Wednesday, 19 April 2017

My thoughts on Arc-V

Your biggest mistake was calling that an ending
-Reddit comment that I read

Savage....

So I finally got around to completing the Arc-V anime.

The Finale



The final duel in the finale episode was disappointing, to say the least. I was okay with Yuya's duel with his day being an off-screen one, leaving it to our interpretion as to how it would conlcude. However, Reiji and Yuya's battle was lazy, for the lack of a better word.

I have always enjoyed the final duels of the Original Duel Monsters anime, 5D's and even GX which had an inconclusive ending (but implied that Judai lost). 5D's deserved my praise the most, which I felt was a cleverly scripted duel with no "Pot of Greed and Card of Sacnity to recover hand advantage and launch into combos". Instead, Yusei performed comebacks with one-card plays and Jack constantly on the the offense after taking a blow.

The Original Series' Ceremonial duel played with the nostalgia card, pulling iconic creatures from the span of the entire anime series - Gaia, Curse of Dragon, Summoned Skull, although they left Kuriboh out. But there was also the 'Table Tennis' feel where the ball gets rallied between players, ups and downs, reversals + comebacks.

GX's haven't had much push and shove, but there were plenty of exchanges between cards - negation, battle.( Useless support Spark Blaster even got a cameo, being milled into the graveyard. Heh.)

I didn't complete ZeXal, perhaps I should do so soon.


But Arc-V's finale battle just didn't sit right with me. For a rival, which is still debatable, this is only Reiji's second duel against Yuya.

Reiji Synchro, Xyz and Fusion were all attained using spells, single one card spells to pull off the summon, and the same can be said for Yuya's dragons. All I can say is that - they tried. But they didn't turn me. I remain on the fence and don't consider myself a fan of the series. Sure, the talk between Yuya and his other counterparts were heartwarming, especially in the context of Yuri which seemed to be purified by our Main Character. And you witness the summon of their new forms via a combination of Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon and the Dimension Dragon. But I can only wish they did it better, and not with a 'cheating anime-effect card that won't make it to the OCG/TCG'.

The race to get five cards onto the field is meant to raise the stakes and put you at the edge of your seats. But I am sure all fans were confident Yuya would emerge victorious. Even though it was hilarious to see the usually-calm Reiji suddenly fly and jump like an acrobat, which I didn't knew was possible.

Then again it is an anime series.

Pacing


The anime as a whole, terrible.

Sadly, the initial pace of the story almost lost me, and I thought GX was a slow anime. Guess I was wrong. I totally skipped majority of the episodes in the first anime arc, if you can even call that an arc. I couldn't stand the plot dump in majority of the episodes. We used to joke in locals that we couldn't perform an Xyz Summon not because we didn't own a specific Xyz monster but simply because we didn't attend a proper dueling school.

The middle, just when the Lancers got formed and they enter the Synchro dimension, I actually got hyped. I had many hopes for the anime, such as Accel Synchro being a thing again, but it ended up being a disappointment. The Lancers' team could have been featured more, and I am all for recruiting more people like Crow and handing out membership cards like candy. But ultimately, I felt that only Dennis got what I would call a development.

Sawatori was just sidelined so badly, in duels and storyline. He ends up being just a duelist who brags, even though more can be done to add depth to his character which appeared as a bully initially. Tsukikage has always felt mysterious, I was hoping he would had a flashback explaining his loyalty to Reiji, and the biggest disappointment I had was Gongenzaka not fighting with a new adopted fighting style. The closest I had was the one time he used an Action Spell card, and I forgot when that was. I was hoping to see how he could have morphed a new strategy when his graveyard had Spells/Traps in the Tag Duel against the Amazoness-Deck Twins, but he lost off-screen, which was such a huge pity.



Episodes


So many filler episodes....




It is definitely arguble which episodes are considered filler, and which episodes aren't. Be that as it may, I felt that plenty of episodes could be cut off and replaced with one that progress the storyline or add more depth to characters. Let's start with the Structure Deck R: Machine Dragon Re-volt episode. The episode where Yuri defeated Asuka is a total commercial trick. And the one I had the biggest problem with. The episode served to only feature the Structure Deck cards and display the wrath effect at how strong Yuri is as a duelist.
Make that episode into a spin-off or even a legit commerical and give me some Yuya Vs Yugo which you showed in the Opening sequence of the Synchro Arc.
Then again, having watched the Virtual World and Dungeon Dice Monster filler arcs, I would say I won't complain too much about filler episodes.

All in all, I felt that plenty of episodes were wasted.

My main issue wasn't with the episodes where Minor Character A fights with Yuya, like the one he had with Enjoy Chojiro. It sort of had a 5D's vibe, which resonated with me. And perhaps I am reading into it too much but fighting the 'boss of the prison' type of duel was so 5D's.

I had more problems with the whole process of rescuing the female counterparts and the mind control storyline, which felt so draggy and delaying the inevitable - Explaining what 'We must all come together' mean.

The post transition was probably Post-Zarc? A time skip, and everyone being normal and unaffected only raises more questions and make eyes roll.

Plot

What plot?


Characters


Asuka was the main disappointment, given how she was a Ritual user, an element unique and not any other character in the anime possessed. Halfway through I was even crossing my fingers and hope an ally of hers may use Nekroz as a deck. Her use of Rituals was symbolic as her original anime counterpart in GX used such cards in an era of Fusion monsters and Asuka from Arc-V rebelled against the Academia's use for Fusion and hence adopted Ritual as a main fighting tool. I was hoping that the Ritual monsters would end up having anti-Fusion effects but ultimately that didn't happen either.

So she had a hyped return, OP debut, then dozen of episodes doing nothing, and...... it is gone. She loses her first official 1v1 Duel. But hey +1 for assist by being Yuya's papa walking cane.
Remember how I felt Bastion from YuGiOh GX was such a wasted character that got side-lined? Welcome and meet the Bastion of Arc-V = Asuka.


Speaking of which, returning characters were a total wasted concept, I felt. After their individual duels, long ones I might add, they were cast aside and sent to the supporting character realms. Their only contribution to the story thereafter was entering duels midway, incurring the 2000LP penalty and then proceed to lose to Zarc. And typing this, I totally forgot that Kaito returned. (The article isn't typed chonologically from top to bottom.) I thought they were gonna be the 'sensei' for the respective summoning methods, Asuka/Edo for Fusion, Kaito for Xyz, and Jack/Crow for Synchro. Which would have made perfect sense for their reintroduction since they were the pioneers.
And I really really thought Accel Synchro concept would be revisited.

Makes you wonder if the main cast would be stronger if the old characters didn't return.



And then all four girls and their dimension counterparts just practically turn into Damsel in Distress towards the end. Not to mentioned three of them technically died at the end.

Female leads in the Yugioh anime has always been this way. Akiza from 5D's went from an interesting villainous character to a redemption arc and then flopped in the second season as well. Asuka from GX has a salvaging factor since she had that one duel alongside Judai with the future, dreams and career plan monolouge. Tea is hardly considered a duelist, and I don't even having a promiment female lead in ZeXal. (Okay I just google and apparently there is someone named Kotori. Nope, doesn't count.)
Also, most, if not all, suffer from the 'can't confess' symdrome.


Reiji may have been interesting as a character but he was hardly a rival. I had trouble deciding between Edo and Chazz in Gx as who deserved the rival title, and even Zane and Johan came into the picture. But then they both had the 3000ATK dragon, Armed Dragon Lvl 10 and Destiny End Dragoon. Sure they didn't always battle Judai, but most of the time Judai was busy fighting villains and soul-robbing bad guys. The beauty of Gx in a sense, is that there are many rivals. Johan, Edo, Zane and even Sho grew to become a rival.
Arc-V? I felt that due to the nature of the show - Smiles + Joy + Entertainment, Yuya is turning everyone into a comrade and Reiji, being the textbook rival and by default (since the promotion poster days) didn't really participate much in doing anything 'rival-like', except his first appearance when he practically went Lol you aren't the only one who can use Pendulums.
Then there is Sawatori, which constantly brags about being Yuya's equal and rival, but given how much dueling screentime he has, it is all talk and no action.

I thought the anime would redeem itself, by bringing Yugo and Yuto in as a rival. Instead, they both ended up being a misunderstood-guy-who-hates-being-called-wrongly (which is hilarious) and a ghost, respectively.

guess Yuto didn't stand a ghost of a chance. Eh? Eh?


Wasted Oppurtunities

Speaking of the Yu-boys, yes we gonna call them that now, a minor plot twist I expected was Yuri being actually a nice kid, like the other Dimension counterparts, but the parasite mind-control factored him into becoming the evil deliquent he currently is. I won't claim that this would have been a better outcome, but it would indeed be nice to see. Then again, seeing how everyone lined up to Zarc being the big bad, meh.... Yuri being a totally evil brat makes sense. But compared to villains such as Roger from 5D's, Kaiba (who wasn't really a villain), and even Darkness and Saiou from GX, Zarc felt plain flat. I recall reading that even ZeXal had a nice villain backstory and redemption factor, adding more value to the characters as fans can emphatize with them.


I was also expecting Sora's betrayal even since he got recaptured and pressumbly reprogrammed, which would have made more sense. This was somewhere before his reappearance against Mr Pirate.

Thinking back, one can only imagine how many episodes, plots, storylines were planned and eventually dropped.


Yugo crossed dimensions searching for his love Rin, whereas we have Yuya doing something similar. All along I thought they will eventually cross paths, meet, battle, duel, then end up as friends because of how similar they are and what they been through. Let alone a duel, they didn't even have a proper meeting.


It would have been a nicer touch if the Dimensions were actually previous anime series and I would definitely be 100x more hype to see that crossover dream come true. Although with Pendulum cards being spell cards, I see a conflict of interest with Speed World and Speed World 2.


Also, bringing back old archetypes like Amazoness and Destiny HERO is fun and all, but the new cards don't really solve the archetype's weaknesses and problems, especially for the former one. Legendary Fisherman III appearance was nice and all, but it is totally hard to summon it out except for a dedicated deck built revolving around it. To see what I mean about Amazoness decks having a problem, I would say that Legacy of the Worthless - Amazoness explained it pretty well.
All in all, I am just going to say that it was a wasted oppurtunity to revist old archetypes and improve them to make said archetypes at least playable. Another example is Galaxy. Or rather, potential Galaxy support. Instead, Ciphers were introduced. Instead, slots are just given to more Blackwing cards, years after their debut and they are still releasing it.
I would want to collect them all (I started a collection album recently) but I don't even know if I even have enough slots for those or I have to start purchasing a whole new album for it.


I read online and plenty of fans were proposing that the Battle Beast be an old character. Votes included Bastion and Judai, which I agree would be an interesting development as compared to the events that transpired in the anime.



What I enjoyed
  • The music department did a good job I would say. I enjoyed most of the openings and ending songs. Vision , the 5th Ending song by Kuso Linkai is my personal favourite.
    • Although the OST wasn't very memorable. I have always been impressed with the Original Series' OST and 5D's OST left a deep impression. Of course, none of this could compare to Judai's theme when he makes a comeback.
  • I liked Dennis, being the hidden evil villain mole and his facial expressions.
    • I think it is no secret that I like the dead draw screenshot which readers would have seen countless times on the blog.
    • I also find it absolutely hilarious that he couldn't just slow down his motorbike to pick up the Action Cards but hey... the action cards have forsaken him
  • I enjoy seeing alternate forms for all the dragons, with having Dimension counterparts being my favourite theme. I look forward to collecting them all for my album.

  • Yugo was dorky and hilarious. "Yūgō jane, Yūgo da!"
  • Reiji's debut was awesome. But that's about it.
  • The Lancers. Nice theme. The plot seemed strong at that moment before going down the drain. 
  • Shun Kurosaki was also a loveable character. Badass with his Feel the power of my fallen comrades.
  • Duel Chants
    • Swing, pendulum of souls! Draw an arc of light across the sky!
    • My favourite thing about 5D's. One of the favourite, at least.
      • ZeXal's were kinda boring, describing the same thing in different words. To be fair I only watch the first few episode of ZeXal, then on and off from there.
  • Previous concepts, mechanics were not ignored.
    • 5D's did have Fusion Summoning, and Yusei's use of Speed Fusion was one of my favourite moments. But Arc-V personally made it its theme and a point to incorporate all of them - Synchro Xyz Fusion
  • Action duels are fine. Action cards are fine. It is better than making some traps that are inferior to Waboku and will likely never be used, not just in competitive but also casual. Unless you wanna be like Mr 99. 
    • Seriously Yuma, Half Shield?
  • Koi Koi Koi Koi Koi + ENJOY
    • What is not to like? lol
  • Sora and Tsukikage's interaction
    • Having to work with the man that killed sent your brother to the Shadow Realm is a tall order. It worked fine aligning it with Sora's redemption arc.
Other things I had problems with.
  • Someone please kill the shivering kid.
    • Then kill the one who invented the toxic shivering kid.
  • More situational one-offs that are going to get printed in the OCG/TCG that would really just remain as filler commons. Sadly, it is something that will always be part of the culture when Card games and Anime meet. 
  • Yuto, one of my fav characters spent majority of the time being a ghost lol.
  • Jack and his D-Wheel is totally inseperable. He is always on it. Still a better love story than twilight. 
  • Yuya constantly shouting Yuzu's name.
  • Yuya ending up as the Main Villain was very Supreme King -ish but Zarc as a villain felt very flat.If I had to give ZeXal credit, their
  • People don't read cards - Oh Jack the King gave me this 0ATK monster. It must be useless and he is insulting me.
    • People also don't have patience. Rushing into the duel to incur the 2000LP penalty instead of waiting to restart a new duel. lol...... geniuses.
  • The duels aren't good enough.
    • I am the type of fan that enjoys the duels and character development of the storyline, and is probably why you will always hear me compliment GX and 5D's to no end. I always find myself rewatching that same few scenes and episodes whenever I feel like revisiting my childhood. 
    • But I look back at Arc-V and I can't find one duel that I would want to rewatch, or anything that got me hyped in the first place. 
    • The start had boring duels with all the plot dump. And towards the end, nothing actually changed much. Strategies remained largely the same, and then it is the same Action Card used again and again to cheat death.
  • The 'egao' theme didn't sit right with me. It is the story's main driving point - MC Yuya being on a quest to spread smiles and joy. But I am just not a fan, sadly. 
    • I am a fan of darker storylines, which is partly whu I like 5D's and even GX when things took a darker turn. My favourite type of Main Character falls under the [Ridiculously OP] section. Another reason why I liked S4 Judai Yuki and Yusei Fudo from 5D's, the no-nonsense type of duelists. 
    • Also, all of this are reasons why I really didn't like ZeXal with the incompetent Yuma, even though the theme of 100 Number cards was interesting to me.

Then there is the storyline. What it should have been, could have been. But I think I said enough, and even if I didn't, fans like yourself can probably pinpoint what went wrong along the way of a possibly interesting and franchise-binding idea.

I may be too much of a critic and biased, and I will admit that. Sadly, I may enjoy the throwbacks and references to the other series, but Arc-V remained as the fourth anime series in my list. This has been one of the worst writing since Bastion being sidelined in Gx.

Instead, all we got was a bad marriage between Reiji's parents which apparently didn't get enough counselling, Sakaki Yusho having bad parenting skills, Yuya and Yuzu being adopted aparently, Yuya shouting Yuzu's name like Ash shouting for Pikachu, and freaking Shivers Kid. (someone kill him please)

Shun Kurosaki seems to be doing well for a man who lost his sister and best bro at once.

Verdict:
Sad crash and burn. Slow start, nice build up, poor climax and finale. Here is what I would propose, not that it matters:
  • Yuya, travels across dimensions to meet his counterparts. A threat awaits the Lancers, but no one knew what it exactly was. It was presumbly Academia, which has invaded Standard.
  • It later turns out that Academia was invading Standard to destroy it, along with Sakaki Yuya, to prevent Zarc from being revived. In a sense, Academia had the twisted notion that they were saving the world, or rather worlds.
  • Yuya continues his journey to gather his counterparts, under the belief that he was gathering comrades for his battle against the big bad. He made new friends, and along the way meet new mentors - from each dimension. Apart from teaching him how to use the summoning mechanics, which he actually already know if he paid attention at class, they teach him the next level of the summoning tactic - Rank-Up, Accel Synchro, Double-Fusion(?)/Super-Polyermisation . As I have mentioned, returning characters would have fit this role nicely.
  • In short, Yuya becomes a stronger duelist by learning more skills and tactics.
  • He faces Yuri, which fans and the Lancers are led to believe is on a quest to revive Zarc. 
  • Ultimately, it turns out that Yuya was part of Zarc all along, and that luring Yuya to in front of Yuri is the plan all along, with Yuya doing Yuri's job of gathering Yuto and Yugo together.
  • Lancers and friends pass Yuya their iconic cards, much like how everyone passed Yusei their Signer Dragons, to remind Yuya he isn't Zarc.
  • (Insert Yuya vs Yuri battle here)
  • Zarc gets reborn, and everyone fights Zarc relunctantly. Zarc summons out his former comrades' monsters which put both parties at odds, and also mocking the Lancers.
  • Mentor characters re-emerged, returned to battle Zarc, but lost.
  • Now here is where the path can split. They can either make Reiji win Zarc, his dad Sakaki Yusho win Zarc or throw the Ray/Reira thing here again.
Not that I am an accomplished Fanfic writer, or a better writer and producer than whoever is behind the scenes. But here is just my input. It has sort of a Kamen Rider Decade element, where the protagonist enters multiple dimensions to explore, ultimately become the villain he wanted to fight against.  This was frankly what I felt about Arc-V starting from the synchro arc - Yugioh's very own Kamen Rider Decade series.
Yes I do watch Kamen Rider
My favourite series is Blade and W
Ryuki is a close second if not for the crappy ending

Oh well... another ambitious Fanfic writer please go ahead and explore the idea if you wish to. I am pretty confident you will do a good job, considering how low Arc-V anime set the bars.

Next up for the anime/manga franchise, I am gonna catch up on ZeXal, followed by ZeXal and Arc-V's manga series, which I hope would be better. I completed 5D's manga series not too long ago, but if I had to choose, I would still place the 5D's anime as my Number1.


P.S.

Also, some things from Reddit:
So with the new ratings for episode 129 out, ARC-V has once again set a new record on Nico-Nico video!
New Top 10:
  1. ARC-V 122 - 6.1%
  2. BTOOOM 6 - 7.6%
  3. ARC-V 121 - 8.8%
  4. ARC-V 129 - 9.6% <---- li="" new="">
  5. ARC-V 118 - 10.3%
  6. ARC-V 127 - 11.8%
  7. ARC-V 19 - 13.6%
  8. ARC-V 120 - 13.8%
  9. ARC-V 123 - 14.6%
  10. Bloodivores 1 - 15.6%
ARC-V now holds 8/10 spots. If 130 gets below 15.6% that will be 9/10 spots. From there it's an uphill battle trying to get all 10, but I believe ARC-V can do it!
BTOOM 6 was an infamous episode where technical difficulties resulted in the episode having no visuals whatsoever.

Also
YUYA
YUTO
YUGO
YURI

Y----
-U--
--G-
---I

They weren't meant to be Zarc, they were meant to be Yugi!!!! Juz kidding. lol

2 comments:

  1. I totally agree that ARC-V was trash. Literally only watched it to see what broken new cards they would release next. Synchro/Fusion kun was hilarious tho and I second killing Shivers Kid. Would have been so much more enjoyable if they even had a coherent storyline, but instead it's just like EGAO WINS GAMES. Something closer to your fanfic plot would've been nice along with some cameos of older characters. (especially salty that they changed Jack's backstory and the Synchro Dimension has Jack and Crow, but not Yusei)

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  2. Couldn't agree more with you. Also Amazoness support is coming into OCG!
    Btw i hope they all learned the lesson and VRAINS will do better. Hopefully all the summoning methods will be shown in there too, not only Link stuff.

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