Episode 50: The Chosen Lancers
Talking about starting a new season with a bang! The Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V anime officially gears up into its second year of airing, and with it comes not only a set of new theme songs (which, unfortunately, I can’t yet write analysis articles like last time due to college), but also an excellently scripted opening episode that delivers the emotional impact that has been built up during the entirety of the previous story arc.
Following up from the end of the last episode, Akaba Reiji appears in front of the remaining Junior Youth candidates (with three other duelists), in a mood of nothing but sadness and tragedy. Claiming that the entire Battle Royale has been all along a test to select what he dubs the “Lancers”, he congratulates the young duelists in front of him, who are obviously dumbfounded.
Of course, our hero Sakaki Yuya is furious at Reiji, and challenges him to a duel, which the latter gladly accepts. An entirely relatable response, I must add. Think about it: you have just witnessed some of the most horrendous things possible, your “friend” turned your back against you, and even your childhood friend has gone missing as a result. And yet, a man stands in front of you, claiming to have known everything, and is willing to sacrifice the minorities – those dear around you – to protect the larger community. What is there to not be angry about?
The curtains to the anticipated Yuya vs Reiji rematch are drawn, in a tense and heated atmosphere. And as I’ve mentioned earlier, the writer definitely does a fantastic work scripting this epic duel. Standing on one side is the sentimental protagonist character, a firm believer of peace and justice, whose greatest wish is to create a world “full of smiles”. Juxtaposing on the other side is the rational anti-hero character, morally grey, and who believes in the system of sacrificing the minorities for a greater good.
I cannot praise enough for the excellent dialogue in this episode. Each of the two duelists stand firmly to their own beliefs, justifying their own arguments with what they have both witnessed, while clashing their monsters against each other, Yu-Gi-Oh fashion. You as an audience member, would not be wrong to support either side: while Reiji is indeed more far-sighted and understandable of the full situation, it would be difficult at the same time to not sympathize with Yuya, whose experiences have been nothing short of tragic.
This is a very good opening episode of a new season of Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, written with such depth. The moral debate and characterizations for the two opposing duelists are highlights that you should definitely check out. While, admittedly, other parts of the episode can be improved on, the episode sold me entirely just on its script alone.
Animation – 7/10
Sound – 8/10
Duel Choreography – 8/10
Script – 10/10 (+1 bonus mark)
Overall – 9/10
Episode 51: Raise the Revolution Banner – Odd-Eyes Rebellion Dragon! Until then!