Cardfight!! Vanguard Part 4 Review

cardfight-vanguard-disc-4-coverCardfight!! Vanguard is the Anime series based on the Bushiroad card game of the same name. The series is a collaboration between the president of Bushiroad, the author of Yu-Gi-Oh! R and that one guy that worked on that one card game Anime series that was pretty terrible back in the mid 2000s, Duel Masters. This part of the series, part 4, focuses on the regional tournament of Japan, where our team of Vanguard players face off against some strong opponents and rather risky odds. This part follows directly after the third part of the series and is still following the first arc of the Cardfight!! Vanguard anime. Cardfight!! Vanguard follows the story of Aiichi Sendou and his team of Cardfight duelists in their adventures in duelling with the trading card game, Cardfight!! Vanguard. The card game sees players battling units from the planet Cray in order to beat their opponents into victory. The story, at this point, has seen Aiichi  start out as a Vanguard player and has since found a special power called Psyqualia, which allows him to see the future of his deck while in battle. What's interesting in this storyline is that it concludes the story where Aiichi picks up a Dark Paladin deck and becomes a mega-douche. These first few episodes deal with Kai and how his background with the Psyqualia powers, where it is revealed a friend of his, Ren, first obtained the power himself. This foreknowledge gives Kai the confidence needed to get through to Aiichi, and by using Aiichi's old deck, is able to bring Aiichi's old self back. Aiichi then stops relying on the powers of Psyqualia, but the potential to use it is always there in the background, which causes a bit of drama throughout this part of the season. For example, as Aiichi prepares to face off in the main tournament, he is at odds with himself on whether or not he should use Psyqualia when he engages in the competition. With the storyline focusing strongly on the national tournament, the story feels a lot more focused and is able to be a lot more interesting. This is because the drama focuses almost entirely on the tournament, although it does move into the main plot line involving Ren and Team Asteroid as well. Not only that, but we learn a bit more about the Psyqualia powers as well. Even more, as a part of Aiichi's character arc, he is presented an option to choose between the light side and the dark side. Unlike the previous choice, he seems to have learned from his past and chooses to walk down a brighter road. This is a good choice for the character, and the viewers, because it emphasises that being a good person, is better than being a powerful douchebag, which is a good lesson for the target audience, children, to learn. The card battles in this part of the series can be pretty interesting and intense at times. This is because of dramatic filmography, but also by some of the personal dramas that put things on the line. Things like friendships and egos, which really make the stakes seem high. It feels like the characters are always fighting for something, be it friendship, or to win, and the fights seem that much stronger for it. However, this isn't to say that they are masterpieces of cinema, but they are a lot better than some of the earlier stories battles. cardfight-vanguard-episode-49-eyes-of-mordor One of the more annoying things while watching Cardfight!! Vanguard is seeing how much the writers of the English adaptation have changed the script from the original Japanese script. Try watching this show with the subtitles on, and with the English audio, it's like watching two entirely different shows. We'd even go so far as to suggest that some characters have almost completely different personalities. What's strange is that even the smallest of lines have been changed, and so it changes the context of a scene completely. As an example, a couple of commentators or news reporters, or something, were talking about the Vanguard tournament. In the Japanese they're talking about balances between teams and the like, or something like that, but in the English version, it's them practically cheering for one particular team over the other. It's so completely odd. Despite the complete changes in the script, the English and Japanese voice casts are both equally bad. This is a surprise, considering most of the time, the Japanese dub is superior to the English dub. However, it seems that regardless of the language spoken, Cardfight!! Vanguard is equally terribly acted. However, the highlight of the vocal cast in the English version is that one character, Misaki, dunno why, although her voice makes me want to go back to highschool for some reason. Probably to play card games. Although, it'd probably be Weiss Schwartz, the better Bushiroad CCG. An odd directorial decision was to have the opening and ending themes change on a whim. For the majority of episodes, the opening theme will be the English verison of Vanguard by JAM Project (based JAM Project), while the ending theme will be the English version of Dream Shooters (the song that made us massive SEA*A fans). However, on random episodes, these will switch to some other songs, at first I thought that it was because the episodes were more important or something, but, really, it just seems random. Overall, Part 4 of Cardfight!! Vanguard is a lot more interesting than previous parts. The buildup from past episodes gives the cast a stronger persona and relationship with the viewer. While a lot of our previous criticisms haven't really been addressed, it looks like the show is heading down a stronger path. Although, we don't hold much hope for the English dub, as it is changed way too much from the original to go back from at this point. Rating: Ride My Vanguard /10 -- Cardfight!! Vanguard comes from Bushiroad, TMS Entertainment and is published by Hanabee here in Australia. Part 4 covers episodes 49 to 65 and can be bought from Hanabee's website for ~$50. This review is based on the DVD release of the series and was supplied by Hanabee. There is no Blu-Ray edition as far as we're aware.
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