Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Scale 22: ‘Immortal Beings!!’

May 22, 2017 at 8:00 pm | Posted in ARC-V, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 1 Comment
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Eve speaking to Ren as a butterfly lands on her card in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V manga chapter 22

Ren’s menacing two-headed dragon White Aura Biphamet is dominating the field. Not only has it destroyed Yugo’s ace, Clearwing Fast Dragon, it can attack twice in one turn. Yuya is in quite the bind. Yuya sets up a combo and lowers Biphamet’s attack power, giving him the opening to fight back with his own monster. But just when he thinks he’s destroyed it, Biphamet’s damaged head regenerates. Ren laughs it off.

“Gods rise again and again, just like us,” Ren proclaims. “I have lived a long time that was not part of my original life.” Yuya is puzzled by the comment.

“Even if you defeat me here, a harder trial awaits you in the future,” continues Ren. “Someday, you will understand. There is something I must obtain, no matter the cost. And the power to obtain that thing is the power of G.O.D.”

Ren begins to tell his story to Yuya. He recalls his days as a young man, racing for a smattering of spectators in a near-empty stadium. He rides a shoddy, outdated Duel Runner that barely holds together.

Ren’s father often told him the story of a legendary Turbo Dueling genius. Although that duelist was someone Ren would never be able to battle, Ren still idolized him and pushed himself in hopes of becoming a champion like him. But in the entertainment world, it isn’t enough just to have a drive to succeed, Ren says. You also need the right resources. And he wasn’t that fortunate.

One day, Ren receives the opportunity to participate in the Memorial Race, a major event with competitors coming from far and wide. But no matter how skilled he is, without a more powerful Duel Runner, he won’t stand a chance against them. Things take a turn for the better when the newest Duel Runner shows up at Ren’s garage. But where did it come from? A phone call leads Ren to the heartbreaking truth.

Ren’s father had invested all of his money into Ren’s future, buying him the latest Duel Runner just so he could achieve his dream. Overworked and broke, his father had collapsed and now lay dying in a hospital bed. Ren realizes that he must win the race. Otherwise, his father’s sacrifices would all be for naught.

At the Memorial Race, Ren proceeds to crush his veteran opponents one by one. With victory within arm’s reach, Ren prepares to launch his final attack. It was not to be, however. As Ren rounds the turn of the track, the wheel of his Duel Runner crushes a butterfly idling on the blacktop, causing him to skid out of control and crash into a wall. Ren, lying bloody and disoriented on the ground, looks up to see his bike burst into flames.

“I can’t die now… Not here, like this…” he says. “If I do, then what was the point of living?! I… I must live!”

Ren seemingly has a vision. He’s floating above a pool of water and two gigantic eyes are looking back at him…

“Battle phase!!” Ren cries out. He’s back on his Duel Runner in the stadium and has just defeated his final opponent. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees a butterfly fluttering away. He begins to sweat nervously. Ren follows the butterfly, which flies back to his garage. His team is there cheering his victory but Ren just ignores the clamor, his eyes following the butterfly. In the corner of the garage, a woman stands holding up a card. It’s Eve. The butterfly lands on her card and she calls out him.

“G.O.D. has chosen you,” says Eve.

Ren goes on to live a fulfilling life. He becomes wealthy and successful. And it’s all because he was granted that second chance. About sixty years later, Ren is living his final days at his lavish mansion when he is approached by Eve. She has come to take him away, for it is now his time to repay G.O.D. for giving him the chance to live his life over again…

“It was all beyond the limits of imagination,” Ren tells Yuya. “When people encounter events that surpass human understanding, they stop being rational and find belief in God. I am one of those people.”

Ren removes his mask. The right side of his face has the same disfigurement as Eve. He brushes his hair upward with his fingers. Yuya’s pupils narrow and he gasps.

“Yugo?!”

Thoughts

Wow, this chapter. Oh my goodness, there’s so much to say about it. First, when Ren says to Yuya, “Gods rise again and again, just like us,” who is he talking about? Who is “us”? Initially, it seems like he’s talking about Eve and his other companions, but Yuya hasn’t met them before and wouldn’t know who they are. So why would he feel the need to say such a thing to Yuya? Could he actually be referring to himself and Yuya?

And then, the big revelation: Ren appears to have some kind of intimate or familial connection to Yugo. Is he a descendant of Yugo? Is he himself Yugo?! Yuya seems to think that he looks an awful lot like Yugo…

There’s an interesting nod to the Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V anime in Ren’s flashback. Although Yugo has yet to be seen wearing a helmet in this manga, Ren does wear one in his past life…and it’s the same one that Yugo wears in the anime.

Ren's helmet from his past life in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V manga chapter 22

Who is the legendary Turbo Dueling genius that Ren idolized? He is only seen from behind in one panel in Ren’s flashback. Since it’s someone who Ren says that he will never be able to duel, it seems like it could be his father…or Yugo.

Now that it’s been revealed that Yugo has ties to this mysterious immortal character, it wouldn’t be a stretch to consider that maybe Yuya, Yuto, and Yuri have connections to other such characters as well. Yuya seems to be special, with Ren noting that he will undergo a difficult trial in the future. And what about Yuzu and Eve? As two of the few female characters in the story, are they connected too?

The appearance of the butterfly is rather significant. According to The Continuum Encyclopedia of Animal Symbolism in World Art, white butterflies in Japanese art symbolize immortality and are believed to be the spirits of the living and the dead and aren’t supposed to be captured. It seems, then, that when Ren accidentally kills that butterfly during his race, he committed a grievous act.

Even though I previously said I didn’t want to draw comparisons between this series and the Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s anime, the similarities seem inescapable. First there’s the revelation in chapter 14 that time travel is playing a role in the story. And now there are parallels to the story of Yusei and Z-One, at least superficially…

* * *

Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Scale 22: “Immortal Beings!!” is available now in VIZ Media’s Weekly Shonen Jump No. 25 (May 22, 2017). Grab the issue from VIZ, Amazon, comiXology, and Google Play Books.

Previous chapter:
Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Scale 21: “Yuya’s Memories!!”

Next chapter:
Coming soon

Also available now:
Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Volume 1

1 Comment »

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  1. The manga seems to have more content than the anime with its 90 episode run. lol

    Wish I knew of the twins outside their debut in the anime? :(


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