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Last week with the first episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS, a minor gripe I had with the initial episode was how it felt incomplete. The opening episode dumped a lot of exposition to set up for the upcoming part.

Backup Secretary

However, if you count the first and second episode as one entity, I can only say one thing as a Yu-Gi-Oh! fan – it’s an impressive debut!

Well, it is as impressive as what you would expect from some a niche anime genre. Allow me to elaborate.

Rules for the Duel

Right off the bat, with the stakes already set from the previous episode, viewers just expect some card game battles.

In fact, the entire second episode showcases the series’ main gimmick in all of its glory – card games on hover boards!

Immediately, the show explains that there are differing rules for the hover board version. Players adhere to an anime version of the “Speed Duel” rules: four cards in the opening hand, three Monster and Spell/Trap Card Zones, no Main Phase 2 and so forth.

Players who happen to play Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links will understand the rules (for the most part), with some anime-specific twists added for drama.


Honestly, I think it was an excellent choice for the show to use Speed Duel rules for the hover boards. It changes the dynamic of every potential match while also remaining fresh and innovative.

Considering how different series have had characters playing card games on things like motorcycles and roller coasters (yes, roller coasters), the hover board gimmick is pretty neat in its own right. The players “surf” the virtual world’s flow of data, which works with the show’s stylish artistic elements.

Toss in over-the-top dialogue, and you have Yu-Gi-Oh! anime at its finest.

Into the VRAINSBlue Angel

Like I discussed in the previous article, I just wondered if the first episode could have stood alone by itself without the Yu-Gi-Oh! name. But again, if you lump both episodes together, this debut was fantastic! I had a lot of fun watching the new rules in action.

I am getting great vibes from this debut to the point where I think this show can be something amazing (for a Yu-Gi-Oh! anime).

After all, as I emphasize to anime watchers out there, this kind of show is not for everyone. If you do not appreciate card games, a casual viewer cannot, therefore, enjoy Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS. It just would be impossible.

Nonetheless, I hope other fans out there will give this anime the time of day. I sure will.

Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS should be a real treat.


Yu-Gi-Oh! images belong to Konami/Gallop. © 1996 Kazuki Takahashi

Also published on Medium.

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