningful Name: One of the meanings for the kanji for Sendou is 'vanguard'.
    • Team Foo Fighter AL4 may turn out to have one. 'Foo Fighter' was a term used by WWII fighter pilots to refer to what we now call 'UFOs'. Of course, it's also a Punny Name.
    • Ren's surname, Suzugamori, comes from the Suzugamori Execution Grounds in feudal-era Japan.
    • Go find a map of the Aisai Prefecture, you'll be surprised how many familiar names you can find in the map.
  • Mind Rape: Ren to Aichi in Episode 64.
    • Void to Aichi in Episode 103; in Kai's words, it's poisoning him. He seems to attract these during final fights of the season.
    • Aichi himself, of all people, dishes out some to Kyou in Episode 42.
    • Kai suffers the most brutal of all in Episode 128, which completely breaks him.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: May overlap with Shout-Out. Morikawa freaks out whenever he takes damage and visibly cringes, in a way that is reminiscent of another card game anime.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Kamui and Aichi in Episode 14 because Kamui Cannot Spit It Out. To elaborate, Kamui is trying to explain that he's not in love with Nagisa but Big Brother Aichi's little sister. However all he can get out is the Big Brother Aichi part, causing Gouki to jump to the wrong conclusions.
  • Moment of Weakness: Happens to Kai during Season 3. When he realizes that both Aichi and Ren have surpassed him in strength he begins to lose direction. It is when Takuto, who has been possessed by Link Joker, tells him throughout a tense fight that the power of Link Joker will grant him the strength he desires. Kai gives in and becomes Reversed. He then goes on to Reverse many other cardfighters. All of this is in the pursuit of becoming the strongest so he can defeat Aichi and Ren.
  • Moving the Goalposts: In Link Joker, the Absurdly Powerful Student Council is dead set against a Cardfight Club being established in "their" school. So much so, that they make an announcement that the club must have five members, and must get one by a certain time. Once they do get a fifth member however (namely Misaki), they decide not to recognize them anyway...unless they get a "faculty advisor".
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Misaki's finger gun when she uses Eurale.
  • Myth Arc: Though all the seasons have their own self contained story arcs, the ongoing plot throughout the series is the battle against VOID. The whole point of season one was to get Aichi and Ren to resolve a civil war between the paladin clans, which created a united force to stand up to the threat of VOID. Season 2 followed the cardfighters' efforts to thwart VOID's first attack on Cray, namely the sealing of the Royal Paladins, Shadow Paladins and Kagero clans, and to stop VOID's attempt at invading Earth. So far, series 3 seems to have VOID change tactics and decide to invade Earth first, using it's avatar clan Link Joker, and follows the character's attempts to deal with this threat. Legion Mate chronicles what was left after Link Joker's end, with the Seed that was in Takuto migrating to Aichi, forcing him to seal himself so that Link Joker won't come back. It also finishes Link Joker's threat entirely, by having the Seed spreado all the Vanguard Fighters in the world, making Cray accept Link Joker not as invaders, but as a new clan.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Kai explains the rules once to Aichi, but we also get another description of the rules for Emi. For the first few episodes, Aichi's opponents continually give him advice on game features such as the mulligan and when you can use Heal Triggers. Misaki is set-up as one, but quickly proves she knows the game better than Aichi.
    • In Link Joker, Naoki Ishida is this, with Aichi teaching him how to play.
  • Narrating the Obvious: This happens with great frequency whenever someone takes damage.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: If Kai hadn't constantly been so distant to and dismissive of Aichi, then Aichi wouldn't have become Drunk on the Dark Side. Kourin calls him out on this.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The Granblue Clan are zombie pirates with a couple of Lovecraftian influences thrown in and even a reference to Frankenstein.
  • Nonindicative Name: "Katsu" means "victory", not that it helps Katsumi Morikawa, with his zero on-screen win record and firmly cemented spot as the worst player in the anime.
  • The Nose Knows: Team Fragrance can tell people's emotions based upon their scents.
  • Not So Different: Episode 9 has Aichi crippled by nervousness in the shop tournament, and thinking everyone else is perfectly fine. Then he notices Izaki (his opponent) make the same mistake he earlier made and realizes that it's Izaki's first tournament, and the guy's nervous as well. He later notices that Misaki also seems nervous (despite having just curbstomped Morikawa, who exists to be curbstomped).
    • Rather more darkly, thirty-two episodes later, Aichi is becoming very reminiscent of Ren. Same Psyqualia, and it seems that like Ren, Aichi is losing himself to the power of Psyqualia.
    • Episode 48 has Bidou face Aichi; the former is obssessed with being recognized with Ren and jealous that he gave Aichi the Shadow Paladin deck and gets excited when he sees Ren watching his match. Aichi, having gone to the extreme to be noticed by Kai and only succeeded in pushing him away, plays with Bidou's obssession because he has the advantage of Psyqualia and either doesn't realize or outwardly confess that they're quite similar. He, too, allows himself to be distracted very briefly by the idea of Kai watching him, but disturbingly uses it as a Madness Mantra.
  • Off-Model: The size of Ren's hair tends to vary from scene to scene. Admittedly, he has a lot of hair to draw, but still...
    • The exact same happens to Blond Ezel, whose mane will go from "somewhat bigger than him" to "gigantic afro twice the size of its owner" depending on the scene.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Two words: Final Turn.
    • Kamui’s reaction in ep. 7 when he realizes that Kai can use Vortex Dragon’s Soulblast
    • Mr. Invincible, Soul Blast! Aichi: SAY WHAT?! Kamui: With Mr. Invincible's skill, I stand all units!
    • Another Oh, Crap! used for comedic effect is in Episode 37: Emi: First check! *Critical trigger* I got it, what good luck! Kamui: Bravo! Go ahead, draw one more (critical trigger)! Emi: Second check! *Critical trigger* Look! Two stars! Kamui: C-congrat- *gets hit by Flores [Emi]* ...ulations!
    • Kyou gets this in Episode 41 when Aichi starts to remind him of Ren. Especially when Aichi calls a second Young Pegasus Knight to replace the defeated first, having predicted that Young Pegasus Knight would be the card he won the game with.
    • All the major characters at the Finals when Aichi plays Blaster Dark, fearing that he'll change under Psyqualia's influence again.
    • Season 1 finale; Ren's Phantom Blaster Overlord is at 28000 power, Aichi throws out a total shield of 35000, which requires two Triggers for Ren to break through. Ren draws a Heal Trigger and gives the boost to Phantom Blaster Overlord, Misaki notes that normally, he would have given it to his Rear-Guard. Kamui catches on what she means - Ren knows he's getting a second Trigger and does. Cue one huge Mass "Oh, Crap!". If not for a Heal Trigger himself, Aichi would have lost there and then.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Plays at the end of episode 48, providing fitting backing for Aichi fully succumbing to Psyqualia and Kai's vow to stop him.
    • The end of episode 64, after Ren declares Final Turn and plays Phantom Blaster Overlord.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with regards to the game. Because the card-pool is so small, currently several characters run the same cards. This is best shown by Episode 6 where Aichi faces another Royal Paladin player, and the first few turns consist of the two playing off the exact same cards.
    • This happens less and less as the series continues, but still tends to happen with characters that focus on clans rather than specific archetypes, like Kai with Naoki and Miwa in season 3.
  • One-Woman Wail: In episode 65, after Aichi rides Majesty Lord Blaster.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: In Episode 24, the first clue that Aichi and co get that something is wrong with Misaki is when she doesn't reprimand Kamui and Morikawa for speaking too loudly while she's playing. Unfortunately, they don't take the hint.
    • To say nothing of Aichi's behavior in Episode 41...
      • All the more aggravating in that Kai takes that exact next episode to push the poor guy over the edge BECAUSE his out of character actions reminded him too much of Ren.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Soul Savior Dragon looks very much angelic, though it is referred to by Aichi as a god.
    • The clan Angel Feather is filled with angels who worked as nurses, and some wield gatling guns. Justified since some of them served as security to the medical team on the battlefield.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Aichi's Soul Saver Dragon looks more like a cross between a knight, a dragon and a (female) angel than a typical dragon. Dragons in general tend to vary according to their clan, with appropriate sub-species.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: All the Bermuda Triangle units are variations on the theme of mermaid pop stars. Aqua Force includes warrior mermaids.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Aichi more-or-less realizes that Ninja Master M is actually Mr. Mark within five seconds of meeting him. To be fair, the man himself threw out a hint:
    Ninja Master M: Have you figured out how you would survive? (This is a Call-Back to the first episode where Mr. Mark asked Aichi how he'd survive in a given historical period during a history lesson)
    • Kamui, in the first National Tournament, tries to disguise himself with just a pair of glasses and flattening his spiky hair. His disguise was immedately seen through by Eiji and Reiji though.
    • In the Asia Circuit Japan Stage, Team Unknown. While still unknown to the characters in-universe, it's pretty obvious to the audiences.
  • Parental Abandonment: Misaki's parents died in a car crash when she was young, though Shin does act as a Parental Substitute. Aichi's father is neither seen nor mentioned, and neither of Kamui's parents are ever mentioned. Episode 49 reveals that Kai's parents died a few years before the start of the series, which is the reason he left town (he went to live with his uncle's family).
  • Power Glows: Lots of it. Psyqualia activations, units glow whenever another unit boosts them, the circles on a fight table glow whenever a unit is called, and the cards themselves glow when a Trigger is activated. No one seems to think this is unusual.
    • On the Psyqualia front, it goes Up to Eleven in the final fight of Season 1 when both Ren and Aichi are surrounded by a flame-like aura whenever they activate their powers. Similarly, at the tail end of Asia Circuit-Hen with Leon and Aichi when each are affected by Void's influence.
  • The Power of Friendship: A running theme in the series, and the main theme of Aichi's Royal Paladin and Gold Paladin decks.
  • Pragmatic Translation: The Genocide Jack card was renamed "Brutal" Jack in the dub, since the dub likely doesn't want to look like it's promoting genocidenote . This is normal for card games.
    • In one episode, Vortex Dragon's attack is renamed from 'Burning Hell' to 'Cataclysm'. The English TCG card sticks with Burning Hell. In a later episodes, Phantom Blaster Dragon's 'Damned Charging Lance' becomes 'Corrupted Charging Lance'.
  • Preemptive "Shut Up": Kamui to Morikawa after Kamui gets yet another phrase wrong.
  • Product Placement: This, being an anime to advertise the card games, have real life booster packs' names popping out once in a while. Often by a character that says "My deck had been strengthened by cards from [Insert booster pack name here]!"
    • Not to mentioned several posters in Card Capital.
    • To go with the above, one of the posters in the earlier episodes is a rather blatent advertisement for the first Aichi and Kai Trial Decks - both characters are even on the poster!
    • EP 25, while ending the plot point about Misaki from last episode, is also a blatant commercial for the Kamui and Misaki Trial Decks (albeit Misaki actually uses the Kamui one in the episode, with Emi using the other)
    • In EP 52, the Manager pulls out a parcel that revealed the booster packs "Twin Swords Awakening". The final episode of the first season borrows this title and showcases its poster unit Majesty Lord Blaster.
    • In EP 106, there is an advertisement about Ultra Rare's latest album "Endless Fighter", which is also the ending song of the season.
  • Psychic Powers: Psyqualia. It allows the user to foresee and control the events of a Cardfight. It also lets the user make their opponent feel like they're really being attacked. Tends to come with a nasty case of Drunk on the Dark Side.
    • Though, as explained in episode 64, the ability's true nature is that it synchronizes the user with the Planet Cray, allowing users to act as the "vanguard" of the armies fighting there.
    • At the end of episode 65, Aichi loses this ability, with the implication that its purpose had been fulfilled. There's no word yet, however, on whether or not this also applies to Ren, though it's implied.
    • Guess what's back in Asia-Hen. Takuto seems to have the ability to hand out Psyqualia, restoring Aichi's, Ren's and dragging in Christopher. Leon also has Psyqualia, though he obtained it through Void. It's not clear if anyone has it after Asia-Hen's finale.
    • At the very least, Aichi still has Psyqualia, as he uses it in Link Joker-hen to stop himself from being Reversed. Leon can still sense the wind, so he likely keeps his Psyqualia as well. Ren and Chris don't show signs of it though, apart from Ren keeping his Psyqualia personality.
  • Psychotic Smirk:
    • Ren uses these pretty often, when he doesn't go for a straight-up Slasher Smile.
    • Kai accepting the power of Link Joker in episode 128.
    • Kai puts on a big one when he uses Vortex Dragonewt's Trinity Crimson Flame on Gaillard. Oddly enough, he's a hero.
  • Put on a Bus: Mr Mark in season 1, mainly due to the fact his seiyuu was getting a full time role voicing Ren, and Koutei in season 2 due to Team Caesar becoming redundant plot-wise after the Seoul arc. Both make comebacks in season 3.
  • Pyrrhic Victory:
    • In Episode 42 Aichi won against Kyou, but afterwards Kai left team Q4.
    • Also, Kenji in episode 82. He finally manages to beat Ren, only to learn the rest of his team lost.
  • Red Baron: From Team FFAL4, Asaka is known as "Assassin" and Tetsu is known as "General". And from Team Caesar, Gai is called "Gladiator", Yuri is the "Empress", and Kenji is called "Emperor" (Koutei). Kenji is also called Koutei as a regular nickname (It's an alternate reading of the kanji for his name).
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning:
    • Zig-zagged, Kamui has red eyes, but while an arrogant brat at times is by no means evil, while Ren, who is the Big Bad of Season 1, also has red eyes.
    • On the cover of the fifth manga volumne, Aichi's eyes are red. The chapters it contains has his fights with both Ren and Kai (in which they all have Psyqualia).
    • You know the secretary for the student council, the one with red eyes? Turns out she's an agent of Link Joker, sent to spy on the Cardfight Club.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Hot-Blooded Kamui and The Stoic Kai have this dynamic. In episode 26, this culminates in an angry outburst from Kamui, who quits Team Q4 for the remainder of the tournament because he can't stand to fight alongside Kai anymore.
    • Card Shop PSY has the energetic, outspoken Rekka ("blazing flame") and the calm, patient Suiko ("water tiger"). They're Colour-Coded Characters.
    • Miwa and Kai, very much so.
    • In Legion Mate, Kai gets another Red Oni in Naoki.
  • Red Shirt: Wearing black Fight Gloves is a good general indication that you won't be lasting long. Made especially clear with Yahagi Kyou as he is the only Foo Fighter to lose a match. Subverted by Jurassic Army who quickly established themselves as the series' Badass Normal team.
  • Red String of Fate: Played with in-universe: In episode 21 Nagisa throws and ties an actual red string on Kamui's pinky (despite the two being on opposite sides of the playfield), and then declares she loves him. Kamui is... not thrilled by the obvious implications.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Miwa gets the underground fighters to lay off Kai by saying that Kai's father is a police commissioner, his mother is a Chief Justice, he's the grandson of the prime minister, and between karate and judo, he's at 15th dan.
  • Refusal of the Call: Misaki was initially dead set against joining the Cardfight Clubnote , until Kourin accused her of not being a "serious" enough player.
  • Relative Error: Kamui first thought that Emi and Aichi were dating and the next day challenged the latter in order to get his "Goddess" (Emi).
  • Remember That You Trust Me: Miwa and Aichi both try to drive this home to Kai, who kept quiet about his festering insecurities about where he stood with the latter and Ren unsuccessfully until the finale. He returns the favour in Legion Mate to drive home that Aichi could have spoken with his friends about Link Joker's seed inside of him rather than shouldering it alone, and bowls over his entire view of the situation.
  • Rescue Arc: Legion Mate-Hen with Kai searching out how to bring Aichi back to Earth.
  • The Rival: Kai, but with a unique spin in that he's the one who teaches Aichi how to play.
    • For the other members of Q4, Asaka is one for Misaki, while Gai, Tetsu and Gouki are ones for Kamui.
    • In Legion Mate, Gaillard is this to Kai.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something / Warrior King: King of Knights, Alfred.
  • Running Gag:
    • Morikawa's ridiculous obsession over Korin.
    • Kamui getting his phrases wrong.
    • Ren failing at/misunderstanding introductions.
    • Monsters looking concerned every time Chocolat fires her machine gun, which she can barely control.
  • Save Both Worlds: What Takuto aims to do and why he started the Vanguard Circuit, then using his power to drag them all to Cray so they can stop Void.
  • Say My Name: "KAAAIIIIIIIII!" Ren, episode 57 flashback.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: The shop owner makes use of this.
    • His eyes are 'finally' shown in a blink-and-you-miss-it moment in Episode 18, and another - just as brief - moment in ep. 22. And then a rather longer one in Episode 24. There's a reason for that.
  • School Uniforms Are the New Black: Pretty much played straight at first, but subverted when everyone gets new casual outfits for the summer.
  • Sempai Kouhai: Team Caesar seems to take this approach with Team Q4, going so far as to invite them to the Caesar Vanguard Training Camp.
  • Serious Business: Card games, what else?
    • Averted too, to some extent. When it comes down to it, Cardfight Vanguard is really just about kids playing a card game casually, without worrying about the fate of the world or monsters that actually exist and can hurt players.
      • The Underground Fights seem to ooze this though.
      • If Kyou's flashback is any indication, cardfights are this for team Foo Fighter.
      • Then the latter half of Asia Hen happens and cardfights become really serious business thereafter with the fate of more than one world at stake.
    • For Yuri of Team Caesar, creating a firm image of victory is this.
  • She's Not My Girlfriend: Although, "she"note  would disagree.
  • Shrinking Violet: Aichi is a male example.
  • Shout-Out: Many.
    If you can do the impossible, logic goes by the wayside!! If you can get past pride, the limits back off!! That's the way a man lives!!
    My heart is burning! It screams out "Let me join the Cardfight Club!" Gaze upon! My lethal! My invincible! My miraculous BREAK RIDE!!! Discharging Dragon!
    • Near the end of episode 13 when Aichi is in the middle of a baseball stadium would be a shout out to Tsubasa Yonaga's role as Ren Mihashi from Ookiku Furikabutte. Ren was the role that helped Yonaga get more attention as a voice actor.
  • Skyward Scream: Ren gets one in season 1, coupled with Say My Name, and Aichi has a similar one during the penultimate episodes of season 2. Aichi also does this in second opening of season 3. Interestingly, all three of these are due to the same person: Kai.
  • Slasher Smile: Ren can pull one off like the best of them.
    • He's got competition in Leon, whose get quite disturbing.
    • As of Episode 41, Aichi is managing to pull off a pretty menacing one too.
    • In episode 63, Ren takes this Up to Eleven, nearly to the point of Nightmare Face.
  • Slouch of Villainy: Has Ren ever even been seen sitting upright in a chair?
  • So Last Season: Soul Saver Dragon's Holy Charging Roar, which won the Regionals for Team Q4, fails to defeat Tetsu and in fact the damage Aichi does deal only ends up setting up for Tetsu's game-ending Megablast with Stil Vampir.
  • Spoiler Opening: The first opening shows a lot of characters that appear later in the series. Some appear relatively early (Kamui in Episode 5 and the PSY trio in Episode 6) while others appear (much) later (Gouki and co do not appear until Episode 14, after the Shop Tournament ends, while Ren Suzugamori appears first in Episode 23, after the Regionals end). Averted with the second opening.
    • The English dub uses the third ending in place of the first one. The one that shows clips of all the fights from up to the first regional arc.
    • The second opening of season 3 outright informs the viewer that Team Handsome, Team Brilliant Stars, and most of the Fukuhara cardfight club (that is, Suiko, Asaka, and Tetsu) will get reversed, and also spoils the fact that The Bus Came Back for Koutei.
    • The second opening of Legion Mate spoils Kai and Gaillard's new Legions, as well as Miwa and Cera's Legion.
  • Start X to Stop X: The Miyaji High Student Council employs this strategy against the unwanted Miyaji Cardfight Club by sending "assassins" against said club, they hope the club will cease to exist once they beat them in their own game. Needless to say, this has yet to succeed, prompting the vice president to take more extreme measures in sabotaging.
  • Status Quo Is God: In episode 51, Morikawa receives a well-balanced deck when he forgets his own, and wins every fight he's in. Then at the end of episode 52, he "powers it up" with a bunch of Grade 3's, and goes back to always losing immediately.
  • Stealth Insult: Ren Suzugamori's dialog consists of either this or just flat out insults. He gets better by the time seasons 2 and 3 roll round.
  • The Stoic: Kai.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Aichi is a genderflipped version of his mother. From what we see in flashbacks, Misaki is the splitting image of her mother, while Shin takes after his uncle.
    • This is averted with Gouki and Nagisa. One sports dark skin, dark hair and amber eyes while the other is a pale, green eyed blonde.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: In Season 3 when Aichi signs up to Miyaji Academy, since Vanguard is considered Serious Business, you would think that he would become the most popular student in school while having an easy life there as he was the winner of a national tournament and the Asia Circuit. Instead, his teacher doesn't even care about that and his fellow classmates laughed at him for being a "child" when he said that Vanguard is his hobby. There isn't even a club dedicated to the game until he himself had to came up with it! While Vanguard is serious business, it is no substitute for actual education and skills for the working life as at the end of the day, it is just a card game and won't earn you a stable income.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Mr. Mark in Episode 11, when asked about the bag he's carrying:
    Mr. Mark: T-this? Nothing important. It's definitely not a ninja costume!
  • Take a Third Option: When Aichi is faced with decision of whether or not to accept Psyqualia and the personality that comes with it, he finally decides instead that he can accept both sides of himself, without rejecting either Psyqualia or the part of himself that wants to fight without it. This leads to his riding of Majesty Lord Blaster and ultimate victory over Ren.
    • Legion Mate finale: Instead of losing against Aichi (which would mean becoming one of his Quatre Knights and sealing him forever) or simply defeating him (which would transfer the Seed to him, thus he'd have to be sealed instead), Kai decides to slice the Seed and share it between everyone who'd accept it, using Blaster Blade's power, so it could not take over anyone, and Cray would accept Link Joker as a clan instead of invaders, ending their threat.
  • Tears of Joy: Kamui, when Team Q4 finally wins the national championship. May or may not count as Manly Tears.
    • Misaki, after discovering the joy of playing vanguard again. This definitely counts as Tender Tears.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • "As long as he doesn't get a trigger", "I'm going to protect myself", and similar lines. Often followed by an Oh, Crap! when the other player gets the trigger he needs, or uses a new unit the speaker did not expect.
    • There's also Kamui's decision in Episode 37 to not guard against Emi’s attack. Brilliant decision, as shown by one of the Oh, Crap! examples above.
  • The Reveal: In Episode 64 of Season 1, after numerous foreshadowing and wild mass guesses, Planet Cray is revealed to be actually exist, and the role of PSYQualia is to connect the fighters to the units and events that are unfolding on Cray.
    • In Episode 99, it was revealed that the mysterious force that was invading Cray is VOID. And Takuto's plan is to use the VF Circuit to find strong fighters to fight them.
  • The Worf Effect: Kai's role in the show seems to have crystallised into "that guy who never loses, except to the Big Bad of the season".
    • Misaki is the designated punching bag of Team Q4. Though the show emphasises the advantage of her photographic memory, it also notes that she is the least experienced and least enthusiastic member of the team.
    • Even moreso are Team Caesar. They're set up as world-class players, but almost all of their wins are off-screen.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: An instrumental version of Diamond Star (the 1st ending) can be heard once Team Q4 arrives at the training camp.
    • The second ending, "Smash Up" plays during the tournament montage in episode 39.
    • The second opening, "Believe in my existence", plays during Kai's Final Turn against Aichi in episode 50.
    • Twice in episode 65. "Believe in my existence" plays during the conclusion of Aichi's fight with Ren, and "Diamond Star" plays at the very end of the episode.
    • In Episode 82, the first opening, Vanguard plays during Koutei's Final Turn. It's very appropriate.
      • And again in Episode 86 when he does it again.
      • Limit Break plays when Koutei SUPERIOR CROSS BREAK RIDE into Great Daikaiser.
    • Episode 103 sees the return of Believe In My Existence when Aichi plays Blaster Blade Spirit and pushes Leon to 5 Damage.
    • Limit Break makes it a complete set for the Openings in 104.
    • Break Your Spell makes an appearance as one in Episode 162.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Phantom Blaster Dragon is made out of this. It'll be truly epic overkill if two critical triggers are drawn aside from activating Counterblast twice (49000 and 5 damage). The same can be made of Gancelot, Aleph, Galahad and Edel Rose.
    • Taken to another level with Vajra Thunder Emperor, Indra. It gets a Critical 6 when you have another 3 units of the same name in your Rear Guard and gets a double Critical Trigger. All in the cost of Counter-Blast 1.
    • This trope basically works every time a player gets a double Critical Trigger when your opponent is at 5 damage.
  • They're Called "Personal Issues" for a Reason: This is pretty much Kai's response to Aichi, Miwa and Kamui following him to find out where he lives and what caused his personality to change.
  • Those Two Guys: Morikawa and Izaki. Reiji and Eiji, who have little purpose outside cheering on Kamui.
  • This Loser Is You: In Episode 32 after Aichi loses his round, and knocking Team Q4 out of the tournament (for real), Ren proceeds to rub it in has face. Furthermore, the next episode has the team only able to watch as Team AL4 completely pulverizes the competition and not surprisingly win the Nationals.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Aichi due to his Psyqualia in Episode 41.
    • In episode 51 Morikawa of all people. He forgot his deck the day of the free-for-all shop tournament and Shin loaned him a structure deck. He spends the rest of the episode curbstomping people while moaning about how the deck ony has one Grade 3 unit. It doesn't last, though...
    • As of his victories against Koutei in episode 56 and Ren in episode 65, Aichi is officially badass even without Psyqualia.
    • In Episode 82, Kenji, no, Daiyusha finally Took a Level in Badass by showing up in its ULTIMATE FORM and wins against Ren.
    • Thanks to training from Kai and Miwa, Izaki gets a MAJOR one during episode 121. Forcing someone like Aichi to use up his entire hand to block one (critical 3!) attack AND managing to get in a critical 2 attack in the same turn is no mean feat.
  • Tournament Arc: Five in the first season: the Card Capital shop tournament, the regional tournament, the Nationals, the second Regionals (the second shop tournament was just a brief prelude to the Regionals) and the second Nationals. The second season was basically one big tournament arc - the Vanguard Fight Circuit - divided in four parts: Singapore Stage, Seoul Stage, Hong Kong Stage and Japan Stage. The third season had the High School Championship (specifically the Regionals part).
  • True Companions: Team Q4, eventually.
    • In Legion Mate, the mates. For an antagonist example, the same applies to the Quatre Knights, Cera excluded.
  • Up to Eleven: ULTIMATE BREAK!
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Kai and Misaki. Not to mention Ren Suzugamori and Leon Soryuu.
  • The Underground Player Is A Cheating Bastard: Subverted. The underground player cheated a couple of times (drawing from underneath and having extra cards), but Kai beats him and he mentioned that after.
  • Unexpected Character: Ride 50's key card came completely out of left field, seeing as it was supposed to be a manga exclusive; "Together with the knights, open a path...and look upon the young king! Ride the Vanguard! Alfred Early!"
  • Unfortunate Name: Toilette.
  • Unperson: Happens to Aichi during Season 4. All memory of Aichi's existence has been wiped from everyone's (except Kai's) memory. Kai sets out to find Aichi, help Aichi's friends remember him, and discover what happened to him. It turns out that Aichi had himself sealed away to prevent the seed of Link Joker (Which had been inside of him since the end of Season 3) from taking control of him. He erased the memory of his friends himself for that end.
  • Unstoppable Rage: At the end of Episode 24's Cardfight, Misaki is more-or-less suffering a complete breakdown due to be flooded with memories of her dead parents, and seems to go into this state, seeming more aggressive than before. Naturally, the moment is heralded by a Critical Trigger making itself known for her final blow.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Morikawa. Hand him a balanced deck and he can suddenly fight on terms that might even surpass Kai.
    • Vanguard G gives him G Assist which makes even his decks flow better. Guarding is a different story...
  • Villainous Breakdown: Kyou in Episodes 30 and 42. Ren in Episode 65 after Aichi uses Majesty Lord Blaster and claims to accept him.
    Ren: I don't want your acceptance! Go ahead and reject me! I don't accept anyone, either!
    • In the live-action, after losing to Daigo, Teru's mentor runs out of the building in tears while shrieking like a lunatic. Considering how bizarrely unlikely his loss actually was, it's almost understandable.
    • Although he's not exactly a villain, [Psy]Aichi's breakdown in his match against Kai is quite a bit like Kyou and Ren's.
  • Warrior Therapist: Kai is this to Aichi and Ren. In the latter case, it doesn't work, and the task falls to Aichi.
  • We Can Rule Together: Gouki offers Kamui a place on his team. Ren does the same to Kai.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 32. Aichi loses and Team Q4 are out of the Nationals.
    • Followed immediately again in 33. We get the first view of Blaster Dark, the Shadow Archetype to Blaster Blade, in Ren's first true fight. Demoralized by how powerful he is and his personal loss, Aichi falls into despair, and Kai barely pulls him out. Shaken by these events, Shin enrolls Q4 in a training camp to fight on even footing with AL4 in the future.
    • Episode 41 seems to be shaping up to be one too, judging by the fandom's reactions. Turns out Aichi's Psyqualia is corrupting up much faster than anyone expected....
    • Episode 42 is now the Wham Moment: "No, Aichi Sendou, you have gotten weaker."
    • Episode 49. The destined fight between Aichi and Kai begins, with Kai using Aichi's former Royal Paladin deck, and we finally get Kai's backstory.
    • Episode 64. We finally learn more about the person the PSY trio is working for. It turns out to be an entity from Cray (which in turn confirms Cray as a real place) and “borrows” Rekka’s body to watch the fight between Ren and Aichi (the effect is similar to when someone is using Psyqualia, just not as dark). We learn what is going on on Cray and that users of Psyqualia actually sinchronyze with Cray (something that was only hinted at in previous episodes). And in addition to all that, Aichi uses Psyqualia again and calls Blaster Dark, to everyone’s shock.
    • Episode 66, the first episode of Asia Circuit. It ends with Aichi's deck either transformed or stolen, and the Royal and Shadow Paladins, as well as Kagerou clan, erased from living memory. No one can recall them except Aichi. Made all the worse since this episode effectively eliminated the card that symbolically tied Aichi and Kai together.
    • Episode 75, the return of PSYQualia.
    • Episode 82. Koutei and Ren's fight in the final of the Seoul Stage.
    • Episode 90. Leon's backstory is revealed, and at the end of the episode, Aichi willingly activates his Psyqualia to fight against Leon's wind.
    • Episode 98: Takuto sends Teams Q4, New AL 4, Dreadnought and SIT Genius to Cray in order to become leaders who can unite the Clans against the Mysterious Force. And then Leon declares that he is the only one who can lead Cray, standing against the others.
    • Episode 102: Kai faces Leon and both show off new Crossride units, the sheer power going into the fight is enough to give both Aichi and Ren headaches. Leon beats Kai, who apologizes for not being any help to Aichi before he, Ren and Asaka are returned to Earth, leaving Aichi and Leon as the only Psyqualia users left on Cray to fight.
    • Episode 103: Leon and Aichi's fight. The sky above Cray starts to crack to put apply more pressure at that Void's about to break through to Earth. Void begins to poison Aichi, causing him to hallucinate and then collapse. He's revived by Blaster Blade Spirit, which he plays and puts Leon at 5 Damage. Then Leon crossride Glory Maelstrom.
    • Episode 126: Naoki becomes a pawn of the Link Joker and used to fight Aichi, showing off the first Reverse card while Brainwashed and Crazy.
    • Episodes 127/128: Takuto is hijacked by the Link Joker/Void and when Kai visits him to talk about Naoki, gets himself tangled in a fight against him. The latter episode consists heavily of Takuto slowly Mind Raping Kai until he caves in and accepts the power of Link Joker.
    • Episode 154: Arguably the biggest of the show thus far - Aichi and Reverse Kai's fight, ending with Aichi losing and being almost Reversed, saved at the last minute by Leon and Takuto. But even then, they tell him that the Reverse is still inside him and if he goes off to fight again, it'll take over and his life is hanging in the balance. Even still, Aichi is determined to face Kai again and Takuto has to force him to pass out in order to protect him from a suicidal charge after Kai.
    • Episode 162: By this point, most of the episodes could count, but this one has the start of the climatic fight of the season; Aichi and Reverse Kai's rematch under the collapsing Link Joker Gate. Kai makes it clear that he intends to win and then disappear. Aichi, whom he sees as his final opponent, is naturally distraught and tries to sway Kai's plan, as he believes his mere existence harms Aichi and everyone else as he feels the need to keep fighting to be the best and defeat everyone around him, riding all the way to Dragonic Overlord The Яe-Birth.
    • Episode 164: Kai found out that everyone has forgotten about Aichi, except him. Might be a recurring pattern that every even numbered seasons will start with a Wham Episode.
    • Episodes 169 and 170: The appearance of the Quartre, who tells Kai and his mates to stop chasing after Aichi, defeats Kai and Naoki, Miwa and reveals that they have abilities similar to the "Punish Game" that Millenium Item users have. At the end of episode 169, Gaillard tells Kai that there's 4 of them.
    • Episode 177 is a big one. First, it's the return of Link Joker. Second, Aichi reveals to Kai and his mates that he doesn't want to meet them anymore and that they should stop trying to find him. Third, Kourin takes Blaster Blade Seeker back from Kai, rendering his Seeker deck totally "useless."
    • Episode 180. Sera reveals to Kai and his mates that if they lose in the Sanctuary, the Quartre Knights can perform a Memory Judgment, which will make them forget about Aichi, AGAIN.
  • Wham Line: Delivered by Aichi in episode 43: "I'll keep you company. This is my Shadow Paladins' first battle."
    • Suiko delivers an absolute shocker in Episode 50: "You should give your gratitude to him."
    • Episode 63, Ren gives what could easily be the two most horrifying lines of the series so far to Aichi. "As long as I have this power, I can do what I want with you". (Inwardly) 'It's boring to just humiliate you, I think I'll transform you into the very thing you hate the most'. The preview for 64 really doesn't help the unsettling feeling.
    • Episode 75
      • Chris: This is the image of my victory. This is the power of PSYQualia!
    • Morikawa defeating Aichi, Izaki, Miwa and almost everyone in the shop, with just an unmodified Trial Deck.
    • From Episode 99:
    Leon: I'm afraid that Royal Paladin, Kagero and Shadow Paladin won't be coming back. Ever...
    • Episode 126. Three in quick succession.
    Naoki: That's what I... was ordered to do.
    Naoki: Final turn!
    Naoki: Crossbreak ride!
    • Episode 128 has quite chilling ones.
    Kai: This is power. This is...! Ride!
    Takuto: The only things of value are your own power and strength. You had faith in that, huh? And just now, you murdered that faith with your own hands.
    • Episode 146.
    Takuto: This may seem sudden, but your going to be destroyed.
    • Episode 154.
    Kai: Final Turn. And this is our final fight!
    Kai: Farewell, Aichi...
    • Episode 162.
    Kai: My presence would only hurt you more. I'm going to disappear from your lives. Forever.
    • Episode 177.
    Aichi: Everyone...I don't want to meet with you guys anymore. Forget about me. I want you to stop trying to rescue me, stop trying to find me.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Kourin delivers one to Kai in episode 44 over his role in Aichi developing Psyqualia and subsequent abandonment of him.
  • When She Smiles: Misaki in 29. And especially Kai in the first season's finale.
    • And we get, perhaps, Ren's only non Slasher Smile -esque real smile in the same episode after the final match.
  • The Wise King: From Alfred - Early's flavor text, it can be reasonably assumed that this is King of Knights, Alfred's character.
  • Worthy Opponent: Team Caesar view their respective counterparts on Q4 as this. This is especially clear with Kenji, who actively seeks Aichi to be the last opponent he plays in Japan in season 2.
    • Aichi spends the majority of season 1 trying to be this for Kai. It does NOT go well when Kai all but outright states that he'll never see him as one.
    • Season 3's last episodes make it clear that Kai sees both Ren and Aichi as this, enough to corrupt himself with Link Joker's power to reach them, who have become far stronger than he is. Meanwhile, Ren returns the feeling to the point of not caring at all about the world being destroyed. In their final match, Aichi makes it clear that he still sees Kai as this, as well.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: Majesty Lord Blaster, which Aichi uses to defeat Ren. It can only reach its full power by using both Blaster Blade and Blaster Dark together.
  • Yin-Yang Clash: Ren delivers an ominous speech describing this just before riding Blaster Dark for the first time, though he appears to favor the darkness over the light.
    Ren: Where there is light, there is darkness. That is one of a pair of truths. And light can only be swallowed up by darkness. That is a truth too.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Ren and Aichi's belief and the reason for their absolute confidence when channeling Psyqualia. However, as Aichi points out, this doesn't apply when fighting another Psyqualia user.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Aichi, of course, and Asaka. Misaki has lilac hair, while Shin has green hair.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: In episode 129, Kyou holds off a bunch of Link Joker possessed Fukuhara students and Team Brilliant Stars, who are attempting to cause Link Joker to take over Ren, which allows Ren to fight a Link Joker possessed Suiko.
    • The second half of Legion Mate is basically the Quatre Knights attempting to do this to Kai and his mates.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: One of Ren's lines in Episode 63 after he sends Aichi to Cray to be attacked by Blaster Dark strongly implies this.
    Ren: It feels like I actually just swung a sword. *Slasher Smile*
    • The fact that Aichi obviously feels a degree of pain after being attacked by Blaster Dark, and then again by Phantom Blaster Dragon, backs it up.
    • In the manga, the Fight Gloves produce the same effect and losers appears to be drained of their strength after the match. Throw Psyqualia into the mix and you've got main characters constantly collapsing during and after their fights.


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