Action Duels, which allow duelists to soar and swing alongside their Duel Monsters, are taking the world by storm. Due to an evolutionary breakthrough, the "Solid Vision" system is now able to provide Duel Monsters with mass.
Yuuya Sakaki is Yuusho Sakaki's son, the latter being the founder of You Show Duel School in Miami City. Yuusho insists that duels are not a tool of war, but rather are to bring smiles to people and thus introduced the concept of Entertainment Dueling. However, at the height of his fame, Yuusho disappears and fails to attend his duel with Strong Ishijima, the Action Duel champion. Although scarred by this sudden leave, Yuuya vows to become an Entertainment Duelist like his father.
Several years later, in the midst of a battle with Strong Ishijima, Yuuya's desperation to win brings forth a miracle. His pendant begins glowing, turning his cards into Pendulum Cards, which enables him to perform a Pendulum Summon—a summoning method unknown to the world and himself—gaining him fame overnight. As a result, Reiji Akaba, CEO of Leo Corporation and founder of the elite Leo Duel School, starts producing new Pendulum Cards to incorporate Pendulum Summoning into the system. Thus, the mysteries that surround Pendulum Summoning and Yuuya's father start to unravel, and Yuuya learns bit by bit what it takes to become an Entertainment Duelist.
#1: "One Step" by P☆Cute [Pendelum☆Cute (Masumi Kuratsushi & Ruri Shirosaki)] [闇津ますみ・白咲るり] (eps 1-30) #2: "Future fighter" by Yuuya Sakaki x Reiji Akaba (Kensho Ono x Yoshimasa Hosoya) (eps 31-49) #3: "ARC of Smile!" by BOYS AND MEN (eps 50-75) #4: "Speaking" by Mrs. GREEN APPLE (eps 76-98) #5: "Vision (ビジョン)" by Kuso Iinkai (空想委員会) (eps 100-124) #6: "Shissou Pendulum (疾走ペンデュラム)" by M!LK (eps 125-147)
So Yugioh Arc-V is the fifth instalment into the Yugioh franchise, and, in my opinion, it is the best anime the franchise has to offer. (This is my first review so bear with me. I will also try to keep this as spoiler free as possible, but in order to explain what makes Arc-V so good, I will vaguely reference plot elements in the anime)
The beauty of Arc-V's story lies within its main character, Yuya Sakaki. Initially, Yuya seems like your standard shounen protagonst, who aspires to be the greatest Entertainment duelist, a duelist who brings smiles through dueling, but in actuality he is
a reconstruction of a shounen protaganist and the journey you would expect one to undertake. He is forced to come to terms with the reality of his existance in order to reach his goal, which presents a genuinely unique take on the genre. I won't say anymore to avoid spoilers, but Yuya and his philosophies are tested multiple times over the course of the show by other characters and the nature of the storyline, and he will both progress and regress as a character, making his development feel natural.
Through Yuya, Arc-V is also able to explore its themes in a fascinating way which I have never seen before. The main theme of the show is that dueling should be utilised to make others smile, rather than using it for conflict. On the surface this seems basic, but the manner in which Arc-V presents this theme is what sets it apart from other anime displaying similar themes. Again, without spoiling too much, both ideologies are presented through Yuya which allows for a more engaging narrative, while also adding more depth to Yuya making him one of my favourite shounen protaganists out there.
The setting and plot which accompanies Yuya's journey is also really engaging. At first, the storyline seems quite simple, and perhaps boring, but as the anime progresses, the story will start to unfold and get more complicated as it goes along, while also serving as direct contrast to Yuya's ideales. It will constantly raise questions, which only get answered late on in the show, adding to the mystery behind the story, and the unpredictable nature behind the story only enhances the mystery element.
However, just like every other show, the story is not perfect. It has pacing issues, particularly around episodes 50-70 and 100-120, a rushed ending with messy presentation (but I do think the journey is more times important than the ending itself), the plot is fairly messy towards at it's climax, with a main villain who was bland and wasn't anywhere near as fleshed out as he should be, but overall Arc-V tells an strong, thematically rich and character driven story.
I would also quickly like to touch upon the duels themselves, which are integral for a Yugioh anime. The duels for this show are amazing and to a high level, which is perfect for fans of the card game. Even, if you do not play the game, the duels are still really engaging as a lot of them are unpredictable, and the music really adds to intensity of the duel.
I've already talked about what makes Yuya such a good character, so lets talk about our main female lead, Yuzu who is great, even if her treatment in the latter half of the show is disappointing. Her development in the first half is very good and while she unfortunately does not get a chance to duel in the last 50 episodes, she remains the most important character in relation to the plot (alongside Yuya) until the very end and while many will say she becomes a damsel in distress (and in a physical sense, I can't deny this), it's easy to forget that she saves Yuya on numerous occasions in a more mental, emotional way even in the second half. If dueling was all there is too her and her development, and if Arc-V was a normal shounen series, I would be more annoyed, but it's not. Her personality and her other skill sets are far more valuable than dueling, which is why I love her from start to finish, and why she is my favourite female in Yugioh, even if she does not duel at the end.
Our rival for the series, Akaba Reiji, who is also both an extremely well written character and a unorthadox take on a rival. He is a spectacular duelist who as a result pushes Yuya to become a better duelist, but what makes him different to a traditional rival is his desire for Yuya to improve and surpass him. He can see Yuya's potential and pushes him to reach that potential to fulfill his own objectives, making his rivalry with Yuya one of my favourite aspects the show.
Arc-V also has a great range of side characters, such as Sora, Shun, Selena, Yugo, Yuto, Dennis, and many more who each receive their own spotlight and development, with an absolutely compelling villain in the form of Yuri. However I'll be the first to say that Arc-V has too many characters for it's own good, with some rushed character arcs and some underutilised characters. If you are a long time Yugioh fan, you may see some familiar faces, but if not, that’s not to worry as they can be treated like new characters (there is no continuity).
The music for this show is simply perfect. They really add to each scene and make the duels far more engaging and interesting. The VA’s for the show also do a great job, portraying the characters they play extremely well.
Art and Animation:
Unfortunately, the animation is not up to the same quality as the rest of the show. This is mainly due to Arc-v’s best animators being stolen for the new movie (Dark Side of Dimensions). However, I will say that the animation is very good for the important episodes, which makes it passable, but average at best. Thankfully, this is the least important aspect of a show for me.
Overall, Arc-V is not just a great Yugioh show, but it is also a very good anime. It tells a shounen-esqe story of Yuya becoming the best entertainment duelist in a completely unorthadox way, a way in whcih a boy has to come to terms and then overcome the reality of his existance, accompanied by a brilliant cast of characters. It is an unpredictable and unique story, and while it does have pacing issues and plot holes, the positives heavily outweigh the negatives and it is absolutely a story worth spending 148 episodes on.
In the case of the spoilers, I will be vague to try not to completely ruin all the surprises for someone who does choose to watch this series. That said, a lot of the big events of the story really have to be brought up at least in some form to explain why its so bad.
I imagine, especially for people who have not watched the series the whole way through, a 1/10 grade might come across as kind of extreme for this series. Technically speaking, it does have a functional and even expansive plotline, a good amount of buildup especially early
on, and a lot of actually kind of interesting character premises. The problem here is that this is a series where the appeal of the early parts is the mysteries and concepts that get established, that you look forward to being resolved later. The early parts of Arc-V, if there was proper payoff, would really not be all that bad, its just the series takes a downright insulting approach to playing off said buildup. I can't tell you how many times I thought the series was building up to something cool, only for the result to just come out as something completely pathetic and anti-climactic.
Before we get into the plot, I figure I will throw a mention to the visuals of the series because it really needs to be said, they're bad. The very conspicuous looking CG appearance of most significant monsters in the series is pretty awkward, and the visual design of most cards really leaves a lot to be desired. Many characters just have monsters where their designs all just feel like chrome machine-like things, and get very repetitive in their designs very fast. They also just turn into horrible clusters of many colors and sticking out pieces that really just gets kind of ugly and unpleasant to look at. The designs that aren't this are usually very cutesy cartoon stuff which is fairly subjective in terms of appeal, but personally I found it pretty awful. The animation quality is occasionally decent, but there are frequently episodes where you can tell the bare minimum budget or effort was put forth to make it look good. Also, while this could be argued to be a problem with most modern Yu-gi-oh series, the amount of times the summon animations and chants of major monsters get repeated gets pretty aggravating, especially when due to the designs and mediocre CG they're usually not even cool the first time. I won't deny there are a few exceptions, Fluffals and Predator Plants coming to mind as monsters with actual cool concepts behind them. The problem is that they get fairly little screen time when compared to the massively played up four main dragons, which are some of the worse of the ugly machine-like designs I've mentioned earlier and they only get worse with their evolved forms.
The plot starts off by promising something an interdimensional war between different factions that use different methods of monster summoning. This is a fairly interesting basis, but we don't actually see the dimensions clash very much in battle, the most we see being that one dimension got defeated handily by another in a bunch of flashbacks. Aside from that, its basically just the main characters running around and solving other problem in whatever dimension they're currently in and not really addressing any sort of invasion or clash between forces. There are bits where it does happen, mostly in the early arcs, but its surprising and honestly kind of depressing how inactive the main antagonists of the series are for the majority of it. After some initial duels they do basically nothing other than send out fodder troops that don't accomplish anything until we meet their higher ups. The higher ups are universally pathetic and get easily trounced by the protagonist, and somehow end up buying into his stupid "entertainment" philosophy the show forces down our throats as hard as it possibly can. The most actually effective and fun villain is someone who is only very technically related to them, and while he serves as a decent overarching villain for his arc he is defeated in surprisingly casual fashion and then never mentioned again.
There's a bit more I could talk about with the plot, but before that something needs to be said about the characters. The show actually does not have a bad base for a lot of its characters, giving them fairly distinct personalities that from the one note they start from could be turned into something good. However, the show throws an obscene number of characters at the viewer, and frankly does a horrible job at managing them properly. The main character Yuya gets a ton of focus, and Yuzu, the lead girl, gets a lot up until she suddenly becomes a plot device who is never allowed to duel for the last 60 episodes. Other than that due to sheer number nobody really gets the development they need to evolve past their singular note, outside of arguably Shun who gets a respectable amount of character development. Even with him however, his growth as a character feels kind of rushed and the end of the series decides to treat him like absolute dirt, so if you bothered to get attached to the one character the show makes any attempt to make you care about other than its lead I promise you that you will be disappointed by the result.Arguably the most insulting examples are the comedic relief rival character, who based on him finally settling on a singular deck choice and starting to meld in with the protagonists, you would really think would be given a chance to show what he's worth. No, he literally never wins a duel on his own in the entire series, and the duels he wins on a team are against literal faceless fodder troops of the different dimensional factions. And the sad thing is if anything, I think he actually gets off better than a good number of characters because he's not hit by random brainwashing to love Yuya's stupid entertainment/smile philosophy.
The real cream of the crap here though is Yuya himself, who on some level I get the idea behind. The whole concept was to have him be a very goofy character who had a rather childish philosophy of just thinking he could resolve things by making his monsters do silly things and make his dueling fun to watch. He did have a serious side in relation to his missing dad and you know, there was a point in the series it looks like its going to work out. At one point he duels a force of security guards and they're completely baffled by his fun and smiles solves everything philosophy, and they even take advantage of it when fighting him. As the series goes on, you would really think that they would force him to evolve past that and develop new ways of getting to people. No, instead the series gradually reconstructs said philosophy as apparently being not completely insane by having it literally solve the conflicts of entire factions on its own simply by Yuya having a "fun" duel in front of everyone. Its absolutely mind boggling how these conflicts which people that involved imprisonment and likely in at least a few cases death even if the show is too childish to show it are just resolved by some kid trying to be entertaining in front of a crowd. Frankly, he's not even entertaining and most of his better duels are carried entirely by his opponents, but no matter what everyone who duels him eventually comes to worship the ground Yuya walks on. As a result he never develops as a character, and is basically the same person in the final episode as he was in the first, just with a more broken deck.
The thing with Yuya is the plot does try to do some interesting things with him beyond just his personality and "fun and smiles" brainwashing nonsense. There's the whole mystery of why there are four people with the same face, him being one of them, with chromatic robots that look kinda like dragons that the show says are dragons which react strangely and violently around each other. There are also four girls with the same face, with Yuzu being one of them, who are generally close to their counterpart Yuya equivalents. This is arguably the big mystery of the plot, and it has to be said, when its finally revealed the payoff looks kind of promising for a moment. Except the payoff takes absolutely no chance to use any of the qualities of each individual Yuya clone and instead we get a duel that goes on for a solid five episodes. Said five episodes are mind-numbingly repetitive, dull, and feel surprisingly lacking in climactic tension despite being something that recieved an obscene amount of buildup. The way it is finally resolved is absolutely pathetic and beyond anti-climactic, and the whole time despite a situation that really would not warrant it every single character is basically worshiping Yuya for the entire fight. It even all centers around a monster who has one of the worst designs of any in the entire show, an absolute mess that shows all the low points of Yu-gi-oh's recent design direction. The whole thing is your big payoff for a show made entirely around buildup, and honestly comes across as downright insulting. Oh yeah and for the record, the way Yuzu and her clones are used comes across as insanely insulting to those characters.
The show actually does not end there, and goes on for another 8 solid episodes. In those 8 episodes, Yuya duels in every single one of them with pretty much the entire universe worshiping him the whole time. Said duels are terrible and the story around them is also terrible, with the exception of one that is entirely decent because it gave screentime to a character that was sorely underused. The final one in particular is possibly the worst written duel in terms of actual "action" in the entire franchise, with absolutely miserable writing around it that makes Yuya and all other versions of him into considerably worse characters. The reason for all of this is something I really cannot avoid saying outright, because it is that stupid: These 8 episodes are entirely dedicated to preventing a calamity from happening again by making a baby smile. Its as bad as it sounds.
There are plenty more things that could be said about Arc-V, but at its core its a series all about buildup to a grand climax where the payoff to said buildup is about as bad as it ever possibly could be. The journey there is full of characters who could have become something getting their potential squandered and then proceeding to worship the ground Yuya walks on. Yuya's childish and completely unbelievable philosophy becomes the center of the show and works miracles it has absolutely no right too, and comes across as a massive insult to the viewer's intelligence. It is not totally impossible to like Arc-V if you ignore the final stretch of 13 episodes and try to just think on how it was to watch it as it came out, but actually putting the plot together, it becomes clear no character was actually used properly. I'd say don't ever watch this series unless you're some kind of masochist, but actually you know what? If you're an aspiring writer or critic, you actually probably should watch this series, as its a good example of everything not to do when writing a story.
Yugioh Arc V is the 5th installment of the Yugioh franchise, it is not the best anime within the franchise. (This is my second review, it is just updated)
The storyline starts a bit slow and repetitive sometimes near the beginning because it was meant to introduce to Pendulum Summoning as its main concept in dueling. The story does get interesting after episode 20 by how it introduced the darkness within Yuya and his counterparts. In addition, the story does become unpredictable and interesting as its strong points. Yet, it is not prefect on how the plot does feel rushed near the last couple episodes. It
raise questions without having answers on how it is important to the plot as one of flaws of this franchise. For instance, a duel occurs in one episode when it should be in two or three episodes. I mean some duels feel significant to the plot in character development or other aspects; yet, it does not happen which makes the plot feel rushed and flawed sometimes.
For the characters, there is a variety of side characters that has a role in the plot, however, does not utilize their role at its fullest since some of them appear as the audience after fulfilling their role in Yuya's development.
Even though, there are flaws in the side characters' roles, the development of the main characters was fleshed to its full potential which makes the story strong at some points. In the beginning, Yuya was seen as a cheerful and goofy boy, who focuses on entertainment dueling like his father. As the story progress, he experiences drastic changes within himself, learns about his counterparts and how it connects to his identity. I won't mention the details of his identity because I may spoil it for new viewers who are starting to watch this franchise.
Similar to having a female lead in the franchise as the main character, Yuzu portrays her role in helping Yuya fulfill his by being his mentor throughout the story. On contrast, she has not given enough spotlight as the story progresses which makes her seen as a side character than as the main character.
Akaba Reiji, the main rival of Yuya, was developed strongly in his character and role for Yuya's development. His role influence Yuya to face his inner struggles and his role of being an entertainment duelist which is one of the strong points of this franchise.
The music was used greatly on how it utilized the duels and moments within emotional or comedic scenes. It is similar to the VA, who portray the characters well.
The animation have its pros and cons because some episodes have good animation and opposite on other episodes. It was probably the quality of the animation was transferred to the movie, Dark Side of Dimension which cause the animation in Yugioh Arc V to drop.
Overall, Yugioh Arc V have its strong and weak points, in terms of the plot of the story and characters' role and development. It is sad that Arc V have ended; but, I enjoyed watching it as a whole.
Extremely minor spoilers ahead that really only increase the intrigue one might have in the series----->
This is my first review: Initially, I was just writing a comment on my anime list for Arc-V but it ended up being so long that I decided I might as well post it here as well. Be gentle :)
This was the Yu-Gi-Oh Arc thus far with the most story and depth of characters. The first 50 episodes or so are reminiscent of previous Yu-Gi-Oh seasons, introducing mechanics such as the new Pendulum summoning method, and contains classic scenarios like duel tournaments. Even then, the inter-dimensional aspects of the story
still shine through the first 50 episodes, providing cryptic twists, betrayals and mysteries to be continued through the following Synchro, Xyz and Fusion dimensions. Unfortunately, the characters from previous seasons that do make reappearances in their respective dimension do not retain their memories from the events in the previous seasons, they still have the same personalities and the same decks, save the added pendulum cards or slight alterations. On top of the exciting story and likable characters, the show, unlike its predecessors focuses on more aspects of a duel than just introducing more and more examples of the season's highlighted summoning method. (I'm looking at you Zexal, where every battle was just a competition to see who could summon the biggest Xyz monster, from regular Xyz to rank up Xyz to chaos Xyz it gets tiring you know.) Another likable feature in Arc-V is that the main character (Yuya), is not tied down by one or two rivals. In shows like Zexal, the MC's rivals were well known and set and you could obviously tell which future battles would occur. In 5Ds, Yusei's rival was obviously and predictably Jack Atlas for the first 50 episodes and then shifted towards the leader of the evil duelers in that show, which provided very obvious storytelling and guiding. In Arc-V, Yuya ends up fighting the largest variety of opponents to date, some friends, some foes, some even friend turned foe. The end result of Arc-V is not even remotely possible to accurately guess until dozens of episodes have been watched and allows for suspenseful watching, unsure of the future of the series. Most of all, Arc-V focuses on the relationship between Yuya and his monsters, his amazing cast of friends and supporters, and his ideal to duel like his father does, with a smile.
For many Dragon Ball fans, Master Roshi is an absolute legend! He's one of the coolest and most colorful characters in the Dragon Ball universe. However, this old man has a roaming eye that's easily distracted by the younger ladies, which can lead to more problems than simply a nosebleed.
The opening theme to an anime, or any television show for that matter, is a crucial element to the show's success. This will often be the first thing that an audience sees, and for Yu☆Gi☆Oh! Arc-V that means it's the first chance to introduce audiences to the majesty of Pendulum Summoning!