I’m glad to know Ghost Girl joined Playmaker and the others. I seriously just thought they left her behind last episode.
This episode continues Blood Shepherd’s exploration of sudden plot elements thrown in by the writers. It’s a nice realistic touch to add his distaste for Go Onizuka’s transformation. I hadn’t considered how Go’s decision would impact Blood Shepherd given the latter’s hatred of AI, and now I truly hope the two face off in the future, as I think it would be fun for the AI-hater to duel the AI-embracer (or perhaps be the one to save Go?). Spurred by Go’s development, Shepherd looks deeper into SOL Technologies’ data and learns that the company isn’t planning just to destroy the Ignis; it wants to develop a brand new Ignis. Why? Who knows! But that just doesn’t sit well with Shepherd (I don’t know why I’m not calling him Kengo), so he goes to Akira Zaizen. Despite Akira clearly not being onboard with Queen’s actions, he refuses to budge, claiming that as a lapdog for SOL, there’s nothing he can do. While he comes off in this exchange as spineless, I can’t help but get the impression he’s aiming for something larger, biding his time until he, with his insider knowledge, can strike at the heart of SOL. Or maybe he’s just being a spineless wuss after all. Still, I don’t think it’ll be long before we see some more Tindangle action.
Revolver takes note of Shepherd’s motives and decides to recruit him to destroy the Ignis. How he learned the IRL identity of Shepherd baffles me somewhat, as I feel Shepherd’s programming should be up to par with Kusanagi and Playmaker’s, and Revolver was never able to crack that code to learn Playmaker’s identity (though he learned it through other means). As could be expected, Shepherd isn’t too into the idea of teamwork, and he ends up engaging in a Master Duel against Revolver in Link VRAINS. (Maybe one day we’ll see a duel occur outside of Link VRAINS.) The setting is some barren desert that doesn’t resemble anything we know exists in the current Link VRAINS. In fact, it looks more like the type of place where Shepherd, Emma, and Akira all fought together in the past. But where this type of place actually fits onto the digital map? Who knows?
I have to give props to the duel this week. While it never really has anything tense or dramatic going on, it bypasses a lot of filler movements during combos. Animation for summons is severely slimmed down, and both characters’ only give brief summaries of their cards’ effects. It makes for a smoother watch, but it also feels frustrating that the show can’t do this more often. It gets old really quick watching Playmaker go through fifteen summons in one turn and having to listen to the effects of each of his monsters. This almost feels like an Arc-V duel, and that’s a good thing.
I’m not sure if the Crunchyroll subtitles accurately represented the Japanese dialogue, but there was a noticeable lack of inspiration in the subs this week. Revolver says “desire for revenge” three times in the span of like three text blocks, and both duelists engage in generic duel banter more often than usual. Blood Shepherd declares his win, Revolver says he’s not that easy to beat, rinse and repeat. It’s a minor thing, but it does feel like there’s room for improvement here.
And now for the main event: Revolver’s trap lineup. Back in Season 1, Revolver gave Ghost Girl, Go, and Playmaker plenty of trouble with Mirror Force. He aggravated Windy with Magic Cylinder. And now he shut down Blood Shepherd with Imperial Order, all the while tutoring Shepherd on why he should look into spell negation when adjusting his deck to fight the Ignis. Though I can’t help but feel Shepherd should have already known about the Link Spells at this point given his hacking ability. Despite Ghost Girl’s use of Infinite Impermanence last week, Revolver remains the champion of deck crafting. Truly, despite Playmaker and Soulburner’s records, I believe Revolver is the best duelist in the show. In just this episode, he proved capable of forming new strategies against different opponents, baited Shepherd’s trap card with Trisbaena, and showed he’s still not afraid to use actually good cards instead of one-time gimmicks. I do feel his plan for surviving a One-Turn-Kill was a little flawed, as most players, at least in real life, would have gotten rid of the set Imperial Order before attacking, but Revolver still displays the most impressive strategizing among the cast.
Next episode appears to be another Blood Shepherd episode. It’s quite impressive for a supporting character to get three focus episodes in a row, especially when the duels are all against pretty heavy hitters. Looks like he could be dueling Lightning – which doesn’t bode well for the bounty hunter. If it’s time for his demise, I can only hope Konami puts a rush order on printing Drone cards that they’re DEFINITELY bringing to the card game. There has to be a reason they’re pushing him. Right? RIGHT?