After a few sluggish episodes, the true battle against the Dark Signers are finally in sight. But before they actually get to that, they were given an appetizer of grief to kick things off.

Episode 45 started off fairly slow, but I certainly welcomed the start of Ushio’s character development. This man been hot garbage to Yusei since the moment they’ve met, but as Yusei become more and more involved with Godwin, Ushio was forced to cooperate and begrudgingly assist him at times of need. And now, he is put in an especially awkward position having learned that Yusei was actually originally born in the Tops, effectively dismantling his excuses to attack him for where he was born.

However Ushio was soon put to the test when he found himself front of a young child who looks up to Security and dreams of wearing their uniform when he grows up. The ‘trash’ Ushio would call the citizens of Satellites suddenly were given an innocent face he couldn’t quite ignore. The way the boy Takuya, looked up to him as a member of Security (because of the way they helped him and tried to save his father in the past) sort of ‘Humanized’ them in a way Ushio didn’t perceive them before. Up until this point, Ushio has always perceived the citizens of Satellite as Criminals and Trash who did not belong in their world of the Tops. Now that he has grown a soft spot for the boy who looked up to him, when he thinks about how this kid’s dream can’t be fulfilled due to the current discriminatory laws of their society, it breaks his heart a little. But he really comes to terms that he has been nothing but piece of shit to the people of Satelite when Martha tells him that he’s Takuya’s hero, because he truly felt like he didn’t deserve to be regarded as such.

This led to Yusei’s declaration to the children that life will get better for them after this. Perhaps it was not the brightest idea to set expectations for something you cannot be sure if you can fulfill. But by announcing how the two cities will be connected once more, and that the citizens of Satellite will finally be free of discrimination, you could interpret this as a means to strengthen his resolve to overcome his mission to see this through. That said, apart from the symbolism, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t repetitive at this point.

In fact, it sure felt like they spent a whole lot of time on reminding us things that we just got a rehash for in the last few episodes, like we get it, you got it drilled in our heads enough already. And don’t get me started on some of the cringe-worthy lines like: “It’s the card that damaged Yusei’s soul”, like no shit Sherlock! But I’d say the most ridiculous bit we could have lived without was Mikage whining about Jack not reciprocating her feelings and caring about Carly.

Then Spider Dark Signer Rudger finally shows up to pick a fight, so Yusei and Aki go together to take the fight away from the orphanage. Some may be wondering what’s the point of Aki is tagging along for this, but apart from the obligatory observer to commentate on the duel, in retrospect, this makes sense given that she is currently the member with the least amount of exposure to the battle of the Dark Signers. She would be the one to benefit witnessing Yusei’s duel against Rudger, as Jack, who has already had the opportunity to observe it when Yusei was dueling Kiryuu. But you know Jack shows up anyways, in showy fashion as per usual (he sure cracked me up when he’s like “EARTHBOUND MONSTERS ARE NOTHING SPECIAL”), along with the rest of the party. Not sure who is supposed to be with the kids back at the Orphanage at this point. You would think Saiga would be the one to stick around at least, but I digress.

Finally episode 46 was when things finally got ugly real fast. That said, it was pretty easy to see things were going to go south when Yusei was finding more courage and confidence to face Dark Signer Rudger as he received cheers of support from his friends. Gotta build them up before tearing them down, right? Sure enough, it went from 0 to 100.

Rudger knew how to shake up Yusei by dropping the truth bomb about the circumstances that led to the tragedy of Zero Reverse, but by also revealing that not only he knew his father and served as his assistant before inheriting the project, but Godwin, who was revealed to be Rudger’s younger brother was also an assistant who worked on Moment.

We always knew Godwin was a shady shit, to hearing he was involved in Moment’s development 17 years ago and happens to be Rudger’s brother certainly doesn’t shock me to any degree. Rudger also revealed, Yusei’s father tried to do the right thing by trying to cease Moment’s development when he saw a growing danger with how frequently Moment would spin in reverse. However the sponsors and Neo Domino City did not heed his warnings, and took him off the project. Rudger his assistant at the time was made the new leader, and the most alarming part of all: He implies that the tragedy of Zero Reverse was intentionally triggered.

This revelation just makes me loathe Godwin character even further because now he wasn’t just an observer of the events, we now know he was intimately involved in the catastrophe. His role in this disaster however, has yet to be seen, but the fact he didn’t do shit for the people of Satellite and let this segregation grow between them, are already enough of fault for him to bear a good brunt of the blame.

That said, after having learned all of this, Yusei and the rest are certainly shook, but given the circumstances at the moment, confronting Godwin about it is something they are forced to put on the back-burner for the time being.

But as if psychological punches were enough, more pain and sadness follows when Martha ends up losing her soul after she put herself in harms way to rescue Takuya. Unable to get to safety, she was the one who fell into the flames. And then shortly after that, Rudger decided to make Yusei suffer further by swapping himself out with Rally, who chose to sacrifice himself so that Yusei could survive. Sheesh, talk about taking a tragic turn.

This battle certainly further traumatized Yusei when it comes to fighting the Earthbound monsters, but his grief and anger for the loss of those precious to him outweighs his fear. Now that the gloves are off, it’s time for the true battle against the Dark Signers to finally begin.

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