Cove of Solitude – Cardfight Vanguard Ride 5 Whirlwind! Kamui, the Grade-School Fighter!

 

Suggested Title: Three’s Company Cardfight

 

Summary:

 

After his loss to Misaki in the last episode, Aichi realizes that his deck needs some grade 3 units to really compete, so when he sees a loud-mouthed, arrogant, spiky-haired elementary school kid defeating Izaki (the comic relief’s comic relief) with a grade 3 unit while only taking two damage he takes notice. This new face to Card Capital is Kamui Katuragi, a grade schcooler with no respect for other people, but an impressive cardfight record against older kids.

 

Aichi goes to challenge Kamui to learn from him, but Kamui calls him a big weenie and turns him down. Aichi goes to console himself by buying a booster pack in hope of getting a new Grade 3 unit for his deck, but before he can fulfill his commitment to the sponsors, his sister Emi appears to drag Aichi home. Kamui falls in love at first sight, and attempts to hit on her in true fashion, by offering to teach her how to cardfight.

Turn offs include: Serious business.

Turn ons include: Things without weight, worth or purpose.

 

The next day Aichi returns to the store and buys a booster pack (remember to check your local retailers for Cardfight Vanguard booster packs!) and happens to get a Grade 3 Knight: Knight of Frivolity, Gancelot. At least that’s what the subtitles call him exactly once. It’s a spectacular name for a knight though, so I’m going with it.

 

Kamui appears suddenly to challenge Aichi to a cardfight for the love of his sister Emi. Some people throw down a gauntlet, some people inflate a paper bag with a pig wearing a chef’s hat printed on it then pop it next to someone’s face. Kamui is obviously the latter. Some people also fail to make clear the terms of their challenge, like Kamui, who just says he’ll win and get his goddess. Aichi of course, being the Aichi he is, ignores everything going on because of his new Paladin card but agrees to the cardfight!

Why were you even carrying that bag around?

You could have just asked. I mean, you had to explain what on Earth that meant anyway.

 

Now it’s time for the new rule of the day! When Aichi worries about his miserable hand of cards, Kamui explains that once at the start of the game you can shuffle any number of cards you don’t like from your hand into the deck and “redraw” the same number.

 

As I’ve mentioned before, Kamui plays a Nova Grappler deck, which means his deck is primarily fighting robots and transformers ripoffs. His first creature though, “Screamin’ and Dancin’ Announcer – Shout”, is some sort of MC Jellyfish. He adds a female robot and cyborg to his team, but causes no damage.

 

Aichi counters with his Blaster blade and those omnipresent blind samurai, but one point of damage he inflicts reveals a strange pink cat, and a new type of trigger! This one’s called a Stand Trigger and in addition to its power boost it allows you to stand a unit from your rear guard, which will allow it to attack or boost a second time in a turn.

 

Kamui plays “Hungry Dumpty”, “Tough Boy” and “Genocide Jack”, thus showcasing the other chief feature of Nova Grapplers: the fact that they have the strangest names in the game. During his attack, Kamui reveals another Stand Trigger, allowing him to deal four damage in one turn.

 

The Synthesizer music revs into high gear as Aichi draws his Frivolous Knight using the heart of the cards. In true melodramatic anime style, Aichi calls on his card’s “Proud, prideful; white wings” to give him power. Next time maybe he’ll call on a Thesaurus to improve his vocabulary. He uses the Frivolous Knight’s special ability to make him a massive threat, but none of his other units is able to deal the final damage, and Kamui wins handily on the next turn.

 

His eyes pierce right through my comfort zone and give me the willies.

You know, I think I liked him better as a jerk.

After the fight, Kamui demands Aichi keep his promise and let him take his goddess, to which Aichi essentially replies, “Huh?” Emi arrives at that exact moment to berate Aichi again and Misaki mutters something to herself about the two being siblings, which Kamui uses his super hearing or something to overhear and clear up this wacky situation comedy of errors. In order to gain Emi’s favor, Kamui suddenly starts treating Aichi with an unsettling amount of respect and admiration, and Aichi actually responds in the most sensible manner possible: running away at full speed.

 

Reactions:

 

While I understand what they’re trying to establish about Kamui’s character in this episode, most of it doesn’t really work. First off, having him handily defeat a character who we’ve never seen win (or even play for that matter) doesn’t really mean much. We’re supposed to see that he’s very talented, especially for his age, but age doesn’t mean much. Look at Morikawa, he’s awful.

 

We’re also supposed to learn that Kamui has a problem respecting his elders so that it feels like a dramatic shift in character at the end of the episode when he’s tripping over himself to be respectful of Aichi, but the only reason I picked up on that is because they have Morikawa explicitly state it at one point. From watching his actions all I get from Kamui’s personality is that he’s a loud jerk, so the nuance could definitely use some work.

 

To be honest I’ve never found Kamui to be likable, interesting or even relatable. He’s highly obnoxious, and without the protagonist never-lose skills that most characters like him have to back up the attitude it constantly feels like he needs to be taken down a notch. It really doesn’t help his case that Kamui is constantly flanked by two androgynous groupies who are even flatter than he is as a character. I have no idea what their names are, but I like to call them Glasses and Awful.

 

Glasses is a total yes-man…yes-woman? Yes-person. All Glasses ever does is agree with Kamui, tell him how awesome he is and occasionally explain why something in a cardfight! is happening the way it is. Awful has maybe the worst gimmick of any throwaway character I’ve ever seen. I’m not even sure if it’s supposed to be funny, since it’s not really played like a joke, but I’m certainly not laughing. The gimmick is so nonsensical that it’s hard to explain. Let’s take an example from the episode:

I guess it's acceptble to give Kamui super hearing, since he never listens and thus can't abuse his power.

I wonder is Kamui was created as an excuse to include his posse or vice versa. Either way is entirely unacceptable.

 

Glasses: [Kamui’s victory] As expected, Kamui the Great!

Awful: S.S. yo!

Morikawa: Es-es?

Awful: Super strong, yo!

 

If I had to try and explain how it works, I would say that Awful is the universe’s worst rapper who doesn’t even sing. He/she/it is also absolutely obsessed with acronyms and will arbitrarily repeat things other characters say in the form of an acronym, followed by “yo”. I don’t know why Awful bothers me so much. Maybe it’s because he or she adds nothing to the show whatsoever, maybe it’s because that gimmick makes absolutely no sense. I am sure, however, that I hate Awful more than anything else about this show.

 

Really the whole set-up for today’s cardfight is contrived. How does Kamui not lay out the terms until after the battle? Why doesn’t Aichi even attempt to figure out what Kamui’s ambiguous demands mean? Why didn’t Kamui just ask who Emi was to begin with? I appreciate that the show needs to have cardfights but if the pretenses have to be this flimsy I’d rather have them occur spontaneously and without cause like the songs in most musicals.

Personally, though, I think Blaster Blade's got the right idea.

Of all the the units we've seen so far, MC Jellyfish would probably make the best lead for a musical.

 

What’s worse is that I can imagine a relatively easy fix for this, if Aichi was protective of his sister until he had a chance to play Kamui and learn that he wasn’t a complete and total jerk. Of course that requires Aichi to have some courage, so we may as well throw out that possibility right now.

 

Just like the last episode, this one introduces several new rules and most of them seem organic. This time Aichi’s inexperience is combined with the mocking factor to make the rules explanations seem genuine. To me at least, it seems more believable for these characters to explain everything when they give Aichi a hard time for not knowing them. Once again this is a stark contrast to Yu-Gi-Oh! where players routinely tell each other things they already know.

 

Among today’s new rules, I am especially appreciative of the redraw discussion. Whether or not the game had such a rule, I would expect the show not to touch on it, and lead us to believe that everyone always draws every card that they need to win. The fact that they mention this rule (and even have the occasional instance where a character is concerned about their opening hand) goes a long ways towards justifying the miraculous draws that sometimes happen, and set this show apart as being relatively realistic. Well, at least until PSY Qualia happens. But that’s a story for another time.

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