Episode 49: Make Everyone Smile with Your Duels
Finally, everything that has been meticulously built up in the previous forty-eight episodes boils down to this. It is the grand finale of the season, and if you are unaware of this, the fact that Yuuto’s last words are chosen as the title should be a clear indication.
With this episode, we also bid farewell to the Battle Royale story arc which, while on the one hand did disappoint part of the fan community with its rather awkward structure and presentation, on the other hand it did bring us a number of true gems such as Episode 45 or 48. Interestingly, Episode 49 lies in the middle of the spectrum. A rather enjoyable episode, but to be honest, much more could have been done to conclude this arc on an even higher note.
The episode wraps up all three of the duels that have already been built up in the previous episode. As I expected, the conclusion of the Reira vs Tatsuya duel is awkwardly shoehorned into the first three minutes, providing neither surprise nor entertainment value. A full episode dedicated to the duel could have been a much better alternative in my opinion. There is, though, what I could still consider to be a nice small touch at the end of that duel with Tatsuya offering a gesture of friendship to Reira.
The duel against the Obelisk Force soldiers, however, does avoid the cruel fate of being halfheartedly written and concluded. While Sawatari showcasing yet another new deck in his grand collection is a nice addition, the writing of this duel pleasantly surprises me with its treatment of both Gongenzaka and Kurosaki. This duel reminds us once again of the recurring theme of teamwork, as Gongenzaka aids out Kurosaki with what appears to be a dead hand and the latter collaborating with others for the first time in the show.
Moving on to my favorite part of the episode, which is the Sora vs Yuya duel. The duel features one of the most beautiful choreography of the whole series in my opinion, filled with shout-outs to the earlier match-up and some truly well-designed cards whose effects gladly do not fall into the ranks of Half-Unbreak or Empty Fishing. Sora and Yuya countering one another’s moves with card after card keeps me at the edge of the seat hoping for more. While the ending is, unfortunately, half-expected, overall it is a great match-up between two former friends and a duel that we really deserve for such a long time.
The animation of this episode goes without saying. Part of why the Obelisk Force and the Sora vs Yuya duels are so exciting aside from its excellent writing, is with its fluid action sequences and well-chosen shots. Of course, besides the animation, it must also be mentioned that the use of background music in this episode is top-notch as well, with a number of familiar tracks that couple the scenes really well.
Overall, this is easily passable as a conclusion episode to the season, but admittedly more must be done to reach the level of perfection like the last one was. Next episode, we welcome not only a set of new opening and ending themes, but along with that comes also a new story arc. With the Lancers now being fully chosen, how would they collaborate to counter the Academia forces? A new chapter awaits.
Animation – 10/10
Sound – 9/10
Duel Choreography – 9/10
Script – 8/10
Overall – 9/10
Episode 50: The Chosen Lancers! Until then!