What was this episode? Did they just kill Haru off for the sake of convenience? God, I hope not. How should I put it… While I was elated to Haru in the spotlight for once, the duel itself was not fun to watch. I was honestly expecting better.

First of all, they weren’t subtle in any way, shape, or form when they were lining up excuses of why Haru was going to lose, which annoyed me because it’s a disservice to discredit a character like this, especially one who we are seeing duel for the first time.

Second, I am incredibly disappointed that they changed Aoi’s deck. While I get she’s with Aqua now, so they wanted to capitalize on this opportunity to promote new cards, I am not feeling this one. It doesn’t have the charm the Trickstars had, nor does it feel like they match with Aoi’s personality. Had they created a situation where we see Aoi inheriting Miyu’s deck, then it would make more sense to me, but since we were told no such thing, I found myself missing the Trickstars throughout much of the duel (not to mention, their designs were absolutely fabulous, and Marincess… leaves a lot more to be desired).

Thirdly, I sincerely hope this won’t be the last we see of Haru, because I honestly would love to see him grow as a character. I don’t know about you, but in just one episode, they succeeded in making me care about him. His backtory is pretty messed up, which is an understatement when you have a psycho like Lightning giving orders.

Although Haru was created first, but Lightning was not happy with the result, so he created Bohman. Once Bohman entered the picture, Lightning then assigned Haru to serve as Bohman’s “younger brother”, where he was tasked to basically babysit and teach him how to duel. (In fact, the deck Bohman uses was originally Haru’s from the start!). Haru carried out all the responsibilities an older sibling would be expected to do. However once Lightning stripped Bohman of his emotions, Haru was demoted further to being told to now act as his servant. Really… Haru has led a sad life, and I would certainly like to see him have a happier end if he can have one. So if Haru really was erased, it would honestly make me sad. But at the same time, if he does live, he’s likely to be reprogrammed or something, which would be a shame because I really liked seeing this side of him. Yet with the time constraints, maybe this is something they just don’t have time to do anymore, and so they had to sacrifice his character in such a way.

Since Bohman is crying, Haru’s future seems bleak…

The one thing that gives me hope Haru might be still alive, was how last week we learned Haru and Bohman are due to merge together. But at the same time, with the way Lightning litterally told him ‘i don’t care if you die, your job is to buy time,’ it makes me wonder if maybe the two of them merging together was actually Bohman’s idea. Unlike Lightning and Windy, Bohman and Haru both have emotions. Although they don’t understand it, the two of them have forged a bond together, and this is what Haru came to realize today. Varying on will happen next, and what becomes of Haru, it would certainly be interesting to see Bohman become so intelligent and powerful that Lightning won’t be able to control him in the way he wants to. In fact, if Bohman can do this, he is probably Yuusaku’s and the team’s best chance of figuring out a peaceful solution that can protect both AI/Ignis and Humans alike.

Next week… well this is an unexpected matchup! We have Spectre VS Lightning, which I have no doubt will be a doozy because both of them are very good at psychological battles. I don’t want to set the bar too high in expectations, but this is something I hope will be done really well. The downside, well if Spectre loses, well that would blow, especially after such a long absence. It would certainly mean cutting down even more characters to focus on an even more contained cast, but man, I hope not. Maybe the two of them figured a way to protect themselves if they were to lose, because they really can’t afford to be dropping left and right against a fearsome opponent like Lightning himself.


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This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. ecarg312

    I agree that Haru was wasted potential. Although it was nice that Blue Maiden got a victory, it felt rather empty. Though, I do think it’s nice seeing a deck change since a deck like Trickstar has major weaknesses, especially since they aren’t built offensively and people know about Blue Angel’s Trickstar strategies. I think Marincess helps Blue Maiden’s weaknesses by making them more offensive-oriented via effect damage.
    I always had a feeling that human emotions would be Lightning’s downfall, and I think Haru’s downfall might be the catalyst for Bohman’s development. It makes me wonder what the writers will do with Bohman. Will he follow Lightning’s orders like he is told to do so or will he deviate and become his own self?

    1. Eva

      I definitely see Bohman breaking away from Lightning’s orders at some point or another, especially if he catches him shit-talking about Haru.

  2. V.

    The thing is, BM has to keep her real identity as BA a secret. Akira would technically become a hostage as SOL knows BA is Akira’s sister. So I am not that surprised by the fact that they gave her a different deck. Plus, those journalists are in the mirror version with the team so all the more reason that she can’t use it. Also, Marincess may become a the symbol of her bond with Aqua and Miyu, and the desire to save her only friend.
    And I don’t think it’s a disservice and sake of convenience as to how Haru ended today. Haru was never meant to last long and be an actual character from the start so his end as a fodder was expected- he didn’t contribute much to the story, and his role as a tragic fodder was well done. He was overshadowed by Lightning and Bohman, and Haru’s type of character and the role he played can be related to people like him in reality. This was like his first, last, and only chance he had to rebel and express himself for someone trapped in a birdcage never to get out, and he’s just like a mayfly.
    Though, I do slightly agree with you Eva- just because they are running out of time and trying to wrap up things to stay in schedule, I hope while the staff stick to the original, logical flow of the storyline, they don’t exchange that by giving convenient, unimpressive character exits.

    1. Eva

      //The thing is, BM has to keep her real identity as BA a secret. Akira would technically become a hostage as SOL knows BA is Akira’s sister. So I am not that surprised by the fact that they gave her a different deck. Plus, those journalists are in the mirror version with the team so all the more reason that she can’t use it. Also, Marincess may become a the symbol of her bond with Aqua and Miyu, and the desire to save her only friend.//
      Fair point. I didn’t take that into consideration. Though now that you mention switching it up to conceal her identity, it’s funny she didn’t do it sooner when she became Blue Girl, ahahaha! But now that she’s with Yuusaku’s team, it does make more sense for her to do it.

  3. Moonflower157

    Yeah, I think this episode was a bit underwhelming. I do wish the duel could have gone on a bit longer. I’m glad Blue Maiden won though and did redeem Haru. Yeah, not digging the Marincess archetype as much as I thought. The Trickstars were a lot better in terms of their effects and designs, but with the Marincess monsters, there’s more offensive power and hand traps. And hey, it’s a female Cyberse archetype, which hasn’t existed until now. Plus with Trickstar Candina becoming semi-limited in the OCG, the power of Trickstars is gonna go down. For advertisers, this might be a good time to introduce an archetype that might be in the next booster pack after Dark Neostorm. Now all the Ignis holder trio members have Cyberse archetypes.
    As for Haru, it truly is quite sad they had to kill his character off so quickly. Lightning really does treat Haru horribly now that Bohman is around. I’m sure Lightning won’t think much of Haru’s death as he’s probably only considered a disposable tool for his goals. This episode really showed the more human sides of Bohman and Haru. I’m glad they do care about each other despite not being related by blood. I was touched Bohman actually shed tears for his younger brother’s death. Even villains like them do have a more human side and redeeming traits sometimes. The bond between siblings goes beyond blood. There’s also the time you spent with the said sibling and the memories you create with them. Blue Maiden also said the same thing in terms of her bond with her older brother, Akira. Haru has shown that he is a sympathetic character if he’s showing doubt in Lightning and displaying human emotions such as anger, frustration, and even sadness that he can’t see Bohman anymore. I guess the “real tears” were Haru’s. If he is revived, I hope he can help Team Playmaker and maybe live a happy life with the humans despite being an AI.
    Blue Maiden has truly matured as a result of her partnering with Aqua and learning Miyu was also a Lost Incident victim. I think now she’s become a real blue angel. Even her angel wings reemerging is a symbol of that. I wasn’t too surprised Lightning would know Blue Maiden is actually Blue Angel and is Aoi Zaizen. After all, the Ignis are watching the network all the time. I’m sure Lightning wanted to get rid of Blue Maiden first as I’ll bet he wanted to kill Aqua more than Ai or Flame. I was so angry when Lightning mocked Aoi and Akira’s sibling relationship. By the way, did you see the scene where Playmaker grabs Blue Maiden’s wrist before she’s blown away? I actually sorta squealed at that scene. It was kinda cute. Plus I noticed Ai was trying to reach out to Aqua. I know it was subtle but worth noting.

    1. Eva

      Hahahaha yup, when PM caught BM, it was so cheesy but I still had a stupid smile on my face about it! XD

  4. Kazanova

    At the end of the Duel, I was like “Are you shitting me?!” Just like you, Haru has successfully won over me in this episode. I mean, come on, the poor boy. He is treated simply as a disposable prototype that caused him to have severe inferior complex. He realized too late the meaning of brotherhood he has with Bohman. If they’re going to permanently erase Haru, then they should have shown him more in earlier episodes before this. That way, his characterization and death doesn’t feel rushed. To make it worse, after being treated as a failure coupled with being told he cannot win, this episode feels like it’s meant to prove how Haru is indeed a failure. And Haru is seemingly there only for the sake of giving Blue Maiden a victory after her last defeat. (TT_TT)
    And then Blue Maiden’s new Deck. I have expected the change, but the Deck is disappointing. Their design is not as cute and charming as Trickstar Deck. I preferred Blue Maiden retain her Trickstar Deck but adding more Water type Monsters than this. Since Bohman cares about Haru so much, I wonder if he’ll try to avenge him by challenging Blue Maiden to a Duel.
    Next episode, Specter is making that evil face again! The Duel better make up for this one. It looks more promising considering how cunning both Specter and Lightning are.
    If there’s one thing that make me smiled from this episode about Blue Maiden…that would be the brief interaction she has with Playmaker when she was almost got separated because of the turbulance and Playmaker helped her. Fangirling at that one moment! XD

  5. V.

    VRAINS can’t deny that at this point it has a secondary theme: sibling relationships.
    We have:
    Ignises who consider each other brethren as they were made the same way through the Lost Incident
    Actual blood siblings
    Considered like siblings (Haru and Bohmand, and probably Yusaku-Takeru and Shoichi’s relationships)
    I don’t recall any series having this many siblings vital to the plot…

    1. Eva

      Excellent observation, I’m looking forward to seeing how they will continue to use this theme throughout the rest of the show. It’s actually a nice change of pace.

  6. DemonChickenOfDoom

    Sadly the writers had no choice but to change Aoi’s deck from Trickstars. The Trickstar engine was, alongside the Gouki engine, an extremely powerful play style in the irl game upon initial release, quickly reaching up to the meta.
    Problem was, because of how good it was, they had to make Aoi misplay with it in the anime so she wouldn’t OTK all opponents, which is much more likely since real life duels have 8000 lp and Trickstars can still win in roughly 2-3 turns, so a 4000 lp duel can be won in 1-2 turns.
    Then when they began releasing newer cards, the newer cards either had to be more balanced for real play, only they went too far in the wrong direction and made them poorly designed, or they had to be good and Aoi still had to lose with them for the sake of the plot.
    Aoi having a meta deck made it hard for them to write the duels since reasonalbly, she’d be winning with her deck easily, meaning they either made her use crap support, or made her play the deck badly.
    Shifting to the unreleased Marincess deck however mitigated this, as the Marincess wouldn’t be affected by Meta standards and the duels could be written based on the plot rather than playstyle, much like the other duelists. Remember, none of the other five protagonists had meta decks, with Spectre’s Sunavalon still being unreleased and Soulburner’s Salamangreat being considered terrible until recently.
    To assuage your fears on the deck however, more than likely the deck’s appearance was affected by the poor animation of this episode. Seriously, this episode had issues with the animation.
    In addition, the deck will more than likely not be Aoi’s permanent deck. The only reason she’s using the Marincess deck, the Water Cyberse deck, is due to her partnership with Aqua. When they inevitably bring Miyu into the story, in a similar vein to how they brought Rio into the story long after she was first mentioned in ZEXAL, she will more than likely be given the Marincess deck when Aqua goes to her. The deck seems to be bound to Aqua after all, much like how the Salamangreat deck is bound to Flame and Takeru only got it when he met Flame. If Miyu does appear in a reasonable capacity, she’ll probably get the deck, and Aoi will either return to Trickstar and the writers will be forced to figure out how to write it properly, or Aoi will get a third deck.

  7. Wilfredo Sifr Starduster

    Honestly I didn’t and will never care about Haru just because of the sudden rush of characterization to justify his existence when he’s only there to get jobbed. Bowman crying also didn’t buy me in just because it’s so predictable that he’ll face his upcoming opponent AND lose again, so much for being the vessel created to eventually unite all six Ignises. Thirdly and the most common one: Hydradrives are still trash.
    Seeing Aoi winning however made me happy just because it’s been TOO long since she last won a duel. (The last one she won prior to this duel against Haru was vs Baira in 2017; in other words she had NO wins at all throughout 2018!) Of course Marincess left a lot to be desired because of its weird gimmick of “Activate Traps from your hand” being its main theme, but should they manage a way to build a future Trickstars-Marincess hybrid deck then it’ll make me even happier.
    Next episode it’ll be the glorious return of Specter’s facial expressions. Kinda sucks that he’s up against Lightning though because due to plot armor he’s 99% confirmed to lose. Well, let’s see how will Sunavalons fare this time (and please release them Konami).

  8. Dave Aristide

    The situation with Haru is very simple to understand if you apply the logic used in other merchandise-based shows.
    The kid got Jobbed.
    BM gets a shiny new deck. Konami wants to impress the kiddies with it so naturally, her first duel with the deck has to end in a win. Now, who can we have BM defeat while having little consequence to the overall plot? I know! How about that blonde AI kid who’s had like 20 lines max since his inception?
    As you’ve probably guessed, I watch a lot of these types of shows so I see this stuff happen often. This week’s episode was an exercise in corporate writing. Nothing more.

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