Plot: It’s the second match of the finals! While Kai steps up for his match, Aichi stews in anxiety as the weight of the tournament piles on his shoulders. He knows Kai will win, leaving the deciding match to him. Self-confidence slowly fades away from Aichi, but Kai sends him a hidden message with this battle. Will Aichi get what Kai is telling him?
Breakdown: This episode is 80% pointless. Even the characters know that Kai will, no question, win his next match, and we, as an audience, know he won’t lose to Mr. Kaboom. And if he did lose to that kabooming ignoramus, I think I’d drop the series along with my faith in humanity.
The only real point of this match is to bring Aichi’s waning self-confidence back up since he now realizes that he’ll be the deciding factor in whether or not they win the tournament.
What’s that, you say? What of Misaki?
Well, dear reader, she’s….refusing to battle. Yes, even though she was the main player in the team and Aichi was just an alternate, and even though she arrived so late the tournament was nearly over by the time she arrived, she vehemently refuses to play the final match when Aichi asks her.
I assume this is for the sake of building him up as a Vanguard fighter, but I’m really failing to see what the point even was of making her the main teammate in the first place. She has been completely without a role here. Also, isn’t she a bit too green herself to be doling out these life lessons like this?
How we even reached the ‘message’ is kinda strange, and I’m not sure it makes enough sense. Kai taught Aichi to nut up and battle through………winning a Vanguard battle like Aichi knew he would. Aichi’s realization was that he wants to be as awesome as Kai, and to do that he can’t run from challenges.
So was this just Kai strutting his tail feathers around Aichi? Before his match even started, he said he doesn’t fight against players who run from matches. Considering Aichi’s deep almost obsessive admiration of Kai and his desire to battle him someday, I imagine that’s literally all he had to say to get him to do it.
What I don’t understand is how that gave Aichi confidence. Even when Kai’s match is over, he still says to himself that his skills are nothing compared to Kai’s.
In similar situations, the example being given to the character without confidence is usually by another underdog, or at least someone who’s not the obvious winner. They come back against all odds to win either through sheer determination, skill or hard work. Sometimes, the example in question doesn’t even win. It’s their behavior and attitude in battle that inspires the other character.
Here, we go into the match knowing Kai will win, even Aichi says that straight out, which is why he gets nervous in the first place. Then Kai wins and that somehow turns Aichi’s attitude around.
The one question mark was why Kai was choosing not to guard certain attacks when he easily could’ve, but obviously that was just part of his endgame strategy because again, duh, he’s not going to lose.
I might be a bit harsher on this episode than necessary because I felt a bit cheated. We’ve skipped over several matches that would’ve been interesting to watch in their entirety yet they dedicate an entire episode to Kai vs. Billy Mays and his KABOOM. Coming fresh off the heels of Kamui vs. Nagisa, which was both annoying and redundant in their play styles, and this final is turning into a disappointment.
I’m a bit conflicted on whether I want Aichi to win or lose. Kamui changed the terms of his marriage agreement with Nagisa to needing to win the finals as a whole for it to stick, so that’s on the line, but she’ll probably be a recurring character anyway.
I’d like Aichi to win, but on the other hand, if they do win this tournament this will probably lead to the nationals, and not too long ago I praised this series for not going too far with their tournaments too quickly. I get that the stakes need to keep going higher for the sake of audience interest, but I always feel like shooting too high too fast causes the realism factor to diminish.
And just to get this out of the way, Morikawa was also putting his annoyingness on high today. That combined with KABOOM made me go into this episode feeling irritated enough.
All in all, I’m not really upset with this episode, I didn’t even find it bad, I was just disappointed. I didn’t expect much from this match to begin with, even Goki would’ve been thoroughly spanked by Kai, but I feel like it was a big waste of time.
Aichi’s moment of picking himself back up should’ve been handled a lot better. Maybe have Kai go first, then Kamui, then have a brief break where Aichi is freaking out about going into the finals with the victory resting on his shoulders then have Kai talk with him or even have a side-match with him or something. This just wasn’t the way to go, in my opinion.
Next episode, the final match between Goki and Aichi begins!
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One thought on “SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 20: Hidden Message”
I definitely can’t think of any other time where everyone knew a character was going to win while also using that as the motivation to get the MC’s spirit back. It’s an odd approach for sure, but as a big Kai fan I was glad that everyone was giving him his props. He definitely wasn’t going to lose here
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