I'll get straight to the point, Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal II (subbed) is one of the best anime I have seen to date. With a top tier engaging story, detailed art that is stylistic yet still a homage to its predecessors former styles, and a truly lovable main cast that viewers will progressively get more attached towards, this second season reinforces the already good first season, and with it, genuinely breathes new life into this ever-changing franchise.
Story - 9
Revolving around the Barian's, Zexal II has arguably one of the eeriest and intriguing plots of the franchise to date. However, this does not come without flaws.
Most find issues in the pacing and execution of this story, and complaints about it can be heard throughout fans of anime and Yu-Gi-Oh! alike. As the story progresses and the plot unravels you realize the series is a lot less predictable than anticipated, and instead, is actually presented quite well.
To put it into laymen's terms for readers of this review, think of Zexal I as Clannad, and Zexal II as the after-story. Simply put, it is essentially the pay off to the big build up that is Zexal's first season, and what a pay off it is.
Art - 9
The art is indeed "candy for the eyes" and furthermore is quite a "treat" to look at. Everything from the "Shonen-esk" characters to the background are well detailed and it results in an incredibly visually appealing animation style. The openings and endings are gorgeously pieced together and executed in such a remarkable fashion that they still remain some of my favorites. As mentioned before, the stylized dramatization, which is readily apparent to returning fans of the franchise, can seem off-putting at first, but rest assured as it serves to intensify suspenseful moments, create remember-able duels, and evidently be a stylistic take that is for the better.
Sound - 10
Zexal II added a completely new soundtrack that widens the large range they had originally, to an unfathomable degree. This, coupled with the appropriate use of Zexal I's OST, effectively puts a perspective on the growth of individual characters and to a larger degree, the change of Zexal II's overall tone. The soundtrack completely compliments every spectrum of mood in the series and is one of, if not the best, in the franchise to date.
Character - 10
This show is packed full of them. From the cameo occurrences of certain disliked characters, to disliked reoccurring ones, it's odd to see so much hate geared towards main and side characters alike. Here's why I think the characters are not just good, but great:
The show relies on a typical trope for Shōnen in that the protagonist starts off as a beginner and slowly but surely get's stronger. No problems there, it only adds to the experience as one notices Yuma not only developing as a character, but also getting better at playing the game. Additionally, they wrote in some of the greatest antagonists ever, which is more than enough reason to deal with certain characters that you inevitably detest, like the ever loved Tokunosuke. Jokes aside, this is no understatement, the characters are all well developed throughout the 73 episode, this makes even Tokunosuke tolerable to a certain degree.
Enjoyment - 10, Overall - 10
Admittedly, the first couple of episodes are quite formulaic and tedious, but as the show passes through its exposition, I began to find myself eagerly waiting on a weekly basis for the next episode as it was that enveloping as a show. If you're a fan of the franchise, I suggest you give it a hearty try, even If you dropped it before. If you're not a fan, I still suggest you give Zexal II a chance as its story is fantastic.
(I'm going to talk about the episodes as starting from 74 [as Zexal has 73] to 113 [episode 40 of Zexal II], the last one that came out now) because that's how I'm used to them, okay?)
Please, watch Zexal before Zexal II. If you haven't watched Zexal yet and you're trying to find out if you need to watch it to understand Zexal II: Yes, you do.
Okay, now for Zexal II:
Zexal II may seem disappointing on the first few episodes, but starting episode 85, it gets to the most interesting part. Once you get there, you start to understand that Zexal II has a
deeper, darker plot than the one it seems to have at first. Of course that, when I say episode 85, I'm talking about four episodes in a row (from 85 to 89) that are amazing and important for the plot. Still, not the episodes before 85 can be considered fillers though. As they are important to know the new characters, mainly Rio (Shark's sister), Rei (the new student on Yuma's class), Gilag, Alit and Misael (3 of the villains). After this, there are filler episodes again and then comes the most overwhelming part that nobody should ever miss (you'll understand what I mean once you see it), which are from episodes 94 to 98. And on episode 94 we find a connection between Zexal and Zexal II, because oops, not everything was told about Zexal yet.
The arc 2 starts on episode 99 and it is the currently airing arc, it starts by the background of each Barian Emperor known until then:
- Durbe (episodes 99 and 100);
- Vector (episodes 101 and 102);
- Alit (episodes 103 and 104);
- Misael (episodes 105 and 106);
- Gilag (episode 107);
- Nasch and Merag (episodes 108 and 109).
After the background story part, comes the Barian World vs. Astral World fight and Yuma and his friends are caught in between it, now what happens there... Well, you'll know once you watch it.
All I can say is: it really is worth it.
In my personal opinion, it is a series you should give a chance to. Even because all the mysteries left unviled aren't solved yet.
So now you're lean, what's next? You need to make sure you're refueling your muscles and supporting your body by consuming carbs and protean. You start the feel the bulk, those rock solid abs and delicious muscles. Guys and gals both look good with muscles, except when they start to look like they're Graveler, then it's just disgusting. But the good muscle look is what we're going after here, the wonder of Zexal 2. I can't stress enough how good this is, as it's easily one of the best parts of Yugioh. We shall begin the road of the opposite of Zexal 1, the cesspool
Even though the story's objective is still the same, the presentation is significantly better. We get to see the objective and troubles of both the Astral world and the Barian world. While both worlds want to kill the other one, it becomes surprisingly complex with different groups with different affinities have their own objectives and methods. There are a few plot twists, but they honestly make sense. The events that conspire throughout the characters' journey only makes the emotional attachment to them that much stronger. The one issue I have is the numeron code and its existence. To continue any more would spoil some key moments.
The art and sound are pretty much the same as Zexal 1. A new thing though is the design of the Astral and Barian worlds as well as their denizens, and I must say, they did a fine job in their designs.
The characters are significantly better in Zexal 2. Out of Yuma's crew Yuma, Astral, and Shark all get a lot better with Shark being the biggest improvement. Shark's sister Rio also becomes part of the group and is more fleshed out than the other girls in the group. The Barians are all unique and great characters, and in all honesty are the best characters in Zexal 2. Unfortunately they are all surrounded in spoilers, but just trust my word. Kaito is still a great character while Haruto becomes more open and Orbital 7 remains just as witty as ever. To really know how these characters are, watch it. There's only so much one man can say before spoiling everything.
Zexal 2 was a much more enjoyable experience than Zexal 1 due to its improved plot handling and characters. Zexal 2 is one of the most memorable parts of Yugioh that will leave you at your seat getting exciting, feeling the character's emotions, and wanting more. At the end of the journey through a disgusting swamp is a hidden village of wonder and excitement known as Zexal 2, so what are you waiting for?
Some people say Zexal was the worst of the Yugioh series. They were right.
Way too kid-friendly, way too stereotyped, way too badly written characters, unbelievably stupid character design. None of the above are present in the final 20-25 episodes, but having to endure them for around 130 episodes was truly painful. Noone ever died, every villain repented in the end, Yuma, the retarded protagonist and his gay (for lack of a better word) friend astral went super Sayan and saved everyone with the power of Kattobingu (don't ask, noone ever understood) and everyone always lived happily ever after (again: in the final arc forget all
about that). The character designs were completely lame for the most part (especially Yuma's), with the exception of Astral, the protagonist's friend-spirit, in which case it was more "gay" than "lame" (again, for lack of a better way to describe it).
The anime also tended to have way-too-forced morals, character traits etc. For example Nna... Shark and Kaito always miraculously knew when Yuma was being tricked by his opponents through highly impropable and undetectable means, so they could appear as the "serious" characters. The cat girl never had a serious moment to show her... Goofiness (it didn't work out...). In fact all of Yuma's cheer squad soon makes you want to choke them, with the exception of Kotori, who is bearable (but no more than that). Yuma himself, worse than everyone else, is constantly clueless, confused by everything and constantly overreacts to everything. As a result, even the most retarded of villain schemes are effective.
For the good parts Zexal truly writes the book on what villains should be like. First off, to make up for the retarded good-guys crew, there are always 2-3 different villain factions going around hellbent on killing each other as well as the good guys. This especially shines in the last arc, where almost every battle is literally evil vs evil (after most of the good guys have been wiped out). In fact from the original 50+ cast of Zexal, in the final arc less than 5 remain alive, and that's including Astral seperately from Yuma. For that we have none other to thank that the master of all evil, Hiraga Saito!... I mean Vector. The guy is the absolute definition of psychotic, sadistic, and most of all, evil for the yolo. He is a master of taunting and emotionally torturing his opponents, has no moral qualms whatsoever and up until the very end remains treacherous and completely insane. He loves what he's doing and you will love him for it. (seriously , that guy alone is the reason I gave the show 9 in enjoyment instead of 4, he is THAT evil).
Talking about Vector let me remind the readers again that every complaint I had about Zexal is NOT present in the final arc. The retards you wanted to see dead actually do die, Yuma cries in rage so much that it actually brings a smile to your face, Vector is being himself (aka the most badass twisted scum to ever appear in Yugioh) and the character design of the villains is actually pretty epic. And again, if there is one thing that Zexal did right and can make up for all the horrible lameness at the start of the series, it's that every bad guy has his own agenda that rarely goes along with everyone else's.
I suggest watching Zexal second only, since watching the first season on its own (aka without the motherf$%king Vector) can be considered mental torture.
Oh boy, Zexal, if there is one series in the Yu-gi-oh franchise that nearly everyone love to rip on or mock it is Zexal. And after completing it and looking back, it was highly understandable.
I think the best phrase to describe Zexal was, it was a average kid show (better budgeted than most), but sadly in the entirety of the Yu-gi-oh franchise that just isn't good enough.
Story - 5
Many say that Astral and Yuma are a rehash of Atem and Yugi (the pro and the noob), and that is completely true, with the magic trinket, the final duel and the
spiritual advisor who make the MC grow. All of this is pretty much a carbon copy of Atem and Yugi. Now that isn't necessarily bad (even though it does cause diminishing return), since if done well all this can be forgiven. But it isn't handled that well which is where the problem come from. Yuma's Kattobingu isn't that good of a moral (ridiculous stubborn as some would say), but the story have everyone following it like it can't be wrong. The show is spelling out its Aesop too easily for kids and it ended up making Yuma's development barely noticeable. Let's be serious is there that big of a difference between Yuma of the first episode and the last? Probably not, Kattobingu back then Kattobingu at now (with more friends).
But once again, that is not the most major problem, Yusei suffered the same stagnation of character but 5Ds is still better in the development of the story department.
That brings us to the real problem, the plot. Anyone would tell you that Zexal season 1 was terrible, cause it is, the beginning few episode was pokemon with cards, highly boring and kiddy. But later on when Tron, Faker and Kaito came in did it get that much better? Yes and No, the introduction of more continuity did improve the show, but it is still not good enough. First of all the forced bad guy turn good routine is pretty terrible, when IV and Faker were introduced they seem so evil, but all of a sudden they get an excuse and turn good. And when I say sudden I mean sudden, like within 2 episodes (a ridiculous short amount of time for a yu-gi-oh show). To make an example, in 5Ds to make Aporia sympathetic, they had him beaten twice, showed a shit ton of background, had reasonable build up and finally had him killed. Faker and Tron gets a flashback and poof they are now good guys (IV didn't even get much of a flashback). So weak villains combined with pretty generic beat the bad guy plot with barely any mystery, makes season 1 very dry.
Season 2 is where the opinions are really split, some call it good, other say it is overrated. Season 2 brings back the save the world using card game element that is in all Yu-gi-oh series, and go more into the conflict of the Barian and Astral world. Personally I would say that this season was average just like the first season, the Barians are pretty bad villains as well, 2 are flat out jokes, 1 is obsessed with dragons (average villain, OTK'd himself in front of the big bad), Durbe and Merag was pretty useless, so all that is left is Shark and Vector. The final boss Don Thousand is even more anti-climatic, just a generic evil overlord (who doesn't even seem that active or do much or give you a feeling of intimidation), after Z-One this is clearly a downgrade. Hell he doesn't even look as cool as Zorc or Darkness even though those two are just as flat.
Some claim that Shark and his sister being Barian and Vector betrayal was good, that I agree, but a few good point isn't enough to save an entire season. For example the Zexal asspull/super-saiyan thing got worse this season and end up making Yuma look even more ridiculous. The only people that mattered were Shark/Kaito/Yuma (which 5Ds, GX also suffers). Most of all, the ending basically meant everything is back to the status quo, nothing changed and no one died (except don thousand), that is ridiculously cheap (DM had Atem die, 5Ds had the future group die). Vectors turning good, which removes the best part of the character and makes Yuma seem like a Gary-stu in terms of moral.
I can find a lot more problems here and there for both season 1 and 2, these scratches pile up and since the plot of the two seasons are average, it is death by a thousand cut for Zexal. I guess the reason for it all is Zexal is aimed at a younger audience, therefore they hoped that kids wouldn't mind and just be distracted by the pretty colors.
character - 3
Yuma is a hilarious joke through and through, the preacher of the Kattobingu religion that never failed once. People complain about Yusei being card game Jesus, but between card game Jesus and moral Jesus, I think I choose the card game Jesus. Yuma never doubts, never go down the wrong path, and for all the lose fun in card game thing, that is bullshit, cause unlike Judai, Yuma barely showed it. His highly energetic actions also makes him annoying, and despite mellowing out a bit later, he is still pretty much the same. The problem with Yuma is he hits so many annoying traits (that appeals to kids), yet he never fully grow out of it.
Astral's development is a "become a real boy" plot-line, straight and simple, a smart person who gradually become kind and believing Kattobingu. The thing with Astral is that, this is Yuma's story, so while his development is kind of interesting, it just doesn't carry the entire weight of the show. He became kinder and now believes in Kattobingu, that is all I can say for his development.
Kaito, the rival, not much to say, a nicer kaiba clone.
Shark, the other rival, not much to say either, a meaner Jounochi clone. His "development" is pretty much the same as Kaito with a reset. Basically get nicer, become the bad guy, get nice again.
Kotori, useless load.
Vector, the character many love, which is easy to understand. He is hammy, he is comically evil, he makes faces so ridiculous and kick the dog so ridiculously hard that it is hilarious to watch. The main thing is Vector is a over the top villain with some pretty good background, so the seeing contrasting him with all the other characters make him feel stand out. He is actually a pretty good character, besides the fact he gets redeemed by Yuma so easily.
Colorful and kiddish
Zexal had some very good track
Enjoyment - 5
Zexal was made for young kids, the magic revival, super saiyan power up, moral Jesus all points to this fact. It's not as bad as most say, cause if you turn off your brain and skip to episode 80 or something, you can still watch it through no problem and probably enjoy it. But that is the problem with it, there are so many filler episodes, episodes that are pointless and generally useless plotlines. It just doesn't measure up to the others in the franchise and that is a damn shame.
P.S. Hope is a terrible archetype, Yuma's duel is so bad.
I’m just going to go straight in and say that I wasn’t a big fan of this anime, and though there are some positives mentioned below, it is mainly negative. If it wasn’t for the fact that there are a few good characters on here, I’d honestly label Zexal as one of the worst anime I’ve ever seen. With that I’m gonna get straight into the negative since I have much more to say on it.
If you’re looking at this on my theme its anything in blue.
It was pretty predictable in almost every aspect. That or I’m just really good
at figuring stuff out. One or the other.
Yuma’s contradictory character
I have menny way to describe Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal and how this abomination literally killed off menny good players,fans and etc.
I've seen people talk way too much about and i wanna do a review on it.
So, this is a bit of a first - namely, it’s the first time I’ve ever reviewed something related to the 2 generation of Yu-Gi-Oh after 5d's series. 4 years ago, the Yugioh franchise was at its low point for me with Zexal, which was the first installment that I found myself unable to finish. I never thought of my self to finish this mess till late 2016 and so I did.Menny fans have this show and how poorly writen and sorta stupid it looks. Not to mention more it will come below.
Before I start my review here is a small take on Yoshida and his writin with some minor salt - ignore the cursing.
But as a whole I’ll say it, z-xal fans look away because as this is my pure opinions as a Z-xal hater. My opinions could be wrong and they can annoy you but remember this is my opinion and just as you have a right to be annoyed, I have a right to my opinion. Don’t whine if you find something you don’t like on a Z-xal hate piece.
The show is textbook at best and at worse just annoying with some horrible lessons. When the it first aired, I was willing to give it a try despite initially being put off by the character designs, if not just because I thought the fandom was being annoying. I got up to the cat girl episode till I just felt it was boring as all get out and stopped watching. It wasn’t a conspicuous decision either, I just didn’t feel like watching the next episode and I honestly forgot the show existed till Zexal 2 started and well by that point I didn’t give a damn. But I started to hear things about the show and well I honestly found it annoying and I watched it and I was right. Yoshida doesn’t seem skilled at creating characters, world building or even plotting.
Plot wise, a lot of the logic is ignored for trauma and angst. And I know that in Yu-Gi-Oh!, logic isn’t exactly common anyway but you still need some logic in people’s actions or there really isn’t any point in watching a show. If you watch the Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged series, LittleKuriboh is doing a good job of pointing out the flaws of the Orichalcos season written by Yoshida. Like Atem’s duel against Rafael was started by Atem deciding to answer his challenge for rescue Professor Arthur … who was released for no reason before Atem even dueled Rafael and for no real reason either. Zexal is the same, a lot of episodes don’t do anything to advance the story, characters or even the world. It’s just duel of the week episodes which rarely have any effect on the world at all. Zexal’s story is generally duels of the week, some plot, more duels of the week and then final battle. There isn’t any rising action, it’s just exposition and then overdrawn climax. His attempts at “foreshadowing” are laughable. They don’t hint, they spell it out to the point we know what’s going to happen 99% percent of the the time. And lets face it, people like to watch shows that have some surprise as otherwise the show becomes a checklist and that was what Zexal felt like at times. It was less of a show and more of Yoshida’s checklist of the tropes that Yu-Gi-Oh! has done. A major plothole I found in the Barian onslaught was Shark’s attitude throughout the arc. Why did he go straight into war mode if he “knew Yuma’s feelings”. Yuma who spent the arc freaking out at the death and war that was going on, if Shark actually knew Yuma, he should know that a war is the last thing Yuma would ever want. But he spends the arc angsts over how he has to betray his friends. Why couldn’t he TALK to Yuma, while Astral is iffy, he should know how much of an influence that Yuma has on the alien and thus maybe a deal can be made. And if it couldn’t be, he could have at least tried before he lead a war that lead to his “friends” dying like a REAL ruler.
World building, ha. He doesn’t build worlds, he builds a blank slate that the characters “live” at. Heartland has no personality at all, despite being the city of the future there was nothing unique about it. Astral world and Barian worlds are just factions at war with that represent the concepts of order and chaos and that’s from the show TELLING US. We only see the Astral world dying and nothing about it’s people, the Barian world is just not shown at all except for some red rocks. If I had to compared Astral world and Barian world to say Arc-V’s worlds, it’s depressing. Arc-V has a bit of Chaos vs Order in the form of Academia and the Resistance and the difference in writing quality is depressing. Academia would is order and we get a taste of how messed up their ideological is from Sora, Serena and Edo. We see how the public openly supports their ideas, the children believe the lies that they’re making a better war and when they’re in danger they freak out as they thought of it as a game. Hell we see how they take their ideology to the extreme in the BB arc when Sanders and the students beg for Sanders to be carded as it follows their ideals. The resistance is chaos, as Shun states they had trouble creating a defense in time and it shows. The flashbacks show duelists not in any uniform, just attacking without any formation or plan, their bases are just tents huddled together and the Resistance didn’t even have a main base, it was different branches and by the time we see it, it’s all but dead. Maiami is defined by how free the setting is, there are a LARGE variety of dueling schools from You Show, Gongenzaka Dojo, LDS, the many different schools Yuya saw and Ryozanpaku. Each having a variety of philosophies and how the public acted show they had a healthy mix of positive, loving Entertainment duels, and negative traits, their bullying of Yuya in the past.
His characters are the worst, they aren’t really characters, just personality traits put together in the hopes of being a working personality. Most of the time, they’re just 2D cutouts. Don Thousand is a perfect example. In a story, the most important characters are the protagonist and the main enemy of the series as they shape what the show is. The worst thing you can do when making a main villain is making them easily replaceable. In the manga for Z-xal which was pretty similar to the anime Don was replaced while the story was going on because the artist didn’t like him and Yoshida EASILY replaced Don Thousand. That just proves that Don Thousand didn’t have a personality if he could be replaced by another villain so easily. In comparison, you can’t replace Zarc or Leo, they have shaped Arc-V plot and setting that if you take them out, the plot will change. He generally makes his protagonists overally perfect like what he did to Yusei in season 2 of 5D’s. Yuma is a horrible attempt to fix this, he had flaws for sure, but instead of Yuma growing, Yoshida made the show bend over backwards to make a flaw a virtue instead. The infuriating part is the show actually did a good job of showing his flaw but then everyone even the people that called out him earlier are telling to not change. You don’t make good characters that way, you destroy your show. Yoshida doesn’t do enough to build up the relationships that are supposed to form the backbone of the show and it feels hollow. A direct example is Yuya and Yuzu relationship vs Yuma and Kotori’s relationship. The couples are both childhood friends but the difference between their bonds is clear as day. Kotori is a side thought to Yuma at best and we never get an explanation of why Kotori and supposedly Yuma like each other. Their relationship development is Kotori screaming for Yuma and her getting jealous over him. Yuya and Yuzu? The first few episodes show how they understand each other the most and when something is up with one of them, they’re the first to realize it. Despite being separated for most of the show, Yuya and Yuzu continuously show support and love for each other while Yuma and Kotori barely interact despite being next to each other for the majority of the show. Arc-V shows plenty of times when Yuya puts her safety above everything and that includes his own ideals. Yuzu also puts Yuya’s safety over her own and her speeches are the only thing to reach him as the Zarc vs Ray/Reira duel showed. Fan reaction proves this, Yuya and Yuzu is one of the most popular ships in their fandom while Yuma and Kotori is hardly liked at all. And how he writes girls … Look Yu-Gi-Oh! isn’t going to win awards on how to write women unless you include Season 1 of Arc-V. But Yoshida is the worst at them, nearly every women he writes is obsessed over romance and plays little to no part in the story. Rio appeared as an independent girl that didn’t want to seen as part of Shark. And she became just that, she never made her own decisions ever and everything that came out of her mouth was about Shark and that’s it. She became his angst magnet. And based on how Aoi was written, I doubt he’s changed in Vr–ns.
Next I don’t think Yoshida understands the idea of a card game show. While card game shows are generally shonen series, they don’t have the same rules as a general shonen series. An enemy having a broken power in a regular shonen is accepted because the point of shonen is to make things unfair for the protagonist so the audience can feel something when they overcome it. That doesn’t work with card games, there has to be a SENSE of balance as card games are meant to be a game first and foremost. Otherwise the enemy comes across as overpowered to the point of ridiculousness. Don Thousand was overpowered to the point I was rolling my eye when he was literally breaking the rules of the game. From easily causing 50,000 points of damage, to summoning monsters with 10,000 and later 100,000 attack points. Don didn’t feel powerful, he felt like the writers were trying too hard to make him dangerous and instead came off as annoying.
But the worst part of this is how Yoshida never changes. Everything that he works on has a basic plot and character types and he never varies. His writing has the same ideas in the seasons he writes. And I’ve seen how some people defend him on this because of his writing style. I strongly disagree, authors can have similar themes and ideas but they should never make a series the exact same. Kasumi Ono was the director for 5d’s and Arc-V while there are similarities in themes and character points, it’s impossible to say they’re alike at all. Or the writer for Type-Moon, compared Fate/Stay Night and Fate/Extra. They take the same concept and play with it so the story is different. Authors don’t have to make everything original but the problem is Yoshida rarely changes the details at all.
Yoshida’s writing is so straightforward it’s almost insulting, especially if he thinks his “foreshadowing” is actually foreshadowing. it’s probably the worst thing about his writing, tbh. Yoshida is more lazy than anything else, but that’s still pretty bad, especially when it’s the same problems over and over again. And he really hasn’t improved either. Everything from the world building, characterization, duels and possibly the foreshadowing complaints here could easily apply to Vr//ains.
*takes a deep breath*
He’s a terrible writer-director / series composer who’s mediocre and forgettable at best, and has absolutely tasteless ideas at worst. Whenever it seems like he might have something worthwhile or interesting going on, he completely ruins it with his lackluster execution and/or terrible pacing. He doesn’t know how to build tension to anything so his “wham moments” fall incredibly flat on me and I’m never Not Impressed™. He has this incredible talent of disregarding all common sense and logic so I guess I will admit that he does leave me stupefied some times because I just cannot follow whatever sense he’s trying to make of things.
And of course due to this, his characters suffer from 1) going through with actions that have no logical basis in the first place, 2) not going through with actions that do have some logical basis in them, 3) not actually self-analyzing themselves and rarely (if ever) display any signs of an internal struggle, which in itself leads to flat, 2-dimensional, trope over-manifestations of characters. What I mean by this is that his “characters” are just an amalgamation of superficial traits found in common character archetypes attached to a few lines of backstory so that they can be a bit more distinguishable from each other, but overall they don’t feel like actual people because they’re so straightforward and predictable and just stereotypical Hero / Villain / Sidekick / etc.
His unnecessary over-dramatization of characters through these poor writing conventions makes the “character arcs” (if you can even call them “character arcs”) that his characters go through feel like weak teen angst. Honestly though, I never feel like his characters actually change, which is why I hesitated to use that term…
His plots are always one-track-mind-like; he focuses the worlds he builds solely around his main character and disregards the fact that he has dozens of other characters he can use to help not only their stories interconnect, but just to establish a relatable world that we can sympathize with. As a result, a lot of the characters that he introduces end up coming short in the overall plot, aka they don’t actually end up contributing at all, are replaceable, or never truly had any significance.
Lastly, his aesthetic never fails to leave me disinterested in whatever story he’s trying to tell. The only exceptions have been projects in which he was not in charge of at first, aka Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds and the Arc-V Manga. With his work on 5Ds, well… I personally hate the WRGP arc… It’s been literal years since I began my rewatch of 5Ds and I just cannot seem to get thru this arc because it’s so damn boring and, quite frankly, full of absolute bullshit writing. As much as I LOVE the 5Ds cast, it’s just such a damn DRAG to get through. And the Arc-V manga… *sighs* see, this is what I meant where he seems to sometimes have good ideas but then completely ruins them with his terrible pacing, predictable writing, and over-reliance of tropes and non-logic. He has absolutely no grasp of what made the Arc V anime so interesting and wonderful and thus pretty much every one of the characters that were sadly transplanted into the manga from the anime not only don’t even resemble their anime selves, they’re straight up bastardizations of them (perhaps with the exception of Shingo, maybe).
Oh right and before I forget, his treatment of female characters is absolutely horrid. He treats them like dolls to be toyed with and has no actual respect for any of their significance. And do not try to argue this with me please because there’s so much evidence. Ex: Aki was a plot important character in 5Ds but as soon as Yoshida got his hands on 5Ds, her screen time and character development came to a cringe-worthy halt. It’s not a coincidence. It never was.
as a “writer” and I use the term loosely, he has no desire to actually tell a story or even making a complex character, he just wants views. Thus he fills any show he has with tropes to attract any fandom which explains the homosexual subtext which is usually just a tease, the incest subtext and HUGE amounts of fanservice for males. He has a tendency to make harems in his show(Jack’s in season 2 and Yuma)
Some of them are hypocrites saying Yoshida is the perfect director for VRains due to the usually dark tone of the previous shows he did
Now some are saying he's the worst for it
I'm like, "choose a damn side" for Zarc's sake xD
As much as 5d's had it's change of direction, I'd still say it was better than Zexal 1 and 2 combine.
Let's be real here, Zexal 1 was pretty much 90% filler and Zexal 2 was okay. I don't care how Niconico ratted this show really hight cuz rattings are just a cheap gimmmick to buy toys,cards,robots. Just take Super Sentai and Kamen Rider. Or, Pokemon and probably Beyblade. Zexal had really stupid pan shots,cringe moments, horrible writing, blalant scrip imo.
I find the message in Zexal to be pretty weak. The show's motiv was about forgiveness and making freinds with your foe.
Whenever people talk about Zexal and how it teaches about forgiveness and I just…I just…
Those villains did nothing to deserve their redemption
Tron’s the only one who suffered any consequences, Faker literally got everything he wanted despite attempting mass genocide and FUCK the whole “he was trying to save Haruto” that was some bullllllllllshit
And Vector…oh lord, Vector. He had no redeemable qualities, no desire to change, no reason to change. Why does Yuuma need to be the one who had to learn a lesson and “forgive” him like
Yes kids, constantly forgive the people who actively want to hurt you, eventually your compassion will change them
Because that’s a good lesson for children to learn
like... it's a pretty bad message lol
My memories of season 1-3 are a bit hazy so I’m not gonna go into Faker
But Vector didn’t really get a redemption arc or anything, and Yuma didn’t have to learn a lesson to forgive him either, its just in Yuma’s character not to hate people
The Barians are a sad bunch, if anything I’d think we’re supposed to pity Vector specifically, to feel bad about what he could’ve been if Don Thousand hadn’t come along and ruined everything. Though its implied that in the end Yuma’s compassion struck a chord with him, even if just a little bit.
I’d say Zexal’s less about forgiveness and more about understanding? People coming to understand each other, stuff like that.
Arc V's message is more realistic and deeper...it's just that too many people look at it superficially
Yuya's tenacity and willingness to maintain his ideals despite the nature reality and war slapping and denying his words over and over....and the fact he does at one point start to heavily doubt himself (as we all do at some point in our lives), and that's when the devil of destruction awakened inside of him, changing him into a different animal willing to hurt others out of insanity and lust for violence and judgment upon humanity
Fanbase: Brain-died Otaku's, hardly anything good in it then the word ''phrase zexal, shit on series ''x'' wow. Never have i see such a stupid fanbase in my whole life before. Also, minus the fanart. Zexal's fanbase tends to be really super triggered around anything hatefull towards the show,yuma,the girls or how poorly it's english dub is. You know it's funny how the show's messeage is about hope but left the fanbase in despair. They aways bikker with Arc-V's and 5D's and say Yoshida made Zexal look amazing. More like utter bullcrap if ya ask me? Only Zexal 2 was far,far better in terms of plot and animation.
Zexal best ygo series? You know, for some reason it sounds kinda messed up, and stupid. Only morrons are gonna say Zexal is the best and brag about it over on Twitter,Youtube, etc.
I can’t even begin to describe how tedious the filler was in this anime. So much unnecessary dueling. Too much dueling altogether! Don’t give me crap about it being a show about dueling. At least a show about fighting isn’t constant fighting. At least a show about romance isn’t constant romance. The difference between this anime and the original is that when there was filler, it was interesting, different, and it did things this anime didn’t. In the Noah Arc, female characters who didn’t normally duel actually won their duels, and it gave backstory to a male character whose backstory wasn’t focused on very much. Even if it wasn’t exactly true to canon, it was entertainment. Zexal just threw in a lot of pointless un-entertaining repetitive and predictable filler duels.
Shark’s confusing storyline
I honestly think Shark’s story was sloppily written which wasn’t surprising. I loved the concept. I love how he was the leader of the emperors, but I found myself constantly questioning him. For example, when he finally found out he was a Barian and got back his Barian form and called upon the six other emperors including Vector, why did neither him nor Rio kick him out? Shark knew his past involved Vector being the cause of pretty much every bad thing that happened to him yet he said nothing? He then went back to earth to confront Yuma and expose himself as a Barian with the other emperors including Vector, who was grinning from ear to ear. So Shark came to face off against Yuma and Astral, his FRIENDS, when Vector was right next to him, the guy that caused his and Rio’s first death (and second, but he didn’t know that at this point).
How it was shocking to both Shark and Rio that he killed them TWICE is beyond me.
Shark betraying Yuma didn’t sit well with me either. One of the best parts of series one was their friendship and how you actually see it happen in front of your eyes, how you actually watch them grow and come closer together (something this show didn’t know how to do with romance). Shark’s protection over Yuma was one of my favourite things. Series two, half way through? He throws that away because his Barian friends mean more to him, apparently. These Barians we never see him properly interact with. We’re supposed to buy into it and believe he has a close connection to them. A connection closer than the one we viewed between him and Yuma all throughout series one and half way through series two. I felt confused and I almost felt like I was betrayed myself when Shark betrayed Yuma for the Barians. Their friendship was fixed by a few words at the end of the series but it still left a bad taste in my mouth. Shark seemed so trustworthy and he ruined it.
The plot: Pretty original having numbers being the main focus. However, felt like cathing those numbers are just what I'd say Pokemon gag and lackluster. It's DM 2.0 with only salt mines to rant on it.
But it's time for the negative on our cast of characters!
Characters: 1 dimensional and really unlikeable all the way you see or hear them. It was suppose to be a Duel Monster rip-off version and hardly anything good came from the characters espissily the main,supporting,minor.
Yuma: Horrible child MC character ever writin. He is not only annoying, but soo stupid and that's why he is vain in the blood.he does lose duels..when nothing major is on the line. Basically, if there was a Number on the line, he was pretty much guaranteed to win - there's only ONE exception I can think of (his first duel with Kaito)...but he ended up being TOO lucky when Kaito's brother had a breakdown.who's seen Dragon Ball GT will tell you; and the fact that the plot felt like a rehash of the original and Yuma never loses; plus him being a small fragment of Astral was total bs. Not only did Zexal got worse, only made people even mad. He is a cringe kattobungu cancer child and never shuts up.Character development when? He actually a marty stue type of character and never lears to be less annoying, him being a kid doesn't change anything about it. Reletable? Fuck.No. He doesn't even come close to my Yuya or Yusei. Yuma and Judai/Jaden are probably my least favorite characters in the francise in terms of thier tenacity and sheer focus on having fun.Yuma's immaturity in Zexal and why so much hate, mainly due to the fact he originally aimed at Younger people. Ummmmm. What is this bullshit you talkin' bout'?!?
He is nothing more than a water-down version of Yugi Muto and nothing else and nothing more. It is true, Zexal definitely was catering to young people, even with the dark stuff
However, the dark stuff is fantasy-based and thus isn’t as disturbing considering the fantasy shonen appeal is more than enough for young kids...even the Barian backstories don’t feel really that dark compared to Yusaku’s disturbing backstory...why? Because of the fantasy elements in Zexal, it would be kinda expected like any other fantasy, supernatural shonen, or similar series.
Arc V, on the other hand...while it also caters to a young audience, its display of dark elements are a bit disturbing....I mean, cmon, Leo practically committed terrorism and genocide on the dimension-sealed city of Heartland
Vrains is kinda disturbing, too, in its own right
What makes Arc V and VRains unique are that the two series, unlike the previous four, don’t really involve a whole lot of supernatural settings, but more of sci-fi settings, which is completely different
The only truly supernatural stuff really there in Arc V is the nature of Zarc and Ray’s existence and influence causing the splitting of the Ygo universe
For VRains, not really much supernatural stuff at all....in fáct, its setup is somewhat more akin to that of Sword Art Online, Accel World, Log Horizon, and Overlord. I wasn't the biggest fan of ZeXal, but it wasn't the worst anime I've ever seen. Yuma freakin sucked. Yuma sucked. Yuma sucked.
He leaves such a boring impact cuz everything about him is forgiving the foe, and without Yuma he has no personality. Hell,he wanted to forgive Vector after what his done to them, all in all. that just makes everything about him to really less good.
His role is meant to be the main 13th year old and to have emotional feeling but sadly the only role the writing allowed him to fulfill is “stupidity” which sadly… is basically what his character is. There to be waking annoying maru sue and nothing else. How can he be mature when Astral basically does that… he has no personality and leaves no mature bs to make me change my mind - he doesn’t even work as a plot device cuz most of the fans tend to get mad and rant at how he was writen poorly with the dub being that badly writen.
Like, yea - it sucks that people don’t like him cuz he doesn’t age in voice but let’s be real. Just because he doesn’t age, doesn’t mean he should be void of a personality. His writing is blantaly sexist and we shouldn’t try to excuse that by listing out what he did to try and say how “forgiveness” he is when all the show ever did was make you concentrate on him eating duel fuel crap and how many “harem scenes with Kotori” tropes he can fit. He’s not a mature person, you right. That would make him memorable. Someone would have to CARE about him in order to go and told him to shut the fuck up and no one really does tbh
Yuma and his kattobingu bs one is so fucking forced down your throat you can’t buy it. He’s… he’s not well. His writing isn’t well - Yoshida made him a maru sue with little to know.
However, the dark stuff is fantasy-based and thus isn’t as disturbing considering the fantasy shonen appeal is more than enough for young kids...even the Barian backstories don’t feel really that dark compared to Yusaku’s disturbing backstory...why? Because of the fantasy elements in Zexal, it would be kinda expected like any other fantasy, supernatural shonen, or similar series. What I am saying is that. Zexal aint real and it'story felt kinda more heart warming towards those zealwinners wanted this show since it fits thier mod correct.
Hell, Arc-V intimidated me with the plot more times than this show and Vrains is kinda dark, if ya ask me.
I’m telling people of the Zexal fanbase “you think Yuya is annoying with egao, have you forgotten the son of a bitch saying kattobingu like at least 1-2 times per episode?”
Their “explanations” for that turn out unfulfilling and rather as an excuse
Now while I still did like Zexal, I knew it had so many glaring flaws.
Same situation with Arc V, except I like it a lot more because 1) while the main heroines still took a backseat near the end, they weren’t exactly cucked that hard overall compared to the Zexal heroines...2) Yuya, despite his natural naviety (he’s 14 years old like Yuma), is not a complete idiot and had some internal conflict which made his character more interesting than that of Yuma’s
3) some people say Yuya turning out as main villain is cliche and not well thought out...but I personally find the Don Thousand concept very disappointing (the Zexal manga was a whole lot better with its own story)...like cmon, a 10k monster and yet I’m not even one bit intimidated (Armityle from GX series scared me more, honestly)....even Zone’s Ultimate Time God Sephylon was more frightening....to Supreme King Odd Eyes hybrids and the Dragon Zarc itself was definitely something that gave me nightmares....going back to my point, they tried too hard to make Don Thousand the villain visibly overpowered to the point where he’s like “I can take on Numeron Dragon as well, y’all can’t touch me”, and the Numeron Network thing was even dumber by trying to make him a cheat god
4) the only character development relevant here was Yuma, ironically, but not enough to a point where he actually becomes likable by most of us
Some people argue that Yuya got no character development, either...but I think it’s more of him learning to accept things like knowing not everyone is gonna smile from his Duels, knowing he was a half incarnate of a devil that completely opposes his beliefs, and knowing that he shouldn’t hesitate and be too doubtful and scared to take or make the next step/move
To sum it off, Zexal was an okay series, Arc V was a pretty decent series, as long as you’re a real ygo fan or an openminded anime fan...and they both have flaws, but Arc V actually turned out better overall. Yeah, Zexal has never been really praised for its main charcters. While Zexal ll widely praised, its storyline also has its fair share of problems. It’s the characters and their development that really get's the butching effect. That’s generally what people tend to get mad the most from this series. If the characters weren’t as mature and fleshed out as they turned out to be, Zexal would probably be a lot harder for most people to sit through.Alot of the hate comes from Season 1 and how most of it was Yuma trying to leard how to be a better duelist, yet at times he sucked that you wanted to just stop. He is a mary sue. He needs to leard to grow and yet still fans agree he sucked. The motiv was about forgiveness and i say that's bullshit. Yuma almost wrecked the series singlehandedly I don't see the reason to ''forgive you foe'' since Yuma was the one who wanted to make a tantrum on his foe in the first place. That just seems to me liek, Yuma is a hypocrite and really proves it.
>he wants to make people be friends while forgiving them.
>he makes a tantrum and shoves anger only to fall in the foe's trap
>he never stops and really listens to Astral during season 1
>he eats during a major boss fight making you put on your cringe face
Overall: He is a total weaking, not the best protag in years i've seen. Still, he is a Ygo protag for that i say he is good to go.
It's just really sad a show such as this get's alot love from people who never really understood how the show in outside the box,then the inside. The 3 year run just made it wasted it's potential and lots of characters are badly writen, so and, so. Sometime i even forgot why the show was a mess till rewatching and that's my point. It's pacing is a mess aswell. The ending was kinda forced and cliche shit made it only worse.
Even worse about him has to be the catchpharse ''kattobingu'' or ''I'm feeling the flow (in the dub). His voice is mega mess along with dubbed.
In the end! Yuma is a horrible MC in Zexal curse Konami to of ever made this series. Only Jp liket him and how much of a knuckle-headed character he was, western fans hated this kid alot.Yuma’s character is 50/50 with me because it kind of felt all over the place especially at the beginning/first half of series one. He was a very contradictory character. He gave off the vibe of a bad uncaring ONLY DUELING OBSESSED friend in the beginning. Seriously, the kid had no personality. All that was on his mind was dueling. Nothing else. How did he even have friends? Oh, hey! He's even more annoying than Max Taylor from Dinosaur King. Not to mention his dope Super Sayin hair and design.
Astral: Atem 2.0 and the only true protaginest of the show. Why hardly duel, he left a bigger impact than Yuma.
Kotori: The annoying girl and useless ygo main girl, imo. It's sad when Zexal fans try to defend Kotori. Sure, she's waifu material, but usefulness? Not really, cause she hasn't done much besides cheerleading (the one exception was being able to bring Yuma back his pendant so that he could communicate with Astral against some Barian-brainwashed dude)I love how Kotori fans think they’re defending HER, when really they’re just defending the writers sexism. He holed up her own skirt and called Yuma an 'idiot' even worse was that scene with the towel shower scene in 82 i kinda seemd gross-out imo.The unbelievably useless and boring main girl. Since she has some sort of defence squad that pretends she’s not useless, I’ll show some partial agreement. She’s not 100% useless. She’s 98% useless. So at least she had some mild relevance, right? Anyway, as a lover of women, as a girl who craves to end an anime series with a female as my favourite character, I tend to keep my eye on them the most, and defend them when they should be defended, but be critical of them when they need to be criticised, but otherwise, I lean more towards trying to favour the female characters. I could barely find anything good about this girl other than, “she’s sweet and caring and supports Yuma and that’s about it.” To JUST have them? Those are not the qualities of a strong character. As if nobody else was sweet and caring or anything. Emotional support? Some of it. But it was no different to all of his other best friends. This girl has done barely anything and it is just downright embarrassing as the main girl of a series which is full of extremely colourful and strong male characters. Male minor characters do more than she does AND they’re more interesting as well.
I thought one of her best traits in the beginning was that she remained rational when girls were crushing on Yuma but that didn’t last long. Eventually all the girls had jealous bitch fights over him at some point. Her rivalrly with Cathy was pathetic. She doesn’t draw in the audience, nor does she do anything even remotely memorable. Actually I remember a few good things, but that’s because I’ve repeated them over and over in my head as the series went on so that I could at least say SOME good things about her. Unfortunately its not even remotely enough to label her as anything even CLOSE to a strong character. Spamming Utopia with Double or Nothing is the only way for him to win duels and seemed way to predictable.
Kaito Tenjo: Worst ygo rival ever. He aintall that great, sure he is strong and visious as most people say he is. However, he aint a real rival, imo. I find Kaito to be really blant and his writing in both shows (ARC-V and Zexal) he leave a little remark and not much.His fans tend to be really annoying and some are aways calling him the best, yet that just seems like it's kinda fake since mostly fans have have thier opinion and etc. During the second half of Zexal, he was butchred poorly and his last duel was kinda bad since the fans never get to see more Photon support - I like how he had cool monsters, I find him overrated in Arc-V and don't get me started on why he is blant.
All of the hate for him comes from the people who his character to be really underatted towards new fans. He never duels much after Zexal 1. Meaning his role was compleate and why do people even think he is awesome.
He never looses to Yuma and he is pointless to the plot in Zexal 2 and only exists to fight Mizael. And he was just as pointless in Arc-V where he stole Shun a better character's screen time, and he is pretty much a paperweight of nothingness after his duel against the Moon guardian. He is a mary sue,imo.
What I'm saying is that! Kaito was put in Zexal 2 only for minimal supprot and much character development, imo. Even his cameo in Arc-V was total nothingness. Even though his deck is cool... I kinda wanna say this one word. Blant. It sucks cause his VA is a very well known guy and famous for a lot of character roles like in Charlotte, Infinite Stratos, and right now, in Ancient Magus Bride plus HunterxHunter and Beyblade: Shogun Steel.
Rio: Her brother was nothing more than motivation fuel after she got killed/sent to the hostipal or put in a coma. What's worst about her has to of bean how poorly writen came to her. True,even Rio, who was probably my favorite female character in the series, was really nothing more than motivation fuel for Shark. And that was disappointing when her debut episode presented her as a tough duelist, but they proceeded to not do much of anything with her. I would have loved it if they explored her reaction to her past life and finding out that she was a Barian like they did with Shark. Something like not wanting to abandon her life as Rio, but feeling obligated to do so because of her brother could have been interesting. I don't like at all and she not really all that great. Rio gettin sent in danger only triggered Shark every time it happen.
The only characters who I do like and haven't bean mention above are: Dark Mist, The Arclights, and probably Shark i guess.
Time for the villains: s. The villains are either incompetent, pure evil or both
Dr. Faker is a horrible villan working behind the shadows just Dr. Kogami makes me wanna puke. Both hardly get any good screentime and have a son working in the light ( Kaito for Zexal and Revolver for Vrains). Faker is a water-down version of Dr. Z from Dinosaur King and his lackies are pathectic.
Hey Barians! Gundalians called! Said they want their design back. Yeah, stolen arcstyle of alien-looking like creatures makes no sense.
Don Thousand: Worst.Villan.Ever. He suck and doesn't do much not menny people talk postive about him. As overpowered to the point I was rolling my eye when he was literally breaking the rules of the game. From easily causing 50,000 points of damage, to summoning monsters with 10,000 and later 100,000 attack points. Don didn’t feel powerful, he felt like the writers were trying too hard to make him dangerous and instead came off as annoying. This moron got my head a migrain from pulling up all that crap in one episode -_-
Zexal has alot of boring openings and ending. 5th one ''Duelism of Mirros is just meh and final one is just mediocre at best.
Vector was entertaining, but rather a bad duelist.
Music was good.
Animation: Episode 1 and 2 had no fucking animation on the faces, got better over time.
The dueling is just boss monster vs boss monster and really poorly done strategies. There is a reason this show has more haters than fans in the west. It's only gimmick was to promote Numbers 'XYZ' monsters.
Dubbed Vesion: DON'T.FUCKING.WATCH.IT. Seriously, opening is 100000% cringe and actors all sound stupid. It kinda feels liKe Power Ranger Samurai how the scriped was only translated and focus on the original with out any changes. Even 5D's did change alot thier dub words to make sound less darker. This one took the cake and made soo much boring dialoge with no original writing at all. Worst all people claimed it was the best and final good series.*Face paw*
Final score: DON'T WATCH IT. Honestly, feel free to watch anything else than this mess. The show feels like like a TV show and more like a checklist for Yu-Gi-Oh! tropes to check off. It has the worst of the franchise from a really unlikeable protag, friendships that are told to the viewers but never really shown and just some horrible morals. The only good thing saved the show was the arclights and 96. I've bean told menny lies about it how great it get's. Honestly, it felt more over the top birthday party for a kid than any real moral messeage. Even it's ending was mess and had just bring them back and say nothing ever happen...
Zexal 1: 1/10
Zexal 2: 3/10
Math way: 1+3= 4:2 = 2
For anime to that feels much original than this I'd say. Dinosaur King, Bakugan Gundalian Invaders, Pokemon (any series) Digimon Universe: Applimonsters, or Boku no Hero Academia with HunterxHunter 2011 version.
And with that my review on it is done, i don't mean any harm to any fan of this series. Just letting my salt out and review only.
Alright, here goes my first review. I never really felt the urge to do anything like this, but somehow, Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal seemed like a good show to give an opinion on.
First off, I have watched all the other Yu-Gi-Oh! series and right from the get go, I can safely say that Zexal is the worst of them all up to this point. The reason for this mostly lies within the other three series having been really, really great (in my opinion anyway), and Zexal simply hasn't been convincing enough to keep the high quality of the franchise going. It is not a completely terrible show,
but it has some major flaws that take away from the enjoyment, which will be explained in a moment.
One should always start with the good traits. Since we're talking the second half of the series here, let's get right into the part that has improved the most from before: the story. Unlike before, Zexal now has an actual story beyond a happy-go-lucky Yuma randomly helping people after proclaiming they're his friends (although this particular trait of his hasn't exactly changed). It revolves around a group of people from the Barian World who serve as the new antagonists, as they take turns trying to duel Yuma and his friends into submission. While at first this only serves as an introduction to each seperate Barian, every one of them eventually gets their own back story. Explaining why this is so important would start spoiling things, so I'll keep it at that. The story is not not exactly the most interesting thing on the planet, but it's the kind of story you can expect from an anime like Yu-Gi-Oh!, which is fine.
Next up, the art is very decent. However, big parts of it are being so over-the-top that it drifts off into being plain ridiculous. Someone called Zexal the show of people with two-colored hairdo and they're completely right. Now, of course strange to ridiculous hairdo is not at all unheard of in the world of anime - especially not Yu-Gi-Oh! - but I feel like this show has taken things a step too far, art-wise. From the aforementioned hairdo to the general character design (Zexal in particular) to, yes, sometimes even the duel monsters. I'm not saying that things look bad or gross or anything like that, it's just, well, over the top. Just watch Yumas ace monster, Hope, attack with increasingly ridiculous sword slashes as it grows in power, along with increasingly ridiculous names for said attacks, and perhaps you'll realize how amazingly overdone everything is. Every new monster summon is accompanied by massive amounts of bling and fairy dust, and rarely does all of this actually match the greatness of the respective summoned monster. It's meant to be cool, and perhaps it is to the target audience (it is a shonen after all), but slightly older people might cringe at all the forced coolness. Still, once again, stuff looks very good in general, I might be taking things too seriously here, since everything written in this paragraph can pretty much be applied to all the other Yu-Gi-Oh! series as well.
On to the not-so-good stuff then. The music. Ergh.... I don't know man. Rarely have I listened to a soundtrack as unmemorable as Zexal's. Of course, musical taste is one of the most individual things in the world, and it's not like the tracks are completely terrible. Surely the people involved must have put a lot of effort into creating them, but for some reason, none of the opening or ending songs really clicked. I found myself constantly skipping them while watching this series, there was literally no joy involved in listening to them. The music playing during the episodes is also so unmemorable that I can honestly not even remember a single one of them at this point, whereas I could play half of the tracks from 5D's on a bag pipe. Backwards. Underwater. It is just such a huge letdown after the huge explosion of awesomeness that was the 5D's soundtrack.
Moving right along, we have the characters. And to be fair, things have really improved here compared to the first half of Zexal. We get a new cast of antagonists who get developed in time for them to actually matter to the plot in general. We also get to see some of the more superfluous characters eventually removed, while other, memorable characters, like the Tron Bros., make a (really small) comeback. What has not changed however, is our main character, Tsukumo "Let's be friends" Yuma. He is slightly less of a happy-go-lucky doofus here, as the situations he constantly finds himself in don't leave room for it. However, he still has this stunningly annoying habit of forcibly befriending people who never, ever asked for it. Even people he should rationally hate or at least dislike, he simply cannot leave behind. Also, he still uses his tired, lame-ass "Kattobingu" shtick to the point where you actually want to know what the heck that's even supposed to mean.
Yu-Gi-Oh! has always been a show revolving around the characters forging bonds of friendship between each other through dueling, and eventually using those bonds in order to overcome the odds and beat whatever evil person dares threaten their world. Zexal on the other hand has Yuma and his cast of pre-existing friends (who were quickly discarded as being the most annoying bunch of people to ever cheer on a duelist), which he is constantly trying to expand by boldly proclaiming that, no matter who he is dueling, they're his friends. Even the bad guys. ESPECIALLY the bad guys. He couldn't possibly let Tron die, even after all the crap he's put Yuma and his friends through. He couldn't help but try to save Dr. Faker. Heck, even before that, he befriended Shark and Kaito basically against their will, just by repeating over and over that they're his friends until they finally gave in. That is not how friendships come into being at all. That is not what forging bonds between people is like. All this does is make the interaction between Yuma and his "friends" seem completely unnatural and it ultimately takes away from the enjoyment of the anime.
Right from the start, Zexal has always had this big problem known as an acute lack of likeable characters. Some of them, who were initially pretty cool (Shark, Kaito most prominently) have been watered down after forcibly becoming Yumas "friends". Most of the others were absolutely annoying from the beginning, without any signs of change ahead. The second half of Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal of course adds new characters, like the aforementioned Barians. Whether you're going to like them or not is entirely up to you. Personally, I have found a liking to one specific character appearing in this second half of the series, who I'm obviously not going to write about, since, you know, no spoilers and stuff. Suffice it to say, he takes the series into a different direction all on his own and, by doing that, makes watching it so much more enjoyable.
Speaking of enjoyment, here's our next category to cover. Yu-Gi-Oh! has always and will always revolve around the card game, which of course is no different for Zexal. While the duels themselves are generally enjoyable, there are certain things that bother me here. Once again, these things aren't going to be anything new, as they've all happened in previous Yu-Gi-Oh!s, it's just the degree to which Zexal applies them that makes it stupid. Yeah, I feel like the degree is where Zexal went wrong on so many ends.
What I am talking about here is the general course of the duels. Remember the old times, when people would start summoning weak monsters at the start of a duel, to eventually tribute summon for something stronger or do whatever the heck else they could think of? You do? Well, good, because all of that is gone now. In what could possibly be an attempt to shorten the anime as a whole, the duelists _always_ summon their ace monster in their first, or at most their second turn. No matter how ridiculous the summoning conditions are, they just keep pulling stunningly overpowered cards out of their arses, to the point where it makes the actual card game look balanced. People who don't actually play the card game may not question any of this, but real-life players will wish that some of these cards never, ever see the light of day.
The point about all of this is, that there's virtually no build-up during the duels. People get dueling and instantly whip out their strongest monsters, after which it's just a matter of who has the more broken effects or spells/traps. It doesn't result in a character winning because of their willpower or their endurance or skill, but rather because they're using cheap card effects. It's almost as bad as in the original series, where people would just make up rules on the spot to the point where you could reasonably accuse them of cheating. Only change here is that this time, the players are actually sticking to the rules while using their ridiculous effects. Winning a duel here has virtually nothing to do with determination or willpower, it's just cheap effects stacked on top of each other, and it's mind-boggling to watch.
With all that being said, I am probably being too harsh on the show as a whole. It is honestly not as horrible as it might sound during parts of this review, and if you've accepted some of the more strange parts of previous Yu-Gi-Oh!s (like the style of certain characters and the way the duels go), Zexal might ultimately not be that bad of a watch. Fans of the franchise will most likely have their share of fun with this, and even though you're not exactly going to be glued to the edge of your seat, Zexal is sure to keep you checking in every once in a while.
This is talking about both seasons of Zexal btw, Zexal was enjoyable but even so, it was still the worst of the series of Yu-Gi-Oh, but it had some stiff competition to be fair. The story was great because it always kept me intrigued about what new number ideas they had in mind. Even after Yuma collected almost every number, they came back with a plot twist with the over one-hundred numbers *spoilers contained*. The song "Take a Chance" the first opening was an amazing followed by a not so good opening "Halfway to Forever." Btw I watched this anime in dubbed just in case
you did not catch on because of the openings. Character development was key in this anime because Yuma starts off as a sucky Yu-Gi-Oh player and then changes to the best duelist in the world. A great anime in all and very enjoyable to watch, who cares if it is the worst in the series still good.
I would divide the Yu-Gi-Oh fandom into two groups, based on their answer to one simple question:
“What do you think about Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL?”
The first group will tell you how ZEXAL is the worst series of them all, with stupid characters, stupid plot lines and terrible hair. How there are dueling tomato farmers and dueling dogs and dueling aliens and that it doesn’t make any sense.
And the other, a bit smaller group… will just start crying.
If it wasn’t apparent given the score ZEXAL got from me… I belong to that second group. I literally needed some time to calm down before sitting
down to write this review, because it’s been more than 25 days since I finished watching ZEXAL Second and I’m still not over it.
But let’s start from the beginning.
Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL is children card game anime about children playing card game, which is not called Yu-Gi-Oh but still Duel Monsters. It’s got cheerful art full of pretty colors that will melt your heart and make you feel at ease, while allowing you to just switch of your brain and enjoy watching little anime kids fighting for friendship… until shit goes down and the feels come.
MAL divides ZEXAL as two seasons - ZEXAL and ZEXAL Second. The first season was most of the time pretty mediocre, with awesome finale and pretty awful conclusion (don’t wanna give any spoilers here, right?). It the first season there are your dueling tomato farmers and dueling dogs and meh card designs. I myself wasn’t most of the time sure what exactly am I watching and I remember getting all triggered over construction machine cards and tomato cards and such.
And then with the start of the second season came realization, that the first season made me quite attached to most of the main cast. And let me tell you - the second season was an emotional roller coaster almost for its entire duration. I laughed, I (mostly) cried, I wanted to just go watch something else - but I couldn’t. Because those characters, those characters that you just grew to love while watching the first season, they got into so much shit and drama that you just can’t stop watching, even though they (altogether with you) suffer so, so much.
Story - 10/10
The story of the second season actually makes sense. It’s nerve wracking, action packed and sometimes mind blowing. And the point, when the gears just come together and you finally see the whole big picture, is so, so good… There was only one point when the story made me really angry… but afterwards it just made sense, so no hard feelings.
The story of the second season revolve around aliens. Yeah, dueling aliens, I know… but seriously, it. makes. sense. It takes time until the point in the plot, but it really makes sense. And it’s amazing.
Characters - 8/10
All of the important characters have believable personalities, good and bad traits, own goals and such a good, good, character development. There are no only good and only bad characters in the important part of the cast. Furthemore, ZEXAL’s got one of the best villain characters I’ve seen in anything up to date. And I hated the guts of that guy.
Other characters…. are lacking. Kotori is your typical not-dueling protagonist’s cheerleader (seriously, she duels only in zexal-related video games) and the rest of Yuuma’s classmate group is… kinda stupid tbh? But nobody cares about them so…
Some of the characters resemble our old Duel Monsters pals, but hey, every Yu-Gi-Oh needs its own Kaiba with long-ass coat and dragon deck, right?
Soundtrack – 10/10
I’m not a music expert, but damn, it was so. good.
Art – 9/10
Okay, okay, fine. Yuuma’s hair ARE terrible. But it’s Yu-Gi-Oh, what did you expect?
And as I said, ZEXAL is pretty and colorful. So yeah, even the drama and feels are pretty and colorful. What’s better than a colorful despair, right? (I’m not crying)
Yay! Zexal second is finally here! And I have to say it's A LOT better that the first season so let's get right to it!
SPOILER WARNING! I REPEAT, SPOILER WARNING!
Hurrah! I actually liked the story plotline for this season. Basically (trying reeeeeally hard not to spoil to much) it's about how these enemies of Astral world, where Astral comes from, the Barians, are invading earth (not telling you why). I liked it because it's action-packed, and the characters have some development this time.....
As expected the art is AWESOME.
Again, the sound is a step down from previous series.
Not bad, at
least it's not the junk from last season.
MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD
Yuma: Okay, he's better now. He has character development and can actually win duels on his own without Astral (even if it's only haphazardly.) But there are some concepts I still don't get, like how is he connected to Astral? And I'm not exactly a fan of the shining draw, it's just cheating. Still, at least he's a little more serious now and is only a stupid head 50% of the time.
Tori and Bronk: They do pretty much nothing. GIVE THEM A PART!
Astral: YES! He is much much much better now. Astral is well fleshed out and even has that dark moment with Yuma, although it's extremely stereotypical. He's gone through a lot and when he leaves at the end of the series it made me kinda sad.
Kite: Kite, in my opinion, is everywhere in this series. I can't exactly figure out what he wants and what he does, so yeah.
Shark/Nash: After watching this season, I can say that Shark is the best character ever in this series. In this series, we find out that the Shark today isn't the Shark that was born. Shark's real name is Nash, the ruler of atlantis who battled Vector around 10,000 years ago. When he died, Don Thousand resurrected him as the ruler of the Barians. When he dove in to save Rio, aka Marin, Abyss, a number saved both of them by implanting their souls into the bodies of 2 newly dead children, the actual Rio and Nash, who had died in a car crash. This backstory is epic, and I like how the series gives him kinda a bad time figuring out if his loyalty lies with his friends or with the people of his past. He chooses his past, and I CRIED when he died after battling Yuma (of course 4kids dub ruined it). The only part I don't like is when he was "resurrected" after the entire thing was over because nobody really explained why.
Ray Shadows/Vector: Yay! We have a new villain. I have to say that Vector isn't as good as Vetrix is, but he's still good. His backstory is kind of confusing, and I don't like how they don't make him remorse that much when he finds out his true past. The change from being bad guy to good guy is abrupt, and isn't explained much, but other than that Vector is a good villain. And 4kids RUINED the voice. *cringe*
"Nash"/Dumon: Dumon is a Barian who is very loyal to Shark aka the real Nash. He used "Nash" as his fake name in order to find the real Nash. Honestly, he's not bad, and I really wish he played a bigger role.
Rio/Marin: Shark's younger sister. I like her personality, and she's a girl other than Teá who isn't just a cheerleader for the main character or a damsel in distress.
Don Thousand: Again, he's a one dimensionally bad guy. This is one of the worst villains in the YU-GI-OH franchise because he has no backstory and no real explained reason to do what he's doing. Villains shouldn't be evil for the sake of being evil, so get rid of him or fix him.
Mr. Heartland: JUST GET RID OF THIS CHARACTER I'M SICK OF SEEING HIM!
I have to say I really enjoyed this season. It was action packed and fun, and I loved the struggle between the Barians and Yuma and his friends because the Barians weren't just one-dimentionally bad.
Not bad, but could still use some improvement. I'm kinda sad that the end of the series is a cliffhanger, I REALLY hope the next series finishes this.
Before you read this, please keep in mind that Zexal is much more light (and I'm giving that a little credit there :D) than any other Yu-Gi-Oh! series. But it's watchable for any true Yu-Gi-Oh fan.
Now then, Zexal II is the continuation of the first series, more precisely the 3d season, but they felt like putting a 2 there. It continues where the previous season left off, and comes closer to the plot. It still is as exciting as the first series, though. A lot of things are revealed, but I'm keeping this spoiler free. Also, there are a few interesting plot twists.
is as good as a type of this show can be. But it's extremely slow paced and badly developed at some points. Zexal II's story starts with the actual enemy, the Barian World, finally talking matters into their own hands. Well, kinda. There are good plot twists that will leave you wondering, yet 90% are badly performed. Most episodes of season 1 (or 4) are filler, and then a good finale to wrap it up. Season 2 is a bit better, but still. 3 is better than 1, yet worse than 2. It's all about Barian World, and nothing else really goes on in the series.
The art is lovely. Yup, it's childish, but I find it quite likeable. Yet there are some episodes when you can't even look at the characters. Well, every Yu-Gi-Oh series has some episodes like that. The backgrounds fit mostly the mood of the show, and even if it's, like dark stuff going on, the colors are lighter. But overall, it's good.
The sound is really good. I'm actually surprised they used these tunes for a younger audience show. Maybe to attract more viewers. The OP and ED are pretty good also.
This is probably the weakest part of this whole show. The characters are pretty weak. Yuma, the main character is the worst. He's annoying, only remembers that some characters exist when they pass by him and doesn't really solve his problems, but leaves them be/accepts them. Astral is definitely better, and he makes up, like all of the time for Yuma. Shark/Ryoga is pretty good, he's given quite some story and development to deal with. Kaito is thrown out of the window for Zexal II, and all his goodness as a character from Zexal is gone. Rio (Ryoga's sister) is good too. The Barians... only 2 out of 5 are good. Also, SPOILER: Arclights are back, and especially one of them has some development. But still, things are extremely slow paced, some characters are wiped off of the stage, just to make something memorable, but their leaving doesn't really serve for any purpose. So, yeah...
All in all, Zexal II is an enjoyable series. It's not that bad, yet not really that good. It's fun to watch. But if you will, remember that it has a lighter tone than, I don't know, 5Ds, which is the one many people like the best. I like the series, but I oughta stay true, it's not that good.