Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Scale 45: ‘Arc of Destiny!!’

April 19, 2019 at 11:00 pm | Posted in ARC-V, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 2 Comments
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Yuya Sakaki and Reiji Akaba running toward an Action Card and seeing a vision of their family members in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V manga chapter 45

Yuya Sakaki and Reiji Akaba are simultaneously hit by effect damage, dropping both their life points to 100. Neither has any cards remaining in his hand or on his field. The duel’s onlookers are awestruck by this turn of events. Yuya takes his turn, drawing Odd-Eyes Phantom Dragon…but he can’t use it.

In the corner of their eyes, the two duelists spot a way out. Tucked in the middle of a grassy field a few dozen feet away from them was their last hope — an Action Card.

Yuya and Akaba immediately bolt in its direction, charging at full speed toward their key to victory. As they near the card, sweat pouring from their tired faces, Yuya quips that the young president is enjoying this Action Duel. Not so, retorts Akaba. But Yuya remains cheerful. He reminds the president that they are two of a kind, the only ones from their world. They — and their loved ones — are connected by the arc of destiny, says Yuya. The two of them envisage their fathers, Yuto, Yugo, and Yuri standing behind the card.

The dueling pair dive headfirst toward the card. As they collapse on the ground, Yuya touches the card first. It’s an Action Spell, Mini Bomb, and it deals 100 points of damage to Akaba.

The young president grins, then flops on his back. He laughs loudly. Yuya joins his laughter and lies down beside him. Staring up at the stars, Akaba admits that he hasn’t run like that in years and that he enjoyed it. He tells Yuya to do what he must do.

Yuya stands up. The Genesis Omega Dragon card slowly descends from the sky and lands in his hand.

“This power toyed with our fates. We don’t need a card like that,” says Yuya, tearing it to shreds.

Suddenly, the ground starts to shake and the Adam Factor tree begins to disintegrate, leaving only a narrow platform for everyone to stand. A colossal circular gate appears where the tree once stood. It’s the same gate that Adam saw. Yuya, Akaba, and the onlookers watch as the gate opens up, revealing a ring-shaped entrance.

As the ground continues to quake, Yuzu calls out to Yuya from a distance. Yuya tells her not to come any closer, that the area is unsafe. He apologizes for not being able to teach at her school and says that he has to leave because he’s not part of this world. Yuzu says she’ll go with him, but Yuya rejects her offer. It could be dangerous. Tears begin to well up in her eyes.

“But, I want to know you better,” Yuzu pleads. “Yuya, I lo–”

“Yuzu,” interrupts Yuya. “We’re sure to meet again. That is our destiny!” Yuya tosses her his ace, the Odd-Eyes Phantom Dragon card.

Akaba looks at Shingo Sawatari and Shun Kurosaki. He thanks them for serving him and wishes them well, telling them that they should leave.

Isaac and Ren tell Sora Shiunin that he should leave too. Yuya says that Shiunin will be okay, that Shiunin has allies in this world. Sawatari and Kurosaki smile.

Yuya Sakaki, Reiji Akaba, Isaac, and Ren walk toward the gate, ready to take on whatever challenges lie beyond it. They vow to find and defeat the creator of G.O.D. A blinding light emanates from the ring as they enter it. The ground continues to rumble more and more violently as their friends escape the crumbling Antarctic base.

Much later, Yuzu is standing on a ledge on the outskirts of Maiami City. It’s springtime and the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, their petals dancing in the wind. She is holding Yuya’s Odd-Eyes, wondering if she will ever see him again. Then, she hears a voice nearby.

“Ladies and gentlemen!!” it calls out. She approaches the voice and sees a young man wearing a fancy coattail and top hat and carrying a cane.

“Who are you?” asks Yuzu.

“I’m the world’s first Dueltainer!” he laughs. “I’m Yusho Sakaki!”

Thoughts

Yuya, Reiji, you got me. This is definitely not how I expected the duel to end. I don’t know how to articulate my expectations; I guess it’s one of those “I know a great duel when I see it” situations. But for these two heavily wounded duelists to have to make a mad scramble toward an Action Card in their final desperate moment — it’s just so wonderfully absurd and unpredictable.

And yet, I feel satisfied by the outcome. Relieved, even. Because how do you top a dueling situation where G.O.D.s — literal divine beings who manipulate time and space in Yuya and Reiji’s world — reign supreme? Is there any play that Yuya or Reiji can make that puts him above what has already transpired? Is there anywhere higher that either of them can actually go?

Ultimately, this story is not about power, or the divine, or skillful plays, or any of that, is it? No. From the very beginning of Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Yuya has been the embodiment of Dueltaining. And even though his perilous journey has brought him face to face with enemies who have mocked this ideal, turned his life upside down, and sought to destroy the lives of others, Yuya has never forgotten his entertainment dueling.

So where does this essence of Yuya’s dueling stand now that the G.O.D.s have laid waste to this game and its two players? Is there any hope for a Dueltainer to survive in such circumstances? Of course there is, and Yuya not only survives, he laughs in the faces of the G.O.D.s. After all, making people smile is the mission of a Dueltainer.

A deus ex machina that trumps even the gods themselves — thy name is Mini Bomb. And only Yuya could have tapped into its fantastic power.

So what’s next for Yuya and his new allies? Of course a part of me wants to spend more time with him and see what lies beyond the gate. At the same time, I understand that Yuya has performed his greatest show, so it’s best to let him go now, while he is standing tall at the pinnacle of Dueltaining. The origin of G.O.D. will remain an arcane matter for us common folk.

How about that final scene though? Wow. Even though Yuzu is never more than a supporting character once the story gets heavy, there’s always been an air of importance about her since the early chapters. This is hinted by Yugo, Yuto, and Yuri, who recognize her in chapter 10. At first, I thought she might have a connection to the Eve Factor, putting me on edge as I eagerly awaited the reveal.

But learning the truth in the end caused me to choke up as I held back my tears. Yuya, who has suffered so immensely and lost so many people in his life, had the support and companionship of his own mother this entire time. Even though he was a stranger in another world, always on the run as he searched for answers, Yuya was never truly alone. He had his brothers in his subconscious and his mother by his side. It’s so wonderful to learn this as a reader, but it’s also bittersweet because Yuya himself was unaware of it for so long. This just makes Yuya even more precious to me.

What’s the story behind Odd-Eyes Phantom Dragon? Where did this card come from? It’s my belief that when Yuya gave it to Yuzu, he triggered an anomaly in space-time, which manifested as a blinding light that radiated from the card and knocked Yuzu out. Presumably, an older Yuzu will later give this card to her young son, Yuya, making it an object that has no true origin. But that’s all right. It is, after all, a Phantom Dragon.

Yes, I’m aware there are more paradoxical consequences to Yuzu’s reveal, but let’s just ignore all of these and relish the moment, okay? Hahaha.

Following Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V: My Journey

When I first read Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V three years and eight months ago, I immediately knew it was something special. The first chapter completely drew me in with its marvelous and fun storytelling and attractive characters. Not only that, but the series was also being released simultaneously with Japan. Yes, Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL was simulpubbed too, but that simulpub did not start at the beginning of the series, and many people won’t pick up an ongoing manga simulpub midway.

But Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V was the first Yu-Gi-Oh! series ever to be simultaneous with Japan from the get-go. That made it special. At the time, the Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V anime had not premiered here in the U.S. and I yearned for new Yu-Gi-Oh! content. This simulpub and its amazing story filled that gap. After finishing the first chapter, I knew I had to do something to let the world know about it. So I did the only thing I know how to do — write about it.

Zac Bertschy, the executive editor of Anime News Network, once said in an episode of the ANNCast podcast that people like reading manga, not reading about manga. Although his statement was an explanation for his website’s dearth of manga coverage, it speaks to the greater challenges of encouraging others to try new manga.

Yu-Gi-Oh! is already a niche property. How does one incite others to explore a Yu-Gi-Oh! manga — a niche of a niche?

I didn’t want to review the manga. I don’t like reading reviews of media, so I certainly didn’t want to write one. So what could I do? I decided to tell the story of the manga as a narrative, highlighting what I thought were the most fun and captivating parts, then follow it up with some comments about my feelings. I knew this was a complete departure from what I normally write about on this website and I only intended to do it for the first chapter. But I enjoyed it so much that I decided to continue every month. Doing so helped me practice my writing skills and gave me the opportunity to write in a style that I don’t usually use. But more importantly, I wanted to promote this simulpub in any way possible.

So if a single person out there decided to pick up Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V because of something I wrote — or decided to pick up any manga at all since, let’s face it, I’m not shy about advocating the greatness that is this medium — then I thank you.

Of course nowadays, the barrier to entry for following the Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V simulpub is nonexistent thanks to the global reach of MANGA Plus by Shueisha. VIZ Media’s new Shonen Jump for English-speaking markets is an unbeatable deal as well. Let’s hope these platforms continue to simulpub whatever Yu-Gi-Oh! manga comes next.

Until then, keep reading and supporting manga!

* * *

Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Scale 45: “Arc of Destiny!!” is available now for free in VIZ Media’s Shonen Jump (web, Android, iOS) and in MANGA Plus by SHUEISHA (web, Android, iOS).

Previous chapter:
Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Scale 44: “Action Battle!!”

Back to the beginning:
Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Scale 1: “The Name Is Phantom!”

Also available now:
– Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4, Volume 5

2 Comments »

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  1. You are one of a few people that I know who reacted positively about Yuzu’s reveal as Yuya and the other boys’ mother. Most people that I know found the revelation rather gross because how it was different from the anime version, the accidental groping scene in previous chapters, and the confession attempt near the end of this chapter (in the original Japanese text, Yuzu didn’t exactly saying “love” or the sort though).

    Glad to know that there’s more people who is able to see the more depth in Yuzu’s presence and her relationship with Yuya.

  2. Well, if they’ve seen the anime, something to be aware of is that the manga and anime have no connection whatsoever; the characters in the two stories have different backgrounds, personalities, and motivations. But it can be hard to disassociate the two because the characters share the same names and faces. I never had that problem though because the manga came out first here, so in my mind the world of the manga is Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, although I’m probably alone in feeling that way because anime are more popular than manga.

    I do feel that the Yuzu and Yuya have gotten closer after this adventure and it wouldn’t be unusual for one to eventually develop romantic feelings for the other after experiencing so much together. But as for the grossness of the reveal, I didn’t find it gross at all because I never saw any romantic undertones in their interactions during their time together. The accidental groping is just a trope in shonen stories and isn’t meant to be taken seriously.


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