Into the…data bank? Hm. Doesn’t have the same ring to it.
This episode Yusaku infiltrates the mother computer to uncover SOL’s data bank. It shouldn’t really be a surprise that he literally dives into the system. This is a show revolving around a virtual world, after all. Given the show’s track record, it also should not be a surprise that the interior of the mother computer is incredibly bland. The traps set up within it are literally just shapes that fly around, and the whole setting is really just a palette of yellow, replaced entirely by the winds of a Data Storm at one point. Really, a child has a more vivid imagination than this. It’s a shame too, as the episode actually looks really nice. But the lack of any sort of interesting details, and the missed opportunity for animation of the AI’s Tentacluster monsters just makes the animation come out far below what it could have been.
While Yusaku dives deeper, Ghost Girl (Ema) and Akira infiltrate the data bank as well, using Playmaker (Yusaku) as a decoy. I’m a little curious as to why Akira does not hide his identity with the use of an avatar. The same goes for Ema, considering SOL employs her as well. I think it’s a bit of an oversight to keep them in their known appearances.
The last person to enter the data bank is Blue Angel, sent by Ghost Girl to help Playmaker for reasons unknown. Playmaker triggers SOL’s alarms, and Kitamura sends in his new AI duelists after him. Blue Angel of course shows up in the nick of time, which is both a relief and a disappointment. I was enjoying the actual use of force by the AIs instead of just the duel. Sometimes it’s just nice for a change of pace. But, considering what Ghost Girl said earlier in the episode, I knew Blue Angel was going to show up to save the day at some point. I’m just glad the two AIs did not start a duel with Playmaker first, because I was about to have INTRUSION PENALTY flashbacks from Arc-V. I’m all for tag duels, but not random intrusions in the middle of duels. Thank you for avoiding that this time, VRAINS.
The duel this episode is the start of an AI duelist vs Yusaku. I don’t necessarily mind him dueling an AI, but I do mind SOL’s tech team randomly spouting specs and statistics that don’t even matter. They try to make the AI sound powerful by doing that, but it really just wastes time with unnecessary information. Still, the duel was enjoyable enough for what it was (a gimmick), so I’ll try not to think too hard about the side details.
Did I enjoy this episode? Sure. I really found Kitamura a welcome addition to the cast, despite his annoying obsession with AI units. His panic at the intruders was refreshing and believable for an antagonist. (Is there a reason they can’t just reboot the computer?) Still, there was just something all around mundane about this episode. A lot was set in motion, but it really felt like the show was just going through the motions. Nothing stood out, and nothing wowed. The duel was fun, if a bit eyeroll inducing, but I can only imagine what sort of gimmicks Yusaku will pull out of his butt this time. (Read: I can totally imagine, but I’m just hoping I’m wrong.) I welcome Blue Angel back to the plot, and I’m really excited for her duel next week. The show should be covering some actual plot details soon, so that’s another thing to look forward to. This was not a stellar episode, nor even a necessary one in all honesty, but it’s passable and gets the job done.