Yu-Gi-Oh! SEVENS Episode 01 [First Impression]

Eva’s First Impression

When they first revealed the details of YGO SEVENS, like most of the fandom base, I wasn’t mentally prepared for the dramatic changes they made with the character designs. Seriously, when you watch the announcement PV and compare how it looked up until now, it’s a jarring contrast.  So I am glad I saw the announcement when it was first released because it allowed me to get over my feelings of disappointment sooner rather than later. Once I finished grieving for the loss of the iconic designs I have known since childhood, the new designs did grow on me to the point I now find them rather adorable, and it helps that the characters are quite charming too!

But hoh boy, this was… something. It was a lot to take in. Honestly I am not really sure how I feel about this one yet. It felt like they were a bit too passionate about playing with the “rush” theme, because this episode was flying down the highway to the point that I had to pause it several times to keep track of what was going on. They were also some really jarring cuts that were awkwardly placed, and at times the animation wasn’t the greatest from what we have seen in the past.

However, what they did do well was entertain me. The first half had me in stitches from laughing so hard. Among the characters, we were introduced to were Yuga, Tatsuhisa, Gakuto and Romin. Together, they are an absolute riot, and I love them for it.

So let’s start off with our cute little protagonist Ohdo Yuga! He is a kid with big dreams of implementing new rules to bring back the joy and smiles to game that Goha Corp had spoiled because of their stupid rules. What surprised me this episode was that we really didn’t learn that much about him at all. He’s really cute, I like his free-spirit and that they are continuing the trend of the protagonists being well versed with hacking and programming stuff. It does make things more fun.

He is later sought out by Kamijou Tatsuhisa, Goha 7th’s Number 1 Duelist who is also known as Rook. Supposedly this guy has super powers that he can only use twice a day because he has a devil in his sou(or find him to be especially entertaining because despite his cool appearance, he is actually a total goofball. He is the one who tells us about this legend about the Duel King, (which hilariously, Yuga never heard of until now and didn’t care for it), and brings him to a secret place he had found a week ago and explained to us how an engineer of Goha Corp had created a secret door inside the duel system. Whoever finds it will supposedly become the Duel King. But in order to do that they needed to beat this weird hologram dude (who I presume it’s the the engineer Rook was talking about). Basically they had to challenge the dude and beat him within a time limit. Since Rook had lost every match, he accumulated penalties and got his account banned. That’s why he brought Yuga, since he wants to install new rules too. Of course, as expected, he wins and is fated to become the new Duel King. What’s interesting however is that having won this battle, Goha’s Systems have been overridden, and now everyone has a “seven” shaped duel-disk.

In amidst of all of this, we were introduced to the loud Student Council President Sougetsu Gakuto. It looks like he is going to the latest slapstick character. I just hope they don’t leave him unchecked because while he amused me in the beginning of the episode, his exaggerated and incredibly loud reactions quickly became tiresome to listen to. But then again, I am sleep deprived at the moment, so maybe that’s why my patience didn’t hold. Nevertheless, I really hope they actually make something of his character, that is always the better way to go.

And of course we have the not so subtle Kirishima Romin. The school band’s popular guitarist. She claims she doesn’t play or is interested the game, but boy she is suspicious as hell. She was pretty smooth with the way she took out her camera to take pictures of Yuga, both in the classroom and at that secret place where the fateful duel transpired. Obviously, the first thing that comes to mind is that she might be a Goha Corp Spy, or maybe she’s working with a different party, or maybe she’s doing her own private investigation, who knows. All I can say is that I don’t believe her for a second when she says she has been practicing the guitar at the top floor. I’m convinced she staked them out since she had seen Rook eyeing Yuga out earlier on in the day. On top of that, the OP shows that she has a duel-disk in hand, so we will find out just how experienced she is sooner or later. And since we have a totally different lineup of staff behind this series, I really hope that she will have her chance to shine properly alongside the boys. The beginning of the episode actually gives me a bit of hope for that because of the bizarre dream of a giant mecha carrying all these kids, controlled by four pilots, and one of them (the one in purple) you could see the hair popping out, and it matches Romins.

Speaking of the mecha unit: What the hell is this thing? First we have card games on motorcycles, and then we had card games on surf boards, of course we were going to get mecha sooner or later. At least the other two made more sense, this i just…. weird, I’m curious to see how they are going to go about obtaining this thing— if ever, but I digress.

As for our current antagonists, they are pretty much the “Big Brother” type. They are in complete control of the city of Goha. Yuga and the others are basically living in this surveillance state lifestyle where Goha Corp is breathing down everyone’s necks. They have all sorts of tools at their disposals, their most key weapon is that they have robots everywhere to make sure their rules are kept enforced. They have all sorts of ridiculous rules they are imposing on everyone, and they do that by collecting data from the users. Opening or dismantling the duel disk is completely forbidden and those who do so will be penalized. When a user accumulate 6 strikes, their account is banned. Another example were when two students personally trading cards with one another were penalized by the surveillance robot because it’s prohibited without the supervision of Goha Corporation! SCREW THAT! No wonder Yuga and Rook want to opt out of it and create new rules that would enable more freedom to the game.

I will admit, the way their society is being overseen by Goha Corp and the nonstop hilarious antics from the characters was quite jarring it. It makes it hard to gauge exactly what the tone of of this series is going to be like to be when you have quite a serious set-up in terms of what the antagonists are enforcing, while at the same time, this entire premiere was filled with slapstick comedy from start to finish.

Needless to say, we definitely need more time to get a feel for how this style will play out— especially when you tie this together with the freaking robot. But at least it has succeeding in piping my curiosity. Another thing I felt they did well was the introduction of the characters. They absolutely played a major part in what made this premiere so much fun to watch because they all have good interactions with each other.

The characters being able to shine was particularly important because the new game mechanic of “Rush Duels”, honestly it didn’t really click with me. I’m definitely going to need a few more episodes to get used to it because… I don’t know, it was underwhelming? Maybe I’m just too used to the new flashy summoning techniques? I also don’t play the game so I can’t offer any insight as a player, so I am very interested in the thoughts of those who do. How do you guys feel about it? Anyhow, I definitely need more time to get the feel of it.

What is also worth noting is that Yu-Gi-Oh! SEVENS is mainly made up of brand new staff, many who had not taken part of the previous series (with the exception of Toshimitsu Takeuchi and Masahiro Hikokubo being the two exceptions at this time) makes that very possible. I will admit, I was initially a bit bummed out they switched out the director again. I truly felt Katsuya Asano did a great job with YGO VRAINS, and was hoping to see him at the helm again. Another major change is that Shin Yoshida who has been responsible for YGO’s series composition for a long time is apparently not part of the staff this time. I don’t know if he will be involved in the script process in the future, I haven’t seen any details in regards to that yet. Nevertheless with fresh new writers, I am curious to see which direction the story will go.

Next week, I hope the episode slows down a bit and they smooth out the transitions between scenes, and dial back on the comedy just a tad. This premiere left me wondering a lot about what the tone this series is going to be. Right now it feels like comedy is going to be a huge factor in this one, more so than it had in its predecessors that were known for its dark twists and turns. That of course, what was I have always loved about Yu-Gi-Oh’s series, so I do hope they will keep that in. Ultimately it all comes down to whether this 20th Anniversary marks the milestone of appealing to the audience in a different way.  Actually speaking of which, One of the things I felt they did do well was the way they implemented Blue-Eyed Dragon. I am curious to see how this monster will be used in this series. But it’s a nice call-back to the original, similarly to how (if my memory serves me right) ZEXAL featured Dark Magician and Dark Magical Girl as a statue.

Another question that comes to mind, is how long this series will go on for. I haven’t heard any particular details about it just yet, but I would find it hard to imagine it would be anymore than 100 episodes after they had ended YGO VRAINS so early on. Anyways all we can do wait and find out! 

As per usual for YGO, I will definitely be sticking around for at least three to ten episodes to see if this is worth my time.

Possibility of Blogging: Moderate – Committing to Cover 3 – 10 Episodes to see where it goes.

Side Note: I wonder if Crunchyroll is going to pick it up again. Last time it took a few weeks before they announced it, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s why we haven’t seen anything about it yet. In the mean time, we will be using Fan-Subs again.

Eva

Blogging Anime since Summer 2009, & Founder of AngryAnimeBitches Anime Blog

8 thoughts on “Yu-Gi-Oh! SEVENS Episode 01 [First Impression]

  1. It was wierd episode for sure but decent it had its up and downs but so far what i liked the most is the characters

  2. ZeXal was pretty weird when it first started (especially coming off of 5d’s) but it eventually came into its own. I have no doubts that Sevens will follow the same trajectory.

    On the subject of Rush Duels, they’re actually very easy to understand if you compare them to how the game plays normally. I would even argue they’re easier to follow than the normal game.

    -The field is Speed Duel sized.
    -You can summon as many monsters as you want during your turn (tribute summon rules still apply).
    -You draw cards until you have 5 at the start of your turn.

    It emulates how many kids would play back in the day when the rules weren’t clearly established yet and I believe that’s exactly what Sevens is going for.

    1. ZEXAL was one of the YGO series I struggled to stick with. I dropped it around Episode 30 at the time. I have heard that things picked up some point after that, so someday I do plan to rewatch it to experience the craziness I’ve been hearing all about. XD

      Thanks for the clarification on the duel rules! And you’re right, it’s a lot more straight-forward and it definitely matches the theme of the series.

      LOL I was that kid back then who would watch the others play the game, but had no idea what the rules were but thought the cards and game were cool. I remember my biggest frustration was that I never knew where to get the cards ROFLMAOOOOO!!!!

  3. I’ll admit, like a lot of fans, when the PV announcement first dropped my first reaction was; “Really? THIS is how they’re going to celebrate 20 years of Yu-Gi-Oh!?” I went into this series with zero expectations expecting it to be a cringe-fest, since they seemed to be putting a greater emphasis on comedy and marketing to children, but honestly, after watching this first episode I was pleasantly surprised.
    I found the characters to be charming and likeable, and the story really feels like its going to go somewhere. I also found the comedy to be legitimately funny, with my favourite part being when Gakuto looks like he’s about to run away because he doesn’t want to get in trouble with Goha Corp, but then he immediately returns with Yuga’s bicycle to provide power to recharge the battery on Yuga’s Duel Disk, I had to actually pause the video because I laughed for a straight minute. Speaking of Yuga, I found it ironic that although he is two years younger than Yuma, he already comes across as far more likable and mature than he did, as well as a far more skilled duellist. His desire to use Rush Duels to bring happiness and smiles to everyone who are controlled by the cold and rigid Goha Corp reminds me a lot of Yuya’s desire to bring smiles to everyone with his Entertainment Duelling, except he has the hacking skills of Yusaku to back it up. In fact, the first opening and ending of Sevens reminded me a lot of Arc V’s first opening and ending, which knowing the series of Yu-Gi-Oh that came before Sevens, could mean that the story will deepen and darken as it goes along.
    As for the other characters, I enjoyed the character of ‘Rook’ and his dynamic with Yuga, I feel like he will be the Jonouchi of the series, and there is definitely something shifty going on with Romin and the way she seems to be keeping track of Yuga’s activities, I look forward to seeing how they contribute to the series in the future. As for the art style, I will miss Kazuki Takahashi’s iconic desgins, but I believe the new look will grow on me, as I find it pleasing to the eye and nowhere near as bad as some people have made it out to be now that I have watched a full episode.
    I will be tuning into Yu-Gi-Oh Sevens in the future with great anticipation, and I hope that it becomes a series worthy of bearing its name. Until then, I look forward to seeing you all next week.

    1. YUP. I had just about the exact same reaction (and I quote) “WTF. This is supposed to be the 20th Anniversary title? What is with the new character designs?! I don’t know how i feel about this!”

      The fact the comedy actually worked is really what salvaged this premiere. Had it felt too forced and or failed to land, it could have been a hot mess.

      I am really excited for the group because there isn’t anyone who appears to be a mean character. They are all amusing and click really well together something we lacked in VRAINS I do hope this means we’re going to see a tightly knitted group of friends this time.

      And I too thought about Yuuma and Yuga. ZEXAL’s premiere was a rough one for me because I couldn’t stand Yuuma’s stupidity in the beginning of the series. He was not charming to me. Yuga however as you said, surprisingly mature but manages to be expressive. The whole dream about smiles and joy made me think of Yuuya as well, and the hacking brings to mind both Yusei and Yuusaku. So as you said, Yuga really feels like a great combination of a lot of the previous protagonists combined.

      The character designs was definitely something we all needed time to get used to. Those who didn’t see the grand reveal didn’t have the luxury, so I am quite glad that I had seen it at the time because I can now appreciate the new and adorable characters designs as they are!

  4. Just noticed that youmade a review about SEVENS! We all share many agreement regarding SEVENS here. Althought, while in Japan the timeslot is okay, in my place, I gotta wake up at 5.30 a.m to watch it live stream. Must sleep early and wake up early.

    Since this series is directed more for younger kids, I had expected that other than the characters being elementary schoolers, they’ll show more comedy and easier dueling rules. For the first episode, I love the main cast. Yuga certainly made better first impression than Yuma. He’s childish and dream big but not dumb. I initially thought Gakuto would be a super serious character who won’t accept Yuga and Rook’s antics, but turns out he’s really funny and would be close friend with them, which is good. Rook is funny too with his so-called power is to break any techs but only limited twice a day. He’s an epitome of chuunibyo character type alright! Plus, he has the same VA as Flame! For Romin…actually, can’t say much, but she’s cute.

    I still won’t get my hopes too high, but for now I’ll continue to watch. I expect to see more comedy in the first arc for the time being.

    1. Yeah the time slot change actually had me worried about how my weekend schedule was going to be like. Fortunately it doesn’t look like I’ll be picking anything else up on Saturdays, but the general schedule will come down to how quickly and what days the Fansubs come out if CR decides to skip out on it. And if they do pick it up, I still think it might take a couple of a weeks like they did with VRAINS.

      It seems to be a tradition for them to rotation through the generations so the series of the franchise grows up with the kids they are looking to appeal to. And I like that a lot, and hope they will continue to do so. 🙂

      Nevertheless, I never shy away from series targeted for younger kids so as long as it’s fun to watch! They did a great job with the comedy, and the characters are so adorable I already love them lots! Yuga is so smol~! He left a waaaaaayyyy better first impression on me than Yuuma had, he didn’t appeal to me at all.

      Oooh~ FLAME LIVES ONNNNNNNN~ LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL. Rook is hysterical, I love him.

      Romin is gonna be interesting. She is already dodgy as heck, but it looks like Rook is onto her.

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