Yu-Gi-Oh VRAINS Episode 35

It was refreshing to say the least o have a break from the duels and focus more on discussing more details about the plot. I was actually taken aback by how much they had given us today, without making it feel like a complete info dump. As predicted Akira logged into Link VRAINS, but he wasn’t able to do much since Dr. Kogami stopped him by imprisoning him. Poor guy was to watch losing his sister twice, the first time from the fall and the second time her data being consumed he is just beyond reach. But since he had come all this way, Dr. Kogami decided to take this opportunity to tell Akira about how and why SOL Technologies killed him ten years ago.

I want to smack that smirk off his face

He confirms he was in fact the true mastermind of the Lost Incident, and SOL Technologies had nothing to do with it. He claims the company can’t comprehend his ideas, but when the incident came to light, the company imprisoned him and covered everything up, all for the sake of monopolizing the Ignis he developed. In their eyes, they saw Ignis as a way to make profit, but if the incident were to be publicized the police would seize it and they would not be able to use it. So they attacked and infected Dr. Kogami with a computer virus to put him in coma. He was only able to go home years after the incident because they thought he was dead. However his son (Revolver) did not give up, and was able to remove the virus, and recreate his mind in the network. And so together they created the Hanoi Knights: but not for revenge. Just like their name implies, their job is to protect the world from Ignis by killing them, at any cost. The Ignis were supposed to guide the world, but because they possess Free Will, they became dangerous savages that will destroy the world. An AI with Free Will is far too dangerous.

Now I don’t know about you, but this just makes me hate Dr. Kogami even more. He is a despicable man. I don’t care for his grand intentions of making Ignis guides of the world! For the sake of his ambitious project, he kidnapped children, tortured them, starved them if they failed, it doesn’t even look like he even cared about them suffering from PTSD! He can go on all day about how Ignis are monsters, but considering he hasn’t shown even a shred of remorse for what he has done to those children, Dr. Kogami himself is the true monster!

And then there’s Revolver. I don’t know about you, but I am quite alarmed and terrified about what kind of guy he actually is. He is a genius to say the least, and despite his earlier duels with Yuusaku, it makes me wonder how much of his strength he has yet to show. He is certainly not someone to mess around with.

Now Spectre is just scary. He is the complete opposite of Yuusaku, and has no attachment to the real world. Raised at an orphanage, he was always alone and struggled to mingle with others, so life was lonely and boring. But when he was kidnapped and was forced to do the experiment, it was fun for him. He loved being a part of the project, so much, it gave him the will to live. He was proud of the fact he is being tested for bigger things, embraced the pain he endured, because he never wanted to leave. After-all, there was nothing for him to return to.

However the project came to the end, and he was sent back to the orphanage where was even more lonely than before. He wasn’t alot to talk about the incident, adults treated him cautiously and eventually he ran away in hopes to return to that place, waiting in hopes for someone to come. That person was Revolver, who in return gave him a home, a place to belong with the Hanoi Knights.

The only attachment Spectre ever did have in the real world before the incident was the tree he was abandoned under as a baby. This tree was on a hill behind the orphanage, and to him, it was the only family he had. It was also the only thing he missed during the incident. However when he was released, the tree was gone, it had been cut down and that pretty much broke him. However it’s clear to me that Spectre’s memories are warped, because let’s be real: Even though this is Yu-Gi-Oh!, in the real world, the tree ain’t that magical. He remembers it the way he wants to, and in his mind, Sunavalon Dryades was his protector, protecting him from the environment, and even predators, and is now the heart of his deck.

But there is a valuable statement to think about that may have slipped under the radar:
If the incident hurt you, you must’ve led a happy life before that.”

Take a moment to remember, besides his memories of the Lost Incident, we know nothing about Yuusaku’s past. All we know is that the incident caused him to lose something incredibly precious (my current theory: His Memories). So since the incident has hurt him, does that means Yuusaku led a happy life before the incident?

No, not necessarily.
Whether or not the child was happy before that, doesn’t matter. What does is how it affected them during and after the incident. Spectre is a unique case where it appears he isn’t suffering from PTSD like Yuusaku and Jin (Kusanagi’s brother) are. What they lost wasn’t necessarily a happy life, but normality. Now they are suffering endlessly, haunted by the incident, affecting their day-to-day lives, and for some, they lost a piece of themselves. It’s difficult for them to be normal again, because nothing will ever be the same. This is something Spectre can’t understand because in his mind, the incident was a blessing.

Now Yuusaku is in quite a difficult position. He is shaken by the fact he has to fight one of the Lost Children, and his resolve to seek justice for the those who went through the same pain as he did is starting to waver. The scary part is that his resolve is the only thing that his holding him together right now. Without it, he will crumble. Next episode he will be put to the test of Spectre’s relentless psychological warfare. It is quite terrifying to hear he had defeated Aoi without revealing his true strength. And since Yuusaku did not have a chance to see the duel, he doesn’t have the advantage of knowing what the nature of Spectre’s deck, like Spectre has of his. He decided it would be best to play safe, since the only thing he has to work with is putting together the clues of Blue Angel’s deck and her quick defeat.

And finally the devil himself: Ai.

He is seriously he scaring the crap out of me. I did not like that evil smirk on his face! It was chilling to say the least. He sees Playmaker wavering, and recognizes Spectre is a dire threat. Remember the threat is not about simply being defeated, but spilling the beans of what makes Ignis so dangerous. Faust was trying to tell Yuusaku, but it was too late, Ai already had him wrapped around his finger. Now Ai is trying to do it again: End this duel quickly, defeat Revolver and rush to the tower to prevent its competition to prevent his demise. The scariest part about all of this, is that Yuusaku has no idea he is being used and being played like a fiddle. The only clue has has is the last words Faust had told him, an AI with free will and are a threat to humanity. In the condition Yuusaku is in now, I don’t know if he will be able to piece anything together.

It is good to see the story is finally ramping up in a big way, so I look forward to what we are in store for the coming episodes!

Eva

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

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11 Responses

  1. Wilfredo Sifr Starduster says:

    TFW Akira was actually more attached to the main story than Go when Dr.Kogami himself had a brief conversation with him…

    Damn, Specter’s backstory was almost the opposite of what Yusaku had endured. The mysterious tree that sheltered him when he was abandoned as an infant prior to him settling in an unfriendly orphanage (really, Go could’ve been his best bro in that regard instead of a random throwaway nerd he rescued and was never seen again) was chopped off after the Lost Incident so he left and found another new shelter provided to him by Revolver (a.k.a. joining the Knights of Hanoi). Even so, I dunno why, but his sadistic side of enjoying the torturous duels just because he’s “lonely” and lacked proper human connections was so cringe I couldn’t feel sorry for him. Seriously writers, when I had hopes for a well-defined villain you gave us another annoying attention seeker. He’s DEFINITELY better than Go though, so I can’t complain much.

    P.S. So much Link spamming from Playmaker himself, objection Konami, Link Summons AREN’T slowing down the game…

    • Eva says:

      That’s exactly what I thought, “Hey isn’t Onizuka an Orphan? What’s up with the pass of opportunity?” It definitely could have added some significance. Like even make it as though the two had a misunderstanding as kids, and Spectre thought he was abandoned by Onizuka, you know that kind of thing. I’m shocked they didn’t even go this path. It makes me wonder just what purpose is his character supposed to serve in the story? What is his role?

      Well now we know how and why Spectre is one hell of a sadist, heck even a masochist to some degree.

  2. The thing that worries me the most is that the title of the next episode is called ‘Pointless Justice’. It’s probably just a metaphor for Spectre trying to get inside Yusaku’s head like he did with Aoi, but my fear is that it might be foreshadowing down the line for Yusaku’s goal of getting justice for the other victims of The Lost Incident. Don’t misunderstand, what Dr Kogami did was unforgivable and I hope he faces justice for it, but the thing that keeps Yusaku going is his need to seek revenge on those who had wronged him and the other children.
    I feel that one of Yusaku’s own personal flaws, along with his desire for vengeance at all costs, is that he might be projecting his own need for justice onto the other children; believing that that is what they would desire too, just as Akira mistakenly believed he understood Yusaku’s pain during their duel. We don’t know this for sure as we still haven’t met the other three victims, and Jin was certainly traumatised even worse than Yusaku as he has retreated into himself, but because of that, we don’t know if he shares the same desire for revenge as Yusaku.

    This idea is reinforced in the preview, when Yusaku says: “How can the victims of the incident feel anything but hate?” We’ve already seen that this is not the case with Spectre, but my biggest fear is this: ‘what if the other three victims don’t feel the same as Yusaku?’ What if the other three were similarly traumatised, but unlike Yusaku, managed to move on with their lives and want nothing more to do with The Lost Incident, and wont thank Yusaku for dragging it all up for them again if he ever meets them. Or worse, what if some of them actually managed to win all of their forced duels; which in turn gave them a Social Darwinist mind-set that only the strong survive and that Yusaku was simply too weak.
    I sincerely hope that none of this is the case since I really don’t like to see what that would do to Yusaku’s already fragile state of mind if the thing he has been striving to achieve since that day turns out to all be for nothing, but it certainly would make for interesting character development and I’d been interested to hear your thoughts on it Eva.

    Other than that it was a solid episode and I hope it keeps up the pace no that the story has really got going, and although we now know that Sol Technologies had nothing to do with the Lost Incident, that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t be the potential villains of the second season after the incident with the Tower of Hanoi is over since they still infected Dr Kogami with a virus that as good as killed him, and the way Kogami talked about how the higher ups just saw the Ignis as a means to make a profit along with that image of the four of them gave me some serious Big Five vibes from the original Yu-Gi-Oh!: Duel Monsters.

    • Eva says:

      You make an excellent point of Yuusaku projecting his ideals for Justice onto the other children. And if that’s his character flaw, then I think it’s a wonderful thing because even the protagonists needs to have their flaws.

      But there is one thing for sure, seeking Justice is his way of coping with his trauma, the idea that he is fighting not just for himself, but for the others as well is literally what is keeping him sane. Perhaps there’s a part of him that fears if he were only doing it for himself, he wouldn’t have a strong enough resolve to keep himself from crumbling. In this situation, the weight on his shoulders serve to keep him balanced, instead of toppling over. On top of that, it gives him something to focus on, a distraction of a sort from the trauma, and his own way of facing it in hopes of reclaiming what was lost.

      Also good point about some children may have been talented enough to keep winning, and didn’t have to suffer like some of the others did. This is certainly a possibility.

      • becs says:

        I agree with this as well. I think his focus on getting revenge for him and the other children is also possibly so he doesn’t feel alone and victimised. If he only focused on himself and how he got abused, it does isolate himself in a victim bubble, so there’s strangely a sense of community by knowing others exist.

        Like you say, the only thing keeping him sane is the idea that all the other victims of the Lost incident must’ve experienced the same trauma. But being confronted by one who actually found the experience exhilerating makes him question himself on whether its worth fighting for it if he is the only one who felt hurt.

        Fighting on behalf or as part of a group is easy… Fighting for yourself and justice for yourself. Most people find that extremely difficult without a support network and its easier to just walk away and try and ignore. Yes he does have Kusanagi, but we have no idea if Yusaku actually knew Kusangi before he decided to fight the Knights of Hanoi. Maybe he only met him when he was looking into who the other list kids were and found Jin, and they agreed to help each other having been affected in different ways by the incident.
        The fact is, when Yusaku was recovering for 10 years (I’m presuming he didnt know Kusanagi because i think it would show more if he knew Kusanagi for long), he had no support network, no one he could relate his feelings to, so he was psychologically trapped and victimised. A state he obviously didnt want to be in, so creating that imagined shared group experience did help to give him purpose and distance himself from the victim position.

    • Wilfredo Sifr Starduster says:

      There’re many valid points you made, especially in regards to the Lost Incident & the six children who each (might) took a different perspective on it. Yusaku must’ve thought that the victims seek revenge, but for Specter it was a form of salvation which highlighted his masochistic side. (We still know nothing from Jin’s perspective though but he’s shown to be the most traumatized out of all the six children… so far.) Among these six children, one becomes a vengeful lone wolf vigilante/hacker boy (Yusaku), one is currently an empty shell (Jin), and one is a psychotic cyber terrorist (Specter). I wonder how the other three will turn out to be.

  3. Spencer Sim says:

    So specter is another Yuri who had a relationship with a tree.This explains why his deck is Sunavalon.
    So that white haired guy is implied to be revolver in real life.
    Specter’s age is weird after being revealed to be part of incident. Is he 10 years old during the incident which makes him 20?
    It’s really bothersome to see how Yusaku fails to put himself into Specter’s shoes. Partly is because of Ignis but now he should now start to rethink of his actions because his revenge is going to screw the world soon.

    • Eva says:

      I too was scratching my head about Spectre’s age, which leads me to question Revolver age’s as well. It appears to me Revolver may have been older than Spectre at that time, so I am guessing he might actually be closer to Kusanagi’s age, or even possibly Akira’s.

  4. Kazanova says:

    I couldn’t help but again comparing Spectre with Yuri after watching this episode. Both of them have a past where they suffered from loneliness, but their transition from a lonely kid to sadistic Duelist is different. While Yuri’s change happened gradually after carding so many people that it became somewhat an addiction, Spectre enjoyed the torturous Duels from the very beginning due to that loneliness. I’m not sure myself about this, but in this regard, I couldn’t sympathise much with Spectre. I wonder if this is just me being biased by my liking for Yuri.

    But despite this I think in terms of the plot and characterisation, it’s good, especially for Yusaku’s and possibly Aoi’s growth. As Blue Angel, Aoi talked about “saving him”, but the problem is that she did not understand him. She did go through a lot when she was a child, but she still has Akira by her side while Specter had no one to depend on, and only found salvage with the Lost Incident and later, Revolver. To Specter, it makes sense that Aoi’s talk of “saving him” is nothing more than childish, something that she would say because she does not fully comprehend his history and motives, which is pretty much like Akira when he misunderstood Playmaker. I think the theme of understanding is also a recurrent one and important in the series.

    Specter’s backstory establishes that he is on the same high ground as Playmaker, and this makes this duel between the two of them so remarkable. While his duels with Revolver and Akira were crucial in moving the plot forward, neither of them were a complete opposite to him. Specter, however, was also a victim of the Lost Incident, but instead of becoming trauma for him, it was salvation. Specter and Playmaker are two different sides of a coin in this aspect, and the duel between them is a true clash of ideals, making it all the more rich in meaning.

  5. exof954 says:

    I definitely agree with what you were saying about Specter’s recounting of his past not being completely true to life. It’s something that I noticed after thinking about the episode and talking to other watchers (as well as reading your posts), but it really feels like we still have yet to see anything of Specter’s true nature.

    In his duel with Blue Angel, he deliberately brought up the story of the original Blue Angel in order to place Aoi into a mindset of ‘rescuing a victim’, sort of. He made her believe he was someone who wanted to be saved, and when she centered her entire argument and duel around that perspective he crushed her, using the narrative of Blue Angel to tear down Aoi as a person. In reality, Specter already has his savior in Revolver- he’s said so to Yusaku, and his motives throughout the rest of the show match this.

    Then against Yusaku, he brings up the Lost Incident, outlining exactly how different his perspective of the incident is from Yusaku’s and using it to make Yusaku doubt his own good intentions. Like one of the above commenters said, what if the rest of the Lost Incident survivors DON’T feel the same way as Yusaku does? Like he did with Aoi, Specter portrays himself in the lens that best reflects Yusaku’s own desires in order to crush him as a person and shatter his ideals.

    With that in mind, I think that this duel isn’t really going to be ‘Yusaku vs Specter’ as much as it’s ‘Ai vs Specter’. The duel of cards is one that Yusaku’s almost certain to win, but the psychological war the two schemers are conducting over Playmaker is the one that will have the most impact in the long run. Ai needs Yusaku to be fierce, strong and ruthless in order to crush the organizations that want to either kill him or kidnap him against his will. Specter wants to make Yusaku waver, to become uncertain in himself and his ideals so that the biggest obstacle in the path of the Knights of Hanoi can be crushed.

    And like I said… I’m still not sure we know anything about Specter’s true nature. In that sense he really is like a ghost.

    Suffice to say, I’m looking forward to next week.

    • Eva says:

      //With that in mind, I think that this duel isn’t really going to be ‘Yusaku vs Specter’ as much as it’s ‘Ai vs Specter’. The duel of cards is one that Yusaku’s almost certain to win, but the psychological war the two schemers are conducting over Playmaker is the one that will have the most impact in the long run.//

      Dammnnnnnnnnnnnnn~ Well said!!!!

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