Episode 45: Destruction and Generation
Note: MAJOR spoilers in this review.
Episode 45 chronicles the aftermath of what happened in the ending of the previous episode: Having witnessed three members of the Knight of Duels being sealed away into cards by the intruding Obelisk Force before his very eyes, Yuya goes berserk, determined to defeat every single goon of the Academia he sees. Complete with murderous, bloody red eyes of doom. Meanwhile, Serena challenges our beloved Dennis to a duel, and Sora initiates his rematch against Kurosaki Shun at the very same time.
The sound of the preview above might seem like this is a packed episode, but in fact the episode is essentially focusing only on a single duel, that is of the showdown between Serena and Dennis. While glossing over the other two duels might seem unfair, the surprise here is that the writer still manages to give each of these two duels the screentime weightage it deserves, making this quite the well-rounded episode that we haven’t really seen in a few weeks.
Let’s talk about the main course of this episode – Serena vs Dennis. The duel excels in a few ways in my opinion: First, Serena’s deck is well-designed, fitting both her name and her haughty, rash attitude. But perhaps what is even more deserving of praising is how the writer could still develop the opponent, Dennis McField as a character. This episode proves that he doesn’t seem to be the funny, quick-tongued entertainer that he has shown throughout the previous two episodes. Like our little winner for the Academy Award for Best Fusion Dimension Actor Shiunin Sora, Dennis is implied to have more than just his initial appearance.
“Is he Yuuri?” We don’t know. But should he indeed turn out to be exactly as what many have speculated, then we could all look back at this episode and praise it for having laid down all the necessary groundwork for the final revelation.
Moving on to the Shun vs Sora duel, as much as fans of the candy-loving, lovable little imp would have drooled for, the spotlight however unfortunately shines upon his opponent this time round. Shun displays a remarkable change in his tactics in this duel, opting for a more swarm-focused, One-Turn-Kill strategy, proving his prowess as an elite duelist. Which is indeed commendable on the duel choreographer’s part, because the last thing we need in ARC-V is having a character who knows no strategy other than summoning his ace in his very first turn, then proceeding to protect it with his large collection of Spells and Traps.
Speaking of duel choreography, the final duel for the episode would be between Yuya and the three Obelisk Force goons. As much as I would have loved to praise this one as well, unfortunately this is the duel that ultimately drags down the overall quality of the episode. The duel exists solely for one purpose – to show Yuya going rampage, setting up the stage for his new dragon next episode. While the script is indeed excellently written for this objective, showing the madness that Yuya goes through and giving the little audience members nightmares, would it be too demanding to ask for a little improvement in the duel writing? It is underwhelming being so hyped about the Obelisk Force from the previous episodes, only to have them turn out to be awful duelists with no variety in strategy and believing they could win any duel just by outnumbering the opponent.
But I digress. The episode still exceeds expectations in a number of other ways, and it is writing till this point that I’ve realized that I haven’t even touched upon the two biggest highlights of this episode. First and foremost, this is definitely a gorgeous episode to look at, and the adjective still doesn’t do this episode justice. Animated by Ebina Hidekazu, aka potentially the most talented animation director in the whole roster of the series, one can see the effort she puts into this episode, trying to make every single frame looking as flawless as possible. The fact that Serena’s ace monster has four different attack animations makes it clear that this animation director is truly devoted to the series, making us question why can’t we have her to direct every single episode.
The other spectacle of this episode is with the voice acting. As we all have seen in Episode 39, Ono Kensho does a great job at distinguishing both his normal and berserk Yuya voices. The biggest star, however, goes to Inamura Yuuna, who switches between Serena and Yuzu’s voices back-and-forth in one single breath: No pauses, no clear indication of any cuts, switching from one voice to another in a split-frame second is pretty impressive.
Episode 45, despite its single flaw, remains the ideal package that any Yu-Gi-Oh! anime fan could ever dreamed for. The series has reached its zenith again, with the strongest talents in the series working together to create an epic that would possibly be unsurpassed for yet another dozen of episodes.
Animation – 10/10
Sound – 10/10
Duel Choreography – 9/10
Script – 10/10
Overall – 10/10
Episode 46: The Rebellious Supreme King Black Dragon! Until then!