Cardfight!! Vanguard features a world where the game Cardfight!! Vanguard is becoming the latest craze among trading card games, becoming a part of everyday life for people all over the world. The game is not limited to Earth alone; battles between the creatures used by the players take place on another planet called Cray.
The story begins with Aichi Sendou, a timid middle schooler whose meek attitude often leaves him a target for bullies. Aichi was given a very rare card, "Blaster Blade", when he was very young. It's his one treasure that gives him hope. That is, until it gets taken from him. Although Aichi has never played Cardfight!! Vanguard before, he challenges the thief to a game in order to win the "Blaster Blade" back. This high-stakes game quickly draws Aichi into the world of Vanguard battles, which will test and change his worth as both a player and a person.
Cardfight!! Vanguard, like many Bushiroad franchises, features crossover cameo appearances of characters from other Bushiroad series. Specifically, the four main characters of Tantei Opera Milky Holmes appear throughout the series. Likewise, the some characters from Cardfight!! Vanguard appear in an episode of Future Card Buddyfight. The series also has a manga spin-off, a radio show, a novel and video games.
It becomes obvious pretty early on with Cardfight!! Vanguard that whoever said "Don't judge a book by its cover" was...clearly not talking about this show. Yes, Cardfight is a show you can and should judge by its cover, as that judgment will determine whether or not you should watch the show. But I'll get to that later. Let's run the bases:
The story is basically thus: people play card games. Or rather, card game. Vanguard is the "big thing" in the world of Cardfight, as one might expect. For at least half the series, this basic idea is what the show runs on. It occasionally
shows signs of wanting to do something more, but I have to be honest: most of it comes off as cheesy and laughable. But, well, that's only the first half of the series. Somewhere along the line, you start to be able to actually take the show seriously and like it. Its pacing seems slow at first (expected with 65 episodes of run time), but it's all the better to develop characters and situations with. In the end, Cardfight actually becomes a great story about learning who you are and understanding others through the lens of this card game. Power of Friendship is nothing new to anime, but it can still be done well, and Cardfight pulls it off.
Obviously it's not without its perks. If you're not into the card game thing (which really shouldn't be the case if you even pick the show up, but still), you'll have a hard time getting into the meat of things. Then there's the deal with Psyqualia; although the last couple episodes make it obvious that more is coming, we don't learn much about this rare ability that is very important to the plot. We don't know where it comes from, how it chooses people, how it really works, how it may possibly be controlled, etc. All we know is that it has a tendency to bring out the worst in people.
Nevertheless, the perks tend to be minor and shouldn't bother you too much if you go into the show knowing what to expect: lots of card games. And lots of card games you will get.
Art and animation is reasonable for what seems to be an average-budget kid's show. Many settings and details are rather plain, but the card fights are all well-animated and the monsters all look pretty cool and distinguishable. It's obvious where they put the effort, and really: what else would you expect?
Now, I could have sworn when I first heard him that the main character in this was voiced by a woman, but I was wrong. Seriously, for a long time Aichi sounds very girly and wimpy. It's odd at first, but you get used to it, and when Stuff Starts Happening, it gets better.Voice work is, again, of fairly standard quality; it's good, usually well done, and generally not poor. There is, at least, nothing for me to complain about. Music is quite well done. The second opening in particular is a great way to get hyped, especially in the final 15 or so episodes when things really start to get heated. In-series music stays suitably light-hearted. It is, essentially, "game music." It never takes itself too seriously (well, until the last episode), and this turns out to be for the better.
As I mentioned before, Aichi sounds very wimpy and girly for a long time. This is because he is. As an example, when asked what he would do in a dangerous situation, his response is to "always be sure I have a path of retreat behind me." I know what you're thinking: "Not another wimpy male lead! I'll pass!" And no, it's not the most pleasant thing to behold. But in a way, I was able to accept it. I remembered that this show is aimed more at kids than someone my own age, and since I knew it would go on for a while, I was able to bear it even though I didn't like it (just the character, not the show). I was rewarded in the end. Aichi gradually grows into a mature character with a backbone that I was proud to see through. As his ability in Vanguard grows, so does he. He learns to fight his fights, help others, and make a name for himself.
65 episodes leaves room for a lot of characters, but I don't want to go into full detail on all of them or I'll be here all night. Basically: the important characters all get their time, and the side characters get a reasonable amount, good and bad. Kai just seems like you're typical, stone cold, bad friend for a long time, and though he really only turns into a jerk with a heart of gold, seeing what he went through really makes you understand and relate to him as a character, and this also leads into the development for the series' main villain, Ren, who is a huge, overconfident (well, he largely does have the ability to back it up) asshole that you just can't wait to see defeated (note: that isn't a bad thing).
Skipping over a few characters to the negative side: Katsumi, an eventual friend of Aichi, is the comic relief who is...just not funny. He's a loser who thinks he's awesome, and the gimmick gets really old really fast and just never dies. That's the worst of it, but Doctor O, the guest commentator for tournament Cardfights, I think was also supposed to be humorous, and again, isn't. He's just kind of strange. But luckily, he isn't overdone.
Here's the important part of the review, as I hinted at in the first paragraph: if you read all that and thought, "Doesn't sound like a show I'd ever want to watch," trust yourself; don't watch it. You're probably not going to like it. I went into this wanting a show about card games just for a fun twenty minutes every week and got exactly what I wanted. If that's what you want, go for it; you won't be let down. But it has to be stressed: you really must know you want this if you're going to enjoy it. It's not going to surprise you and turn into something epic if you're not prepared to watch a lot of card games (65 episodes, remember?). You'll probably just drop it before you hit the ten episode mark.
Think about what you want. If you're ever thinking, "Yeah, I could use a fun show about a card game to kill some time," that is when you should watch this. It is very much a kid's show (read: not average MAL age), so you need to be either young enough or old enough to really enjoy and respect it.
Personally, I went into it thinking it would be as I just described: a time-killer every week. Watch some card games for fun. It was never high on my priority list, but I always looked out for it. But then somewhere along the line it turned into something more. It became highly anticipated, and eventually it was the show I looked forward to the most every week (and by Winter 2012 I was keeping up with 20+ shows). If you ARE willing to watch and have fun with the show's first half, you'll be more than excited to continue as you get further on in the series.
I don't consider myself the greatest of reviewers, but I wanted to do this show some justice and provide both sides of the spectrum: the kind of person who will like it and the kind of person who won't. Otherwise I feel most people wouldn't ever give this show more than passing glance and just write it off as some twenty minute commercial for a children's trading card game. And it largely is just that, but it's also more than that. It's nothing amazing, and it never tries to be. And there's nothing wrong with that. It's still a good series.
Now, I'm off to buy a starter deck and choose my new avatar...
Yesterday I had the "pleasure" of watching this piece of crap.
It waas by far the worst anime I've ever seen.
Effortless. A bunch of kids playing a cardgame. Don't fool yourself, they just wanna cash in and made some silly excuse for a story. Most of the time they are just talking about the cards and about other characters and their "amazing" stategy.
Animation is done to the bare minimum. Mostly just that mouth is animated. Sometimes you even have actual movements in their bodies, but overall it's the cheapest and most bland thing you can find.
People on youtube doing flash animation do better jobs than this.
backgrounds are hideous, and the character designs generic as heck.
Ugly, effortless and bland.
The music sounds like some 500Yen stock soundtrack.
(I can't say anything about the Voiceacting because I watched the dub, but the dub is terrible.)
The only halfway redeeming factor is the 80s rock intro, if you are into that.
Horrible stereotypes, no emotion, again Bland and Effortless.
My enjoyment was on a constant low, I was just raging on how bad it was, there is no redeeming factor.
At least it didn't even try to hide how bad it was, it's just a cheap money grabbing marketing campaign to sell cards.
Trash for kids who do not know anything better.
At first I enjoyed how laid back the show was. It was the first marketing vehicle anime I'd watched where card games didn't decide the fate of the world. Then that changed when the series antagonist shows up. The show doesn't suffer tremendously, even weaving in a "believe in your own power" theme, but I still want a slice of life card game anime one day.
Considering how recent this show is, the art quality rather lacking. The character designs are interesting, but the animation seems rather low budget. But since the show's still airing, I suppose they had to cut corners somewhere.
The music really did
its job in setting the mood. The orchestral music made the towering dragons and knights seem like legendary titans. There was also some awesome guitar music when things got exciting.
This show has a wide variety of character types, from the blundering Morikawa and hot blooded Kamui, to Kai and Ren who feel like they're from Final Fantasy. With such a diverse cast, you should easily be able to find a favorite. Something to be noted, however, is the abundance of Yaoi fodder between two of the main characters. Not that this is a problem, but if you thought yugioh was homoerotic, this show's ten times more.
I found Cardfight Vanguard to be quite entertaining. It brought back fond memories of my days as a yugioh player. If you also want a rush of childhood nostalgia, or are just looking for a new TCG to play, then this is the anime for you.
Cardfight Vanguard in many ways is similar to other TCG anime such as Yu-Gi-Oh! But also has it's many differences. The card game aside, the biggest difference would be that the plot doesn't revolve around some evil power trying to destroy the world, but I'll get to that later.
This is probably what shocked me the most. I went in watching Vanguard with expectations that it would be bad and a downgraded version of Yu-Gi-Oh, but boy was I wrong. The story is about a kid who get's bullied in school, and someone has hope for him in the popular Card game at the time,
Vanguard. He's then shown how to play and is somewhat good at it. Without spoilers, I can say that no one tries to fight evil off and they try to progress and get better; hone their skills etc. and that's what attracted me to the show.
I've never been an art person, I mean, I watch One Piece. :P That aside, I'm not the sort of person who judges something based on the art style, but this one was particularly good. You've got the general anime style of the show with nothing major happening, and then you see those cards come to life, Wingal, Marron, Blaster Blade and it looks wonderful. Even the cards themselves look very appealing in the anime, but the general style let it down.
Aichi Sendo is a boy in Middle School who was bullied and for that reason, he has a very timid personality. Kai is the jerk of the series, much similar to the likes of Seto Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh, being a jerk and not caring about anything but winning. Kamui is high spirited and has hopes for everyone. He's probably the most loved person in the show in my eyes. Misaki is the shopkeeper who doesn't pay attention to much, but she ghet's better. There really isn't much character development yet apart from Misaki, so I can't rate this higher at the moment.
As I've said in the story section, what attracted me the most was the fact that they're not fighting for the likes of humanity, but to proceed in a tournament and get better at Vanguard. The card game itself is very well thought out and has it's complexity as well as being just a general fun game. It's fast-paced and works well. As for characters, I would've liked to see Aichi a little more confident, but it's still enjoyable nonetheless.
The story works surprisingly, the art is well set up and pretty good, the sound is very well played, the Characters could be better, the enjoyment was great, and that's why this is a good overall score. It's a nice anime to try and get into, and you can even get into the card game while you're at it.
For the past 20 years, children and adults alike have dreamed of what it would be like to go get a little Pocket Monster partner from a professor and start beating Gyms. But Pokemon is not the only series to feature partnerships and we need something to tide us over while we wait for Sun and Moon!
Nothing screams "anime" like a good old fashioned card battle. Two passionate characters build up their decks and fight it out for all the glory. Today, we'll take a look at the shows that truly represent anime card battles in their own unique way.