Kai's level 0 vanguard.

I haven’t been posting much about Cardfight Vanguard lately. They actually had an interesting arc in which Aichi lost control of himself and became a bit of a monster. I enjoyed that because it was quite a shake-up from the earlier episodes, both in terms of Aichi’s character, and the general tone and focus of the series. With episode 50 that arc seems to have come to a close. I believe the next part will be the National championship.

Blaster Blade, Aichi Sendou's avatar, and lynchpin of the Royal Paladin deck.

What really spurred me to write this entry, however, was the release of the English version of the Cardfight decks. There is now an English language Vanguard website, and I recommend checking it out if you are confused about how the game works, as they have straightforward explanations of the mechanics, and many of the cards you see on the show are completely described. At the moment there are two starter packs available, one based on Aichi’s Royal Paladin deck, and one based on Kai’s Kagero clan deck. There is also one booster pack that has a variety of clans represented. I found looking over the battle pack very revealing. For example I discovered that Battle Sister Chocolate is in the Oracle Think Tank clan, and there are at least two other “Battle Sisters”, Mocha and Cocoa, even though Chocolate seems to be the only Battle Sister┬áthat gets used in the anime. I guess it is because Misaki is the only one who regularly plays with an Oracle Think Tank deck.

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Ren Suzugamori (left) watches in delight as Aichi Sendo (right) loses his perspective.

Cardfight! Vanguard has gone in an interesting new direction lately. We might say that Aichi has been seduced by the dark side. Last episode we saw that, just before the National Tournament, Aichi’s psyqualia had fully activated, and Ren took advantage of it, by convincing Aichi to abandon his Paladin deck for the Shadow Paladin deck. In this episode Kourin, of Ultra Rare, hunts Kai down, and challenges him over his role in activating Aichi’s psyqualia.

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Kyou, having been cast out of Foo Foghters, finds the world of Vanguard unwelcoming.

Episode 41 of Cardfight! Vanguard was the best episode in a while. Kyou is one of the crazier opponents that Team Q4 has met, and he has a real grudge. In addition, Aichi is going over the edge as well. His friends are all starting to notice that his personality is changing, and this more confident personality gives Aichi’s seiyuu an opportunity to shake up the way he is played. The result is a much more tense and exciting match than I would have imagined.

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It's a battle between a Royal Paladin deck, and a Dark Irregulars deck, with a spot at the National Championship Tournament at stake.

Cardfight! Vanguard episode 32 concludes the qualifying matches for the National Tournament. Aichi fights “the General” of the Foo Fighter’s team AL4, and the game turns out to be a good one, with a rather shocking conclusion. Also Ren Suzugamori shows himself to be a mean jerk.

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Misaki's trump card is a tie to sweet memories from her past.

Episode 29 provided a rare Cardfight! Vanguard treat. This time we got a real match with Misaki fighting all out, and the stakes were pretty high, as Team Q4 have yet to qualify for the Second day of the national championship tournament.

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Elaine takes one for the team.

Episode 28 finishes team Q4’s first round in the qualifiers for the National Champion Tournament. Sadly, this was a pretty depressing episode. In short, the team from Card Capitol is starting out in a bad position.

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Team Q4 (minus Kamui), prepare for the the National Champion qualifying round.

This was an interesting episode of Cardfight! Vanguard. The opening ceremony of the National Championship is over, and Ultra-Rare explain the process for the qualifying rounds. The various teams are divided into several “blocks”, each containing four teams. Only two teams from each block will be proceeding to the actual championship battles. The teams are selected by their cumulative score in a round-robin within the block to which they have been assigned. They are making a big deal of these matches. Aichi is facing off against team “Jurassic Army” in the first match, but they haven’t shown the conclusion, merely taking us to the point where the first grade 3 Vanguard has been stood up.

Kai apparently has had a previous run in with the Foo Fighters.

The bad news for Team Q4 is that the Foo Fighters, last year’s national champs, are in the same block. Unexpectedly we got a hint about Kai’s past. Kai knows the members of the Foo Fighters (including Ren Suzugamori, who doesn’t think the qualifying round is worthy of his participation). Kai insists that he “doesn’t remember what happened back then”. When Aichi tries to push it, Misaki stops him, saying that everyone has something they would prefer not to discuss.

One notable thing about this episode is that they introduced a new way of presenting the duels. Instead of just showing the player’s avatars fighting on the mythical planet Cray, they are shown as if fighting on Cray, but within the stadium.