SOL Technologies Inc.
The organisation in charge of LINK VRAINS. They aim to capture Ai to regain access to the Cyberse world, and compete with the Knights of Hanoi to achieve their goal.
- Big-Bad Ensemble: Their hiring of numerous mercenaries in season 2 firmly places them in this position, with the mystery faction led by Lightning as the other half. Averted come Season 3 when Ai steps up as the new villain, defeating Queen, and leaving Akira in charge.
- Chess Motifs: The company uses chess-based titles, with Queen as the top executive, and the Kings are the major stockholders.
- Foil: Essentially, their role in season 2 and their plan with the AI makes them a darker counterpart to Cafe Nagi for they want coexistence like them but they're doing it in a way that humans and AI fuse while Cafe Nagi wants complete harmony between the two sides.
- Frame-Up: It was long believed that SOL Technologies were responsible for installing a computer virus in Kogami and rendering comatose. Lightning, however, reveals that to be a big fat lie, as he himself was behind the deed.
- George Jetson Job Security: Downplayed in that, while Kitamura has a habit of threatening to fire his subordinates, he never actually goes through with it. Lampshaded by his subordinates who ask how many times they are going to get fired.
- Hidden Depths: It turns out that Dr. Kogami used to be a researcher for SOL Technologies.
- Leitmotif: "SOL Technologies", which ironically sounds similar to the Knights of Hanoi's leitmotif.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Along with Kitamura, none of his subordinates are aware of the events of the Lost Incident/Hanoi Project, which affected Yusaku, Takeru, Spectre, and Kusanagi's little brother Jin.
- Mega-Corp: They're in charge of LINK VRAINS, and can utilise technologies that overlook the cyberspace such as City Scan and Log-Out Prevention programs.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: In season 1 they were largely ineffectual due to Kitamura and early Season 2 due to the Bounty Hunters constantly losing. Then come episode 75, where Go Onizuka is corrupted by a brain implant, and Queen and the scientists coldly dissect and kill Earth despite begging for his life and asserting his free will.
- Only in It for the Money: Subverted. It was initially claimed that SOL saw the Ignis as an opportunity for big money, and fearing that authorities would seize the Ignis, they covered up the Lost Incident and put an imprisoned Kogami into a comatose state, and later murder Earth for his data. As Blood Shepherd discovers however, it turns out to be a farce as they're actually planning to use the Ignis to create a high-performance Ignis.
- Red Herring: It was long believed that SOL Technologies were responsible for installing a virus in Kogami, rendering him comatose. This turns out to not be the case, however, when Lightning exposes a shocking truth to Revolver about his father; Lightning himself was responsible for the deed.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Playmaker managed to save the entirety of LINK VRAINS which is one of their main sources of income. In exchange for that they sent out a Bounty Hunter team after him, all because he has an Ignis. This gets downplayed when they dropped the charges when Playmaker saved LINK VRAINS yet again, but this time from Bohman.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Implied. They are a Mega-Corp whose main source of power comes from the Cyberse, their executives minus Akira (who is still lower in the company hierarchy anyways) are suspiciously unwilling to make any contact with the public and seemingly using Akira as an unofficial spokesman of sorts. The one and only other person they've contacted other than Akira is Emma, but she is a mercenary. Other than that they always show up as giant holographic projections of chess pieces and have yet to show their real appearances, despite such odd secrecy is obviously excessive. To wrap it up, Hanoi is explicitly referring to the Cyberse - the company's main source of power - as something dangerous and all of Hanoi's higher-ups shown are presented as fully committed to their stated goal of destroying it.
Voiced by: Megumi Koyama (Japanese)
A high-ranking member of SOL Technologies Inc. She uses an "Allure Queen" deck.
- Asshole Victim: After her unethical and horrific actions in Season 2, she becomes this at the hands of Ai, who defeats her in a duel and injures her enough to require hospitalization.
- Big Bad Wannabe: She's touted as the main antagonistic force behind SOL Technologies and has ambitions that lead to her being apart of the Big-Bad Ensemble of Season 2. Come Season 3 however, Ai quickly deals with her and leaves her hospitalized, displacing her as the next Big Bad.
- Chess Motifs: Is named after the queen chess piece, establishing her authority as a higher-up of SOL Technologies.
- Cool Shades: Is seen with them when she's in her swimsuit.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: A high-ranking executive, Queen only cares about efficiency and profits, and will do anything to get data including enabling Go Onizuka and putting him at risk by fusing him with an AI and later putting Earth into his brain.
- The Corruptor: Queen willfully allows Onizuka to undergo a fusion with an AI to turn him from an angry bounty hunter to a psychotic monstrous opponent.
- Deadpan Snarker: She casually brushes off Akira's concerns when he hesitates to go after Playmaker with the Bounty Hunter team he was assigned to take charge of.
- Expy: Queen is a less sympathetic version of Himika Akaba from ARC-V and also has elements of Roget due to the use of Chess Motifs and being a Smug Snake.
- A Glass of Chianti: She's seen sipping a drink from a wine glass, just to hammer in that she is a part of a very rich company.
- God Save Us Fromthe Queen: Thematically due to her motif in the SOL Chess Motifs, and she even uses the Allure Queen archetype.
- Hate Sink: Episode 75 establishes her as this in contrast to Hanoi and the Bohman faction, where she coldly has a captured Earth killed and dissected despite his cries, and before that led to Onizuka's corruption and fall into evil. Episode 81 takes it further by revealing that she had Earth's data fused with Onizuka as well, jeopardizing his well-being even more simply for the sake of gathering data. It's unlikely that anyone felt much sympathy for her when Ai defeats her at the start of Season 3 and injuries her enough to require hospitalization.
- Lack of Empathy: She's okay with doing anything as long as it gets her more data or money such as terminating Earth despite him being a sentient being and implanting Go with an AI chip that's clearly caused his health to deteriorate.
- The Leader: Of SOL Technologies. In the first episode of Season 3, it's stated that her position is the highest, with Executive Director being second best in terms of rank.
- Ms. Fanservice: Her very first appearance in person has her wear almost nothing but a swimsuit.
- Non-Action Big Bad: She's high ranked in SOL Technologies, but prefers to work behind the scenes; she's spearheading the search for the Ignises and is the one to hire Go and Blood Shepherd. Subverted come Season 3, as she duels Ai herself, and is defeated in an OTK.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: So far, we don't actually know her real name. Even when she's been hospitalized on account of Ai defeating her brutally in a duel, Akira calls her Queen.
- Rage Breaking Point: She loses her composure the moment Akira forcefully logs GO out of LINK VRAINS (after losing to Playmaker a second time) because he dared to no longer submit to her authority.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Just as it looks like she's about to lose to Ai, she uses a skill during a master duel, something explicitly referred to as cheating by Roboppi, with Queen saying she doesn't care since she makes the rules. Said skill lets her regain the LP she lost during Ai's direct attack, then lets her set any Trap Card not in her deck. Unfortunately for , her, Ai forsaw this and explicitly put Linguriboh on his field to subvert it.
- Smug Snake: Smug and sure of herself and her rank, only to fearfully beg Ai when shes loses to him.
- The Unfettered: She'll use whatever means imaginable to acquire data or riches, and doesn't give a damn if it involves deteriorating someone else's wellbeing (as is the case with GO, who voluntarily underwent Training from Hell just to get back at Playmaker).
- The Worf Effect: Ai effortlessly wipes the floor with her, demonstrating the imminent threat the former Ignis poses to humanity.
Voiced by: Shouma Yamamoto (Japanese), Barrett Leddy (English)
Aoi's workaholic older step-brother and SOL Technologies Inc.'s Security Chief, dedicated to protecting Den City from hackers on a daily basis. Later demoted to Chief and replaced by his former boss, Kitamura, after Playmaker's duel against Revolver.
He duels using a Tindangle deck, DARK Monsters revolving around Flip Effects that also have abilities that are dangerous to Link Monsters.
- Adult Fear: Being responsible for a six-year-old at sixteen, and worrying about how he would provide for her or her getting kidnapped like Yusaku.
- Aloof Big Brother: A deconstructed subversion. Initially described as indifferent towards Aoi, he advises her to quit Speed Dueling out of concern for her safety, and shows legitimate concern for her after she enters a comatose state. He is, however, overly protective of Aoi to the point that he locks her up in the house to prevent any further danger befalling her shortly after she recovers from her coma.
- Animal Motifs: He is compared to a hellhound that protects his angel, i.e Aoi, which is lampshaded by Ghost Girl with his monsters, Tindangle Hound and Angel. He is also referred to as a lapdog for SOL, something he owns up to, but he can't defy them since he is low-level.
- Back from the Dead: He is returned to normal after Playmaker defeats Revolver and the Tower of Hanoi is stopped.
- Badass in Distress: As he reaches a defeated Blue Angel, he gets trapped in a thorny prison, installed with computer viruses, by Dr. Kogami. It gets worse after Spectre, who is disadvantaged thanks to Playmaker's Excode Talker sealing two of his Main Monster Zones, reveals an imprisoned Akira in front of him, gloating that he increasingly risks being infected by the prison's computer virus as Spectre takes damage. On the other hand, Kusanagi quickly gets to work to disable the thorny prison and free Akira.
- Big Brother Instinct: Is very protective towards Aoi especially after she recovers from her coma, going as far as preventing her from leaving the house in #16 and making her promise not to go into LINK VRAINS in #24.
- Big Damn Heroes: As Queen tried to capture Ai after GO's defeat, Akira forcefully logged GO out of LINK VRAINS. Fortunately, his actions saved GO from death and the main duo from being captured.
- Big Good: He's one of the only people at SOL Tech with a conscience, and works to help Playmaker rather than hinder him from behind the scenes through his sister Aoi and Emma. He's promoted to Vice-Director come Season 3, and once Ai leaves Queen hospitalized, Akira is left as the one in charge of SOL Tech, allowing him full control over their resources to stop Ai.
- Blatant Lies: While pursued by the media, he feigns ignorance that he was responsible for setting up a Duel between GO and Playmaker.
- Casting a Shadow: The Tindangles are DARK attribute.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Violently interrogates Playmaker, demanding that he explain Aoi/Blue Angel's comatose state and confess that he was responsible for the deed.
- Dark and Troubled Past: He and Aoi lost their parents in a car accident, and had their inheritance stolen, forcing him to hack for money.
- Dark Is Not Evil: While the Tindangle mosters are eldritch appearing demons, at the time of his duel, Akira is the Hero Antagonist against Playmaker's Vigilante Man.
- Determinator: When the Neuron Link takes his consciousness, the thought of his sister causes him to keep going even without his consciousness and helped destroy the Neuron Link.
- Disappeared Dad: His biological father, alongside Aoi's biological mother, died in an accident at some point before the Lost Incident.
- Easily Forgiven: Even after a hostile interrogation, Playmaker doesn't resent Akira, likely because Playmaker's hatred towards the Knights of Hanoi outweighs any possible hatred towards him.
- Expy: Of Reiji, as another cool-headed young man holding a very high ranking position in a company specializing in card-game related tech that has a hidden purpose. Both Reiji and Zaizen often send others to Duel for them while they analyze the situation from video surveillance. Time will tell if Zaizen takes after Reiji in other ways, though both are introduced to the audience as morally ambiguous characters with mysterious motives.
- First-Name Basis: Emma is the only named character to address Akira by his given name at all times. He also calls her Emma when she Takes The Blow for him.
- Foil: Of Shoichi Kusanagi. They are both hackers with siblings that serve as their main motivation. While Akira used hacking as a means of survival, Kusanagi uses it for revenge. While Akira is affiliated with SOL Technologies, Kusanagi is Yusaku's greatest ally. Akira is a skilled duelist while Kusanagi isn't. Akira works at a high-class company while Kusanagi owns his own food truck. Akira is uptight and a bit reserved while Kusanagi is laid-back most of the time and is not hesitant to speak his mind.
- For Happiness: All he wanted was for Aoi to live a happy life; he endured many hardships to survive since their respective biological parents died so that she wouldn't have to go through similar struggles.
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: After a failed attempt to bring Akira out of the thorny prison, he convinces Playmaker to steel his conviction, and to move forward in spite of the sacrifices made in an attempt to stop Hanoi's ambitions."Have conviction, Playmaker! Don't lose track of the big picture! Even if sacrifices must be made along the way, carry that burden and keep going! Go! Transform that conviction into strength!"
- Gratuitous English: Addresses Go as "Mr. Onizuka".
- He Knows Too Much: After Playmaker and Revolver's Master Duel, the higher-ups of SOL Technologies demote Akira to Chief and promote his former boss, Kitamura, to Security Chief, out of fear that he would get too curious about the Lost Incident/Hanoi Project.
- Hell Hound: His animal motif, and his ace monster, Tindangle Hound. In general his deck is based upon The Hounds of Tindalos.
- Hero Antagonist: While initially more of a straight-up Punch-Clock Villain, he evolves into this, seeking the truth about ten years ago and SOL, while offering to bring it to light responsibly, in contrast to Playmaker's desire for revenge.
- Heroic Sacrifice: After Kusanagi fails to bring Akira out of the thorny prison he is trapped in, Akira convinces Playmaker to steel his conviction, move forward, and not allow the sacrifices made to hinder Hanoi's ambitions to go to waste. Akira then touches the thorns and infects himself with the virus, and gets absorbed into the Tower of Hanoi like Blue Angel did. Kusanagi does not respond to Akira's sacrifice well at all.
- Season 2 had him stop the Neuron Link while losing his consciousness in the process. His efforts did help the momentary destruction of the Neuron Link.
- Honest Corporate Executive: While he does have shady moments in Season 1, once Playmaker saves Aoi he firmly becomes this trope, even being willing to take the fall for what happens after Ai is defeated.
- Improbable Age: He is 26 and he used to basically have Godwin's job from 5D's.
- Innocently Insensitive: He makes an effort to reach out to Playmaker and get him to let go of his Revenge. Unfortunately, due to not understanding how painful and fundamentally different Yusaku's history is, he hits the later's Relative Button and is called out for thinking he understands him.
- Justified Criminal: He was forced into hacking at 16 to provide for Aoi, due to asshole relatives stealing his and her inheritance.
- Keeping Secrets Sucks: Declines to disclose to Playmaker the name of the Hanoi Project's mastermind, but things fall apart for him after Playmaker defeats him and acquires the data from the data bank.
- Knight Templar Big Brother: Overlapping with Overprotective Dad due to his Promotion to Parent, Akira is not above using pragmatic methods (such as attempting to interrogate Playmaker through Cold-Blooded Torture until The Reveal from Revolver) and making sure any hostilities are as good as dead for Aoi's sake. He moves out of this by Season 2, realizing that banning Aoi from being involved won't work, and instead has her work with Ghost Girl to let her be involved but also safe.
- Manly Tears: He gets very emotional after Aoi wakes up from her coma.
- My God, What Have I Done?: He is horrified when Revolver admits that Hanoi is responsible for Aoi's condition, not Playmaker.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: Played with. Despite disagreeing SOL Technologies methods, he continues to obey them, feeling that he is just a lapdog with no real power to stop them if he wanted to. At least publicly. Behind the scenes, he operates through Aoi and Emma against SOL Tech, having them assist Playmaker if need be.
- Non-Action Guy: While he can duel and did once against Playmaker, he largely prefers to remain in the background and assist from the shadows, either through hacking or by sending Aoi and Emma in his place.
- Not So Different: He attempts to invoke it when he duels Playmaker. It fails.
- Not So Stoic: Normally putting on a stoic front, he loses his cool when he is unable to forcibly terminate the Duel between Playmaker and Blue Angel.
- Oblivious to Love: Does not seem to understand why Hayami watched his heroic moments 100 times. Her blubbering and shyness around him also goes past his head.
- Only in It for the Money: As a hacker, he was willing to undergo shady jobs while risking his life at the same time, so that he could acquire money to ensure his and Aoi's survival.
- Only Sane Man: By season 2 it's clear that Akira is the only person in SOL industries who isn't a lunatic with delusions of godhood, a violent xenophobic maniac, a person willing to let the world burn in order to settle a petty grudge, a bastard profiting of the kidnapping and torture of children, a corporate drone willing to participate in horrifying experiments straight out of Jopseph Melenge for a paycheck, or any combination of the above.
- Our Demons Are Different: The Tindangles are Fiend-Type monsters that utilize flip effects.
- Parental Neglect: Since their parents died, he's been Aoi's guardian, and while his job lets her live comfortably, he has no time to spend with her, so he doesn't notice her emotional problems, him being the major cause of them. Even after the issue with Playmaker is resolved, he STILL doesn't get it, deciding to protect her by locking her in the house and not letting her go to school. Later on, however, he goes home more frequently and allows Aoi to attend school again, but by that point Aoi has different issues.
- Promotion to Parent: After their parents died, Akira took care of Aoi, gaining his job in order to support a stable life for her.
- Protectorate: He becomes this in season 3 when Ai threatens to take his half of the code key which would give him access to SOL Technologies' central computer and take over the whole company. In order to protect himself he assembles a team composed of Playmaker, Soulburner, Blue Maiden, GO, Ghost Girl, Blood Shepherd and the Knights of Hanoi to fight against Ai.
- Punch-Clock Villain: "Villain" might be a stretch, but Akira only opposes Playmaker in Season 2 because it is his job in SOL Technologies. Otherwise, Akira feels deeply indebted to him and is much more interested in making contact with him in real life.
- Rags to Riches: After enduring many hardships, he eventually worked up to the prominent and well-paying job at SOL to provide for Aoi.
- Riches to Rags: He and Aoi had their inheritance stolen after their parents died.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: After the incident with his sister and Hanoi, Akira gets demoted to Chief, watching over data banks that he can't access. Justified as the higher ups are afraid that Akira might get too curious and conduct his own investigation, which he promptly does.
- Rule of Three:
- His ace monster, Tindangle Acute Cerberus, is Link 3 and requires exactly 3 Tindangle monsters be used as Link Materials to Link Summon it.
- His Tindangle Delaunay trap requires that he have at least three Tindangle Monsters with different names in his Graveyard as a prerequisite to activate.
- His Euler's Circuit Field Spell prevents his opponent from attacking as long as he controls at least three Tindangle Monsters.
- Running Both Sides: While forced to lead bounty hunters against Playmaker to capture the Ignis programs for his company, he also sets Ghost Girl and Aoi to investigate whether or not the Ignis are really dangerous to humanity or not, being far more interested in the truth.
- Say My Name: Cries out for Aoi after she is defeated by Spectre.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Finally defies Queen when he forces GO to logout upon seeing that she was willing to let him die in order to capture Ai.
- Sinister Geometry: The Tindangles are shown with a lot of angles, the name being a combination of Tindalos + Angle.
- So Proud of You: Praises Aoi for saving the Anothers, to her delight.
- Technicolor Eyes: He has cold pink eyes.
- This Is Unforgivable!: Akira sees the cruel side of his boss, Queen, as he realizes Earth's decomplied data was fused into GO's AI Chip. Although he is concerned for GO's health, his rage is very visible seeing how Queen only cares about collecting data.
- Token Good Teammate: For SOL Technologies, not liking the bounty on Playmaker and is the only one to be horrified when Earth is brutally murdered by their scientists while Queen watches coldly. He's also the only one protesting against Queen's desire to collect more data after witnessing and realizing Earth's data was fused into GO's AI Chip.
- Workaholic: Is dedicated to protecting Den City from hackers. Although the truth is that he worked hard to give Aoi a good and stable life, not realizing that she also needed brotherly love and support, which is sadly Truth in Television in Japan. This bites him hard when Aoi disobeys his order to stop Speed Dueling and challenges Playmaker to gain her brother's approval, resulting in her being mind-controlled by Hanoi.
- You Are in Command Now: In Season 3, he is the second-highest executive and becomes the highest after Queen is defeated and hospitalized by Ai, with the Kings - the Major Stockholders, making it clear he is in charge.
- You Are Too Late: By the time he logs into LINK VRAINS and rushes to a defeated Blue Angel, she already has a computer virus planted in her.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: His hair is teal and blue.
Bishop, Knight, and Rook
Bishop voiced by: IKKAN (Japanese)
Knight voiced by: Masaaki Yano (Japanese), Sam Black (English)
Rook voiced by: Koichi Makishima (Japanese)
Three higher-ups of SOL Technologies.
- Chess Motifs: They communicate with holograms of literal white bishop, knight, and rook pieces.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Rook shows concern over the possibility of civilians getting hurt by the Data Storm.
- Super Gullible: Bishop quickly buys Kitamura's claim that his AI Duelist Squad effortlessly decimated the three Lieutenants of Hanoi.
- Whatever Happened to the Mouse?: Their fate is unknown, but based upon their botched handling of Hanoi and trusting Kitamura, they were likely among those fired that Queen mentioned.
Voiced by: Masayuki Kato (Japanese)
Akira's former boss, and the new Security Chief of SOL Technologies, replacing Akira after Playmaker's Duel against Revolver.
- All According to Plan: Subverted. For unknown reasons, he had plans to use the contents of SOL Technologies' data bank against the higher-ups and earn himself a promotion... only for things to fall apart for him after Playmaker acquires the data.
- Asshole Victim: He's turned to data after being defeated by Spectre, after he tries to abandon SOL and join Hanoi.
- Badass Boast: Subverted. He claims that his AI Duelists excel at the Death of a Thousand Cuts play style, only for one of his AI Duelists to be terminated at the hands of Blue Angel, whose deck also utilises said play style.
- Big "WHAT?!": Comically freaks out when he is informed that Akira and Ghost Girl, too, have infiltrated the data bank.
- Blatant Lies: Bishop buys his claim that his AI Duelist Squad wiped out the three Lieutenants of Hanoi.
- Butt-Monkey: Constantly claims that his chances of earning a promotion go out the window when things don't go as he'd hoped.
- Chewing the Scenery: Mean Boss as he may be, he bombastically loses it when things don't go as planned for him.
- Contrasting Sequel Antagonist:
- To Roget. They have similar occupations, yet Kitamura is (intentionally) written to be funny and is a far cry from Roget's extremes when it comes to Ambition Is Evil. However, unlike Roget who was a Smug Snake and tried to strike out on his own, Kitamura is a straightup Slimeball that attempts to throw in his lot with the villains.
- Also invoked In-Universe, as part of the reason he was promoted to Akira's position was because of the perceived personality differences between the two on part of the higher-ups who hoped to prevent the Lost Incident/Hanoi Project from being investigated.
- Dirty Coward: After SOL Technologies loses control to Hanoi, he immediately tries to throw in his lot with them.
- Establishing Character Moment: Threatening to cut his workers' salaries by 50% for lagging behind on the development of an AI duelist army paints him as a Mean Boss.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He was completely caught off guard by the very idea of SOL Technologies organizing (what later turned out be mass) kidnappings. This holds true for some part, given that Dr. Kogami used to be a researcher for SOL Technologies.
- Gonk: Has a large nose and slanted eyes, and while not unrealistically gonky, he looks like a bit of a parody of Asian features.
- Human Sacrifice: After failing to defeat Spectre, he like many others is turned into data and absorbed into the Tower of Hanoi, with the intent of powering the Tower so the Knights of Hanoi can destroy LINK VRAINS.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: Begs not to be turned into data as he disintegrates and gets absorbed by the Tower of Hanoi.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Is clueless about the events that unfolded during the Lost Incident/Hanoi Project.
- Mean Boss: Calls out on his workers for lagging behind on the development of an AI duelist army, and threatens to cut their salaries by 50% should they continue stagnating.
- Multicolored Hair: Two shades of purple.
- Oh, Crap!: Rather justifiably freaks out when he realizes that Playmaker has gotten very far in the SOL Technologies main computer before he was detected, but calms down and realizes he can test his Prototype AI's.
- Only One Name: His given name is unknown.
- The Quisling: After losing control over LINK VRAINS, Kitamura turns himself in to the Knights of Hanoi and offers to join their ranks to save his own skin.
- Saying Too Much: Kitamura rants in his office over the fact that Playmaker acquired the data from SOL Technologies' data bank, and hopes that no one will find out, let alone question him, about it. Unbeknownst to him, two of his subordinates overhear him from outside.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: What becomes of him after the conclusion of the Tower of Hanoi incident is unknown, although he was presumably fired based on Queen's comments.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: His AI Duelist Squad initially has the upper hand against Hanoi's mooks... only to shortly after be effortlessly decimated by Faust and Baira. Netizens hit him hard with hate comments for his incompetence.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Two shades of purple.
Voiced by: Chihiro Ikki (Japanese)
Akira's subordinate and admirer.
- Dirty Coward: Has no problem bombarding Soulburner with explosives via her tablet, all to prevent Akira from being demoted for failing to capture Flame. GO calls out on SOL for their underhandedness, and blocks a hit for Soulburner and gets out unharmed.
- Fangirl: She is a fan of Blue Angel, even encouraging Akira to stay to the end and let her finish her duel.
- Office Lady: In the first season, she mostly just serves coffee or tea to Akira and serves as his secretary. Come the second season, she's more or less Akira's Number Two, and in charge of the room of Bridge Bunnies.
- Pointy Ears: Just like Emma Bessho, her ears are slightly pointed.
- Satellite Character: Her entire character is based around her being Akira's subordinate.
- Tender Tears: She bursts into tears after her tablet was confiscated by Akira, and admits to him that she attacked Soulburner out of fear that Akira would get demoted if SOL fails to capture Flame.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In the first season, she was the someone ditzy subordinate of Akira and a Blue Angel Fangirl. Come the second season, she is a borderline Yandere and Dirty Coward that tries to take out Soulburner with explosives. By Season 3 she returns more or less to her Season 1 persona.
- Yandere: Has shades of this when she, by herself without asking for help or even telling anyone else, started attacking Soulburner while he was dueling Go Onizuka in an attempt to prevent the possibility of Akira being demoted again. Just look at her face as she was doing it◊.
SOL Technologies AIs
Voiced by: Manabu Sakamaki (Japanese)
A series of AI Duelists created by Kitamaru and his team to combat the threat posed by the Knights of Hanoi.
They use Tentaclusters, a series of DARK Machine-types based on prehistoric sea creatures and have the option of a mill strategy or a burn strategy.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: The AI Duelist Squad initially has an advantage over Hanoi's mook army, defeating 30% of their members... only to be quickly overwhelmed by Faust and Baira shortly after.
- Dark Is Evil: Downplayed; the Tentaclusters are creepy DARK monsters, but the AIs only follow their program.
- The Dividual: They are this, even more so than the Tower Keepers.
- Hoist by His Own Petard:
- Prototype Ai-A's hand destruction combo doesn't stop Playmaker, who utilizes card effects that activate in the Graveyard to make a comeback and deliver an OTK to his opponent.
- Prototype AI-B specializes in heavy effect damage, Blue Angel's specialty. When the AI was unable to finish off Blue Angel with a high damage combo, it leaves itself wide open to her direct attacks.
- Machine Monotone: They speak like this due to being AI controlled by a databank of SOL Tech.
- Mechanical Lifeforms: The Tentacluster are based on prehistoric sea creatures.
- Million Mook March: The AI Duelist Squad appears in LINK VRAINS to confront Hanoi's mooks.
Bounty HuntersA group of individuals hired by SOL Technologies to target Playmaker, who has a bounty on his head worth ₽500,000 since the opening of NEW LINK VRAINS, and acquire his Ignis.
Go Onizuka/GO 鬼塚 (Gore)
Voiced by: Daiki Hamano (Japanese), Daniel J. Edwards (English)
Go Onizuka is the first ranked Charisma Duelist of LINK VRAINS. In LINK VRAINS, he is known as GO 鬼塚.
He duels using the Gouki Archetype in a Beatdown deck that punishes defensive players. His Ace Monster is Gouki the Great Ogre, a card that reduces the ATK of all monsters on the field by their DEF, crippling his opponent's monsters while leaving him safe as Gouki Monsters all have 0 DEF. His Skill, Fighting Spirit, allows him to bring back all Gouki Monsters destroyed last turn back onto the field once per duel.
As a Bounty Hunter, GO operates a Dinowrestler deck, which also revolves around a Beatdown play style, as well as monster protection, manipulating (like limiting the amount or choosing which monster his opponent can attack with) or preventing attacks on his monsters or the activation of spells and traps. His new Skill, Dinowrestle Revolution, allows him to activate the Field Spell World Dino Wrestling which limits the amount of attacks he and his opponent can do in one turn and give his Dinowrestler Monsters more ATK. In order to get stronger, he became part of an experiment of SOL Technologies. He gained an AI implant in his brain which gave him the ability called Brain Hack which allows him to see more possibilities. It also allowed him to create a new Skill for himself called Anti-Skill which allows him to not only negate his opponent's Skill, but also lets him draw two cards,
- Alliterative Name: His dub name, George Gore.
- Always Someone Better: Following the Tower of Hanoi incident, he views himself as a stepping stone for Playmaker, as GO is no longer number one in LINK VRAINS. This is reaffirmed when he loses to Playmaker a second time despite undergoing Training from Hell just to get back at him, which also shows that Hard Work Hardly Works; i.e. grinding for days or weeks on end will get you nowhere.
- Anti-Magic: His new ace monster, Dinowrestler King T Wrextle, prevents the activation of spells and traps when it attacks, similar to Ancient Gear monsters. It appears that Mirror Force really bothered him. In addition, his new skill Anti-Skill lets him negate an opponent's skill and draw 2 cards.
- Attention Whore: His first spoken line in the series is to complain about Playmaker supposedly taking his spotlight, hinting that he has a big ego despite his friendly demeanor. This is also a Deconstruction at the same time - Go grew up in an orphanage and as thanks, decided to become a Charisma Duelist so he could earn money, repay their kindness, and make children happy.
- Back from the Dead:
- His Skill, Fighting Spirit, Special Summons all Gouki Monsters destroyed by battle in the same turn.
- He is returned to normal after Playmaker defeats Revolver and the Tower of Hanoi is stopped.
- Badass Boast: He lays claim to having an AI installed in his brain via a duel chip to the point that his Dueling skills exceed those of an ordinary human's.
- Barbarian Longhair: As Dark Onizuka, he sports long and messy dark teal hair, as befitting of his role as a heel.
- Blatant Lies: Discussed in regards to his claim that he knows of Playmaker's true identity, with Ai deducing that GO only made said claim to goad Genome into Dueling him.
- Blown Across the Room: Gets blown out of the room he was testing Speed Dueling on by a Data Storm.
- Broken Pedestal: Takeru/Soulburner, at one point, looked up to GO as one of the heroes who saved LINK VRAINS from being destroyed by the Knights of Hanoi. Later on, however, Takeru/Soulburner doesn't appreciate the fact that GO signed up to be a Bounty Hunter all to get back at Playmaker and become number one in LINK VRAINS once more, and thus chews out on him for throwing a hissy fit.
- Brought to You by the Letter "S": The G on his belt.
- The Bus Came Back: Returns seventeen episodes after his Duel against Playmaker.
- Characterization Marches On: In the first season despite his ego was more focused on making money to provide for the children of the orphanage and seemed to be okay with losing as long as it entertained others as well as dueling to protect others. Come season 2 he becomes more bitter and more of a Sore Loser as well as only dueling to one day defeat Playmaker. Come Season 3 he returns back to his season 1 persona.
- Childhood Friends: Despite their differences in personality, he and Makoto were on good terms since their childhood.
- Competition Freak: As of episode 75, GO claims he no longer cares about anything except for winning and defeating Playmaker; destroying Crystal Heart despite what it meant to Earth, capturing Earth despite him not being an enemy Ignis, having fought alongside Playmaker during the Tower of Hanoi, possibly dying during the experiments...he doesn't care about any of that.
- Contrasting Sequel Main Character:
- He's very muscular compared to the Acrofatic Tetsuo and the rotund (though also still muscular) Gentle Giant Gongenzaka. In comparison to Gongenzaka's defense-based deck, Onizuka's deck is definitively attack-oriented, and actually punishes monsters with high DEF via the effect of Gouki the Great Ogre; Onizuka's own monsters either have 0 DEF or are Link Monsters, so they get around this.
- In addition, unlike characters like Manjoume and Sawatari, instead of slowly becoming friendlier with the protagonist as a result of their loss, Onizuka becomes increasingly envious of Playmaker for being better than him.
- Cool Big Bro: Acts as one to the orphaned kids.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: It's clear that the AI implant he got caused him to become incredibly unhinged and lose care for everything except defeating Playmaker.
- Dark and Troubled Past: He used to be an orphan with money issues and Playmaker stealing his fame by accident is Serious Business for him.
- A Darker Me: Invoked in his Duel against Genome. GO equips Gouki the Dark Mask onto Gouki Thunder Ogre, turning it into Dark Thunder Ogre, and follows up by changing his wrestling persona into Dark Onizuka.
- The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: His Sore Loser status leads to him becoming a Bounty Hunter and abandoning the orphanage kids, though he had some standards at first his combination with an AI and his Brain Hack power make him go completely overboard, not caring that he, Playmaker, and Blue Angel once fought together or that Earth wasn't an enemy, defeating Playmaker being the only thing that mattered to him.
- Deadly Upgrade: After getting an AI implant he became an even stronger duelist, but at the cost of his physical and mental health.
- Deconstructed Character Archetype: Go qualifies as a Deconstruction of Sawatari in regards to being Attention Whores. While Sawatari's desire of being in the spotlight is because of his ego and wealthy upbringing, Go's case involves around earning enough money for those who raised him in an orphanage as a way of showing his gratitude to them. The second season also shows that Go is what Manjoume would've become if he didn't get over with his Pride.
- Deliberate Injury Gambit: Twice; Dark Onizuka has Dark Thunder Ogre destroy Rising Scorpio with a hammer throw, depleting his own LP so that Dark Thunder Ogre can increase its ATK to surpass that of Genome's Helixx Marmotroll.
- Discard and Draw: As part of his FaceHeel Turn in season 2, he ceases using his Gouki deck in favor of a Dinowrestler one. In Season 3 he returns to the Goukis.
- Dishing Out Dirt: His Gouki monsters are EARTH Warrior-Type Monsters, as are the majority of his Dinowrestlers. In addition, Earth's data is implanted into his AI brain chip, giving him control of G Golem monsters such as G Golem Crystal Heart, although it is a WATER monster and he only uses that one, he does use a card to temporarily treat his Dinowreslters as Cyberse-type to use it.
- Disproportionate Retribution: The real reason he became a Bounty Hunter for SOL Technologies in the first place? All so he could take down Playmaker and reclaim his reputation as the number one Duelist in LINK VRAINS so people will appreciate him again.
- Dub Name Change: Is known as "Gore" in the English dub.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: His other reason for being a Bounty Hunter.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: As a Bounty Hunter, GO uses a Dinowrestler deck, an archetype of Monsters based on prehistoric reptiles.
- Even Evil Has Standards: In his duel with Soulburner, Akira's subordinate, Hayami, attempts to sabotage their Duel so he won't be demoted. Soulburner accuses Go of cheating which he not only denies but actually protects Soulburner from an attack proving that he plays duels fairly.
- Evil Costume Switch: His season 2 FaceHeel Turn is shown with a more militant bounty hunter armor and rougher hair style.
- He's basically a hunky Girag with Jack's Dueling playstyle. He also loves children and orphans, just like Kaiba. He's also an entertainer, and he purposely tries to bring joy to his opponents as well as his audience, which is a pretty direct reference to Yuya's Entertainment Duelist philosophy.
- Also, like Manjoume and Sawatari, he changes his deck to get stronger, going from Gouki to Dinowrestlers.
- A tall, muscular, dark-skinned young man who uses Dinosaur monsters? The three main differences between Go and Tyranno Kenzan are: 1) their personalities, 2) Go uses an actual archetype rather than a deck of standalone monsters who happen to share the same type, 3) as mentioned above, Dinowrestlers weren't his original deck.
- Like Hell Kaiser, Go was once a powerful Duelist with a promising entertainment career until being in the shadow of a powerful adversary caused them to cast away their former ideals and undergo Training from Hell. As a result of said training, both become obsessed with victory and power with their bodies unable to handle the stress of the training.
- FaceHeel Turn:
- Invoked in his Duel against Genome. The moment he plays Gouki Dark Mask, GO discards his entertainment style and takes a more brutal Dueling style, changing his wrestling persona into Dark Onizuka.
- Literally does this in season 2 by becoming one of the Bounty Hunters.
- Fake Muscles: Has a golden fake six-pack, but judging from the rest of his body, he doesn't need it.
- Fallen Hero: In Season 1 he's a hero of Link Vrains, in season 2 his resentment and pride lead to him becoming a villain and bounty hunter.
- Fatal Flaw: Never letting go of his Pride.
- To Blue Angel. While in the Hanoi arc Blue Angel realized she wants to duel for others and not just herself, Go comes to the conclusion it is ok to duel for himself and not others. In addition, while Blue Angel is grateful to Playmaker for saving her and doesn't appear bothered by being overshadowed, Go deeply resents it and will stop at nothing to beat Playmaker for the sake of his pride. In season two, both Go and Aoi change deck and avatar, but while Aoi does so by chosing a more mature version of Blue Angel and improving her former deck, Go changes both for different ones (also changing his skill in the process). While Aoi becomes a surrogate Origin and partner for Aqua in place of the comatose Miyu, Go becomes a surrogate partner in a horrific way, by his data being fused with his AI brain chip.
- To Bohman. Both are Dark-Skinned Blond rivals and while Bohman is an AI that becomes more and more human and was designed to incorporate all the Ignis in order to allow for their perfect evolution, Go is a human that becomes less and less human due to the AI in his brain, even adding Earth's data to it, and he seeks to add more Ignis data.
- For Happiness: Vows to protect LINK VRAINS so the orphanage children can continue to smile.
- Formerly Fit: After performing in SOL Tech's training program to gain the strength to defeat Playmaker, his body has severely atrophied. His face has sunken in, and his muscle mass is all but gone, leaving him rail thin and sickly looking.
- Friend to All Children: Don't let his looks and Attention Whore attitude fool you, as he's really nice towards children and doing his Charisma Dueling job to give them a better life.
- Full-Body Disguise: Disguises himself as other avatars to goad others into duels — first as a Knight of Hanoi to duel Playmaker, then as Playmaker to duel Dr. Genome. He is also seen with other disguises when hunting the Knights of Hanoi.
- Gentle Giant: Despite his stature and build, he has a friendly and kind-hearted demeanor outside of LINK VRAINS, who is looked up to by children who reside in the same orphanage as the one he grew up in.
- Gonk: After having an AI implanted in his brain, his face looks very old and ugly.
- Go Out with a Smile: As he disintegrates and gets absorbed by the Tower of Hanoi, all GO can do is deliver one last smile and leave Playmaker to deal with Revolver.
- Graceful Loser: Laughs as he acknowledges his defeat at Playmaker's hands. Subverted later.
- Hard Work Hardly Works: Despite what he endured during his Training from Hell (part of which involved integrating his mind with that of an AI's), he is ultimately defeated by Playmaker a second time.
- Hate Sink: Since the second season, it's hard to consider him sympathetic considering his reasons for undergoing Training from Hell (i.e. to get back at Playmaker and reclaim his right as the #1 Duelist of LINK VRAINS); not to mention, he actively ignores the fact that the two worked together during the Tower of Hanoi incident. It only gets worse when he defeats and captures Earth, turns him in to SOL Technologies, and stands by and coldly ignores his pleas to not be terminated. He gets out of it, however, when the third season rolls around.
- HeelFace Turn:
- A literal example, invoked towards the end of his Duel with Genome. Described as evolving into a new GO Onizuka, Dark Onizuka discards his mask, then follows up by activating Gouki Face Turn to destroy Gouki Dark Mask and turn Dark Thunder Ogre back into Thunder Ogre.
- Done for real in season 3 after being an antagonist in season 2. After losing to Playmaker he woke up in the hospital to see his fans were there waiting for him, so he went back to being his old self with his Gouki Deck, although he keeps the new outfit.
- Heel Realization: After he was defeated by Playmaker the second time, Go started seeing his life flash before his eyes, realizing what he became in his pursuit for power and starts to cry.
- Heroic Build: As a hero he is the biggest and must muscular person in the cast. After his FaceHeel Turn and Training from Hell he becomes Lean and Mean.
- How the Mighty Have Fallen: The moment he participated in SOL's Bounty Hunting of the Ignis is where Go's fall from grace kicks in. This would later come in full circle after Playmaker defeated him a second time.
- Human Sacrifice: Disintegrates and gets absorbed by the Tower of Hanoi after he is defeated by Revolver. He gets better.
- Humble Hero: As a result of his orphaned upbringing. Subverted later, when his Pride and resentment towards being second fiddle to Playmaker leads to his FaceHeel Turn.
- Insistent Terminology: Doesn't appreciate Akira addressing him with the "Mr." honorific, and insists that he's only Go Onizuka.
- It's All About Me: Boasts that he is the King of LINK VRAINS, and is not happy with the fact that Playmaker has become a sensation after protecting LINK VRAINS from a Knight of Hanoi. To be fair, he's more concerned with repaying his debt to the orphanage than his reputation and ego as a Charisma Duelist. And to be unfair, he later decides that being second best to Playmaker is the greater issue.
- It's All My Fault: Blames himself for being unable to stop Makoto from becoming an Another victim.
- It's Personal: Cares not for the whole bounty hunting thing, as all he cares about is taking down Playmaker so that he can restore his reputation as the number one Duelist in LINK VRAINS. It gets worse after his mind is integrated with that of an AI's, something he took up on because he's willing to use whatever means possible just to defeat Playmaker.
- Kick the Dog: After defeating Earth, he makes it clear to Playmaker and Blue Girl that he doesn't care that Earth wasn't an enemy and that they were once comrades, power and beating Playmaker is the only thing that matters to him. Later made worse when he cruelly doesn't care as Earth is dissected piece by piece.
- Lean and Mean: After his Training from Hell, Go has become disturbingly gaunt and thin.
- Manly Tears:
- Subverted, but he is moved regardless when the orphanage children continue to acknowledge him as the champion of LINK VRAINS even after losing to Playmaker.
- After he loses to Playmaker for a second time, GO cries as he recalls his moments before he underwent Training from Hell.
- Motive Rant: GO throws a big hissy fit all because he's not number one, playing the victim card and views himself as nothing but a stepping stone for Playmaker, and thus vows to take him down to not only become number one again, but also so everyone will appreciate him.
- Mr. Fanservice: His usual outfit shows of his entire body and he is shirtless.
- Near-Villain Victory: Exploited. He lets his opponents get the upper hand so that he can stage a comeback, which forms the basis of his entertaining Dueling style.
- His "Gouki the Giant Ogre" is unaffected by the card effects of Monsters boasting ATK equal to or lower than it does.
- One of his Skills, Anti-Skill, allows him to completely negate his opponent's Skill (on top of allowing him to draw two cards).
- One-Way Visor: As a Bounty Hunter, GO wears a visor while inside LINK VRAINS.
- Online Alias: GO 鬼塚.
- Rage Breaking Point: Dark Onizuka blows up, provoked after Playmaker appeared during Dark Onizuka and Dr. Genome's Duel to claim that he'll scoff at Dark Onizuka when he loses. However, this was intended to get Dark Onizuka all the more motivated to defeat Genome.
- Rated M for Manly: Boasts a well-built figure, and runs a Gouki deck.
- Real Name as an Alias: His online handle is based on his real name, and is written in a way that it's homonymous.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: As a Bounty Hunter, Go initially forms the Red to Blood Shepherd's Blue, being angry and resentful of Playmaker while Blood Shepherd is cold and calculated, only concerned with money. Then they switch places, as Go's transformation makes him cold and analytical, only interesting in winning, while Blood Shepherd becomes angry and obsessive with destroying the Ignis while losing his cool over Ghost Girl thwarting him. While Blood Shepherd chooses to leave SOL to fight the Ignis and dies to because he loves his sister, Go doesn't care about the Ignis and seeks to control them, and wants their data added to his brain AI like Earth was.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Disguised as Playmaker, GO dismissively calls the Knights of Hanoi who confronted him garbage unworthy of Dueling.
- Reforged into a Minion: Not literally, but discussed by Soulburner. Lampshaded by Soulburner, who labels GO as a lap dog working for SOL Technologies; or rather, a Sore Loser incapable of anything but venting his frustrations. And then possibly literally after his Training from Hell, coming back Lean and Mean and possibly altered.
- Revenge: Vows to get back at Dr. Genome for turning Makoto into an Another victim.
- The Rival: Initially antagonistic towards Playmaker, he became the Friendly Rivalry type until season 2, where he's adopted a The Only One Allowed to Defeat You attitude towards him.
- Sore Loser: Since the conclusion of the Tower of Hanoi incident, he's really sore over the fact that he's no longer number one in LINK VRAINS, and thus discards his reputation as a Charisma Duelist and becomes a Bounty Hunter, all so he could get back at Playmaker.
- Start of Darkness: Since the beginning of the second season, he abandons his reputation as a Charisma Duelist and enlists as a Bounty Hunter all so he can get back at Playmaker and reclaim his right as the number one Duelist of LINK VRAINS. It only gets worse when he's seen pursuing Earth, and later uncloaks himself after Playmaker finds them both, revealing his dull, yet intimidating expression (which Akira speculates Queen is responsible for).
- Super Spit: Dark Onizuka literally spits poison mist on Genome's face after activating Gouki Poison Mist, which is modeled after the "Asian mist" maneuver in pro wrestling. Genome calls out on him for cheating.
- Took a Level in Badass: After his Training from Hell, he adds Fusion and Synchro summoning to his arsenal.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Started off as a Gentle Giant and borderline Nice Guy for his care of orphans, albeit with a bit of an ego. Come Season 2 he undergoes a FaceHeel Turn and bears a personal vendetta against Playmaker, because he can't stand being number two. And then after fusing with an AI he gets worse...
- Took a Level in Kindness: In season 3 after he recovers, he becomes a lot less hostile in personality, even having a casual conversation with Playmaker, and admitting he was wrong to Ai. He also once again fights for others unlike how he was in Season 2.
- Transhuman: He claims to have obtained the power that surpasses humanity's domain by getting a chip implanted into his brain, fusing himself with an AI.
- Training from Hell: Undergoes a Lost Incident-style training and takes an AI into his brain to gain the Brain Hack skill to defeat Playmaker.
- Tyrannosaurus rex: His new ace monster, "Dinowrestler King T Wrextle", and fusion upgrade, Dinowrestler Chimera T Wrextle.
- Unexplained Recovery: In Season 3, he is largely back to his old self, if not quite fully regained all the muscle, and acts like his old self.
- Victor Gains Loser's Powers: After terminating Earth, SOL fused his data into GO's AI chip, which allows him to use G-Golem Crystal Heart. In addition, he seeks this for AI too, deciding that when he beats Playmaker he will add Ai's data to his data chip too.
- World's Strongest Man: Has a reputation for being the strongest Duelist in LINK VRAINS. Even after losing to Playmaker, the orphanage children continue to look up to him as the champion.
- Yokai: The Gouki Extra Deck Monsters are based on ogres, and all of them have "Ogre" in their names.
- You Are Too Late: Arrives too late to stop Dr. Genome from turning Makoto into an Another victim.
- Younger Than He Looks: If you thought his anorexia was bad enough, just wait until his next encounter with Playmaker after Earth's defeat (and subsequent termination at SOL Tech's hands)... as by that point, GO looks like an old man.
Kengo Dojun/Blood Shepherd
Voiced by: Takanori Okuda (Japanese)
A ruthless Bounty Hunter acquainted with Akira and Emma, hired by SOL Technologies to capture Playmaker's Ignis. In LINK VRAINS, he is known as Blood Shepherd.
Uses a Drone deck, which relies on burn damage and direct attacks and locking down his opponent's Link Monsters. His Skill, Drone Craft Force, decreases an opponent's Monster ATK by 200 for every Drone card in his GY while at the same time giving one of his monsters the same amount of ATK his opponent's Monster lost.
- Aloof Big Brother: To Emma, as though he cares about her somewhat, he resents her for their father abandoning him and his mother, though he ultimately can't follow through with deleting her account.
- An Arm and a Leg: In the accident that crippled his mother, his arm was crippled, requiring him to get a mechanical one.
- Animal Motifs: While he himself compares Akira to a lapdog, Revolver compares him to a prideful lone wolf that refuses to work with others.
- Armor-Piercing Question: He questions Akira whether or not he intends to continue blindly following SOL Technologies' every word even after being informed about what they really intend to do with the Ignis. Akira, however, retorts that he doesn't have what it takes to go against their word, and is only a lapdog for them.
- Artificial Limbs: In real life and on his avatar, his right arm is replaced with a cybernetic prosthesis. His avatar's doubles as a Arm Cannon.
- Badass Back: He destroys the ladybug Emma uses to monitor him and Soulburner with his arm blaster in one shot, without bothering to turn around.
- Badass Cape: He wears a desperado style cape to go with his cowboy theme.
- Break Them by Talking: He exploits Soulburner's childhood fear of "Despair from the Dark" by bringing out not one, but four of them, and intends to bury Soulburner into a state of dark despair.
- Char Clone: The second one after Revolver, as he wears a Cool Helmet as part of his avatar, a cold and harsh villain, as well as the long lost brother to Emma.
- Combat Pragmatist: Will do whatever he needs to get the job done, such as using his allies as decoys or rigging a duel disk AI to lie to his opponent.
- Cool Plane: His Drone deck, first showcased in OP2 and ED3, is composed of WIND Machine monsters.
- Crazy-Prepared: Both in his duels with Playmaker and especially Soulburner; he goes to great lengths to counter their decks' usual combos.
- Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Played for drama. Kengo's father was so fixated on work to the point that he left behind his wife and son, and for unknown reasons he got together with another woman and conceived Emma (aka Kengo's younger half-sister), which only worsens Kengo's animosity towards his father. Come his dying moments, Kengo's father (who was bound to a wheelchair) asks of his own daughter to reach out to Kengo at times of need.
- Dark and Troubled Past: He almost lost his mother and arm due to a malfunctioning AI in their taxi cab, and before that his Dad is absent or dead for unknown reasons, forcing his mother to work.
- A Death in the Limelight: Blood Shepherd gets three duels in a row with Ghost Girl, Revolver, and Lightning, while his backstory is expanded and he undergoes Character Development to make peace with his father even if he doesn't forgive him, but ultimately loses to Lightning, to show the villain's skill.
- Decomposite Character: Wherein Shoichi embodies Shun Kurosaki's Big Brother Instinct and Dark and Troubled Past, Blood Shepherd embodies every negative and/or violent aspect of Kurosaki, except reckless vengeance. Their main choice of monsters are pretty similar (the mechanical 'Raidraptors' vs the 'Battle Drones' which are literal hunter drones). He has demonstrated great dedication to hunting down Playmaker very much like how Kurosaki initially hunted down any Fusion user he came across. To drive it further home, his civilian identity wears clothes that are almost identical to Kurosaki's and hides his face with shades and a scarf, with the colors being the main difference between their outfits. In addition, Drone monsters function a lot like Raidraptors, implementing burn damage, direct attacks, etc. Ultimately subverted, in that Blood Shepherd has his own Big Brother Instinct for his little sister Emma -leaving him as a straight Expy, leaving Revolver and Shoichi as a Decomposite of Kaiba-types.
- Disappeared Dad: His father is nowhere to be seen. It's revealed that he was so fixated on work, he never tended to his wife or son at all, and eventually came to be Emma's father... and eventually lost his life to an illness (but not before begging Emma to reach out to Kengo when he needs help).
- The Dreaded: According to Akira, Blood Shepherd has a reputation for being a ruthless bounty hunter who mercilessly hunts his prey.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
- Kengo loved his mother greatly, and her near-death on her birthday after their AI-Taxi crashed drives his anger towards AI.
- Implied for Emma. He and Ghost Girl appear to have a hidden connection and when he saved her from the hacker's bomb, he called her by her real name before leaving. It turns out they are siblings, and despite his resentment towards her for a happy childhood, he's ultimately unable to follow through with his threat of deleting his account. Later outright confirmed that he does love Emma as his attempts to attack the Ignis solo was an attempt to protect his younger sister from their threat, unwilling to let another one of his family members suffer at the hands of an AI again.
- Evil Genius: Extremely cunning and has proven himself as one of the best hackers in the series. To show how smart and tech savvy he is, he managed to replicate the Ignis Algorithm, a feat that places him with Dr. Kogami! Later on, he managed to track down Aqua in the network by using the same algorithm to trace her signature. In addition, after Revolver clues him in on the Bohman Faction threat and Link Spellls, he greatly ups his game to prepare for them and fights Lightning to a standstill, getting him to two hundred lifepoints before losing.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Before the incident which crippled him and his mother, he was an even-voiced, yet upbeat guy. Since his involvement in the bounty hunting business, however, he speaks in a low-pitched, intimidating voice.
- Exact Words: When he's not having it lie, he has his AI tell only some of the effects of his cards in order to take advantage of his opponents never checking for themselves.
- The Faceless: In the real world, Blood Shepherd covers his face with a pair of sunglasses and a scarf. His face is fully revealed in a flashback, and he's fairly normal looking, though his accident has left him with a massive facial scar in the present.
- Foil: A surprising one for Revolver, of all people.
- Both of their parents they've loved very much were rendered comatose as a result of an incident involving AI; Revolver's father after trying to create the Ignis in order to make the world a better place, unlike Kengo's mother who ended up hospitalized due to an AI malfunctioning.
- Both of them detest AI, but wherein Ryoken is a Knight Templar who despises any and all AI and tried to destroy the world's network just to ensure the 6 Ignis would never be a threat (never mind the fact that he uses the Cyberse-type Topologic series of Link Monsters), Kengo is a Bounty Hunter who despises AI, but tacitly accepts that an AI that is under direct human control is still useful.
- For all his talk about his comrades being sacrificed for the Tower of Hanoi, it is Revolver himself who rendered them in such a state. Blood Shepherd blatantly used Akira and Ghost Girl as bait during a mission, but ultimately protected Ghost Girl when their target tried to retaliate.
- Even their parents, for that matter. Dr. Kogami is a scientist whose project to create AI that could solve any and every human problem ultimately resulted in the company that he worked for turning against him and using them to gain massive wealth. Kengo's mother is heavily implied to be a simple middle-class single parent near retirement.
- Both of them caused their parents' downfall unwittingly. When he was just eight, Ryoken secretly reported the Lost Incident/Hanoi Project to the police, which resulted in the six children that were kidnapped to be released, but ultimately got the attention of SOL's higher-ups who infected Dr. Kogami with a virus that resulted in him getting bed-ridden; Kengo's mother was rendered hospitalized after Kengo convinced her to use an AI-driven taxi.
- Both of them devoted their lives to their parents' well-being. Revolver spent his entire later childhood and most of his teenage years for the sake of making amends for his father's condition. Kengo was willing to give up on a chance for college just so he can take care of his mother.
- Revolver had one thousand underlings, Kengo on the other hand either operates solo or in very small groups.
- Foreshadowing: The Knights of Hanoi wondered if he as good at programming/hacking like Revolver or Dr. Kogami which was later confirmed. This would later foreshadow that SOL Technologies couldn't have put Dr. Kogami in a coma, because they don't have the means to create a virus they couldn't crack.
- Freudian Excuse: He believes that AI should be controlled and overseen by humans, because on his mother's birthday, the taxi they were in was AI controlled but malfunctioned and caused them to drive into an otherwise avoidable accident, rendering her paraplegic and his arm nerve dead.
- Hand Blast: His mods allow him to fire energy blasts out of his hand to take out opponents.
- HeelFace Turn: Although he doesn't join the Confidants or Knights of Hanoi, he abandons SOL to fight the Bohman Faction, due to not wanting his little sister, Emma to get hurt and in Season 3 he joins Playmaker's faction to take down Ai and Roboppy.
- I Lied: Invoked in that, unlike other AIs which make blatantly obvious statements, Blood Shepherd rigged his Duel Disk AI so that it'll make deliberately false statements to mislead his opponents.
- I Work Alone: Despite being part of a Bounty Hunter team, he's very adamant about working on his own accord, and has zero tolerance for being ordered around. Revolver coercing him to work together with the Knights of Hanoi to terminate the Ignis also fails.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Ruthlessly deals with the two delinquent penguins, who were hackers that modded themselves to hurt others, and has also picked a fight with him.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Despite his insistence that nothing can be hidden from him, he was left completely unaware of Link Spells and that the rogue Ignis had declared war on humanity until Revolver informs him of the news.
- Long Lost Sibling: He and Emma are actually brother and sister, with him being older, and her half-brother.
- Mage Killer: His Drone deck has a lot of means to counter Link Monsters, which spells trouble for him when Playmaker uses other summoning methods.
- Momma's Boy: He just wanted to work to support his mother so she wouldn't have to work anymore... and then she nearly died.
- Nice Hat: Dons a light purple hat with numerous pointy edges and green trimmings.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: Adamant about working on his own accord, Revolver's attempt to coerce Blood Shepherd into joining the Knights of Hanoi (as they share a common desire of terminating the Ignis) fails.
- Not What I Signed Up For: He signed up for SOL to terminate the Ignis due to his hatred of AIs, and after learning that SOL intends to make a new, better Ignis with free will, which means killing them is pointless, he quits and storms out of Akira's office, intent on terminating the Ignis by his lonesome.
- Oedipus Complex: He loves his mother and despises his father for abandoning her, though does soften his stance a bit when Emma reveals that he never forgot about his son.
- Online Alias: Blood Shepherd.
- Only in It for the Money: Lampshaded by Ghost Girl; Blood Shepherd affirms that monetary rewards are what mark his status as a professional bounty hunter. Subverted later, as his hatred of AI and refusal to let the Ignis conquer humanity lead him to break contract and straight up try to kill Aqua instead of capturing her for SOL.
- Otaku: Called a military/weapons otaku by Ai, and treats his Drone monsters as if he were a commanding officer from afar.
- Pet the Dog:
- In a flashback, despite previously using Akira and Emma as decoys against a hacker, he steps in to protect Emma from the hacker's bomb, pushing her out of the way and shooting it down.
- After defeating his younger half-sister (aka Ghost Girl), he is unable to go through with deleting his sister's account after she informs him of their dying father's wish, and logs out without another word.
- Kengo visits the grave of his late father, and despite the resentment Kengo bears towards his father for abandoning both him and his mother, he lays a bouquet of flowers on the grave. Emma, who also came to visit, assumes Kengo has forgiven their father, but he claims that he visited to sever ties with their father.
- After losing to Lightning, Blood Shepherd spends his final moments with Ghost Girl, reiterating his responsibility as an older brother before he disintegrates to nothing.
- Purple Is Powerful: His civilian persona has purple hair, his avatar is rife with purple, and is repeatedly noted to be a formidable bounty hunter.
- Redemption Equals Death: After abandoning SOL, making peace with his father and sister, he goes to fight Lightning, loses and is deleted, while being apologetic to Emma the entire time.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: As a Bounty Hunter, Blood Shepherd initially forms the Blue to Go's Red, as Go angry and resentful of Playmaker while Blood Shepherd is cold and calculated, only concerned with money. Then they switch places, as Go's transformation makes him cold and analytical, only interesting in winning, while Blood Shepherd becomes angry and obsessive with destroying the Ignis while losing his cool over Ghost Girl thwarting him. Also, while Go's hatred and FaceHeel Turn takes him to increasingly awful levels, Blood Shepherd abandons SOL to fight the Ignis to help his sister.
- Revenge: More than an interest in money, Blood Shepherd seeks revenge against AI for causing his mother's accident, which is why he desires to kill the Ignis.
- The Resenter: Towards Ghost Girl, for having a happy childhood while their father abandoned him for work and remarried a different woman. He later starts to get over this trope when he demonstrates that he mostly resented his father and did not let his feelings of hatred spill over to his half-sister. It also helps that he starts forgiving his father when Blood Shepherd learns that his father never forgot about him, even to his dying breath.
- Rule of Three: He often counts to three but never acts on the third count.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: He leaves immediately after the emergency rescue program was completed by Emma, which frees Soulburner from Blood Shepherd's trap.
- Sore Loser: He doesn't take kindly to Ghost Girl interrupting his Duel with Soulburner by bailing Soulburner out of Blood Shepherd's trap, and attempts to blast her for it.
- Sorry That I'm Dying: After losing to Lightning, Blood Shepherd apologizes to Ghost Girl for failing to protect her before he disintegrates to nothing.
- Space Cowboy: Blood Shepherd's avatar is that of a futuristic armored cowboy, and he even duels Revolver in a Wild West-styled wasteland.
- Start of Darkness: The near loss of his mother turned him into a brutal laconic Bounty Hunter that ruthlessly destroys hackers.
- Underestimating Badassery: He takes Revolver for a pushover all because the latter only Set a single card on the first turn of their Duel and with no Monsters to protect him from taking significant damage. Blood Shepherd ultimately pays the price for trying to finish off his opponent as quickly as possible, unaware that Revolver deliberately left himself open to his opponent's attacks, combined with a setup that is ready to wipe him out on the following turn.
- The Unfettered: He'll use whatever means imaginable to achieve his goals, and doesn't give a damn if anyone gets hurt as a result. However, due to his I Work Alone attitude, he does have one fetter, his refusal to work with others.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Prior to the incident which crippled himself and his mother, Kengo was an upbeat guy who cared very much for his mother's well-being.
- Van Helsing Hate Crimes: Blood Shepherd knows that the Ignis are plotting to rule over humanity and is now out to terminate every last one. Not even the pro-humanity Ignis Aqua is safe from his rampage.
- Villain Respect: He commends Playmaker when he gets past his two turn count.
- The Worf Effect:
- Revolver curb-stomping Blood Shepherd in a three-turn Duel proves that the former's status as leader of the Knights of Hanoi isn't just for show.
- His defeat at Lightning's hands goes to show how much of a threat the latter and his organisation pose to humanity.
Kenmochi and Yoroizaka
Kenmochi voiced by: Yusuke Tonozaki (Japanese)
Yoroizaka voiced by: Ryota Suzuki (Japanese)
A pair of Bounty Hunters who accompany Go.
They both use Gouki decks like Go did before his FaceHeel Turn.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Yoroizaka scoffs at Playmaker for attempting to return the Tributed "Gouki Riscorpio" to his hand via "Security Dragon's" Effect rather than "Gouki the Solid Ogre", which received an ATK boost due to "Gouki Twistcobra". This was intentional on Playmaker's part, however, as he shortly afterwards brings out "Firewall Dragon" and co-links it to two other Link Monsters and subsequently clears Yoroizaka's Field of Monsters completely, leading to his defeat.
- Can't Catch Up: A major problem with Kenmochi and Yoroizaka is that while Gouki's are a competitive deck, things have escalated in the world of VRAINS to the point where standard Gouki's are useless. And every major duelist either has an alternate summoning method (The protagonists, Revolver, Go, Ghost Gal, Blood Shepherd) or a link spell card (Bohman's faction).
- Hoist by His Own Petard:
- Both Playmaker and Soulburner circumvent the trap activated by SOL Technologies like it's no one's business. The same cannot be said for Kenmochi and Yoroizaka, however, as the trap blows up on them, sending them flying off into the distance.
- Kenmochi completely blew his chances of victory for Summoning two Gouki Monsters in Defense Position, as Playmaker finishes him off in a single turn thanks to "Pentestag" inflicting piercing damage and "Cyberse Annihilation" dealing damage equal to the ATK the destroyed "Gouki Riscorpio" had.
- While Yoroizaka managed to put up somewhat more of a fight than Kenmochi did, his "Gouki the Solid Ogre" ultimately contributed to his downfall as the Effect of "Firewall Dragon", which was co-linked to both "Solid Ogre" and "Flame Administrator", completely cleared Yoroizaka's Field of Monsters, and Yoroizaka subsequently received direct attacks from both "Dual Assembwurm" and "Firewall Dragon", costing him the Duel.
- Oh, Crap!: Kenmochi freaks out when he realises that the Effect of Playmaker's "Cyberse Annihilation" will deal enough damage to deplete the rest of his LP and cost him the Duel.
- One-Way Visor: Like GO, the pair wear visors while in LINK VRAINS.
- Only One Name: Their given names are unknown.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: They both are presumably skilled duelists since they were chosen as bounty hunters along with Go and Blood Shepherd, but since they both got defeated by Playmaker in one turn it's clear they are nothing compared to Playmaker and his comrades. Even Ai notes that them having Gouki decks makes them tricky opponents.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Unlike Go, who's obsessed with beating Playmaker, and later Blood Shepherd, who hates Artificial Intelligence in general, they have no known personal grudges against their targets.
- Yokai: They use Gouki decks, which are again, based on ogres.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Kenmochi sports a light pink afro.