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  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • The Engrish lyrics to the first theme song: "We can't hold back this feeling any longer. Come on, tear off everything you've got! Get crazy way!" It doesn't help that this is shown over images of Aichi and Kai.
    • The word Mate is becoming this in the latest season, the Legion Mate Arc. It's funny enough to say it to another person that is of the opposite gender, it's even funnier to say it to a person with the same gender. The problem is that the anime seems to be using it in the British/Australian sense of a friend. But between the word's endless repetition and a certain other use it has, it's very easy to start seeing it as innuendo. Especially when even the British/Australians see it as an innuendo.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
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    • Leon in the season 2 finale. The lack of padding in the final episode made the end of the match feel incredibly rushed and anti climactic.
    • Aichi's final turn against Void Agent Takuto in the penultimate fight. Void Agent Takuto didn't even bother to guard even when he has the handsize to do it after Monarch Sanctuary Alfred's Limit Break. But this was clarified after Void Agent Takuto's Omega Glendios decklist was revealed. Let's just say Morikawa will be proud of the decklist.
    • In Season 4, Raul Serra. He finally makes his move, explaining how nearly everything since the reveal of the Quatre Knights has been his machinations and was ready to make a play to become the true master of Link Joker. It's expected that he'd get the power and we'd see Kai (or Aichi) take on the first truly evil person in the series in a huge final fight. Instead, Gaillard, who had just lost to Kai only a couple of episodes ago, ends up defeating him and sending him away before he does anything of worth. He went from Magnificent Bastard to Smug Snake to Ineffectual Villain within one episode.
  • Awesome Music:
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    • The openings.
      • The Original Generation's are done by JAM Project, what do you expect? In Season 3, Psychic Lover took over in performing the first and third openings, while DAIGO performed the second one. Even so, they are still awesome.
    • The openings aside, the soundtrack of the anime is very much enjoyed by the fanbase. Arc 2 of Link Joker in particular provided some very excellent music for the series.
      • For the BGM, there's also In Order to Move Forward, which is with a single exception only used for the last fight of the season so far. Other pieces of awesome from the BGM are Kai's Theme, Kai's Determination, The Power of Psyqualia, Ren's Power, and unreleased tracks from Link Joker Hen, Ren's new theme and the Link Joker theme.
  • Badass Decay:
    • Kourin tends to suffer this. She's initially portrayed as a strong fighter and curbstomps Aichi on their first meeting. She is then curbstomped by Ren, Aichi, and Kai in her following three fights.
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    • Misaki suffers a lot from this in Season 2 so far. Fans are particularly bitter about it because not only has she had one win (against a C-List Fodder guy), all of her losses have been against Limit Break Units. So the common belief is that she's losing just to promote Limit Break as an awesome mechanic.
      • She averts this later in the season when she rebuilds her deck from the Tsukuyomi/Amaterasu build to the soulless Scarlet Witch, CoCo build and stops losing altogether. Later she obtains the Goddess of Sun, Amaterasu crossride which has a Limit Break and she continues to win.
      • It becomes much worse in Season 4 as she loses every fight she is involved with. And this is after Season 3 where she had gone undefeated the whole season with the same clan.
    • And Team Caesar. Despite being former National Champions, the only time they're capable of winning onscreen is when they're fighting Team Q4. And they now seem to be Season 2's go-to Worf candidates, since not only have they been beaten by Team SIT Genius, but New AL4 too. Though to be fair Kenji does beat Ren, the only time a character other than Aichi or Kai has ever defeated Ren.
    • Kai is the biggest offender of this. After 2 seasons of winning every fight (Not counting his first one with Aichi at the very start) only to lose to the season's Big Bad, fans has noted Kai as "The guy who will win every fight in the season but lose to the final boss of that season."
      • In Legion Mate, Kai goes further into the trope, justifies it...and then averts it in the end. After becoming the Main Character he goes on to shortly lose as many fights in one season as he has lost in the entire SERIES up to that point, including losses to two characters he had easily defeated multiple times in the past. And one of his wins was Ren who essentially threw the fight. The justification comes from the fact that he wasn't using his usual Kagero or Narukami clan but the Royal Paladins. While a strong deck that he has used in the past, it's not one he's had much success with and doesn't fit his style of play. However, once he obtains his Kagero Deck again he doesn't lose a fight for the rest of the season.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Kai. You either think he's Badass or a Smug Snake with obscene trigger luck.
      • Though there is some middle ground where he's likeable, but his portrayal in official material like his profile, and his portrayal in show don't line up.
    • Kai's turn to evil in Season 3. Well-done engaging Character Development clearing up hanging character threads from Season 1, or a cheap rehash of Aichi's corruption by Psyqualia in Season 1?
      • Made worse when Kai became Season 4's protagonist instead of Aichi. A potentially interesting change in protagonist which could result in a great redemption arc of a season, or more aggressive shilling for a character who's already had the lion's share of it in the tail end of Season 3?
  • Broken Base:
    • The introduction of Psyqualia. While the things it brought to the show are generally well-regarded ( Aichi's arc involving it is widely considered some of the show's best episodes), others feel that the anime's charm was in how mundane the playing of the game was, and that introducing supernatural elements ruined that factor.
    • The live-action drama. Entertaining, light-hearted play on the game with an amusing performance by Daigo, or a nonsensical mess which takes itself too seriously and functions as a 78 minute long card game commercial?
    • Asia Circuit-Hen. Either you enjoyed it or it didn't happen.
    • Star-vader, Omega Glendios' Instant-Win Condition. An impractical skill which gets overhyped by the anime, or a sign that Bushiroad just doesn't care about making a balanced game anymore?
    • The Lock mechanic has been this since it debuted as many see it as an unfair mechanic since you can neither use your locked rearguards for anything, nor replace them with new units for at least two whole turns. This also made any rear-guard centric decks near unusable in this matchup. On the other hand, there are others who are fine with it and that it's possible to work around it, especially since Bushiroad created cards that can be used to counter Lock. There's also those who are fine with the mechanic so long as it's used as part of costs and require locking the player's own rearguards. The Power Creep towards the end of G did not help with Link Joker being featured in two separate boosters within the span of three months, allowing it to rise to the top of the meta. Needless to say, when people found out the mechanic was going to return in the reboot, although only in the form of "self-locking" thus far, reactions were mixed, at least until they found out that Chaos Breaker Dragon was returning with the Lock mechanic as it once was.
  • Designated Villain: The Quatre Knights pretty much seem to be this. Even though they're the antagonists of Season 4, all of them except Neve (in his first appearance anyway) are fairly respectful to the mates despite the whole Judgment thing, and it's being heavily suggested that they're keeping Aichi sealed away to protect the world from Link Joker. Never mind that Aichi himself chose them and asked them to do it. The only reason that they're antagonists is that they're standing between the mates and Aichi Though this is later subverted with Raul Cera, who was The Chessmaster and was engineering events to break Aichi's seals and claim the power of Link Joker for himself, then conquer both Earth and Cray.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • The Nubatama Clan, largely because it was neglected by Bushiroad thanks to balance issues, not receiving any support until Booster Set 13.
    • Amongst the new main cast in season 3, Naoki Ishida has been the most popular, being well liked for his hilarious and awesome moments and a subject of Memetic Mutation.
    • Among the Quatre Knights, Rati is liked for her quirky manner, and her mechanically fun deck. The fact that in G She's All Grown Up and is studying in Yale with Aichi helps things.
  • Epileptic Trees: Some started growing early in when Shin read out the marketing fluff for the Vanguard Gloves, which stated they had 'crystals mined from the Planet Cray', Cray being the planet on which the Units battle. These trees got a right watering after one of Kai's lines in Episode 40 to Aichi regarding PSY Qualia, said line being 'you're the one who's doing the fighting'. Fans theorized from this that Cray is real and that PSY Qualia allows your Vanguard to take control of the fight in your place. To everyone's surprise later on, that's not far off, just the other way around. Cray is real, and when two Vanguard players with PSY Qualia fight, they control the outcome of the battles raging across Cray.
  • Evil Is Cool: PSY Qualia Aichi suffers a lot from this. When Episode 50 first aired, there was a notable backlash from people who complained that Aichi was going to go back to his 'wimpy old self'. Because, you know, that's obviously worse than being Drunk on the Dark Side due to Psychic Powers.
  • Friendly Fandoms: Vanguard is popular among Yu-Gi-Oh! fans, particularly Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, for being a card game anime that goes from being just a card game to high stakes. Chrono and Yugo's similar personalities also help.
  • Game-Breaker: Has its own page.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: When Episode 33 first aired, there was some speculation among fans that Koutei had a way to Superior Ride Daiyusha, explaining how he had a Grade 3 Vanguard while Ren was at Grade 1. Come Booster Set 8, a Unit named Dimensional Robo, Goyusha was released, with a skill that matched the fans speculation.
  • Ho Yay: Has its own page.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Aichi. If a character exists in this fandom, he's been shipped with them.
  • Memetic Badass: Emi and Morikawa. The latter was taken Up to Eleven after Morikawa got a balanced deck and spent two episodes winning all his fights.
  • Memetic Molester: Around Ren, everyone needs an adult.
  • Memetic Mutation: Quite a few phrases got mutated among the fandom.
  • Mind Game Ship: Ren enjoys screwing around with Aichi's already rather shaky self-confidence a bit much, and basically slowly pushing him over the edge. At the very least the guy's good at knowing which buttons to push. While watching Aichi's match with Kenji, Ren's main concern is having Aichi fall to the power of Psyqualia again and show him the victory he desires.
  • Narm:
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Kai, big time. By the end of Season 3, many fans were annoyed with him becoming the Final Boss of the season. THEN Episode 162 aired, revealing that Kai wasn't Brainwashed and Crazy and knew what he was doing the whole time, but couldn't stop himself because he's addicted to power to the point he couldn't refuse Link Joker despite knowing it was evil. Add in the idea that he truly hates himself for doing it and hurting Aichi, and that he wants to commit suicide and with just one episode, Kai was solidly rescued. Even the idea of him as Season 4's protagonist was helped by the implication that he's trying to save Aichi to find redemption for what he did.
    • From Season 4, Philip Neve. Initially, he was criticised by the fans for being a bland, uninteresting Jerkass. However, once Episode 182 revealed his backstory and toned down his Jerkass side, fans warmed to him, particularly because of how much of a sympathetic badass his backstory made him.
  • Shocking Swerve: Notoriously in Episode 64, the tense fight between Aichi and Ren which the entire series had built up was eclipsed at its halfway point by the revelation that Cray was real and that their fight was effectively deciding a totally stupid and pointless civil war between Royal Paladins and Shadow Paladins.
  • So Okay, It's Average: The general consensus on the dub is this. It's considered better than the average 4Kids dubbed anime, but it isn't regarded as anything particularly amazing. It doesn't help that some of the voicing work is questionable, particularly Kai and Kamui's dub voices.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The increasing lack of footage from the actual cardfights as the series progressed, particularly from Neon Messiah onwards. Many consider it a cheap cop-out to avoid showing how the fight actually went while also making it hard to follow how the victor is decided due to the lack of a script, effectively taking the "trading card" out of a trading card anime. Neon Messiah is particularly guilty of this, as none of the cardfights were shown properly to the extent that an unaware viewer could have easily mistaken them for a shounen anime fight scene instead. This trend would bleed into the sequel.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Several instances:
    • There are early indications that Kourin disapproved of what Suiko was up to, and was going to interfere and become a Spanner in the Works. This... kind of goes nowhere since although Kourin's intervention does help to break Aichi out of his addiction to PSY Qualia, there was no overall interference with the plan.
      • All she seemed to care about was Aichi's wellbeing, there was little to suggest she had a problem with the plan as a whole. So, once she helped Aichi, she had no more reason to interfere.
    • The Seven Sacred Beast armors were well done initially, especially the concept of each armor bearer being an ace card to focus a deck around. Then they were aborted with three bearers unreleased (and at the time, one armor unrevealed), leaving Ezel to take the spotlight.
  • Toy Ship: Between Kamui and Emi.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
    • When the preview of the anime was released, many people actually thought that Aichi is the HEROINE of the anime until anime fans who had long followed TCG animes shouting that they finally have a female as a main character for a TCG anime. Too bad, Aichi is a 15 year old teenage boy and the spot was taken later by Chiharafuyu.
    • Fans were debating Ren's gender up until the first episode where he got speaking lines aired.
  • The Woobie: Following Episode 24 and her backstory, Misaki was firmly established as one. Having her parents die in a tragic accident while she was young is bad enough, but due to her 'perfect memory', any time she gets too involved in Vanguard, all the painful memories come flooding back. She spent whoever knows how long avoiding playing, but ultimately in Episode 24, it all comes crashing down...
  • Woolseyism:
    • Aside from not using honorifics, the "sub-manager" (i.e., the shop cat/kitten) is referred to as the "Assita-cat" in the dub.
    • Team Foo Fighter was renamed "Team Asteroid". It's either this or a Macekre depending on who you ask.[[note]]They are both astronomy based terms ("foo fighter" is a slang term for a UFO), however, the original version calls them one name, while the dub calls them by a completely different name.[[/note] This may be due to the presence of the real-life Foo Fighters, a rather famous rock band who are still active today. American viewers would probably associate the name more with the band than the slang.

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