This week’s episode had a lot more focus on the duel itself, rather than Spectre pressing on with the psychological battle. We did see him go back to that near the end of the episode, but by then I was already quite bored. Without that extra spice, the duel felt more like a repeat of Aoi’s fight more than anything else. This was mainly because Spectre is more or less using the same strategy he used against Aoi. And combine that with Yuusaku stalling out the duel by neutralizing impacts with Binary Sorceress’s healing effect, it is no wonder it quickly became a snooze fest. Only when Binary Sorceress is finally destroyed, Yuusaku decides to switch up his strategy and start bringing out his go-to Link Summons. Took long enough!
It is hard to say whether or not Spectre truly felt he was in a peril to actually drag Akira into the duel and hold him hostage to discourage Yuusaku from attacking him. As soon as he did that, he resumed his psychological attacks by calling Yuusaku a hypocrite for condemning him for dragging Akira into their fight. He goes on saying Yuusaku has done the same thing by of hiding Ignis. Had he not done so, the Hanoi Knights wouldn’t have to resort to this plan, there wouldn’t have been any casualties. Nevertheless, I am pleased to see a villain play dirty. Yes, all means, play dirty- you are a villain after all, people expect you to break the rules!
As he does so, Spectre mocks Yuusaku of how he talks big about revenge, but cannot be cruel and leave anyone behind. Without justice, he cannot hold the weight of revenge, because in reality he is weak.
Bullseye. Without Justice, Yuusaku will crumble under the weight of his despair and PTSD. Seeking justice is his way of coping with his trauma, the idea that he is fighting not just for himself, but for the others as well is literally what is keeping him sane. Now bearing that in mind, I find it rather ironic how aside from Kusanagi, while Yuusaku has been continuously pushing people away, he is now facing the unintended consequences because he has been protecting Ai. Because Yuusaku has been so fixated on his revenge and is so desperate for answers, that he doesn’t even realize Ai is playing him like a fiddle, nor have ever stopped to carefully think about why the Hanoi Knights are after Ai, and why they consider him dangerous. It wasn’t until recently that Yuusaku believed he had the upper hand in their relationship: He was the one holding Ai hostage. The reality is, he is the puppet and Ai is the puppeteer.
However Spectre’s trump card of holding Akira hostage is unlikely to last long with Kusanagi finally gaining visuals of the fight, and has read the situation Yuusaku is currently in. If Spectre wants to play dirty, at least Yuusaku got backup and Kusanagi can figure out a way to rid of the virus so Akira won’t be in harms way, or safely log him out altogether. Once he does so, Yuusaku will be able to have the confidence to strike back. And based off the preview, it looks Yuusaku may potentially start crafting up his own psychological attacks to use against Spectre. But with his A-Class acting, it will be difficult to tell whether or not the hits will actually leave a mark.