Let me just get this out of the way, because I’m furious: Judging by the title of the next episode and the lack of content shown in the preview, I think it is safe to say next episode is another recap. I truly hope I’m wrong. There is absolutely no point. No one should be jumping in this late, and it’s not like it’s hard to keep track of the content of less than 10 episodes. Stop this. Please. Stop.
Regarding the episode at hand, this is a weird one. There’s nothing really bad about it. The appearance is mostly strong, with Yusaku’s new monster having some pretty sweet animation, and the plot threads are more or less tying together to implicate Ai in withholding information from Yusaku and Kusanagi. We know for a fact that two of the three named knights are not evil (Genome is an outlier), and according to what Faust says, their actions are in the best interest of humanity, which somewhat puts him at odds with Vyra’s view. Everyone is still being so vague about their plans that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly who wants what, which isn’t the best thing to have thirty episodes in. I really just want to better understand Hanoi, as right now it’s a hodgepodge of conflicting ideas when you compare Revolver, Genome, Vyra, Faust, and the grunts. It just needs better structure.
But now why did I say this episode is weird? Because Blue Angel and Go both got two-episode duels, whereas Playmaker vs Faust, arguably the climax of this mini-arc, resolves in one episode. Granted, the duel took up almost the entire episode, but it feels weird for the main character to get less time in the spotlight than Blue Angel and Go. Not that I’m complaining.
The duel itself is fairly standard, with nothing terribly interesting going on, though I do appreciate Faust’s deck. It reminds me a bit too much of the Parasites from Arc-V, though. All in all, it’s very straightforward — Faust sets up his strategy, Yusaku falls for the bait, Faust declares his victory by putting Yusaku in a pinch, Yusaku pulls a win out of his butt. (I’m totally convinced Yusaku’s Skill is not pulling cards out “at random” as they have said. He keeps getting “Talker” monsters. Unless that’s supposed to be an archetype specific to the Data Storm, come on.) I do think Yusaku made a misstep by not tributing away his Cyberse Wizard when it was targeted, since something was clearly going on with that Trap card, but it worked out in the end, so maybe it was the correct move after all. I’m grasping at straws here for something to talk about, because the duel was just kind of bland, albeit not bad.
Right now the most interesting thing is what Ai is hiding. It is clearly the one who orchestrated the whole incident with Naoki, which was horribly convoluted. I’m hoping there will be a huge pay-off when the show reveals just what Ai is scheming, because there’s more to him than meets the Ai. Yes, I was waiting just to make that pun. Sue me.