SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 19: Showdown! Nova Grappler!

SSBS - CFV EP19

Plot: The finals are gearing up, and the long awaited Cardfight between Kamui and Goki is about to start. Until, that is, a last minute change shakes up everything. Kamui will actually be fighting Nagisa! And she claims he’ll have to marry her if he loses! Can Kamui manage to defeat Nagisa and get her out of his life for good or will she wrap him up in the binds of marriage?

Breakdown: Hey, Cardfight!! Vanguard! Long time, no see!

I forget why I stopped watching you for a wh–

SSBS - CFV EP19 1

Oh…..right….I forgot about her. I thought the world looked a little brighter since I stopped watching this. Well, let’s at least hope the battle is interesting, but considering I know the outcome and….this is Nagisa, I’m guessing no.

*One viewing later*

Yup. This episode was just as obnoxious as I feared, if not moreso.

The entirety of it, everything, is just obnoxious. Nagisa’s obviously the main source of obnoxiousness, but so are Team Handsome with their gushing over Nagisa and encouraging her bullshit, Morikawa and his ego and also cheering on Nagisa to take down Kamui because he supports ‘love,’ Taishi and whatever the hell he’s doing egging on Morikawa, Kamui with his constant back and forth between sighing over Nagisa’s antics and Emi believing he and Nagisa are dating, and even Emi is being irritating with how oblivious she is.

Not to mention that the first five minutes of the episode is explaining how and why Nagisa is suddenly a part of Team Handsome. She was devastated when she heard Kamui would never visit Card Shop Handsome again once he beat Goki, so she took up Vanguard to be in his life as much as possible. Until one day, I guess, she got to a point in skill where she decided to make this marriage bet.

The fact that she’s basically a champion-level Vanguard player fueled purely on her drive to trap Kamui into marriage (of which she’s already bought the dress for) is embarrassing. I know she’s a little girl, but it’s already hard enough to find strong female characters in shounen gaming anime without one of the only competent ones being so stereotypically moe. She is the epitome of ‘notice me, senpai!’

Also, this first five minutes drag so long and are made so irritating by Nagisa that even Morikawa and Taishi are complaining and telling them to start the match already. Pointing out that something you’re writing is annoying and a slog to sit through doesn’t make it any less of a chore, writers.

I thought the Cardfight might be some solace, but no. Nagisa in her endless ability to annoy, somehow even ruins that. First off, because she loves Kamui so much, she uses nearly an identical deck to his with only a few (girly card) variations, so it’s already boring.

Second, she has to chime in all the time explaining his moves as he makes them.

Finally, she has to interrupt the match several times for her lovey-duvey shtick.

My mind just went numb during the entire match. I couldn’t care less.

Thank god it’s over, though. Hopefully it will be a long time before she’s the focal point again. Can we please get back to the fun?

Rating: 0/10 I have nothing positive to say about this episode.

Next episode, while they initially teased it would be Aichi vs. Goki in the next episode, apparently it’s Kai’s turn next so…..while I imagine it will at least be a much less irritating and more interesting fight, I’m already bored because I know Kai won’t lose. He never loses to begin with, he’d never lose to one of the randoms of Team Handsome, and now their team is down one match, meaning they’d lose the whole thing if he did.

….Previous Episode

SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 18: White-Hot Tournament!

SSBS CFV Ep 18

Plot: They basically skip through every match until we get to the finals, then we break for lunch and that’s pretty much it.

Breakdown: This episode is a gigantic mess. It is, by far, the worst episode I’ve seen.

I’d like to apologize to anyone who read my last CFV review because I was wrong about the next episode. The preview made it seem like we’d see Goki and Kamui fight, at least in separate matches, but no.

First half, we rush through all of the remaining matches for the tournament so we can quickly get to Team Q4 vs. Team Handsome, which is kinda pointless because we don’t even get to see the start of that match in this episode.

I like tournaments because, even if they’re battling people who will obviously lose, it gives the writers the opportunity to get creative and introduce us to some interesting one-off characters. CFV doesn’t seem like they want to bother with this.

If you need more evidence, just look at the brief glimpses of the teams as they whiz by in the montage of defeat. If you thought Team Handsome was a stupid name, try Team Martial Arts, Team Chemistry Club or even Team Hot Noodles….And, yes, Team Martial Arts is filled with martial artists (whose only saving grace is giving Q4 their dojo signs after they lose. That was a little funny.) Team Chemistry Club is, well, duh, and Team Hot Noodles…is a bunch of ramen cooks. How did these people even get here?

The only other team is Team Nadeshiko, who are alright in name, and their shtick is that they’re…super respectful and traditional?

Oh and yeah, people are still creaming their pants over Kai. Because that never gets old.

They also jam in the backstory of Kamui and Goki. Kamui was bullied as a kid because he was so small, but he saw Goki beat an adult at Vanguard and he was inspired by that, so Goki became a bit of a mentor to him, I suppose. Kamui wants to prove to Goki that he can fight on his own.

It’s….not a good backstory, if you ask me.

Beating an adult at a children’s card game is not akin to beating someone twice your size in a physical altercation. Besides, Goki is clearly a teenager here and he’s a pretty big muscular guy. He’s nearly as tall as the adult he’s battling, and he’s definitely bigger than the kid we see beat up Kamui.

The logic doesn’t click. It would’ve made more sense if Goki was younger and smaller like Kamui and he took down someone twice his size at Vanguard. It’s still not the same, but at least it would make more sense. Maybe it would show Kamui that he can come out on top in certain things despite his small stature.

But at least we got to see the origins of Goki’s bandanna…..That was something weighing on your mind, wasn’t it?

Second half, lunch time. You heard me. They’re pulling this shit again. And, like last time, this part of the episode is filled with Kamui gushing over Emi, who arrives late to get some lunch to Aichi and his friends.

Ooh, but wait! There’s more! Remember, Nagisa, the human cheese grater for the ears, is here, so she’s also filling up this half of the episode with gushing over Kamui and getting in poor Emi’s face for ‘stealing her man.’ I am developing a massive pile of hatred for this little brat. I hope to God she just fades into the background more and more as time goes on, because I can’t stand much more of her.

Misaki arrives after lunch with no explanation as to where she’s been this entire time. They keep bringing up that Aichi ‘had’ to fight the first match of the tournament, even though, like Shin points out, the teams are the ones who choose the order of their participants, so Aichi never really had to fight at all other than to give him some screen time.

Dash your hopes for seeing her fight in this tournament, though, because she passes the baton to Aichi since he’s been doing so well…..Then why even show up at all?

Shin references Larry the Cable Guy by saying ‘Let’s get ‘er done!’………….That was a thing that happened.

So the finals st—nope. We have to interrupt our tournament for a random song number by the Ultra Rares – the pop group made up of the girls from the card shop PSY. The song’s not good, though they keep the Japanese version for it, which is nice, and it’s a completely unwelcome intrusion that’s accompanied by another unwelcome intrusion – a random unnecessary clip show to the episode in PSY so we can….remember who these girls are? I dunno.

Just when you finally think they’ll start the finals, you look at the time stamp and realize the episode is very nearly over. Kamui’s first up, itching to take on Goki when –

Goki’s not fighting! But wait! Who’s taking his—Nagisa….Nagisa’s fighting Kamui. And she’s added the stipulation that, should she win, she and Kamui will get married. She’s also wearing pink Vanguard Fight Gloves…because of course she is.

Which means….next episode is chockful of Nagisa. The only thing I might find more enjoyable than that is shoving a swarm of angry wasps into my eye socket.

Oh and since this is the last round of the regional qualifiers and I can’t see Kai the VanGod losing his match, I assume Kamui must lose his match in order to have Aichi be the crux match in the finals. I care so little about this next match that I’m going to cheat and peek at the end of the next episode.

Yup, he friggin’ loses. Which also means Nagisa will never shut up about the marriage thing, right? Let me cheat again! To the Wiki!

Yup, even after a time skip, she’s still trying to force him into marriage. Lovely.

I’m going to take a break on this series for a little bit since…I just really don’t want to watch the next episode right now. The show’s not falling to pieces or anything, but this episode is so sloppily done I’m almost angry at it. Not to mention, I need to charge up if I’m going to watch an entire episode centered on Nagisa.

For now, I’ll switch to Tokyo Mew Mew for my regular updates.

Rating: 2/10

Next episode, Nagisa gets locked in a box and never appears in the series again so Twix can refrain from ripping the screen off of her laptop.

…Previous Episode

SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 17: New Allies

SSBS CFV EP 17

Plot: Aichi’s match is coming to a close. Can he utilize his newest units to get a win against Team Black Magic? Afterward, it’s Kai’s turn to see if he can put one in the win column.

Breakdown: Aichi’s match was intense, but, I won’t lie, I felt a little bit like the match was won due to the ‘heart of the cards’ luck. Even Shin said he likely wouldn’t have won had he not drawn a critical trigger. It’s a bit annoying how draw luck is such a deeply integrated part of this game, but I guess, technically, that’s a part of any card game.

He utilized his new units well, and it’s clear that Aichi is improving his strategies every day. Also, it’s a bit surreal to hear them talk about expansion packs. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a TCG based anime talk about that stuff. I’ve heard booster packs but not expansion packs.

It’s so pointless to watch Kai’s matches now that this is yet another of his matches that they opt to completely skip over. They hype it up like ‘Wow, they both use the same kind of decks. This will be intense!’ Then they skip to the final turn where Kai completely thrashes the opponent without batting an eyelash. It’s getting old…

And even though we only catch the final turn, he still draws two critical triggers. Is his deck loaded with them or something? Then everyone, not just Aichi, gushes over him. It’s irritating that so many people are such massive fanboys for a guy as douchey as Kai. He cracks a smile during Aichi’s match, but he’s still a cocky douche.

Because they won two matches in a row, Kamui becomes devastated that he’s unable to fight. He’s completely shocked that this is a rule…..but I’m confused as to why. Kamui either has first-hand experience fighting in tournaments or he’s watched a lot of them, yet he’s surprised that he’s not allowed to fight when they’ve won 2/3 matches already.

Team Black Magic is revealed to be a bunch of pretty boys, but they’re really nice and respectful. Also, they somehow all have surnames that start with ‘Kuro’ (Black) How they managed that, I don’t know, but I hope they come back in the future.

Rating: 7/10

Next episode, Kamui is finally able to fight and we see Goki in battle again.

…Previous Episode

SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 16: Team Q4 Heads for the Regional Tournament!

SSBS CFV EP 16

Plot: Aichi, Kai and Kamui, dubbed Team Quadrifoglio for ‘four leaf clover,’ prep to go to regionals, but Misaki is mysteriously missing. Shin explains that Misaki had something to do and that she’d meet them later that afternoon at the arena. Problem is, their first match is in the morning. Don’t worry, though. That’s what alternates are for. Right, Aichi?

Their first match is against the ‘mysterious’ Team Black Magic, who all wear black cloaks and try to act dramatic and imposing. It’s Aichi vs. Kurosawa in the first round, and Kurosawa uses a deck very similar to Kai’s. This fact along with the pressure of the tournament start to get to Aichi. Will he be able to pull out a win, or will Team Q4 start off the tournament 0-1?

Breakdown: Whoo yeah, regionals! Whoo yeah, trope subversions!

While the first half of the episode is largely establishing specifics of the tournament as well as revealing who of the known characters happen to be there (it’s damn near everyone – including Nagisa, who is still a bratty bitch), the second half starts off the action of the tournament. It was to be expected that Misaki would go missing purely for the sake of forcing Aichi to cardfight right out the gate. I thought Misaki would be treated as the alternate, but apparently Aichi is.

Team Black Magic is a bit of a parody of those super mysterious cloaked teams that lots of gaming and tournament fighters tend to have. They try to act imposing and dark, but they’re obviously a bunch of goofballs in cloaks. I found them to be pretty funny, and I actually like that Morikawa is slowly starting to believe they’re real wizards for no reason after he heckled them.

They’re not to be shooed aside, either, because they are very skilled Vanguard players.

The match isn’t all that fantastic so far, except the cliffhanger is pretty good considering Alfred isn’t at full power and Aichi had to sacrifice all of his cards to get him to the level he’s at now, which means he’s completely without guards.

Also, you really don’t know if Aichi will win this match because this is a team tournament. If Aichi loses, it doesn’t matter much because it’s best of three. Meaning, he could very well lose.

This tournament utilizes the Motion Figure System we were introduced to before at the card shop, PSY, meaning we’re now jumping headfirst into the hologram fights. And this time there are two major differences.

First, the holograms on the Motion Figure System at PSY were very small, like game pieces. The fighters lorded over the arena like gods in the sky. Here, the holograms consume the entire playing field. All of the monsters are monster-sized and the fighters themselves take the spot of the Vanguard. Also, all of the cards are shown in the hologram when played. The only times we ever really see the fighters full-out anymore is when we see them drawing triggers, and even that’s not consistent.

Second…..they get some sort of special (albeit cool-looking) gloves called Vanguard Fight Gloves. According to Shin, they all bear a crystal that comes from the planet Cray…..*cough* So are these kids meant to be really gullible or is Cray meant to be a real place in this series? Because you guys may have just bitchslapped me away from my views of ‘wow, this series is really realistic.’

The gloves enhance the fighter’s experience in battle by allowing the Vanguard to track their movements and mimic them, making it seem like they’re actually leading the battle as their avatars instead of it all just being in their imaginations.

I would think a full-body tracker suit would be needed for this, but whatever.

I’m….not sure how cool I am with this. Like I always thought with Yu-Gi-Oh, this would be really awesome if it were a real thing, but I am more partial to them just imagining the battlefields. In a weird way, you’re both adding to and taking away from the experience by making these holograms.

The movements are no longer what you imagine them to be – they’re being imposed on you. It’s like how people are never happy with book adaptations because the TV show or movie isn’t matching what they imagined it was like. Each person has their own internal view on how things look, and if the vision is imposed on you, it makes you feel slightly disconnected.

At the very least, these holograms still aren’t as ridiculous as Yu-Gi-Oh holograms are, like when they induce pain or are seemingly so real you can stand on them.

….Or maybe not.

In the manga, from what the Wiki states, the gloves cause pain to the user whenever they take damage. Though they seem to only be used in conjunction with special systems and an antagonist team called Foo Fighter. Still, though.

Like I mentioned some episodes ago, the realness of the show made audience members connect with it better, too, because those overblown shounen gaming anime made you feel disappointed whenever you played the real thing and it wasn’t nearly as fun or exciting. Maybe that view is silly, though, I dunno.

…..I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want a pair, though. I don’t care if I don’t have any Vanguard cards – those are cool gloves.

Rating: 7/10

Next time, the match between Kurosawa and Aichi concludes. Can Aichi and his paladins pull off a victory?

…Previous Episode

Final note: Apparently, fighters aren’t allowed into nationals unless they have a pair of these gloves…..I worry for a future ‘oh god, we can’t enter the tournament because we don’t have some superfluous item we’ll inevitably find or replace’ episode. I hate to keep making comparisons to Yu-Gi-Oh, but they did this, like, twice.

SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 15: Thrilling! Emi’s First Fight!

SSBS CFV EP 15

Plot: Emi decides she wants to try her hand at playing Vanguard, so Shin suggests having a practice cardfight with one of Aichi’s friends. Morikawa leaps at the chance to ‘teach’ her, really just itching to finally take down someone with his beloved Grade 3s. Misaki loans Emi her deck to get her started and the match begins. Can Emi’s first match be her first victory?

Breakdown:

Last episode review: “Can Morikawa manage to defeat a little girl on her first match?….That’s a serious question.”

The answer is no, no he can’t.

And thank god. It might be hard to believe a little girl who barely knows anything about Vanguard to win her first match, but it’s even more unbelievable for Morikawa to win any match period.

At least I can take solace in the fact that everyone else is as exasperated with Morikawa’s antics as I am. Seriously, he straight up throws away a Grade 0 unit just so he can litter his side of the field Grade 3s. That doesn’t sound so bad until you learn the main reason he loves Grade 3s so much – their twin drive. However, as Kamui points out, only those in the Vanguard circle, of which there is only one, can use twin drive, so it’s entirely pointless. And his throwing away that unit made it so he couldn’t use the drive trigger for his actual Vanguard anyway.

I’m learning this game as I go along too. I’m only slightly more knowledgeable about it than Emi is, and even I’m rolling my eyes at Morikawa whenever he plays. How many times does he have to have that ‘OH MY GOD, I HAVE NO GRADE 1 OR 2s!’ moment before he finally gets the hint that his deck is horribly unbalanced? And even when he gets Grades 0s, 1s or 2s on his first draw, he opts to discard and redraw so he can get more Grade 3s. He is ridiculous.

Morikawa aside, we finally get to see Emi take the stage, and she is just a peach. Her imaginary version of Cray is a pretty field with butterflies and a bunch of moons and flower petals. She chooses monsters based on how cute they are and literally throws herself onto the game table when Morikawa attacks because she doesn’t want her units to get hurt and doesn’t want to guard with a unit in her hand for the same reason. It’s silly and adorable and I love her to death.

Emi’s not an idiot, either. While Kamui, Shin, Aichi and even, sometimes, Morikawa give her information and advice from the sidelines, Emi is able to work through the basics of what she needs to do rather easily since she’s seen Aichi and the others cardfight a few times at this point.

She even catches Morikawa in a technicality that no one else caught – the aforementioned problem that his Vanguard had in using a drive trigger. He wasn’t allowed to use the trigger unless there was a unit of the same clan on the field, and the only one he had of that clan was a Grade 0 he threw away for the sake of summoning anotherGrade 3.

Morikawa’s not all that irritating through most of the match, in spite of his incessant stupidity. He actually does seem like he’s just pumping up his ego but is still kinda teaching Emi when the theatrics stop. Nearly every turn is him being a Grade 3 fanboy while everyone groans at his antics and Emi just stares at him confused. However, once he gets a few damage, he starts mocking Emi and that’s when he gets irritating. Dude, it’s a little girl on her first Vanguard match. Get a clue.

At least Emi doesn’t pay his mocking a single mind. She just keeps being confused at him or ignores it.

The match was pretty entertaining for a first-time match with Morikawa. It was nice to see Emi throw her hat into the ring, and I loved watching her play. Not only did she seem to be having fun, but Aichi fondly watching his little sister get into the game he’s grown to love while giving her advice was too cute.

Even Kamui was pretty cool in this episode. He is obviously trying to wedge his way into becoming Emi’s Vanguard teacher to be closer to her, but he’s also legitimately giving her the rules and information about the game as a fellow player.

This episode was a strong example of the great dynamic the whole main cast has. Even Kamui’s friends played off of the story well and had some funny reactions. I love when all of the characters click so well together, even if Morikawa gets annoying. Plus, it was a nice refresher episode for those still trying to get the rules of the game down pat. I even learned a few new things.

I hope we see Emi build a deck of her own and play more in the future.

Rating: 8.5/10

Next time, the regional qualifiers are here. The Card Capital representatives make their way to the arena, but Shin and Misaki are mysteriously absent.

….Previous Episode

SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 14: The Fearsome Undead! The Granblue Deck!

SSBS CFV EP 14

Plot: Kamui (begrudgingly) takes Aichi to a card shop called Card Shop Handsome to meet some national-level players and train for the regional qualifiers. Kamui introduces Aichi to Goki, leader of Team Handsome, the players who represented Card Shop Handsome in the nationals last year.

Goki’s little sister, Nagisa, has a huge crush on Kamui and is constantly calling him her boyfriend and jumping all over him even though Kamui doesn’t return her feelings at all and explicitly states that he loves Aichi’s sister, Emi. Hearing this declaration, Goki defends his sister’s love by challenging Aichi to a cardfight. Utilizing a Granblue deck of zombie pirates, can Aichi find a way to win?

Breakdown: I wasn’t all that much into this episode. It was alright, but I just didn’t get into it very much. Goki and Team Handsome aren’t that interesting so far (and one of them has the annoying habit of saying ‘KABOOMY!’ for no reason) and the Granblue deck didn’t live up to the buildup, which is a shame on many fronts. I love zombies, I love pirates – why is a zombie pirate deck not that intriguing to me? Especially when it’s a little OP as well. Aichi didn’t get thrashed or anything, but Goki was never once even considering sweating.

Aichi is thinking even more methodically but yet another failed ‘heart of the cards’ instance screwed him over. Yeah, Aichi lost again, and his reaction was actually quite the typical ‘I’m gonna be stronger, like him. No, better than him!’ which kinda surprised me a bit.

Nagisa is also incredibly annoying. I may rag on Kamui for his crush on Emi sometimes, but at least he’s kinda cute about it. Nagisa is 35 pounds of irritating brat. She consciously doesn’t listen to anything Kamui says about not wanting to be her boyfriend or being in love with someone else, and she latches onto him like a leech. Not to mention that one line about tying him up to prevent him from running away. Someone’s going to get restraining orders as an adult.

While I didn’t downright hate or even deeply dislike anything in this episode, I didn’t really like it much. Even the match wasn’t all that great.

Rating: 4/10

Next time, Emi decides to throw her hat into the Cardfighting ring. Her first opponent is Morikawa. Can Morikawa manage to defeat a little girl on her first match?….That’s a serious question.

…Previous Episode

SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 13: Shop Tournament Winner Crowned!

SSBS CFV EP 13

Plot: The Card Capital Tournament is coming to a close. Kai has defeated Misaki, and now it’s down to Kamui and Aichi’s last few turns to decide who gets to have a rematch with Kai. When the victor is chosen, will Kai fall in the finals or will his ego remain unscathed?

Breakdown: Holy shit…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aichi lost.

 

 

 

 

 

To Kamui.

I honestly wasn’t expecting that at all. The way they were building it up, I thought for sure he’d make it to the finals and then get trounced by Kai to get a personal lesson delivered by Mr. Ego himself, but nope. Kamui took Aichi down.

He did it in a spectacular way, I might add. That is definitely my favorite match so far. Aichi went down fighting like friggin’ champ, but that Soul Blast of Kamui’s was too much for the poor guy. The fact that he was strategically building that up for so long was impressive to say the least. Kamui is a very strategic player, and it’s fascinating to watch him play sometimes.

This is the first time we really see Aichi upset about losing. After each defeat, Aichi tends to just be happy playing the game, learning and making friends. This time is different since it meant he lost his chance to have a rematch with Kai, which was what he was looking forward to the entire time. He also took it as proof that he really wasn’t strong enough to take Kai on again, which I think is something he needed to learn. Though, I think he’d just be happy fighting Kai again, win or lose.

Aichi is down for a while, but his friends pick him back up and he enjoys the tail end of the finals, admiring it as being a match currently beyond his level, but hoping he can one day roll with the big dogs.

Speaking of the finals, that was something I was concerned about before I even watched the episode. The next episode preview showed the title of the episode – “Shop Tournament Champion Crowned!” Why is that a problem?

Let me ask you, doesn’t it sound like Aichi and Kamui’s match takes up quite a bit of time?

It does. More than half the episode.

How could they crown the champ in the piddly amount of time they have left?

Simple. They amputate 99% of the match and only show their last turns.

Love. Ly.

Yeah, we’ve just been watching this tournament for like four episodes now. Why would we want to see the main event? If Aichi’s not battling, who cares, right? Not like Kamui’s totally awesome to me lately or anything. PBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!

That is the one mar of this otherwise incredible episode. You can dedicate one more episode to the final match. Time management is key, guys. Be better.

Other than that, we get some insight into Misaki’s role in this tournament. We finally learn why she joined the tournament to begin with (Shin forced her) and we clearly see that she was drastically affected by her loss at the hands of Kai and has gained a better appreciation, if not passion, for the game in its entirety. I like that they actually bothered to include this as some subtle character development, and I look forward to Misaki’s matches in the future.

But wait, there’s more!

Shin reveals that this whole tournament was designed as a selection process for the upcoming Vanguard national tournament, because of course it was. I’ll give it a pass because they started with a small tournament first before chucking the characters into a national tournament.

Everyone who made it to the semi-finals gets to represent Card Capital in the national tournament after they pass a regional qualifier, meaning they’ll all be teammates. Whoo!

If I can say one last thing, someone please knock Kai down a peg. Between his beating Misaki and Kamui without so much as thinking about sweating, I feel like his ego won’t fit in the stadium during the tournament.

Kamui’s still doing his dumb joke shtick, but that’s fine because this episode was pretty awesome…barring the finals (seriously, one more episode, guys. Just one. Half of one, even.) I’m looking forward to what the next tournament has to offer.

Rating: 8.5/10

Next episode, Aichi needs to prep for the upcoming tournament.

…Previous Episode

SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 12: Aichi vs. Kamui

SSBS CFV EP12

Plot: It’s the Card Capital Tournament semi-finals! Aichi is facing off against Kamui while Misaki faces off against Kai. Aichi’s definitely holding his own a lot better than he was the last time he fought against Kamui, but can he manage to pull off a win?

Breakdown: This episode focuses almost entirely on the match between Kamui and Aichi because, let’s be honest, Misaki is just not going to win her match. We all knew this the instant the lots were drawn. She’s inexperienced and Kai’s a ruthless powerhouse. I was impressed by her strategic thinking in the short bit of the match we were able to see, but of course she loses.

Aichi’s match against Kamui definitely shows how much Aichi has grown, learned and improved as a Vanguard fighter. He was getting absolutely mauled by Kamui last time and now they’re neck and neck. And it’s not just because he has Grade 3s now, either. In fact, most of his best moves have come from his Grade 1s and 2s, proving that it’s more about having balance and knowing your cards well than it is about having powerful cards. It’s a fantastic fight, and I’m really starting to love watching Kamui battle.

There isn’t really much to say about this match besides that because this is our second cliffhanger. Their match was getting right down to the wire when they were interrupted by Kai finishing off Misaki. I was about to ding Aichi for yet again losing focus in his match just to focus on Kai (Seriously, dude, TCG etiquette), but Kamui was doing the same and this is a major match ending so I’ll let it slide.

Other than that, we have another nice added tidbit of realism in Morikawa and Izaki running around the Vanguard tables acting like idiots and Shin needing to tell them to stop their horsing around. This is a room filled with kids in what is essentially a toy store. Of course that is bound to happen. I’m not even mad that the scene was completely pointless because it just peppers in that feeling of realism and nostalgia.

Also, we get this exchange during that scene.

Taishi: “Word of advice – You’re never going to get a girlfriend acting like that.”

Morikawa: “Whatever, man. I’ve got Vanguard – the best girlfriend ever.” My stomach hurts from laughter at this line. Morikawa is starting to be less annoying to me because he gets such ridiculously funny (and stupid) lines.

Rating: 9/10

Next time, the match between Kamui and Aichi concludes. Who will win? And who will face off against Kai?

….Previous Episode

SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 11: The Ninja Fighter Withdraws!

SSBS CFV EP 11

Plot: Aichi’s match with Ninja Master M concludes, and he’s moves on into the semi-finals. Kamui and Misaki also win their matches and move on. It’s time to draw lots for the semi-finals!….After lunch!

Aichi is matched with Kamui, and Misaki and Kai get paired up. Who will get to the finals?

Breakdown: Ladies and gentlemen….our first truly disappointing episode.

I mentioned in episode ten that time management seemed to be an issue and that the battle with Ninja Master M didn’t need to be a cliffhanger. This episode truly exemplifies that point. The match against Ninja Master M only takes one more turn, as predicted, yet it takes up the entire first half of this episode – in spite of the fact that the next episode preview and title spoil the whole thing. It was a great final turn, but it was drawn out for no real reason.

We see a few minutes of Misaki completely destroying some sniveling 30-something woman, which was nice to see as a preview of how much she’s improved in the few weeks she’s been actively playing.

And that’s it. The rest of the episode is a lunch break where 90% of the scenes are Kamui drooling over Emi and fantasizing about the two of them eating lunch together. It was a little funny for a short while but got old real quick. They obviously just didn’t want to put any of the actual semi-finals into this episode, so they had to dump in some filler until we got to the last few minutes where they at least draw their lots.

I would’ve preferred if they at least spent the final half on Misaki’s match.

Some other things were that Kai’s assessment of the tournament so far was that everyone was weak and not worth playing against….Dude, it’s a small-town rinky dink shop tournament. Why would you ever think you’d find a pro or the like here? Get your head out of your ass.

We also got a painfully unfunny return of Kamui’s running ‘joke’ where he gets common sayings wrong. This one doesn’t even make sense. He’s last to pick his lot, so he says ‘Saving the best for blasts, huh?’ What the hell does that even mean? The point behind the saying is IN the saying for God’s sake. There’s no way he knew it’d be appropriate to say that unless he knew the saying was ‘Saving the best for LAST’

But that’s not all. Izaki, Morikawa and Taishi have to spend about 30 seconds explaining why what he said was wrong. Thanks. We. Got. It.

Let’s not stop there. Let’s have him do another in the next episode preview. He tells Aichi to fight it out ‘bears and bears’ and Aichi, of course, has to correct him to ‘fair and square.’ Again, why the hell does he believe that saying is correct? Is he suggesting Aichi and him fight so fiercely that they maul each other?

In regards to short moments, Misaki got a pretty funny one where she yells ‘Bite me!’ to Taishi when he calls her cute for blushing as her name is listed off.

This episode is the first one I’ve seen so far where there just weren’t a lot of shining good moments to direct attention away from the problems.

Rating: 6/10

Next episode, it’s Kamui vs. Aichi, and we might get a glimpse of the match between Misaki and Kai.

….Previous Episode

SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 10: Enter the Ninja Fighter!

SSBS CFV EP10

Plot: The next round of the Card Capital tournament is underway. While Kai battles the three-time CC tournament champion, Aichi is paired up with Ninja Master M, whom they quickly determine is Aichi’s teacher, Mr. Mark, in disguise. As Ninja Master M, he immerses himself very deeply into the role of a (stereotypical) ninja. He tries to hide as a part of the wall with a cloth, tries to make quick getaways with (indoor-safe) smoke bombs and even injects ninja-esque vernacular into his cardfights.

Aichi is thrown by Ninja Master M’s behavior, but quickly realizes that he’s no joke when it comes to Vanguard. Utilizing a strategy in which Aichi is forced to keep discarding cards from his hand, Ninja Master M gets Aichi into a corner quickly. Will Aichi have to concede defeat?

Breakdown: I am a tiny bit mixed on this episode.

On one hand, Ninja Master M (He’s wearing a samurai helmet. This is bugging me.), despite me just barely remembering Mr. Mark in the slightest (was he only in episode one? Hm.) is an entertaining character. I smiled several times at his scenes, and his pathetic ninja shenanigans remind me a lot of Agiri from Kill Me Baby, only he plays it straight.

On the other hand, Morikawa kinda ruins his whole shtick. Morikawa, for some strange reason, believes Ninja Master M is the real deal and marvels in everything he does. Even when he’s in the middle of a cardfight and is claiming he’s doing ninja things that are obviously not happening, this dolt believes every word (IE, he claims riding a Grade 1 on top of a 0 is a ‘ninja replacement’ technique and Morikawa just eats it up.) Keep in mind, all of the visuals for these moves are entirely in Aichi’s head. All Morikawa is seeing is NMM playing a card and saying something.

Also, it seems like they’re both mocking and celebrating cosplay here? Maybe I’m looking too far into this, but NMM’s first opponent claims he lost because he was so distracted by his outfit and mannerisms. Then he tells him he wishes his parents had never let him out the basement and calls him a freak of nature.

Granted, yes, this is a little kid talking, but an adult wrote it, and, still, ouch.

However, despite everyone rolling their eyes at NMM, no one else is really making fun of him. Aichi quickly takes NMM seriously in their match, too. There’s no disrespect on his end – it just took him a minute to get used to his strange behavior and dress. Does that mean they’re really saying they respect cosplay or is this not even a factor?

On one hand, it was nice to see a fiercer and more amped up Aichi.

On the other hand, I am still annoyed by his obsessed focus on battling Kai. He even gets distracted away from his match with NMM, in the middle of an attack no less, because Kai just finished his match, which he obviously won. He’s dead set on just getting through his matches to get to Kai. It’s very rude to skew your attention away in the middle of a match like that. Have some TCG courtesy, Aichi.

This is also our first cliffhanger episode! Oooooooooh…..it was a very unwarranted two-parter. It ends on what has to be Aichi’s last turn and he’s fighting someone he’s obviously going to win against.

Not to mention……

Cardfight!! Vanguard, can we have a little talk? I was a little perturbed by your use of a cliffhanger here, but I understand that you’re new at this stuff and it wasn’t completely awful, so it’s cool. Just try to manage your time a little better.

I won’t, however, overlook the grievous sin you have committed. When you have a cliffhanger to a game in a gaming anime, you never ever spoil the ending in the next episode preview. Yet, not only do you show Shin doing the ‘Winner’ gesture to Aichi’s side of the table, not only do you show NMM’s monsters getting successfully attacked when NMM has little damage to spare….you named the goddamn episode….’The Ninja Fighter Withdraws’ Oh, well, thanks, Vanguard. I literally have no reason to watch the next episode now. THANKS A BUNDLE.

Why do so many shows do this? Not just gaming anime, but just anime in general. I get that you want to show good stuff to get people to watch, but spoiling the whole episode just gives me little reason to watch. If his match with NMM doesn’t even take up the full episode, why not focus the title and preview on whatever is taking up the second half?

Come on, guys. I can’t do your jobs for you.

Rating: 7.5/10

Next episode—Errr….I guess I already told you……..Uhhhhhh……

smoke bomb archer

….Previous Episode