So I just caught the first episode of Vrains – and I’m not gonna lie. I really liked it.
No really, I’m using names and plot points. Accuracy of the names may vary as these are based on the dub (yes, dub. bite me.) that I personally watched. I intend to be as accurate as possible but I likely won’t do a lot of corrections and edits to my posts as much as correct things going forward.
I’m warning you … Spoilers…
Ok let’s get into this! So the episode opens with a futuristic, techie, vr world space battle between a little purple guy (Ignis) and a mammoth looking dragon-ish monster with a white cloaked master (Revolver).
So Ignis’ friends (people, family, species?) are trapped, sealed by this nameless (at this point) attacker. So Ignis uses a seal of his own, so to speak and cuts of the Cyberse from reality, trapping himself in the real world and locking the villains out of his world and preventing the destruction of the Cyverse.
So we get an eyeball scan around town and find ourselves watching a battle between Playmaker (alter ego of Yuusaku) against a member of the Knights of Hanoi (he’s the only member we meet, so from hereafter referred to simply as “Hanoi”). How many there are or if there’s a hierarchy is anyone’s guess. But Hanoi has an ugly wurm-serpent that gets dispatched by Playmaker’s “Link Slayer” monster.
We get a brief, vague dream sequence, and our protagonist is waking up after class. He comes off as a broody character of sorts, but his analytical approach to life peers through during a conversation with Shima Naoki. He’ll likely end up as the well-meaning friend.
So shift to a shiny building and we meet Zaizan (likely the Kaiba/Declan of the show) talking to a chess piece avatar of some behind the scenes string-puller that goes by the name of Bishop (matching his chess piece). Bishop serves to provide exposition into this arc’s backstory as well as SOL Technology’s interest in finding Ingis.
Then cut to a darkened room and we see Revolver again this time speaking with a nameless servant, reinforcing his urgency of tracking down Ingis and using him to destroy the Cyverse. This also serves to set up a rivalry between them and SOL Technologies.
Late afternoon now, Yuusaku is having a hot dog and talking to Kusanagi – presumably the travelling companion and lifelong friend of the show. Kusanagi gives us a lot of information. Particularly about Data Storms, Speed Duels, and more foundational backstory. Yuusaku has a eureka moment and realises that Hanoi is going for Ignis and the formulates a plan to rescue/trap the rogue AI.
Hanoi goes on a rampage through the Vrains taking out anything and everything looking for Ignis. The escape route materializes and Ignis flees (unexpectedly) right into Yuusaku’s duel disk. Yuusaku explains the trap quickly and then seeing Blue Angel (a famous duelist) in danger, does a Sailor Moon transformation into Playmaker and returns to the digital world to save her.
A quick rescue, some posturing, and back and forth banter between Ignis and Playmaker and Ignis taps into the power of the Cyverse and creates a data storm. We see a high tech surfboard come out of the storm and say goodbye to “card games on motorcycles!” because we’ve got card games on digital surfboards. Oh my.
So the episode ends with a flashy display from Playmaker and the battle will take place next time.
Odds and ends:
Yuusaku talks about familiar feelings when Kusanagi brings up data storms and speed duels. Yuusaku suffering from partial memory loss – it’ll likely turn out he was some pro duelist one way or another. He also immediately took to the data surfing so that’s a dead giveaway.
Also Ignis’ body has many similarities to Decode Talker’s (under the armor). Since Ignis stressed that Yuusaku’s deck couldn’t beat Hanoi and then boasted that he (Ignis) would calculate a way to win (also the repeated point of monsters living in the data storm), I figure that Ignis will tap into the data to either give Yuusaku a Decode Talker or (possibly) become Decode Talker himself. Which would be bananas.
I found myself disappointed the episode was over. I like the characters generally, it’s neat angle. The lines between reality and Vrains are very blurry and that can be confusing. The Speed Duels could either prove awesome or very cheesy, we’ll have to wait and see.