Link VRAINS’ other primary Charisma Duelist, Blue Angel, takes the stage and issues a challenge to Playmaker himself!
This is another slow episode, as the show takes its time in introducing us to Aoi Zaizen, Blue Angel’s real-world identity. She feels inadequate compared to her brother, and rightfully so. He’s one of the most powerful people around and he places almost no faith in her abilities. It’s no wonder she wants to prove she can handle herself. She logs into Link VRAINS to publicly challenge Playmaker, all the while swiping away random duel requests like someone would on a dating app. The only problem is that the Knights of Hanoi learn about her plan and approach her first. While Go used the Knights as a guise to aid Akira Zaizen, it seems the Knights of Hanoi are this time using Blue Angel’s devotion to Akira to get at Playmaker. All these forces continue to interplay, and it’s going to be really rewarding when they all inevitably begin to clash.
Since this is a slow episode, it has a lot of time to play around with several of its concepts. Ignis’s banter with the other Duel Disk AIs is comedically entertaining, and Blue Angel’s fight song is a nice detail that again helps flesh out the overall world of VRAINS. I only wish the show could have worked in some characterization for Yusaku. It’s nice that he doesn’t seem to care about how he’s perceived and that he’s so independent, but at the same time, he needs to show some kind of emotion eventually, even if its only laughing at a joke. He’s a hollow puppet at this point, maneuvered wherever the plot needs him.
The animation has its ups and downs in this episode. There’s an unnerving scene between Blue Angel and Specter that deserves some credit. While it could have gone a lot further in the creepy department, Specter’s omnipresence around Blue Angel was still engagingly frightful. On the other hand, there are some crowd shots and scenes of Blue Angel in the background that are just really poorly animated. And don’t get me started on the members of the Duel Club. You can practically tell they’ll never be important in any way whatsoever. Then there’s Naoki’s mouth. Oh god his mouth. It being drawn so large still does not mesh well with the show’s overall style, so I hope that gets toned down in the future. Overall, the episode looks pretty sleek, but there are noticeable quality drops that keep it from being a solid entry in terms of visuals.
We finally get to see Blue Angel in action next week, hopefully accompanied by her fight song and the really upbeat battle music from the beginning of this episode. VRAINS‘ music has been fairly unmemorable thus far, but the tune that played during the first scene after the opening credits possesses a beat that just pulls you in to the action, so I’m excited to hear an extended version of it during a duel. (I’d also like the hear more of the second half of the song that plays when Blue Angel challenges Playmaker.)
It’s astonishing to think Episode 7 will only be starting our third duel, but the focus on plot elements instead of dueling has been a welcome mix-up for the franchise so far. It seems the series is back to operating at a good but not great quality level, and that’s more than can be said for a lot of Yu-Gi-Oh! series at this point. We’ll hopefully get into more intense episodes later when Akira and Revolver more directly take the stage, but for now these early episodes are still proving to be largely enjoyable.
Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS - Episode 6
- Takes its time to set up Blue Angel vs Playmaker
- Chilling sequence between Blue Angel and Specter
- Ignis remains a comedic yet serious presence
- Yusaku continues to bore
- Naoki is dangerously close to being intolerable
- Some lazy animation scattered throughout