Episode 31: The Howling Wind – Yousenjyuu Lost Tornado!
This is one of the episodes I was most looking forward to see, for two reasons: new opening and ending themes (for which I’d do a thorough review/analysis in another article tomorrow); and the other reason is because of the Yuya vs Sawatari showdown. Sawatari. Yuya’s fated opponent in the first round of this tournament, with the seeds of animosity sowed down since Episodes 3-4, watered and fertilized throughout the around-30 episodes ever since then, and finally bear fruit in thie episode.
Rough animation accompanied by frequent off-model shots of characters aside, this episode does not disappoint, script-wise or duel-wise. Let’s start off with the former. Sawatari is the embodiment of a large ham this episode, showing up to the duel stadium in a cosplay of some hermit from the Sengoku period, before taking it away and revealing himself as the “NEO NEW Sawatari”. That’s right, the yellow-haired ham added yet another prefix to his already ridiculous name.
As if that isn’t ridiculous (in a positive connotation of course) enough, he proceeds to brag about his “revenge scheme” against Yuya, whom he has such a deep hatred of for three entirely misled reasons. But this time, he does come prepared, with new cards developed by the Leo Duel School for him. The voice actor for Sawatari definitely does a great job at portraying the comical, yet somehow menacing voice for the character in this episode, and that’s a plus point of this episode.
As traditional of the first part of a 2-episode duel, this episode mainly builds up to the point where Sawatari pushes Yuya, the main protagonist, into a corner, but I still enjoyed the duel nonetheless. The duel is extremely well-paced this episode, showcasing Sawatari’s newly-acquired Hermit Youkai monsters while achieving a good balance between entertainment and advertising. The intensity as Sawatari slowly forces Yuya to the brink of near losing, slowly grows with each turn, unleashing eventually in Sawatari’s fourth, and last turn of this episode. The Hermit Youkai archetype is definitely aggressive, focusing on a high number of searching and summoning, and I do not find it tedious at all while watching this episode.
Furthermore, I was definitely delighted to see some precious character development for our protagonist Yuya as well, something that is so rarely seen in a Yu-Gi-Oh anime show. In the previous season, we’ve seen him grieving, even crying over his Pendulum Monsters when they are stolen, destroyed or even when his opponent uses them. But no more. This episode we see a Yuya that has become much more matured, and believing in his own strength. Smiling at the end despite Sawatari’s mockery is something that certainly reflects on that development a lot.
This is yet another great episode in the ARC-V series, and a little bit of step-up from the previous episode in my opinion. Next episode features the conclusion of the duel, and I believe that everyone knows who would win given the stakes at play?
Duel Choreography: 9/10
Episode 32: White-Hot Battle! Entertainment Duel Show!! Until then!
*Notice: Tomorrow, I would be writing another article specifically focusing on the new set of theme songs that debuted in this episode. As a result, the weekly “Japanese in Yu-Gi-Oh 101” article would come out in Thursday rather than Tuesday (because I need a bit of rest). Rest of the regular blogging schedule goes as normal. Thanks for the understanding.