Episode 52: The Legendary Grandmaster Returns!!
Now, where were we? Oh yeah, we’ve just finished the rematch between Yuya and Reiji, solemn, emotional, much like what the recent tens of episodes have been throughout. In Episode 52, we follow the events directly after that duel, with all the Lancers now being formally selected and the higher-ups at Leo Corporation preparing to announce it to the rest of the world.
The entire episode is basically divided into two parts. The first half deals with, as I’ve mentioned, the direct aftermath of the Yuya vs Reiji duel. And I like how the writers handle the logic and flow of this part very well. As the Akaba mother-son declares a state of emergency due to the invasion by Academia, the whole world listens attentively, initially unable to accept such a fact. All until Akaba Himika presents to the entire world evidence of such an incident.
Admittedly, this may still not be the best way for the writers to pen out this part of the screenplay, however I’m still more than willing to welcome the way it plays out in this episode. On retrospect, in this real world, aren’t we, as the ordinary people, going to react in the same way? Taking the recent ISIS crisis as an example, aren’t we too initially refuse to accept the fact that there is such a growing threat of terrorism looming above the Middle Eastern sky, far faster and more powerful than Al-Qaeda? It was until video evidence that we became fully believing of such a crisis, and in doing so we are also supportive of drone strikes carried out by the United States government.
Yu-Gi-Oh! is an anime aimed primarily at kids, therefore our main “crisis” here is reduced to a scale that fits with both the world view and the target demographic – that is, a full-fledged battle involving card games. I praise the writers of this episode for handling the events in this episode as if it would occur in our daily lives. It is definitely not an easy task, most of the time, for a children’s TV show to contain such a high level of realism and logic, and the fact that ARC-V once again nails it gives me yet another new reason to love the show.
Bridging between the first and second half is a short conversation between Yuya and the rest of the You Show gang. The segment is essentially the true conclusion to this whole Battle Royale story arc, where the members of You Show learn the truth of what exactly happened all along. It is an emotional scene for sure – as Shuzou realizes that his daughter has really gone missing, the subsequent reaction is simply pitiful. As we’ve learnt from the previews, Yuya determines to save Yuzu at all cost, but Youko sees through what he’s truly thinking, and…
Which brings us to the second half of the chapter: Yuya vs his mother Youko. Compared to the previous part, however, this is more of a breather rather than intentioned to be serious or edgy. And while the enjoyment value is still there, part of me wishes that this entire duel could have been skipped altogether. The sudden tonal shift to pure slapstick humor doesn’t help – there is no proper transitioning, coming off as more of jarring than anything else.
Transitioning back-to-forth between the duel and Youko’s flashbacks to the past (about how she met Yuya’s father), the writing here is rather messy, and solid proof that our writers are perhaps not as suited for penning slice-of-life. To be fair though, the animation and duel choreography are still pretty great, however the episode could have done better off without the duel.
I personally have kind of mixed feelings for this episode. On the one hand, the writing has been excellent so far until the commercial break. On the flip side, the second half comes off to me as rather unnecessary, filler-ish material that would have been perfect for the first season instead. It is still not a bad episode overall though.
Animation – 8/10
Sound – 8/10
Duel Choreography – 8/10
Script – 8/10
Overall – 8/10
Episode 53: A Duel of Smiles “Smile World”! Until then!