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So I tuned into the debut episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS. One thing was clear about this debut episode – can you say “exposition dump?” This was not necessarily a bad thing per se, but I felt this starting episode could have been a two-parter. Ultimately, the episode concludes with loose ends that (should) receive a resolution in the second episode.

The show chose to establish a lot of plot elements first before actually diving into the card game action. I can see what they were going for, but, again, this could have been a two-part episode to give fans everything at once. Oh, well, it’s a minor gripe at best.


Yusaku has loner qualities.

A Guy Who Never Smiles

The protagonist of this series, Yusaku, is someone who does not seem to smile. In fact, it is pretty clear that Yusaku has motivation because of something bad in his past that will reveal itself in due time (a really common anime trope for this genre, actually). Edgy, huh?

But personally, I like him as the main protagonist so far. To me, he comes off as cold, yet a calculating kind of dude and he gives off a vibe that he is someone with a mission to complete. At least based on initial impressions, he gets an A in my book for the main character slot.

Yusaku Rescues Blue Angel

Being heroic.

Plus, he has a SUPERHERO PERSONA! The aptly named “Playmaker,” as he calls himself. It comes complete with a transformation sequence as well.

The first episode already shows him being heroic by saving a girl, and this is all in preparation for the show’s first on-screen display of the actual card game in action in the next episode!

Piqued Interest


Getting on the hover board for the first time in the show.

As a Yu-Gi-Oh! fan, I felt the debut episode was compelling enough to make me want to see more.

However, again, it was a glorified dump of exposition. Nevertheless, it was a competent approach to dropping exposition onto viewers for the first episode.

I cannot emphasize enough how this would have done so much better as a two-part special. Get the story details out of the way in the first half and then conclude with the card game battles that people love in the same sitting!

It would have been perfect! This would have made the overall debut of the show so much stronger. But again, this is a minor gripe.

If anything, Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS would still be a niche kind of show that only certain viewers could enjoy anyway. If this show magically did not have Yu-Gi-Oh! in its name with the first episode by itself, I just don’t think it would have the same kind of effect.

But I digress. Consider me sold on the series. I just have a good feeling about this show, so I have my fingers crossed for a great experience from Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS.


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

Also published on Medium.

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