arc-v revision post ragglefraggle
less an actual plot revision and more like musing over directions characters could have taken? some are more defined than others
[cough cough CHARACTER BIAS cough]
but this is a post made to inspire commentary and such. HUGURFF.
basically "but what if less executive meddling and more time for side characters though" the post.The Lancers as a Unit
holy fucking shit let these idiots talk to each other more. "Unit" is a strong word for them at any point during the show, which is...sad. Really sad. I actually like that Reiji brought together his own crack unit and if the show highlighted their advantages and disadvantages compared to the Obelisk Force it'd actually be really neat? On one hand, they don't all use the same strategies and aren't predictable or generic like the Obelisk Force is, but on the other hand, their decks have absolutely zero synergy. Like. None. We have a member on the team incapable of using Action Cards when Action Cards and Action Fields are said to be the Lancer's advantage, holy shit why isn't that used more for conflict other than by forcing worf-losses on characters that don't fucking deserve it god i want to cry.
SPEAKING OF ACTION FIELDS AND CARDS HEY REMEMBER THOSE WERE SUPPOSED TO BE AN ADVANTAGE? WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT. holy shit did action duels become boring once y'all switched to Cross-Over permanently like. goddamn. couldn't the synchro arc at least take a page out of the 5d's manga and have motorcycle races through volcanoes and whatever else the scenery was and with no penalty whatsoever like. Come oooonnnn, the Friendship Cup would have been way more interesting if y'all had to drive around these obstacles like hey remember when duels utilized the scenery and stuff as part of the duel? remember when there were unique action cards alongside the generic ones like Miracle depending on the field, which lends themselves better for different strategies? remember the first round of the Junior Youth Championship? i swear that was the last time we actually saw the action fields utilized so fluidly.
speaking of Friendship Cup I ACTUALLY HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH IT'S CONCEPT? i actually liked the first round of it for all the worldbuilding it brought and the issues it set. A tournament which both blatantly shows and yet masks the ruthless "winner take all and winners perpetuate winners" society the City has, a tournament that forces the Lancers apart into two separate factions before they can properly learn How To Team, what should have been a simple recruiting mission went way, way haywire and it's all according to keikaku because it teaches the Lancers how to work together and apart.
NOW IF THEY HAD ONLY ACTUALLY GOTTEN TO TALK TO EACH OTHER. I know damn well the fandom and I were waiting eagerly for the baited "oh but you can duel your way out of the underground if you're good enough" shit and the fate that Sergey walked into because of it, and yet we got nothing. They had everything set up for the Lancers to start being able to communicate with each other once Tsukikage evaded the system, and yet nothing! I actually like that Roger's an incompetent boob and just the sheer presence of the Lancers fucks up his plans, because it means we have a villain that's easily countered once the Lancers get their shit together: a training villain, basically, to help them get on their feet.
An arc consisting of the Lancers taking advantage of the underground system to ingratiate themselves with Roger and get a spy next to him down below while Yuya protags and fights his way to the top of the tournament above ground would have been great. Add in the inevitable invasion of the Obelisk Force, and you can get the chance to have the Underground Lancers being forced to play keepaway with Yuzu and Serena (because no. serena didn't get fucking neurotoxined WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT WHAT NEUROTOXIN) and develop their teamwork skills doing that while building up Yuri as a bigger threat as they constantly get in conflict with him and only narrowly avert losing by the aforementioned game of keepaway, which both establishes Yuri's character beyond "i'm creepy and like to card people because it's fun, lulz!" and also gives Yuri a chance to experience more and more frustration and force his character down his own arc, which I'll talk about later. In the end, between the underground Lancers, the aboveground Lancers, the Lancer that manages to make their way to Roger's side and Reiji's little triad, they manage to orchestrate a prison break and engage the City in widespread chaos as they're fighting against the Obelisk Force, Roger's Satella Police, maybe possibly Shinji's rebellion that's hurting everyone in the city rather than achieving the goals they wanted, etc. A huge-ass Battle Royale going on while the finals between Jack and Yuya go on would be pretty cool, honestly?
Separating the Lancers further between the ones that go to XYZ and the ones who are sticking behind in Synchro would also have been cool-have the Lancers stuck behind both struggling to reuse Roger's dimensional travel technology to find the lost crew while also helping with rebuilding Synchro and forging the new unified City behind while other Lancers come in contact with the Resistance and try and regroup from the massive clusterfuck that happened at the end of the Friendship Cup. There's lots of directions this could go, too and I don't exactly have concrete ideas on any of them, so there'll probably be some inconsistencies between individual character profiles.Yuya Sakaki
okay i'm mostly joking. mostly.
I have a feeling it's largely agreed that Yuya's constant cycling around the same character development arc for a good majority of the show was a turnoff for many people of this character, especially when it "resolved" into BUT EGAO THOUGH. Personally, I like that they seemed to be going for a "Yuya tries to follow in the footsteps of his father but 1) he's forcing it and 2) it just. doesn't work for him. he's not his father. he will never be his father. he can surpass his father in his own way but he needs to stop copying his dad in such a selfish manner first" kinda thing until the egao train came crashing in with Yuto and proceeded to run over every single plotine in the show. Having Yuya forget Nico Smiley's lessons for him at the beginning of the Friendship Cup actually makes sense if you think about it: he only just learned those before the Junior Youth Championship, then he had his entertainment style constantly questioned with his struggles in the Commons and in jail before being whisked to this obviously-malicious tournament. But to have him permanently forget them and have to relearn them is just. No. Just. No. He doesn't even relearn them, period, instead it goes straight to Egao Messiahville and never looks back, when Yuya should have instead been reminded of/reminded himself of those lessons and then start properly applying them as he moves on up while also dealing with the backlash of just how cruel Synchro dimension is.
also hi there, zarc. you know, that finalboss design of yours is awful lazy. there's nothing of the other boys there, just yuya. hm. it makes me think that this design was for some kind of earlier breakdown. say, yuya succumbing to you at a lowpoint in either synchro or xyz? gee. that sure is a thing that could have happened. Yuya sure has been under the pressures of "not wanting to lose" for a long time, anyway, what with: Trying to uphold his father's legacy of entame, trying to save Yuzu, being part of the Lancers, stuck in the Friendship Cup, yadda yadda ya...just something to think about. Yuzu Hiiragi
JESUS, STOP KIDNAPPING HER. I'VE COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN WHAT HER ACTUAL CHARACTER IS LIKE BECAUSE SHE'S BEEN "DISTRESSED DAMSEL" FOR SO FUCKGNNG GODDAMN LONG HOLY SHIT.
also one of her last lines in the final zarc episode actually fucking killed me "because you came searching for me I WAS ABLE TO GET STRONGER" oh my god yuzu you fucking liar
honestly i'm not sure if i can add anything other than "please let yuzu do things and keep her flaws and be part of the plot instead of a talking mcguffin and also stop kidnapping her" because she was pretty solid as a character before all that started happening. like. she could have easily gotten captured because of her own damn hubris and her propensity to get her own ass involved in the plot while keeping information to herself, there's no need to be sending people out to capture her. yuzu hiiragi is a strong womyn who don't need no man, she can kidnap herself. Noboru "The Man" Gongenzaka
okay gon is The Man and he is cool and awesome and goes against the grain when it comes to the main gimmick of the series used to advertise Pendulums: the Action Duel. While this works well for him, it doesn't work so well once he's drafted into the Lancers, where Action Duels are the advantage and using Cross Over is the norm. This could be used so well for conflict but instead it's just used as an excuse for Sawatari and Gon to lose a tag duel offscreen and Gon only gets one future duel to regret not being able to use them for Yuya's sake before sacrificing himself for his best buddy and etc. The fact that his Synchro aces are cards that help him get around this limitation are a+ and awesome, the way he gets his first one is also perfect. he asks for help from the person he was forced into a draw with, he realized his limitations, he doesn't hesitate to ask for help to figure out his own way to remain steadfast while still being a duelist. the most recent ace...well, it's a good way for Gon to get into Action Dueling but since he has so little focus IT COMES OUT OF NOWHERE. it would have been so good for Gon to get into a duel where he endangered his partner because of his inability to use a shared graveyard with spell cards and then he had to figure something out on his own. how to translate "steadfast = unmoving, no matter the circumstances" to "steadfast = a steady presence, no matter where the duel takes him" and so on, and hence he gets that radical awesome train synchro.
but mostly gon is The Man and awesome and underutilized as a character and he should get to do more shit. the end.Reiji Akaba
THERE ARE A LOT OF FUCKING THINGS YOU COULD SAY, YOUNG MAN.
okay in serious mode here: Reiji is not your typical rival! He's not overly antagonistic (until he needs to be), he's not harboring a grudge towards the main character, he seems fairly aware of (and key to!) the main plot, and he prefers to work in the shadows, making him more of an ominous background presence to shape the plot and Yuya's direction rather than being an out-and-present threat hanging over Yuya's head. That's okay! That's actually a really neat direction to take a rival! The problem is with all the executive meddling fucking over the plot, there's very little chance for Reiji to come in and say "yes this is the plot i have known this this is exactly how i planned" and when it does IT SOUNDS REALLY HALF-BAKED. This results in about a good 120+ episodes before we actually know Reiji's knowledge of the plot, and that just really...makes him lose a lot of credibility, if one has to be honest.
The plot twist that "surprise, Reiji actually doesn't know that much and has just been winging it this entire fucking time" is actually really good, though. It fits well with the whole "child leading children to war" thing and that for all his lauded skills as a genius, there is only so much a child can do against a well-trained army built up over years and years of time with a thrown together crack team and hastily scrambled defenses. The only problem is that it comes far too late for it to have any real surprise value to the audience, and in-universe no one addresses that Reiji doesn't seem to know what he's doing (except Kurosaki. Kurosaki called it all along but he's not there to say "I MCFUCKIN KNEW IT" when Reiji drops that bombshell IS THAT WHY YOU INJURED HIM WITH SHRAPNEL FOR ALL OF HALF A DAY, KONAMI. IS THAT WHY).
For Reiji's case, it would work better if he was 1) able to communicate directly with his Lancers during Synchro, via Tsukikage or other means, to help counter Roger's plans step by step; 2) still notoriously ambiguous through it all, giving the Lancers conflicting thoughts on whether they can continue trusting him or not which 3) makes it more powerful when Roger spills the desperate ploy of "REIJI HAS BEEN WORKING WITH HIS FATHER ALL ALONG" card and 4) whether through interacting with Yuya and the others or the Reira sideplot Reiji actually opens up enough a little to 5) counter Roger's insinuation that Reiji knows everything by admitting that he knows nothing, that he's leading the Lancers because it was all he could do to find the strongest people he knew of once he realized that training LDS the way he was wouldn't work, etc. and 6) for the Lancers to accept and believe in Reiji despite this, because of their own bonding that happened during the massive warfare that's been happening in Synchro during the Friendship Cup and such, which 7) lets Reiji bond with his own Lancers a little and actually open up as a character so it's actually somewhat believable when Reiji calls Yuya a friend in front of his own father.
if they went the whole "focus on the Lancers left behind in Synchro for some moments of episodes" then we could get some moments of doubt from Reiji too because god fucking dammit every time the Lancers keep getting split up he doesn't know what to do and this time he can't even keep tabs on them what did he drag them into, etc and some proper bonding time with what's left of the Lancers in Synchro.
Therefore when Leo accuses his son of being too straightforward a thinker, of not planning things through, of not having grown from the child who chased him down three years ago, Reiji can both react accordingly and also have people willing to defend him at his side.
okay i will try hard to not let my character bias get the best of me but goodness mercy me, sawatari-san. The majority of the fandom were pretty delighted as a whole to see this tryhard act the generic villainous heel and steal Yuya's pendulum cards, never mind the absolute ridiculousness he started exhibiting from episode 7 onwards. He stole many a heart but didn't really raise expectations to be anything more than a one-note