Plot: Kaiba’s third shitennou appears! An idol named Aileen comes to Japan to defeat Yugi on Kaiba’s behalf using Anzu as a hostage. The game? An ancient Indian game called Raijinhai that Yugi has never played before. Can Yugi find some way to win and save Anzu?
Breakdown: The best part about this episode is the absolutely hilarious way Anzu was animated excitedly shaking a box back and forth in the beginning. If you only watch one shot of this episode, please just watch that. You won’t regret it.
As for the rest of this episode……eeeeehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….First of all, yay, another Anzu-centric episode. Whoo. Hoo. It’s not as bad I feared because she thankfully spends a majority of the episode frozen in total silence, but still. She starts the episode being annoying, and she ends the episode being an absolute bitch. For someone who worships Aileen, a model who looked pretty unique, especially in Japan in the 90s, she’s sure easily fooled by a pair of sunglasses….
Second, the first half of the episode is mostly nothing. It’s entirely setup to the game, which, if you ask me, is too long. Most of the first scenes with Kaiba could have removed, and the scene with her….boyfriend (?) could have been removed too. The scene with her boyfriend, or whoever that was, was meant to show us that she’s really good at games and something awful happens when you lose to her. Somehow, losing to her caused this guy to break his leg. The game she chose was Raijinhai, which, I checked, is not a real game. And, somehow, losing that game resulted in the guy breaking his leg, which was a big deal because he’s a famous soccer player.
While this does inform the viewer that this woman is serious business…..isn’t it a bit better to have that be a reveal? Like she can just be a nice celebrity at first and then boom she reveals that she’s taken Anzu hostage and is one of Kaiba’s shitennou? What we learn about her through these scenes is that she became one of Kaiba’s shitennou because he promised she’d be able to meet smart and famous men to be game opponents that way, which is not exactly compelling. (Also, are women not good enough opponents for her?)
Later, we learn that she’s all about strategy, psyching out her opponents and reading people. She loves games that rely on strategy and reading your opponent and dislikes all games based on random chance. Aileen is actually a pretty okay character. She might be the only half-Canadian half-Indian anime character in existence, which is cool. She doesn’t come off as nearly intimidating enough, though.
I pretty much just like her attitude. She’s not over-the-top evil or a massive jerk. She’s just someone who loves games and outwitting her opponents…..even if that’s not what she ends up doing. She even lost gracefully, and she left Yugi on good terms. I would say that’s a bit weird considering she held Anzu hostage, but who cares? She made Anzu shut up and not move for about ten minutes. It’s all good.
Third, the game of the episode is very poorly explained. Apparently, the people who wrote the Wiki somehow had access to more rules than they presented in this episode because, as far as I saw, it was very random and luck-based. Which is weird because she specifically said she didn’t like luck-based games.
There are a set of figurines kinda akin to a chess set. You have a king, queen, Raijin Indra, Shogun, two Elephants, two Cavalry and two Soldiers. The Raijin Indra is the strongest, it beats everything but can only be used once per game. The king beats everything and is only beaten by the queen. The queen can’t beat anything besides the king. For the rest, I’m assuming the Wiki writers were using what happened in the game to figure out what beats what and pretty much guess because she doesn’t explain what any other piece does.
The game works like this – you have a game board with a screen in the middle. You put the screen up and choose a piece. Then you lower the screen and compare the pieces. If the piece beats your opponent’s, the losing piece is removed from the game. You win by either taking all of your opponent’s pieces, all of their stronger pieces or their king.
It’s very much just a guessing game until you have eliminated some pieces. Aileen goes on about how this is a game of psychology to the point where it honestly seems like she can read Yami’s mind. Part of this mind game is to take Anzu hostage because she knows Yugi/Yami cares about her, referring to her as his girlfriend.
The way she reads Yami is weird and never adequately explained. She invites Yugi and Anzu over after asking Yugi to bring her a really rare and interesting game from his grandpa’s game shop. She has a dance studio in her apartment, somehow, and invites Anzu to come dance. As she gets into a dance pose, Aileen tells her to hold the pose….and she does. She’s in some kind of trance. She’s not conscious, though her eyes are wide open and not focused. She can’t move a thing, and she’s totally silent.
Yami later asks if this ability is hypnosis, and the Wiki says it is, but she doesn’t seem to agree. When she tries to explain this power later, she says “All I do is use words to get into the crevices of people’s hearts.” How did saying “Hold that pose, okay?” get into a crevice in Anzu’s heart?
During the game, it seems as if she’s cheating because she predicts every single piece that Yami uses, but this also makes no sense. It’s explained that she can do this because she rattled Yugi by taking Anzu hostage. Then she used probabilities combined with his disrupted thinking to predict what he’d play.
Here’s the thing, though…..That makes no sense. There are seven pieces. Yugi has no experience with this game. He can’t really make much of a strategy either since it’s largely random. There’s no way she’s accurately predicting every single move based purely on probabilities and the fact that Yugi’s a bit distracted by Anzu being in danger.
What’s even funnier is that Yugi turns around and does the same thing to her. Once he realizes what she’s doing, he rattles her by predicting one of her pieces accurately. Once she’s rattled, he’s able to predict all of her moves. But here’s the thing….again…..this doesn’t make sense either. Not only should he not be able to do this because of the reasons I just explained, but him doing this trick wins him the game. Why? Wouldn’t they just be stalemated because they can both read each other? Or would they stop letting the other read them and still end in a stalemate?
Oh and the funniest part of this whole game was when Aileen randomly upped the stakes. Apparently, the threat of Anzu forever being a ballerina statue wasn’t enough. She reveals that there’s a door slowly opening in the dance studio. With each piece Yami loses, the door raises slightly.
What’s behind this door?
……Aileen’s pet tiger!
Because she’s Indian and thus has a pet tiger, I guess.
I laughed out loud when this was revealed. How completely random both with the unnecessary stakes increase and the sudden tiger.
Yami kinda uses his powers a little…..I think….or maybe not. His Puzzle glows as he boasts that she has 2000 years of Indian experience with this game behind her, but games were invented in ancient Egypt – so he has 5000 years of experience behind him…..I don’t get it. But whatever.
Yami wins, and Anzu’s safe, Yippee frickin’ skippy……
Oh, sorry. Does it seem like I’m being overly mean to Anzu today? You know, you’re right. I give Anzu too much crap. She hasn’t done anything awful today….Okay, she was kinda rude to Yugi earlier because he didn’t know who Aileen was, but she was okay besides that. Yeah, I’m sure once Anzu wakes up, she’ll perfectly delightful…….*cough*
I was so caught off-guard by what Anzu did when she was released from the trance. It was one of those moments where I had to pause because I was just flabbergasted.
……She slapped the unholy fuck out of Yugi.
For no reason.
He ran into the room, concerned for her, and the instant she snapped out of her trance she slapped him so hard he fell down. She says that he got in the way, but 1) No, he didn’t. He was in front of her when she woke up. 2) Even if he did interrupt her, she was POSING before she was frozen. How do you get in the way of a pose? And 3) He didn’t touch her or do anything. He just ran in yelling her name and she scrambled his face meat with her palm.
Fuck you, Anzu. I can’t believe how much you make me yearn for 2000anime!Anzu. Do you realize how shitty of a character you have to be to make me yearn for Captain Friendship over there?
When all is said and done, Kaiba fires Aileen, and her final words to him are that he’s not as strong as Yugi. Later, Aileen flies back to….wherever she’s from…..wait, did she bring her tiger with her on an international flight…..for a day trip? Or does the tiger stay in Japan? Who takes care of that thing? She said it attacks everyone but her.
As Aileen flies off, she thinks to herself that she wants to play another game with Yugi in the future – a game of love. She’s 19 and Yugi’s like 17, so this isn’t squicky. I just always get distracted when people are romantically interested in Yugi because he looks so much like he’s ten….
This isn’t the last we see of Aileen, however. Apparently, she returns later in the show again under Kaiba’s employ for some reason.
All in all, this episode was fine, just kinda boring, which is a shame for the third shitennou episode.
Just so we’re clear – Kaiba’s shitennou so far have been a guy obsessed with dolls, a guy who was really lucky and a model who could kinda-ish use hypnosis and whose specialty game was one that relied extremely heavily on chance while saying she dislikes games relying on chance and acting as if the game doesn’t rely heavily on chance……….Cool.
Also, I should note that Jonouchi, Honda and Miho don’t appear for a single second in this episode, which is very, very odd. They constantly get shoehorned into episodes that have little to nothing to do with them, but here we have plenty of time to throw them in and they chose not to. Weird.
Next time, we’re finally getting back into comparison territory as we cover chapters 46-47 and an ancient Chinese game where your soul is on the line.
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