Ooof, my poor heart. This episode was filled with tension, and heartache. I am sure, when Ai brought out Judgement Arrows, we all thought “SHIT. HE ACTUALLY WENT THERE!”. The card the symbolizes the conflict and war between Humans and the Ignis, so its an understatement why everyone, including us, the audience would be flipping out about it. Seriously, I got the chills.

Coping with grief and decks’ sentimental value was a big theme this episode, and both Ai and Aoi had many parallels to each other, which further explains why Aoi made the effort to reach out to him. Both of them are using a deck that holds a lot of sentiments, and can be perceived as the windows to their hearts. Ai’s deck consists monsters that represents his fallen kin and himself, and was likely created through the power they had granted to him in order to defeat Bohman. As for Aoi, she could have gone back to her former Trickstar deck, but because of the bond she had formed with Aqua, and sentiment the Marincess’ deck now holds, it now serves as her new main— and to some extent, it gave Ai a bit of comfort knowing that Aqua’s deck is being cherished properly.

But this episode made it a lot more clear what Bohman’s words meant. When Bohman referred to ‘closing the future to the Ignis’, it was referring to their inevitable tragedy of their demise. Since Ai was unable to save his friends, he is now drowning in loneliness and despair. He also finds it incredibly unfair that he is the only one who has to reap the losses, when his Human comrades were successful in saving the ones they cared about. I think it would be fair to say by picking a fight with Humans again, while there are certainly other intentions, one of them is undoubtedly a form of lashing out.

Aoi however brought up a very important point: “Why do they have to fight each other when they are both suffering from the same sadness?”

It was clear when Aoi said that, it got under Ai’s skin. She exposed his guilt of failing to save his friends, and the pain and loneliness is he going through right now, and he lashed out at her for that. I also feel the reason why he suddenly pointed to Pandor being in ‘Aqua’s Spot’ was to try and create a diversion. So had it not been for Pandor’s strong follow up,  I don’t know if Ai would have opened up about how time has stopped for him, and the only way for him to move forward is to defeat everyone.

But it doesn’t just doesn’t just apply to her and Ai, but Takeru, and now Yuusaku as well. All four of them are suffering from the loss and failure of being unable to save their Ignis friends. And rather than grieving together, they are dealing with it on their own. One would think they would get together in attempt to console each other, but the truth of the matter is, beyond their online connection, with the exception of Ai and Yuusaku (having been partners and all), they don’t really have any relationship with each other in the real world. One example is Aoi, who didn’t know their offline identities until recently, and then Takeru who had planned to return home due to either believing there was no other reason to stick around, and/or it was a means of an escape to cope his own grief— until Ai made himself into a threat they had to deal with. And since Kusanagi is spending time with Jin, had Aoi and Akira had not figured out his offline identity, Yuusaku was about to be left all alone again. That’s how frail their relationship with each other actually is.

This is also what makes the situation quite ironic. Ai has become a purpose for them to come altogether again, and this time, they have the opportunity to strengthen their relationship and bond in the real world. It is definitely something I would like to see considering much of the series has taken place in the world of the online network. And on top of that, his time, rather it being about the fight for co-existence and to avoid a war between Humans and A.I./Ignis, the mission this time will (hopefully) be more about saving Ai, the last Ignis.

Akira had me wondering for a split second if he were actually going to turn the key in to Ai, as a ‘form of apology’. Of course he didn’t, he bears the responsibility as an executive of SOL Technology to protect the company from whoever threatens them. And while Akira acknowledged where Ai’s pain stems from, and the wrongdoings of Humans and apologize to him, it didn’t appear that Ai appreciated his gesture by the slightest. That being said, boy, has it been a LONG TIME since we last seen Akira duel!

Next week, looks like things are bound to go back and forth. I’m still anxious about what is going to become Aoi’s fate from this duel. I really don’t know how she will be spared unless Ai makes her an exception despite this being on a tag-team, or they actually somehow come out victorious.


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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Kazanova

    Ai is definitely in Yusaku’s position in Season 1. At the beginning of the series, Yusaku is struggling to move forward by defeating Knights of Hanoi because he felt his time had stopped after the Lost Incident. With Ai’s help uring the last battle against Ryoken, he finally able to put the past behind him. Now, it’s Ai’s turn who feels his time has stopped and the only way he can think of to move forward is by defeating his old friends. Like Ai did for Yusaku, now it’s Yusaku’s turn to help Ai. And in a way, Ai maybe is a bit like Ryoken too. During the Lost Incident, Ryoken saved the children by reporting the incident, but then regretted it when he realized it came at the cost of losing his father. Ai helped in saving humanity, and now regretted it because he lost his friends.
    They may be sharing the same sadness pf losing their Ignis friends, but Yusaku and the others at least still have family and friends who have been by their sides for long time (Yusaku still has Takeru and Kusanagi, Takeru still has Yusaku and Kusanagi and his grandparents, Kusanagi still has his brother and Yusaku, Aoi still has Akira and Miyu). Ai, on the other hand, has nothing left of his Ignis kin. Not even Yusaku, who is supposed to be his partner, was able to sooth his loneliness.
    Ai’s smile in the preview makes me worry. It looks like he’s starting to out of his mind (I hope not, please!). Even if Aoi is somehow spared/survived, I wonder if she’s still going to try to reason with Ai the next time, considering how much she loves her brother, I won’t be surprised if she lash out at Ai for defeating and stealing her brother’s consciousness in the next episode.
    All the talk about Ai made me almost forgot about Miyu. Finally, Miyu and Aoi are reunited! Not only that, Miyu knew that Aoi was fighting for her sake! It’s brief, but still touching flashback. I wanna see more interaction between the two girls! (TTvTT)
    I received news that VRAINS is closing towards the climax. Looks like the series going to end pretty soon. Time sure flies fast…(TT_TT)

    1. Eva

      Talk about coming a full circle, ! And good point about the parallels with Ryoken and Ai!
      Ugh Q A Q My heart hurts so much! I’m afraid of Ai going out of his mind too, but I think it’s bound to happen sooner than later, especially since he had to talk about his feelings as he did today.
      Yeah I’m really surprised how fast time has flown by too. There’s only about 40 episodes left if they intend to stick with 149/150 episodes. Man I’m going to miss this series, it’s been a real good one.

  2. ecarg312

    Hm, I feel like I’m the only one who actually doesn’t like the reasoning speech Blue Maiden made. I feel like the writers are trying too hard to make her included into the LI plot when she herself is the person least affected by it since she was only a victim of association via Miyu, the actual victim. But that’s probably a little nitpick. I do feel sad that she feels guilty over Aqua’s death. BM’s situation is basically an outsider stepping into a battlefield with a weapon that doesn’t belong to her but still is able to handle it; her guilt is over the fact that the weapon that isn’t hers is no longer there, so she can’t return it back to where it belongs. All she can do is just feel guilt over losing it and know that it’s her fault for holding onto it.
    On another note, I find it surprising that Ai is using Judgment Arrows. He’s basically protecting himself by using the murder weapon that killed his loved ones. Ironic.
    I do feel really bad for Ai, though. Humans have hearts, brains and blood, so if they get injured, they can still recover. He and his Ignis friends are data creatures with a box that contains free will–essentially their soul, heart, and brain all in one. Data is disposable. One fell swoop, and it’s gone. Ai probably does feel regret for what he did and it’s making him feel human. He is like a traumatized, guilt-ridden human that is battle-weary and cynical.
    On some minor details, Miyu’s words to Aoi intrigued me. She knew Aoi saved her. It makes me wonder if her connection with Aqua made her see what she saw while comatose. Maybe I’m just overthinking. Also, I find it cute how all of Aoi’s avatars make her have a resemblance towards Akira that she doesn’t have in real life. Like, with BM and Akira standing side by side, you can see their similar color schemes and that they look quite similar.

    1. Eva

      I can understand where you are coming from. It’s a fact that Aoi had the least amount of time involved in this entire situation, before she was shoehorned once again once Bohman defeated her shortly after. Perhaps it would have been better to have her more involved and playing a bigger role earlier on, unless that’s what they hope to achieve in this final season. (But considering how female characters in general in this series always get the short end of the stick, I won’t be surprised if she gets benched again).
      Ai using Judgement Arrows was a real shocker. I cursed out loud when he brought it like, “ARE YOU @#*!&#ING SERIOUS?! YOU WENT THERE?!” I absolutely agree, Aqua and Flame would be rolling in their graves right now, while Lightning would probably be cackling getting a kick out of this.
      // He is like a traumatized, guilt-ridden human that is battle-weary and cynical.//
      Q___Q You nailed it right on the head.
      Yeah I wondered about the same thing with Miyu. It’s a shame that we never really got to, nor will we probably ever get to see her be further fleshed out.

  3. Moonflower157

    Wow, your review was so full of emotion! When I heard Ai say that time stopped moving for him, I felt so sad for him! I almost cried! How ironic that he ended up just like Yusaku once was back in season 1. And Playmaker felt sad for Ai seeing that Ai was now essentially who he once was. Their roles are pretty much reversed this season. I guess the apple truly didn’t fall far from the tree. Yusaku and Ai are more alike than what was initially expected. Ai’s funny side was just essentially a mask to hide his true feelings of sadness and loneliness. Now what’s probably gonna be the main cast for this season understands how Ai felt. Even Revolver felt some pity too, which means he’s changed despite reverting back to hunting the Ignis.
    I’m not sure if you noticed this, but despite his new status as the new enemy of Team Playmaker, Ai seems to hold a soft spot for those who fought closely alongside him and the other Ignis once such as Playmaker, Soulburner, and Blue Maiden and/or showed him immense kindness like with Kusanagi. Ai was pretty hostile to Akira and just coldly rejected Akira asking him to surrender, but with Blue Maiden, it was the complete opposite. I really enjoyed listening to Blue Maiden and Ai speak directly to each other for the first time. It was so sweet of her to try and empathize with Ai and see how sad she was and how she didn’t want to fight him because of that supposed same sadness they share. But I can’t blame Ai for initially lashing out at her. It was so similar to Playmaker and Akira back many episodes ago in not wanting pity. Despite this, Ai definitely was much more friendly and easygoing to Blue Maiden than Akira. He might have lashed out at her at first, much to her agitation, but he quickly regained his composure and showed that he wasn’t ultimately angry with her. Her kindness to Aqua and how much she cared for Aqua through continuing to use the Marincess deck must have really touched him. I kinda laughed when Ai told Blue Maiden not to glare like that. I guess he was reminded of Aqua in a way remembering how girls can be especially scary when they lose their tempers and become angry.
    Ai’s use of Judgement Arrows really shocked and angered me! How did you feel? The same way? I thought we were never gonna see that card again and that it was all in the past of season 2. But I guess Bohman and Lightning’s influence went beyond the grave after all. I might ultimately be sympathetic with Ai, but I can’t forgive him for using that card. That card is a symbol of not just the battle between the Ignis, but also Lightning’s treason that caused the whole problem in the first place. Soulburner was definitely the angriest of all when he saw Judgement Arrows again. I do agree with him that using that card is just crossing the line. If Flame and Aqua could see Ai using Judgement Arrows right now, they’d be turning in their graves. There’s no way they could rest in peace seeing that. In fact, they’d be probably infuriated that Ai betrayed their ideals, especially Flame, who was also the angriest at Lightning for destroying the Cyberse World.
    I’m excited to see how the duel ends next week! I do hope Aoi is spared out of Ai’s true inner kindness. Although I’m still fearing Blue Maiden could lash out at Ai afterwards for taking Akira away from her. I could tell Ai was far more patient with Aoi than Akira, just like Playmaker. At least he was willing to listen to what she had to say to him directly and ultimately wasn’t too bothered by her asking him about his sadness. Feels like both Yusaku and Ai hold a soft spot for her.

    1. Eva

      I’d like to hope you are right about Ai having a soft spot for Aoi because of her partnership with Aqua, and perhaps this will be exactly why he chooses to spare her. The only thing that concerns me however, varying on Ai’s ultimate objective, it might just be in his best interest to take out his opponents sooner than later, and Aoi is certainly one of them. It would be interesting however if Ai so happens to specifically target Humans who are seeking to bring harm to, threaten, or want to exploit him.
      Yup I was shook when he brought out Judgement Arrows. As I said to ecarg312, my exact response was: “ARE YOU @#*!&#ING SERIOUS?! YOU WENT THERE?!” Got the chills, for real. In all honestly, I didn’t think he would ever bring that out. That card has such a negative and dangerous association with it. And yes, Flame and Aqua would be rolling in their graves! Ai, seriously, of all cards, YOU HAD TO USE THAT ONE?!?!?!

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