Every young man must go on a journey. For Aichi, it's the scary world of other card shops.
What They Say:
Aichi heads out on a journey to other card shops, in order to find and fight other strong Vanguard fighters and gain experience after the Shop Tournament.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the way the tournament turned out in the shop, there's a bit of a sense of sadness about Aichi since he lost to Kamui and is now unable to play against Kai or go on to the next level with them. With the shop representation set, that leaves Aichi trying to figure out what to do next. Luckily for him, Kamui is a smart future brother-in-law and suggests that Aichi head off to another card shop and explore the challenges there. While the card shop we've seen has been pretty decent with a nice layout and some solid tables for the gang to work with, and a decent round of players, it's a wild world out there that Aichi has yet to explore.
Kamui takes him to a place where he'll definitely find challenges and will leave the viewer cringing with Cardshop Handsome. It's a big building on the outside, at least compared to how other shops look, but once you get inside it's like it's the interior of a pirate ship. With saloon doors at the front. Nautical windows all around. And everyone inside it wears traditional seafaring garb with a rough edge about it. Team Handsome is pretty strong, and that leaves Aichi wondering why Kamui hasn't joined there and done his fight to become a representative among them. AS it turns out, he has a younger girl there that is totally in love with him named Nagisa. She essentially acts exactly like he does when it comes to Emi, so it's a simple pot calling the kettle black moment that Aichi realizes is happening. There's some cuteness to it, but Nagisa does quickly become that annoying little child character, which is magnified by Kamui's own attitude.
To be expected, the bulk of the episode is given over to card matches and they have a bit of a darker flair about them as the Team Handsome players push their pirate angle and go at this with a bit of darkness. Between the imagery of the players themselves and their card characters, it's definitely different from how things were against Kai and the others at Aichi's first shop and it's actually a nice and welcome change of pace from the fairly clean and sterile atmosphere we've had. That doesn't mean the card matches are any more engaging, because they aren't for me, but it's nice to see a different kind of variety of attacks and people involved that's giving Aichi a thrill and a challenge.
Cardfight!! Vanguard takes us out into the world a bit and what do we see? Strangeness abounds as the first card shop he gets to go to is filled with pirates. It's almost comical because you have to wonder if they're playing with legitimate decks and if this is promoting piracy. I know, I know, it's not, but it's kind of an awkward choice to go with. The episode is a bit more fun than we've had for a bit now since it's been so tournament focused, but it has its drawbacks (Hello, Nagisa!) and the pirate motif is really forced, especially when you add in the saloon doors. This show continues to be a challenge, but after some far worse material I've had to see recently, it dulls this even more making it easier to manage.
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.