Yuya Sakaki’s dream is to follow in his father’s footsteps and become the greatest “duel-tainer” in history – and he just might pull it off when he suddenly discovers Pendulum Summoning, a never-before-seen technique that lets him summon many monsters at once! But when countless rivals emerge to steal his spotlight, Yuya needs to gear up his game because dueling has evolved into a non-stop world of action!
The Tracks of Light, Pendulum Summon
Dueling's Greatest Evolution!! Its Name is Action Duel
Darkville Pendulum Summon Stolen
The Only Hope!! Block Spider
Aspiring Apprentice!? Strange Admirer Sora Shiunin
Innocent Toy Frightfur Bear
Revolution of Wrath Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon
You Show School in Danger!! LDS Invades
Judgment of the Stars Xyz User Hokuto Shijima
Knight of the Secret Stone! Fusion User Masumi Koutsu
Body and Sword as One!! Synchro User Yaiba Toudou
D/D/D Different Dimension Kings
Some may say it is pointless to have high expectations when it comes to an anime that mainly exists for promoting a card game. Then again, I would lie if I said that I've never had fun watching a Yu-Gi-Oh!-series. Even though they made me cringe on many occasions, they also rewarded me with a lot of cool and funny moments. I may not be a player of the game, but I've always thought the duels where fun to watch. After Zexal which wasn't really my cup of tea, my expectations weren't too high though. I was pleasantly surprised in the beginning, since Arc-V started out really well and soon got me interested. Sadly, after the good build up, the series becomes gradually worse, due to its erratic pace and unnecessary fillers. Towards the end especially things feel rushed and the story derails, leaving you with an ending that feels quite unsatisfying. It really is a shame, for Arc-V definitely has its moments and therefore wastes a lot of its potential. The story itself is still more or less what you's expect from Yu-Gi-Oh!: card games, tournaments, different dimensions, you probably know the drill. Arc-V doesn't reinvent the wheel, instead it puts the established components newly together; and it does so quite well, at least for about half of the episodes, until things slowly become sillier and sillier. Looking at the characters, Yuya does a good job as a protagonist. Unlike Yugi or Yusei he doesn't start out as a perfect duelist, loses from time to time and has doubts about his abilities, which I prefer any day over someone who always wins. Also, the idea that he duels mainly to entertain a crowd and make people have fun, instead of just attaining victory is quite nice in my opinion. Yuzu, Yuya's classmate, starts of as female lead that finally isn't just there for cheering, however at a certain point she is simply reduced to a damsel in distress and is more and more pushed to the sidelines. With that she sadly shares the fate of the majority of the cast: the sheer number of characters makes it impossible to focus on them all; and it's a pity, because a lot of them are quite likable and you wish they'd get more attention. That's also due to the fact that Arc V marks the reappearance of older characters, like Crow and Jack from 5D's or Asuka and Edo from GX. While it is great to see them again and they are implemented quite nicely, it only makes the cast even bigger. In the end most of them don't develop at all, and if they do, they change their minds ridiculously fast. But Yu-Gi-Oh wouldn't be Yu-Gi-oh without the duels. And they are fun to watch, since now all the summoning methods are used simultaneously and even a new one is added. Different from its predecessors, the monsters in Arc V finally have mass, solving the problem of people being blown away by holograms. Also dueling is mostly for entertaining the watchers, so the duelists (though mostly Yuya) ride their monsters over the field. Another addition are the Action Cards that are spread over the whole field and can be used in dire situations. In reality they are mostly there as a somewhat cheap fail save for Yuya whenever he's in trouble. Still, I thought Arc-V had some of the best duels of any Yu-Gi-Oh! series to date and a lot of awesome and funny monsters that'll make your inner 8-year-old cheer. I mean, there are even hippos dancing samba.The soundtrack is awesome and suits the series very well. Yu-Gi-Oh! always had good soundtracks, but Arc V is probably my favorite, with a lot of memorable themes, which really add a certain feeling of epicness to the duels. As for the animation, it is good for the most part, but sometimes terribly inconsistent. There are episodes that look great and others that look absolutely terrible. Of course this is a rather long series, so not every scene has to be perfection, but in some episodes it really does stand out unpleasantly. Still the overall quality has improved, mainly the CG-parts, which look far better than they did in Zexal. So, would I recommend Arc V? Honestly I don't know. On the one hand I had my share of enjoyment with it, on the other hand the ending left me really disappointed. It depends what you value in a show: if some moments of epicness and a boy riding a pink hippo to battle sound like your thing, you might want to give it a go.
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