AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I was expecting a serious duel, but I am not even mad about how it turned out. I thought it was a great way to have a breather from how heavy these episodes has been, especially since next week is going to be a sad one, no doubt. I am also glad this duel was only an episode long because it’s important to keep the story rolling rather than stalling the time of Akira’s inevitable defeat. Also mad props to Ryoken for having Pandor use his Topologic monsters such as his signature Bomber Dragon. That was one hell of a way to say, “I GOT MY EYE ON YOU, AI”.
This week definitely made me fall in love with Pandor’s character. Since she has a free-will, she has the ability to sympathize with Ai’s struggles and despair. She even tried to give him a way out thanks to a loophole in the protocol, where if Ai were to return the key and consciousness he had stolen, he would be allowed to flee. In other-words, that’s the only situation where he can be spared.
Pandor also made a point of how Ai was trying to distract her throughout the duel, and in a way he was since he didn’t like the way she could identify his vulnerable emotions that he wants to keep hidden from others. However at the same time, we also got to see the side of Ai we have grown to know and love, his silliness. I thought the running gag of Ai trying to predict the next monster’s name and being upset that it wasn’t Nabee (since it meant he got it wrong) was absolutely hilarious. And Pandor’s reactions were just as fun.
But even though Ai actually had moments of self-doubts about his overall his abilities as a duelist, his determination to strive for victory remained unchanged. He made sure that Pandor couldn’t stall out the duel in her favour, and threw her a curveball by hijacking the plane and ensuring it won’t land as planned.
I also thought it was very interesting how Ai specifically referred to himself being unable to co-exist with Humans, and said it’s not outside of the possibility that A.I. and Humans can co-exist with each other. I think he is referring to the fact he can’t bear the weight of being the only one left and existing in a world where Humans in general either don’t trust him/perceived as an enemy (Ryoken) or want to exploit him (SOL Technology). That’s why there’s no turning back for him. This would also explain a bit more why he doesn’t want anyone but one person to know about his sadness…And that person, is probably Yuusaku, which why I think Ai is counting on him to put him out of his misery.
By keeping his sadness a secret from everyone else, and provoking them into perceiving him as a a threat, it’s a way of apply pressure to make Yuusaku to finally eliminate him. If that ends up being the case, we’re in store for hell of a heartache, because that’s not fair to Yuusaku at all. After everything they have gone through together, it is a terribly selfish wish, but it’s also very much like Ai.
Ugh, just thinking about it gives me a heartache!
That being said, I don’t think it’s going to go according Ai’s plans, especially if he chooses to spare Aoi in this duel (since we know, those who lose, will end up losing their consciousness). There is definitely a window of opportunity, and it could be exploited so as long Akira and Aoi doesn’t reveal the fact they now know Playmaker’s true identity—yet I have a feeling it’s probably an unavoidable topic. But let’s say they don’t tell him that, should Aoi be spared, thanks to her new relationship with Yuusaku, she should be able to provide him more information about Ai’s despair. However it isn’t outside of the realm of possibility that Pandor may end up being the one to deliver the information— especially, (and god forbid) Aoi loses her consciousness alongside Akira and is benched again.
Aside from the underlining angst, hilarity and cute interactions between Pandor and Ai, there was a small detail worth to pay attention to. Ai made a peculiar discovery when he was sent flying off the aircraft, only to recover thanks to a mechanism that was built into the SOLtis system. And Ai asked the very question that surely ran through all of our minds:
“Why did they include this in the first place?”
The first thing that crossed my mind was, perhaps these SOLtis may have been built to deploy to be used in the military or to security (most likely the latter), which may be alluding to the dirty backroom deals that are being made in the SOL Technology corporation. If so, this would be a great way to put the shady corporation into the spotlight, as they have been slithering in the shadows all this time. With that in mind, I am very curious about how it will be dealt with once Ai takes control, especially if it turns out SOL Technology are the ones behind the unknown “truth” that Lightning had alluded to.
I am really looking forward to next week’s episode. Tag-Duel with Aoi and Akira (with Pandor as their advisor) VS Ai. Exposing his despair and loneliness will be huge, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they can draw out his true feelings more effectively than Pandor could.