Thank you for this. Even though the entire duel has to grind to a halt in order to so, we finally have two characters actually exchanging non-card game related dialogue during a battle, something that has been desperately missing from past duels. It certainly could have been integrated into the flow of the action better, but I’ll take what I can get. The episode is meeting me halfway by allowing Yusaku and Revolver to discuss Ignis and its importance, so I’m not going to complain too much.
Speaking of dialogue, Yusaku internally monologues regarding a flashback or two about his “three reasons” shtick and his Link Sense. It seems his “three reasons” tick is some sort of mental motivator, but the meaning behind it is still not clear. Still, the flashbacks provide at least some characterization for a protagonist who is borderline one-dimensional. Like the aforementioned dialogue, these scenes could have been more seamlessly incorporated, but their placement isn’t a huge detractor and the scenes are welcome inclusions.
While this episode does have some stuff going for it, this is still a pretty cookie-cutter episode by the franchise’s standards. (I’ll be blown away if the duel has a clear victor at the end of it instead of a forfeit or interruption.) Playmaker and Revolver summon their new bosses, exchange blows, and, well, that’s about it. I’m liking the pacing and the fact that the duel is actually taking multiple turns, but the characters’ actions and plays aren’t really anything out of the ordinary. Regarding duels, 5D’s focused on long-term strategies, ZeXal focused on “protect the boss monster,” and Arc-V focused on flashiness. VRAINS has yet to find its niche dueling style yet (please don’t be Link combo spam), so it’s duel presentation remains fairly mundane, which isn’t exactly uncommon for a Yu-Gi-Oh! series this early on. After all, we’ve watched duels for five full series now. It’s nice to have such a back and forth battle, but it still seems like the characters are just going through the motions to an extent. At the moment, I really can’t pinpoint why the dueling in this series feels so underwhelming, but I’m sure it’ll become clearer in due time.
That all being said about the duel, it would have been nice to have a recap of the effects active on the field. I had totally forgotten that only Link monsters could attack and so thought Revolver misplayed by not just attacking for the win with his Sniffing Dragons and Link monster. Just a quick twenty second rundown is all I’m asking for.
Revolver continues his assault against Playmaker next week, spectated by Ghost Girl (Ema), Shoichi, and Akira. I’m enjoying the pace of this duel, but I do hope the writers can find a way to spice it up a little as it nears its inevitable conclusion. Preferably not by deus ex machina, as one of the highlights of this duel is that Skills cannot be activated in a Master Duel. Overall, this is a decent episode, probably one of the better ones thus far, but it still lacks anything standout. Right now the series feels a little too focused on plot development to the point where its failing to really develop its own style in terms of both dueling and atmosphere. I’m looking forward to the point where it does find more solid footing.
Medraut will take over next week with the review, and he’ll continue throughout most of August while I’m on a trip. See you all in a few weeks!
Reviewer’s comment: Seems like the official subs are a little undecided on what to call Revolver’s monsters at the moment. They jump between their OCG name and the new TCG dub names. For anyone unfamiliar with the original names of the monsters, it can be confusing to keep track of why Revolver’s cards work the way they do.
Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS - Episode 11
- Allows Yusaku and Revolver to actually talk about something beyond card games
- Nice back and forth duel
- Yusaku actually shows emotions
- The slight interaction between Ema and Shoichi is a nice way to tie together characters
- Yusaku's flashbacks don't exactly mesh with the flow of the episode
- Duel lacks any real flair or tension
- Inconsistent English translations for Revolver's monsters with the sub