SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 4: Assault! Twin Drive!


Plot: Aichi is itching for a rematch with Kai, but is never able to find him. He believes that Kai was just going easy on him during their first match, but with all of the experience he’s gained from playing so often at the card shop, he believes he can face Kai seriously.

Shin tells him that he’ll give Aichi a surprise if he beats Misaki in a Vanguard fight. Problem is, Misaki’s never played the game before.

Aichi, at first, sees Misaki’s clumsiness during the game and believes he needs to go easy on her, but quickly realizes that, having watched many cardfights and learning a lot about the game in order to do her job properly, Misaki is actually very good at Vanguard.

Utilizing the power of a Grade 3 card, Amaterasu, she manages to take Aichi down after a long and tough fight.

Throughout the fight, Aichi realizes that there is much more to the game in terms of strategies and effects than he ever realized, and he was presumptuous to believe he had gotten to Kai’s level so quickly. He decides to buy some new cards and work out some new strategies for his deck so he can continue battling, learning and growing as a Vanguard fighter.

Shin reveals that this lesson was the surprise all along. Newcomers are always eager to take on the tough veterans after they believe they’ve found their groove in the game, but they need to realize that there’s a much wider world of strategies and cards that you have to learn. Then he may be able to finally face Kai again.

Breakdown: Contrary to how this may sound, this isn’t an episode where Aichi suddenly grabs his main character powers by the balls and grows an ego-beard so he needs to be beaten in order to knock him down a peg (thank god.)

While Aichi does believe he’s ready to take on Kai again, and, admittedly, does state that he might want to take it easy on new-fighter Misaki, he never gets any sort of ego and never actually goes easy on Misaki. He takes her just as seriously as he does any opponent.

I was disappointed that Misaki was a rookie to the game, but she definitely showed that even on-the-field experience isn’t the end-all solution to being better at something. Learning about it on your own and watching other people do it can be just as powerful. She doesn’t wipe the floor with Aichi, in fact, at the start, he’s winning by a large margin, but Misaki was essentially taking necessary hits until she could get Amaterasu out.

This fight shows us another important aspect of the game – utilizing more complex strategies and Grade 3s properly. While we have seen some basic strategies, effects, drive triggers and damage triggers, this episode steps it up with even more card effects, draw triggers, and the benefits to drawing more cards….the last one being a lesson I kinda rolled my eyes at.

In what TCG is drawing more cards not beneficial (not counting situations where you might be forced to draw until you run out of cards in your deck, making you lose by default in some games)? And in a game where cards in your hand are used for defense and building up stronger summons, why the hell is Aichi questioning why draw triggers are beneficial?

In this situation, she was using draw triggers for an effect of Amaterasu, but this lesson was also reflected in the scene where Aichi runs out of cards in his hand to defend his Vanguards against her attacks.

Might I also applaud this episode for not taking the obvious and ridiculously annoying route of having the guys all point out her gender? I was worried about this episode slightly because I thought we were in for a bunch of ‘Fight her? But-but, she’s a girl!’ ‘Pfft, what’s she going to play with? A polly pocket deck?’ ‘Won’t her estrogen get in her eyes and make it impossible to see the cards?’ I’m exaggerating, but would you really question it?

They never bring up her being a girl at all—okay once. Aichi’s friend from episode one, Taishi, who is here for absolutely no reason other than to remind us that he exists, says ‘I think this girl knows more about the cards and rules than most of us guys.’

This was a good episode because it helped Aichi learn a bit more about truly improving in anything you’re passionate about, it gave Misaki some time to shine, it allowed the audience to learn more about the game, and we got to see a pretty great battle, even though, surprisingly, not much of it took place in the imaginary world. I did enjoy the chibi nun with the minigun though. That was funny.

Next episode, a cocky gradeschooler named Kamui is blowing away all of the middleschoolers at Vanguard. Does Aichi have a shot at breaking his winning streak?

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