Yu-Gi-Oh ARC-V Overall Review: The Untapped Potential


Three years ago, on April 7, 2014 , I watched the first episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V. My first impression was confusion, the first episode was bonkers, to say the least. At the time, little did I know just how much I was going to fall in love, only to come out with a broken heart.

This is the first time I have been able to complete a coverage of a Yu-Gi-Oh! Series, let alone first show to have covered for three years straight. It an understatement to say it has been one hell of a journey, an emotional roller-coaster bringing about happiness, laughter, despair and frustration. This overall review will be delivered in a different format in order to properly breakdown the series. Together we will address the good, the bad and the ugly. Running a diagnosis of what when wrong, and how it ended on the path of self-destruction. It is time to finally put ARC-V to rest, and move on in hopes of better days ahead for its successor, VRAIN.

I believe there is a a consensus among the viewers that it was sometimes during the Synchro Realm Arc when the series started to get a little shaky. So let’s take a look of where the time was spent:

BREAKDOWN: Where the Time was Spent

Standard Realm: 53 episodes, (Ep 1 – 53)
   Discovery of Pendulum Summoning: Ep 01 – 28
    Miami Championship Tournament: Ep 29 – 51

Synchro Realm: 46 episodes, (Ep 54 – 100)
    Friendship Cup: Ep 55 – 90
    The Dragon’s Reckoning: Ep 87 – 92
    Coup d’état: Ep 95 – 100

Heartland: 11 Episodes, (Ep 101 – 112 (Excluding: 103))
    Nothing to see here, no joke

Academia/Fusion Realm: 27 Episodes, (Ep 113 – 140)
    Academia: Ep 113 – 133
    ZARC: Ep 134 – 140

Pendulum Realm: 7 Episodes, (Ep 141 – 148)
    It’s binge rush of repeating every major fight Yuuya ever had starting from the Miami Tournament.

Now when you seen where and how the time has been spent, you can see why many criticize the Synchro Realm Arc the most. They spent 46 episodes there, when in reality, they probably should have only spent 23 – 25 episodes. One of the main reasons why it dragged out the way it did was because of the introduction of many pointless characters, along with the city’s conflict of the Commons VS the Tops. This was also to blame for forcefully stalling the core plot, making little to no progression, and as result they ended up wasting at least 40/48 episodes.

I firmly believe, had they done it right, it definitely could have been executed in 25 episodes, period. The introduction of all these needless characters who contribute little to nothing to the plot, and severed to benefit the development for only one character (Shun) ate too much time. Furthermore, instead of bringing back Jack and Crow, they should have given that role to Yuugo. It was his dream to participate in the Friendship Cup, it would have benefited everyone if Yuugo were able to actually have a chance to interact with Yuuya, and put an end to this ridiculous goose-chase or provide an alternative reason for Yuzu being unable reunite with Yuuya despite being in the same proximity. This would have also given him some time to flesh out his character so that he wouldn’t be reduced to a running gag.

However even if they were to reduce the Synchro Realm Arc to 25 episodes, there was still a major problem they must face. One of the biggest obstacles ARC-V had was the fact it had far too characters. Many of them were useless minor characters or cameos from the past, who in turn, ate of too much time that should have belonged to the main and key secondary characters in the first place. For the Synchro Realm in particular, they brought out a whole village, and I’m talking about a dozen irrelevant characters. That’s way too many. I think they definitely could have narrowed it down to six. If I had no choice but to keep six, it would be keep Jean, Shinji, Sergey (for the sake of the tournament), Chojiro, and keep one two of the kids (we don’t need three obnoxious brats, thank you very much) and throw in a new character to serve as the current King (instead of Jack). By doing so, then maybe they could have actually spent time more time characters like Yuugo, Sawatari, Gongenzaka and Yuzu. Or actually, they could have even spent more time on Reij, by actually making him do proactive than a passive preacher. But I will expand on that further in a bit.

Then we have Heartland. You can clearly see it is the most neglected one of all. They spent little to no time there, and it showed because they hardly introduced any new characters, and before long those said characters (with the exception of one, being Kaito) were long forgotten. I think it goes without saying, that Heartland was the one arc everyone was looking forward to the most. It is a real shame that they couldn’t spend more time there. Heartland should have been a more difficult experience, since Academia had complete control over it. It would have also been better for them to have spent more time there for both Yuuya and the others to train further before they rush into Academia.

Academia was more or less a gauntlet run. Much like the time spent in Heartland, it was incredibly rushed. It would have been more appropriate to have given Heartland more episodes in place of some of the episodes that were spent in Academia, such as Battle Beast event. This event was a complete waste of time and was a sorry excuse just to have the group drop like flies, at the expense of permitting the Cameos from the Past to hijack their screen-time.

During this time, Yuushou who re-emerged for the first time in Heartland finally takes action. But the script did not make him look good dad. The girls were also neglected in this arc as we finally got to meet Rin and Ruri, but they were ultimately under mind-control (with the exception of Ruri who managed to have a bit of freedom for a bit, poor Rin didn’t get the luxury to be herself, ever). They each had a chance to duel independently once against their loved ones, and  what was going to be their last fight was the time the creepy parasite dude were controlling them as they fought and provoke Yuuya/Yuuto, and drew out Zarc’s powers.

The Return of the Supreme Dragon King Zarc was one of the most pathetic final boss battle I had ever seen. It would have been so much better had they kept the Cameos from the Past as far away from this fight as possible. But no, they just had to get them involved. Ugh.

Finally, the events that took place over the course of the Pendulum Realm arc was a total waste of time. It was nothing more than a rushed rematch of each major event that took place up to Zarc’s revival. It was quite infuriating to see them go as far to have Yuuya duel Jack Atlas AGAIN when it hasn’t even been fifty episodes since he last fought him. (IT’S NOT HIS SERIES. GET THAT SHIT OUTTA HERE.) No matter what, I think it would have been better had they made the true Boss Battle against Zarc take place during these episodes. By doing so, it would have given them enough time to establish a bit more development and take care of that Zarc’s Backstory that we should have got.

And so that brings us to the Worst Ending Ever!  Seriously, who would have thought three years ago we were in store for such a half-baked ending. Having the final fight be Reiji VS Yuuya, sure – that shit was long overdue but it was also way too fucking late to even bother following through with it. It was also unpleasant to watch just because of Reiji’s ego, claiming he has the right to judge Yuuya when he did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. The duel itself was underwhelming, with the outcome of the duel literally being determined on who manages to grab five action cards first. If that’s the true way of Action Duels, then I hope we will never see anything of the sort again.


Where did it all go wrong?


The Lancers, Wannabe Heroes

What an epic failure. ‘The Lancers’ are the most dysfunctional group of so-called heroes I have ever seen. There was no substance, no true alliance, it was just a group slapped together by Reiji, who claimed to be the leader – when in reality, he failed to provide actual leadership. The way they had written Reiji, made it so he did absolutely nothing and was all talk. Nobody was on the same page, some were left in the dark, some were left to their own devices, hell- they had no reason to even proudly announce they are The Lancers, the heroes who will oppose and fight off the invading forces of Academia. In the end, they were nothing more than just a bunch of kids who were unwillingly dragged into this mess, without their content.

ZARC’s Lost Backstory

It is astonishing how they failed to make Zarc’s much needed and desired backstory a priority, let alone have the guts to skip it altogether! This was a necessity so that both the audience and Yuuya could learn about how Zarc grew up, who he was before he became famous and how he descended into madness and how it psychologically affected him. I would have loved to have seen what was going through his mind as he became such a cruel and violent duelist. What was he thinking as he set the world on fire? What did he think of Ray, who decided to took up the challenge on behalf of her father to defeat him? Did they know each other? Were they acquaintances or simply strangers? How was their relationship different in the past, and does their relationship among their fragments changes things? It is almost romantic how both Zarc’s and Ray’s fragments ended up developing a very close bond in each world, some even harbouring romantic feelings for each other. There was so much they could have touched up on, and that I would have liked to have seen instead of a numbers of useless episodes that were put to waste.

The Fragments Part I: The Boys

This was a piece of the plot that had always been bothering me. In the beginning of the series, I didn’t pay too much mind to it because at the time, the boys being fragments of Zarc’s soul never crossed my mind. But by the time we understood the connection between the boys’ and their Dragons’, I realized this was something that should have been addressed far earlier in the story. When we learn that the Yuuya, Yuuto, Yuugo and Yuuri are all fragments of Zarc, the first thing that crossed my mind was, “Why didn’t they indicate this sooner?!” Now don’t get me wrong, there were some foreshadowing, just barely, but was there. But no matter how much I think about it, I am surprised they didn’t go with the idea of the literal step by step process of Zarc’s inevitable revival. By that I mean making it so whomever they absorb, they will inherit their personality trait. Because at the end of the day, while each of Zarc’s fragments all started living their own lives, the core of their very existence is a piece of Zarc’s soul, therefore they are a part of him that makes him for who he is, as well as a piece of who he was. If we were to label which personality of Zarc’s each boy was supposed to represent, then we get a gist who Zarc was before he was driven into madness.

Yuuya: The Playful, and Self-Doubt.
He is the part of Zarc who wished to bring happiness. He was someone who always had a bright outlook on life and on others, but was prone to doubting his own abilities when things got tough.

Yuuto: The Calm and The Skeptic.
Yuuto has always served as the voice of reason. We saw this with his interactions with Shun, being his rock when the guy was too hot-headed for his own good. Most likely due to the invasion, he had became skeptic, reluctant of trusting others and questioned their intentions.

Yuugo: The Passionate.
From the surface, Yuugo and Yuuya share a lot in common with their overall personality, but when you try to dig deeper to see what makes them different, it becomes a bit tricky to figure out. This is only because he was the one of the two boys with the least amount of screen-time, and when he was on screen, he has been reduced to a running gag (which quickly grew old). So with the little amount of time he had, the one thing we did see from Yuugo consistently was his passion. Among the four boys, Yuugo seems to have the most passionate personality. He was a character who was always bursting with emotions. From enthusiasm, love, despair, and anger. He was incredibly passionate with his adoration towards Rin, the D-Wheel they had built together, as well as the dream they shared.

Yuuri: The Madness, and The Lonely
Like Yuugo, Yuuri had also been sorely neglected of necessary screen-time to further develop and establish depth to his character. The sides of Yuuri we often saw were the bored, the unamused and the psychopath. He embodies the characteristics of Zarc’s inner darkness. He harbours the personality that brought forth the destruction of humanity. Yuuri would always win, there was no one to defeat him, and at that point, he decided he was going to card everyone in the world, leaving him the last man standing. It’s very much the same idea Zarc had but on a much smaller scale. This trek to self-destruction was rooted by the fact because of his incredible power, he became feared upon and isolated, and thus was lonely because of it. In a sense, one could say both Yuuri and Zarc were driven to this point by their despair of being unable to be stopped. It is the outcome of the ill fate that followed when they appealed to those who desired such destruction. (Zarc received the wishes for more violence by the audience, and Yuuri received encouragement as well orders to card people from the Professor).

When you put all of these personalities together, it provides a bit of an inside look of who Zarc used to be before he became the Supreme Dragon King. This is why I think it is they missed a really cool opportunity that would have provided such an epic development in the story, as well for the characters. It is because we now know, the boys were meant to become one again, with the last one standing to serve as their main host. However they could have pushed the envelope further, by making it so rather than the host having the privilege to essentially return to the life they were living, make it so the one who survived (in this case, Yuuya), their body would serve as a vessel of the essential rebirth of Zarc. This would would give Zarc the fresh start he needs, especially when was defeated as the Supreme King, this time was not split up like the last time (which was weird given the the results was supposed to repeat what had happened in the past, but I will get to that in a bit…)
This kind of development could have created quite a dramatic impact. I think it could have been quite fun to see Yuuya inherit the personalities, which would result carving a very different character of who he used to be. The progress of his evolution would have been quite a journey, one that would carry the burden of the loss of self-identity, as he forges a new destiny for Zarc.

But, if they were absolutely against this idea, I am more surprised they didn’t just go with the same concept as ARC-V’s manga (completely different to the anime series), where Yuuya still served as the main host, but Yuuto, Yuugo and Yuuri at the very least had the ability to be themselves, as well as use their own decks.


The Fragments Part II: The Girls

Then we have the girls, and their roles as Akaba Ray’s Fragments.
Ray is the character who appeared pretty much out of nowhere at the very last possible minute. She is Akaba Leo’s long lost daughter, and is the reason why the Professor decided to embark on this stupid ass Revival Zero plan in the first place. The most frustrating part about this concept was the fact the only hint we had, with the girls having any sort of connection with the boys were the fact, they were the only ones with that existed counterparts in these other realms, and that the bracelets had some sort of connection with both the boys and their dragons. It was as early as episode 18 and further followed by by Episode 40.

Each bracelet represented a magic card that was used to ultimately defeat Zarc. En Flowers (Yuzu), En Moon (Serena), En Wind (Rin), En Birds (Ruri). The girls’ (subconscious) roles were said to stay close to Zarc’s fragments in order to prevent them from meeting and becoming whole again. This is why we saw whenever Yuzu was at the scene, her bracelet constantly teleporting the one of the boys elsewhere when the other one drew near. Unfortunately we never got to see the rest of the girls’ bracelets do the same.

Frankly speaking, I am not certain of what could have been a better approach to the girls’ being put back together to become Ray again. At least with Zarc’s fragments, the groundwork had been properly establish, so we understand how it would work and what the outcome was supposed to be. But with the girls, it was not prepared at all. There was no support whatsoever to back-up these new developments taking place. Instead it only created a bigger mess, and nothing good came out of it. In fact, just when we thought it couldn’t possibly get worse, they make another stupid ass decision, by making it so Reira ends up hijacking the roles of the girls. How so? They made Reira, Ray’s Whisperer and for some stupid reason, Ray couldn’t manifest a god damn body- EVEN THOUGH THE GIRLS EACH HAD A GOD DAMN BODY!!! Seriously, this makes my blood boil. This should have never happened. Reira, should have NEVER, been a apart of this. If one is to bring everything to a full circle, you follow the circle, NOT GO OUTSIDE OF IT. I don’t know if Reira’s role had to happened because they fucked up so bad because of the production problems, or they just fucked up. Either way, it’s a lose lose situation, and the girls had to pay the heaviest price for it.

The Fall of ZARC

Of all the terrible things that had happened in this series, the final battle against Zarc was the biggest disappointed of them all. It was the one thing we were all looking forward to, the impending return of the Supreme Dragon King – only to watch five episodes of utterly pointless battles that ended up being led up to the one thing we did not want to see, Reira being the one to take him down.

Furthermore, it made absolutely no sense for Reira to have “absorbed” Zarc and his inner darkness because Reira did not inherit Zarc’s fragments, which are the actual building blocks for making his soul whole again. If there were some demon possessing Zarc, then yeah, I would get it, but that’s not the case because what drove Zarc into madness was the decisions he had made, while being influence by others. He had chosen to be the violent and cruel king. He chosen that path because the audience desired it, so he made their wish a reality. On top of that, when the special magic cards were used once more, for some odd reason, this time round, Zarc’s fragments were not split up and sent back to their respective realms. (Had they done so, the boys and girls could have very well all returned to their daily lives). So it makes absolutely no sense how the outcome had changed. And if you were to follow the logic of how Zarc was not split up again, technically speaking Yuuya is the newly reborn Zarc, and the one they are looking at with Reira is not the same threat, but simple bullshit because nobody fucking cared about anything making sense anymore.

Make Reira Smile Again


Now this, THIS is the one thing that I cannot overlook nor will ever bring myself accept. God, they got some nerve to do this. What the fuck were they thinking? First of all, this like I had just pointed out in the above, should have never been a thing. I cannot put into words just how infuriating it was for me to have to listen to Yuuya and the others go on and on and on like it was supposed to be important, as if it mattered.

Well spoiler alert, it didn’t nor did any of us care. Not one of us cared about Reira not being able to smile meaning the time bomb to the revival or Zarc – like what the fuck. IT DIDN’T EVEN MAKE SENSE TO BEGIN WITH, SO WHY ROLL WITH IT?! ARG! You know what mattered? Yuzu, and her fellow sisters! The fact they actually went as far to make it so Reira’s smile was more important to Yuuya than finding Yuzu was an absolute disgrace, insult, and disrespect to both Yuuya’s and Yuzu’s character. Those two are extremely close, and it makes it incredibly out of character for Yuuya to think of Reira most importantly than Yuzu.

Action Cards

Action Cards were a new feature introduced in ARC-V as a part of Action/Entertainment Duels. Practically speaking, this feature was really meant to serve as a wild card to create interesting combos. Originally, right in the beginning of the series, Action Cards had both good cards, and bad cards. However the ‘bad cards’ (which would end up punishing the player who picks it up) were quickly scrapped altogether and never seen again. Looking back, I think this was a mistake to scrap this because without a risk, it permits players (like Yuuya) to senselessly abuse it as a ‘Bail Out’ card. It ends up negatively affecting the growth of the duelist because they become dependent on it by utilizing it as the easy way out of a bad situation. Also, by making it a risk, it would make it so characters would have to carefully consider whether or not it is worth the risk to pick it up when they are in a pinch. And lastly, rather than using it simply for the shits and giggles (which is how the bad Action Cards has debuted as), it would have also added an interesting dynamic to the Action Duels.

Internal Conflicts during Production

It was no secret that there was some sort of internal conflict taking place during the production. At Episode 112 I had my suspicions something was amiss, and felt the series was heading in a bad direction. By Episode 130, it became incredibly evident that nobody knew what was going on anymore, and the series continued rapidly deteriorate even further. This concern was later confirmed in December 2016, when a tweet came out from one of ARC-V’s animators, complaining how they are not given proper instructions of what needs to be drawn, because nobody knew what was going on (or appear there were a struggle make an agreement). It was so bad, there were endless contradictions, the characters were running in circles doing nothing, and there was whole lot of stupid decisions being made. It was Episode 130 when I grimly acknowledged this series was not going to end well. A couple of good episodes followed, but before long, it was back on track to its ultimate demise. At that point it was very clear the staff had long given up on salvaging the series, and leaving fans utterly heartbroken by their lack of effort to make the best of the remaining episodes.

Sometimes I wonder to myself if did the ones leading this show even cared about this series. Every single character born from ARC-V was neglected of their development in favor of something stupid. It felt as though the characters were not loved, or cherished in any shape or form. There were episodes you could tell based on the writer who was responsible for it for their affection and their effort to create something good. But in the end, it was not enough, and they never got a chance to untapped the series true potential.

So it is an understatement to say, the decision to feature Cameos from the Past was one of the biggest mistake they made. As soon as these characters showed up, ARC-V started to fall apart. This one stupid decision, wounded up being directly responsible for the catastrophic consequences affecting everything else. And once they continued to roll with it, (even when it was hurting the series) there was no going back. The damage has already been done.


Characters & Development: Progression, Regression

It goes without saying, the Internal Conflicts during Production ended up significantly having a negative on many of the characters and their development. And not one single character came out of this unscathed.

Yuuya: Admittedly, I think I was trying to convince myself that Yuuya had any form of decent character development. I was pretty much grasping straws at his potiential. Yuuya did undergo some major character growth, but the problem was that it never came to fruition. Over the course of his journey, he was dragged into a dimensional warfare, and went through so much pain and betrayal, that he learned his naive ideals of bringing peace was going to need a different approach. It did him no favour that the villains he had to face were so easy to flip to the good side, it was laughable. Even by the end of the series, after having become Zarc and hurt so many, his character regressed, instead of realizing after all he has been through, he needs to come out stronger than ever. This is one of the reasons why I think plan in regards of Zarc’s fragments should have been handled differently.  The other thing that bugged me throughout the series was the fact Yuuya never broke out of that bad habit of his to rely on Action Cards as his bailout cards. It would have benefited his growth as a duelist to learn not to depend on them when he is in a pinch, but to use them to creatively to create new combos like some of the other characters. While he had done a bit of that in the finale, I wished we had seen more of it much, much earlier in the series. In return, it would have helped us believe Yuuya is on the right path of becoming an excellent duelist.

Yuzu: Her best days were literally the first fifty episodes. After that, she has been more or less subbed out and put onto the bench in turn for Selena, and then later removed from the picture altogether. Yuzu was also one with incredible amount of potential. Her main role in the series was to string the plot together during the time the plot had been avoiding Yuuya for the longest time. She was the one to investigate, take the initiative and be actively involved in stopping the conflicts, and communicating what is going on. It is thanks to her that Selena had been saved early on, by being brought under the wings of the Lancers. She has also made several attempts to warn people of Academia’s impending invasion. She was a girl on a mission. But by forcibly separating her from the group, they made no attempts to make her more active when she was trekking solo. As result of this, Yuzu’s impact on the plot became very minimal, and she was left to her own devices of trying to figure out a way to reunite with her friends, while also hiding from the enemy.I would have loved to see Yuzu evolved further as a duelist, even more so, I would have loved to have seen a finale with her and Yuuya doing an Entertainment Duel together, as I think we only got to see them duel once, or maybe three times max? Either way, they should have duelled with and between other more often.

Reiji: Sometimes I wonder why Reiji’s character even exists. From start to finish, Reiji pretty much just sat on his hands and did absolutely nothing to contribute to the fight against Academia. No really. He didn’t do shit. He has a loud mouth, but that’s about it. He never walked the talk, and even had the nerve to judge and criticize other characters. It is laughable how this guy was supposed to be perceived as the Lancers’ Leader. He did nothing to bring the group together, did nothing to establish an actual game plan, did nothing to contribute to their efforts, and did nothing to help them get back on track when they were caught up in the Synchro Realm’s civil unrest. His character was unbelievably poorly written, and I don’t think he had even grown the slightest since day 1.

Reira: I still don’t know what this kid’s gender is supposed to be. One minute he’s a boy, the next he’s a girl- I pretty much given up trying to figure it out. Reira was one of the rare ones who had actually undergone believable character growth. In the beginning of the series, Reira was pretty an empty soul who followed orders from Reiji. She suffers from PTSD, and is a survivor from the time when Zarc was running rampage. Throughout the series, Reira learned how to forge her own identity, create a will of her own and have the courage to make her own decisions. But then everything changed when they made her into Ray’s Whisperer. You will see me say this a bazillion times in this article, but I will say it again: THIS SHOULD HAVE NEVER HAPPENED.

Gongenzaka: The Man of Steadfast Duel. He was the cool under fire dude, who’s style involved  the absolute refusal to pick up Action Cards – until the very end of the series when the writers decided to say, “WHO CARES~” and winged it. He was one of the main characters who were sorely neglected in favour of Cameos from the Past. Being benched so often and so early on did no favours to him. It is hard to say whether or not Gongenzaka had undergone remotely any development at all, because he like Reiji, looked and behaved more or less the same as he had since the beginning of the series.

Sawatari: God damn it. Sawatari was one of the key characters I wanted to see shine. This arrogant egomaniac with seven lives had come so far. SO DAMN FAR. He cared for nothing but himself, stole people’s cards, your typical school-yard bully, weak and without a style of his own – and by the end of the series, he learned that well shit the world doesn’t revolve around him and managed to create his own unique entertainment style. It was so infuriating to see Sawatari be benched in turn for cameos from the past. The fact they even took away his duel-disk until the boss fight made me want to rip my hair out. I was looking forward to him fighting Zarc, but didn’t even get a chance to shine.  See, Sawatari acting like the little shit he is, getting under people’s skin is the best possible thing he could do against Zarc. It was his ace up his sleeve. Unfortunately he never got the chance, and pretty much suffered the same fate as Yuzu, bench in favours of irrelevant characters that should have had nothing to do with this show.

Tsukikage: Everyone’s beloved Ninja was taken out almost immediately once they reached the Fusion Realm. He was everyone’s favourite ninja, and with his brother having been carded a hundred episodes earlier, it was essential for fans to have him to survive. He was one of those characters who was pretty shallow in terms of necessary development. His grudge against the one who had carded in brother in the first place (Sora) was put to rest once they duelled and he had decided to forgive him. With his stealthy ways, he was one of those characters who was always in the shadows, and had very little to say, but it goes without saying that many of us would have liked to had seen more of them. Hell, he was more useful to the group than Reiji ever had been (and that’s the guy he kept on reporting to, good for nothing leader).

Shun: Our beloved Angry Bird. Shun came a very long way, and was probably the one character who had undergone the most significant character development. In fact, he is probably the only one who had any sort form of complete growth. The only criticism I have was how his character reacted to the news of both his sister’s and best friend’s death. While they will live on in another, they are no longer part of his life. I did not find it believable for him to accept this fate so easily, and be happy about it. I would have liked to have seen him grieve their loss properly and then given they are still alive but in another form. They really shouldn’t have skipped that, but since they were attempting to cram everything on time for the finale, they clearly didn’t have the luxury of time to do so.

Sora: This two-faced double agent was quite an interesting character to say the least. I always knew Sora had a secret from the very beginning. It goes without saying that is was definitely one the most interesting characters of the Academia organization. After having attacked Yuuto and revealed his true alliance, Sora had to flee back to Academia and pretty much stayed there a prolong period of time. Among the characters, he was one of the lucky ones who was provided the opportunity for proper character development and a chance to redeem himself properly. Thank to Yuuya not giving up on him, Sora was able to make the difficult decision to switch sides and gain forgiveness from Tsukikage, for carding his brother.

Yuuto: Before Yuuto had merged with Yuuya, he was a cool character. One of the best things we got to see from him before he lost his physical body was his interaction with Yuzu. These two had quite some chemistry, so seeing the two of them interact was always something to look forward to. It was Yuuto who had provided Yuzu the information in regards of Academia, and about her own counterpart Ruri. Unfortunately his time was also short in this world, and he didn’t get any opportunities for further development, besides working alongside Yuuya. And speaking of which, it surprised me how long it took for Yuuto to finally communicate with Yuuya after having been absorbed by him. They shouldn’t have waited as long as they did. It was a loss of precious time to establish a greater connection and friendship with each other, as the first time they met, was when Yuuto and Yuugo were duelling, and Yuuya was trying to stop them.

Selena: I would say Selena is probably the third character with the most favourable experience of development. She has come a long way, from a cooped up prisoner believing Academia’s way is the right way, to recognizing Academia’s Crimes and wrongdoings, to learning how to be free again. Selena was a fairly uptight character, rough around the edges, but wasn’t entirely sure how to break out of that ‘soldier’ shell. It was a true delight to have seen her have so much fun at the friendship cup, and seeing her be free and have fun like that was the best memory we will ever have of her.

Dennis: Another two-faced double agent (seems to be Academia’s speciality). I never liked the guy to begin with, like Sora, I always knew something was off about him. Only when we learned of his true colours, it only made me hate him even more. (I absolutely Loved his deck though!) Once Dennis’ role as Academia’s mole was revealed, he threw away his playful act, and stuck with his twisted one. Later in the series we see Yuushou trying to persuade him to switch alliance, but Dennis, having been one of Yuushou’s students ended up taking his own life (by carding himself). He later returns in Heartland trying to make up for the damage he had done, by putting on performances and helping rebuild the ravaged community.

Yuushou: Disappeared for four years without a word, all to stop Leo’s plans of doing stupid shit. He really got the short end of the stick with the way he was written. It honestly made no sense for him to have even doubted Yuuya the slightest, they probably could have given him a better explanation and make better choices so that he wouldn’t look like a shitty dad. The one thing that they were able to do though was put on one hell of a performance with his duel against Yuuri. It was definitely one of the highlights during the time the series seemed was steaming rolling straight to hell.

The Neglected Counterparts

For a story that revolved around both Zarc’s and Ray’s Fragments, it is quite unexpected to see how their respective counterparts were badly neglected. Besides Yuuto’s and Selena’s minimal activity, Yuugo’s, Yuuri’s, Ruri’s and Rin’s their impact and active roles in the story were virtually non-existent. We didn’t get to learn about anything of them, especially Rin – we know absolutely nothing about her. Her character, is literally just a stand in doll. It’s baffling to me how we never even got to see her be herself. The one time she gets an entire episode to herself, she’s brainwashed and cruelly takes out Yuugo.

Take a moment to realize that this was the last time they saw each other.

That’s it. And let me just be clear, brief flashbacks does not count because all of that was in the past. We wanted to see present Rin in action. The most tragic part is, that in the end, she and Yuugo never got the chance to be truly reunited – because they both ended up killed off. And if you thought it couldn’t have possibly gotten worse? Yuugo was reduced to nothing more than a running gag. God damn it, he did not deserve that.

Actually now that I think of it, it is quite ironic how the Synchro Realm Fragments ended up with the short end of the stick. Gee, I wonder how that happened? Hm….

Ruri and Yuuri were given a tiny bit more screen-time than the other two, but still, neither gained enough time to showcase their characters.

Ruri was given the privilege to at the very least be able to resist the Parasite within her in order to communicate with her brother, Shun. And like Rin, we were only really able to see what kind she girl through memories. It was yet another case of a diamond left behind. There were several implication of both she and Yuuto were mutually in love with each other. Sadly, they left it at that, never attempting to expand on their special bond. God damn it, I know this show isn’t about romance, but if you are going to imply it- come on, at least roll with it. Ugh, and to think they rolled with a whole bunch of other stupid things instead of this…

Yuuri was the psychopath who liked to play with his food. Aside from being bored, he was pretty much batshit crazy all the time. There was no room or opportunity given to us to empathize with his character. The one thing we learned is that he was lonely growing up, and because he was isolated and he was too strong, he decided he was going to card every single person in the world!!!!! Yuuri’s character was linear, with no growth or decline. He was more or less the same till the very end, and I can count with one hand how many fights we actually see him in.

I think the most troubling part of all of this, is how despite all the mistakes staff had made… Not once did they ever attempt to make up for it – and they had plenty of time and opportunity to do so, but had deliberately made the decision not to. So why in the world was this not a priority? Why was there no attempt to make it so they could all be a part of the story? Did they even try at all? Probably not. Not enough time? Bullshit. There is no excuse for this error. I genuinely would like to know who is responsible for this mistake, because it really took this series down a notch.

Badass Girls, a Taboo?

I just don’t get it, I simply cannot wrap my head around why it’s seems to be a taboo to have badass girls in the spotlight- let alone more than one at any event. It’s not the end of the world to have female main characters in a shounen series!!!

To add insult to injury, Yuzu is supposed to be the main character, and much like Izayoi Aki from 5DS, she soon enough suffered from the same problem. (One which I had hoped early on the in the series, would learn from their previous mistakes with 5DS… and boy, I couldn’t have been more wrong.)  Yuzu could be considered lucky to have been active for as long as she did, because aside from Selena… Ruri and Rin didn’t even get so much of a chance to even actively participate in the story. These girls, who we seen through brief flashbacks of how awesome they were, were reduced to a princess who was trapped in a tower, only instead of being saved, met their demise. Look, just because they are girls, does not mean it’s going to ruin the show. Instead, these girls had the opportunity, to make it even better. And not to mentioned the audience LOVED them – that’s why people are so pissed off of how they were treated.

I don’t know about you, but I honestly expected the girls, or Yuzu at the very least, to be the one to fight Zarc at the very end. I always thought that it only made sense for them to do so. This way everything comes to a full circle, but only this time, it’s different because of the relationship both the girls and the boys had with each other. That kind of distinction was something that should had not been be ignored. But alas, they decided nah, let’s just go with Reira and this half-assed fight.

But what really blows my mind is: Why bother making badass characters if you’re just going to make them helpless, passive characters. It only causes regression to their development. It only sets the audience up for disappointment. If you’re going to create badass characters, you hard commit to it till the very end.

The joke is on the staff members who made these stupid decisions and allowed it to follow through. Because in the end, it was the characters they have chosen to virtually replace them who came back to haunt them.

The Joke of the Villains

So let’s talk about the villains. The joke is really on them, because they are hands down the worst villain I have seen in the a very, very long time.

Akaba Leo, the Professor: And the award for Worst Villain of the Ever goes to… THE PROFESSOR~
This motherfucker is so poorly written, I wish he didn’t even exist. His motives, his course of actions, everything about him is utter crap. There’s no sugarcoating it. It’s beyond me how they thought this was acceptable, and it’s infuriating to know how his character and the way he was written, ended up negatively affecting everything in this series like a god damn plague. So here’s a little backstory. Basically this guy had retained his memories from Zarc’s apocalypse and decided he was going to search for his long lost daughter, and if he can’t find her, he will just revive her. And his attempt to revive her came at the expense of peace.
In fact, this motive of his make no freaking sense at all, because at the end of the day he did the one thing he wanted to avoid, reviving the Supreme Dragon King, Zarc. His course of actions in order to accomplish this, contradicts everything. It was so bad, that we are basically forced to assume, it was a deliberate decision to make this villain so fucking stupid, has tunnel vision goggles on and could care less about the consequences which will follow, so as long as he gets his daughter back. His selfish plan involved created Academia, to manipulate a bunch of kids to go out and invade realms in order to card people for the great Utopia (which was utter BS). Then they were to return the cards to him, when then he would use the use people’s energies trapped in those said cards in attempt to revive his daughter. So basically he decided he’ll kill a bunch of people, even though there was no guarantee it would even work. And because he interfered with the peace that had been established in the new worlds, this makes him the one to blame for Zarc’s revival. Zarc ended up reviving because the Proffessor ordered the kidnapping of Yuzu, Ruri, Rin. Little did he know, Yuuya, Yuuto and Yuugo all traveled across the realms, just to find them so they could bring them home, which as result allowed them to meet and merge once together again.

The stupidity is strong in this one.

The Tyler Sisters: What the fuck were they thinking? They blew this one, really, really badly. The only thing that was great about Grace and Gloria, were their fabulous character design. Seriously I would cosplay that – IF THEIR CHARACTERS WEREN’T BUTCHERED FOR THE SAKE OF RUSHING THE PLOT!!!!!!! We jump into the XYZ Realm, and there we are introduced what initially perceived as new super badass villains. However much to my dismay, simply after watching Yuuya’s performance, they jump onto the good guys bandwagon. Tch, what a waste.

Edo Phoenix: He is just as bad as the Tyler Sisters as he flipped just as fast. Nuff said.

Jean Rogers: Among all the villains, Jean Rogers was probably the strongest one of all. At least his genius plans actually made sense, and he behaved like a true villain with legit motives. Awkward moment is when the secondary villain was written better than the main.

Yuuri: Neglected, never given any time to shine. As mentioned before, you can count with your hands how often he appeared in the series. Of all the main villains, he had the second to last amount of screentime.

Dennis: Probably the only villain that actually got any decent amount of screen-time. He was a pretty twisted villain. Though I don’t like the guy, I will say this: he was given better treatment than Yuuri. Welp, well that’s awkward.

ZARC: Long story short, the guy was invincible and could only be defeated thanks to magic cards. He didn’t even get a proper backstory.

The Curse of Cameos from the Past

With the existing settings of the Synchro Realm (5DS), Heartland (Zexal) and Academia (GX), they brought back one or two characters from each series. However, despite the fact the settings and characters have appeared in previous series, they switched it up by making it so they were an alternative universe of the existing settings. And sure enough, this decision ended up backfiring as well.

The following cameos from the past were:

Synchro Realm: Jack and Crow
Heartland: Kaito
Fusion Realm/Academia: Edo Phoenix, Asuka

And if I may be so frank, bringing back characters from the past was the biggest mistake they made in the entire series. Anyone who had been following my coverage of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5DS and ARC-V knows that the one character I cannot stand is Crow, from 5DS. There is nothing wrong with his character per say, but goodness gracious, I can’t help but have a negative association to him. This is all because of somebody’s obsession, and how they choose to plug him into the story. They had this exact problem in 5DS, (which resulted Aki being demoted to a passive secondary character), and repeated it yet again in ARC-V. They have learned absolutely nothing from their mistakes – all because of their bloody obsession/favoritism with Crow. Only this time, the results were even more catastrophic because it impacted more than one character. Only this time there were multiple casualties, ie: Yuzu, Ruri, Rin, Selena, Yuutpo, Yuugo and Yuuri… And the list goes on.

Of course Crow isn’t the sole cameo to blame, (he is just an example of a mistake from the past), the rest of the cameos were just as much at fault. Jack, Kaito, Edo, Asuka (well… she is hardly to blame because among the five came ons from the past as she had the least amount of screentime, (and yet they still butchered her character, along with Edo)). The worse part about the cameos even being added to the series was the fact THEY PARTICIPATED IN THE BOSS FIGHT.


Of course there is nothing wrong per say to bring back characters from the past for a brief appearance, but to make it so they replace the original characters of ARC-V? Now that is unacceptable.

What happened in the past, Stays in the past. Jack, Crow, Kaito, Edo (Asuka excluded because she wasn’t part this particular event) all had their chance to shine in their respective series. ARC-V was not their series.

And this, perhaps may have been related to the internal conflict taking place during the production.

Too many Irrelevant Characters

Of all the arcs, again it was the Synchro Arc that introduced way. Too. Many. Characters. JFC. And 99% of them were incredibly annoying, served no real purpose to help progress the plot and we just wanted them to disappear ASAP. But no they pretty much stuck around for all fifty bloody episodes. As I mentioned earlier, there were well over a dozen of them!

The Fusion Arc/Academia is the next and final culprit to this particular problem. They introduced a bunch of unnecessary Academia soldiers, when really what they should have done was focus and use the Academia Characters that had we have seen before, and if it was absolutely required, should have introduced and properly establish new characters earlier on. Having the fight against Battle Beast (the whole thing was a fiasco) and its conclusion was basically Yuuya shitting rainbows and unicorns with his SMILE Mission he had decided to embark on. Bringing out these useless characters only hindered the series.

The Best of ARC-V

Everyone has their own preference of when ARC-V shined the brightest. In my view, the highlight of the series was hands down the Miami Championship Tournament that took place between Episode 29 – 51. Though they aired almost three years ago to this day, they remain the most vivid in my memories. The events that took place during these episode was what made me realize the amazing potential in this series.

My personal individual favourites were Episode 69 (my bias for Yuzu being a badass), Episode 117 (one I had wished they had a better follow up to that incident), Episode 125, (simply because Berserk Yuuya is always fun and epic to watch) and Episode 134 and Episode 135 (it was sheer insanity, also the animation during those episodes, were hands down, the best of the entire series on point).

Final Judgement

In the end, Is ARC-V the new worst of the Yu-Gi-Oh! series franchise? It is up to you to make that call.
Despite the fact this series ended up as a train-wreck, I won’t go as far as to say it is now the worse Yu-Gi-Oh! Series of all time. ARC-V started off on a very high note, the first fifty episodes were its strongest. At the time, I was convinced it was going to be my new favourite. And in a way, it is still close to it. It was only when they dragged out the Synchro Realm arc for far too long, and spent to little time in Heartland that was when it fell into disrepair. Even then, the worst of the series would only happen by Episode 130 and onward (with a few exceptions).  Though the characters were unfairly treated, I for one, loved them dearly. It was because I saw them all brimming with untapped potential. They were a hidden gem waiting to be polished. For whatever reason, be it production woes, or poor choice of priority… in the end their potential were not realized. I think it is because of the promise this series held, dissuades me from claiming it to being the worst one of them all. Regardless of its horrendous flaws and abusive treatment it has received from the production team due to internal conflicts, and how it broke my heart… At the end of the day, I still love ARC-V. Not for its outcome, but for the characters and the the story of this series I had fallen in love with. Yuuya will always be my precious puppy, Yuzu will always be my queen, their respective counterparts will always be remembered for all that they could have been in my heart, the concept of the ZARC’s fragments being divided into different realms, his dragons seeking out each other to make him whole again. Maybe, just maybe, had there been no production woes, ARC-V’s true potential could have been realized and could have ended differently. In all, ARC-V is a show that will make you feel  the mixed emotions of happiness, sadness and frustration. It is up to you whether you wish to take that journey, to see all what it sincerely, could have been.

I would like to take a moment to thank you all for be a part of the journey with me. Now we will be embarking on a new adventure with YGO VRAIN! See you then! <3


Blogging Anime since Summer 2009, & Founder of AngryAnimeBitches Anime Blog

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29 Responses

  1. Wilfredo Sifr Starduster says:

    A long journey of 3 years ended in utter heartbreak. Arc V, with its emphasis on “Duels are for Entertainment and Smiles”, was the Yugioh anime I’ve grown most attached to (even more that 5D’s), which is why I’m really mad that it crashed and burned harder than all four of its predecessors. I mean even ZEXAL ended on a high note with the unresolved “new conflict” due to the merging of both Astral & Barian Worlds, and Kotori actually “confessed” to Yuma, which was the ONLY good thing she had done in that show, but at least they wrapped things up properly to give everyone a happy sendoff. DM, GX and 5D’s all finished with everyone going their separate ways, which allowed them to move on with their lives and pursue their dreams as they matured into adults. Arc V, nuff said, had the WORST Yugioh ending ever with so many plot holes and loose ties completely left unfinished. To make it worse, SIX OF THE YUTAGONISTS AND YU-WAIFUS ARE DEAD, ONLY YUYA AND YUZU GET TO LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER. This is why I had no smile on face even though Yuya and Yuzu are finally reunited, at the expenses of the lives of their counterparts. Even that “reunion” scene was simply garbage, I mean even their reunion moment in Synchro arc was far more emotional than in the final episode! Arc V, despite its bright start, slumped and hit rock bottom, and will forever be remembered with its abysmal writing which led to a notoriously messy plot, sheer neglecting of other more colourful characters, joke villains (even though ROGER was the most competent of them all) and THE NON-STOP HAILING OF THE EGAO MESSIAH TOMATO AS THE ONLY CHARACTER THAT EXISTED IN THE WHOLE UNIVERSE WITH HIS INFALLIBLE TEACHINGS OF EGAO AND ENDLESS ACTION CARD SPAMS EVEN THOUGH HIS “CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT” GOT TOTALLY THROWN OUT THE WINDOW. Seriously, Yuya is, without a doubt, one of the worst and the most hated characters in Arc V.

    My final verdict of the 5 Yugioh animes: 5D’s > GX > DM > Arc V =/> ZEXAL (I & II)

    • Eva says:

      It is truly the series that broke ours hearts ; A ; Smiles, what smiles? How could we possibly smile in this situation?

      Ugh i know right – not just ZEXAL, but even in 5DS, Aki and Yusei had the silent confession (YOU CANNOT TELL ME OTHERWISE). Yuuya and Yuzu should’ve got to hug at the very least! AND EVERYONE ELSE IS DEAD. TT ___TT It’s not fair…

  2. 75chaosflare says:

    I’ll just say at best, once after finishing the Standard arc, fan-fiction would be much better than what happened afterwards.

    Whether people call it bad or not is mainly opinion based which there’s nothing wrong with. In my honest opinion, I just find it the weakest spinoff in the franchise for many reasons.

    It could be known for being even worse because unlike the others including the new one Kazuki Takashi had no involvement whatsoever with ARC-V nor never mentions it before which could imply a lot of things.

    • Eva says:

      I don’t always agree with this, but under these circumstances, POST-STANDARD ARC: Fanfiction > Original Script :\

  3. aramire77 says:

    You said almost exactly everything that I want to say that I don’t really have much to comment. I feel sorry for the animators who had done their best with the animation but not only the story was poorly executed, they also got low pay like all animators in Japan in general even after the overworks. Nevertheless, I’ve also learned many things from this series. If I may tell my personal individual favourite from one arc to another, I would choose:

    Standard Dimension: Episode 45 (Zarc-Yuya here smiling evilly was so cool while also kept standing from the attacks!)
    Synchro Dimension: Episode 84-85 (Even though she lost, Serena has done great here, especially this shows her growth)
    Xyz Dimension: Episode 107-108 (Tyler Sisters are badass here, and Yuya also did a pretty wonderful Duel)
    Fusion Dimension: Episode 132-135 (Kensho Ono did a marvellous amazing job in all those four episodes as both Yuya and Yuri, and his role as Yuri and Yuri’s own character really shines bright during those episodes)
    Final Arc: Episode 144 (The most amazing Entertainment Duel in the final arc more than other Duels, the best after the Zarc battle)

    This is one YGO series that I definitely will never forget, especially the characters.

    Looking forward for your VRAINS review in May, Eva! Good Luck! :D

    • Eva says:

      I pity the animators the most. Ever since I learned about how horribly paid they are when they are truly given the most difficult work, it’s beyond me how they are the ones with the lowest salary. They truly did a phenomenal job with this show. ; A ;

  4. aramire77 says:

    This is my version of the Final Arc that I think could improve the series:

    After Zarc is revived, Reira heard from Ray that her resurrection was incomplete not only because the life energies are insufficient, but Edo, Sora, and Gongenzaka’s interference also partly the cause of it. Reiji and Reira looks for Leo like in the story. Shun, Dennis, Kachidoki, and Sawatari evacuating the townspeople.

    The two-vs-one Duels are:

    1. Shun & Dennis vs. Zarc: Shun tries to reach out for Yuto and Yuya. He tries to remind Yuto of the times their spent together with Shun having flashbacks of those times and reminds Yuya of how he has changed theheart of people in the City. Dennis also tries to reach out not only for Yuya, but also Yuri, now remembering that the face Yuri was making while dueling when he was a child was similar to that of Yuya when he is having fun in his entertainment duel, now realizing how Yuri used to be, Dennis tries to remind Yuri of his old self. Unfortunately, they are defeated.
    2. Sora & Kachidoki vs. Zarc: Both Sora and Kachidoki tries to remind Yuya of how he has helped and changed them for the better. Sora reminds Yuya how he is his first true friend. Kachidoki reminds Yuya how he has freed him from the Zanpakuto teaching and taught him how fun dueling can be. They were also defeated in the end.
    3. Sawatari & Gongenzaka vs. Zarc: Gongenzaka tries to remind Yuya like in the story. Sawatari tries to remind both Yuya and Yugo of their respective duels with him and the times they have spent together in Heartland before marching to Academia. They got defeated as well.
    4. Leo tries to use the four cards against Zarc, and able to deal some damage before he got defeated and the En cards destroyed. (His defeat is not as immediately as in the story).

    Reira meets Ray at the ARC-V Reactor core together with Edo whom Reiji has asked to watch Reira when meeting on the way. Learning that Ray needs at least one more life energy to be revived, Edo offer his life energy for Ray to use under condition that Ray promise to save Yuya’s soul. Ray promised and Edo threw himself into the core to revive Ray. Fully revived, Ray and Reira together challenges Zarc seconds before his attack could defeat Reiji, Reira protecting Reiji with a trap card. Before dueling, Ray tells her father how she never wished for this to happen and he should have left the dimensions stayed separated. She also reveals that she and Zarc actually knew each other when they were still alive in the United World, and she loved Zarc at that time as she watched his dueling but their relationship became strained when Zarc started to get suffered and corrupted by the spectators’ demands for violent duel. This also revealed that Yusho’s conclusion that the girls are reborn close to the boys is to prevent Zarc’s revival was false, rather, they were reborn close to the boys due to Ray’s wish to be with the kind and innocent Zarc that she once loved. Reiji passed the Pendulum pendant to Ray who is determined to free Zarc from his hatred once and for all and the three Akaba siblings work together to Duel.
    Inside Zarc, Yuya, Yuto, Yugo, and Yuri are trapped inside their ideal illusionary worlds created by Zarc to ensure they won’t resist his control, but he excludes the girls’ existences. Yuya, Yuto, and Yugo able to free themselves with Yuzu, Ruri, and Rin’s souls helping them after Ray sent their souls to them like she did with herself to Reira before. Yuri, however, refuse to leave with Serena, leading to a metaphysical rematch while Yuya and co watching them. During the Duel, they able to sense Yuri’s inner loneliness as Yuri lashes out his jealousy and envy towards his counterparts who have everything he doesn’t, questioning why he is the only one in different situation even though they are originally the same person. Realizing that all his actions and obsession to become one are Yuri’s way to cope with his loneliness, Yuya decided to intrude to help Serena and both determined to defeat Yuri and get him out. During the Duel, Serena used Yuri’s own words against him: “If I win, you have to listen to what I say” (what Yuri said to Ruri and Yuzu before dueling them). After he was defeated, Serena tells Yuri her order: she wants Yuri to give his life to her so she can show and teach him the fun and happiness in life she has experienced, something that surprise the others. Serena also adds she will watch over Yuri to atone for his sins. Yuya fully supported Serena and while he admit that he still hasn’t forgiven Yuri for what he had done, just getting revenge on Yuri won’t solve anything and Yuri still has a chance to atone and change, a chance that Yuya doesn’t want to take from Yuri. This amuse Yuri, who tell them that he still thinks the thought of carding everyone and become the strongest is delightful, but found Serena and Yuya’s declaration even more interesting. He agrees to help them, but warn if they bored him, he will return to his original goal.
    Back to reality, Ray tried to use the En cards to defeat Zarc again. However, Zarc learned from his first defeat and activated a counter trap that even though he lost his Xyz-Fusion-Synchro attributes it negated his monsters’ destruction and damage, preventing the Supreme King Dragon and the Servant Dragons from being destroyed. Zarc then also proceeded to once again destroy the En Cards with Reiji and Reira sacrificing themselves to protect Ray. Yuya’s Pendulum pendant glowed and turned Ray’s monsters in her hand into a Pendulum Monsters. She summoned her monster and used its effect to separate Yuya, Yuto, Yugo, and Yuri from Zarc’s body (each boy is in their own separate body while the girls are back into Ray’s body). Yuya and co then assisted Ray in fighting Zarc, not before Ray returning Yuya’s pendant. Yuya and his counterparts eventually managed to get back the En Cards form the Graveyard. Yuya use En Flowers, Yuto use En Birds, Yugo use En Winds, and Yuri use En Moon and then use their dragons to destroy Zarc’s corrupted Servant Dragons. As Zarc is finally weaken, Ray delivers the finishing blow with her new Pendulum Monster. Zarc still won’t let go of his hatred. Ray and her reincarnations have decided to sacrifice themselves so that Zarc cannot be revived again and Ray think it’s better this way before Zarc can do more than he already has, but Yuya, who doesn’t want to lose them, pushed them away at the last second and absorb Zarc’s evil soul into his own body again.
    Yuya awakes to find himself in a shared mind space with Zarc who is in the form of a black spirit. Zarc intend to expel Yuya and seize control of his body again. He will allow Yuya some space in mind so he can watch the humanity’s end and then never again will anyone caused him pain and the process will grant him peace. Yuya argue with Zarc’s conclusion, doing so won’t bring the peace he wants but will only lead to emptiness for him. He also add that part of the reason why Zarc suffered so much was because Zarc himself bottled up his pain and sadness alone instead of sharing them with Ray or even with his own monsters, who also felt guilty for not doing anything even though they knew the path he was walking. Yuya tells him no matter how strong someone is, there are times they require help to overcome something. Zarc persists that only foolish humans fall for such pathetic words and Yuya was being naïve. However, Yuya retorts by questioning why Zarc start dueling in the first place, which remind Zarc of his first meeting with Ray and the first time he communicates with Duel Monster spirits. Yuya repeats what Ray told them that each of Zarc’s reincarnations embodies him. Yuya, being the embodiment of Zarc’s old self when he still purely enjoy dueling, tells Zarc to believe in him as it is the same as believing himself. Zarc agress to Yuya’s offer for co-existence, but Zarc warns him that the moment Yuya let his guard down, he will take over his body.
    Back in reality, everyone are worried that Yuya is not waking up no matter what they do. And so, they are relieved when Yuya awake. Yuya explains what happen inside the mindspace, and while most of his friends are objecting his decision, they relented after seeing Yuya won’t change his mind. Ray decide to split herself again. Leo begging her not to after they have finally reunited, but Ray tell him that each of her reincarnation has their own lives, memories, people who are waiting for them to return, and most of all future, and she has no intention to take their future for her own sake. She pleads her father to atone for what he had done and move on as her final wish. Bidding her father and everyone farewell, Ray split the dimensions and herself into four again, but her new Pendulum cards prevented her reincarnations to revert into infants and negate the bracelets’ powers.
    Despite everyone returning to their normal lives, Yuya knew he still needs to pacify Zarc’s vengeful soul inside him. Yuya decide to go to other dimensions to see how everyone are doing after the battle, and Yuzu also accompanying him. They first visit Heartland. Just like in the story, the citizens are traumatized, so Yuya and Yuzu decide to hold an Entertainment Tag Duel against Yuto and Ruri. During the Duel Yuya and Yuzu feel a reaction from within them. Yuya and Yuzu won and they restore the citizens’ love for dueling. Next, they go to Synchro Dimension where they found much to their relief the citizens are now truly living on equal status and new government has been formed with Jack’s help. After hearing before that Yuya won against Jack, Yugo challenges Yuya to a Duel for the title of Duel King (although unoficially). Seeing Yuya and Yugo started a childish prattle over Yugo’s reason, Yuzu and Rin also joining in, making it another Tag Duel. Reiji provides them with Dimension Highway so everyone in whole dimensions can watch their Riding Duel. While they were dueling, Yuzu and Rin are having a brief talk how Yuya and Yugo are very much alike. Yuya and Yuzu feel another reaction from within them. Yuya and Yuzu won the Duel, and Yugo promise that he will defeat him next time before Yuya and Yuzu depart to Fusion Dimension. In Fusion Dimension, Yuya and Yuzu finds Dennis, Sora, and Asuka teaching some of Academia students Entertainment Dueling with Serena dragging Yuri around to help with rebuilding and observe more Entertainment Dueling. Remembering his promise with Yuri, Yuya challenged Dennis and Sora to a Battle Royale Duel to show how fun duel can be without hurting nor carding anyone. However, Dennis instead pushed Yuri to duel Yuya, thinking it’s better for Yuri to experience it himself rather than just simply watching. Yuzu then for some reason want to do another Tag Duel again and Serena also decide to join because she is the one who made the promise with Yuri to begin with, beginning another Tag Duel between Yuya & Yuzu vs Yuri & Serena. After the Duel with another victory for the Pendulum pair, Yuri comes to understand what Yuya and his friends are trying to accomplish, but Yuri refuse to admit it out loud though he told them the Duel wasn’t bad, earning him a giggle from Yuya, Yuzu, Sora, and Asuka, an understanding smile from Serena, and a comical teasing jab from Dennis (causing him to receive a punch in the gut from Yuri). Embarassed in the inside, Yuri dragged Serena with him and left. Serena told him to let go, but Yuri reminds her of her own words that she will stay by his side to teach him the happiness in life. Serena let Yuri hold her while telling where they’ll go next.
    Yuya and Yuzu discuss the reactions they have felt and the urge to do Tag Duels with their counterparts. They concludes that Zarc and Ray’s souls inside them are reacting to the Duels and the ones urging them to do the Tag Duels. At the same time, Reiji decides to hold the continuation of Battle Royale Maiami Championship that has been cancelled before, inviting everyone who participated in the battle against Zarc to join as this was done to commemorate, and Reiji himself will also join the Duel, which means that anyone who defeat him will instantly received professional liscence. After a while, only Reiji and Yuya are left standing. While dueling, Yuya feels Zarc reacting more than before. Yuya eventually won the Duel and Reiji officially promoted him to professional duelist. As they were celebrating, Yuya’s pendant and the girls’ bracelets suddenly shining and everything is engulfed in light. Yuya and Yuzu found themselves facing Zarc and Ray. Zarc finally remember his true wish to bring happiness to everyone with his dueling and also his promise with Ray to Duel together once they reach the top. Zarc and Ray request for one last Tag Duel between them, a request that Yuya and Yuzu granted. Yuya and Yuzu, again, emerged victorious, and despite losing both Zarc and Ray nevertheless are satisfied now that both have finally found peace. Zarc and Ray thanked them for their help and then departed, assuring Yuya and Yuzu now everything that bind them to their previous lives has gone and now they can fully live their own lives. When the light dissipated, Yuya, Yuzu, and everyone are surprised to find ARC-V fully restored (the four dimensions became one again). The girls’ bracelets also suddenly disappeared following the union. Yuya and Yuzu takes this as a proof that the world is finally freed from Supreme King Dragon for good so it’s unnecessary for the world to remain split. Yuya and Yuzu thanked Zarc and Ray for one last time.
    The ending montage takes place a few months afterwards:
    1. Sora and Gongenzaka are helping Shuzo and the children welcoming new students applying for You Show Duel School.
    2. Sawatari is showing off with his three lackeys to new students in LDS during the supposed welcoming speech but then got interrupted by Masumi, Yaiba, and Hokuto who drags them away so Nakajima can take over (pre Reiji’s order).
    3. Kachidoki left Ryozanpaku Duel school to try joining Tsukikage and Hikage’s Duel school.
    4. Shun and Kaito are having a Tag Duel against the Tyler Sisters while the children are excited watching with Allen, Sayaka and Noro and some residents including their families.
    5. Crow is having a Riding Duel against Jack with Shinji, the children, and the rest of their friends cheering for them.
    6. Tokumatsu and Dennis holds a joint show of Entertainment Duel as a sign of friendship between the people from different dimensions who are still getting used with each other due to the newly united world.
    7. Edo is giving a speech during the ceremony of the official reopening of Academia, being appointed to become the new leader with Asuka and Barrett on his side. The now normal BB is among the students, wearing red Academia uniform.
    8. Yusho and Yoko are visiting the island where Leo is serving his exile sentence and find Reiji, Himika, and Reira also there conversing with Leo, trying to start over their family bond. Yusho then challenge Leo to a friendly duel like they usually did in their old days, which Leo accepts while Reiji and the others smiling watching them.
    9. Lastly but not the least, Yuya, Yuzu, and their counterparts are gathering in a memorial made by Reiji for Zarc and Ray. They then decide to take a photo together in front of the memorial, which resulted with a quite hectic photo when Yugo tried to stand out, Yuya and Rin tried to get him to be still but is worsen when Yuri pulled a little prank. Although the photo’s result is not as what expected, it nevertheless still clearly showing how happy they are with their lives in the present.

    Finally finished. I want to emphasize more on Zarc and Ray’s relationship as well as their reincarnations. I thought of it again, and in the end, I want Yuya to defeat Reiji after all. The thought of Yuya remaining never defeating Reiji even after his struggle and growth until the series end doesn’t sit well with me. Other than Roget, Sergey, and the Doctor, I really just can’t kill off other characters for some reason in this anime. Strange, if it’s other anime series, I’m not hesitating like this. I chose Yuri not immediately agreeing with Yuya and Serena’s ideal right after their Duel was because I think that will fit Yuri’s character more. I think it will be more make sense if Yuri learned it gradually instead of right at that moment. That’s why I made Yuri starting to understand what Yuya and Serena meant only after the Tag Duel and slowly open up his heart (And I personally prefer YuriSere pairing).
    Maybe this is too long, but I really couldn’t help but wanting to write all of it. Eva and everyone reading the post, I’m really sorry if my long post is bothering all of you. I promise this will be the last time.

    • The highest praise I can give your version of the Final Arc is that I found myself wishing the anime took a similar route. Yuri’s redemption with Serena and Yuya’s help, Yuya and Yuzu facing each of their counterparts to remind Zarc why he became an entertainer to begin with, the memorial for Zarc and Ray, the final duels, all of it was perfect. If I ever get round to writing a Fan Fiction about Arc-V, ideas similar to the ones you have brought forward will be implemented, that’s how good they are, with full credit going to you of course.

    • Yugioh Fan says:

      That whole tag team duels was brilliant, I never even considered it after Zarc’s defeat. I also feel the same way about killing off character in series like Pokemon and Yugioh, other series I don’t mind it too much like Sailor Moon or Dragon Ball, while I don’t mind them redeeming people, I still enjoy watching them kill people, especially if there people who deserve it like Roger and the Doctor from Arc V, or Freeza and Zamasu from Dragon Ball. I don’t mind your post being to long, my post in episode 148 on how I’d improve the Fusion/Final arc was pretty long too.

      • aramire77 says:

        Thank you very much! Maybe because Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball, especially Dragon Ball, are shows that clearly showing good vs evil and kill off the villains from the very beginning, while Arc-V and Pokemon are more towards children with little to almost no death from the very beginning?

    • Johnny Go Tan says:

      If Arc-V is an over 180-episode series like in GX, then its storytelling could’ve been better.

  5. 75chaosflare says:

    Kensho Ono without a doubt along with the other VA’s along with the music are easily one of the greatest things about this series. Without a doubt they gave the most effort compared to the director/writer which I’m very glad Ono and Kamishiro are into mainly involved in this one.

    However, you can argue that’s another problem with most Yugioh series to date because unlike ARC-V, the protagonist is always played by a new VA starting out with a YGO series being their debut role. We know Kensho Ono has been in a lot of role before ARC-V.

    • aramire77 says:

      Now that you mentioned it, the previous YGO protagonists are voiced by VAs who already has quite experience, but not as much and not as popular as Kensho Ono. Kensho Ono not only has a lot of experience before ARC-V, but he is also very popular due to his excellent voice acting from his role as Harry Potter in Japanese dub, Tetsuya Kuroko from Kuroko no Basket, and Ren Hakuryu from Magi. And with his role as Yuya, Yuri, and Zarc, I have no doubt that it will boost his popularity even further after this.

      • 75chaosflare says:

        I meant their anime debuts were voicing YGO protagonists. Kensho Ono was already known to have experience with voice acting in other shows.

        • aramire77 says:

          Yeah, I know. Sorry, the previous protagonists’ VAs’ experience part was written earlier before I remembered their debuts and I forgot to erase them when posting the comment.

  6. kofmaster says:

    I think the biggest problem that the show had was its nature, just like the whole franchise. It’s a commercial to sell cards.

    What am I going with this?

    That history is changing on the fly because of the popularity and needs to print certain cards in the TCG. For example…

    – They killed 80% of the cast during an arc of GX because they didn’t want to print their cards.
    – They changed the whole story of 5Ds because the Blackwings sold a lot.

    Duel Monsters not being tied to the TCG was an advantage, Takahashi used the cards as a means of confrontation but focused on the general story, this made the plot more organic, after Duel Monsters all others were Trainwreck (no exceptions).

    I love Arc-V and I’m really going to miss it …
    It had many problems, plotholes, good ideas but wasted, characters that were forgotten on the fly (hello Sergey) and lengthen the argument just to rush it at the end. However, it’s still among my favorites of the franchise, in fact I liked the action cards even though many people hate them.

    1- Original Sleeve
    Duel Monsters
    3- 5Ds first half, Arc-V
    4- GX
    5- 5Ds second half
    6- ZeXaL

    • aramire77 says:

      I guess this means we can’t entirely blame it on Ono and the writers? I heard they were appointed to do Arc-V by the ones doing TCG, and must follow along with their card sales. It still doesn’s change the fact they’re not really doing a good job wit this ending and all, but we can’t place the blame entirely on them.

      • kofmaster says:

        Yep, Konami has some of the blame, must be chaotic to work on a Yugioh anime that needs to sell cards, changing plot, creating filler duels to show new cards and making many characters to promote different archetypes.

        For example Ono said “The last duel will be one where everyone will participate and there will be a special guest” that never happened. Those internal conflicts must have made everything a mess.

        This clearly doesn’t leave the Anime Staff guilty-free because they didn’t know how to carry the exigencies of what they were trying to do.

  7. Yugioh Fan says:

    You made a lot of good points that I agree with Eva. It’s kind of ironic that the two best villains in this series was a secondary villain(Roger) and a villain that didn’t get that much screen time(Yuri). However, I would like to try and partially defend the Lancers, now I can’t deny that Declan(Reigi) was the worst leader in history, but during the Synchro Arc the Lancers(minus Declan(Reigi)) did okay. Shay(Shun), Celina(Serena) and Sora all got great character development, Yuya got a little development and Zuzu(Yuzu) got to be a bit of a bad-ass before that brutal defeat by Sergey. This really all came to ahead when the Obelisk Force invaded, Sora finally made the choose to defect and helped Moon Shadow(Tsikikaga) aiding in the forgiveness and trusting process. The Lancers in the underground all worked together to escape(including Shay(Shun) to show how he’s grown to trust the others). Zuzu(Yuzu) choose not to sit around, she thought Yuya was in danger and escaped the underground despite the risk to find him. Yuya didn’t give up trying to protect his friends, even temporarily abandoning his parents teachings because it wouldn’t help him in this situation save Zuzu(Yuzu) and the others. The once arrogant and partially selfish Celina(Serena) didn’t want her friends Reira(Riley) and Moon Shadow(Tsikikaga) to get hurt and told them to leave her, showing her growth, but her friends wouldn’t abandon her, showing just how much Reira(Riley) has grown too, he/she is no longer a scared child now he/she is determined to protect his/her friends. While the Lancers did fail in there mission to protect Zuzu(Yuzu) and Celina(Serena) I still give them an A for effort, except Declan(Reiji) who I give a D. Which is ironic the Lancers brought there A game to Synchro, but not Fusion to defeat Duel Academy, you know the whole reason the Lancers were formed in the first place. However, I’ll still remember the good times from Arc V which saves it from being in last place on my list of Yugioh series:
    1.) GX 2.) Orginal 3.) Arc V 4.) Zexal 5.)5DS

  8. Elhienn says:

    Coming back from the dead just for the finale(finale?What finale? This looks like a regular episode with how underwhelming it was)

    Eva, you are a hero and a saint to endure watching this, I dropped it as fast as I could because it wasn’t worth the stress and the bitterness, it’s a shame this series was a pile of wasted opportunities because if they executed well the elements it would be one of the best spin-offs ever.

    Egao wouldn’t be a big problem if it wasn’t paired with the kind of situations Yuya dealt with. Yuya’s comedic dueling kills the mood of what are supposed to be serious situations and even worse, because Egao is tied with Yusho, Yuya never stepped out of Yusho’s shadow, he’s still high on a pedestal for Yuya.

    I don’t even need to say how the whole treatment of the girls was horrendous, worst of all, Konami are dumbasses because this isn’t “just” a Shounen to appeal watchers, it’s a marketing ad of 20 minutes that are supposed to sell cards for people and girls also play YGO, it’s like they want to drive away potential buyers or something geez!

    I wouldn’t have big hopes of them improving the writing for girls in Vrains, after all, they hired YOSHIDA-WOMEN-HATER again, he likes to bench the girls, make them cheap fanservice brainless parrots that only say the protagonist’s name or when they show to have a tiny bit of autonomy or desires not involving a man, to humiliate them and tell them “to stay in the kitchen”.

    • 75chaosflare says:

      To be fair Yoshida, honestly just doesn’t know how to write female characters properly and is better at being an individual writer rather than a Series Composer but in the end, he gets the job done when the story has to be consistent and interesting; in short he’s hit/miss. Earlier before ARC-V, he stated he wanted to back off from doing a YGO Series again and stick back to manga’s and other things, but with the apparent failure and immense hate ARC-V brought out NAS/Konami pretty much had no choice but to bring him back especially with all of his experience in the franchise.
      He’s known to have done:
      Doma/Orichalcous of DM
      4th season of GX
      27-154 of 5D’S
      The entire Zexal series anime and manga
      Currently doing the ARC-V manga and the new series.

      I would honestly, prefer new comers to give a nice take in interesting ways but with what happened its understandable why they needed somethings to get things back in balance.

      • Elhienn says:

        The fact that he admits that he can’t write females is pretty telling of how he doesn’t really see female characters as human beings because what makes them different from having the same aspirations and motivations as the guys he writes? It’s not like specific gender attributes influences at all in dueling, which is focused on strategy, cunning and luck. It’s like he can’t picture girls to be smart and not brain dead parrots that are only programmed to fawn over boys.

        If card games were affect by, forgive me for my crudeness, breasts, periods, pregnancy or physical strength then it would be one thing, but these factors doesn’t matter at all, so there is no excuse for his writing, Yoshida is sexist as hell and that shows in Zexal, the YGO spin-off where he had free reign to do as he wished. Let’s look at what happened in this show:

        1)Kotori, the main girl? Was made to say “Yuma!” 90% of the time and be his cheerleader, nevermind her VA plays YGO irl as is considered quite good among the YGO VAs and had a contract to be a VA to appear in all episodes, that’s like a slap to her face.

        2)Anna, the only girl that doesn’t use stereotypical girl’s deck? Was made to be a very harsh tsundere tomboy that are only focused on love and fawning over Yuma

        3)Droite? A cool collected lady duelist? Was made to have a crush on Kaito out of nowhere!

        4)Cathy?She was created only to crush on Yuma

        5)Mirai, Yuma’s mother? Was MIA, but who cares, only his dad being MIA was important

        6)Akari? Yuma’s sister? Dude tells her to make him a obento and she obeys while blushing

        7) Rio Kamishiro? The girl that, in her debut episode stated that she wanted to be strong, independant and not seen as “Ryoga’s sister” or “Ryoga’s weakness”? In the same fucking episode she stated all that they made the protagonist, Yuma, call her all the time as “Shark’s(Ryoga) sister”! Now isn’t that just disrespectful to her? No, wait, there’s more! She turned into everything she was against, she was used to milk angst from Ryoga as she kept being killed/sent to a coma and didn’t express at all her feelings about the whole Barian thing not to mention that they never gave her closure with IV about him accidentally hurting her.

        I hope he learned his lesson and doesn’t commit the same mistakes in Vrains, but the Arc-V, his most recent YGO work doesn’t rise my hopes high as Yuzu does Jack shit there too nor develops at all as a character.

        • 75chaosflare says:

          To be fair, YGO in general honestly never had any real decent portrayal with female characters compared to a lot of other certain different series’/franchises. One time Kishimoto admitted he doesn’t know how to properly handle certain characters but in the end at least still tries. The ARC-V anime had no involvement with Yoshida yet arguably in the end it’s just as worst as Yoshida and the females that should have mattered were nothing but mere plot devices and existed to be kidnapped. I wouldn’t go as far and say he’s sexist but more on the full shounen trope where he made a lot of memorable moments within the franchise. Some(including myself) might have seen him as a scapegoat with what happened in 5D’s and especially what happen when Ono was fully left alone with ARC-V.

          The thing with Droite was indeed dumb as well as with Rio but you have to admit at least she honestly made a more compelling sister character compared to Ruri(even though it’s not really saying too much). Originally from what I’ve heard was stated in Kazuki Takashi’s draft or take of Zexal he would have Anna be the main girl instead of Kotori.Anything can happen to be honest.

  9. Alex says:

    You know Arc-V was rushed when characters like Barett and Jean-Michael didn’t even make a reappearance. I mean, Jean-Michael could have been killed in that dimension rift – But we know Barett was alive. What a mess. I hope Vrains will be better than Arc-V

  10. Virginia says:

    They should not have had Jack duel Yuya again. I don’t mind Jack’s character because somehow his personality from 5D’s kinda fit to be Yuya’s mentor


    They at least should never have stuffed in Crow, Kaito, Edo, and Asuka.

    Jack contributed to Yuya’s development but the others only jogged screentime and did not advance the story at all.

  11. firestorm says:

    Just curiosity. Why you didn’t cover the whole 5ds?

    • Eva says:

      I was forced to go into an Emergency Health Hiatus. I was more or less crippled for 9 months. :( That’s why it was important to be able to finish ARC-V this time, since had it not been for my health condition, I would’ve finished 5DS. ; A ; (God I loved that series too)

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