Cardfight!! Vanguard (2018) - Reviews

mdchan's avatar
Jan 27, 2019

Please read the review before you come at me with torches and pitchforks for the ratings I gave it.  I did enjoy the first season, but the second season sort of deleted enjoyment (ha, see what I did there?) with its numerous plot and character issues as well as two recap/nonsensical episodes.

I'm editing this review as episode 52 just came out and the second season is officially over.  The first season (episodes 1-25) were what I would have loved to see in the original/first anime because it felt more true to the characters and we actually learned more about them and what made them who they are.

Season two of this (skipping the recap episode, season two starts at episode 27) has taken what started to be a superb retelling of the first anime and turned it into flaming garbage (Psyqualia zombies?  Are you kidding me!?).  And, episode 52 is yet another recap episode, and I can't overlook that.  So, docking the score even more.


Season 1:  Aichi Sendou is a middle school student who was bullied heavily in elementary school, but keeps a special card, Blaster Blade, with him.  When it is stolen by a classmate, he follows and encounters the one who gave him the card, Kai Toshiki.  After a Vanguard fight, Aichi starts to gain new friends as well as confidence as he starts down the road of Vanguard.

Then, a mysterious power awakens within him which Kai has seen before:  Psyqualia.

The rating for this season is a solid 9/10.  It feels a bit rushed, but the characters stay true to themselves even as they find their own paths, and the viewer can really feel the connection between Aichi, Kai, and Ren.

Season 2:  Aichi is now in high school and has tried to start a Vanguard club in a school which doens't really play.  Misaki claims she has to run the shop and can't join, and is the only one of the original group who goes to that school.  Then, one of the members of Ultra Rare (Kourin) shows up as a transfer student and states she'll join straight away.  From there, more members join up (including probably the only interesting character in this season, Naoki Ishida).

Once the anime shifts from "slice of life" to getting a little more into the plot of Cray, a little on Psyqualia (but honestly so far not enough to answer much of any questions on screen), and starts to involve Takuto...things get a little silly from the plot to the underdeveloped characters.

Season two effectively ruined what had started out as an excellent remake of Cardfight Vanguard (one which was supposed to follow the manga more accurately than the first anime).  There are too many characters, and it suffers from the typical "some characters fall to the wayside" syndrome which occurs in shounen (particularly card game animes) where new characters are brought in during a second season to keep things "fresh", but this pushes old favorites (such as Kai) to the side.

The rating for this season is a 2/10...that's my final verdict as of episode 51 (as 52 is a dull recap episode).  The conclusion was unsatisfying and even so cheesy that even I can't justify it (and I've seen some cheesy endings and been okay with them).  There are quite a few plot holes and rushed ideas, and it also suffers from having about two or so plots occurring at the same time and not being able to give both the proper time.  Thus, it effectively destroys both occurring plots during the arc.

If it had been divided up into two additional seasons between the Concert Master stuff (which I still don't understand exactly) and the Deleter stuff (as well as a tie-in to the Deleter) instead of giving us Psyqualia Zombies and other laughable ideas, then perhaps the rating would be higher.

No, I cannot, in good conscience, give this season higher than a 2 out of 10.


Pretty much the same as the first anime, though Ren is less of a jerk and there are developed reasons for him this time.

Aichi Sendou starts off as the timid protagonist, but gains a lot of confidence through Vanguard.  He awakens Psyqualia, but doesn't quite understand it (nobody in season 1 really does) and typically only uses it by accident.

Kai Toshiki is still a loner who focuses on strength and "serious fights", but we learn the reason why he relies on only himself.  After meeting Aichi, he doesn't want Aichi to turn out like Ren.

Ren Suzugamori is still the leader of Fu Fighters, and is sending his groups out to take over gameshops and force them to install special gloves which deliver an electric shock whenever a card is placed in the damage zone.  He alternates between being a spacecase and being slightly cruel, but he also has a backstory and past which caused him to turn to Psyqualia and winning/power.

The other characters also appear (Kamui, Emi, Misaki, Misawa, Morigawa, ect) but don't play as large of roles as they did in the first anime...though Misaki does make for a good supporting character and often acts protective of Aichi.

In season two, however, Misaki seems to have lost all the character development she gained during the first season and is even more of a loner than before for whatever reason.  Many other characters from the first season/arc fall to the wayside as well.


I'd suggest this anime to anyone, but only the first season (episodes 1-25).

After the first season, we get the type of episode every anime viewer hates:  The Recap Episode...followed by a slipshod disaster of a second season.

And in that recap episode, when events aren't being recapped (some short clips in the beginning and the end of the episode), Aichi is on his way to compete in the Asia Circuit for Vanguard...yet nobody else (not even the more competitive Kai) joins.  I believe Ren also did, but we don't even see a tournament arc.  It next picks up with the last few moments of Aichi's final match in the tournament, then it goes into "daily school life".

As a slice-of-life fan, I was fairly okay with that direction...if they didn't completely bork Misaki's character in the beginning; she didn't need another character arc.  Other characters who got so much of the spotlight in the first season (Kai and Ren) were pretty much never seen until the end, and even then they get shafted.  After about ten or so episodes, Ren finally reappears, but there's more focus on the fights the new members have (and though Naoki is an interesting character, Aichi sometimes fades into the background because it feels like the writers are trying to juggle too many characters at once; older characters also make cameos, but don't show up that much).

To make it all worse is that the (first) antagonist of the second season also (surprise-surprise) has a connection to Kai...but Kai barely even shows up until later on...and the first antagonist's reasons due to his past with Kai aren't even fully explained.

The antagonist's motives are also stupid ("I hate Vanguard, so I'm going to play other people in Vanguard and make them hate it, too!"'s like protesting something by buying it only to smash it with a sledgehammer; you still gave money to the company).

Characters, plot...they just aren't there in season 2.  Naoki is really the only saving grace of that season, and just barely.  Everything else is lackluster, boring, repetitive (if you've seen all the cardfights in season 1, you've pretty much seen them all), and sometimes just plain dumb and cheesy...

(I'm sorry, I'm still laughing at the "psyqualia zombies" thing)

My rating for this anime started at a 4/5 stars, and has steadily been dropping.  The only reason it's sitting at an average score (3/5 stars) is because of the strong first season.  Nope, dropped the score to a 2.5/5 due to the second recap episode.  Recap episodes are never okay, so to have two of them?  No.

With how excellent the first season was and then taking into account how terrible the second season was...I can't score this anime the way I want to.  I wish I could divide the score between the two seasons as separate reviews (had they come out as separate anime "seasons" with each being 25 episodes in length, such as what anime like Bungou, Nanatsu no Taizai, ect. does, it would have been much easier), but I'm forced to mix them.

The breakdown of the review will be an average of the two, which I'd define as the following:

Season 1:

Story = 6, Animation = 7, Sound = 9, Characters = 9, Overall = 9

Season 2:

Story = 3, Animation = 6, Sound = 9, Characters = 2, Overall = 2

The overall scores on the scoring chart (below) is not the exact average of the first two seasons due to docking points for having two recap episodes.

4.5/10 story
7/10 animation
9/10 sound
5/10 characters
4.5/10 overall
2 0 this review is Funny Helpful