Abandon Shipping: Manga-wise, the reveal that the "Yuu" boys are brothers didn't so much put a dent of their fan shipping, the other reveal that Yuzu is Yuya's mother disgusted shippers so much that Managershippingnote the pairing name for their manga versions. was quickly dropped and put a slight dent on the main pairing.
Yuya saying "climax" during his duel with Mieru. Her reaction to his turn does not help either. Neither do the sounds her monsters make when they are destroyed.
Yugo frantically denying that Rin is his girlfriend... all the while holding his hands in his lap and rocking side to side. And then there's the close-up where you can't see what his hands are doing.
The synopsis for episode 69 includes the phrase "Yuzu wants to show her everything to Yuya".note What it more likely means is "everything she's got", which is still something that can be taken as this.
The dub refers to the D/D and D/D/D monsters as "Double D" and "Triple D". This results in monsters like "Double D Lilith" sounding like cheesy porn star screen names.
Yugo. The first thing the guy thinks when he arrives in an icy duel field is that he's in an apocalyptic ice-age future. Later becomes confused when he goes into the lava duel field, making him think just what the hell is wrong with the dimension he's in.
Alas, Poor Scrappy : While many still don't like Teppei, many agree how he was sealed in a card was heartbreaking. The fact that he finally got to show off his Deck and revealed it was pretty cool only magnified the feeling.
After we learn Shun Kurosaki aspired to become a Pro Duelist before Heartland's invasion, some fans started wondering whether him forgoing looking for the other Lancers in order to enter the Underground Dueling scene at the beginning of the Synchro Dimension arc could be the way he found to live his dream amidst the whole chaos caused by Academia's military campaign.
Reiji Akaba is a rebellious "Well Done, Son!" Guy who is doing everything to either make his daddy love him or to get back at his father for abandoning his family, an obsessed Yuya and Serena fan, and every situation, no matter how bad, is operating according to his plan.
Yuri's inevitably often depicted as a Yuri Fan on account of his name and the evil grin he had while watching a video of Yuzu.
In an In-Universe example, Sam interpreted Jack's gift of Tuning Magician as calling him weak rather than as inspiration to get stronger (Jack's actual intention). Somewhat justified given her effect.
While Shinji is clearly a revolutionary who aspires to liberate the Commons, the sheer number of personal Kick the Dog moments he's accumulated has led some people to wonder if Shinji is more of a case of He Who Fights Monsters.
Rin is often portrayed as being soft and cheerful by fan artists, but the series portrays her with a personality that is similar or is the same as Yuzu's. If anything, it is shown that Ruri is the most like that, Rin herself is shown to be even more of a tsundere than Yuzu, as seen during their reunion.
Yuri gives his Freudian Excuse to Asuka in episode 123, though given the fact that he was trolling her the whole episode, it's possible that he merely made up his backstory just to evoke sympathy from her.
Angst? What Angst?: Yoko doesn't angst about Yusho disappearing all that much, nor concerned about the fact that her son fought in an interdimensional war and almost got carded without her knowledge
Although scary as hell, Antique Gear Chaos Giant fell in only one turn, and even hindered Dennis. Fake Ultimate Mook much?
Quite a few fans view Kurosaki's Raidraptor - Ultimate Falcon as this; despite having immunity to effects and being capable of negating the opponent's card effects, it gets beaten fairly easily by both Crow and Kaito and wasn't even rendered in CG in its debut.note The dismal reception to Final Fortress Falcon on the other hand has helped a little.
In a variant, many fans also believe that Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon got nowhere near the fanfare it deserved, being an evolution of Clear Wing and all. A similar case can be made for Serena's Moonlight Lio Dancer, which also received very little fanfare and despite having a formidable effect gets taken down very quickly by the above.
Earthbound Servant Geo Glasya-Labolas. Big, scary, and gets punched out almost immediately by Red Daemon's Dragon Scarlight.
Roget, due to his deck being Ancient Gears, the same as the Obelisk Force (though he focuses on old favorite Soldier rather than Hound Dog). And then played very straight when Reiji One-Turn Kills him and then Zero-Turn Kills him again. Probably intentional to highlight is Smug Snake and Dirty Coward nature.
No-one likely expected the Doktor to be much of a challenge, but it certainly wasn't expected to have the Professor card him out of the blue and conveniently solve the bracelet girls' Brainwashed and Crazy problem.
Greedy Venom Fusion Dragon gets destroyed less than a minute after it's first summoned (though its Taking You with Me effect defeats Edo and Kaito) and Yuri ends up winning the duel with Starve Venom.
Zarc is beaten by Reira using the Natural Energy cards to strip him and his monsters of their powers, destroy them all, and deal him burn damage. While Yuya does get a final turn to set up his field for Reira to do the last bit of burn damage to win, in practice, the Big Bad that had spent the better part of five episodes beating ten duelists without breaking a sweat, and even dealt Reiji his first on-screen defeat, was basically OTK'd.
Many of the Final Boss monsters used by the Lancers after Zarc's defeat and Yuya subsequently dueling them all. Dennis's averts this due to being a Ranked-Up Trapeze Magician, but Gongenzaka's Superheavy Samurai Steam Fiend Tetsudo'onote A costly effect that is far less interesting than Susano'o's and Kurosaki's Final Fortress Falconnote only attacks multiple times in comparison to the effect negating, Nigh-Invulnerable Ultimate Falcon have been poorly received for their underwhelming effects.
The Qualifying Duels mini-arc, where Yuya must duel four duelists to participate in the upcoming Tournament Arc. The complaints are aimed at the opponents being boring (Michio) or irritating (Kyuando), mediocre duels being dragged on as two-parters and taking time away from more interesting plotlines, such as Yuzu learning Fusion note This part still got an entire episode after each duel, along with the Dark Duelist plotline. and Yuya trying to evolve Pendulum. Thankfully, things got interesting after that as the third and more interesting opponent (Mieru) got Defeat Means Friendship, and Yuya took the first step in evolving Pendulum Summon and being able to pull off a good duel with his final opponent (Gongenzaka).
Season 2. The prison sub-plot dragged for about four episodes just to introduce Tokumatsu (who, to be fair, is an Ensemble Dark Horse) while putting fan-favorites Kurosaki, Serena, Yuzu, and Yugo badly Out of Focus. The Friendship Cup didn't help matters; the characters were all imprisoned in separate rooms while they awaited their chance to duel in one-on-one Turbo Duels. The result was very little character interactions, lots of time watching characters (mostly Yuya and Yuzu) sit in their rooms talking to themselves, and repetitive and formulaic duels instead of the fantastical and varied Action Duels the series had built the first season on. Furthermore, characters that lost were sent to the underground labor facility, which basically meant they got Trapped by Mountain Lions until it was time for the revolution at the end of the season. The Friendship Cup started in Episode 66 and didn't end until Episode 99, which practically lampshaded the long wait after the opening by saying: "Finally, the climax of the Synchro Dimension Arc!"
Another sub-plot that received this complaint is that Dennis is The Mole from the Academy. He first appeared in episode 41, revealed as a mole to the audience in the next, but then the characters only learned he is one 30 episodes later. This somewhat justified during the Invasion arc as everyone were too busy running for their lives, but to some there's no excuse why he was recruited into the Lancers, and/or making them seem like idiots for missing an (apparent) Obvious Judas. Arguments can be also made about whether or not this is Fan Myopia.
Yuzu and Yuya have officially been separated for over half of the show's run. And when they're finally reunited, they're separated again.
In a similar vein, the Lancers have been down at least one man ever since they first set foot in the Synchro Dimension. The last time all of them were in the same place at the same time was when they were being briefed by Reiji.
After Zarc's revival, representatives of each summoning method have dueled him and lost without causing any significant damage/much effect before he moves onto the next one, which stretches over four episodes.note It should be noted however, that while not dealing significant damage in-of-themselves, their combined efforts made a definite impression on the ultimate outcome. Plus emotionally, it's an entirely different story.
While it's practically a series tradition at this point, some fans weren't impressed by Yuya's Pendulum Summon ability coming completely out of nowhere. Although as Episodes 2 and 3 show, this is treated as an Ass Pull in-universe as well, with quite a few of Yuya's fans calling him a cheater and the officials being shocked by the summoning as well.
The Action Cards are basically this, allowing duelists to just pull cards out of nowhere to prolong the duel, often without foreshadowing. These however, are balanced a bit by each field having extremely different quirks and the one minute to play a card or forfeit rule, make getting Action Cards a bit of a pain, a player can only hold 1 Action Card at a time and basically every Action Trap has a negative effect; also, while the Action Cards help the player to escape dangerous situations, the support is mostly minor (Attack negation, temporary ATK gain, etc.) and the finisher combos are done with the players' cards anyway.
At the time it was revealed, Kurosaki's fondness for children came off as anticlimatic and had little to no Foreshadowing, and they could have just had him bond with Crow because of their background against Academia and the Tops without the whole Friend to All Children bit. Tellingly, the dub took this route.
Yuri having Super Polymerization, since it does not jibe in the slightest with the loresurroundingthe card from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, it barely fits into his deck, and he has an even more inexplicable upgraded form in Ultra Polymerization.note The revelation that the Original Dimension had been split into four had yet to be introduced at that point.
Leo Akaba using a Deck focused on Pendulum monsters, even though he shouldn't have had any experience with them.note It could be argued that he reverse-engineered them like Reiji did after studying Dennis's, but this is never brought up in the series.
Reira somehow manages to rip out and seal Zarc's soul while leaving Yuya's body intact, even though Zarc is the Fusion Dance of the four Dragon boys and should therefore prevent a mere fragment of him from existing separately.
The end of the duel between Jack and Sergey is very similar to the infamous Team Unicorn duel of 5D's; the villain, fired up by his opponent's fighting spirit, sacrifices a game-ending move to draw out the duel and the hero triumphs for it. However, due to multiple factors in how the characters were written and how the duel ended, it comes off much better done than in 5D's.
As mentioned below, there were complaints about the lack of focus on Ritual Summoning, and in season three another Ritual duelist, Asuka/Alexis was finally introduced.
The Xyz Arc did a lot to address concerns people had during Season 2. The plot was back on track and moving at a faster pace, legacy characters are being better utilized, Yuto returns from his long bus trip, and long-running questions were closer to being answered. The short length of the arc soured things quite a bit however.
While Sawatari getting jobbed is nothing new, Gongenzaka beginning to slip into this has been poorly received. So after he and Sawatari lost to the Tyler Sisters, the show took care to remind the audience that Tag Duels share a Graveyard, and given Gongenzaka's need to have a Spell/Trap free Graveyard and Sawatari's reliance on them, this would regardless put one of them at a huge disadvantage and cause an easy loss on their part.
Dennis having Chaos Ancient Gear Giant as his apparent true Fusion ace was seen by many fans as underwhelming; so when he revealed in his Duel with Kaito that he does indeed have an Entermage/Performage Fusion monster this was well-received.
Complaints about Kaito stealing Kurosaki's spot were mitigated by him returning from Heartland to see his corrupted sister.
Episode 141 is a big one, with a return to focus on the Standard characters rather than legacy, the return of monsters and moves that had been Demoted to Extra, and Tsukikage finally using Pendulums.
Repeat airings of Episode 147, where Yuya initially made an illegal movenote Pendulum Summoning the Level 2 Performapal Odd-Eyes Synchron with the lower end of the Scale being the Scale 3 Performapal Odd-Eyes Priest fixed the error by changing the Scale of Odd-Eyes Priest to 1.
Awesome Ego: To borrow the words of the man himself: there's no such thing as perfection, but if there were, it would be Jack Atlas. Granted, this Jack isn't quite as egotistical as the one in 5D's, but still, it's JACK ATLAS.
Badass Decay: Yuya suffers a minor case of this during Season 3. Despite mastering all four Extra Deck summoning methods and playing what is a Tier 1 deck in the real world, he rarely summons those Extra Deck monstersnote he didn't Synchro Summon at all in Season 3 until he got Clear Wing, and his Fusion Summoning in episode 110 is over 30 episodes since the last time he did it. and rarely makes use of the amazing combos his deck is capable of. In general he's playing like a Duelist who doesn't realize what his deck can really do, and is getting tossed around by every opponent so far when on paper it should be the other way around. It's led to jokes that the writers keep giving Yuya brick hands to preserve drama, or that Jack Atlas returned in Episode 120 to call out Yuya because he's angry at how bad he's doing.
Yuya was well-received by fans at first, but as the series went on more and more fans turned against him for various reasons. Some of the more common complaints are his frequent use of Action Cards (a reliable method of saving himself without situational effects or a cheap bail-out for not planning ahead) and his devotion to making everyone smile through his Entertainment Dueling (charming or cheesy, especially when it induces Heel-Face Turns too easily). By the series' conclusion, he'd reached the same level of divisiveness as ZEXAL's Yuma.
Shinji Weber became this, because while he has a cool deck and his hatred of the Tops is understandable, he chose a poor scapegoat in the form of fan-loved Tsukikage, making him out to be the bad guy and insulting the Fuma clan. After his duel with Yuya, he proved to be a Hypocrite and shows what some fans view as Kurosaki-level rage. His support of Commons doesn't help his case, nor does accusing Yuya of being a traitor after losing.
Kaito's inclusion in the series was well-received due to the badass reputation that he carried over from ZEXAL, but his character in this seriesnote essentially Kurosaki taken Up to Eleven has received mixed reception due to being even more aggressive than Kurosaki; to the point where he was literally a finger twitch away from carding Kurosaki just for trying to talk him down. His Big Damn Heroes moment and off-screen Heel Realization has met with mixed reception as well; either it's brilliant and a long time coming, or an Ass Pull.
Zarc. Half the fanbase hates him for being yet anotherGeneric Doomsday VillainFinal Boss, and view his backstory's insistence of blaming society when he could have chosen to duel for himself instead of the crowd as a bad attempt at painting him as the victim. The other half of the fanbase argue that Zarc's backstory does indeed separate him from the likes of Zorc Necrophades and Don Thousand, granting him the nuance and depth to make his character more 3 dimensional.
Reira fell into this late in Season 3. The lead-up to Zarc's revival suddenly had his character largely defined by his relationship with Ray, an adoptive sister that he just learned about. This led to what many saw as Reira grabbing the Conflict Ball by challenging Reiji to a duel and siding with their father's ambitions to meld the four dimensions and Bracelet Girls back into one, and later turning Zarc into the Anti-Climax Boss mentioned above. Reira then ends up becoming the focus of the finale, with what many saw as a melodramatic plot to make the newly infantized Reira smile.
Better Than Canon: After the Zarc Duel became one of the most criticized in the franchise, a good number of people seem to have chosen a fan-scripted duel where the other protagonists faced off against him as an alternative - partly for the obvious reason, and partly for featuring the clever plays, back-and-forth pacing, and climactic finish that the original was seen as lacking.
When Yuya sets his Pendulum Scales in episode 78, we see Kurosaki's stern face for about one second. And he's only watching the duel on the television. He doesn't make any comment during the entire episode and he's doesn't appear after that scene for the rest of the episode. We don't know why his face is suddenly shown there.
The waltz between Bloom Prima and Des-Toy Mad Chimaera in episode 83.
Other than Crow and Tsukikage getting carded, The 'Battle Beast' mini-arc could qualify as this.
In episode 137, Sayaka and Allen get warped by Arc V to where Kurosaki and Kaito are dueling Zarc, give some commentary that the audience can clearly see for themselves, then get promptly warped away toward the end. While the following episodes would have other characters observing the duel, they would thankfully never be needlessly thrown into the area again.
Broken Base: ARC-V is easily the most divisive Yu-Gi-Oh series to date (and in a franchise that includes 5D's and ZEXAL, that's saying quite a lot). Some people love it, some people hate it.
The fanbase was split on Jack and Crow's reappearance. Some were scared that it would mess up the show's pacing, open up a lot of plot holes and steal focus from the show's original characters. Some simply don't like 5D's. The other half were interested in possible other crossovers and in Jack and Crow coming back. They felt that the Synchro Dimension has been the least explored of the four mentioned dimensions up to that point and that in a interdimensional war series like ARC-V, a lot of characters are needed.
While Jack's return was met with generally positive reception, Crow's return was met with some mixed feelings, mostly due to his Base-Breaking Character status back in 5D's for being shoe-horned in because of his Blackwing deck as well as being a Spotlight-Stealing Squad. Thankfully, this has been toned down in ARC-V; see Rescued from the Scrappy Heap. Despite this, his carried-over reputation from 5D's still had people split even after he got carded.
The special opening for Episode 73, featuring all five protagonists (in commemoration of the franchise's 777th episode) is either a nice tribute or a lazy clipshow recycling old animation after fans were promised something more exciting.
While generally well-received by fans, some complained that the fourth opening was out of place given the dark context of the episodes themselves. It is also complained to be exceedingly generic for the fact that it does not introduce new plot threads and focuses entirely on only a handful of the main cast. Fans were baffled by the exclusion of Reiji. On the other hand, many fans were ecstatic at the inclusion of all Yuyas' and Yuzus' in a single opening, including one shot with all eight. Some thought that the inclusion of the scene with Yugo ogling the cheerleaders was out of place or Out of Character.
The reveal of Starve Venom Fusion Dragon in episode 91. Some like it and say it looks scary, while others find it ugly and disappointing. Later Rescued from the Scrappy Heap.
Sergey's Earthbound deck. Some find it a cool Call-Back to 5D's with a unique gimmick and hope it means more support for a long-dead archetype will be released in the future. Others find it cheapens the importance of the archetype to 5D's and is a case of Badass Decay, the Earthbounds being reduced to normal cards for the sake of seeing them again. Related to this is that the episode previews for Episode 92 strongly hinted the Earthbound Immortals would be coming back, which surely would have been a huge Wham Episode... and then it turned out they were not only just Sergey's new deck, it was just new monsters that shared the theme.
The general lack of focus Ritual Summoning tends to get in comparison to the other summoning mechanics. While Fusion, Synchro, Xyz and Pendulum get equal focus, Ritual generally tends to get the shaft by comparison, with only two characters (both of whom have since been Put on a Bus) using a deck that focuses on the mechanic.note Although Sawatari owning Hungry Burger suggests he can Ritual Summon. Some point out how Ritual Summoning isn't an Extra Deck mechanic, and thus doesn't follow the theme of the four dimensions. Others still want Ritual Summoning to get more focus, pointing out how it's still unique in comparison to other Main Deck monsters, having it's own unique card colornote something generally only reserved for Extra Deck monsters and summoning conditions. Most supporters also want more support for Ritual Monsters for the actual real life card game. Some people are also interested in how a Ritual Dimension would tie into the current plot.
Several fans felt the Xyz Arc was too short and a bit rushed. Others find it justified, since there isn't much to do in Heartland other than getting reinforcements and reducing Academia activity in the said city. A third party also felt that while it's good overall, it could've been better if there were more character build-ups.
Many fans were split on the post-Zarc episodes, but the base damn near EXPLODED upon seeing the ending for the series. After the final Yuya/Reiji duel, Yuzu is revived, and all the other Bracelet Girls are presumably dead, or within Yuzu, unable to live their normal lives. Couple this with the fact that 3/4's of Yuya's counterparts are within him, and Kurosaki seems to be perfectly okay with this, the ending really disappointed, if not angered, several people. However, some people will say while the ending wasn't what they expected, it was decent.
For the audience members who actively disliked Sora, Kurosaki bombing him into the ground, inadvertently dropping a building on him and reducing him into a blubbering mess after their first duel was extremely satisfying.
The inverse is also true; those that dislike Kurosaki probably enjoyed to see him being defeated by Sora and then falling down a flight of stairs, especially as he looked down on Sora at the start of the match.
Teppei's Chew Toy status during Episode 46 was a delight to all his haters, that's for sure.
Yuya's rage at Reiji seems to mirror how the fandom felt about him in episodes 50 and 67.
Kurosaki's Unstoppable Rage against Dennis in episode 75. While disturbing, the former's And This Is for... speech, Dennis failing to catch Action Cards due to the destruction he himself caused, and the duel culminating with Dennis's ace monster getting roasted by a giant laser from space, made the episode immensely satisfying for some, especially after the revelations made during the episode (said monster being the one used in the destruction of Heartland, no less). Several were even disappointed that Kurosaki was unable to card him or beat him up (note that Dennis was already unconscious by that point).
For those who don't like Shinji, Roget calling him out on his Sore Loser tendencies after he loses to Yuya is this. Also when he calls the Commons "bark and no bite".
The Chris Carter Effect: ARC-V got hit with this hard, sometimes bringing up a plot point and leaving it in the background for dozens of episodes before resolving it. For instance, Dennis was revealed to be The Mole in #46, but this was put aside until The Reveal in #74, over an arc later. For some, this meant each new episode could potentially be a big one and kept them on the edge of their seats. For others, this was a big turnoff (with many decrying "poor pacing"). And then there's the ending. We'll just leave it at that.
Complete Monster: Jean Michel Roget, the Arc Villain of Season 2, is the director of Security for the Synchro Dimension. Originally a member of Academia, Roget betrays the academy and attempts to take over the Synchro Dimension for himself. He creates a device that allows him to brainwash the security force into mindless drones for his future attempt at overthrowing the executive council, and conducts experiments on the dangerous criminal Sergey to turn him into an even more aggressive cyborg, with intention of having him crush Jack Atlas, thereby crushing the hopes of Tops and Commons alike. When Serena duels Yugo, to ensure she wins, he repeatedly alters the track for Serena to get action cards instead of Yugo, not caring that it puts Yugo in danger of falling off the track and dying. Later on during Yuya's duel against Crow, he activates a chip he installed in Yuya's helmet, painfully electrifying Yuya to force him into a more aggressive state, shrugging it off when told that Yuya could die from this. When his attempts to overthrow the council and dethrone Jack Atlas fail, he blows up the security headquarters, disables all elevators except for one he has himself and Yuzu take, leaving his other subordinates to die, and decides to take Yuzu to the fusion dimension in hopes that this will cause him to be forgiven by Academia. When Jack and Crow stop this from happening, Roget attempts to open up a wormhole to suck himself and everybody in the city in it, trapping them in dimensional limbo purely out of spite, telling everybody that if they won't obey him, everything in the world should disappear.
Continuity Lockout: A mild example. The show was intended to be watched from the very beginning for the viewers to fully understand all of the Foreshadowing, the Jigsaw Puzzle Plot, and the emotional impact on the characters. Audiences who decided to jumpstart to the second arc would have a hard time figuring a few things out. note Why Yuzu is so important to the other characters (namely Yuya, Gongenzaka and Serena) without watching the previous development of their relationship as she spent most of her time so far separated from the Lancers or why everyone mistakes Yugo and Yuzu for Yuya and Serena.
Yuya, who rides around the battlefield on cartoon circus animals and is shown running right into Solid Vision giant sweets to find his Action Cards, is either this or too silly to take seriously. Yuya creating the Pendulum Summon mechanic, creating the aforementioned Pendulum Monsters and overlaying an Xyz Monster with a Pendulum Monster to create an Xyz Pendulum Monster is really mind-blowing. And later when he Synchro Summons a Synchro Pendulum Monster without an actual Tuner during his Riding Duel rematch with Jack.
Related to above, Yuya's Odd-Eyes Rebellion Dragon is definitively this. It's the first Xyz Pendulum Monster, and its requirements to summon it just to activate its powerful effect is something nobody could think of it. Combined with its look and the way how it attacks, this monster is truly Crazy Awesome.
Gongenzaka's Superheavy Samurai deck has no Spell and Trap Cards. That is crazy. However, the effects of some of his monsters work because he has no S/T Cards in the graveyard, and his deck works well enough.
The Ryozanpaku Duel School's dueling style. They physically attack their opponents by themselves when they're going for Action Cards. That's indeed very crazy, and it's even not illegal. Even though every viewer agrees that this attitude is not tolerable, many actually see the idea as funny and indeed (a bit) awesome.
The fact that you can just join an on-going duel and turn it into a Battle Royal or a Tag Duel, something that couldn't be imagined before. Though during the MCS Battle Royal, you do suffer a penalty if you do so when you aren't Dueling, unless you aren't from Maiami City. Weirdly enough, the penalty suddenly started to apply to everyone in the middle of the Synchro arc, which actually comes in hand against Roget.
Yugo loves to do tricks with his D-Wheel when dueling, even when it is completely unnecessary. Even though everyone in general can do this on a D-Wheel, Yugo so far has been the peak of the acrobatics.
Tsukikage presenting his ninja skills... during an Action Riding Duel. Tokumatsu comes close, if not equal to him by jumping from his D-Wheel for an Action Card despite being an old man.
JACK ATLAS, who intentionally drives off a highway and flies across it as he calls out his ultimate monster. Then there's him riding along the walls during his duel with BB.
Creator's Pet:Kaito ended up getting this reaction from a few watchers. He was hyped up massively since his introduction, defeats several relevant characters in a row (including humiliating Kurosaki)note this isn't exactly new for the character; who only lost once in ZEXAL, but Kaito's overall personality is also very different from what it was there, does a complete 180 personality wise so he can join the Lancers, and the biggest complaint that people have is that he replaces Kurosaki as the Xyz user of the group while Kurosaki is injured in the Xyz Dimension. Using a Rank-Up-Magic searcher, (something people were hoping Kurosaki would get) and taking on the role of rescuing Ruri (Kurosaki's main goal) seriously rubbed Kurosaki's fans the wrong way. Many people were already sick of him hogging the spotlight simply because he's a legacy character, especially at the expense of characters who have been there since the start. Thankfully, just after one episode when Kaito gets to Ruri, the infected girl literally pushes him over the edge and Kurosaki comes back in the nick of time to save Kaito and deals with his sister himself two episodes later.
Cry for the Devil: Isao Kachidoki Used to Be a Sweet Kid and the flashback in episode 39 implies that, if he weren't under Ryozanpaku School's ideology of dueling, he and Yuya would have been friends.
Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Season 2 (the Synchro Dimension) entered into this for several fans. The basic conflict from the dimension is between the privilege Top and the Commons. The problem is that neither side really comes off as likable: The Tops are arrogant Jerkasses who treat humans as entertainment only, and the Commons characters who did things like take out their frustration out on the heroes, cares way more about winning as much as the Tops to the point of hypocritically support things like slavery for the losers of the Friendship Cup. What's really seal the deal is the fact that the named Common characters are big jerkasses themselves toward the heroes, with incidents such as Shinji's duel with Tsukikage, mocking of Yuya after his loss to Jack, and Sam's reaction to Jack giving him Tuning Magician. What's more, the Commons' perspective is introduced quite late in the arc; thus giving us less time to care about them. The dimension generally comes off as being too crapsack to live in and the people unpleasant to interact with (see Rooting For The Empire). This is a far cry from a parallel arc in 5D's where the conflict was generated by factors beyond human control and where characters from both Neo-Domino City (Aki, Carly, Mikage) and Satellite (Yusei, Jack) were likable. This trope was part of why so many fans were thrilled when Sora returned, since it meant the cast might soon be returning to the Academia War plot and that an invasion is just what the dimension needs to get all their heads out of their butts and change for good.
Even if the above doesn't apply to you; it can get VERY hard to watch an anime about a boy who wants to make people happy and see everyone enjoy a card game get metaphorically kicked in the mouth.
Shingo Sawatari. Despite the fact that his early methods are similar to the early manga version of Seto Kaiba, he is a Butt-Monkey and too funny to despise. Also, as an Expy of Jun Manjoume/Chazz Princeton, most fans predicted that he was going to become a good guy anyway. Not to mention that his father seems to be a neglectful parent and is in fact a grade A Jerkass, cast some sympathy on him. His return in episode 49 cemented his turn into becoming a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, his only major vice remaining being his massive ego.
Serena had some of this due to being a dimensional counterpart of Yuzu, and she was quickly claimed by some to be the best girl, despite the fact that she was a clear Jerkass. Fortunately, later episodes have shown that she isn't a complete Jerkass and had been indoctrinated into thinking Academia was noble, not realizing that they were intentionally harming and hunting innocents in the Xyz Dimension invasion.
Shun Kurosaki. People admire him for his efforts to save his sister and comrades, sometimes completely forgetting how he ruthlessly turned at least FIVE absolutely innocent people into cards, not caring much if they also had family and friends whose life he probably ruined. Also he had no problems doing it to the LDS Trio, if Reiji hadn't intervened. To be slightly fair to him, he likely viewed it as Kick the Son of a Bitch, believing them all to be associated with Academia, who would certainly deserve this fate. But at the same time, he hasn't shown any regret for any of his past actions prior to his duel with Kaito and has stated he would even attack Yuto if he had too.
There's a significant swathe of the fandom that absolutely refuses to believe Dennis to be a bad guy, despite the fact that he works happily with the psychotic Yuri, he let Halil and Olga be carded without a care, and it's pretty clear that his prior niceness was a facade. He has shown some shades of Becoming the Mask in the form of concern for Gongenzaka, but whether it will stick has yet to be seen. Episode 75 adds more depth to the denial by implying Dennis was already becoming the mask before he even met Ruri. As it turns out, it's very complicated. He does indeed become the mask, but at the same time he is still very loyal to Academia. Eventually this gets to him and he betrays the Professor before carding himself.
Ending Aversion: While Seasons 1 and 2 of ARC-V are generally liked (though Season 1 is considered better than Season 2), Season 3 was poorly received for feeling rushed, leaving many loose ends, wasting good plots and characters, and generally not being as well-paced or well-written as the first two seasons. The last dozen episodes or so in particular, covering the final battle with Zarc and after, are universally loathed and seen as an extremely unsatisfying way to end the series. In the fanfiction community it's a Fandom-Specific Plot to rewrite the show after Season 2, or at least redo the final episodes. Given that many overarcing plotlines in the show built up this climax, seeing it be executed so poorly can sour people on the entire series if they know the finale is bad.
The LDS trio became popular with the fans for using popular and actually practical meta decks and having amazing duels. Even if they suffer from The Worf Effect. Masumi Kotsu, the LDS Fusion specialist, is the biggest example for being the nicestnote which doesn't say that much of the trio and her straightforward personality, in addition to her enjoyable rivalry with Yuzu. The Gem-Knights' popularity also factors in, especially since her new support revived the series into a still-played engine in the meta.
Mieru Hochun, the Ritual duelist from the qualifier duels. It helps that her strategy is much more realistic than her two goofy predecessors, and her bringing back the Ritual mechanic in an awesome way pleased many older fans. Her Sybil deck also caught attention by the players after being released in the TCG/OCG.
Before the three LDS exchange students were properly introduced, Olga (the Nordic Maiami finalist) garnered fans when all people knew about her was her name and her looks, far moreso than any of her other international counterparts.
Tsukikage and Hikage, the two Ninja brothers initially introduced as background characters during the Maiami Championship are also quite popular in some circles, especially with the reveal that they are among Reiji's Lancer candidates and are more involved and aware about the Interdimensional War than their initial appearances suggested. Particularly Tsukikage, as he's still part of the story and has proven himself time and time again to be a very reliable Lancer, even when he's not as good a duelist in comparison to the others.
Yoko and Shuzo are pretty loved in the fandom for being loving and involved parents that this franchise is sorely lacking. While Yoko's popularity took a bit of a hit in the MCS arc, she bounced right back when her backstory was revealed.
Rin's popularity exploded when her design and backstory were revealed in Episode 54. Despite the fact that her win over Yugo was while she was corrupted, her playstyle and cards were well received by the fans and her deck has a unique gimmick, especially for a WIND deck.
Ruri is a special case. She's a very popular character because she's the first of Yuzu's mentioned counterparts and she is often connected with the various memes surrounding Kurosaki and Yuto, to the point that people nicknamed Kurosaki's Raidraptors "Ruri Raptors". Her popularity exploded when her design was revealed, which received near universal love. Her Badass Fighting from the Inside moment when she dueled her brother only served to make her even more well-liked.
On the card front, Yuya's Magicians are popular for being well-designed monsters and for being the best cards in Yuya's deck. In terms of the actual gameplay, once they became a viable archetype, they immediately become one of the most played decks online, despite not even being released in real life yet.
Similarly, Sawatari's Yosenju deck is much more popular than basically all the other ones he's used due to their overall feasibility, unique playstyle, and cool designs, despite only having appeared in one duel.
The Tyler Sisters are popular in general for being badass Dark Action Girls and gorgeous, though Grace takes the cake with her cute mannerisms and being a Graceful Loser to Yuya and being interested in Entertainment Dueling.
Ever since the reveal of her backstory, Ray Akaba is a major one for fans due to her badassary and interaction with Zarc and the rest of her family. Even people who hate season 3 agree that she is one of the best aspects of it.
Miu, the cute bed-ridden Ill Girl and Sora's younger sister from the manga continuity, has gained a small following in the fanbase. The fact that she's an Expy of the original manga's Shizuka has boosted her popularity a bit.
Ren becomes the first ever Yu-Gi-Oh! villain who is a literal Char Clone (ie. The Ace, enigmatic, wears a mask), mainly for being Affably Evil, a Noble Demon, and a good example of writing an ARC-V villain. It also helps that he's very competent enough to pull a successful Xanatos Gambit on Yugo in their first Duel. He also brings a massive twist once we see his face, showing he looks like an older Yugo.
Epileptic Trees: Very common due to the mysterious nature of the show. This ranged from the identity of Yuto, Sora and what is going on with Yuya and Yuzu.
There is a lot of discussion about Yuya and Yuzu: Why are they the only characters to have cross-dimensional counterparts? Where do the Four Dimensional Dragons owned by the Yus come from, and what's the secret behind their Superpowered Evil Side? What's the purpose behind the bracelets worn by Yuzu and her other selves, and why does Yuzu's always teleport one of the Yus away whenever there's more than one of them close to her?
There was a common theory that Yuzu is actually Ruri, with both pros and cons to it. Jossed by Yuri mentioning having captured the latter previously, and the flashback finally being showcased.
A popular theory is that Yuya and his counterparts were once a God of Destruction who was split into four. This is based on their Superpowered Evil Side and Yuya's Destruction/Xiangke Magician looking just like them. On the other hand, Yuzu and her counterparts were once a God of Creation also split into four, based on the Professor's interest in them for his plan of fusing the dimensions and Yuya's Creation/Xiangsheng Magician's resemblance to them. Mostly confirmed with Yuya's counterparts, who were split from the Supreme King Dragon Zarc, stated to have power equal to a god, but Jossed with Yuzu's, who were simply the Professor's daughter.
The Facility breakout shows the Hard Light monsters can be used outside of duels for practical defense against attackers, with Yuya using his to fight off and hold back the prison guards themselves instead of dueling them. This opened up a lot of questions as to how exactly it works (like whether a character could summon monsters without having to stick to normal Duel Monster rules, such as summoning a level five or higher monster without tributes or Pendulum summoning it, exactly what is the extent the commands duelist can give their monsters outside of duels, and how severe the damage they do can be), and casting a whole new bunch of Fridge Horror over exactly how severe the Fusion Dimension's attacks on the Xyz Dimension were.note The show proceeded to answer that last question.
Many have wondered if a Ritual Dimension existed because of Mieru, and the series being called ARC-Five. But the theories exploded when Odd-Eyes got a Ritual upgrade in the TCG/OCG. As it turns out, ARC-V is the proposed name for the Professor's fused dimension.
Theories exploded again after Yugo and Yuya's syncing, vastly modifying previous interpretations of Yuya's Superpowered Evil Side and how he and his counterparts interact.
The fourth opening includes frames of the dragon boys changing expressions as cutout shapes move over their faces. One of Yuri's expressions shows him with a scary, almost lizard-like expression. Fans immediately started making guesses as to why he looked like that.
There are various theories over Yuri and Serena's relationship, mainly as they are the only Counterpart pair that doesn't seem close at all. (Serena didn't even seem to know that Yuri even existed until she met him.)
Yuri, despite being a sociopath that enjoys causing horror and sees war as a game, is loved in the fandom because of these traits. It doesn't hurt that he's a dimensional counterpart of Yuya and some of his mocking faces he makes when talking to Yuzu are pretty funny.
Fandom Rivalry: Like all Yu-Gi-Oh! series, there is rivalry between the fandoms of the other series over which is the best. But it comes the most from the ZEXAL fandom, as ARC-V comes right after it and ZEXAL is already hotly contested.
Regarding the previous spin-offs, a fair number of fans were/are under the impression that they each took place in the same dimension as their Summoning method, despite the use of other Summoning methods in said series, most notably Fusion Summoning in every series.
The fandom exploded with theories regarding Dennis using Pendulum and Xyz Summoning for the first time in the Synchro Dimension, either deriding it as silly for revealing their arsenal to the Synchro Dimension, or viewing him as a Magnificent Bastardchessmaster painting those Summoning methods as evil. This is despite the fact that a) he had no idea that he needed to keep his skills secret, or b) that there is no evidence that he had an agenda. In fact, Reiji tells the Lancers to use Actions Cards and Pendulums to their hearts' content before the Lancers leave Standard. Furthermore, it's implied that Xyz and Fusion would be even less restricted, since they are not the Lancers' greatest weapons. And then you have episodes 74-75, which show that if nothing else, Dennis genuinely seems to like his Xyz monsters.
A less egregious example are people painting Reiji as ruthless to the point of sacrificing his own men to achieve his ends. While he certainly isn't above using them as bait, episode 73 reveals that he would never abandon his comrades. However, this was almost thirty episodes after the Youth Team's loss, so fans had had quite a bit of time to assume that Reiji simply sacrificed them to save Serena.
Another example is the degree of Character Development that Kurosaki had gone through prior to his duel with Crow. While everyone agrees that it has been little, his returning to treating everyone else as an enemy isn't actually a case of Aesop Amnesia, since there was no real indication of him accepting the other Lancers as his comrades (he even called their help "ridiculous" before Pendulum Summoning).
Quite a few fans believe that Yuya found Yuto's deck at the Spade Branch, and thus this is where he got his Rank-Up-Magic and Dark Requiem Xyz Dragon. The only problem with that is...Yuto's deck is still in Standard, so it's either a Plot Hole, or something the writers forgot to explain. Episode 124 shows that it appears that their powers seem to be able to change Yuya's cards to Yuto's.
Grace gets very interested in Yuya's Entertainment Dueling after he beats her and her sister.
Edo's obsession with defeating Yusho also crosses into this. Especially with the flashback in episode 110 establishing that he actually enjoyed their Duel and has since been in denial about it.
Yuri's attitude towards Yuya / Yuto bathed in this trope with lines like "No matter what you do, he's mine!! I won't give him to anyone!!" is uttered with the most rapey face possible.
Fourth Wall Myopia: This type of reaction runs rampant among the fandom, since the series runs a lot on its Jigsaw Puzzle Plot and driving questions of what or why things are happening in the first place, there are naturally things that are revealed to the audience but not In-Universe or alternatively that a Genre Savvy audience could figure out before the characters do and this causes some sections of the fandom either get impatient with the characters for not figuring things out themselves, often forgetting that they don't know ALL of what's going on. Sometimes even getting pissed off at some decisions that are taken with the information the characters have available, not realizing that there's no way they can know something that just got revealed to the audience through another source or sometimes not taking into account the personality or motivations of certain characters who will do what they think it's best, based on what they know rather than doing the "logical" answer that only the audience could possibly realize.
Sora comments to himself in episode 15 that being "too nice" is his only flaw since constant coaxing from Yuzu made him teach her the mechanics of Fusion Summoning. After learning his true allegiance and how he acts towards his enemies...
Yugo fussing over his D-Wheel and hoping it's not damaged when he lands on it after Rin throws him off the tower is kind of amusing. Yugo's D-Wheel actually getting destroyed at the end of the episode is not, and suddenly the above scene never was funny in the first place.
All the jokes about Yugo's name sounding like "Fusion" take a dark turn after he loses to, and is absorbed by, his Fusion Dimension counterpart, Yuri.
Yuto's flashback in Episode 124 when he was surprised that Kurosaki claimed Ruri was his sister is funny. Jump into Episode 128, and it's heavily hinted that The bracelet girls and Zarc pieces weren't born in the family they were in. It's kinda hard both to break this news and laugh at Episode 124's flashback.
Barrett's Beast-borg Medal of the Crimson Chain is a Continuous Trap Card that is activated when one or more monsters are Special Summoned from the Extra Deck to the opponent's side of the field. It prevents one of those monsters from attacking, from changing its battle position and from being destroyed. The worst part is that as long this card is on the field, the opponent cannot summon monsters nor activate Spell/Trap Cards. It effectively prevents the opponent from playing the game and the only things the opponent can do is setting cards and using monster hand traps. The strange part is that Beast-borg Medal of the Crimson Chain applies to only one opponent at the time of a Battle Royal, so any third duelist can kick in without problems.
Zarc himself and his Servant Dragons are a bigger and better example of this. By just tributing Astrograph Sorcerer (a level 7 monster with no summoning restrictions itself and with an effect that places it on field while also recovering destroyed cards for more brokenness) Zarc gets to summon his namesake that on summon can destroy all monsters the opponent controls, and inflict their attack as damage to the opponent. Zarc cannot be destroyed or removed from field by any effects while there are any Fusion, Synchro or Xyz monsters banished or/and in graveyard, something Astrograph Sorcerer already makes to put Zarc on field. All monsters on Zarc's side are unaffected by the effects of opposing Synchro, Xyz and Fusion monsters. AND ON TOP of everything it destroys any card the opponent adds to the hand outside of the Draw Phase; sealing away any attempt the opponent may try to save themselves by playing Action Cards while countering decks that are heavily built on searching. Think you can prey on his Pendulum based "weakness"? By destroying an opponent's monster in battle, Zarc gets to summon 2 copies of Supreme King Servant Dragon Darkwurm, that while Zarc is on field allow him quick access to the corrupted versions of the Dimensional Dragons. While they all may qualify for the Game-Breaker cathegory, the corrupted Odd-Eyes stands out as it originally didn't have any stun-based effects.
When the opponent Pendulum summons while Zarc is on field, he may tribute 2 "Supreme King Servant Dragon" monsters (mostly the previously mentioned Darkwurm) to special summon Supreme King Servant Dragon Odd-Eyes from hand, Main Deck or Extra Deck. Want to target Zarc for an attack? Odd-Eyes will protect him from any attacks and any destruction effects if you were to somehow destroy it. The battle damage taken from any Pendulum monsters attacks is doubled while Odd-Eyes can tribute itself to reduce the opponent's monsters attacks to zero and placing any two Supreme King Servant Dragons on field. And this final effect is QUICK.
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The reaction to the show's later seasons has been near universally negative in Japan for a while. The rest of the world, despite feeling similar sentiments toward the later seasons, is still fairly positive for the franchise.
Several points could be this, though the You Show/LDS school conflict could be considered the earliest definite point. Yuya's duel with Mieru is this to a lesser extent, particularly for the Qualifying Mini-Arc.
Episode 34 is easily the biggest example, with an amazing duel and the reveal of Yuto and Kurosaki's backgrounds, which finally revealed the dimensional war.
The Battle Royal; multiple Drama Bombs are dropped, there are excellent (and some heart-wrenching) twists, tons of character development, and the duels drastically improve in quality, with many OCG original cards debuting.
The Friendship Cup in general for Season 2, especially the final match of the Friendship Cup's first round; after Dennis' loss to Kurosaki, Academia began to get involved again, and Sergey is revealed in all his monstrosity.
The concept of Entertainment Dueling was initially looked as silly and goofy, because entertaining people while riding your monsters and stuff seemed to be ridiculous and childish. People changed their mind, as the Entertaining Dueling actually has a deeper meaning in the story, since we later seen the concept's impact on the characters of the show, especially Yuya, who fails to make an impression in the way he wants and is forced to rethink his strategies and philosophy. The concept as a whole is deconstructed when violence and bloodlust, effectively a form of entertainment themselves, led to the creation of the Supreme King Dragon Zarc and the destruction of the Original Dimension.
Mieru's prediction that Yuya's life would be at risk. Considering all the crap the poor guy's gone through since then, she was right. Especially since the Professor has specifically tried to have him killed.
Yuto's "dying" words to Yuya were for him to bring smiles to people with his dueling. Immediately in Yuya's next duel, he traumatizes his opponent and scares every single member of the audience. With Episode 44 and 45 hinting that Yuto is fusing with Yuya in their Superpowered Evil Sides, and Yuya wondering why Yuto would make him act like this in 46. Though considering how abrupt this is, it might also fall under Hilarious in Hindsight for the unintentional Narm. Later in episode 104, it turns out that Yuto's words were actually borrowed from Ruri, and he tosses her and Yuya's idealism aside for the sake of revenge.
Yuya and Yuzu's asking for each other to be safe at the start of the Battle Royal can be downright heartbreaking when they both suffer quite a bit in that arc with Yuya and Yuzu being separated and Yuya fearing that she was carded.
Dennis's kindness and support to Yuya and Yuzu are a lot harder to watch when its revealed he's a mole from the Academia and it was all an act. And while his kindness to Yuya may actually have been genuine, the kindness that he showed to Yuzu becomes even worse after it's revealed that he assisted in Ruri's capture the same way.
The fact that the Academia was an Expy of Duel Academia put a lot of events and Character Development of GX into consideration of how Not So Different they are from the soldiers from the Academia and how they might have turned had Professor Leo Akaba invaded Duel Academia. This is made more poignant in the dub, due to both Duel Academia and Academia being localised as Duel Academy.note While they both have the same official name (Duel Academia) in the original version, the ARC-V version is nearly always referred to simply as Academia to contrast it with GX's Duel Academia, making it more of an Evil Counterpart name; the number of times it's referred to as Duel Academia instead of Academia can be counted on one hand. Conversely, the dub uses the name Duel Academy for both.
In a early episode Sora joked with Yuya about him not paying attention to Yuzu, and told him that someone else would end up taking her away from him, Yuya brushed it off with another She Is Not My Girlfriend comment. Fast-foward to episode 49, where he learns that Yuzu went missing. While Sora didn't mean it literally at the time, and Yuzu barely managed to avoid being kidnapped by Yuri, it doesn't change the fact that it still hit him hard.
One of the earliest memes in the ARC-V fandom was "Yuzu is the true protagonist of ARC-V". Come Season 3 though, and people were clamoring for Yuzu to do anything even remotely impactful on the story. Related, her literally near-fatal defeat in Episode 77 also becomes worse knowing that it would be the last time she ever gets to participate in a major duel,note her only other Duel, period, is beating up Sector Security mooks with Sora six episodes later. with her getting sidelined as if she was Stuffed into the Fridge.
Sawatari accidentally pointing the Academia Duel Disk at himself and putting himself in danger of getting carded became this after Dennis did this deliberately.
In episode 24, Yuto tells Yuzu that Ruri would never learn Fusion Summoning. Come episode 119 where Ruri Fusion Summons Independent Nightingale during her duel against Kurosaki.
He Really Can Act: Several people were unsure about how Michael Liscio Jr would voice Yuri in the later parts of the show, but Episode106 proved he could make him terrifying.
Yuya's seiyuu ended up voicing the lead of the Pokémon Mega Evolution specials around the time ARC-V came out. Said lead also commands a red dragon (Charizard) that has an evolved form (Mega Charizard X; note that Charizard also has multiple evolved forms, but only X has been shown.) And then after that, Yuya's dub voice actor comes from that same series, voicing Clemont in the Pokemon dub.
Yuya's goals and mentions of smiles. As of the fourth act of the special, Alain's goal is to bring Manon back from her Despair Event Horizon, with repeated mentions of wanting to bring back her smile.
The Pokémon Sun and Moon starters have been frequently compared to Performapals (Popplio especially for being a circus seal). Also, Stufful and Bewear look like teddy bears and have an uncannily violent attitude, just like Sora's Frightfur Bear.
We know that Kurosaki's younger sister Ruri looks like Yuzu. Even though we know that Yuzu isn't Ruri, if you swap their names, then the name "Yuzu Kurosaki" might remember you of a certain little sister. Even better, Ruri's Synchro counterpart is Rin, like in Karin.
Everything about Yugo before he appeared. We thought we were going to get a stoic or evil psycho, instead we got a silly guy with No Social Skills that crashes his D-Wheel into a street light camera. Many also thought he was on the Fusion Dimension's side due to his name. This became absolutely hilarious as a Running Gag in-universe. Still a badass though.
Play Tag Force Special, pick Yuzu and wait for the moment when she says "Serenade the Melodious Diva", specifically the OCG name "Gensō no Otome Serena". Made more hilarious and borderline Foreshadowing when you remember that the literal reading of "Gensō no Otome" is "Illusionary Maiden", as if Serena is an illusionary Yuzu for their resemblance.
Similarly, it's impossible to hear Sawatari's "Koikoikoi"s when summoning his Yosenjus in the game and not immediately think of Tokumatsu.
Professor Leo Akaba sharing the same seiyuu with Kajiki from Duel Monsters is actually a bit funny if you think about it. The cameo of Kajiki's previous ace monster, The Legendary Fisherman, makes it even funnier.
If you re-watch Duel Monsters in Japanese, you might spot a little kid named Kenta who sounds exactly like Sora. Even funnier, Sora used to be a blue-haired (Chaos) "Xyz scum" in ZEXAL.
Since the beginning of the show, Yuya's Performapals were looked down upon for being weak and poor representatives of Pendulum Summoning, and his Magicians were well-liked. Fast-forward to Japan's meta in 2015, where Performage and Pals (Dennis's and Yuya's monsters) are topping way more than Magicians are, usually without the Magicians in their deck. Who's laughing now?
Sam considers Tuning Magician insultingly useless, prompting Yuya to show him that no card is useless by using her in a duel. Except this card had to be vastly buffed up to be usable in the actual card game. And even then, she was only buffed up to support Magicians.
After Kurosaki's DARK Winged-Beast Raidraptors were released, their similarity to Blackwings were noted in terms of appearance and playstyle. Come the Synchro Dimension, not only does an alternate universe version of Crow Hogan, the original Blackwing user, appear in the series, but he duels Kurosaki in the Friendship Cup second round. Even better, Matt Shipman, Shay's dub voice actor, used to play a Blackwing deck.
Yuto and Yugo's hatred for one another is generally Harsher in Hindsight... except for the fact that their decks (Phantom Knights and Speedroids) actually mesh quite well together.
In America, 5D's is in general the most well-liked of the Yu-Gi-Oh spin-offs, whereas ZEXAL is the most hated. In ARC-V, the setting (Or possibly, an alternate version) of ZEXAL (Heartland) has been destroyed, making the people there much more sympathetic and, depending on your opinion, some of the best characters in the shownote Kurosaki at least gets the best duels by far. Meanwhile the people of City, based on the setting of 5D's (Neo Domino City) are hated by most of the fanbase, to the point where some fans ended up Rooting for the Empire, and others were sick of the Synchro season.
Dennis is a devious villain masquerading as a lovable dork, with a love for fame. His deck references his stage persona and performance styles. But the similarities unintentionally became more potent in real life: his deck would go on to become a dangerously potent Spotlight-Stealing Squad deck that is notoriously divisive, and generally seen as a bad and toxic deck for taking over the meta and not preventing most other decks from shining.
In Episode 59, Frank tries to Synchro Summon without using a Tuner, and Tanner has to remind him that you can't. Almost 40 episodes later, Yuya does just that to summon Nirvana High Paladin.
Kaito's interactions with Ruri are a bit funny if you think outside of the franchise. Kaito's seiyuu voices Raku from Nisekoi, and one of the supporting characters is named Ruri.
Meta example. People jokingly guessed that Ruri's deck would be Harpies as they are Winged Beasts with Xyz support. It ended up being technically correct as her Lyrical Luscinia monsters have similarities to the Harpies.
Another meta example. After the disturbing episode 77 where Sergey defeats Yuzu, many wondered how the dub would censor it and if it would even be aired at all. The dub did indeed air it, and they changed...absolutely nothing. May cross over with Harsher in Hindsight, as the episode is just as disturbing to watch.
Aoi Yuki voiced Mieru Hochun, a fortune teller who had a crush on Yuya, and later voiced Menat in 2017, who is also a fortune teller.
Reiji defeating Roget bears an uncanny resemblance to the climax of Doctor Strange (2016). Both involve the hero trapping the villain in an infinite loop until the villain Rage Quits; however, while Reiji did it by winning infinitely until Roget gave up, Strange did it by losing endlessly to trap Dormammu until Dormammu finally gave in.
Idiot Plot: None of the entire series would have happened if the professor had any common sense and didn't weaponize the Antichrist.
Idiosyncratic Ship Naming: ARC-V continues the Yu-Gi-Oh! trending of "_____________ shipping" as names. Examples included FruitShipping made up of Yuya and Yuzu fitting Yuya's fan nickname, Tomato and Yuzu being a citrus fruit, BraceletShipping made up of Yuto and Yuzu due to the fact Yuzu's bracelet keeps teleporting Yuto away and CounterpartShipping made up of Yuya and Yuto due them having similar faces and being the same person from different dimensions.
That Yuya's pendulum seems to be yetanother pendant with mystical powers received this reaction from some fans, though the pendant's current overshadowing by the plot quickly alleviated this.
Having another care-free and silly character after just coming off of one also initially garnered disdain. Compared to Yuma, though, Yuya is more toned down in terms of hyperactivity and he's a HUGE Stepford Smiler, more so than Yuma. In terms of personality, he's really more like a more serious version of Season 1 Judai. People have already forgotten about this trope, since Yuya has proven to be as his own unique character and had the most dynamic Character Development before even reaching the 50th episode.
Episode 34 revealed that Sora has several similarities to Vector. Some people didn't like that idea, given Sora's Base-Breaking Character status compared to Vector's popularity. Dennis being another apparent Vector clone got this reaction too, but he proved to be a somewhat different sort of character.
Although the exact monsters are different, Roget using Ancient Gears like the Obelisk Force got this reaction.
Shun Kurosaki. All he wants is to find and get back his little sister, and the reveals in episodes 34 and 75 just adds more reasons for the jerkass-y and the woobie-ness.
Yugo certainly qualified, although he's less of a Jerkass and more just insensitive and hot-headed. He eventually loses the Jerkass status, as more has been revealed about him.
Kachidoki. While he does physically beat his opponents, it's hard not to feel sorry for him when he was trained under a "must win under any circumstance" mindset, was a sweet kid and hasn't seen his parents for years.
Gongenzaka's two lackey's in the Facility attempt to talk Yuya and co. down when they first meet them. Considering the crap they get from people who did the same to them, it's pretty understandable.
Duel Chaser 227. He may be a member of Security who deserved to lose to Yugo and get fired, but seeing his breakdown, and his Tears of Joy at Roget giving him a second chance puts him here, once you learn he got hunted down by his former comrades and arrested for being a Common now. His breakdown again in the Underground just piles on to this.
The Tops as of episode 91, particularly the ones trapped in the Duel Palace. While they may be apathetic jerks to a man, virtually all of the Commons - who make up 99% of the City's population - are in violent revolt and are out for their blood. The only thing keeping them out is Security, whose leader clearly does not have their best interests in mind. As a result, it's hard not to feel a bit sorry for them - especially the children.
Kaito. Yes, he acts like an asshat to everyone, even his own comrades. Yes, he mercilessly cards Academia duelists and nearly Kurosaki. But if being from Heartland wasn't enough to qualify him for this, then the reveal that his family were carded firmly secures him as this; made more poignant by those who watched ZEXAL and know how important his family are to him.
Allen Kozuki, another Heartland survivor, though he acts like a jerk to Yuya because he thinks that Yuya's father abandoned them. Fortunately, he grows out of the Jerkass part.
BB. All of his actions are him lashing out at the world as he tries to protect himself.
Yuri of all people. As a child, he became isolated due to his strength, and only found joy after being taken under the Professor's wing. Plus, he's just as much of a Cosmic Plaything as his counterparts.
Yuzu is often shipped with Yuya and his counterparts, to the point that she has her own harem. She is also commonly shipped with Masumi and Serena. Minor ships with Kurosaki (which is somewhat Squicky since her Xyz counterpart is his sister), Reiji, Sawatari, Halil, Olga and Dennis are also there.
Yuri. He's sadistic monster who works for the Big Bad because he finds it fun and takes way too much joy out of terrifying the Yuzus in their "game of hide and seek" and cards people simply because they get in his way, but damn if the little psychopath isn't entertaining to watch in action. Also helps that he's shown to be the smartest villain on the show so far, taking advantage of the show's Alleged Lookalikes trope between the Yuya's to trick Yuto and Yugo into fighting each other, with each one thinking the other's him.
Beast-Eyes Pendulum Dragon for many after this image was released. But Odd-Eyes Rebellion Dragon takes the cake.
Manga!Yuya and his ace, Odd-Eyes Phantom Dragon became this from this image◊ alone. Even more when its shown he's more suave and very competent in duels while lacking his Wangst compared to his anime counterpart that fans wanted this version of him in the anime instead.
Reiji Akaba is often compared with Batman due to having only lost a single duel thus far - and that was a forfeit that was still up in the air. Then there's his effective Batcave.
Kurosaki is the second character compared to Batman. He and his Raidraptor Xyz Monsters are Memetic Badasses, the latter for either their effects or the way how they attack. Kurosaki's badassery has only been taken Up to Eleven after he's beaten up several squads of guards, including many that are twice his size, and by that we mean both with his fists and in duels.
JACK ATLAS both in and out of universe. Defeating the main character and the Arc Villain's Dragon will kinda do that.
Starve Venom Fusion Dragon became this after episode 106, thanks to the anime buffing all of its three effects to Rise Falcon levels of power.
Ruri became a minor one, especially in the Japanese fandom. This is because one of her cards (Independent Nightingale) was (unintentionally) a key part of combos that turns an otherwise-normal card (The Tyrant Neptune or Supreme King Dragon Starving Venom) into major Game Breakers.
Yuya's hair is often described as a tomato by the fans.
Yuto's is an eggplant.
After Yugo's design had been revealed, in keeping with the theme of produce, his hair has granted him the status of blueberry and banana. His hair and his dorky personality are the reason why a good portion of the fandom cannot take him seriously, unless he has Glowing Eyes of Doom.
Yuri's hair is often likened to of a purple cabbage, berry blast or a dragonfruit. His eyebrows are more memetic than his hair, though, and they are often depicted as the source of his evilness.
Sawatari, for his very pathetic losing streak. Losing off-screen to a Mook (in a One-Turn Kill no less) is the lowest thing that can happen to you.
Yuu Sakuragi, the previous winner of the Junior Youth Championship, due to running away screaming with his hands over his head after Yugo saved him from the Obelisk Force. People were especially annoyed because his one known card suggested he used the Prophecy cards, which were quite the juggernauts at one point.
The whole Youth Team count as well, with people joking about Reiji having a bad choice for duelists.
Reiji himself was often the victim of this, prior to his second duel with Yuya - people pointed to the fact that he surrendered the first duel and took quite a while to actually defeat someone (who was just an Elite Mook), and it was quite popular to portray him as a lonely NEET stalker. His second duel with Yuya mostly cemented him as, if nothing else, an excellent duelist.
Yuto's earned the nickname of "Purple Kotori" for his early "death" and excessive egao-ing.
Surprisingly, the Lancers as a whole started to gain this reputation, thanks to their shoddy win rates since they formed and how they haven't accomplished much of anything towards their goals so far. The only ones who managed to skim by this were Kurosaki and Serena, but even then, thanks to their attitudes, some still point out how they're not exactly a well oiled machine, either. A majority of them getting locked up in prison near the start of the Synchro Dimension season doesn't help, either. While some argue it helps prevent an Invincible Hero situation, others still can't help but mock the fact that these people are suppose to end a dimension war.
The Fusion Dimension legacy characters suffer the worst portrayal. Edo has a very poor track record (at best, he forced a draw in his first duel with Yuya just before the latter would have won) and is viewed as one of the more forced cases of Academia soldiers converting to egao. Asuka technically has a better track record from beating a trio of Mooks in her debut, but later loses to Yuri essentially advertising the Machine Dragon Re-Volt Structure Deck without even having the dignity of going down to his ace Starve Venom, and was generally the most inconsequential legacy character for the story.
Nico Smiley the Clown Hitler/Circus Hitler has become this in fan-art due to his creepy appearance and persona, though in canon he has not done anything that odd. Well, except for his greeting of Yuya outside the cuisine Duel School.
In some circles, Reiji. He's usually depicted as a cold, calculated stalker whose obsession with Yuya makes Kaiba think he's gone too far.
This seems to have been superseded by his obsession with Serena - it's pretty much fanon at this point that he still has the footage of her changing clothes.
After the preview for episode 44 aired, a lot of people started seeing Dennis this way, due to him cornering a clearly uncomfortable Yuzu against a wall.
Yoko Sakaki is a cougar for redheads.note Both Michio and Dennis are redheads.
Jean-MichelRoget became one when he ordered that Serena be placed in a special cell when the Lancers, Crow and Shinji were arrested, saying he would "Investigate her thoroughly". He meant her Fusion Summoning, but it makes him sound like a rapist. Later he says he would "visit her" after she calmed down. A lot of his dialogue towards her is very creepy. Made worse later when in his Chess Motifs, Serena is the queen to his king. He gets it again towards Yuya for how he manhandles him in episode 80. And then him dragging Yuzu back to Academia makes him sound like a rapist dragging off his prize, especially since he actually assaults her.
Fans make fun of Tokumatsu being a rapist or molester because he dueled Yuzu in episode 69. His title "Enjoy Chojirou" does not help either.
Yuri gained this reputation thanks to his Slasher Smile and how he was specifically hired to track down Yuzu and her dimensional counterparts. The delight he seems to take in it doesn't help his case, either.
Sergey, a Combat Sadomasochist with a Thorn deck who sounds way too excited at the prospect of brutalizing a cute 14-year old girl (the fact he finds her a much more satisfying victim than Damon doesn't help matters). Crosses over into Memetic Psychopath.
The Doktor and Parasite Fusioner, for turning four fourteen-year-old girls into his puppets, and when used by Rin and Ruri, Parasite Fusioner clamps over their chests. And the way how the Doktor touches Yuzu's face makes it even worse.
Yuri. Due to his trolly nature and blatant sadism, he fits both sides of the word. Episode 123 not only reveals he wants to card everyone beside himself, but he was trolling Asuka and Sora the entire time.
Sergey combines this with Memetic Molester; his terrifying debut involved him utterly beating the stuffing out of Yuzu and he finds pleasure in pain from both sides.
Memetic Troll: Yuri, who trolls everyone he duels, except Yugo. He trolls him out of them by consistently running off and making Fusion puns.
Reira and Himika's relationship. Himika adopted Reira to use him against the Academia and called him a puppet. Reiji himself commented if she knew that Reira was growing a will, she would be upset.
Roget passed it after it's revealed that not only is he working solely for his own gain, not only is he classist and a Fantastic Racist, but he intends to turn Yuya into a brainwashed duel-frankenstein like Sergey. If that didn't do it, his Electric Torture of Yuya to forcibly unleash his Superpowered Evil Side in Episode 87 sent him flying over the horizon.
If Professor Leo Akaba unleashing a genocidal campaign against Heartland didn't count, having the Doktor implant Parasite Fusioners on three of the bracelet girls and making them fight their friends surely counts. Especially what the infected bracelet girls do to their friends.
Sora's crazy facial expressions in episode 34 that bring Dark Malik and other characters to people's mind.
From what we've seen of most Duel Schools so far, they seem to have specific classes for... drawing cards in overly dramatic fashions. One can't help but wonder if this was intentional.
Odd-Eyes Rebellion Dragon's design is near incomprehensible. It's some kind of mechanical dragon... thing that appears to be wearing armor of some kind, and has giant arse orbs jetting from it's shoulders, and some kind of clamp like hands that have holes in the palms that look like they're for shooting missiles or something. Despite the crazy all over the place design though, this does not stop it from being insanely awesome when it hits the field, both in universe and in the real life card game.
During Yuto's duel against Yugo, the latter rides his bike in circles while Yuto either runs around after him or stands in one single spot throughout the whole game. This doesn't stop the episode from being incredibly awesome.
While Yuya angsting over Yuzu being "captured/dead" is perfectly understandable, it was a bit hard for the audience to take seriously since Yuzu's actual fate wasn't as bad as they were making it out to be. However, it did succeed in turning Reiji into even more of a Base-Breaking Character, as most fans deemed him lying to Yuya about her situation to be completely unnecessary.
Roget's Villainous Breakdown in episode 94 after Sergey breaks free of his control and loses the duel by abandoning his burn damage strategy to fight Jack with his own dueling method is both utterly hilarious because of how Roget breaks down and simultaneously awesome to see after all the hell he caused everyone in the Synchro Dimension arc.
The shot of the five Lancers in episode 96 looks like something out of Power Rangers, but it's still incredibly awesome regardless.
Episode 106 gives us the creepy Yuri and his horrifying Starve Venom Fusion Dragon... with the very odd Ojamas.
Gallager's dub name, Lucas Swank. It's hilarious, but oddly suits the character's appearance.
Episode 122: Yuya's Performapals having a paintball fight with the Gladiator Beasts. And it's awesome.
Nausea Fuel: Everything about the Doktor and his parasites. They are shown to be bugs that are inside the bracelet girls' head. Episode 125 even showed one entering Yuya's head and plugging into his BRAIN.
Kurosaki mistakes Yuzu for Ruri in episode 21, but he never makes the same mistake again (except in the manzai omake series). According to the fans, he does this all the time with all of Ruri's counterparts.
Sayaka not remembering Fairy Cheer Girl's effect, her own monster's effect, to draw one card by detaching one overlay unit during her and Allen's tag duel agaist Tyler Sisters makes her a bad duelist in fandom's eyes (which makes her victory over Ruri during a flashback a surprise). However, it was probably intentional on her side because she set a trap card that can be activated by detaching two overlay units in their field in case Allen didn't Xyz summon in his turn.
Sergey's Van Darli Zuma becomes hard to take seriously once you notice it's phallic shape.
Obvious Judas: While people were divided about how it would play out, most people had already anticipated that there was something fishy about Dennis and when he was indeed revealed to be the Mole most people had already seen it coming. Additionally the fact that his cover has very obvious flaws and suspicious reactions doesn't seem to bother anyone has become sort of a running joke in the fandom.
Mukuro Enjou's cameo. Not surprising for this trope, since he already was a One-Scene Wonder in 5D's.
In episode 98, when the City comes to cheer on Jack and Yuya, Jaeger/Yeager makes an appearance, while drinking Champagne with a bowl of ramen nearby. And even before, when his face was on the currency.
Most of the older monsters or even cards count. They fill the viewers with nostalgia.
Freeze-Frame Bonus, but the name "Ryo Marufuji" on a blackboard alone was enough to make Kaiser's fans very happy.
Dark Requiem Xyz Dragon. It's an upgraded version of a Dimensional Dragon, has a very powerful effect, it has an absolutely gorgeousstained glass artwork, and it was Yuto's first duel since episode 36 (Dark Requiem appears in ep. 104).
Padding: The Doktor/Battle Beast subplots in Season 3. The Doktor subplots involves the Bracelet Girls getting hit with Brainwashed and Crazy by the Professor's subordinate, The Doktor, and there are also implications that it's going to build up to a showdown between Yuya and Yuzu to save her. The Battle Beast subplot meanwhile sees five of the Lancers pitted against Academia's top five duelists, with a mysterious eleventh party targeting both sides. The two subplots ultimately amount to nothing: the Bracelet Girls explicitly remain brainwashed no matter how many times they lose, making any victory against them meaningless until the Doktor is unceremoniously carded by the Professor and undoes what happened to the Bracelet Girls in the process, and the Battle Beast subplot serves no purpose other than to kill off two of the Lancers, as the Battle Beast has surprisingly little relevance to the plot afterward for someone with such an impressive track record. The result was a 10-episode long bout of Trapped by Mountain Lions as other major characters arrive on the scene for later plot developments, and in the meantime the Lancers and the Bracelet Girls do nothing of overall importance.
A lot of fans have it out for Melissa Claire for replacing the fan-favorite MC and the more likeable Nico Smiley, in addition to being rather ineffectual at generating hype or acting as an MC.
Kaito has gotten this treatment both in comparison to his ZEXAL counterpart and to Kurosaki. He goes through the same character arc as Kurosaki over the course of a dozen episodes rather than an entire two seasons, then Kurosaki is injured and Kaito takes his place on the Lancers as the resident Xyz user out to rescue Ruri. Fortunately Kurosaki soon returned so Kaito could step down from his position and let Kurosaki duel in person.
While Gongenzaka wasn't a scrappy to begin with, his stupid looking design and his Hot-Blooded attitude weren't appealing to the viewers in the early part of the series.note The comparisons to Tetsuo from the previous series certainly didn't help. People weren't happy when it was him who was dueling Yaiba instead of Sora, who being a Fusion duelist was more interesting than the big, loud guy. However, when people actually watched Gongenzaka's duel and learned about his Crazy Enough to Work deck and dueling style, they started to respect his character. So far in 40+ episodes, all of his duels have been really amazing, which increased his popularity with the fans. His Superheavy Samurai deck is also very popular among the casual players, due to its unique strategy and being the first archetype that can be played without Spell/Trap Cards, and it helps that every new set gives this archetype more good support, thanks to Gongenzaka introducing new cards in every duel.
In terms of appearance, Rune-Eyes Pendulum Dragon, which was looked down upon by many after the card was shown with not-so-great art... And then people saw that he looks much better in the anime, although Beast-Eyes is still more popular.
Futoshi's winning his first on-screen Duel in Episode 27 was helping him in this regard. Bonus points for turning his annoying Catchphrase into a Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: "I'll give you shivers!" Unfortunately most people still find him annoying, because his shivers got even worse over time. However after the series became darker, this dropped, and instead his concern for Yuya and Yuzu is played up.
The Performapals in the Maiami Championship arc. In addition to getting better cards, Yuya starts making some more impressive plays with them, showing off how good they can be.
Teppei jumping into the fight despite his own protests and his awesome combo with Michio, his genuine sadness over Michio's carding and his Deck revolving around Kajiki's The Legendary Fisherman - including an amazingly powerful upgrade to him - helped lessen the hate he gets.
Himika started to get more likable from the Battle Royal sub-arc due to being shown to be a Benevolent Boss and Reasonable Authority Figure, as well as justifing a lot of her earlier ruthless actions because she was planning to defend against an invasion from her husband Leo Akaba. She returned to being a Base-Breaking Characterafter her role in Reira's past was revealed.
Compared to his previous showing, Crow was much better received in the Synchro Dimension than he had been in 5D's, mostly due to a lack of spotlight stealing moments, a clearer reason for his involvement, and eventually becoming the Only Sane Man of the Commons. Unfortunately, he declined later on, between his personality still being seen as bland and his victories over Shun and Gongenzaka arousing annoyance from their fans, along with still-extant irritation at him taking precedence over other 5Ds characters. His sudden reappearance against Zarc and the resultant grabbing of an episode that felt like it should have been Sawatari's largely cemented the joke about Crow as a harbinger of Seasonal Rot.
The viewers had mixed feelings about Starve Venom Fusion Dragon's debut. Its OCG version didn't impress everyone, but when episode 106 came up, pretty much everyone finally respected this monster.
The poor reception of Raidraptor - Final Fortress Falcon has helped boost the standing of Anti-Climax Boss Ultimate Falcon due to its more impressive effects.
Leo in the manga continuity, as he's shown to be a Good Parent for Reiji and is not overly obsessed with bringing Ray back.
Academia's actions are horrific, but as Season 2 dragged on and more about the City was revealednote such as how none of them thinking that the losers of the Friendship Cup becoming slaves is a big deal some fans want to see them decimate the City, who they feel have it coming. The majority of the Commons are taking out their anger on an undeserving Yuya for simply winning his duel only served to reinforce this.
The faction's Fantastic Racism towards users of different Summoning types, primarily Xyz, has also infected a portion of the fanbase with a case of Fusion pride, because to them watching a strategy that had been underused for years dominate over one that dominated both the previous show and the card game itself for just as long has a certain Catharsis Factor to it.
Due to the high prominence of the Synchro Dimension during the second season and having previously directed Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, which also suffered a severe decline in quality, director Katsumi Ono initially fell under this. In particular, the fact that the 5Ds characters got much more focus than the characters from other spinoffs and got to stay in-character while other characters were rewritten to near-In Name Only levels were largely blamed on him.
This trope was later transferred to head writer Tsutumo Kamishiro, whose writing style of cruelly subverting expectations and cynical subject matter clashed poorly with the series' entertainment theme and which only became more pronounced in comparison to more normal fare after Zappa Go (who wrote Yuzu and Masumi's well-received rivalry) left the series. Statements that Kamishiro's scripts weren't getting in on time didn't help matters either.
Futoshi got this from a single appearance in the first opening. He is disliked for pretty much doing nothing except getting "shivers" whenever something that he thinks is awesome happens. His body motions do not help...
Teppei Tairyobata, the Fishing Duelist. He's a greedy, treacherous, cowardly and selfish GonkFat Bastard - and with an annoying voice almost on par with Kyuando to boot! However, his final moments might have redeemed him to some extent at the eyes of some fans.
The Obelisk Force are disliked for having the same Antique Gear decks, drawing the same cards and playing the same lame monster, Antique Gear Hound Dog, over and over again. They also have the same personality and are hated for the crimes they have committed.
This version of Edo is usually seen an insult to his GX counterpart by the fanbase, mainly for being "Edo In Name Only", lack of competence, and poor characterization. This might've something to do with the writers' intense hate towards GX, as the fanbase claimed and suggested.
Captain Solo is universally despised for being a one-off villain in an arc that was already creaking under its own weight, contributing to Yuzu being kidnapped yet again, and squandering a potentially interesting pirate motif and deck theme on a Gonk design and a godawful Fusion.
Leo's anime incarnation. After spending most of the series sitting on his throne and doing nothing, with a boring personality to boot, his plan is revealed to be thoroughly idiotic and leads to the revival of Zarc, meaning that everything that has happened in the series is his fault.
Not a lot of people were fans of the Doktor, due to his mind-controlling of the bracelet girls. While his role does make sense from a broader story perspective, the bracelet girls were all Demoted to Extra as the series went on, losing much of their characterization and not doing much in the narrative aside from being living macguffins. It's not so much because of his personality (Though he was likely intended to be loathed anyways), but because of his contribution to They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character below concerning the girls. Because they were under the control of the parasites, their personalities were shut down and they were effectively barred from having a more active role in the story's climax. It doesn't help that the Doktor himself was ultimately carded by Leo before having a chance to duel at all, meaning that not only did his subplot go nowhere, but his motivations and past with Academia were never explored, nor was his fate in the finale ever revealed.
Yuzu's manga counterpart for being overly greedy, an Adaptational Wimp, a bigger Tsundere, and her unhealthy obsession with pretty boys like Yuya and his counterparts. And this is before the big reveal at the end of the manga.
Action Cards are generally hated by the fans since they are cards lying on the floor that any player can pick up every turn, and they can be activated immediately from the hand. It does not help that Yuya seems to draw the same Action Cards in the same situation he was before, which makes the series not believable at times, and consistently picks up and uses far more than his opponents. They were made to mitigate the hand size issues brought on by the use of Pendulum Summoning, and act the same way as people drawing a specifically good card at the right moment in past series, but the execution failed to do it many favors, especially when people still do exactly that. Worse yet, and especially as the series goes on, they're almost always just Miracle or Evasion, basic attack-blocking traps, rather than allowing for anything unique. The show also gradually phases out Action Cards that would work against the player, which would have kept them a potential risk instead of a quick bail-out.
The Penalty System of the Battle Royal Mode that was introduced in the Battle Royal sub-arc. At first, it's shown to be funny and actually fair, punishing anyone trying to gain an advantage by entering a duel already in progress. That's until the Obelisk Force arrived, and the Penalty System apparently only worked on people who were actually participating in the tournament, which causes Michio and Teppei to get carded. Since then, people have started to hate the system for that reason, accusing it of being a stupid move from Reiji's part, despite the latter claiming to have planned ahead how to handle the situation. Even worse, it's still around, as the Facility breakout showed. Later episodes rectify it somewhat by showing the Penalty applies to all duelists, regardless of dimension; and it plays a crucial role in Roget's defeat.
The Battle Royal as a whole became this in later arcs, due to being heavily overused. There are more Tag or Battle Royal duels in ARC-V than in every other show put together, and more than a few are won by the protagonists simply overwhelming the villains through sheer numbers or the protagonists doing a combo to OTK fifteen mooks at once.
The much hated "Treated as 2 Xyz Materials" effect from ZEXAL returned in episode 105. Especially since it's first used as a cheap way to bring out an Xyz monster with one material, as opposed to ZEXAL where it was usually used for a monster that required 3 or more materials by default.
Any kind of "monster cannot be destroyed by battle" effect - not for it being overpowered, but for it being incredibly overused, especially since the secondmost common Action Card has that very effect, and because the characters alwaysmake sure to note "But you'll still take the damage!"
Seasonal Rot: Each season has overall been received worse than the last. Season 2 (Synchro) was considered a slog that still had some great moments, but Season 3 (Xyz/Fusion) onward had especially cold reception. For some indication, at the time of its conclusion, ARC-V had all ten of the ten lowest-rated episodes of any anime on Nico Nico Douga, and a virtual monopoly on the twenty and thirty-lowest as well, and almost all of them are from Season 3 onwards (with the exception of episode 19, the first part of the Kyuando two-parter). To put things into perspective, one of the few in the list that wasn't from ARC-V, at thirteenth place, was there because of a technical error that left it without any visuals, and the series wouldn't lose its position at the bottom until the second season of Kemono Friends.
As the beginning of Synchro happened right around the start of production on DSoD, many viewers believe the show ran into the same kind of behind-the-scenes trouble that 5D's suffered due to BBT. While it's already known that DSoD did indeed take away many of the show's animators (explaining the drop in animation quality) some have further speculated that Synchro was padded with filler in an attempt to cushion the hit to the budget, and that the pacing issues in Xyz and Fusion are due to having to squeeze those entire arcs into the remaining airtime. Whatever the case, the show nowadays isn't seen in nearly as fond a light as it was back during the (still-beloved) first season. Japanese viewers in particular have been notably icy towards the show for a good while.
In particular, the first eleven episodes of the Fusion Dimension (115 through 125) are commonly seen as the show's lowest point, as they comprise a Trapped by Mountain Lions mini-arc featuring the characters taking on various minor villains that ultimately has little to do with anything, as well as the widely reviled Parasite Fusioner subplot reducing the girls to Brainwashed and Crazy damsels in distress whose duels mean nothing when they remain brainwashed after losing, up until the Doctor controlling them is unceremoniously carded. Things pick up afterward once the main villains are finally directly confronted and we learn the setting's Backstory.
The Zarc and wrapup arcs (136 to 147) seem to have topped it, mostly for its awful pacing and padding, poorly-developed final villain, bizarre plot, and disastrous ending. The final episode managed to place first on the aforementioned rankings, with less than 3% of viewers rating the episode as "Excellent."
Ship Mates: The Yuyas' and Yuzus' are pretty obvious ship mates. Some that ship Yuya/Yuzu usually ship Yuto/Ruri, Yugo/Rin and Yuri/Serena, seeing as they are all the same couple from different dimensions and three out of four couples have been shown to be very close to each other.
Episode 34: The duel was insane, with Sora Fusion Summoning four times, the last even being a fusion of three Fusion Monsters and Kurosaki ranking up his ace monster twice. Not to mention Kurosaki destroying an entire city (albeit holographic) with Duel Monsters, demonstrating for the first time the actual destructive power this "children's card game" has in this universe.
Episode 36: We learn that there are alternative dimensions and ARC-V dimension, Standard is the basis for all other worlds. Sora is forced back to his dimension and we learn that Academia is a school that trains Duel soldiers and that it bears some similarities to Duel Academia from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX.
Episode 46: Yuya's Superpowered Evil Side gives Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon a Level, then overlays it with Odd-Eyes to create Odd-Eyes Rebellion Dragon to annihilate the Academia soldiers. Oh, and Dennis greets Yuri who has arrived to Standard.
Episode 47: Yuri is absolutely brutal and outright sadistic, two previous characters who had actual names and personalities are carded, and Yugo and Yuzu get teleported to another dimension. Shit is getting real.
Episode 48: Michio, Teppei and Hikage are all carded and Yuya consciously wills himself out of his Superpowered Evil Side, challenging Sora to a duel.
Episode 50: Yuya having enough of Reiji, just straight up tries to punch him. Later during their duel Yuya was able to summon both Rune-Eyes and Beast-Eyes on his field on the same time and completely destroy the same trio of DDD monster Reiji used in their first match.
Episode 53: Yuto talks outside of a flashback.
Episode 54: The Synchro Dimension is a far more classist society than in the beginning of 5D's. Yuto and Yugo's rivalry and Yuto's later defeat was all due to Yuri, and we got to see Rin and the episode ends in a Riding Duel!
Episode 59: How about six members of the Lancers getting arrested? Or perhaps the bit where Tsukikage drops out of nowhere to rescue Reira?
Episode 72: Yuya and Yugo in sync. They say words at the same time and have the same expression.
Episode 74: Dennis's true ace is an Antique Gear behemoth and not a magician, and one which apparently physically destroyed Heartland.
Episode 75: Hoo boy. Lets start with what hit the most people the hardest: The audience gets to see Ruri, find out that Dennis started the invasion in the first place and Kurosaki bombs the ever loving crap out of Dennisfrom SPACE.
Episode 77: Did Yuzu just get thrown through a building? And not a Solid-Vision building, which have been confirmed by canon to have safety precautions?
Episode 88: All four Yus synchronize, and in the next episode, Yuya's power when summoning Odd-Eyes Rebellion is so overwhelming the city gets a blackout. Oh and also, twenty Obelisk Force members arrive in the Synchro Dimension... Have fun, City!
Episode 92: Sergey catches up to Yuzu and Serena. Barrett sends Serena away to another dimension, but Sergey not only defeats Yuya, but uses the rockets in his legs to kidnap Yuzu quickly.
Episode 97: Yuya's new Synchro Pendulum Monster, Nirvana High Paladin. Jack Double Tuning for Red Daemon's Dragon Tyrant, accompanied with a cameo of the Crimson Dragon. Yuya's quintuple Pendulum Summon.note It's the third time he does this, but it is shown much spectacularly than before. Really, the entire episode is made of this.
Episode 103: While Asuka's awesome debut is to be expected, nobody expected Yusho Sakaki to actually show up.
Episode 104: Yuya vs Edo. Yuto-Possessed Yuya Rank-Ups his Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon into Dark Requiem Xyz Dragon, and when the audience thinks Edo is done for now... He pulls a Taking You with Me with his Destiny HERO Dynamite Guy, causing a DRAW.
Episode 106: Starve Venom Fusion Dragon gets its first propernote (silhouetted in episode 47, and it didn't do anything significant in episodes 91-92 aside from triggering Yuri's Superpowered Evil Side) debut and is pitted against Fusion Monsters from GX: Super Vehicroid Jumbo Drill, Master of Oz, Ojama King and VWXYZ-Dragon Catapult Cannon. And wins by Curb-Stomp Battle.
Episode 114: After losing to Kaito, Dennis basically commits suicide by carding himself.
Episode 117: Rin defeats Yugo and destroys their D-Wheel.
episode 118: Tsukikage being the first Lancer to be carded.
Episode 119: Kurosaki performing a Cross Xyz Summon, using a monster with a Level and a monster with a Rank as Xyz Materials. And Ruri fighting off against the Parasite Fusioner.
Episode 120: Crow becomes the first legacy character to be carded.
Episode 123: Yuri's evilness and sociopathy as well as the glimpse of the darkness that is residing within his body. This makes Asuka's end look unsignificant in comparison.
Episode 124: Yuto's love for Ruri, and anger at the Doktor for controlling her turns Yuya's deck into his Phantom Knights deck for their duel.
Episode 126: So why exactly are there four different dimensions with four different Yuyas? And what's the deal with Yuya's Superpowered Evil Side? One word: Zarc. Nightmare Fuel, much?
Shocking Swerve: On the manga side of things, Yuzu was given plenty of Ship Tease with not only Yuya, but also some with Yuto, Yugo, and Yuri. So it came as a rather large and squicky surprise with the implication and later confirmation that Yuzu is the past version of their mother.
Oh dear god, Parasite Fusioner. Confirmed to be inside the brain of the host, we get a lovely shot of its tail flickering inside Serena's ear. You may vomit now.
From the manga, at one point Yuri gets some Ship Tease with Yuzu, almost flirting with her. Come the final chapter, its heavily implied Yuzu is a younger version of his mother. Meaning he was flirting with his mom. With the release of a bonus chapter, Yuzu is confirmed to be his mother. This can also make it very awkward for even anime viewers now seeing any scene between Yuzu and Yusho and/or Yuzu and Yuri with this knowledge.
It's difficult not to feel sorry for Kurosaki when he returns to the Resistance base in Heartland and finds it deserted, before calmly accepting that the Resistance is finished.
Tsukikage. While he is overall a decent guy and hasn't had much focus, his duel with Shinji proved that his brother Hikage's carding really hurt him.
The Professor. Regardless of his actions, the old man has gone through some very nasty crap that he was responsible for, and lost his daughter. Even when he discusses it, he remains collected.
Strangled by the Red String: This plagues the dimensional counterpart relationships to varying degrees, who all suffer from their relationships being badly Out of Focus and lacking actual romantic interactions, while still being treated as destined love affairs. Yuri/Serena get the worst of it, as while the other pairs at least had the beginnings of a couple or a crush, the Fusion-dimension duo basically never even spoke and were on opposite sides, but still end up smiling happily at each other in the final episode.
Episode 93, the Lancers treat Sawatari as an annoying Jerkass because he was unwilling to trust Yuya that Sora was on their side once again, and it's clear that this is how he is suppose to come off as to the viewer. However, most viewers ended up sympathizing with Sawatari, as, while the viewers and Yuya knew that Sora turned his back on the Acadamy for good, there's no way they could have possibly known for sure, and similarly, the last time they saw Sora, he was carding people and following the Academy's orders without question. As a result, many felt Sawatari was rather justified for being suspicious of Sora, on top of the fact that they had someone on their team turn out to be a Double Agent not long ago.
Episode 100: Sawatari advocates carding the Academia soldiers, because they would just get up again later and cause trouble, Yuya disagrees with stooping to that level. They manage to get up and run away, only to get taken out by Kaito anyway.
Futoshi seems to get this a lot from the other members of the You Show kid trio.
Yuya's Superpowered Evil Side biting Teppei's hand and then uppercutting him in Episode 46. Him being treated as the resident Butt-Monkey during the whole episode certainly pleased most of the fanbase at that point.
The Riding Duels no longer use Speed Spells or penalize players for using non-Speed Spells in the Synchro Dimension. Some fans feel this takes away the uniqueness and point of Riding Duels.
There are a few fans who got upset when the show became slightly more optimistic in season 2, wrapping up conflicts and sub-plots in ways that some fans felt were over-simplifying deep, complex issues. Starting with Yuya ending the Commons revolt by dueling Jack, the Acadamia soldiers pulling a mass HeelFace Turn on command, Yuya seeing the good in the Battle Beast, and the show itself suggesting that all the dimensions would be merged into one.
A number of fans who watched the original version dislike certain dub names, such as Yuzu becoming Zuzu. The worst offender may be shortening Gongenzaka's name to "Gong Strong", potentially creating a lot of Narm and Accidental Innuendo.
The LDS trio: Masumi, Hokuto and Yaiba. All of them have cool archetypes, they got Character Development and a lot of screentime during the time of the Qualifying sub-arc. But once the MCS arc started, they got Demoted to Extra after Masumi lost to Yuzu and things have only gotten worse. Yaiba ends up hospitalized by Kachidoki after a few seconds, and Hokuto gets carded by Serena. And when the Lancers are finally chosen, neither Masumi nor Yaiba are part of them, and they never appeared for anything more than cameos again.
Olga has a great design, deck, and is an Ensemble Dark Horse. She is wasted when she is defeated and sealed by Yuri, having lost all her duels while tagging with Halil. Her origin from the Nordic area is also left unexplained, unlike Halil.
Despite showing some promise, Himika's potential as a character was wasted due to not having much screen time. That means several interesting dynamic was unexplained, such as her relationship to her sons Reiji and Reira and what happens to her marriage with the Big Bad of the show - Leo Akaba, as well as how she reacts to the truth (they didn't even share any scene together despite being, you know, spouses). However, with some bits involving her revealed through flashbacks, this may end up being averted in the future. And indeed, it was shown that she was quite hurt by the Professor abandoning her.
Yuzu was severely underused for a big portion of Season 2. Like many in the season, she was Demoted to Extra, but she was also separated from people who had the most interesting interaction with her and spends little time with Yugo. She's largely not involved in the main action, generally sharing one of the quieter scenes or being captured and unable to do much. Despite the popularity of her Melodious deck she only dueled a few times all season.note This is a far cry from the previous arcs where she shares equal plot importance, screentime and character development with Yuya. In addition she has neither gotten Pendulum Monstersnote outside of the Battle Royal given that only Reiji or Yuya can create them in-series nor started learning the other summoning types, despite having plenty of opportunities to ask Yugo to teach her how to Synchro Summon, leaving her the only one of the three leads to not do so.
It goes From Bad to Worse in Season 3. Whereas in Season 2 she still did receive some duels and awesome moments like helping to expose Roget's plan to the public, in Season 3 she is only a Living MacGuffin and Distressed Damsel used to motivate Yuya into action, as if everything else happening around him wasn't enough. To put things into perspective, her final duel in the 148-episode series is Episode 83, against Security Mooks, and it was a Tag Duel in which Sora pulled most of the weight.
The Bracelet girls in general are underused despite being Living MacGuffins throughout the series. Rin's importance to the story is very minimal aside from being Ray's Synchro fragment and Yugo's childhood friend that needs to be saved, Ruri lost almost every single on-screen duel when under Parasite Fusioner's control, both of the aforementioned girls' characterization are relegated to flashbacks for most of the series (Rin in particular doesn't really get much development even within those flashbacks, as her personality is mostly just told to us by Yugo's narration) and they're Brainwashed and Crazy by the time they actually appear, and all four of them are imprisoned when the Professor activates ARC-V, leaving them on the sidelines. Even their origin, Ray, has minimal characterization (Zarc was at least given some insight into who he was before turning evil, and a reason, flawed as it was, for turning on humanity), and her relevance to the story comes off as rather forced (it's the Nature Cards, not her, that are necessary to defeat Zarc). Some claim that even though ARC-V delivered good female leads at the start with Yuzu and Serena, the writing eventually came back into the Asuka/Season 2 Aki/Kotori route. Somehow this got even worse in the final 5 episodes, with all of them devoted entirely to people moving on from the memory of the Dimension War and bring the Bracelet Girls back, but only Yuzu returns and speaks in the final episode (albeit with the other three now a part of her). To add salt in the wound, this came out of the emotional climax of the Fusion Arc in episode 140 in which Yuzu played a vital role of helping Yuya breaking free from Zarc's will.
Yuri; as a duelist, anyway. His Predator Plants have effects that rely on putting Predator Counters on enemy monsters, sapping their level to 1, then have various effects that occur on monsters lower level than them. Such a strategy would have been excellent to play against Yuri's Synchro and Xyz-favoring enemies. However, Yuri only uses the Predator Counter mechanic once, and then only to attack multiple monsters, not to manipulate levels or disrupt plays. Given that his dueling strategy is basically to summon Starve Venom as fast as he can and then sparsely use his Predator Plants as support for it, the result is that the core deck theme of one of the show's main antagonists is painfully underexposed and utilized. Notably, a Predator Plant Fusion didn't show up until the manga, while Yuto and Yugo displayed Phantom Knight Xyz Monsters and Hi-Speedroid Synchro Monsters respectively beside their Dragons.
For that matter, Roget's deck was also a disappointment; he still uses Ancient Gear monsters from his original dimension, and suffers a One-Turn Kill despite brining out an indestructible monster invulnerable to the opponent's effects, and not even Ancient Gear Synchros or a Fusion Monster made of Ancient Gear synchros as his subordinates did. A missed opportunity would have been a Psychic-type deck, which would fit in with his penchant for brainwashing as well as the 5Ds era that the Synchro Dimension represents.
Dark Requiem Xyz Dragon. Yuya masters Rank-Up and gains the appropriate cards to do so... and then never does again, and Dark Requiem is only ever summoned one time early in season 3.
Edo/Aster and the Tyler Sisters pulled a HeelFace Turn quite quickly, despite their potential as promising villains had the Xyz arc continued for longer, and their characterization has thus been met with mixed views, especially Edo's.
Tsukikage. Despite being one of the weaker Lancers, he had other great skills and abilities that made him unique; his infiltration skills and his accomplishments have been proven to be quite useful, and he and Sora made a great "ninja" duo. However, he's carded mostly off-screen, leaving him with a very poor track record, even though his ninja skills would be very helpful if he was still around.
Crow in Season 3, which was especially disappointing since he was one of the fournote himself, Yuya, Reiji and Kurosaki best Lancers at that point and a legacy character to boot. Too Powerful to Live might have been a reason for it.
Asuka/Alexis, who debuted in episode 103 and was carded only 20 episodes later, only got two duels, she didn't contribute much to the storyline and her interactions with other people were very limited due to her lack of screentime and the fast paced plot. It's especially egregious given that her GX counterpart suffered from the same problem and that she was one of the few Ritual Duelists on the show. To add insult to injury, her loss was not to Yuri's original deck, but from a blatant structure deck commercial.note Yuri used the Ancient Gear "honor student" deck in the duel. Shes notably the only legacy character to not take part in the duel against Zarc, which makes her Ritual Dueling look even more put to waste because its the only Summoning mechanic that Zarc wouldnt have been able to counter.
Tuning Magician and Yuya's Paladins were completely forgotten after season 2 - even more problematic given that this essentially resets Yuya's character development.
Zarc and Ray are the general reasons why the plot kicks off. Zarc (nearly) destroyed the world by becoming onewith his dragons. Ray stopped him using the 4 'En' cards that her father, Leo Akaba, created, and split the world into four. The thing is, beyond Zarc wanting to get stronger and keep winning, they have no character development beyond that. That alone makes their final battle in 140 very anticlimactic.
Yuto got shafted the most out of the four dimension boys in terms of character showing. While his character started out strong and even has a good showing in his battles against Sora and Yugo, he got "killed off" way too early and spent 90% of the story inside Yuya's body as a Spirit Advisor. It doesn't help that the Synchro Dimension arc put him on a long bus and only reappearing when there is a "Hitotsu Ni" party going on. While he did return in the Xyz and Fusion arcs and even took over Yuya's body a few times, he didn't even get to interact with his past comrades much aside from flashbacks or through Yuya seeing his memories. It's to the point that Yuya used Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon, which is supposed to be Yuto's ace card, way more times than him.
Ritual Summoning gets almost no focus, likely due to not being an Extra Deck Special Summoning method. The possibilities are endless.
The whole Junior Division was initially set up as a way for Tatsuya, Futoshi, and Ayu to have some duels, as well as introducing Reiji's little brother Reira. Unfortunately it ends with Reira simply doing his winning move in Episode 49, before the opening credits no less. Ayu is the only one of the three to get a full on-screen duel.
Early on, there were lots of concepts introduced for unique Action Duels - for instance, the tarot Action Field being mostly burn-related Traps that gave a sense of risk, or the sword Action Field being all ATK-boosters. This was completely forgotten after Season 2 began due to almost every Action Field being Crossover or Crossover Acceleration, and the vast majority of Action Cards served no purpose other than to block a single attack, with Action Traps never showing up again.
Funny enough, the Crossover Acceleration field could have offered even more strategy and skill in Action Duels in the fact that they are racing on a racetrack. This pretty much gives the dulest in front an obvious advantage as they have first dibs on any Action Cards on the track, but some of them are either out of reach or in a dangerous spot, forcing the duelest trailing behind to make risky manuvers causing them to potentially wipe out and be taken out of the duel. However, it's just treated like any other action field we've seen and nobody mentions or even takes advantage of this.
The Trash facility duels, which Sawatari was going to partake in similar to Manjoume and the North Academia duels. It's never brought up after that episode and anything Sawatari went through during it was off-screen.
Despite being the dimension that the fans wanted to see longer than any other, the Xyz Dimension arc is over in a flash and goes down with little effort. It doesn't help that the conclusion to this arc felt rushed and overly-optimistic, what with so many Academia soldiers pulling a quick HeelFace Turn after watching Edo lose a duel, and so many Heartland citizens forgiving them just as easily.
During the duel against the Brainwashed and CrazySerena and Ruri, Yuto and Yuya briefly switch roles, with Yuto physically manifesting and Yuya residing spiritually within his body. This never happens before or afterwards, which is especially upsetting in regard to the ending, which would have made Yuya's and Yuzu's counterparts merging with the two main characters a bit easier to swallow.
After all the build up to the relationship between Yuya and Yuzu, all they got in the final 5 episodes after Yuzu came back to existence was a hand-shake and about 4 lines with each other that were shared with their dimensional counterparts (which include Yuri and Serena, who have nothing but disdain for each other during their entire appearance on the show). Even non-shippers think that the two of them deserve more scene time together.
The entire alternate dimension concept had the fanbase speculating madly on what could explain the dimensions being based on past Yu-Gi-Oh! spin-offs; alternate timelines, For Want of a Nail alternate histories, etc. In the end, there was no explanation and the other dimensions being based on the past spin-offs is apparently just for the Rule of Cool. In addition, with the possible exception of Standard, there was no dimension based on the original Duel Monsters that started it all, and no characters from that series appeared or were even mentioned.
A lot of hints are nudges are given that eventually, Yuya and Yuzu will face off in a climactic duel. This foreshadowing was made even more obvious as it became apparent Zarc and Ray, the original incarnations of the Dragon Boys and the Bracelet Girls, were rivals and Ray was the one to defeat Zarc. Then there was the subplot about the Doktor brainwashing the Bracelet Girls, and intending to do the same to Yuzu. There were many ways that Yuya and Yuzu could have been brought into conflict, which would have been a great duel to pit the two against each other, and it would provide Book-Ends with the start of the show where Yuzu beat Yuya in the second episode. However, it never happens and outside that second episode the two never duel each other.
The "legacy character" concept is restricted to five characters, almost all of whom were prominent in their home series. A good number of people were hoping that the series would take advantage of the concept to bring back old Ensemble Dark Horse characters or realize ideas that were poorly-utilized in their home series - instead, the only one to qualify for that label would be Asuka, who is given even worse treatment.
A long running theory was that, somehow, the four dimensions would be reunited into one amalgam dimension, and that the various counterparts would be separated from each other and live with one another, the former due to that being Leo Akaba's actual goal, and the latter under the rationale of they wouldn't leave the counterparts fused together. This was bolstered by the sixth and final ending, "Dashing Pendulum", having a shot of Yuya and Yuzu standing on a cliffside showcasing Standard's Miami City, Synchro's City, Xyz's Heartland, and Fusion's docks, all as one joint setting, as well as showing all eight counterparts as individuals hanging out, ending on a photo of them together at a water fountain. Come the series' actual conclusion, and none of that came to pass. The dimensions remain seperate, and travel between them is done using the teleporters Reiji set up at LDS Tower. Yuya and Yuzu meanwhile are the only ones who retain physical bodies, their counterparts all but dead and forced to share bodies with them, and even Yuzu initially didn't get that, hence why Yuya had to pacify Zarc's spirit in the infant Reira: so as to bring Yuzu back.
While the fandom is more split on him, there's no denying that Michio was definitely intended as this; he adapted to the Battle Royal and never hesitated to help out during it, he emphasized friendship, and his goodness even rubbed off on Teppei. Of course he was going to get carded.
Season 1; Seasons 2 and 3 have both been more contentious.
Jean-Michel Roget as a major villain; his competence, Sanity Slippage, and sheer vileness made him quite the Love to Hate villain, while in comparison for the other major antagonists, the Professor is far more boring and the idiocy of his plan makes him come off as incompetent, while Zarc is seen as a Generic Doomsday Villain.
While not the main villain of any seasons, Yuri is usually seen as the best antagonist of the series, due to being the most active and hyped up, and spending the entire series constantly kicking dogs and giving everyone reason to hate and fear him. While Zarc and the Professor were also long-standing villains, the former's influence and purpose were much more vague and benign for most of the series, while the latter was much less of a direct threat than Yuri.
Toy Ship: Reira/Ayu, since their duel in episode 28. Probably because of their Broken Bird / Genki Girl dynamic. Which, in hindsight, became hilarious when the English dub had one actress voice both of them.
At least, until Season 2 gets going and we see how really horrible the City is. Thought that 5D's was dark? Well, here we have the same situation, only this time there are neither ancient conspiracies nor supernatural elements. The City is such a hellhole because of an inhuman caste system, where the "winners" have everything, and the losers nothing. There is no supernatural element to blame. It all simply boils down to people and society in the City being horrible. And unlike in 5D's, where it was shown that the denizens of Satellite had some degree of solidarity between themselves, here it's all absent, as all Commons apparently are resigned to the City's mad system of "free competition". The mixture of up-beat (or at least non-angsty) style presentation and horrific settings makes the show even creepier, since the horror is presented as though it's not as much of a big deal as it really is.
The appearance of already existing mainstream archetypes, including some that appeared in the Duel Terminal series, something that has never happened in an anime barring 5D's with the Allies of Justice.
Heck, the very fact that the other Extra Deck monsters were showing up frequently and as plot points was an unexpected move.
In Episode 40, Reiji plays DD Proud Chevalier, which had previously appeared only in an one-shot manga chapter— a rather rare occurrence in the franchise, and he later brought in the OCG debuted Abyss Ragnarok.
Yuto and Kurosaki count as well: there was no indication early on aside in-series that they would show up, but they took over the plot quite quickly. Then came Academia.
Then there's Yosenju. Although since Sawatari (with his lackeys) did the commercial narration for Tribe Force (an OCG-only special booster which introduced them), this came mostly unexpected to the Western viewers.
The inclusion of in-archetype cards previously introduced in the manga and the OCG. It started small, with Performapal Silver Claw and D/D Proud Chevalier, and then actually included very useful cards like Death-Toy Scissor Tiger, D/D/D Oblivion King Abyss Ragnarok, and Raid Raptors - Force Strix, and these aren't always cameos either.
The show is very ambiguous about how much sympathy Kachidoki deserves when he was defeated by Yuya's Superpowered Evil Side and he was revealed to having been a sweet kid. For some, he lost some sympathy points by the fact that Yuya's "evil" side only acts out of self defense after Yuya got physically assaulted by Kachidoki repeatedly (which put Yaiba in the hospital, by the way), and even then, the "evil" side didn't even do anything to him other than just finish the duel. His return in Season 3 further clouds the issue — on the one hand he was kicked out of his school and has become a Death Seeker who wants to kill Yuya in a Mutual Kill. On the other hand he's joined Academia to make it happen and is using self-harming cards to try and take Yuya down. While he performs a HeelFace Turn, it can feel a bit forced with how awful he was before.
Yuya got some of this during Season 2 for his speech in Episode 71 and general exaggerated angsting (he stays up the whole night before his duel with DC 227 brooding with the lights off and refusing to eat).
Kurosaki lost his home, his best friend, and his sister, and has been crusading against Academia alone for a long time. He's hurt others, but it was all in the pursuit of saving Ruri. The problem is, he hurt a lot of people he knew were innocent and received no comeuppance for it. People have made an effort to help and befriend him, but he treats everyone with cold indifference and rebuffs most attempts people make to reach out to him. He's looked out for the Lancers and helped them, but he abandoned the search mission for flimsy reasons. The show tries to make him out to be a troubled but caring loner who's just trying to reclaim his sister, but he often refuses good help or acts unnecessarily rude for no reason other than to move the plot along.
The Commons in the Synchro Dimension's City. Yes, they have to live in the slums while a very small percent live the life of luxury, but they are very hard to root for after a while. For starters, they're repeatedly shown to be massive Hypocrites when it comes to nearly everything and frequently make the protagonists their designated targets, often for flimsy reasons. Them being okay with sending their own kind to an underground where they'll likely never be seen again was the final straw for many a viewer. It's gotten so bad that a few viewers either want to see Academia tear their town a new one or have the Tops finally shut them up for good somehow.
While many agree that his duels are some of the best in the series, Jack's general attitude towards Yuya started to grate on viewers. His whole dynamic was supposed to be teaching Yuya a lesson to stand up with his own dueling style instead of copying his father, but with just how vicious and biting his comments towards Yuya tend to be, and how high and mighty his general attitude towards him is whenever he's around, especially compared to how he's generally a lot more softer and open to the other duelists he's helped so far, a few viewers feel like the guy just has a massive stick up his ass towards Yuya in general, and will hate him no matter what he does, so as result, people were rooting for Yuya to beat him just so Jack would finally shut up about him in that regard.
BB. He's a Tortured Monster, and Yuya realizes he's just cornered prey fighting to defend himself against threats, and doesn't actually want to hurt anyone. Yuya's realization comes out nowhere though and does not gel with BB's behavior over the previous three episodes, where he's been an Ax-Crazy psycho. He stalked opponents like an animal, physically attacked them, carded them when he won their duels, and later bragged about it and showed no remorse for it. Said victims are his own classmates, Tsukikage, and Crow, and he would have done the same to Gongenzaka and Sanders if he hadn't been interrupted (Granted Sanders is an Asshole Victim, but still). Furthermore, most of his opponents never actually threatened him that we saw (nobody other than Sanders was even initially aware that he was there), he attacked them by surprise when they were unprepared. Yuya sees BB as "cornered prey", but he's spent most of his screentime beforehand actually acting like a vicious predator.
Leo Akaba is presented as a Well-Intentioned Extremist once his motives are revealed, but he comes off as selfish. There is no indication that the four dimensions are suffering from having been split from the original (the Synchro Dimension's classism is completely unrelated), and the series would gone on just fine without his attempt to put them back together. His primary goal involves essentially killing four innocent girls to revive his daughter, while making only a token attempt to stop the threat that said daughter sacrificed herself against. Further issue lies in his criticism toward Reiji for not siding with him against Yuya, one of Zarc's incarnations, despite his own actions being the driving force behind the Dragon boys even knowing that each other exist, as well as allowing another one of Zarc's incarnations, Yuri, to do as he pleases and slowly build up the original incarnation's sociopathic tendencies while keeping Serena on a leash.
Zarc. He makes himself out to be a victim pressured by humanity's psychotic urges until he lashed out against them by turning into a giant dragon and attempting to destroy the world. Reiji laments that all of society is to blame for turning Zarc into what he is today. While the audience was certainly deplorable for cheering on Zarc (initially unintentionally) hurting his opponents, not once does the story indicate that Zarc was being forced into gladiatorial dueling against his will, or even that he was having any hang-ups about it when he saw that he was entertaining the crowd, making his eventual outburst look completely out of nowhere and leaving him and his dragons with no real moral high ground over humanity. There's also the mere fact that "the audience really likes it when I hurt people, therefore I should destroy the universe" is... not what you'd call a reasonable conclusion.
Sawatari in episode 56 for telling the officers about the Action Spell, directly hampered Yuya and lost one of their few advantages over them.
The blonde Security Facility guard. Goofs off playing video games when being told to put the Lancers in solitary, thus likely paving the way for their union and likely escape.
Reiji decided to install the Life Point Penalty system into the Lancers' Duel Disks after upgrading them, which nearly results in Yuya losing a duel with Security in Episode 63. This is despite the fact that Episode 36 revealed that normally, joining a duel like Yuya did would not result in a penalty at all, so why Reiji kept it in is a mystery.
However, later episodes reveal that to be a standard feature for all Duel Disks, regardless of origin - although that causes a few consistency issues.
While Dennis using Xyz to avoid suspicion is a good idea, people feel that keeping Polymerization in his deck was a poor choice. How much more surprising and tragic it would've been if he played with a straight Xyz deck then betrayed the good guys at a crucial moment? Instead viewers see from the get-go that he was part of the Fusion Dimension and were simply waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Shinji, Sam and the Commons come across as this in Episode 80 since they all now believe that Yuya is just another "dog" of the Tops, despite the fact that Yuya has never interacted with them in his life, he won his duel fair and square and they're letting their anger override their better judgment.
During Yuya and Reiji's duel against Leo:
Yuya, having gone berserk, goes to finish Leo with a card that inflicts 1000 damage to everyone who took battle damage that turn, which includes Reiji due to one of Leo's cards. You'd Expect: Reiji to either go for an action card that could prevent the damage, as the Lancers are trained to do, or accept his loss as the price to pay for stopping The Professor, considering his philosphy up until that point. Instead: Reiji sits there and does nothing. As a Result: Yusho comes in and uses an illegal card to end the duel with no result. This ultimately results in Leo's plan up until that point effectively succeeding.
Yusho, witnessing Yuya about to beat Leo and Reiji, decides to intrude on the duel and activates an illegal card that forcibly ends the duel and restrains the player with Solid Vision even after the duel ends. You'd Expect:Yusho would use the card to restrain Leo, this way Leo can't sacrifice any of the Bracelet Girls, including Yuzu, in his ill-conceived attempt to revive Ray, and the duel would still be aborted, allowing him to try and talk Yuya down himself. Instead:He uses it on Yuya and pins him to a column, allowing Leo to flee while leaving Yuya struggling to free himself. As a Result:Leo is able to complete his attempts at sacrificing the Bracelet Girls yet still fails to revive Ray, while Yuya is left awakened as Yusho tries to hold off Yuri while simultaneously saving Yuya, only to fail and get carded.
Kaito and Edo try to break up the duel between Yugo and Yuri who've both fully awoken. They primarily try to pull a I Know Your In There Somewhere Speech on Yugo. You'd Expect: Them to try and take out Yuri first, who's a proven psycho and who was on the defensive before they interfered. Especially since he's proven to be stronger then Yugo. Instead:They go after Yugo, who wastes most of his spell/traps and monsters fighting them off. As a Result:Yuri ends up defeating both of them with ease, as they used up most of their options on Yugo, then defeats and absorbs Yugo shortly afterwards. This pretty much directly paves the way for Zarc's revival.
Yuri approaches Yuya after having absorbed Yugo with the intent of absorbing him too to reform Zarc, only for Yusho to stand in his way and demand a duel. You'd Expect:Yusho to consider the severity of the situation and forego fair play by using the illegal card again to restrain Yuri, if only to stall for time. Instead:He still tries to perform an Entertainment Duel in the hopes he can simultaneously talk down both Yuya and Yuri. As a Result:Yuri, caring little for Yusho's attempt, proceeds to decimate and card him, sending Yuya into a strong enough rage that he breaks free from the pillar, and the two of them proceed to duel, with the end result no matter who wins being Zarc's resurrection.
What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: As per Yu-Gi-Oh! tradition, the show is aimed for children but has incredibly dark content. With an alternative dimension being filled of sociopaths based on Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, genocide, dueling being used as war, and being sealed in cards as the common punishment, its hard to see it as a kids show. And the Synchro Dimension's City being almost entirely poverty-stricken and corrupt, complete with legalized slavery and Security (AKA: police) brutality. Worse, the society has Deliberate Values Dissonance and Culture Clash to such a degree that all of these issues are fully acceptable to the masses to the point where a large crowd mocks Yuya for calling this behavior inhumane.
What The Hell, Casting Agency?: With the end of the first season of the dub (which aired in Australia and Canada before it premiered in the States), fans are questioning the creative team's decision to cast Michael Liscio Jr. as Yuya and all his dimensional counterparts, in addition to Yusho. The general consensus seems to be that he's a good actor with admirable range, but was miscast (as who depends on the individual, but Yuto and Yugo are particularly contentious).
When the series was first announced many fans weren't excited, feeling the anime series had become a Franchise Zombie with the first episode not helping. But the second episode changed many minds when the writers showed they were more savvy than thought and many gave the series a shot.
While Darker and EdgierYu-Gi-Oh! 5D's was more popular on hardcore fans, and Lighter and SofterZEXAL was more popular in Japan, this series tries to be in the middle. It has the younger looking characters of ZEXAL, and the darker storytelling of 5D's. Yuya himself is more GX sized, which is also roundabout in the middle.
The fast story pacing, the reappearance of a few old cards, the return of Fusion, Ritual, Synchro and Xyz Summons and the fact that duelists with meta decks are appearing in this series also increases the popularity of the show.
When 5D's fans found out that Jack and Crow appear in ARC-V, many decided to watch the new series.
The franchise had a long history of turning strong female duelists into Faux Action Girls halfway through, many fans were pleased to see Yuzu and Serena being far more active than their counterparts in previous installments (although they do still suffer from a different problem altogether). Besides them, a group of female villainsnote The Tyler Sisters, and Ruri and Rin and other duelists, such as Masumi, were able to get the attention of the public too.
Yuya has a Disappeared Dad and has some serious issues that he tries to hide. Later, he learns that other people besides him are able to Pendulum Summon, which is now not exclusively his. The dark events happening during the MCS increased his woobie status. The Friendship Cup arc of the Synchro dimension takes this even further. No matter what he does, the Commons just keep hating him more and more for completely unfair reasons. THEN it turns out that he's an Apocalypse Maiden, as no matter what he does Zarc will possess him or Yuri will absorb him (and Yuto within him). Either way Zarc will revive and destroy the world. Also, he finds out he's adopted in the worst way possible.
Yuzu's life has completely changed after meeting Yuto. Thankfully, she gets better after learning more about Yuto and his motivations...but then the Trauma Conga Line kicks in again at the end of the Battle Royal and the beginning of the next arc.
The Bracelet girls in general. All of them have Dark and Troubled Pasts and are kidnapped from their loved ones, and then most of them get implanted with Parasites that take control of them and shove them down into their own minds, forcing them to watch as they commit acts of violence against their loved ones.
Reira has a (probably) psychologically AbusiveEducation Mama, who has traumatized him to the point he finds no joy in dueling and is an Emotionless Boy around people. The only person he seems to care for is his brother Reiji. The Synchro Dimension arc increases his woobie status, as he's separated from Reiji and finds himself in world full of strangers. Then we learn his backstory, which makes his woobie status increase by 10 times.
Kurosaki and Yuto. The former is a Jerkass Woobie, but both of them count due to being survivors of a genocide and coming out of a war zone.
Yugo is an orphan who spent his entire life being looked down upon. Then he lost his best friend/maternal figure and has been spending every moment trying to find her since. Once he finally does, she turns out to be corrupted and he has to duel her. However, not only does Rin tarnish and destroys Clear Wing Synchro Dragon which she cherished so much, she also destroys the D-Wheel she and Yugo built together, which deeply saddens Yugo so much. His loss is only the tip of the iceberg.
On a specific card, Tuning Magician had a pretty bad history. While Jack has used her in the past, she constantly changed between hands starting off being trash from the Tops when Jack first obtained her, then Jack giving her to Sam as gift who thought it was an insult towards him. She's also been called useless by everyone, even by Shinji who spouted that weak monsters are strong. Yuya does show everyone that every card has a purpose thankfully but it's hard not want to hug the poor Magician after all she's been through.
Sayaka Sasayama. A survivor of Heartland that is forced to watch her former allies fight and hurt each other, while being an All-Loving Heroine that just wants to see duels with smiles, as well as suffering from guilt over seeing Ruri get taken by Yuri and being unable to do anything about it. And she has clear PTSD to boot.
Halil's high-pitched voice is changed in the dub to a normal pitch and an accent that is more suitable of his ethnicity.
Allen notices Yuya and his counterparts' different hair colors in the dub, defying a long-standing joke about everyone else being colorblind for not noticing and assuming one of the counterparts was Yuya or vice versa. In the sub he did think Yuya was Yuto because he used the same card.
Reiji's D/D/D Death Great King Hell Armageddon is a Punny Name in the original (the "Death Great King" part is a homophone for "CEO" in Japanese). This one was missed by the official dubnote which goes with the more generic "Doom King Armageddon", but at least one fansub translates the name as "Cruel End Overlord Hell Armageddon". It does something similar for D/D/D Oblivion King Abyss Ragnarok, whose original name contained a pun on "chairman", by translating it as "Complete Oblivion Overlord Abyss Ragnarok", which ironically would put him lower than Hell Armageddon.
The pun used with Yugo's name in the Japanese doesn't work in English note It's pronounced almost the same as Yuugou, or Fusion, so on some occasions in the dub they substitute it with his opponents thinking he's telling them 'you go'. The name jokes are occasionally re-written into a different gag altogether, such as in his duel against Serena, where Yugo originally had the predictable response to her activating Polymerization, to which Serena responds by shouting at him to shut up and let her finish her turn. In the dub, it's changed to him getting mad at her for riffing on his first turn, accidentally calling her Rin in the process and prompting Celina to yell at him for getting her name wrong again.
Aside from his first encounter with Yuzu and one or two understated reactions to Serena, Kurosaki barely reacts to Ruri's counterparts. The dub of episode 50 has Shay clarify that it hurts to look at Celina because she looks like Lulu.
Chojiro Tokumatsu's nickname is changed from Enjoy Chojiro to Hero Chojiro. While his Japanese nickname does fit his life philosophy, it sounds awkward and Anvilicious in English. On the other hand, "Hero" sounds catchier and flows better, not only because of the rhyme, but also because it's homophone with the Japanese name Hiro.
Shinji's Bee Force monsters are similar in design to Crow's Black Feathers in terms of name and mechanics. Thus the dub renamed them "Battlewasps" in order to correlate with the Black Feathers' dub name of "Blackwings".
By and by, Shinji is generally a lot less of a dick to Yuya in the dub than the original. Episode 80 is still the same, but he's far less heartless about Yuzu's injury and encourages Yuya to win so that he can help her, though he notes that it won't stop him from trying to beat Yuya.
In the dub, Shay's paranoia after defeating Dennis is toned down, and he makes no statement of suspecting Crow to be part of Duel Academy.
When Kurosaki spots Tanner hanging from Raikiri in the original, his statement of "Just stop it!" comes completely out of nowhere and doesn't quite fit the scene, nor exactly do an adequate job of implying the situation. Shay's more shocked tone in the dub implies the surprise on his part, and he also implies that he only wants the duel to be put on hold rather than stopped, which fits the situation better.
Roget's "Antique Gear Devil" is renamed "Ancient Gear Howitzer," a better reflection of what it does (ie, deal massive effect damage).
Episode 105 is a big one for Kaito/Kite and Kurosaki/Shay; Shay makes it more explicit that he regrets his actions back when he was more of an Anti-Hero, and Kite claims that he's dueling alone to both prevent friends letting him down and from him letting them down, thus adding a few more layers to their verbal sparring throughout the episode. Kite's rewritten dialogue is also far more in line with that of his ZEXAL counterpart, fixing one of the biggest complaints about Kaito in the original.