This week was another good episode, although it had a slightly underwhelming finish, it was still enjoyable. I for one really liked the approach of the Duel Quiz. It was fun to see a puzzle be used, and how even though they weren’t up against the Hanoi Knights, the stakes were just as high or higher due to way the dungeon had been designed. But while it makes me happy to see external threats that aren’t limited to the duels making a comeback, I would hope they find a way to continue to use it again since it helps makes the world of Link VRAINS a lot more interesting.
And so with the dungeon creator in mind, this brings us to a question I hadn’t considered until now: Who was the original owner of the cyberse deck?
The designer was not messing around with the lengths they were willing to go to protect it against the Hanoi Knights, and other fellow treasure hunters who hoped to find it. Their dungeon was littered with traps that would effectively “kill” the player in real life should they lose their duel-disk, since they would be unable to log out. On top of that, the deck wasn’t some digital material, it was actually hidden away in the real world. The sarcophagus they saw in the dungeon had nothing in it, and could easily dupe anyone into thinking it was a prank had they failed to properly solve the puzzle. Yuusaku of course, figured it out, realizing the way the duel was set up was actually map of Den City, containing coordinates of where the deck was hidden. So in order to actually obtain the prize, they had to go to the hidden location to retrieve it.
Although they didn’t actually show us who came up with the name ‘Playmaker’, (something I had wished to have seen,) we were still able to witness why and what inspired the name in the first place. By successfully solving the quiz, Yuusaku was able to obtain the Cyberse Deck, marking the start of the next chapter in his journey for revenge. So it made sense for him to pick up an actual name, one for the Hanoi Knights to fear and remember.
But more importantly, for the first time, Yuusaku wondered about why the Hanoi Knights are hunting the Cyberse? Why do they fear them? That’s when he realized this could not only be their secret weapon to use against the Hanoi Knights, but it could save him the trouble of aimlessly hunting for information. With the Cyberse Deck in his possession, it serves as the ultimate bait to have them come after him— just as he did when he took Ai hostage. He may be young, but he is one hell of a tactician, befitting of the name: Playmaker.
With that, it wraps up the backstory between Kusanagi and Yuusaku. It is a bit of a shame that it was only two episodes long. I wished we had the chance to see more of how Kusanagi and Yuusaku started meshing together as partners. While it is nice to see the two make a good team, and learned a lot more about Yuusaku’s character before her obtained the deck, aside from last week’s episode, we honestly didn’t get much information on Kusanagi’s character at all. The only new things we gained out of his episode is that he gave up his dream in hopes to save his brother, he isn’t really much of a duelist, and his only use is either behind the computer has a hacker or tackling another player to stop them from intervening. It is definitely a missed opportunity, especially if Kusanagi is going to be forced to make a decision at some point of whether or not he will part ways with Yuusaku. Right now, obviously that doesn’t look like it will be the case, but based off the Opening, it has been widely speculated (myself included) that something will happen that will force the two apart. Be it Jin’s consciousness being held hostage and used against Kusanagi to turn on Yuusaku, or something else entirely. Either way, by not giving Kusanagi more air time to flesh out his character and his bond he speaks so highly of with Yuusaku, it is going to water down the impact of his ‘betrayal’. Unfortunately I don’t think we are going to get more of Kusanagi episodes, especially after having only gotten one after sixty-four episodes…. but I would like to be proven wrong.
Next week, Yuusaku and Kusanagi receive a message from someone who claims to be an Ignis wanting to meet Playmaker. The title is, “Earth Ignis “Earth” ….So I guess that means the Ignis might be legit? Or it is a trap? Or just Akira finally trying to strike up a proper conversation about the Ignis? Who knows…