Monday, December 13, 2021

The Problem with Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V

The name of this blog post was originally going to be “Why I Stopped Watching Yu-Gi-Oh!” I’ve been watching Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V and I was going to wait to write this post until I was done… but I couldn’t wait any longer. Last year I wrote that Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal was my least favorite of the franchise so far… but I think Arc-V may have overtaken it there. I mean, what was with duelists ALWAYS clasping their hands together whenever they fusion summon? But anyway, onto the real rant… and then a couple things I’ve liked I guess.

First off, the duels felt really drawn out and they overlapped with other duels at weird points. Maybe the original series did this and I just don’t remember, but there was literally a duel with Yuri vs. Yugo happening simultaneously with Yuya vs. the Professor. The only times I remember this happening in the original series or GX was when the second duel was only minor action. We didn’t see a play-by-play, just the highlights. As a result, some of these duels ended up taking multiple episodes. Not just a two-part episode, but they’d go on for a while. In the original series, Yugi fought with Marik for five episodes at the end of Battle City, but that was the big bad of the story arc, not some random underling.

The whole concept of “dueltaining” bugged me. With technology that allowed the duelists to physically interact with their monsters, I suppose it’s a natural progression of the game. It’s not just about competing, but it’s about being an entertainer… kind of like pro wrestling. However, the problem I had was Yuya’s determination to end the interdimensional war by entertaining everyone so much and teaching them to have fun. When he met the Professor, I was seriously worried he was going to beat him by entertaining him. Unfortunately, not everyone can be talked down. Not everyone will listen to reason. I had this same problem with 2021’s run of The Flash and Supergirl. Barry Allen literally talked down four god-like forces of nature. Yeah, that’s the ideal resolution to a conflict, but it’s not realistic. 

I also didn’t care for the reinventing of previously known characters. I actually enjoyed the idea of this multiverse (but I’ll talk about that in a moment), but we had variations of Jack Atlas, Aster Phoenix, and others from across GX, 5Ds, and Zexal. It was cool to see some new doppelgangers of them, I suppose, but it felt unnecessary. Why not just include Jack from 5Ds and expand the story? Why make Kite, Jack, and the rest go through the same character development again?

As promised, I will address a couple things I liked. Despite what I said about doppelgangers a couple seconds ago, I actually really liked the concept of the multiverse. Digimon did it. DC and Marvel do it all the time. It gives a franchise the freedom to reinvent itself, but keep within the same continuity. I’d have liked it better if the Fusion Dimension had been the original and GX series, the Synchro Dimension the 5Ds series, and the Xyz Dimension the Zexal series. But I already addressed that above. And the general concept of the split dimension being reunited is very much like "Crisis on Infinite Earths" (maybe even inspired by it?). But a great idea… poor execution.

I also really liked how this series included all current summoning methods. OG Yu-Gi-Oh and GX only had fusion and ritual summoning (did everyone just forget that ritual summoning is another unique method of summoning? There was no Ritual Dimension), 5Ds had synchro summoning, and Zexal had Xyz. However, right from the start (even before the multiverse arrived) we had all the summoning methods featured. For all its faults, this fact showed continuity in the franchise… even though I still don’t like how they reinvented the doppelgangers.

Anyway, I still have 10ish episodes left of Arc-V. Because of my personality, I’ll finish out the series (otherwise I’d have stopped 20 episodes ago). But I’m not gonna continue with VRAINS or Sevens. At least for now. In the meantime, I’ll go back to the original series and watch some Duelist Kingdom and Battle City. Maybe revive my interest in the franchise. I guess we’ll see.

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