Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V centers around Yuya Sakaki, as he tries to escape from harsh reality by smiling. But one Duel leads him to make a determination to confront the difficulties and he will get the power of infinite possibilities. The show's main theme is "Take a step forward with courage!!"
Yuya is a student at a preparatory school, learning to become an "entertainment Duelist," a type of professional Duelist.
The story is set in Miami City on the coast of Japan. Leo Corporation is run by its president Reiji Akaba. Thanks to the spread of the company's "Solid Vision with mass," "Action Duels" are born in Miami City and has reached worldwide popularity. Children look up to star-level Pro Duelists, and they learn Summoning and Duel styles at various large and small cram schools, including the You Show Duel School that Yuya attends and the largest of such schools, Leo Duel School (LDS).
(Source: Yu-Gi-Oh! Wikia, paraphrased from the V-Jump synopsis)
#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 - )
So Yugioh Arc-V is the most recent instalment into the Yugioh franchise, and, in my opinion, it is quite easily 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)
Arc-V’s storyline is surprisingly really engaging and unique. 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. It will constantly raise questions, which only get answered late on in the show, adding to the mystery behind
the story. However the true beauty behind Arc-V’s story is that we never know what is going to happen. It is very unpredictable, and there are some plot twists which can honestly blow your mind. You may think I am exaggerating as this is ultimately a show about card games, but I’m really not.
The story is not perfect however, the pacing is too slow at certain points and too fast at others, but overall Arc-V’s story is very strong.
I would also quickly like to touch upon the duels themselves, which is integral for a Yugioh anime. The duels for this show are amazing and to a high level, which is perfect for fans to the card game. Even, if you do not play the game, the duels are still really engaging as most of them are unpredictable, and the music really adds to the duel.
The characters are where this show really starts to shine. Let’s start with the main character, Yuya, who is my favourite Yugioh character and one of my favourite characters of all time. Yuya’s character starts off an incredibly cheerful boy who can come off as annoying at times. However, his character changes and develops immensely over the course of the show, and is a realistic representation of a boy in his situation. This is just the foundation of his character and I won’t get into more detail to avoid spoilers, but certain events in the story adds incredible depth to his already great character.
Our rival for the series, Akaba Reiji, is also an extremely well written character. He is a spectacular duelist which as a result pushes Yuya to become a better duelist, making his rivalry with Yuya one of my favourite things about the show. However, in typical Yugioh fashion, our female lead, Yuzu, is less impressive. Although she is integral to the plot, and I really love her character, her treatment as the show progresses is disappointing. She barely has a chance to duel in the latter half of the show, which is a shame. Despite this her relationship with Yuya is very touching and is also one of my personal favourite aspects of 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. 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.
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: 6/10
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.
Overall, Arc-V is not just a great Yugioh show, but it is also a great anime. If you are a Yugioh fan who only plays the card game, watch this show. If you are a Yugioh anime fan but was driven away from the franchise by the abomination, Zexal, watch this show. And even if you have never played or watched Yugioh before, I would still recommend Arc-V as the characters and story are simply sublime. It’s not a perfect show, it does have many faults, but overall there are not many anime which I have enjoyed more than Arc-V, and it hurts me that I will, probably, never be able to see these amazing characters again
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 how 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.
My last review of the anime was a fairly impressed 8/10, back when 47 episodes had been released. After 40 more episodes have been released though, I have to sadly admit that I was wrong and I had misjudged it.
To say that Arc V skyrocketed the game's sales after the failure of Zexal would be an understatement. While every yugioh series until now focused on its own mechanic (rituals for original, fusions for gx, synchros for 5ds and exceeds for zexal), Arc V adds its own mechanic, Pendulums, but pays equal attention to ALL the others as well. Quite honestly I never imagined a day
would come when I could play a deck that rituals/synchros/fuses/xyzes and possibly pendulums at the same time and NOT have balance issues with it. If you had told me something like that back when Zexal came out I would have called you a fool, since most decks back then couldn't even pull of a combination of TWO of these at the same time, let alone all of them together. But now here we are, in a golden, grand age for the game that rewards skilled players with incredible show-offing, that has successfully made me cut down on my food expenses to "barely surviving" so I could afford more cards. Kudos Konami.
But enough about the actual game. The anime takes place at first in Miami City (yes, the ACTUAL Miami, there are even black people in it) and later goes all over the place (literally). Our protagonist, Sakaki Yuya, is the son of the famous missing enternetainer Sakaki Yusho, and tries to become a professional entertainer duelist himself. As an entertainer duelist, he sees it his job and personal philosophy to bring smiles to everyone through his dueling, including the audience and his opponents. He is by all means a pacifist, and therefore a tragic figure in a world where dimensions collide, misusing the duel monsters game that Yuya loves as a weapon. Oh yeah, spoilers.
And really, that's where the great writing of Arc V truly shines. The same game that Yuya wants to use as a means to bring happiness, is instead continuously used to bring pain and misery and loss of human life, which continuously sends the "clownish" Yuya to depression (he has gone through a lot of those already and we're not nearly halfway through the anime). To bring an end to conflict, Yuya is constantly forced to take part in the conflict himself, LITERALLY becoming consumed by his inner demons as the mayhem continues to intensify.
Apart from Yuya there are plenty of other characters, including the alternate versions of himself and his potential girlfriend Suzu, one pair from each dimension, the rest of the Lancers the "good mastermind" Akaba Reiji has gathered (imagine Kaiba from season one with Urahara leadership and manipulation qualities, simply epic), and then there are the various individuals from the other dimensions, my favourite of which is Sora. In general the character roster in ARC V is pretty impressive, with fairly diverse characters whose loyalties aren't always where they're supposed to be, and who can all get consumed by their own personal conflicts, burdening their individual missions. All in all, great writing for EVERYONE. Yes, I mean EVERYONE. Not just the protagonist and his nymphomaniac girlfriend. EVERYONE.
Now there are some minor issues I have with Arc V, and I mean other than spending too much money on the game. First, wanting to place equal power and interest in the girls to attract female audience, the writers have Yuzu dash off at the start of the series, away from the rest of the cast, essentially playing in her own anime as she goofs off/flirts with Yuya's alter egos from various worlds. It can even be said that she has a reverse harem: The pacifist emo one, the angry driven vengeful one, the goofy cool funny one and even the freaking YANDERE one. Now, I have no problem with the female claiming her own harem, but there does need to be someone for the protagonist to save like a princess... And that someone ended up being Sora, a 10 year old BOY. In fact, in light of Yuzu never being near him, the depressed clown of a protagonist does have a habit of gathering around him and "protecting" waaaaaay underage boys, with Sora obviously being the favourite, which at times raises a few eyebrows.
But that's all water under the bridge. As usual, Yugioh has perfected the art of doing character development through the duels themselves and the cards played in them, and by God, have they succeeded in Arc V. Even ignoring Yuya (whose main deck basically consists of a circus and fun and games when he's trying to be a pacifist and rampaging dragons when he goes all berserk), the vast majority of the characters' decks reflect their personalities, with my favourite, again, being Sora. His deck consists of the cutesy Fluffals that are basically stuffed animals, which reflect the cute kid he was pretending to be at the start of the series. He then combines these cute stuffed animals with saws, scissors, chains etc etc through fusion, creating terrifying 5 Nights at Freddie's monstrosities that reflect the true, twisted-self he was hiding beneath the cute bravado. And again of course, that's just an example. The vast majority of the characters work like that, and it's doing the series WONDERS.
Last but certainly not least, Arc V is doing a FANTASTIC job technically, with very good art, well chosen camera angles, perfectly expressioned faces, and of course, epic sound. In fact the sound department is another of Arc V's highlights, with Yuya's beautifully painful screams, Reiji's wonderfully arrogant voice, Serena's cute tomboyish military-talk (among many, many others) being accompanied by a soundtrack that easily rivals 5ds', which will always get your blood bumping and ready for a duel.
All in all: A fantastic job. First time in a while you get the feeling Konami hired actual script writers instead of marketing advisers and it really shows. Excellent at everything, my only regret is that between arc V and Steam Sales, I will have to survive on campus food for a while (ew).
-...I guess the slightly yaoish feel when Yuya is near boys, if you're annoyed by that sort of thing.
-HOW?! HOW DID I SPEND SO MUCH MONEY...?!
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!
The trading card game known to viewers as Yu☆Gi☆Oh! is known to the characters of the anime as Duel Monsters. Each monster used by the players has its own devastating powers, and the ace monsters of the main characters have become iconic to fans worldwide.