Kai and Kamui face off as two players with interesting decks and moves go at it.
What They Say:
Shin gets a brand new "Standing Fight" table for his shop, and so to test it out, Morikawa and Kamui have a fight. Afterwards, Aichi and Kamui notice Kai walking about town, and decide to follow him to see where he lives now. Kai notices, and Kamui challenges him to a fight. Kai senses a strong opponent, and agrees to the challenge, but does Kamui really know what he's getting into?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Cardfight!! Vanguard has spent a whole lot of its time focusing on teaching viewers the mechanics of gameplay in a very slow and almost plodding manner at times while teasing with a small touch of character material to make it interesting. Or to at least hint that there may be more to all of it than just the gameplay. Aichi in particular has stood out the best as they've dealt with his family life a little, introduced his little sister a couple of times and showed us how he's gaining friends and becoming a bit more popular in certain circles because of his participation in battle matches with others rather than just collecting the cards. Curiosuly, Kai has been absent from the last couple of episodes which felt somewhat unusual to see since you almost expect him to play the master player role instructing Aichi for awhile.
This episode has several of the kids with Aichi in tow catching a glimpse of Kai out and about in town so they try to follow him to see where he lives and what's going on with him. It ends up failing in a basic way since Kai knows what they're doing and calls them out on it, but Kamui goes all stupid and makes an aggressive challenge on Kai. Kamui's got plenty of skill to back up his confidence, but he's too confident overall and that leads him to more aggressive moves when they pair do play. We've seen some side matches going on with Kai but for the most part we've seen Aichi play and he's pretty much a new player without any serious skill and a huge learning curve. With Kamui, Kai doesn't hold back in the slightest and instead goes at him completely, which does have some amount of fun to it since it puts Kamui on the defensive and he has to push back hard, which he does manage to do at times.
The main draw to all of this with the match is seeing the various things they call forth and the combinations they make. There isn't much of anything done with the virtual world we've seen in past episodes where the matches mentally take place in the characters minds as instead it's more about showing the level increases in power and the way the cards flow together to create the newer beasts. It's filled with a lot of nice looking designs that could be interesting if actually utilized in a way that made it exciting, but it's generally kept from that as it's a series of shots of the creatures and characters, a bit of animation to show there's something to them, and then back to the real world to exclaim about the combination, the power level or the play that was just made. It really is like watching people play the game where unless you've got a vested interest in it, it can be pretty boring.
While I've spent much time with trading card game players over the years and have admired the way many of them were drawn out of their shell through the game, it was a rare, rare day where I'd spend any amount of time actually watching them play. More often than not I found myself chatting up their significant others instead since they had just as little interest in watching them play as I did. Cardfight!! Vanguard has moved hard and quickly in this direction as it goes on. While it had some charms at first with the introduction of the characters and the basics of the game, episodes like this where it's just a series of beat downs by each player until a winner is declared is decidedly dull. It's nice to see Kai play straight and strong, but that can't carry an entire episode, even with the meager character morsels that we get.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.