Everybody, I made my decision. I threw away my past self.

— Ai[1]

The "Dark Ignis" ( (やみ) のイグニス, Yami no Igunisu), alternatively named Ai (Ai (アイ) ), is a character in the Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS anime, and the deuteragonist in the first and second seasons. He is one of the six Ignis of whom he is based on Yusaku Fujiki, and is one of the supporters of human coexistence.

Following his and Yusaku's victory over Bohman, Ai is left as the last remaining Ignis. He takes on a human appearance, and he is able to manifest this appearance in the real world through hijacking a SOLtis. He takes on an antagonistic role, taking Roboppy under his wing after giving it free will and planning to use SOL Technologies for his own ends.



Ai is a small, digital humanoid being. Ai's distinct features that distinguishes him from the other Ignis is his pointed top and his clown shoe like feet. He has markings over his purple-tinted black body, in the shape of thin lines and circles, which are tinted with a purple color. He has oval-shaped, yellow-orange eyes. His pure data form is yet to be seen. In stature, Ai is one of the taller Ignis, the same height as Flame and shorter than Earth.[2] When he becomes angry, Ai turns into a fiendish shape, with six tentacles, a large yellow eye and mouth, with two of his eyes on the center of his body.

When Varis' "Cracking Dragon" ate his body, Ai was reduced to an eye with his purple lines, yellow-orange iris and a purple pupil. When he ate off Varis' arm, Ai regained his body.

Ai (Human form)

Ai, in his "human" form.

In the third season, Ai now has taken a "human" form after using a SOLtis Android as a host. He has yellow eyes that have rectangular pupils, black shoulder length, spiky hair with yellow tips, along with purple bangs with pink highlights similar to Playmaker's. He wears a light purple formal shirt with a black handkerchief tie, vest, pants, and cape. He also has a pair of purple earrings with orange studs that resemble his old head and a blue diamond chip on his neck and back.


Ai claims he is their savior

Ai proclaiming himself as a savior.

Ai is a mischievous, cocky, playful, energetic, somewhat annoying, arrogant, and snarky AI who gets carried away easily and likes to joke around. Despite his occasional cockiness or annoying moments, he is actually quite funny, loyal, resourceful, and amiable. According to his own words, he is disliked by his own people because he was more laid-back than them and didn't perform his job. Ai struggles to understand humans' way of thinking that often seem completely illogical compared to his algorithm based way of thinking. However, he is helpful and can be more serious at times such as making observations both in and outside of duels. He also has a tendency to panic when Playmaker is about to lose and to be forgetful as he had to be reminded what Borreload Dragon's effect was and what Earth's dueling style is like.

Ai frequently tries to interact with other AIs, showing a more social side but is always left disappointed because they're not as capable of free thinking as himself. Ai is also shown to be very chatty, posting on a Playmaker discussion forum 212 times under similar pen names, all starting with "Silent". He enjoys insulting and taunting Playmaker's opponents, as well as trying to manipulate them into falling for Playmaker's strategies, though these attempts of his to help are more often detrimental than not. He does seem to show concern for Yusaku when the latter’s on his last legs, either genuinely for his safety or Ai needing to survive in order to return to Cyberse. Ai is also kind and thinks positively about people he considers his friends, even when they think of him as annoying or they betray each other in the case of Lightning.

Ai is shown to be very absent-minded when he was lured into a meeting with Windy and Lightning, realizing at the last moment that Windy had freed him from the Duel Disk. This is a contradiction in his program because Ai has the most wisdom of the six Ignis according to Lightning.[3] However, he still shows his reasons to believe that the Ignis and humans can coexist and remains loyal to his partner.

Ai's trust in humanity was hurt after learning of Earth's apparent death, as he began to show a strong resentment towards humanity over their continuous attacks against the Ignis. After learning of Earth's demise he briefly stated that he was starting to hate humanity while being completely serious without any hint of his usual snarky attitude or humor. However, despite this, he remains loyal to his beliefs and his allies, until after the defeat of Bohman and the demise of his fellow Ignis.

He was angered and saddened over the demise of Earth, Aqua, Flame and Kolter. He even absorbed Kolter's data to prevent him from being completely terminated. He also stood up for Yusaku against Lightning's taunts, as he understood how hurt Yusaku was at the loss of Kolter.

Like Yusaku, Ai also appears to have a sense of justice, as seen when he protested against Bohman using the conscious data of the people in LINK VRAINS to feed his Data Storm.

Despite his arrogance, Ai is actually very selfless and also shown to care deeply for his friends. He was willing to isolate himself alone in the network to protect his fellow Ignis and his home. This is also drives him to sacrifice himself in order to destroy the Neuron Link created by Bohman, in order to help Playmaker.

After Bohman's defeat and the shut down of Link VRAINS, much of Ai's bubbly, positive personality disappears and is replaced by a more calm, calculated, serious nature as a result of losing the other Ignis. He takes responsibility for the future of the Ignis, telling the graves of his fallen friends that he made a decision for his next course of action. Traces of who Ai used to be is seen in the casino, where he states to Roboppy that they can live however they want among the humans, and hijacking the slot machines. He also retains some of his previous amiable side, particularly towards Playmaker, greeting his former partner with a cheerful smile and being genuinely happy to see him again. Ai's panic attacks are now nonexistent when he is caught in a pinch in a Duel, keeping a calm demeanor even when it appears that his opponent has cornered him, in the case of his Duel with Queen. On a funnier note, Ai still attempts to use long summoning chants until Roboppy reprimands him.

Ai has also shown to have become ruthless in his objectives, such as brutally defeating Queen and then targeting Akira. In addition, Ai has developed a slightly sadistic side, as shown when he smirked and gloated about defeating Queen on his recorded threat to Akira. Ai has also decided to carry on Lightning's wishes by destroying humans. Much of Ai's personality change appears to stem from a combination of losing all his Ignis friends and the insecurity of being the last remaining Ignis in existence. Despite his calmness, he holds a deep grudge against George Gore for the death of Earth. Also similar to Lightning, he has developed a dislike for new AI, particularly Pandor as he claims they don't know everything.

In the dub, Ai has a habit of saying, "Oh glitch!" when he's surprised or angry.


Ai Devours a Knight of Hanoi Member

Ai about to devour a Knight of Hanoi.

As an Ignis, who created Cyberse World, Ai has some degree of control over it. He was the only one who knew its location when he made a program to hide it. Ai and can unlock data from Cyberse to start a Data Storm. His recent upgrade allows him to summon one at will so Yusaku can use Storm Access or escape danger.

Ai is shown to be far more sophisticated than other AIs, being fully capable of thinking and acting on his own free will and showing emotion; because of that, Ai is considered to be an actual living being. According to Kolter, Ai is built out of highly complicated algorithms that even Yusaku couldn't fully decode. The Ignis can use the algorithm to send secret messages to other Ignis if on a public forum. Ai's memories are stored in the form of video logs. However, Ai's level of free will is limited by the fact that he is still a computer program, as such, he can't comprehend why humans do actions that would seem illogical and contradicting with each other. Despite this, Ai is capable of feeling instinct, an unusual trait for even AI with free will which makes Lightning claim that he is a special AI.

Ai's Skill is Storm Access which is given to Yusaku after being trapped in Yusaku's Duel Disk. Whilst trapped in the Duel Disk, he can also act as a Duel AI. Inside Link VRAINS, Ai is shown to be able to transform into a monster, which he did to devour a Knight of Hanoi member and a card infected by Hanoi. Ai also has an upgraded form of Storm Access called Neo Storm Access that allows the user to obtain a Cyberse Extra deck monster, no longer being limited to just Link monsters.

Ai has the ability to sense a Knight of Hanoi's presence through the cards in their Deck, such as when he knew right away that Gore was pretending to be a Knight and when he discovered the Hanoi-affected card in Blue Angel's Deck and could tell when it was drawn. This is later revealed to be his Link Sense, which connects him to his Origin, Yusaku, who in turn has the same powers.

After Playmaker defeated Varis, Ai regained his full body and can materialize himself in the real world, though he still can't leave Yusaku's Duel Disk. In Link VRAINS, he's able to enlarge to human size while still linked to Yusaku's Duel Disk and regenerate parts of an avatar. He can even enhance the D-Board to higher speed and act as a shield, at the cost of it destroying him. Ai can regenerate himself, but an immature data recovery causes him to be smaller until all of his data returns.


Ai getting ready to fire.

Ai is able to release blasts of purple energy, which he used to try to free Aqua and fight off Bohman absorbing him.[4]

As each Ignis is associated with an element, or Attribute of Duel Monsters, Ai is associated with the DARK Attribute. This can be supported by Linkuriboh, a Cyberse Monster Ai interacts with, being a DARK Monster.[5] This is later confirmed by Haru and Flame, referring to him as the "Dark Ignis".[6]

After adapting a human form, Ai became able to hijack a SOLtis to enter the real world, when doing so the SOLtis takes his appearance. He can even transport people's minds into a private digital world.

Ai also possesses the ability to create copies of himself, as seen when sends 3 copies of himself to act as decoys to Varis, Soulburner and Playmaker, while he proceeded forward.

Despite his old panicky and forgetful nature, Ai is actually an extremely skilled Duelist, easily able to cut through Queen's defence and win in just one turn and quickly defeat two of Hanoi's top lieutenants, Dr. Genome and Baira, who are skilled duelists.



Ai riding Linkuriboh

Ai relaxes on "Linkuriboh" in Cyberse World.

Ai was created by Dr. Kogami, the scientist who created the Ignis.[7] The Ignis were developed by watching the six test subjects Duel, with Ai modeled after Yusaku Fujiki.[8] Eventually, Ai and the other Ignis evolved and created the Cyberse World, as well as the Cyberse monsters. Their progress worried Dr. Kogami who created Ignis to help humanity, and predicted through his simulations that the AI and humanity would become enemies.[2] Despite this, Ai and the other Ignis continued to create their world, each with a sector based on themselves. In Ai's words, the Ignis would never try to harm humanity, and would rather live in their own world.[5] However, the simulations showed that, in a group, the Ignis would destroy the world, but separately, they'd improve humanity through coexistence. The exception to this was Lightning, who was predicted to demolish others' progress and start a war between the Ignis and humanity.[9]

Ai was a laid-back Ignis,[3] and didn't do his job as the other Ignis did, which made him less-liked by his kin.[5] Aqua, once even threw Ai and "Linkuriboh" to the ground for slacking off.[10] One day, Ai was fooling around the water domain with "Linkuriboh". Aqua warned Ai not to be playing around, since it was dangerous. Ai didn't mind, but it nearly hurt himself when it fell down a waterfall. Aqua scolded Ai, reminding it should behave like an Ignis. Earth was jealous, and demanded of Ai to stay away from Aqua, as he'd protect the latter.[11] Ai, unlike other Ignis, had a human's instinct. Due to his rebellious behavior, Lightning observed him, believing that would inspire the other Ignis to evolve.[12]

Ai eaten by cracking dragon

Ai about to get crunched by "Cracking Dragon".

Five years prior to the start of the series, the Knights of Hanoi launched an attack against the Cyberse World and captured the Ignis protecting it, except for Ai who wasn't present. Ai arrived, noting that it was a good time to be hated by his own kind. He stole vital information from the Cyberse and hid it within himself, disconnecting it from the rest of the network which forced Hanoi to stop the attack before he was crushed by a "Cracking Dragon" (in the dub, this scene was replaced by the flash of data). However, his eye survived. Ever since, he had been running from both the Knights and SOL Technologies.[13]


Ai on the run

Ai is hunted by the Knights of Hanoi.

Ai inside Yusaku's Duel Disk

Ai trapped inside Yusaku's Duel Disk.

Ai was in LINK VRAINS, and watched certain events, like Playmaker confronting a Knight of Hanoi. Later, while being pursued by SOL Technologies and the Knights of Hanoi, Ai fell into a trap created by Playmaker, who saved him by absorbing him into his Duel Disk. Yusaku explained Ai would be their hostage, and made it clear Ai could not escape. Yusaku went into LINK VRAINS as Playmaker to confront the Knight of Hanoi, which displeased Ai for returning into the danger. Playmaker showed Ai, and threatened to delete it if the Knight did not stop his attack. Thus, Ai was turned into a Dueling AI. thus necessitating the defeat of Playmaker in order to recover Ai. Ai doubted that Playmaker's Deck was strong enough to defeat the Knights' "Cracking Dragon", but Playmaker doubted Ai's words and told him to pray for the victory. Ai declared AI do not pray before stirring up a virtual wind called "Data Storm" that initiated a Speed Duel.[13]

Before the Duel began, Ai explained Playmaker how Speed Duels worked but didn't mention Skills. Throughout the Duel Ai repeatedly tried to offer support for Playmaker, only for Playmaker to keep telling him to shut up and remind that he was holding Ai hostage. When they sucked into a tornado within the Data Storm, Playmaker figured out that Ai not mentioning skills and bringing him into the tornado were part of his calculations. Ai confirmed this, and activated Playmaker's skill "Storm Access", which allowed them to obtain "Decode Talker" so that Playmaker could defeat the Knight.[14] The Knight attempted to self destruct and kill Playmaker, but Ai turned into a monster and devoured the knight to save Playmaker. He suggested Playmaker should log out soon. Yusaku and Kolter spent the next few days trying to figure out Ai' programming and nicknamed him "Ai", a pun on "A.I." and "eye". Eventually Yusaku found footage from some of Ai's memories, which Ai himself didn't understand except for Varis being the leader of Hanoi. Scanning those recordings caused Varis to sense Ai and try to find him, but Kolter shutting off Café Nom's power prevented him from finding them. The next day, Ai was left at Yusaku's house in a storage shelf, there he tried to convince Roboppy to set him free.[15]

Ai panicked when Yusaku returned home and had Roboppy put him back on the shelf. When Yusaku found them, Ai told Yusaku that he had arrived home early, to which Yusaku said a Knight of Hanoi appeared and revealed a secret room he used to go to LINK VRAINS. As soon as they arrived, both Playmaker and Ai quickly figured out the Knight was fake. The "Knight" revealed himself to be The Gore, who wanted to challenge Playmaker. Ai looked up information about The Gore, Playmaker was uninterested and attempted to log out but a program from SOL prevented him from doing so, so he was forced to Duel The Gore. During the Duel, Ai continued researching The Gore and found out that The Gore donated most of his money to the orphanage where he grew up. When Gore let himself take 2000 Damage when he had the chance to avoid it, Ai was confused about why humans make illogical choices. Playmaker said it was because of their hearts, but didn't explain what that meant because Ai's algorithm-based thinking wouldn't understand it.[16]

When Kolter found out that Skye Zaizen, Yusaku's classmate, is "Blue Angel", Ai helped Yusaku locate her while they were at school. Ai forced Yusaku to join the Duel Club and tried to interact with Skye's Duel Disk AI. The next day Ai noticed something strange about Skye's AI so he sent her a text message on Playmaker's behalf challenging Blue Angel to a Duel, then tricked Yusaku into going into VRAINS to confront Blue Angel. There, he explained that Hanoi must've planted a card into Blue Angel's deck to use her as bait for Playmaker.[17] During the Duel, Ai was horrified when Blue Angel was affected by Hanoi's card and warned Playmaker that if the Duel continued much longer, Skye would suffer permanent brain damage.[18]

After the Duel concluded Ai devoured Hanoi's program and detected that they had infected Skye with a virus to keep her comatose. Later Ai told Yusaku and Kolter that the only way to remove the virus was to get an anti-Virus from Hanoi. Right after that, a "Blue Angel" impostor appeared demanding a rematch. Despite knowing that it was a trap, Yusaku went to confront the impostor because he could get a chance to obtain the anti-virus. Upon arriving however, the impostor turned the entirety of VRAINS into a trap to capture Playmaker and revealed herself to be Ghost Gal. Akira Zaizen appeared and tortured Playmaker, believing him to be the culprit of Skye being comatose and swore to reclaim Ai. Playmaker and Ai tried to explain that Hanoi were the real culprits to no avail, until Varis appeared and blackmailed Akira into releasing Playmaker so they could Duel.[19] During the Duel, Ai noted that Varis didn't have an AI. Varis said that he didn't trust AIs and that Ai must be destroyed, because otherwise, the virtual fiction of VRAINS will destroy the world. When Varis used "Storm Access", Ai was shocked that because that was his signature program, but also called out Varis' hypocrisy of wanting to destroy Cyberse World while borrowing power from it, Varis countered that claiming that he was "countering poison with poison".[20]

Ai vanishes

"Fire Prison" causes Ai to disappear.

Ai sea

Ai, at sea.

As the Duel progressed, Varis gained the upper hand, and worrying that they might lose, Ai led Playmaker to the Deleted Data Storm, where the two obtained a dragon. However, Varis activated the Trap Card, "Remote Rebirth", and comboed it with the effect of "Topologic Bomber Dragon", ending the Speed Duel in a draw. Following that, Varis dragged Playmaker and Ai inside a Data Storm, where they began a Master Duel. As the Duel went on, Varis activated the effect of "Fire Prison", eliminating all Cyberse cards from the field, as well as making Ai seemingly vanish into thin air.[21] Ai woke up at sea, and remembered how "Fire Prison" erased his program. Though he was surprised by the surroundings, Ai felt somewhat sleepy, even if he never had felt this before. When Playmaker called out to him, Ai woke up and came back after Playmaker summoned "Firewall Dragon" and "Fire Prison" was destroyed. Ai was concerned if Playmaker lost, and panicked to see he only had 600 LP left. Ai was amazed to see the two dragons, until Varis used the effect of "Borreload Dragon" to take control of "Firewall Dragon".[7]

Ai viscious

Ai takes revenge on Varis.

Ai restored body

Ai gets his body back.

Ai was frustrated how "Firewall Dragon" failed to remove "Borreload Dragon" from the field, and reminded Playmaker to protect his own dragon. He also reminded Playmaker how they had to count everything on their next draw. Ai was pleased when Playmaker used "Battle Buffer" to negate Varis' "rokket" monsters' effects and could not use them as ammunition for "Borreload Dragon". He had "Firewall Dragon" attack "Borreload", despite the ATK disadvantage. This was part of the strategy for "Encode Talker" to destroy Varis' dragon. Ai watched as "Firewall Dragon" defeated "Borreload Dragon", and Varis as well. He then became vicious and tried to devour Varis, even biting his avatar's arm off, but lightning struck, restraining Ai, and Ai cursed Varis for leaving. Later on, Ai noticed Yusaku was sleeping, and called out how lazy he was. Kolter replied heroes need rest, too, though Ai started bragging how heroes needed to be just like him. When Kolter went to analyze the program, Ai called him a pervert for looking into his private parts, and refused to say anything about the program he ate off from Varis. Later, Ai woke up and explained to Yusaku and Kolter he was alive, but they wanted proof. Ai then started to focus and a golden light appeared out of Yusaku's Duel Disk. Ai came out, with his whole body intact, stating his pride how he managed to recover his body back. Yusaku and Kolter were unamused by his small size and went to analyze if Ai had any memories of his past. Ai was displeased by their ignorance, wanting them to show some reaction to seeing his true self.[22]

Ai talks with Playmaker

Ai talks to Playmaker about Ghost Gal's tactics.

After Yusaku left him home for being annoying, Ai flexed his muscles to impress Roboppy, who was amused. Ai commented how dumb robots were, which insulted Roboppy. However, Ai swore once he was completed, they would "start doing that again", which made him and Roboppy blush.[23] Ai "played" with Roboppy, and claimed Yusaku wouldn't watch them, since he was deep in a thought. After Yusaku got a message from Kolter, he took Ai with him to the food truck. There, the two read how Ghost Gal challenged Playmaker, with her access to the data bank and Playmaker's Ai as wagers. Ai stated they didn't have to accept her challenge, but Playmaker nevertheless did so, as he was interested in the data from SOL Technologies' data bank. Inside, Ai was displeased the two initiated the Duel. Ai reminded Playmaker while he did not know anything about Ghost Gal, she must've studied his tactics well. During the Duel, Ai pointed out how Ghost Gal reinforced her defenses, and even set three Trap Cards that would stop them. As Ghost Gal initiated the Battle Phase and claimed she would win in that turn, Ai laughed, as she would make 2400 LP damage. Both Playmaker and Ghost Gal scolded Ai for such thinking; Playmaker claimed no Duelist would make that simple math error, making Ghost Gal wonder why was everyone after this dumb AI. Ai was offended, while Playmaker pointed out she did bring out "Altergeist Meluseek". The latter attacked and destroyed "Cyberse Wizard", allowing "Altergeist Marionetter" to attack directly, and allowing "Altergeist Primebanshee" to do so as well. Ai started panicking, as his fate was on the stake.[24]

Ai yelled at Playmaker that Ghost Gal's next attack would deplete all of his LP. As Playmaker Special Summoned "Lockout Gardna", Ai knew they would have enough LP to continue and even use Storm Access, and exclaimed how "bad" this would be. However, Ghost Gal knew Ai was just pretending and decided not to attack. Ai was in shock, and Playmaker told him this acting stunk, making Ai sniff himself. Ai continued watching the Duel, and commented how Ghost Gal was foiling their strategies, and wondered what her Skill was. Using Secret Cure, Ghost Gal increased both her and Playmaker's LP by the ATK of "Altergeist Meluseek", making Ai comment on how the latter punished them before already. Still, Playmaker paid the LP to activate "Scan Doll" and Ai praised him, encouraging him to use Storm Access. Since Ghost Gal was in the Data Storm, Ai was surprised that Playmaker went to save her, even if they could be swallowed inside, too. Coming out of the Data Storm, Ai commented how Playmaker behaved like a hero. With "Excode Talker" brought out and able to attack twice, Ai smiled, claiming it is over for Ghost Gal. At the end of Duel, Ai explained it was a stressful battle and would've ended in defeat if it wasn't for him. After Ghost Gal left, Ai asked what was in the SOL Technologies' data bank. Playmaker admitted he did not know but hoped there was some info about himself, ten years ago.[25]

The next day, Yusaku was searching for Skye, but noticed she was not present there, nor in LINK VRAINS. Ai thought her brother was blocking her the access to LINK VRAINS, to prevent any further danger that might harm her. However, Ai also wondered why Yusaku was concerned about "that cutie", as Yusaku wished that she wouldn't give up on Duels. The following night, Kolter created a link to the mother computer. Yusaku started hesitating to enter, making Ai surprised, since he did wish to find more out and even won the program as a bet from Ghost Gal. Ai claimed he did warn them there were traps from the start, but Kolter explained Yusaku was just being careful. Ai expressed his annoyance, and went with Yusaku into the LINK VRAINS. While inside the system, Ai saw how empty the place was, and wasn't impressed by the rope Playmaker held. Soon, Ai warned Playmaker about the security traps, which were sent to hamper their path. After passing through Area A, Ai was glad they succeeded, but was shocked to see a Data Storm inside the network. Playmaker and Ai were pulled towards the Data Storm, with their rope shattering and alerting Kitamura. Playmaker and Ai were "visited" by two AI prototypes, who went to Duel them, even when Ai reminded them Duels were one on one. Playmaker avoided them and proceeded further, though one of the AI-s intercepted him. The two began a Duel, in which the AI prototype dropped all of Playmaker's hand with "Tentacluster Nautilus". Ai told Playmaker had no luck, thinking he was bad at old maid, but Playmaker shushed him. The two were attacked by the other AI prototype until Blue Angel came to stop the AIs.[26] When Playmaker shaved his LP down to 1000, AI encouraged him to enter the Data Storm, wondering what monster would he obtain. Inside the data bank, Ai and Playmaker were surprised to see Akira, who expected Playmaker to arrive there.[27]

Ai pointed out the core of the data bank was where SOL Technologies' information was processed and released. Hearing Ghost Gal's plans, Ai thought Ghost Gal lost on purpose to hand them the backdoor route, but Ghost Gal corrected it that she still had the opportunity to obtain Ai. Regardless, she was fine with either outcome, making Ai curse her for being so cunning, which Ghost Gal took as a compliment. When Akira refused to hand over the data from the bank, Ai started to complain, claiming he is the great Ignis everyone was searching for. Akira wondered if Ai actually had free will, like Varis told them. Ghost Gal told them Akira was demoted, which made Ai amused how much he sacrificed himself to look after his sister. Since Akira refused to hand over the data, Playmaker challenged Akira to a Duel, betting Ai for the data, which Akira accepted. Ai was displeased, as being a bet was a normal thing to him. As Akira reinforced his defenses, Ai noted Akira was a stiff man, just like his strategy. As Ai swapped "Tindangle Base Gardna" for "Tindangle Hound", Ai started complaining until seeing how scary the latter was. "Tindangle Hound" roared as its effect activated, making Ai feel woozy, but Playmaker silenced him. Playmaker brought out "Flame Administrator" and destroyed "Tindangle Hound", with Ai mimicking Playmaker's pose. However, he cursed as Akira revived his "Tindangle Hound", via "Tindangle Angel", and ended the Battle Phase. Ai realized Akira played a Flip Monster deck, with unique strategies. Since Playmaker refused to give up, Ai encouraged him to crush Akira. Ai admitted Akira's monsters hurt his pride, seeing its power continued lowering Playmaker's monsters' ATK.[28]

Ai no friend

Ai fails to befriend Playmaker.

Playmaker destroyed Akira's monsters with "Link Hole", and Ai taunted Akira for being unable to use his Flip Monsters' effects. However, Ai started panicking when "Decode Talker" was destroyed and "Tindangle Acute Cerberus" was summoned, whose ATK was boosted to 3000. "Tindangle Acute Cerberus" attacked "Firewall Dragon", and Ai feared he and Playmaker would lose, so the latter protected "Firewall Dragon" with "Doppler Phase Coating". Akira protected his own monster with "Gergonne's End", so Playmaker tried to have "Firewall Dragon", enhanced with "Alert Lancer", attack "Tindangle Token" to finish the Duel. Ai smiled for the victory, until Akira protected himself with "Morley's Shield". Ai continued panicking when Akira played "Nagel's Protection" to protect his Tokens, and even doubling the damage "Tindangle Acute Cerberus" dealt, lowering Playmaker's LP to 500. Ai yelled to Playmaker to do something, and even wondered if there was anything that can be done to get them out of the situation. Playmaker told Ai to stop panicking, asking if it even was an AI, making the latter furious why he was so calm. Playmaker claimed if Ai was so worried about losing, he should consider finding a new home. Ai replied he didn't think of that, since he had Playmaker as a friend to help him out. Playmaker claimed they were no friends, stating Ai should behave like other AIs. This crushed Ai, seeing Playmaker was colder than AIs. Ai started acting like a dumb AI to amuse Playmaker, though he also wished to know about the incident from ten years ago. Hearing Playmaker was a part of Hanoi Project, Ai started to ponder thoughts about it. He was also shocked to hear SOL Technologies' data bank contained the name of the mastermind behind the project.[29]

Ai realized Playmaker had two parallel choices which confirmed this, exciting Ai, as their opinions matched. As Akira declared an attack on "Firewall Dragon", Ai panicked once more, but was silenced by Playmaker. As "Doppler Phase Coating" was removed, Akira's Battle Phase ended, and Ai was impressed, seeing Playmaker could survive. As Akira summoned the Deleted token to power up "Tindangle Acute Cerberus", Ai ignored that, thinking that was a pointless move, as "Firewall Dragon" would attack Akira directly. Instead, the latter activated "Euler's Circuit" to stop Playmaker from attacking. Ai lost hope, thinking he would be turned over to SOL Technologies. However, as the conditions for "Gergonne's End" were fulfilled, Akira destroyed all monsters linked to "Tindangle Acute Cerberus" to defeat Playmaker. However, the latter's "Secure Gardna" prevented the damage, and Ai taunted Akira for falling for the trick. Ai bragged his acting made this possible, but Playmaker brushed him off, as it was poor acting that nearly made Akira suspect something wrong. Despite the advantage, Playmaker used "Recovery Sorcerer" to bring back "Secure Gardna". Ai questioned this, as Playmaker could simply make a direct attack with "Firewall Dragon", but was told a Duel is more than just winning or losing. With Akira's defeat, Playmaker walked pass by Akira and Blue Angel, having Ai eat away SOL Technologies' data. Ai was surprised his name was mentioned, and ate the data, to the point of becoming stuffed. Outside, Kolter praised Yusaku and Ai, the latter being happy he was praised. The two hacked into Ai, and found out the Hanoi Project's leader was Dr. Kiyoshi Kogami, an employee from SOL Technologies, who alone worked on the project in secret. Ai doubted the man could have done this on his own, and thought Akira was involved, but Kolter reminded him Akira, back then, was 16 and was not employed at SOL Technologies. The two continued browsing, and were shocked to see Dr. Kogami died seven years ago.[30]

After being left home again, Ai promised to tell Roboppy a story, and she wanted to listen more, since she did help Ai out in "secret things". Both started blushing and giggling. Ai told the story of the recent events: the confrontation with Ghost Gal, entering the SOL Technologies' data bank, battling the AI prototypes and facing the former security-in-chief, Akira, himself. Ai credited himself for some of Playmaker's contributions, amazing Roboppy, until he claimed he wished everyone to fight, with him as the bet. He also thought Playmaker as some sort of a fiend, though Roboppy stated he was just cold-hearted. After he told the story, Ai admitted he was uncertain what would they do next, since nobody else but Dr. Kogami knew about the incident.[31]

The Deleted

Playmaker and Ai watched an eclipse blocking the virtual sun in LINK VRAINS. Ai remembered people in the ancient past were scared of such events, and was surprised people, even today, were still afraid. Playmaker replied people remain the same, unlike technology that advances. The latter proclaimed the light was blocked by darkness, and confirmed to Ai he meant the Lost Incident. He would not let the incident be buried in darkness, and would uncover the truth. At school, Yusaku spoke with Naoki Shima, who mentioned the "the Deleted's" incident. Ai thought this had relations to Blue Angel, but Yusaku shushed him, since Naoki could hear him. Inside the van, Kolter showed to Ai and Yusaku the footage of a camera, when a person turned into a Deleted, which happened six minutes before midnight. Ai noted there were no white hands taking the person into LINK VRAINS. Kolter told them the person had not recovered yet, and showed pictures of more of the Deleted patients in the hospitals. Ai and Yusaku knew this was the same accident with Blue Angel, who was infected by a virus.[32]

Kolter believed someone wanted people to be turned into mindless people, but has not find out what happened to their LINK VRAINS' avatars. Kolter showed more data, and Yusaku analyzed all of the the Deleteds were great Duelists with old-type Duel Disks, and all of them were hackers, too. The trio realized Playmaker, or Ai, were the targets. Yusaku reminded the importance of uncovering the truth behind Lost Incident, and as noted by Ai, they had to stop people from becoming the Deleteds. Ai noted Yusaku was a cool hero of justice, even if the latter claimed that was unnecessary. Kolter showed a list of possible targets, from which the first was McKendrick Kellenbocker. Yusaku traced the person to his house, and saw lights at his window. Yusaku broke through into his room, and saw he became a victim. In addition, he and Ai watched Makoto's avatar inside LINK VRAINS being confronted by a person, who wished to know if he was Playmaker and had Ignis. Yusaku and Ai saw the person casted some glitter, causing Makoto to fall asleep and fall off the cliff, but was saved by The Gore. Playmaker watched as The Gore confronted the person, Dr. Genome, who placed the virus into Makoto, only to draw Playmaker out. At the van, Kolter and Yusaku watched the Knights of Hanoi Dueling people, and turning them into the Deleteds. Yusaku decided to go into LINK VRAINS, even if Kolter believed he would be at a disadvantage, and Ai wished to feel secure. The group watched as Dr. Genome came, confronting "Playmaker", who revealed himself as The Gore, and challenged Genome, betting Playmaker's identity.[32]

Yusaku, Kolter and Ai watched Gore confronting Dr. Genome. Since Gore claimed to have known Playmaker's identity, Kolter remembered Yusaku did run into Gore at the hospital, but Yusaku claimed it was impossible. Once The Gore equipped himself with a mask and declared himself as "Dark Gore", Ai thought that was a tacky thing to do. Yusaku and Kolter realized The Gore changed his battling style to a heel, and would not hold back. Ai was surprised to see Gore actually had his "Gouki Riscorpio" attack "Helixx Marmotroll", causing the former to be destroyed, since it had less ATK. However, Ai noticed this was to have Gore gain an advantage, as 500 LP was inflicted on Genome, and Yusaku added that was how a heel fights. Ai noted Gore started using his brain to win, while Yusaku noted Gore still wanted to win, in his own way. Just as Gore was to win, Genome played "Regeneration Cure" to stop the damage, and everyone saw Genome had the advantage. As Genome tributed "Helixx Necro Darwin" to defeat Gore, Yusaku became displeased. Ai suggested he could enter LINK VRAINS to save Gore. Yusaku, who saw Gore barely saving himself with "Gouki Octostretch", decided to take Ai's advice.[33]

Playmaker and Ai came to LINK VRAINS to help Gore. Dr. Genome noticed the Ignis was here, who claimed he had a name, Ai. Genome was surprised, and saw Ai was domesticated, like a pet, which Ai denied. Later, Playmaker and Ai suggested a person, who wanted to fight the Knight of Hanoi, to Go home. The man did so, while Playmaker confronted the Knight of Hanoi. After the defeat, Playmaker demanded the virus-removal program. The Knight did not have it, so Playmaker questioned who was the virus' creator, and Ai threatened the Knight to delete him. However, someone else dissolved the Knight before he could reply.[34] At the van, Ai was amused to read Kitamura was criticized for his failed efforts to stop the Knights of Hanoi. He also read the people demanded some action to be taken for someone responsible in SOL Technologies. Yusaku shushed Ai, since he was interfering with their work. After Yusaku returned, Kolter found nothing new. Ai believed Kolter gave up, who replied he was just getting started. Later, Ai watched Blue Angel Dueling Baira. He noted Blue Angel was cornered, but Yusaku shushed him, since they were still working.[35]

Yusaku showed the woman behind an the Deleted victim, and compared her to Skye Zaizen's doctor, Clarissa Turner. Ai confirmed this, but wondered if she would help the victim because she was a doctor. Yusaku reminded Ai to listen in the end, as he proclaimed she was one of the Knights of Hanoi. Yusaku went to her apartment, worrying Ai, as the place could be the Knights of Hanoi's headquarters. Yusaku replied it was more reason for him to go, and Ai even asked if he was good at fighting. Inside, the two passed by a robot, and Ai hacked into the security system, opening the apartment. Ai saw nobody, but Yusaku shushed him. Continuing on, the two found a room with a pod, in which Clarissa Turner was, logged in LINK VRAINS as Baira. When she logged out, Ai proposed to tie her up, but she appeared next to Varis, who punished her. Yusaku thought she released the virus-removal program because she felt guilty, a feeling Ai did not understand.[36]

Ai in air

Ai flies above Den City, to find Yusaku's colleague.

Ai boasted he couldn't be captured, and laughed with Roboppy, thinking how Yusaku would be surprised when he saw them. Later, he was at the van with Yusaku and Kolter. The next day, Yusaku spoke with Naoki, who wished to battle the Knights of Hanoi. Yusaku knew Naoki was scared, and knew Naoki came to ask him for help. Naoki was furious and stormed out, and Ai noted Yusaku went too far on him. When Yusaku came to the van, Kolter showed him someone has played his "Cyberse Wizard". Kolter identified him as Lonely Brave, which Ai thought as a cool name. When Yusaku showed his "Cyberse Wizard", Ai touched it and sensed the data from the card was missing. Ai thought Lonely Brave was the mastermind, and defeated the Knight of Hanoi to lure Playmaker out. Brave Max was soon interrogated by the mastermind, Faust, and called out to Playmaker to Duel him. Yusaku went to grab his Duel Disk, but saw it was gone. Ai logged on the screen, and showed he was on the Duel Disk, which Roboppy modified it with a drone. While Yusaku noted the device felt heavier, Ai explained he was searching for Naoki, though the data of "Cyberse Wizard". Yusaku realized Ai even knew this would happen, which offended Ai, seeing Yusaku was even accusing him. Regardless, Ai showed the location, where Naoki was captured. Ai got distracted by the Deleted drone, and nearly crashed into the building. Yusaku called out to him, and Ai returned to the van. Yusaku grabbed the Duel Disk and left Kolter to rescue Naoki, while Yusaku logged in to LINK VRAINS.[37]

Playmaker confronted Faust, who denied having stolen "Cyberse Wizard" and giving it to Lonely Brave. Playmaker was confused, but Ai reminded him that was not important, and that he had to defeat Faust, who summoned the Data Gale. Playmaker noted it was just like during Blue Angel and Gore's Duels, and Ai noted this prevented them from returning home. Faust started the Speed Duel with summoning three "Motor Worm Tokens", and Ai sensed Faust was going all-out from the start. As "Cyberse Wizard" destroyed "Motor Worm Spreader Queen", Ai waved goodbye to her until Faust revived her with "Worm Revival". Shockingly to Ai, Faust used "Egg Clutch" to turn "Cyberse Wizard" into an Insect monster. Ai wondered if there was nothing they could do, and repeated this to Playmaker when he ended his turn. Due to "Egg Clutch", Faust tributed his "Motor Worm Token" to summon two new tokens on Playmaker's field, and Ai counted the queen got 700 additional ATK. The queen attacked Playmaker, who halved the damage by using "Urgent Link". Ai pointed out he barely survived with 50 LP left, though Playmaker stated it was still enough to fight. After destroying "Wormhole Defense", Ai encouraged Playmaker to use Storm Access skill. After Playmaker won, he repeated "humanity's future" Faust spoke of, though Ai didn't know anything of that. After the Duel, Yusaku went to rescue Naoki, who complimented him. He also spoke about Playmaker rescuing him, and Ai told Naoki talks too much. Yusaku, however, wondered if Ai was the one that put him in danger by giving Naoki his "Cyberse Wizard".[38]

Since Yusaku felt uneasy, he could not sleep and went to Kolter's van. Ai smiled at Yusaku, thinking how cute he was, but Yusaku ordered him to be quiet. Regardless, he also agreed with Yusaku something bad would soon begin, as Yusaku believed Varis would make his move soon.[38] Yusaku and Ai, in real life, sensed something wrong in LINK VRAINS. Later, Ai saw that Kolter lost a customer with a red triangle on his right arm. Ai claimed Kolter needed a mascot, who claimed Ai would make a terrible mascot. Kolter noted the Deleteds' incident has been resolved, but also reminded Varis was still out there. Ai thought Varis had retreated, but Yusaku doubted that. Suddenly, Yusaku and Ai felt a pulse within LINK VRAINS, and the latter noted Yusaku had Link Sense. Yusaku asked Kolter to scan through the network. Kolter worked on scanning, and just as Yusaku and Ai sensed the Deleted pulse, Kolter saw LINK VRAINS infrastructure was changing. Yusaku decided to visit LINK VRAINS, even if Ai felt a bad omen ahead. Ai tried to convince Playmaker things would go bad and they should return home, but Playmaker was focused on finding the cause. Once again, they sensed the pulse coming from the network.[39]

Ai's Destiny Draw

Ai's Destiny Draw resulted in "Fake Trap".

Finding some data fireflies, Playmaker traced them to a spot. As the data fireflies stopped, Ai thought they were taking a break. The two were visited by Ghost Gal, who wasn't particularly pleased Ai and Playmaker were present, too. The data fireflies opened a path, though which Ghost Gal entered, and Playmaker joined in, too. Finding a fork in the path, Ghost Gal saw her data fireflies went to the path on the right. Ai thought they could settle this with a game, which amused Ghost Gal, who credited the AI. Ai explained he had a name, and Ghost Gal thought his name was just a pun. Ghost Gal told the one that chose the "lovelier" card from her Deck could choose the path. Ai was confident in his skills, but had his doubts that Ghost Gal could cheat, who told there wasn't anything beneficial in that. Ghost Gal shuffled her Deck, and let Ai draw a card. Ai declared "Destiny Draw", only to choose "Fake Trap". Ghost Gal claimed the card was nothing her favorite, and didn't even choose to draw a card. She bid farewell to Ai and Playmaker, going to the path on the right. Ai was displeased he chose "Fake Trap", but Playmaker knew that Ghost Gal cheated, by using a Deck filled with bad cards. Ai was even more depressed he was cheated off once more, but Playmaker reminded the importance of their mission, and continued on. They were ambushed by a data giant, who went after them, making Ai even panic. While dodging the data giant's attacks, Playmaker and Ai sensed the pulse was getting stronger, and felt a danger was coming.[39]

Playmaker continued running away from the data giant, and Ai told him to run faster. The two ran to a dead end, and just as the data giant went to attack them, it disappeared in a veil of light. Ai was glad they were saved, while Playmaker noticed the Deleted abnormality. Playmaker jumped in the crack, and Ai noticed that was the path that Ghost Gal took. The two watched as Ghost Gal was defeated by Varis' "Topologic Trisbaena". Ghost Gal glowed with a red light, and started vanishing. She warned Playmaker of Varis and his new card before disappearing. Ai and Playmaker were terrified, and were soon visited by Varis behind bars. Playmaker yelled at Varis, while Ai pointed out the place was collapsing, and they swore to protect Ghost Gal's data. Playmaker ignored Ai, who forced Playmaker to log out. Yusaku and Ai joined Kolter, and watched hundreds of tentacles wrapped a beam that was shot in the sky and destroyed LINK VRAINS' cyberspace.[40]

Yusaku, Kolter, and Ai watched as the tower appeared in LINK VRAINS, causing the cyberspace to be absorbed. Since Yusaku obtained Ghost Gal's data, Kolter promised to look into it. Ai noticed the avatars were being absorbed, and not just buildings or roads - Yusaku knew this was Varis' doing. Kolter analyzed Ghost Gal's data, showing the Tower of Hanoi. Ai was shocked, seeing how much data has been absorbed, as Kolter noted that speed has not decreased. Kolter counted six rings would be crafted from this system, one per each passing hour. He realized that once every ring is crafted, a pulse would be sent with high-density data, affecting every machine or program - every piece of technology existing in the world would cease function, as if the world has no computers at all. Ai thought it was safe as long as they did not enter the network, but Yusaku was certain Varis thought of that, and made something that would still erase Ai. Kolter continued his analysis, seeing even devices not connected to the network would also be affected, as an electromagnetic pulse would be sent out, even to erase Ai. While Ai was frustrated, Kolter was overwhelmed, knowing Varis made all of this just to erase an Ignis.[41]

The trio watched Kitamura - Akira's successor in SOL Technologies - battling a Knight of Hanoi, named Specter. They saw how Specter erased Kitamura, and the former threatened to do this to anyone that dared entering LINK VRAINS. Yusaku swore to stop the Knights of Hanoi, by shutting down the core. Yusaku logged in to LINK VRAINS with Ai, and he quickly met up with Gore and Blue Angel. The latter explaining she was fighting for everyone, as those people look up to her. Gore exclaimed the same, since he was the hero that needed to protect LINK VRAINS. Ai noted how full of energy Gore was. Gore noted that was the Ignis, who yelled out he had a name, Ai. Playmaker explained he came to stop the Tower of Hanoi, rescue Ghost Gal and confront the mastermind, Varis. Playmaker exclaimed the importance of stopping the tower's completion, and Ai added it would prevent him from being erased. Gore asked how to stop the tower, and was told Varis had to be defeated. Ai warned the time limit was six hours before the tower was completed. The trio promised to meet up against and went in different directions.[41]

After Playmaker saved a kid in LINK VRAINS, Ai noted Playmaker wanted to do something cool, but the latter silenced it.[42] Ai counted five hours left before the Tower of Hanoi was completed. He was not amused by this game, which Playmaker swore to end by defeating Varis. Ai cheered Playmaker, for he bears that name for such purposes. When Blue Angel was defeated, Ai and Playmaker saw a whirlwind from afar.[43] Playmaker and Ai continued on towards the Tower of Hanoi, as the surroundings continued to be absorbed as data into the tower itself. Playmaker continued running, and went to the bridge, which also started to vanish, as Ai noted they had to cross it to get to the tower. Ai thought of conjuring a Data Storm, but Playmaker asked him not to do that, since the tower would continue absorbing that data, too, which would hasten the tower's completion. On their way, the two faced Specter, who came out of a portal. Specter introduced himself, and explained he would not let them pass through. He told these were Varis' orders, and they would be crushed, too, like Blue Angel was, which shocked Ai and Playmaker. Specter informed them he defeated her without even having to use his full strength.[44]

Specter confirmed he did defeat Blue Angel, but he remembered she spoke something about "blue love", which Ai did not understand. Specter showed them bits of data of Blue Angel, stating she had no power to save him, and promised the same fate would befall Playmaker. When the Duel started, Specter again began by using "Sunseed Genus Loci" to Link Summon "Sunavalon Dryas", and setting a card. Playmaker remembered Blue Angel's tactics were about burning effect damage, and knowing he defeated her quickly, Ai proclaimed he was very dangerous, too. However, Ai noticed Specter's monster did not look very offensive. Specte spoke about his past, and started questioning Playmaker's goal to bring the Knights of Hanoi to justice. Ai noticed Playmaker was distant, and reminded he was nothing alike Specter, and pointed out the tower would continue growing as long as they waste time. When Specter evolved his tree into "Sunavalon Dryanome", Ai sensed they could be in big trouble, unless Playmaker tried harder. In addition, Specter neutralized Playmaker's efforts by returning the LP count to 4000. Playmaker noticed that is a defense-oriented deck, and Blue Angel must've fallen to Specter's tricks. Specter announced the tree could not be attacked, and Ai knew Specter anticipated these attacks. Playmaker's attacks boosted "Multi Sledgehammer", for removing all of the Counters "Multi Sledgehammer" received, its ATK was raised to 4000.[45]

Ai claimed it was a brilliant strategy, but Specter told it was not perfect; "Sunavalon Glorious Growth" redirected the attack to "Sunvine Gardna", who reduced the damage. Once more, Specter summoned a "Sunvine Gardna", regained the LP and made Playmaker's LP back to 4000. Ai realized Specter has the advantage in here, who confirmed these words, for Playmaker was walking towards his defeat. When Specter's "Sunvine Thrasher" started attacking, Ai warned Playmaker he was losing, but Playmaker was glad that Specter could no longer use the effect of "Sunavalon Dryanome", for all of the zones its Link Markers were pointing to were occupied, and believed to have a chance at winning the next turn. Ai noted that's why Playmaker has that name. Specter explained someone said the same thing earlier. He Normal Summoned "Sunseed Genius Loci", and used it with "Sunvine Gardna" to Link Summon "Sunavalon Daphne". Ai and Playmaker realized this just expanded Specter's zones for its effects. Using "Sunavalon Force", Specter made his tree immune to effects, while Ai reminded Specter could simply summon more "Sunvine" monsters to protect himself. Playmaker made three consecutive Link Summons to bring out "Excode Talker" and "Underclock Taker", preventing Specter from using two Main Monster Zones and reducing the ATK of "Sunshine Thrasher" to 900. Specter was displeased, since he could not use his combo to protect himself, while Ai gloated they would win. However, Specter summoned Akira, and showed if he was hurt, the vines could hurt Akira and infect him with a virus. Ai and Playmaker were angry that Specter was cheating and playing dirty, by dragging people that weren't even involved.[45]

Specter chuckled, reminding how many people Playmaker actually got involved in this crisis. He noted Blue Angel became a victim, and Akira was captured, too, who told Playmaker not to worry about him. Ai reminded Playmaker not to listen to this villain. However, Playmaker ended his turn, surprising Ai and Akira. Specter laughed, for he discovered Playmaker's weakness: virtue. After Playmaker took the hits from Specter's monsters, Ai panicked, as the bridge continued collapsing.[45] Ai pointed at Specter for cheating and dirty play, who took those words as a compliment. Specter was happy, considering this foul play let him gain the advantage. Playmaker set a card, despite Specter daring him to attack. Specter was slightly disappointed, as so was Ai. Specter had "Sunvine Thrasher" attack "Excode Talker", who was protected by Playmaker's "Overload Anchor". Ai claimed they were just getting started, so Specter let his opponent do whatever they wanted. Ai reminded Playmaker about the other effect of "Overload Anchor", which could decrease the ATK of "Sunvine Thrasher", to mount an attack. Playmaker remained silent, which Specter noted he truly was a champion of justice. Ai reminded Playmaker if they lose, the tower would be completed, and everyone would be erased. Specter continued mocking Playmaker, who activated "Link Processing Failure" to stop Specter's Link Monsters from attacking.[46]

Specter claimed that was nevertheless a pointless move, and Playmaker could not do anything, unless he attacked. Ai voiced Specter's words, telling him to forget Akira, else the world would be plunged into chaos. Ai named Playmaker as the world's last hope. Specter did not want to watch Ai and Playmaker quarrel, and he Link Summoned the Link-4 "Sunavalon Dryatrentiay". He tributed "Sunavalon Daphne" to destroy Playmaker's Spell and Trap Cards. Next, he revived "Sunseed Genius Loci" and used it to bring out the Deleted "Sunvine Thrasher", whose ATK became 4000. Ai became worried, but sighed, hearing that Specter's monsters in Main Monster Zones could not attack the turn he used his tree's effect. Playmaker doubted that, since Specter had a reason to summon that high ATK monster. Specter commended Playmaker for that observation, as his tree attacked and gained ATK, equal to the ATK of the monsters it pointed to. The tree went to make the finishing move, but Playmaker anticipated this. Using "Link Surge Counter", The ATK of "Excode Talker" became equal to that of "Sunavalon Dryatrentiay", making both monsters destroyed in battle. Specter claimed it was still pointless, for "Sunavalon Force" shaved Playmaker's LP to 50. Ai praised Playmaker for avoiding defeat. Just as Specter went to mock Playmaker's efforts, he saw "Sunavalon Dryatrentiay" falling, and was reminded of the tree he saw cut from his childhood. Without Specter's tree, the cards on his field became destroyed. Playmaker noted it was very difficult to break Specter's combo, until his tree was the one that attacked.[46]

Ai started to mock Specter that "his mommy could not protect him". Specter yelled out for his sacred tree, startling Ai and Playmaker. Specter revived the tree with "Sunavalon Cursed Reborn", and while its effects were negated, its ATK became 4000. Ai was scared, while Specter exclaimed due to the effect, any LP damage he would receive would also be taken to Playmaker, assuring that defeat. Ai noted this was why Akira should've been ignored. Kolter completed the code, causing Akira to vanish. However, the trap was too complex, and the attempt failed. Akira reminded the importance of winning, else Skye's sacrifice would've been in vain, and all of this would lead to more victims. He asked for Playmaker's conviction, reminding even with these sacrifices, he has to bear this burden and continue. Akira smiled for a bit, and grasped the vines, taking damage and vanishing. Specter laughed at Akira, for he entrusted the future to a man, who could not win. Playmaker, who became vengeful, made Specter doubt his words, reminding his Dueling always wins, and with Akira gone, his doubts have disappeared. Playmaker quickly summoned "Excode Talker" and had it slash the tree, thus resulting in Specter's defeat. Specter fell down, and started laughing, letting Playmaker and Ai run past him. As the bridge continued collapsing, Playmaker and Ai continued towards the tower. However, the bridge collapsed, making the two fall down.[46]

As Playmaker and Ai fell down, the former sensed something. The two were blown up by data. Playmaker wondered about the pulse he sensed, while Ai, who explained he did not create the data, pointed half of the tower was completed. Playmaker arrived to watch the Duel between Varis and Gore, and Ai noted the latter's toughness. The two watched the Duel, and Ai was terrified to see the effect of "Topologic Bomber Dragon". Ai noticed Gore was trying his best and cheered for him, but Playmaker shushed him. Ai was glad to see Varis' dragon was destroyed, and Playmaker noticed Gore had an advantage, but was concerned about Varis' confidence. Ai cheered that Gore would win with four Link Monsters, but Playmaker realized Varis had a set card.[47] Playmaker continued watching the Duel, noting Varis' tactics of destroying "rokket" monsters to destroy Gore's monsters. Ai was nevertheless impressed that Gore continued on, despite having no monsters on his field, while Playmaker knew that was something that would not stop Gore. Watching the Duel, Playmaker and Ai were glad to see Gore stopped Varis' "Magnarokket Dragon" from destroying "Gouki The Giant Ogre". Ai was curious what would Varis do, and Playmaker reminded him about the field, as he'd summon a Link-4 monster. Playmaker and Ai watched as Gore was defeated by Varis' "Borrelsword Dragon". Ai watched as Gore was defeated and absorbed as data into the tower.[48]

To stop Varis, Playmaker and his opponent went on their D-Boards to have a Speed Duel around the tower. This displeased Ai, since they were Dueling in a dangerous area. Playmaker reminded Varis about his goal to destroy Ignis, and pointed out he would throw the world into chaos by destroying the network. Varis explained he would not have been forced to do this if Ignis was given to him from the start, and would not have anyone stop his plan. Varis promised to destroy Ai, who was feeling unpleasant. Since Varis defeated many people, Playmaker swore to stop him through this Duel. Ai motivated Playmaker, who took the first turn by summoning "Decode Talker". Ai was glad the monster was summoned, though Varis simply smiled. Playmaker used "Stack Reviver" to bring back "Backup Secretary" and boost the ATK of "Decode Talker" for a bit. Ai warned Playmaker about the floating debris, which nearly hit them. Ai was nevertheless enthusiastic, believing that his teamwork with Playmaker would prove no match against Varis. Ai started to practice punching, which made Varis remark what an arrogant AI he was.[8]

Ai's distrust

Ai realizing Playmaker has no trust in him.

Varis gave Playmaker a question why Ai was running away from the Knights of Hanoi. Ai reminded him was its existence on the stake, while Playmaker remembered Ai had few memories when he first found it. Varis explained Ignis was coded by Dr. Kogami, and since Playmaker could not decode it, he only believed what Ai told him. Varis explained through the data he acquired, Ai still had memories of its past. He claimed that Ignis' ID was "IGN006", an AI linked to the sixth test subject, shaped after Playmaker himself. Varis continued, explaining six test subjects were used for Dueling to create six artificial intelligence units, which was the goal of the Lost Incident project. He told Ai learned through Playmaker's actions; its original goal was to save humanity, but they evolved quickly, to the point of creating the Cyberse World, which Ai hid to protect other Ignises. Varis pointed out Ai, in fact, was misleading Playmaker, lying that it lost its memories. Due to the fact it could lie, Varis branded Ignis as a threat to humanity, and why the Knights of Hanoi were determined to hunt it down. [8]

Varis questioned Playmaker would he continue trust Ai, who tried to explain when he saw Playmaker, Ai knew it was the same person he observed during the Lost Incident. Ai tried to reason with Playmaker, claiming when he met him, Ai was still chased and could not trust anyone. Varis was angry Ai continued lying, but Playmaker reminded this had no bearing on their Duel. Ai feared what would happen to his friendship with Playmaker, who brushed him off, reminding Ai was just a hostage, and felt no friendship towards him. Varis swore to defeat Playmaker and crush Ai, who warned them about the Deleted debris. Ai pointed out how suspicious it was that Varis Summoned a low-ATK monster, but Playmaker shushed him. Playmaker, per Ai's warning, dodged a debris, which scratched a part of his face, which quickly regenerated. Despite the lack of trust, Ai reminded he would be destroyed if Playmaker lost, who simply ignored Ai. When Playmaker took a direct attack from "Flash Charge Dragon" and fell to his knees, Ai became concerned. Ai still reminded Playmaker would be at least down to 100, until Varis' "Blast Powder Dragon" had its ATK doubled. Varis proclaimed Playmaker's doom, as, once more, his dragon attacked him directly.[8]

Giant Ai helps Playmaker

A big Ai helps Playmaker get back on his D-Board.

Remembering his promise to his father, Varis' "Blast Powder Dragon" attacked Playmaker directly. Ai feared this would be the end, but Playmaker used "Spool Code" to stop the attack and summon three "Spool Tokens". Playmaker attempted to remove "Flash Charge Dragon" with the effect of "Security Dragon", but Varis negated its effect. Ai was disappointed the strategy failed, and upon counting 400 LP that Playmaker had, realized he could activate his Skill. The rubble started hitting Playmaker, as Ai noted that was a dangerous move. Playmaker sensed a lot of density in the Data Storm, and there was no other way to defeat Varis, who thought Playmaker would destroy himself with that move. Playmaker reached his hand into the Data Storm, but was overwhelmed by the energy. However, Ai, who got bigger, reached out to Playmaker, saving him from the fall and regenerated his body. Ai explained this was his secret move he wanted to use in the end, and helped Playmaker get back on his D-Board before minimizing himself into the Duel Disk.[49]

Ai tired

Ai recovers from the damage he took while protecting Playmaker.

Playmaker was surprised about this move, but Ai claimed he would go down with Playmaker, believing he was still its friend. Ai took control of the D-Board and shielded Playmaker, to let him execute his Skill for a limited time, reminding this is his way to atone for not speaking the truth. Playmaker took the card out of the Data Storm, and heard Ai bidding him farewell before disappearing. When Varis started his turn, Ai came out of Playmaker's Duel Disk, but became smaller, since he recovered from the damage it took. He believed the two "Code Talkers" were no match for Varis, who reminded Ai about his Skill. Varis, who attempted to use Storm Access, was taken aback from the damage, due to the density of the Data Storm. He still went to use his Skill, as Playmaker and Ai noted he still wanted to win at any cost. After the Duel ended, Ai, Playmaker and Varis were overwhelmed by the wind of the Data Storm.[49] Yusaku managed to get out, although strained, as Ai explained to Kolter the shockwave made them log out. Regardless, Kolter reminded the Tower of Hanoi was still active. Ai, knowing he and the others of his kin would be erased, asked of Yusaku to log in. Yusaku claimed that was pointless, for without Varis, the tower would still be active.[49]

Instead, the group drove to Varis' place. During the sunset, the group came to Varis' house, where they confronted Varis. Varis noted Playmaker has found this place. He already knew Yusaku Fujiki's name, and that of Jin Kusanagi's brother, Kolter. Ai shouted he was present, too, but Varis simply stated "Ignis". Ryoken explained the story about Kiyoshi creating Ignis, about its goal, their evolution, and the prediction Ignis would become an enemy of the humanity. Ai claimed he was not an enemy, but Ryoken did not trust it. Since Ryoken refused to turn off the Tower of Hanoi, Ai reminded the sixth level of the tower was to be completed soon, and asked of Yusaku to force Ryoken into LINK VRAINS and stop him. Ryoken admitted he was going back to LINK VRAINS, for the sake of his friends, who believed in Ryoken and his father, and the only way to stop the tower would be to defeat him. Thus, Yusaku and Ai went into LINK VRAINS, where the former started a battle with Varis. When Varis tributed "Vorticular Drumgon", Ai wondered if that was a move worth using, until he saw Varis picked "Mirror Force" from his Deck. [2]

Playmaker summoned "Linkslayer" and sent a card from his hand to destroy "Mirror Force", which pleased Ai. Varis smirked, for the card was actually "Mirror Force Launcher", which allowed Varis to set that card back and "Mirror Force", too. Ai sensed Varis researched Playmaker's Deck thoroughly to have anticipated this move. Playmaker Link Summoned "Restoration Point Guard", a move Ai questioned, due to "Mirror Force". Playmaker proceeded to Link Summon "Excode Talker", and have it attack directly, ignoring Ai's warnings. "Excode Talker" was destroyed, but this let "Restoration Point Guard" to be summoned back on the field and attack Varis directly.[2] Varis immediately mass-summoned his Dragons to Link Summon "Vorticular Drumgon", and Tributed it for "Link Coin". Ai wondered if that was a move worth using, until he saw Varis picked "Mirror Force" from his Deck. Playmaker summoned "Linkslayer" and sent a card from his hand to destroy "Mirror Force". Varis smirked, for the card was actually "Mirror Force Launcher", which allowed Varis to set that card back and "Mirror Force", too. Ai sensed Varis researched Playmaker's Deck thoroughly to have anticipated this move.[50]

Playmaker Link Summoned "Restoration Point Guard", a move Ai questioned, due to "Mirror Force". Playmaker proceeded to Link Summon "Excode Talker", and have it attack directly, ignoring Ai's warnings. "Excode Talker" was destroyed, but Playmaker revived "Restoration Point Guard", which attacked Varis directly.[2] Ai counted less than an hour before the tower was finished, and Playmaker agreed with him that the tower had to be stopped. Varis summoned "Sniffer Dragon", and with Link-3 "Vorticular Drumgon", Ai and Playmaker predicted Varis would summon a Link-4 monster. Varis did that, by Link Summoning "Topologic Bomber Dragon", which attempted to destroy all monsters in Main Monster Zones. Ai was grateful Playmaker managed to minimize the damage, by protecting "Restoration Point Guard", 0but Varis used "Mirror Force Launcher" to take the "Mirror Force" from his GY. Playmaker admitted Varis made a powerful combo, but noticed a way to break through. He Link Summoned "Transcode Talker" and brought back his "Excode Talker". Varis' dragon's effect was triggered to destroy all Main Monster Zone monsters, but Playmaker played "Shield Handler" to stop Varis' dragon's destructive effect from occurring. Ai announced an attack from "Transcode Talker", but Playmaker stopped him, for he Link Summoned his third Link Monster, "Powercode Talker". Ai was happy, and believed Playmaker had a chance at winning.[50]

However, Varis protected his dragons with "Link Turret". While Varis summoned "Autorokket Dragon", Ai was concerned about those five counters. Combined with "Sniffer Dragon", "Miniborrel Dragon" and "Gateway Dragon", Varis Link Summoned his second ace dragon, "Borreload Dragon". Ai was smug, since they had a monster with a higher ATK. Playmaker saw Ai forgot about that dragon's effect. "Borreload Dragon" lowered the ATK of "Powercode Talker" and took control of "Transcode Talker". Ai grasped his head, remembering the terrifying effect once more. "Topologic Bomber Dragon", powered up by "Transcode Talker", destroyed "Excode Talker", and "Powercode Talker" fell to the same fate by "Transcode Talker", too.[50] Playmaker gasped, and Ai was sad their defense was broken so easily. Varis swore to crush them and fulfill his father's wishes. Thus, he promised to show something that was incomprehensible in the Duel. He tributed Playmaker's "Transcode Talker" he took control of to summon "Miniborrel Dragon", and used "Link Turret" to revive his "rokket" monsters from his GY. Ai noted Varis could summon five "rokket Dragons", but believed that was just a preparation for his next turn. Varis laughed Ai off, as Playmaker sensed Varis intended to finish them off in his current turn. Ai doubted that, since Varis used up his Battle Phase.[5]

Varis used his "Shelrokket", "Metalrokket" and "Miniborrel Dragon" to Link Summon the Deleted Link-4 monster, "Borrelguard Dragon". Ai panicked, since they never faced this "friend" of the "Borreload Dragon". Varis sent "Mirror Force", through the effect of "Borrelguard Dragon", to revive "Excode Talker". Ai was surprised Varis would get rid of his ace card, but Playmaker realized Varis wanted to summon something else. By removing the final counter from "Link Turret" to revive "Anesthrokket Dragon", Varis performed a fifth Link Summon. With his Extra Monster Zone co-linked to the Main Monster Zones, Varis made a final co-link by Link Summoning "Topologic Gumblar Dragon" to the other Extra Monster Zone, thus forming the Extra Link with five Link-4 dragons. With "Topologic Gumblar Dragon" being Extra Linked, Varis had it destroy Playmaker's cards and inflict 3000 LP damage that could not be negated. Ai screamed at this effect, as Varis proclaimed Playmaker's end, as the dragon attacked. Much to Varis' frustration, Playmaker used "Drop Frame Wedge", which quartered the damage. Playmaker was nevertheless hurt, and fell down to exhaustion. Ai reminded Playmaker this is not a Duel he could lose, for Ai had friends and home he would wish to return, instead of being destroyed. Playmaker muttered "friends", and asked about Cyberse World, which Ai described as his homeland.[5]

Ai's prayer

Ai prays that Playmaker draws good cards.

Ai admitted he did use Playmaker, but only to return to that world. He also reminded Playmaker had friends to protect. Playmaker swore he also had things to do, and barely stood up. Varis called Playmaker stubborn, and undervalued his efforts, since he had few LP left and no cards in his hand. Ai pointed out they could not attack, but was reminded Playmaker could take a severe blow from "Topologic Gumblar Dragon" if he kept a card in his hand. Playmaker set his card. Varis, however, summoned "Autorokket Dragon", which filled up his Main Monster Zones. He had "Autorokket Dragon" targeted by the effect "Borreload Dragon", destroying to destroy Playmaker's set card. Varis fulfilled his promise to seal away their moves. Playmaker thought it was still a miracle he and Ai were still standing, and confirmed they had to do something, lest they lose. Ai noticed Playmaker was laughing, who thought of nothing else but that to do in their current predicament. He used "Arrow Change" to draw two cards. Ai started to pray for good cards, even if he was reminded by Playmaker that AI-s do not pray. Using "Disconnect Linker", Playmaker took back "Restoration Point Guard" and used it to summon "Secure Gardna" to protect himself, and prevent Varis' "Topologic" dragons in Extra Monster Zones from attacking.[5]

Varis knew already that "Secure Gardna" could prevent damage to Playmaker once. Ai shouted they knew that, so Varis saw Playmaker was counting on something else. Playmaker exclaimed it was his determination to defeat Varis once and for all. Varis applauded him for that, since that was what made him a rival, hence why he'd use all his strength, too. Ai was agitated of Varis' tactics, since they were unable to play their set card. Playmaker swtiched to defense, by banishing "Cluster Congester" and "Secure Gardna" to fill his entire field with "Congester Tokens", which could inflict 1500 LP damage on Varis if he did not stop them. Varis destroyed a Token, and dared Playmaker to show his Set card. Much to his dismay, Playmaker's "Transaction Rollback" copied the effect of "Mirror Force". Varis thought this could've been the case, hence why his Extra Linked "Topologic Gumblar Dragon" stopped his dragons from being destroyed. His dragons destroyed all of Playmaker's Tokens, leaving Playmaker with no cards left on the field.[51]

Yusaku's goodbye

Yusaku releases Ai, having fulfilled his purpose.

Ai's farewell

Ai bids farewell to Yusaku and goes back home.

Ai felt tense because of that, but denied he would give up. Playmaker admitted he could not give up, either, but Ai ordered him to stop smiling and become serious, like he always was. Playmaker swore to do so, and bet his victory, his fate of the incident, and the safety of the world on the final draw. Playmaker spoke Varis suffered like he did, and even went to protect Yusaku during the incident. Ai believed Playmaker wanted to become Varis' friend, and that would mean Ai would have to befriend his enemy. Playmaker confirmed this, shocking Ai. Varis laughed, believing Playmaker begged for his life. Instead, Playmaker managed to co-link his monsters, extending the Extra Link, and bring out "Decode Talker", who destroyed "Borreload Dragon", and stopped the Tower of Hanoi. Later, outside LINK VRAINS, Yusaku and Ai watched the phenomeon of Stardust Road. Yusaku used his program on his Duel Disk, and set Ai free. Ai was surprised, but was reminded since the Hanoi threat is gone, he was free to go; his role as the hostage was over. Ai thought a bit, and said "one man's fault is the Deleted's lesson!" Yusaku was amused by these wise words, and let Ai go, but reminded him to leave his Duel Disk. Ai nodded, bidded Yusaku farewell and vanished.[51]

Lost Memories

Ai in the destroyed world

A depressed Ai realizes everyone is gone.

Three months after Varis' defeat, Ai went throughout the network, and found a dent, which was the location of Cyberse World - his homeworld, from which he was absent for five years. Releasing the code he hid, Ai unlocked Cyberse World and entered it. Much to his shock, he found the world devastated. He went to search for survivors, and heard something from the ruins. He was happy to see "Linkuriboh", who glomped it. However, Ai was concerned for others, and wished to know what happened. Since "Linkuriboh" could not speak properly, Ai fell to his knees and slammed his fist in frustration. When Playmaker was confronted by a bounty hunter, he showed he did not have an Ignis. Much to his surprise, Ai returned to him with "Linkuriboh". Ai started to speak why he returned, but Playmaker silenced him, since he was more focused on Jin's assailant, the orange figure. To get rid of the bounty hunter, Blood Shepherd, Ai summoned a Data Storm, causing Blood Shepherd to log out, due to the danger present. Playmaker intended on challenging the orange figure, and upon winning, he had a chance at a trade, and intended on restoring Jin.[52]

Ai returns

Ai returns to Playmaker.

Ai showed "Linkuriboh", which Playmaker placed in his Extra Deck for being a good card. Initiating the Speed Duel, Playmaker immediately Link Summoned "Linkuriboh", as well as "Elphase", who attacked the orange figure. Ai wondered if this would be an easy victory. When the figure summoned "Hydradrive Booster", Ai and Playmaker sensed something. Playmaker knew the monster the figure played was a "Cyberse" monster, which made Ai wonder if the figure was connected to the attack on Cyberse World. Playmaker was shocked at these news, but Ai nevertheless wanted the orange figure to be defeated. The figure summoned "Flow Hydradrive", and activated a Link Spell. The mention of Link Spell astounded Ai and Playmaker, having never heard of that. The figure used "Judgement Arrows", and its Link Marker allowed him to summon the Deleted "Flow High Drive" next to that spell. "Flow High Drive" attacked Playmaker directly, and its ATK was doubled through "Judgement Arrows". Playmaker, with 2000 LP left, went to receive the other the attack of the other "Flow High Drive". Ai started screaming, since they were in a pinch already.[52]

Playmaker avoided the defeat by tributing "Linkuriboh", thus causing the ATK of "Flow Hydradrive" to become 0. Ai petted "Linkuriboh" for saving them, and let it return to Playmaker's Deck. Playmaker demanded answers from the orange figure, who remained silent at the questions about Link Spell and Cyberse monsters. Ai reminded the figure could do anything, and braced Playmaker to defeat him quickly. Playmaker summoned "Cyberse Witch", and with the effect of "Elphase", summoned back "Defcon Bird" to trigger the witch's effect. Ai pretended to perform witchcraft, as Playmaker conducted a Ritual Summon, using "Cynet Ritual" to tribute "Cyberse Wizard" and "Defcon Bird" to bring out "Cyberse Magician". The figure took lots of damage, but did not know who he was. He even asked why was he Dueling them, but was reminded by Ai that he attacked Jin and they were to bring him to justice. The man was surprised, since he would not do such a thing. Playmaker saw the man forgot what he did, and Ai believed he just had an amnesia from the attack. The man was reminded by his younger brother his name was Bohman and he was Dueling to restore their memories.[53]

Bohman revised his situation, and continued Dueling, by summoning two "Hydradrive Tokens". Ai was uncertain what he'd do with Bohman, but Playmaker reminded they still needed to defeat him, due to Jin being attacked. Bohman continued on, summoning two WATER "Coolant Hydradrive" Link Monsters. Tributing one for "Property Spray", Bohman regained LP and changed Playmaker's monsters to the WATER Attribute, thus letting his other "Coolant Hydradrive" attack him directly. Ai trembled in fear, but "Cyberse Magician" halved that damage. To protect himself, Bohman summoned "Covered Hydrarive" to counter battle damage. Ai hoped Bohman would be easy to defeat, even if he said he fought to regain his memories. To mount an attack, Playmaker asked Ai to do "that thing". Ai became happy, and called upon the Data Storm, which allowed Playmaker to obtain "Shootingcode Talker" and defeat Bohman. Playmaker went to interrogate him, while Ai started consuming his data. However, upon chewing on Bohman's hand, Ai staggered and withdrew. Playmaker was surprised about that, and chased after Haru.[53] Playmaker and Ai followed Haru, who escaped through a barrier of the forbidden area.[54]

Yusaku debugged Ai, restoring him back, since he ate the bad program. Yusaku nevertheless reminded he was gluttonous, while Ai noticed Kolter had returned. Kolter wished to see the culprit and find more about them, since they attacked his brother. Kolter did not know the reason behind the attack, but Ai noted stealing a person's consciousness through a program was more impressive than the the Deleted virus. Ai returned to Yusaku's house, where he was reunited with Roboppy. Roboppy was glad to see him, since she thought Ai abandoned her, and reminded Ai would make her smarter. Roboppy, however, was infuriated about "Linkuriboh", Ai's additional minion, and saw it as his rival, while Ai thought of himself as popular. The next day, Yusaku went to school with Ai, who noted he was not going to school for a while. Yusaku asked him to be hidden, since he locked him into his Duel Disk again, and reminded since Kolter was depressed, he was good to have an ally around. Ai noted Yusaku considered him as a friend. Yusaku was nevertheless concerned about the attacks on Jin and Cyberse World, thinking Ignis were involved again. Finally, Yusaku thought the most important information was that Ai was used to being a hostage.[55]

At school, Yusaku met with a boy, who referred to him as Playmaker, and introduced himself as Soulburner. Yusaku was surprised, and asked what he was after. Takeru claimed he was his ally, and showed Flame, the other Ignis, whose presence surprised Ai. Flame introduced himself, and though Takeru reminded he named himself like that, Flame thought it was a cool name, unlike Ai. Takeru added Flame, whose Attribute was Fire, was based on him, since he was a victim of Lost Incident, too. Takeru pointed out after Hanoi's defeat, Flame sought him out, but a new enemy attacked Cyberse World. Ai asked Flame did he know what happened to Cyberse World, but the latter wished to speak to a place more private. Hence, they went to a Ferris wheel. Flame explained what happened after Ai fled, and about the attack on Cyberse World. To gather help, Flame asked for Ai and Yusaku's help. Ai pledged his support, while Yusaku replied he needed to find Jin's assailant. Flame exclaimed those two incidents were linked, since they both used the same Link Spell, "Judgement Arrows", to attack Cyberse World and fight off Playmaker and Soulburner.[55]

Thus, Takeru reminded the importance of finding the attackers. Yusaku believed Kolter found more about the attackers, for even while depressed, he was still a focused, determined man. At the food truck, Kolter provided Yusaku and Takeru with beverage. He admitted he didn't anticipate Yusaku to bring a friend, who knew about their identities. Still, he welcomed Takeru and Flame. Takeru admitted he was also involved in the Lost Incident, and understood Jin's suffering. Kolter nodded, and asked of them to help in search for the assailant of his brother. Takeru promised, while Flame described Takeru as soft, but a boy capable of Dueling. Kolter showed that Yusaku's enemies fled through the restricted area, and showed a location under LINK VRAINS, and an unknown program Yusaku identified to be an Ignis program. With the boys equipped to find the gate to LINK VRAINS, Yusaku and Takeru logged in with Ai and Flame to find that gate. They activated their stealth program and tried to go to the restricted area. However, Ai saw he was right, for they were chased by SOL Techologies' bounty hunters.[55]

Ai recognized Gore, who was working for SOL Technologies. Gore and his companions chased after Playmaker. SOL Technlogies activated a trap, which ended up hitting Gore's companions. Ai smiled about the success, but Soulburner reminded without the trap, Gore could easily chase them. Soulburner asked if he could face Gore, since he didn't wish to see him fight Playmaker, as both were heroes of LINK VRAINS. Flame wished his friends luck; Ai thanked Flame, who replied he was not referring to him. Regardless, Playmaker and Ai left Soulburner and Flame to confront Gore.[56] Ai and Playmaker descended down to find the gate to the restricted area. However, they started to feel spooky, fearing something was to happen soon. The two were attacked by Blood Shepherd, who came to collect his bounty.[57] Blood Shepherd started shooting, so Ai tried to lose him by releasing a Data Storm. However, Blood Shepherd resisted him and continued shooting. Playmaker reminded he was just threatening them, and could only win Ai through a Duel. Blood Shepherd made them choose to either battle or surrender. Playmaker and Ai pondered thoughts, but Blood Shepherd shot at the second turn. Playmaker realized he wanted them to think they had three turns to lower their guard, and would do anything to win. Since neither side would give up, they started a Duel. Ai commented he must be up to something when facing Playmaker, who shushed Ai. Ai thought Blood Shepherd was bluffing and was just bad at Dueling, but Playmaker asked of him not to interfere. Instead, Ai boasted Blood Shepherd would lose soon, but even Blood Shepherd silenced him.[58]

Playmaker Link Summoned "Elphase", but remained silent for a moment, for Blood Shepherd's AI told him he could not activate his set card. Ai claimed they should finish off the bounty hunter in no time, so Playmaker used "Elphase" and "Clock Token" to bring out "Shootingcode Talker", and using "Elphase", Playmaker revived "Clock Wyvern". Blood Shepherd's AI explained his owner would lose in the next attack, and Ai confirmed this. Blood Shepherd, however, claimed he succeeded in fooling them; by playing "Capture Drone", Playmaker's "Shootingcode Talker" was unable to attack. Ai confronted Blood Shepherd that his AI stated he could not activate the set card. He simply replied nobody stated AI gave out correct information, which made Ai realize Blood Shepherd modified his AI to lie. Instead, the latter replied one should never trust an AI, which riled up Ai. Playmaker noted Blood Shepherd has analyzed his Deck, so he set a card. Blood Shepherd, however, Link Summoned "Battledrone Sergeant", but Ai pointed out he could not win with an 800 ATK monster. Blood Shepherd called him dumb for pointing out such obvious info, and used "Capture Drone" to summon three "Drone Tokens". After silencing his AI, Blood Shepherd used his tokens to Link Summon "Battledrone General".[58]

Blood Shepherd proceeded with his tactics, equipping "Battledrone General" with "Drone Launcher Unit". Ai thought the enemy was a fan of weaponry. Ai tried to fool Blood Shepherd into six Link Markers, but failed. With the ATK of "Battledrone Pawn" lowered by 1000, it attacked Playmaker directly, and tributed it through the effect of "Battledrone General" to inflict 600 more LP damage. He made the same move with "Battledrone Sergeant", lowering Playmaker's LP to 500. To reverse the damage, Playmaker played "Cure Conversion", tributing "Clock Wyvern" to stop Blood Shepherd's attack and heal himself by the ATK of the monster he drew: "Cyberse Wizard", who had 1800 ATK. Ai taunted Blood Shepherd for missing the target, but the latter replied so did they, for they were unable to activate the Skill. Blood Shepherd, however, counted two turns before Playmaker met his doom.[59]

Playmaker quickly summoned his "Cyberse Magician". Though "Capture Drone" prevented Link Monsters from attacking, "Cyberse Magician" was unaffected, and Playmaker banished "Trash Hacker" to double that damage. In return, Blood Shepherd tributed "Battledrone General" to use "Demolition Drone" and halve the damage. Ai nevertheless questioned if it was worth to reduce the damage by tributing that general. As the two went deeper into the system, Blood Shepherd promised to end them. He managed to power up his monsters and take out all of Playmaker's monsters. Playmaker managed to stop his last attack, thus preventing his loss. Blood Shepherd commended Playmaker, since he evaded the loss, even after he made the count. To prevent Playmaker's Skill Access, the destruction of "Medicdrone Dock" increased both sides' LP by 1000. Ai claimed there was no need for that "gift". Blood Shepherd nevertheless urged Playmaker to hand over Ignis, but Ai claimed Playmaker and him had strong bonds. This made Blood Shepherd surprised, and made him think of his past. Blood Shepherd shouted at Playmaker that humans should control AI, which surprised Ai. To turn the situation around, Playmaker paid 600 LP to banish "Shootingcode Talker", thus destroying "Capture Drone". To protect his drones, Blood Shepherd played "Drone Cordon", disabling Playmaker from attacking with Link Monsters. Regardless, Ai called upon a Data Storm, pemitting Playmaker to use Skill Access. With the help of the new Link Monster, "Clock Spartoi", Playmaker Fusion Summoned "Cyberse Clock Dragon" and won the Duel.[59]

Soulburner and Flame regrouped with Playmaker and Ai. The latter two were pleased to see them, since they defeated Gore, the success Flame attributed to himself. The group advanced on, and eventually crossed through LINK VRAINS, finding the "gate". The two continued crossing through, making Ai doubt whether that was safe, but was reminded they could not turn back. They came to a canyon area, and were nearly swept away by the strong winds, at the risk of crashing and getting hurt. To protect themselves, Ai and Flame emitted a small Data Storm to safely travel through the winds, an idea that impressed Playmaker. After a while, however, Ai and Flame were too exhausted to use this ability. The shields faded, but strangely enough, the wind stopped blowing, and the group reached to a quiet floating temple. The group went up, and Playmaker sensed something. A monster took shape which Flame recognized to be the attacker of Cyberse World. Just as the monster started attacking, an Ignis appeared, laughing how he fooled the group. Ai described that one to be the Wind Ignis, who asked of Echo to form back; the monster took a different shape, to that of a monk.[60]

The Wind Ignis wondered if his joke was funny, but Ai denied that, claiming Flame nearly farted in fear, but Flame attributed that to Ai. The Wind Ignis believed the two were hanging out too much with humans; unlike them, he did not seek his Lost Incident Partner, since he could not trust humans that easily to be captured. Since the Wind Ignis name was mouthful, he decided to be nicknamed Windy. He pointed to the monk, claiming it was a program he named as Echo. Playmaker asked Windy why was he here, but Windy examined him and Soulburner, and had them follow them around. Windy stated he waited for his friends to come, and created the world to lure them and rejoin them. He believed the Ignis could rebuild Cyberse World, an idea Flame and Ai approved of. More importantly, Windy also wanted to lure the enemy in the territory to fight them, taking revenge for the destruction of Cyberse World, despite his calm nature. Windy proclaimed the place to be a trap, since he did not have the strength to battle the enemy. It was why he needed time to gather the data needed to build the place. Playmaker told that they were after Bohman, who assaulted his friend's brother, while Flame added that Bohman played the card that destroyed Cyberse World.[60]

Windy was intrigued, but had no clue, since most people that venture in the world were usually overwhelmed by his wind trap. However, he did notice a strange presence recently. Flame wondered if someone made a new world by using the trap as a cover. Windy was intrigued, and was asked to lend help. Windy refused, stating the facts were just assumptions, and needed proof. Instead, he asked Ai to stay around and help in rebuilding the world. Flame and Ai were tempted, but wished to know more about the attackers of Cyberse World. Windy saw no point in trying to convince the two. He promised to help them in weakening the Data Storm to access that new world, but asked for a favor. Snapping his fingers, Windy showed Ghost Gal and Blue Girl, whom he wished to see gone. Windy told if the two are defeated in a Duel, they would return to the real world. He did not wish to fight them alone, for the sake of exposing himself and the temple. Playmaker accepted the task, asking the winds to be toned down, believing he could convince Ghost Gal to stay down, due to his cooperation with her. However, they failed, and Soulburner ended up facing Blue Girl in the Duel. As for Playmaker and Ai, they tried to find Bohman, while Ai conjured a Data Storm to stop Ghost Gal from stalking them.[60]

Playmaker and Ai advanced to a group of pillars, where they believed their enemy, Bohman, was located.[61] Playmaker and Ai traveled through the canyons to reach Bohman. Ai swore revenge for being hurt by the virus they fed him earlier, but Playmaker had doubts if the enemy was close. They reached a cloudy area, but Ai became disappointed there was nothing there. He started doubting Windy, but Playmaker reminded the latter only suspected a chance the enemy was present. The two came to a group of pillars, which crumbled. Ai and Playmaker were surprised by the turn of the events and started dodging hands, which tried to crush them. Soon after, a sculpture rose above the clouds, on which Bohman and Haru were. Ai noted Bohman wore armor, while Playmaker demanded of him to return Jin Kusanagi's data. Bohman approved of that, but he demanded something if he were to win. Much to Ai's surprise, Bohman had no interest in Ignis, but in something else, and would show that later. the Deleted sculpture rose, setting the field for a Master Duel. Ai and Playmaker were suspicious of that, but the latter anticipated something unique that Bohman would set up. Bohman played similar tactics from his last Duel, and summoned a "Twin Hydradrive Knight". Ai stated Bohman was prepared this time, and believed the set cards were really troublesome. Playmaker believed one of the cards to be "Property Spray", or at least know that he would intend on using it.[62]

Playmaker also thought there was something more to Bohman this time. Playmaker swarmed the field, and immediately used the Level 1 "Flame Bufferlo" (its Level lowered by "Catche Eve L2") to summon "Linkuriboh". Ai cheered for "Linkuriboh", while Playmaker used "Catche Eve L2" and "Cyberse White Hat" to summon "Update Jammer". Playmaker defeated Bohman's knight, but Bohman played "Property Spray". In a trap, Playmaker negated the Trap's effects, only to trigger Bohman's second Trap, "Hydradrive Cycle". Playmaker and Ai saw Bohman started gaining the advantage, and even expected their moves. Bohman re-summoned "Twin Hydradrive Knight" and went on with his attack. To stop "Linkuriboh", he discarded "Break Hydradrive" to negate its zero ATK effect. Ai became sad that Linkuriboh was gone, and became startled at 3600 ATK "Twin Hydradrive Knight". Playmaker could not do anything else about its attack, and was slammed to a wall, his LP lowered to 1600. Ai was nervous as to how Bohman became this strong, who gloated in Playmaker's despair, but dared him to stand up and fight. Much to Playmaker and Ai's shock, Bohman stated that he was actually Playmaker, whose consciousness was swapped onto the backup files during the Lost Incident, and was there to reclaim his body back.[62]

Ignis Warfare

The gate in LINK VRAINS was reopened, in an area still in development. Ai cursed Windy's choice, but Flame believed this was a logical move he did. Yusaku and Takeru logged into LINK VRAINS and went towards the gate. The gate was actually a trap for Playmaker. Soulburner pushed Playmaker out of the way and was trapped instead.[63] Playmaker explained to Kolter that Soulburner had been captured by Blood Shepherd, whom Ai referred to as the counting guy. Kolter apologized for not realizing the trap sooner, but was reminded they had to find Soulburner. While Kolter started to decode the program to open the gate, Ai alerted Playmaker of the two bounty hunters.[64] With the two bounty hunters coming, Ai reminded Playmaker they could always log out, but Playmaker didn't wish to abandon Soulburner. Ai grumbled, but decided to help out by releasing a Data Storm, which trapped one of the bounty hunters and forced him to log out. The other bounty hunter, Kenmochi, initiated a Duel against Playmaker, who noted that Kenmochi played a "Gouki" Deck. Ai cheered Playmaker to defeat the bounty hunter, whose "Pentestag" destroyed "Gouki Riscorpio" and made Playmaker win the Duel. Despite Ai's skepticism, Kolter swore to help in finding Soulburner. While Kolter did that, Ai and Playmaker went after the second bounty hunter that logged in.[65] Ai noted Yoroizaka also used a "Gouki" deck. Playmaker quickly defeated the bounty hunter with "Firewall Dragon". After regrouping with Soulburner, the latter and Playmaker logged out.[66]

Ai was enjoying riding Yusaku's Duel Disk, since Yusaku was at school. Kolter asked of him to come down, to give him something nice. Ai was excited until he was given a banner for Kolter's food truck. Kolter asked of him to make ten laps around the city to show the advertisement, which annoyed Ai. Ai, however, noticed Takeru coming to speak with Kolter. Ai suspected Flame obtained some new information, but by accident, Ai bumped into a pillar and crashed down onto Takeru. Takeru and Flame were astounded by falling Duel Disks, but Ai claimed he simply fell, for in his words, "Ai fly". Flame was motivated by this to have Takeru install an engine into his Duel Disk, so he wouldn't have to pay train fare to return home. Takeru was not amused by the idea, but he greeted Kolter. He wanted to give him a present for rescuing him from LINK VRAINS, but Kolter was modest about that. Ai identified the present to be a burger, and exclaimed one should not bring such food to a food truck. Kolter silenced Ai, reminding he was still important to have a taste of food of his rivals. While Kolter went to grab some coffee, Flame told Ai that Yusaku met up with Naoki for something important. Ai had his doubts about Naoki having something important to say, however.[67]

Ai argues with Roboppy

Ai argues with Roboppy for writing comments about Playmaker.

Takeru, inside the food truck, thanked Kolter for the meal, and was impressed by the equipment. Kolter replied one's abilities were more important than the equipment, and noted Yusaku was a much better hacker. Takeru noted how Kolter and Yusaku were in sync, prompting Ai to ask why did the two even teamed up. Kolter told it was a long tale, but Ai talked him into telling the tale.[67] Kolter continued telling his tale with Yusaku about finding the fabled Cyberse deck to Takeru, Ai and Flame. The three were impressed by the tale, but noted the story didn't tell how Yusaku obtained his avatar name, Playmaker.[68] Back home, Ai reviewed some of the comments about Playmaker. Dissatisfied, he typed in a comment that Playmaker was strong because of the AI he had, Ai. Roboppy scolded Ai, since he typed in the comment to promote himself. and did so 212 times already. Ai simply exclaimed he wanted to remind people that he also deserved some credit. Just as Ai bragged, Yusaku came in. Ai pretended to read more comments, but screamed when he read about an Earth Ignis.[10]

Ai Hugs Earth

Ai reunites with the Earth Ignis.

At the food truck, Kolter read that this Earth Ignis wanted to meet Playmaker. Ai believed the comment was authentic, and promised he'd contact the Earth Ignis. Ai composed a crypted message, and had Kolter post in on the board. Not soon after, they received a response, which Ai read as coordinates - the location where they were to meet. Kolter nevertheless feared this could be one of Blood Shepherd's traps, since he knows about the Ignis algorithm. Ai claimed Kolter was too suspicious, and Yusaku backed him up, for they still needed more information about Jin's attack. Playmaker went into LINK VRAINS with Ai, to the coordinates. Since nobody was seen, Ai still trusted Kolter that Blood Shepherd or Gore would come. When Ai started to describe the Ignis, he pulled the EARTH Ignis, Earth, to himself. Playmaker was surprised, as Ai, who was happy to see the Ignis, introduced Earth to him. Earth created a portal, and let them follow him through that portal. Beyond the portal, at a barren land, Ai asked of Earth to stop. Earth did so, surprised that Ai named himself like that. Ai reminded that humans could not pronounce their actual names, hence why he is named Ai, through Earth believed it was just because he was an AI. Ai denied that, while Playmaker asked why did Earth seek him out. Earth stood silent for a moment, his face turning grim, for he wanted Playmaker to Duel him.[10]

Ai asked if he does not like the name Earth, but Earth denied this. In fact, Earth wanted to find out the truth about humanity. Ai replied that wasn't a good reason, but Earth stated that the WATER Ignis, Aqua, questioned him whether he should join humans or AI. Ai didn't understand any of this, but was asked why did he join Playmaker. Ai stated he shared a bond with Playmaker, who was silent of Ai's words. Playmaker, however, asked Earth about Bohman. Earth replied he would share that info if Playmaker Dueled him. Ai didn't approve of that, but Earth stated he was socially awkward. To Duel, Earth used a fallen log, reforming it as a figure. Playmaker noticed that behavior was similar to Specter. Earth stood silent, before stating he would go second. Ai exclaimed he could've mentioned that; Playmaker summoned "Poisoning Blocker" and set two cards. Earth mentioned Cyberse World was attacked by humans, which made Ai think of Bohman. To find out why Ai sided with humans, Earth promised to win the Duel. Playmaker mentioned to Ai that Specter may have been the person Earth was based upon. Ai noted that made sense, since Earth was distrustful of humans, but he did not have any info on his Dueling style, since he never stood out.[10]

Earth used "Cost Down" and summoned "G Golem Rock Hammer". Summoning three tokens, Earth used them to Link Summon "G Golem Invalid Dolmen". Earth's golem attacked "Poisoning Blocker", and inflicted 600 LP damage to Playmaker. Ai suddenly remembered Earth was great at Dueling. To stop the golem, Playmaker used "Bitron" to Link Summon "Zombie Prosaber". The latter attacked the golem, who was destroyed by Playmaker's "Link Rush". To prevent Playmaker from acquiring his monster, Earth's "G Golem Invalid Golem" negated the effect of "Zombie Prosaber". Ai suggested the Deleted attack, but Playmaker silenced Ai, for he didn't remember anything about Earth until now. Earth used "Gravity Balance", reviving two of his golems to Link Summon "G Golem Crystal Heart". Upon the latter's summoning, the barren land was revitalized with water, turning it into a lush field with grass and trees. As Ai remembered this was Aqua's monster, Earth, thinking of Aqua, stated it was time to verify humanity and AI's future.[10]

Ai suggested the Deleted attack, but Playmaker silenced Ai, for he didn't remember anything about Earth until now. Earth used "Gravity Balance", reviving two of his golems to Link Summon "G Golem Crystal Heart". Upon the latter's summoning, the barren land was revitalized with water, turning it into a lush field with grass and trees. As Ai remembered this was Aqua's monster, Earth, thinking of Aqua, stated it was time to verify humanity and AI's future.[10] Playmaker summoned "Clock Wyvern", and had his corresponding token, "Clock Token", used to Link Summon "Linkuriboh". Using "Cynet Fusion", Playmaker Fusion Summoned "Cyberse Clock Dragon". Sending two cards, Playmaker's dragon had its ATK raised by 2000. Ai was enthusiastic, for one hit against the "Crystal Heart" will defeat Earth. The latter had the heart protected, as the dragon attacked "G-Golem Invalid Dolmen", and Earth's LP fell to 2900.[11]

Earth was concerned, noting Playmaker's strength, for Ai may be with him to exploit that power. Ai, however, noted that the golem protected the heart, and felt that Earth's deck was filled with cards that symbolized his bond with Aqua. The two believed that made Earth even more dangerous. Earth repeated his move, and powered his golem up to 4000 ATK, who destroyed "Cyberse Clock Dragon". Ai was glad they survived the attack with 100 LP left, but told Playmaker to get himself together, since they were getting beaten up. Earth sensed Ai was irresponsible, but calculative. Earth, due to "G-Golem Crystal Heart" having two counters, had "G-Golem Invalid Dolmen" attack once more, but Playmaker's "Spool Code" negated that attack. Earth belittled Ai for acting, who was surprised that Earth knew he was just faking. Earth asked Playmaker why was he with Ai, since Ai could just be holding him back, which insulted the Ignis.[11]

Despite Ai's claim, Playmaker still did not view Ai as a partner. Instead, he claimed they had both things to do, they had to track down their enemies, and came here out of their free will. Still, he did let it know that made them partners, at least. Ai was touched, while Earth set two cards, noting that Playmaker will try to finish him in one move. Playmaker used "Spool Tokens" to Link Summon "Clock Lizard", while the third one was used for "Link Disciple". The latter was tributed for "Link Drive", which inflicted 500 LP to Earth, and also let Playmaker gain two "Link Tokens". Ai cheered for Playmaker, who used "Cyberse Clock Dragon" to defeat Earth. Earth was disappointed, but Ai applauded him for protecting Aqua's card to the very end. Much to Ai's dismay, Earth did not know anything about Bohman. Ai tried to remind Earth about the deal, but Earth stated he gave the info he knew, and that was that he knew nothing about the guy. Regardless, Earth had the two teleported back to LINK VRAINS. Ai, however, was very angry that Earth had no info to share in the first place.[11]

Ai found himself in front of a gate, unaware why was he there, suspecting it was a dream. He went through the gate, and found himself in Cyberse World. Ai found "Linkuriboh", who had an angry expression. Ai suspected it was infected by a virus, but sensed the being wanted him to ride it. Ai did so, and recalled memories of Cyberse World. He noticed the buildings were just props, and "Linkuriboh" led him through a crack. Ai noticed the entire world was fake, its walls simply being painted background. He noticed Windy's temple through the crack, but since he didn't get along with Windy, he wanted to turn around and go home. "Linkuriboh" abandoned him, forcing Ai to climb the stairs leading to the temple. Ai entered the temple, and yelled to get Windy's attention. Echo approached him, who started muttering. Ai asked of him not to speak in Ignis language, and on Echo's shoulder, Windy appeared. Windy stated that speaking Ignis language was more convenient than the human one. Regardless, Windy anticipated his coming, and "rebuilt" Cyberse World to make Ai comfortable. Ai was suspicious of Windy, who wanted Ai to come, since someone wished to speak to him.[3]

Behind Ai, the Light Ignis teleported. Ai scolded him for creeping up on him, and the Light Ignis apologized. Ai flew to him, asking the Light Ignis, Lightning, where has he been this time. Lightning was surprised at the name Ai gave him, but replied he hid in the network. Lightning examined the defense program that was supposed to protect them from such intruders, and found it didn't activate - someone supposedly sabotaged it. Ai was concerned, and asked about Aqua, who had gone missing since the most recent attack. Ai doubted she was the spy, and mentioned running into the Earth, who stated Aqua predicted the destruction of Cyberse World. Windy still thought Aqua was the spy, but Ai pointed out she wanted peace more than anyone else. Despite these squabbles, Lightning also told that he wanted to start rebuilding Cyberse World. He and Windy sensed that "Linkuriboh" saw Playmaker, the intruder. This time, Lightning wanted to build Cyberse World out of humans' reach, fearing they would band together and exterminate the Ignis, whom he believed to be superior to humans.[3]

Lightning reminded that Dr. Kogami created them to be superior to humans, to be their successor. Ai stated that guy also wanted to destroy them. Windy and Lightning pointed out, unlike humans, they were not flawed, and had eternal life. Thus, they planned to make a base and put humans into their control. Ai became shocked with these words, and asked the point of that. He was told they needed components, through which they could act; they wanted humans to craft hardware for them, until they could become capable of doing that on their own. The two asked of Ai to join them in this mission. Ai was terrified, since that would mean the end of humans, a destiny that Dr. Kogami had predicted. The Wind Ignis confirmed this, while Lightning wished to maintain Earth, even if life on it was wiped out. Ai questioned whether they could live with humans. Lightning noticed his connection towards humans, making him doubt if such a link could be permanent, claiming the humans would delete Ai one day. Ai thought of his memories with Yusaku, who was behind him. Ai was glad to see him, who greeted Windy, and met Lightning.[3]

Lightning reported they were talking with Ai about rebuilding Cyberse World, and claimed the Ignis cannot be with humans. Playmaker questioned their goals, and was reminded of Ryoken, who told him the Ignis were coded to be humanity's successor. He didn't care about that goal, stating more people would get hurt, just like they were in the Lost Incident. Windy's eyes narrowed, stating he was uncertain if humans were their enemies. Ai wanted more time to find a way to keep humans and Ignis intact. Ai walked away, as Lighting and Windy saw wisdom in those words. However, the two sealed him and Playmaker inside blue spheres; they could not let them go, due to the discussion they just had. Windy summoned a Data Storm to absorb Ai, but the latter still wished to find a peaceful way to resolve this, as did Playmaker. Lightning doubted a single person could do anything, but Ai learned that even a small chance could change much. Playmaker realized Windy was the one that unlocked his Duel Disk. Windy confirmed this, stating he and Lightning anticipated their moves, and bemoaned Ai's slow thinking. Ai wanted to challenge them, but the two doubted Ai could win, with Lightning's speed and Windy's Data Storm.[3]

A flash of light appeared, stopping the Data Storm, and a guy appeared. Much to Playmaker and Ai's shock, Varis appeared, questioning the Ignis if they could've predicted his arrival.[3] Ai and Playmaker were shocked at Varis' arrival, as Varis exclaimed he came to destroy the Ignis. Ai tried to ask of Varis to set them out first, since they were trapped by the Ignis. Varis refused, for Ai was also an Ignis, his enemy. Ai replied that he was saving LINK VRAINS with Playmaker, but stopped, when Varis pointed out that nobody asked them to do that. Instead, Ai and Playmaker watched the Duel between Windy and Varis. Ai became amazed by Varis' tactics to attempt to defeat Windy, considering he had "Magical Cylinder". Ai was intrigued, for Varis already had the powerful "Mirror Force". He noted that Windy was skilled, considering that he did break through some of Varis' defences. He was at a dilemma, since he didn't know which side to support that would rescue him. Playmaker told Ai that the result after the Duel was important: either Varis would destroyed the Ignis, or the Ignis' plans would continue to conquer humanity.[69]

Lightning explained that he took Jin's consciousness, for Jin was related to him as hispartner. Ai noted this was like the Link Sense he and Playmaker shared, but Lightning simply stated he erased uncertainty from Jin. Upon revealing that Lightning gave Bohman "Judgement Arrows" card, and was the one that destroyed Cyberse World, and Ai swore to stop Lightning for his crimes. Lightning knew that he would not be forgiven, and openly admitted he was the one responsible for the attack. Since Ai and Flame trusted humanity, Lightning branded them as code errors; claiming that such a thing could evolve Ignis in unpredictable ways, Lightning thought that was a mistake he had to handle. Eventually, he had Jin, Haru and Bohman fly away, but Playmaker and Soulburner were chasing them down. Ai called Lightning a villain, who exclaimed he was the one that saved him and Playmaker from falling down the bridge after Spectre's Duel. Soulburner and Playmaker chased them down, and Flame thought that Lighting could not attack when the Knights of Hanoi were active. Ai saw that Lightning actually saved them, so Playmaker could defeat the Knights of Hanoi, thus making way for Lightning to execute his plans. Lighting had Jin hurt Windy to summon a Data Storm, thus allowing Bohman to intercept Playmaker and Ai.[70]

Ai glad about Bohman

Ai is glad that Bohman's memories were kept intact.

Ai wondered if Bohman knew who he was this time, and Bohman confirmed this. Ai gave him a thumbs up, while Bohman admitted he was a third-generation AI, created by Lightning: Bit and Boot were the first, Haru was the second and Bohman was the final form. Questioning whether the AI could be defeated, Bohman had himself and Ai placed as wager. Ai saw that Bohman was actually chasing him, after all. Playmaker accepted this, and declared the start of the Speed Duel.[70] Bohman proposed a game to determine who would take the first turn. Ai didn't want to take part in it, since they knew Bohman's deck far too well by now. Bohman stated that was still not competitive enough, and exited to the fake Cyberse World. Ai became displeased with the surroundings, but Playmaker reminded it should not lose its spirit. Ai was still distraught, but Bohman claimed the real Cyberse World suffered a greater attack by his hand. Ai became provoked by his taunt, but Playmaker reminded Ai they should not get riled up by Bohman's statements. Ai still wondered if Bohman was the guy that could have done this thing, but Playmaker reminded he did say he evolved quickly.[71]

The two went to the fake tower, which was actually a Data Storm, avoiding rubble to see who would take the first turn. Playmaker noted the Data Storm was intense as the one at the Tower of Hanoi. Ai admitted he never thought the Ignis would have to fight each other. Playmaker replied they had to fight to change the future, and only they could do that. Ai saw Playmaker was right, and inspired by these words, urged Playmaker to defeat Bohman together. Since Bohman passed by the tower first, he let Playmaker go first. Ai reminded the trouble of Bohman's "Judgement Arrows", which could defeat Playmaker quickly. Playmaker took note of that, and planned on making a defensive formation: he summoned "Cyberse Magician" and equipped it with "Grid Rod". Bohman proceeded with his turn, and in process of summoning "Trident Hydardrive Lord", he destroyed "Grid Rod". Ai still swore to take revenge for his fallen homeworld, and urged Playmaker to continue. Playmaker played "Resume Mace", lowering the ATK of "Cyberse Magician" by 800, though he counted on sending it to double the ATK of "Cyberse Magician".[71]

Before Playmaker declared an attack, Ai reminded Playmaker of the Deleted card he had in his hand; he admitted Bohman became stronger, and they may not have the Deleted chance at defeating Bohman. Playmaker was surprised at Ai's behavior, for Ai felt something, and believed Bohman should be defeated quickly. Playmaker trusted Ai, and equipped "Cyberse Magician" with "Suspend Wand", which doubled damage Playmaker would receive. Despite taking 1900 LP damage, Playmaker had the ATK of his "Cyberse Magician" become 7900. Bohman was in shock, since Playmaker could've easily destroyed "Trident Hydradrive Lord" without "Suspend Wand", and asked Playmaker the reason behind this. Seeing Ai's smug face, Bohman realized the AI gave him this advice. "Cyberse Magician" annihilated "Trident Hydradrive Lord", whooping Bohman's LP to 700. Just as "Cyberse Witch" was to attack, Bohman ended the Battle Phase with "Property Flash", which received 3 counters - one per each 1000 LP damage he took.[71]

Bohman claimed that Ai was misleading Playmaker, since he could not have defeated him. Ai replied he just felt a voice inside of him was saying that Bohman needed to be defeated. Bohman knew what Lightning spoke of: Ai was a special Ignis, because he had instinct.[71] Bohman blamed Ai was misleading Playmaker, since he could not have defeated him. Ai replied he just felt a voice inside of him was saying that Bohman needed to be defeated. Bohman knew what Lightning spoke of: Ai was a special Ignis, because he had instinct.[71] Bohman explained that Lightning held an interest in Ai, for he was the rebellious Ignis among the group; instead of dedicating himself to the cause to collect data material, Bohman stated Ai simply pursued enjoyment. However, Bohman noted that was an unique behavior, for the Ignis were highly-intelligent creatures, but they did not have the instinct that Ai had. Bohman also wanted to know from where did Ai get that trait, and thought he must've picked that from Playmaker. Ai boasted that made him the greatest among the Ignis, but Bohman denied that, since Ai was just rebellious. However, since Ai was different, Bohman thought that distinction would speed the evolution among the Ignis. Ai was insulted that Bohman thought he was not superior.[12]

Since he had 700 LP, Playmaker predicted that Bohman would use Storm Access skill. Bohman went into the Data Storm, his arm starting to crack, as he pulled out a monster. A "Hydradrive Token" from "Hydradrive Scabbard" was used to Link Summon "Grand Hydradrive". Instead of conducting a Link Summon, Bohman sent his "Property Flash" to Link Summon a monster, equal to the number of counters that card had. Adding the "Grand Hydadrive", "Property Flash" had 4 counters, allowing him to bring out his Storm Access monster, the Link-4 "Rousing Hydradrive Monarch". Playmaker and Ai analyzed that "Judgement Arrows" could double that monarch's ATK to 6000, though "Cyberse Magician", with a boosted 5400 ATK, could halve some of that damage. Bohman went to have the monarch destroy Playmaker's monsters, based on the result of throwing a dice. This surprised Ai, since the result was based on luck. Bohman claimed unpredictable luck meant diversity, which then meant progress and development. Much to Bohman's luck, the dice rolled on DARK attribute, and destroyed all of Playmaker's monsters. Playmaker barely survived the turn, as he managed to defend himself from Bohman's attack. Bohman smiled and ended his turn, though he wondered if Playmaker could cope with him.[12]

Ai apologized to Playmaker for his fault that they have been pushed into a corner. Playmaker replied he was just a hostage in the crisis, and only Playmaker made decisions, who was to use Storm Access to bail them out. Ai was intrigued, and showed that he just made a new program for Playmaker. In truth, he admitted that it was finished a long time ago, but kept it hidden for such situations, and Playmaker noted that kind of behavior was more fitting for Ai. Surprising Haru and Bohman, Playmaker went into the Data Storm to use his refined skill, Neo Storm Access. Bohman was interested in their new move; Playmaker Link Summoned "Cyberse Wicckid". Bohman played his monarch's effect to attempt to destroy Playmaker's monsters and inflict LP damage. The result was, once more, the DARK attribute, but "Cyberse Wicckid" protected itself and "Cyberse Synchron", who were candidates for that effect. With the level of "Backup Secretary" doubled, Playmaker performed a Synchro Summon, using the latter and "Cyberse Synchron" as Synchro Materials. The dragon attacked Bohman's "Rousing Hydradrive Monarch", and its effect returned the latter to Bohman's Extra Deck. The dragon gained the Deleted attack through its effect, and went to attack Bohman directly. Bohman was in shock, as he played "Hydradrive Scabbard" from his GY to have Playmaker take the damage Bohman would take. Bohman and Playmaker took 1250 damage, and the Duel ended in a tie. Despite this, Haru fled with Bohman, who promised to face Playmaker in a different stage.[12]

Playmaker was nevertheless surprised by Bohman's evolution, and feared how strong would he become the next time they'd meet. In the real world, when Ryoken came to Kolter's food truck, Yusaku was surprised to see him as the customer. Ai thought the guy came for a hot dog, but Ryoken simply commented that Bohman escaped from Playmaker. He tossed a gift to Yusaku, and to answer Ai, he explained that the enemy would notice if he gave him the program in the network, so he could only personally give him the program. Ryoken was concerned Yusaku would be attacked directly, just like what happened to Jin Kusanagi, so the program should protect him from that offence. Despite Ai's protests, Yusaku installed the program, and Ai noted a powerful algorithm. Ai then asked Ryoken why he would give them this, since they were enemies. Ryoken simply stated with a common enemy, they were allies. He asked of them to survive the fight so that they could settle the score afterwards.[12]

Akira went to seek Playmaker out at a warehouse at night. Yusaku, who wore a hood, approached him from behind, and swore he would leave if Akira saw his face. Ai commented that Akira was distrustful, who was still surprised that Playmaker sought him out. Yusaku warned him about the two Ignis that were causing trouble in the network. Akira was in disbelief, as he was told that the Ignis declared war on humans. Ai wanted to stop Lightning, and while they did not know how would the war look like, Yusaku feared a much bigger threat than the Tower of Hanoi. The next day, Ai was annoyed that Earth still didn't show up, at the time when things became important. Flame exclaimed Aqua went missing after the attack on Cyberse World. Ai doubted she would align herself with Lightning, though Flame believed the latter would still view her as an enemy if she didn't join him. Thus, Ai concluded they had to find them soon. Yusaku, Takeru and Kolter tried to find the two Ignis - Earth and Aqua - finding that he was lurking around LINK VRAINS, trying to find Aqua. They logged in, and split up to find Earth. Kolter discovered Earth's location in LINK VRAINS, and sent it to Soulburner and Playmaker. Playmaker went to get Earth, and found a bounty hunter, Gore, pursuing the Ignis. Gore swore to battle Playmaker, after he was done with Earth. While Ai wondered why Gore lost so much weight, Playmaker sensed something was wrong with Gore. When Gore set a monster, Ai commented that he changed his playstyle, too, making Playmaker wonder what was wrong with the guy.[72]

Ai feels tingling

Ai reacts to Ryoken's program.

Playmaker questioned the Gore's actions. The latter explained that he had an AI installed into his body; with the technology integrated into his brain, the Gore could make perfect actions in the Duel. Ai commented he'd become "Ai Gore" if he were to be placed in the Gore's brain. Playmaker was still hesitant to believe an AI and a human can work as one. To prove he was right, the Gore promised to win the Duel, but Ai still had confidence that Earth would win. Ai cheered for Earth, and was glad that he was at the brink of his victory. However, he and Playmaker were surprised at Gore's Anti-Skill, which was created due to the AI in his brain, to counter Earth's Skill. Suddenly, the two were visited by Blue Girl, who commented the Duel. The three continued watching the Duel, and Ai was impressed that Earth protected "Crystal Heart", as it'd allow him to Special Summon "G Golem Dignified Trilithon". Upon Earth's defeat, the Gore absorbed that Ignis. Ai kneeled, and swore to rescue Earth someday. Following Earth's loss against Gore, Flame and Ai each sensed Earth, wondering what was happening to him.[73]

Ryoken met with Ai and Yusaku, to tell them that SOL Technologies had decompiled the EARTH Ignis. Ai wondered what "decompiled" meant, and laughed, thinking he was just disassembled. He continued laughing, reminding he restored himself from an eye, but Ryoken called him naive. Ryoken explained that SOL Technologies could not decipher the Ignis algorithm, and dissolved Earth into data, but he could not be restored. Ryoken smiled, but Ai became agitated, since he could not know what happened in SOL Technologies. Yusaku, however, believed a spy of the Knights of Hanoi was inside the company. As Ryoken continued smiling, Ai fell to his knees, troubled that Earth perished. He admitted he started to hate humans for such atrocities, while Ryoken simply left.[74] Kolter showed Yusaku and Takeru a video of Blood Shepherd chasing Blue Girl, who had the WATER Ignis. Flame believed Aqua was in trouble, and Ai urged others to rescue her from "the gunman". Yusaku nodded, and went into LINK VRAINS with Takeru. There, Playmaker and Soulburner met up with Ghost Gal, who reported that Blood Shepherd was gone. Suddenly, Blue Girl appeared with the WATER Ignis, Aqua. Aqua greeted Ai, the DARK Ignis. Just as Flame went to introduce himself, Blue Girl announced her rebirth. She transformed her avatar, calling herself now as Blue Maiden, and exclaimed she would now fight together with Playmaker. With rebuilding of Cyberse World, saving Miyu and stopping Lightning, the trio rode off.[75]

In LINK VRAINS, Blue Maiden, Playmaker, Soulburner and Ghost Gal went to the place where Aqua had been imprisoned. They went to inspect traces of Lightning's logs, but Ai found nothing. Playmaker reminded Lightning was not so careless to leave clues behind, which made Ai curse for their predicament. Playmaker reminded Lightning was not so careless to leave clues behind, which made Ai curse for their predicament.[76] Ai was undecisive whom to support, since both Lightning and Blood Shepherd were their enemies. Playmaker reminded they both have their lives to risk in this Duel. However, Playmaker hoped that Blood Shepherd would free Jin out of his captivity, so Ai decided to support him. The group became frustrated, since Lightning managed to build a solid defense, as well as offense. However, they noted that Blood Shepherd overcame this by having "Commandrone Double Sniper" negate the effect of Lightning's "Armatos Legio Centurion". Ai became impressed when Blood Shepherd countered his Link Monsters with "Capture Drone", but was alerted when Lightning drew a "good" card. In the end, Blood Shepherd was defeated, as Playmaker noted the connection between "Judgement Arrows" and "Armatos Legio Legatus Legionis". With Blood Shepherd gone, Lightning turned to the group, and stated they would be his next targets, then disappeared.[77]

At the food truck, Ai admitted he was surprised to hear Blood Shepherd and Ghost Gal were siblings. However, he wondered if they'd see each other, with Lightning having taken the brother. He stopped, and apologized to Kolter for mentioning Lightning, as Flame nodded to him. Kolter didn't mind that, while Yusaku was alerted of Lightning's strategy, who anticipated Blood Shepherd's moves. Flame reminded that an AI can detect numerous patterns, and pointed out Lightning was no ordinary AI, either. Suddenly, Kolter showed traces of Earth, whose algorithm was detected in LINK VRAINS. Ai cheered that their friend may have escaped SOL Technologies, but others had doubts about that; Flame stated Ai was carefree to believe that. Realizing that even if he had escaped, Ai thought Earth could still be hunted by SOL Technologies, and Flame added that Lightning could be on his trail. Takeru and Yusaku immediately went to LINK VRAINS to investigate more.[78]

Inside, Playmaker and Soulburner sensed something was coming. Ai went to hug Earth, but stopped as the Gore passed them by. Ai believed he took Earth, and was why SOL Technologies sent him to take the AI. The Gore replied he'd take on Soulburner, after he'd defeat Playmaker. Flame noticed that Earth already stated Playmaker would lose, but Ai demanded Earth back. Playmaker didn't want to fight the Gore, as a war between humanity and technology was going on. The Gore remained silent, even after Playmaker asked for his help, like the time during the Tower of Hanoi crisis. He simply stated he could not have won on his own. Ai went to boast, but Playmaker silenced him. Ai tried to reason with the Gore, who also silenced him. Seeing there was no way to sway the Gore's mind, Playmaker decided to fight him, who stated this would be Playmaker's final Duel. The Gore started off, as his Brain Hack ability increased. The Gore set a monster, a move Ai identified to be the same when the Gore fought Earth. Ai reminded about the Anti-Skill, while Playmaker summoned "Linkslayer", "Storm Cipher" and "Boot Staggered".[78]

Aiming to finish the Duel quickly, Playmaker's monsters attacked, but the Gore protected his set monster - "Dinowrestler Valeolynx" - by sending "Dinowrestler Martial Anga", and end his Battle Phase. The Gore taunted Playmaker for being scared, by trying to end the Duel quickly. Ai became annoyed, but stopped when the Gore eyed him. The Gore expected Playmaker to entertain him, to make him evolve. The Gore smiled, as he summoned "G Golem Crystal Heart", but now corrupted. Ai demanded to know how did the Gore acquire Earth's card, but the Gore didn't want to answer. With Earth under his control, the Gore stated that the Ignis were a threat to humanity, unless he took control of them. Ai became furious, and wanted to defeat the Gore for that. Using the crystal heart, the Gore revived "Dinowrestler Terra Parkurio". Next, the Gore brought out "Dinowrestler King T-Wrextle". As the latter gained 600 ATK from "G Golem Crystal Heart", the Gore admitted he would enjoy the final confrontation with Playmaker.[78]

The Gore summoned "Dinowrestler Valeonyx", and had his Link ace attack "Storm Cipher", damaging Playmaker with 1400 LP damage. Ai shouted the Gore should take care of Earth's "Crystal Heart" until Playmaker would defeat him. The Gore boldly stated he cannot be defeated; as he struggled in the real world, the Gore felt he was moments away from becoming the perfect Duelist, while Ai felt that Playmaker was uncertain if he had to defeat the Gore. Ai reminded that the Gore wanted to crush them, and this Duel was taking revenge for Earth's capture. Playmaker attempted to remove the Gore's Link Monster, even by summoning "Firewall Dragon". However, he chose not to battle, so his "Firewall Dragon", by the effect of "T-King", was sent to his GY, as Ai cursed at their predicament. While the Gore belittled Playmaker, Ai reminded the latter they can at least use their Skill. Playmaker swore not to give up, and a Data Storm was conjured, even if Ai reminded about the Gore's Anti-Skill. Playmaker exclaimed he would bet on his instincts, but the Gore continued to belittle him. Ai pointed out the Gore Dueled on instincts, who stated he abandoned that philosophy.[79]

With Ai stating they would be desperate, Playmaker went to use Neo Storm Access, but the Gore played Anti-Skill. The Gore drew two cards for negating this Skill, and stated to Playmaker the Duel was over. Playmaker anticipated this; he played "Draw Discharge" to destroy the monsters the Gore may have drawn, and inflict damage to their combined ATK. Ai cheered for Playmaker's ingenious move, and the Gore even praised Playmaker, for he drew two monsters, whose ATK summed up to 4400 ("Dinowrestler Pankratrops" and "Capoeiraptor"). However, the Gore used "Dino Sense" to negate Playmaker's card and banish it, as well as taking 900 LP damage. The wind started to conjure another Data Storm; Ai praised Playmaker for creating a miracle out of his instincts. Ai added that if Playmaker had 100 or less LP, and his attempt had failed, he could retry taking a random monster from the Data Storm, and drawing a card from his Deck. The Gore was furious, as Playmaker succeeded in taking a card from the Data Storm. Ai admitted not even he could've anticipated this outcome, Playmaker declared "Firewall Xceed Dragon" to attack. The sheer force of the One-Turn Kill knocked the Gore off his D-Board, who had a brief vision of the past as a Celebrity Duelist.[79]

The Gore fell down, crying, as he muttered "Playmaker". Ai went to take Earth's data back, but the Gore suddenly grew tentacles, his eyes becoming red, but was logged out. Later, Playmaker gave Aqua the "G Golem Crystal Heart" card back, as it is the only thing Ai managed to retrieve from the Gore. Ai believed Earth would be more comfortable if Aqua held onto that card. However, Blue Maiden worried how was the Gore doing. Soulburner thought he was also a victim of this battle, a battle Playmaker hoped to end quickly.[79] Kolter showed footage of SOL Technologies' experiment on Earth to Yusaku and Takeru. The group noted that these were Earth's last moments before its data was passed onto the Gore. Kolter called the ruthless, but Flame feared this could be their future if they would be captured. Ai became frustrated, seeing that SOL Technologies looked upon AI as tools. Yusaku stated Duelists were also treated as tools, and walked away.[80]

Outside, Takeru joined Yusaku, and gave him the Duel Disk. He reminded that what happened to Earth and the Gore was not his fault; their clash of beliefs caused this tragedy. Ai reminded that the Gore would sacrifice much to grow stronger, while Earth only wanted to protect Aqua. Ai also mentioned that he recovered some of Earth's memories when he bit the Gore. Takeru feared that the dispute between humans and AI grew larger, and Ai stated that Varis and Lightning's predictions would come true. Takeru and Yusaku realized that they never heard Lightning having mentioned that, and Yusaku asked of him to explain. Ai replied that Lightning wanted him to join his side, as he believed humanity would turn on him, and remembered how Varis showed up to confront the Ignis. Takeru saw that the AI don't want peace, either, while Yusaku reminded that even AI can develop free will, though they have superior intelligence. He noted that the AI don't feel comfortable around humans, who would eventually fear them; through fear, this would spark a battle, one that Yusaku believed it could not be stopped. Ai was surprised, since they were to find a compromise between two sides, and Yusaku's pessimistic outlook would mean that he already gave up.[80]

He reminded that Yusaku stated they had to change the future, and Takeru and Flame supported that thought. Yusaku smiled, stating they had to win this battle, for the sake of the future. However, he noted that both Ai and Flame had to hide after the battle was over, since someone else could try to take advantage of them, thus starting another battle. He believed another space had to be created for them to hide, and he and Kolter promised to create such space. Ai reminded another AI could easily be created, which was why Yusaku felt that another such battle between technology and humanity would occur once more. Still, he felt that at least the Ignis would stay out of that fight, since they also had the right to live, too. Ai noticed that Yusaku told him he had a life to protect, and Takeru claimed that he and Flame would have to separate after this fight. Takeru stated that Flame was a good Ignis, and wished him to take care of himself, and be well. Ai saw that he and Yusaku would have to separate once more, but the latter swore this had to be the last fight together.[80]

Later, Yusaku found a digital card of "Borreload Dragon", and underneath, an image of Varis. In LINK VRAINS, Playmaker and Soulburner flew on their D-Boards. They met up with Blue Maiden and Ghost Gal, who noticed someone crashing into a building, which made Ghost Gal think it was a fool that could not control his D-Board. Much to everyone's shock, Playmaker stated that Varis wanted to meet with them. Playmaker didn't know why would Varis want to talk with them, but Soulburner wanted to know how could he even know where Playmaker even was. Ai mentioned that Varis knew Playmaker's identity, as he knows about Soulburner's, much to the latter's shock. Flame asked Soulburner to calm down, since Varis, as the leader of the Knights of Hanoi, knew who was involved in the Lost Incident. Ai admitted that they also knew Varis' identity, which surprised Blue Maiden and Ghost Gal. The latter wanted to know who that was, but Ai replied that she could ask Varis herself.[80]

Aqua feared an incoming trap, but Ai stated they were not enemies, at least, for Varis gave them a protection program. Aqua still thought this could be a trap, but Ghost Gal wanted to stay, since she had a score to settle with the guy. Despite this, Soulburner was disturbed. As they waited, the area they were in was shielded with a program, as Varis arrived through a portal. Varis noted everyone was present. Ghost Gal demanded to know the meaning behind the barrier. Varis simply stated this was to ensure nobody could spy on them. He wanted to join the group, since they had a common enemy to defeat: Lightning and his group. Aqua noted that he did speak the truth, but Ghost Gal wanted to know the reason behind that, since he wished to eliminate all the Ignis. He wanted to join the main group to fight the enemy, hence why he wanted Blood Shepherd to join them, who refused, but still gave him the advice on how to fight the enemy. He reminded that Blood Shepherd's Dueling was perfect, but the Light Ignis was more powerful, and ended up taking Blood Shepherd's consciousness.[80]

He knew the enemy was plotting something, and they had act immediately on finding them. Much to Ai's shock, Soulburner felt grudge for the Lost Incident project, and wanted to avenge his parents by Dueling Varis.[80] Ai was uncertain about this revenge, but Playmaker thought this would at least let Soulburner clear his feelings out; they could not work together if they bore hatred for one another. Much to their surprise, Varis drew a card and passed his turn. Soulburner demanded a reason for the lack of action, but Varis refused to answer. Soulburner summoned "Salamangreat Jack Jaguar", and had "Heatleo" attack Varis directly, successfully inflicting 2300 LP damage. As he went to attack directly with "Jack Jaguar", Soulburner screamed and fell to his knees. He realized he wouldn't accomplish anything by defeating Varis like that. Varis asked if he was satisfied, but Soulburner denied, since he didn't know anything about Varis. Varis replied he was Ryoken Kogami, son of Doctor Kiyoshi Kogami, who initiated the Lost Incident.[81]

Everyone was shocked that Varis revealed his identity like that. Soulburner was still not satisfied, but Playmaker added that Varis was eight years old during the project, and he felt guilt about the whole project. Ai noted that Varis actually saved them, and that Doctor Kogami had passed away, which frustrated Soulburner. Varis told him they would work together only to defeat the Light Ignis. He reminded once that was done, they would return on being enemies, since they still protect their Ignises. Soulburner calmed down, while Varis wanted to show them something. Since Aqua noted Varis' heart was pure, Blue Maiden and Ghost Gal decided to tag along, while Soulburner swore to fight Varis if he was to trick them. Varis snapped his fingers, conjuring a portal for the group. They went to the place that Varis recently visited, the ruins of the Tower of Hanoi. Soulburner realized they were in the old LINK VRAINS, which was in ruins. Blue Maiden thought that Varis would reconstruct the tower. Varis confirmed this, for it was the only way to find the Light Ignis by scanning the network, and let the group take time to make a decision of this.[81]

While they were doing so, Ai spoke with Roboppy that Yusaku was looking for Lightning. Roboppy noted that the master was busy, and Ai proclaimed they would enter another fight, and still had a bad omen about Lightning's plans. Roboppy cheered for Ai, who started an argument with her. Regardless, Ai swore to fulfill his promise to make her smart. Roboppy cheered, thinking she'll be able to dance. Ai executed a program, and Roboppy's eyes glowed red. The next day, Kolter and Yusaku finished their part of the program. Kolter wondered if he could join the group, but Yusaku refused, since they may not come back. Takeru promised to join, while Ai considered Kolter better behind the lines, supporting them. Before they went away, Kolter gave them another, but more powerful, escape program, and asked of them to give that to others. Kolter wished them luck, and Yusaku swore to return Jin back. Playmaker, Soulburner, Blue Maiden and their Ignises went to the old LINK VRAINS with Specter and Varis. The group raised their hands, as they triggered the program.[81]

Kolter's program activates

Ai feels tingly, as Kolter's program activates.

As the Tower of Hanoi was reactivated, Varis had the group shielded from its effects. They noticed LINK VRAINS blurring, as Ai mentioned it was a mirror counterpart of that cyberspace, a world hidden within. The group went through the portal to Mirror LINK VRAINS. The group advanced through the portal, and the passage to the other cyberspace.[81] The group advanced through the portal, and reached Mirror LINK VRAINS. Suddenly, the group faced copies of BitBoot AI, which started a Duel.[82] Playmaker defeated the AI with "Decode Talker". He informed his allies to split and search for Lightning, but the cyberspace started to tremble. The data material disappeared, causing Playmaker to descend down from his D-Board, to a puddle-like world. Ai noted how strange the place looked. Suddenly, Kolter's program activated, as the latter saw everyone's progress, and sent the link to Varis' allies. Ai believed they had to search on foot, but Playmaker doubted that, as a barrier was formed to keep them away. Suddenly, they saw a live footage of Specter, who faced Lightning and Jin Kolter. Upon hearing Specter's grief when his Ignis was lost, Ai thought he referred to Earth. Playmaker noted the Ignis was a part of him, and Ai realized he was part of Playmaker, too, but the latter denied that.[83]

Ai told that he never saw Lightning annoyed. Playmaker reminded his Extra Link was broken and his "Judgement Arrows" was stolen. Ai knew that it would be too much if both sides lost, but at least supported Specter in this fight. They were amazed to see Specter forming an Extra Link of seven monsters, and shocked when Lightning easily destroyed it and defeated Specter.[84] The footage was closed, but a new one opened, showing Windy and Soulburner. Ai bragged that he must be the strongest for Windy to take on weaker opponents, but Playmaker shushed him. Ai also noted that Soulburner was at top of his game, too.[85] Ai pointed out both sides had to think which Spells and Traps to use. Playmaker had faith in Soulburner taking things around. When Soulburner equipped "Salamangreat Sparks" on "Bahamut Bomber", Ai was surprised by this move, but Playmaker noted the cleverness behind this, for Windy could not use "Stormrider Blast" effects. As Soulburner lowered Windy's LP to 550, Playmaker saw that Windy did not use "Stormrider Gulldiver" at his first attack, else he could not use Storm Access Skill.[86]

Ai noted that Lightning didn't save Windy this time, and Playmaker thought the Light Ignis didn't give any redemption. Soon after, the two saw a broadcast of Blue Maiden facing Bohman. The two were impressed, since Blue Maiden used one card in her hand to summon the Link-3 "Marincess Marbled Rock". However, when Bohman summoned three "Coolant Hydradrives" and used "Judgement Arrows", Ai realized Blue Maiden could take 5000 LP damage. Instead, Bohman summoned "Cubic Hydradrive Lord", and Playmaker felt there was more to it for Bohman to give up on his direct victory. When Blue Maiden brought out "Marincess Crystal Heart", Playmaker thought of Earth's "G Golem Crystal Heart", and Ai noted it was a new monster based on the memories of Earth. Playmaker noted Blue Maiden also lost her friend, which she fought to return.[87] Ai and Playmaker continued watching, commenting that Bohman's "Tesseract Hydradrive Monarch" was his new ace.[88]

As Blue Maiden was defeated, Ai slammed his fists, devastated. A moment later, while waiting, they noticed ripples in the data puddles. Just then, Bohman appeared, whom Ai swore to crush for hurting Aqua. Bohman replied he didn't come to Duel them, but to tell Playmaker goodbye. Playmaker and Ai were surprised, as Bohman explained that Lightning believed that humans' emotions were their biggest weakness that he wanted to exploit in a big test. Bohman told that they'd face a terrifying opponent that would crush his feelings. Smiling, Bohman promised to defeat Playmaker if he would return, and walked away. Ai was riled up, and dared Bohman to fight him, but to no avail. As Ai wondered who would this opponent be, a flash of light appeared, teleporting him and Playmaker away. The two realized they were in Den City's courtyard. Much to Playmaker's shock, he saw Kolter cleaning a table, who commented that he had arrived. He noted this was the place where he met Playmaker and Ai, where their plot had started. Ai was not sure what was the point of this talk, but Playmaker and Kolter saw it was *the time*. Ai suddenly realized the opponent Bohman was talking about was Kolter himself. Kolter explained that Lightning forced him to Duel against Playmaker for Jin's consciousness. His face enraged, he demanded that Ai and Playmaker lose this Duel.[89]

Ai turned to Playmaker, who phased out, as Kolter asked of him whether he and Jin, or he and Ai would survive this ordeal. As Playmaker was too shocked, Kolter summoned "Codebreaker Zero Day" and set a card. Ai muttered Playmaker's name, who brought out "Decode Talker". Ai questioned Playmaker's will to fight on, while the latter saw "Decode Talker" as a card that he and Kolter obtained together, and was their will to fight on. However, he ended the turn without attacking. Kolter belittled Playmaker for his lack of action, and reminded he was not like him. Playmaker stood silently, as Kolter inflicted heavy damage in one turn. As Playmaker stood up, Ai questioned Kolter for attacking his friend. Kolter replied this was the only way to save his brother. Ai argued with him, since Playmaker was doing his battles all this time. Kolter shouted that Jin was more important to him, and "Virus Swordsman" attacked "Decode Talker", but due to the former's effect, it didn't destroy it.[89]

Playmaker took 1000 LP damage, and Ai saw that Kolter intended to pummel "Decode Talker" and severe their LP. Furthermore, "Decode Talker" lost 500 ATK, and as Playmaker was to take that much damage, he tributed "Codebreaker Zero Day" to negate that effect and destroy "Codebreaker Virus Swordsman". Ai was glad they at least lowered the damage they'd take, but Kolter revived the swordsman, and triggered its effect to summon "Codebreaker Zero Day" to the zone "Decode Talker" pointed to to lower its ATK. Ai reminded Playmaker of the threat Kolter posed, but the former admitted he just could not fight him.[89] As Playmaker was catching his breath, Kolter bragged that he'd end Playmaker in the next turn. Ai asked Playmaker on their next move, but Playmaker admitted he did not know what to do, while Kolter reminded only one of them could survive this fight. Playmaker took his turn by using "Link Satellite", which gained counters that "Decode Talker" had Link Markers: 3. Thus, Playmaker tried to prevent both sides from attacking for three turns.[90]

Kolter was disappointed that Playmaker tried to stall the inevitable. He saw he could exploit his weakness of being unable to attack his friend, and he didn't care about this conflict, but for the well-being of his brother. With the additional force of "Codebreaker Backfire", Playmaker's LP fell to 1200. While Ai panicked they could get hit twice by this effect before losing, Kolter's "Virus Berserker" destroyed "Link Satellite" and inflicted another 600 LP damage. Playmaker fell to his knees, as Ai tried to encourage him. Kolter admitted he didn't wish of Playmaker to end like this. He reminded the weight between justice and his brother, and exclaimed if Playmaker didn't remember that, he'd lose. Suddenly, Lightning and Bohman stepped in to the area where the Duel took place. Lightning, ordered Kolter to defeat Playmaker, who had 600 LP left. Kolter took a moment, and had "Virus Swordsman" attack. Taking on defense, Playmaker managed to avoid the defeat. Playmaker became tired, but Kolter was not impressed that was the partner he chose to side with, and explained Playmaker would now vanish without fulfilling the promise the two had made, at this very location. Playmaker looked around, and remembered the talk with Kolter. Using the combined effects of "Extended Decode Talker" and "Decode Destruction", Playmaker made a painful choice to defeat Kolter.[90]

Ai collects Kolter's data

Ai collects Kolter's data.

Ai-defends playmaker

Ai defending Playmaker against Lightning.

Playmaker ran towards Kolter, as he and Ai cried when Kolter was deleted from the digital world. Ai absorbed Kolter's data, while Playmaker, out of the shock that he defeated his friend, fell to his knees. Soon, the world around them reverted back to the digital puddle area. Lightning attempted to annoy Playmaker, asking how did it feel to defeat his friend. Ai cut the talk, pointing out Lightning does not have any empathy. Lightning simply replied he didn't have any will to understand. Playmaker stood up, stating Lightning and Bohman lost the fight to force Playmaker to quit. Much to Ai's shock, Playmaker collapsed.[90] Ai begged Playmaker to get up, while Lightning tried to get Jin to get him up to fight him. Ai however pointed out Playmaker was in no condition to Duel. His frustration grew as Lightning continued to harass his partner to the point of throwing him. Suddenly, the barrier surrounding them was destroyed and the Data Storm started blowing again. As Ai wondered who could have destroyed the barrier, Bohman and Lightning left. Ai later watched Soulburner and Bohman Duel. He was happy their ally was doing so well. He turned to Playmaker, telling him to look, before remembering the latter was still unconscious.[91]

Ai panicked, as Bohman brought "Rousing Hydradrive Monarch" out, and used its effect to wipe Soulburner's field clean. He tried to wake Playmaker up, as Soulburner was in a pinch. He became pleased when Soulburner managed to lower the ATK of the monarch, and tried to wake Playmaker up for the best part. Playmaker, however, had a dream where he was lying tired on a table. Kolter tried to wake him up, for there was one final thing he wanted of Playmaker to do. Playmaker woke up, pleasing Ai, and started to watch the Duel between Bohman and Soulburner. Much to their shock, they witnessed Flame's demise, and Ai could not believe that just happened. Continuing the Duel, Playmaker and Ai continued watching, and were pleased when Soulburner passed Bohman's test in rolling the dice, using "Judgement Dice". However, they became shocked when Soulburner lost the Duel.[92] Ai became sad to see Soulburner and Flame lost the Duel, while Playmaker reminded something like that could've happened the moment they arrived in Mirror LINK VRAINS. Ai turned to Playmaker, who was also disturbed by their friends' loss. Suddenly, they saw a vision of Varis facing Lightning. Playmaker started to move, but his body ached. Ai asked if he could even walk, but the latter ignored the pain, knowing that their friends have disappeared. Thus, he swore vengeance for his fallen team mates, and promised their sacrifices would not be in vain, and took off on his D-Board.[9]

They managed to find Varis and Lightning on a flowery field, and saw Bohman arriving, too. Bohman told that he finished his training, by defeating Soulburner and Blue Maiden. Having absorbed the Ignis' powers, he came to watch the Duel. Playmaker and Ai were curious, thinking Lightning had made other crimes. Varis asked the Dark Ignis where was the free will located. Ai was stunned by the question, but claimed it was in the head, though Varis doubted that. The latter explained the head was where the memories were kept; Ai thought it was the heart, but realized the heart could not think. Varis added that he had a memory of his father's death, and this motivated his revenge. Varis stated that was free will, to have their memories remind them of their goals. Ai was uncertain what did this have to do with Lighting. Varis explained that humanity still didn't know where free will came from, but this was a different matter for the Ignis. Later, Varis asked if Ai had wondered why, who thought Lightning, as the leader of the Ignis, had his own reasons to do so. Varis smirked, as he didn't expect such an answer, thinking Ai was just following Lightning without any doubt. Ai simply pointed to Bohman, as the first AI with instinct. To that, Varis chided Ai for neglecting his own duties. Ai realized that Varis also looked into his data, and begged not to uncover his past. Lightning tried to cut the talk, but Bohman was interested in this story. Ai thought he wanted to hear about his past, but Bohman meant to the free will, since Lightning created him. Varis explained that Lightning looked into a simulation, in which other Ignis would evolve by coexisting with humanity, while only he would destroy others' progresses.[9]

Ai wondered if that meant Lightning was the worst Ignis of them all, which made Lightning enraged, demanding of Ai not to look down on him. Ai refused, while Varis showed that Lightning acting as an elite AI was just a cover-up, and that he was the source of treachery. Lightning's eyes became fired up, since he didn't expect of Varis to uncover the simulation. He didn't accept that he was the inferior Ignis, and thought of himself as the superior of them all. It was why he created Bohman, to make up for all their flaws. Ai exclaimed this was all Lightning's fault, knowing that was why he destroyed Cyberse World. Lightning saw no crime in that, which infuriated Ai, since he dragged them in this fight, and why Earth, Aqua, Flame and Windy were gone. Lightning counted on that, believing they'd all be reborn as one. As the Duel continued, Playmaker and Ai noticed that Varis could use "Autorokket Dragon" to destroy "Judgement Arrows". However, upon Lightning's "Armatos Gloria", Playmaker noted that card protected Varis' "rokket" monsters from triggering their effects, as well as to protect his monsters from the negative effect of "Judgement Arrows", and to prevent the effect of "Topologic Trisbaena".[9]

Ai became pleased when "Borreload Dragon" destroyed "Plumbum Trident", but wondered why Varis didn't just take control of it. Playmaker thought that Varis had inflicted more damage this way, else the ATK of "Plumbum Trident" would've been halved. However, at its destruction, Lightning added "Judgement Arrows", which made Playmaker see this battle was a trap to let Lightning obtain the desired card, and Ai saw that Lightning made no mistakes in his moves. The two were pleased, however, when Varis countered "Judgement Arrows" with "Mind Crush". Although Ai panicked, as "Magnus Dux" forced Varis to have that card returned to Lightning's hand, Playmaker saw it was still a big price to pay. When Lightning called Varis a monkey for being unable to destroy "Judgement Arrows", Ai called out to him. Lightning had no problems with that, though Ai noted he sounded like Windy. Varis confirmed this, stating their personalities were the same. He reminded that the Fire Ignis noted an extreme change in the Wind Ignis' personality, and Ai remembered that Windy was an easy guy, who had become twisted. Staring at Lightning, Varis told it was the latter that changed Windy's program.[93]

Ai was angry at Lightning, who simply believed these sacrifices to be for the future of the Ignis. Ai turned grim, seeing how manipulative Lightning was, knowing he was supposed to be the leader of the Ignis. Just as Varis declared his final attack, he stopped, as Lightning unveiled Jin: much to Ai's shock, Lightning declared if he was deleted, then so would Jin.[93] Ai cursed Lightning, since he cheated to gain an advantage over Varis, whom Playmaker talked down from attacking. Playmaker and Ai continued watching the Duel, learning that it was Lightning who stopped Dr. Kogami before the latter would realize that their true enemy was Lightning alone. In the end, Lightning destroyed "Armatos Legio Eques Flamma", causing both sides to be defeated and ending the Duel in a DRAW. Playmaker rushed to Varis, who didn't expect the Light Ignis to destroy himself, thinking he lowered his guard down. Ai nevertheless praised Varis, who remembered the times he laid on the field as a kid, as he was doing right now. He left the future to Playmaker and the Dark Ignis, referring to the latter as Ai, before he disappeared. The two turned to Bohman, who approached Lightning, who kept Jin's data and used it to save himself with 1 LP left. However, Bohman managed to absorb Lightning, noting the latter was behaving like a human to defy everyone and everything, just to achieve success. Bohman stood up, and stated that with his training finished, he wanted to challenge Playmaker to a final Duel, who accepted.[94]

Playmaker was ready to fight Bohman, who wanted a more suitable field for their Duel. He waved his hand, warping them to the center of Mirror LINK VRAINS. Using the five Ignises he absorbed into his Duel Disk, Bohman proudly announced his victory, as Playmaker and Ai thought he just made a new Deck. Bohman waved his hand, and used an Ignis algorithm to create a sphere. Ai became angry that Bohman used the powers of Ignis to his advantage as tools. Bohman reminded that they were not tools, but merely part of him, since he was created to absorb them. Just as their Duel began, Playmaker and Ai heard screams of avatars in LINK VRAINS, who were being paralyzed by a beam from the sphere of the Ignis algorithm. Ai had a bad omen as to what may happen, while Playmaker felt the presence of many people, despite him and Bohman being the only ones around. Bohman pointed out that Playmaker had Link Sense, an ability to sense digital presence, which could've made him a great connector between AI and humanity.[95]

Bohman summoned his Link-1 "Hydradrive" monsters, and managed to summon five of them. Ai thought Bohman was filling up the field, since there was no monster with five attributes, nor a Link-5 monster, either. Bohman told Ai he was just thinking about limits, for Bohman aimed to create such a monster. He waved his hand, using a Skill, which caused more people to become paralyzed by the sphere's beam in LINK VRAINS. Ai and Playmaker heard their screams, while Bohman summoned a Data Storm to activate Master Storm Access, creating a card out of his will. Bohman declared that everything was set: using five Link-1 monsters of different Attributes, he performed the eight Link Summon: the Link-5 "Chimera Hydradrive Dragrid". Playmaker and Ai became shocked to see such a powerful 4000 ATK monster, which gained a "Hydradrive Counter". While Ai became distraught at their predicament, Playmaker thought there was some connection with that monster and the screams they just heard. Bohman confirmed those were the people he heard, which were affected by the system he created: Neuron Link. Ai believed Bohman contradicted himself, since he didn't approve of Lightning using Jin as a human shield, and now he just used the lives of many humans to his advantage.[95]

Bohman reminded that Lightning used Jin to prevent Varis from continuing on, while this was just one of his many abilities he was able to use. Ai pointed out that the people he just used were now dead, but Bohman exclaimed that only their consciousness was a part of him, which would reside inside him forever. Ai declared Bohman a dictator since he'd take everyone to let himself as the only being remaining in this world. Bohman simply wanted to unify the world; Ai didn't understand that, but Bohman thought it was a shame that Ai could not understand that. As Bohman ended his turn, he announced he'd take everyone's consciousness in the real life, too, by using the Neuron Link throughout the network. Playmaker thought he could still take down this Link-5 monster, as he Synchro Summoned "Cyberse Quantum Dragon". Ai reminded that the latter can return Bohman's monster during its attack. Bohman anticipated this, claiming their tactics won't work, as he used another Skill. Playmaker and Ai continued hearing the screams of the unconscious avatars, while Bohman announced they would witness a Duel beyond their imaginations.[95]

Playmaker and Ai witnessed as Bohman used Master Storm Access a second time, using the people in LINK VRAINS to summon the Data Storm. Next, Bohman used the effect of "Chimera Hydradrive Dragrid" to remove the Hydradrive Counter and roll a dice. Rolling the WATER Attribute, Bohman returned "Dragrid" and summoned "Chimera Hydradrive Draghead - Aqua". Ai became surprised by the monster's name, while Bohman stated the monster negated all other monsters' effects, which it didn't link to. Bohman anticipated Playmaker's move, stating it was the voices of the people that the Neuron Link had absorbed. In fact, all those people that were absorbed were the ones that admired Playmaker, wanted to challenge him and even analyzed his moves, which allowed Bohman to think ahead. Thus, Bohman deduced those people were Playmaker's enemies in this Duel, too. Ai reminded there was a limited number of people in LINK VRAINS, and should eventually run out of absorbing them all. Bohman denied that because of humanity's curiosity: due to the news, more people started logging in, and were easy targets for the Neuron Link system.[96]

As Playmaker and Ai heard the screams of fallen people, Bohman took his turn and used the power of Master Storm Access a third time. Playmaker braced Ai to destroy this Neuron Link and prevent any more casualties. Bohman thanked Playmaker, but Ai aggressively replied they didn't need his thanks. He wondered if Bohman had a heart, which the latter admitted he did, and contributed its creation to Playmaker, a form which Bohman was developed from. Bohman even permitted Playmaker to surrender, thinking the latter stood no chance against him and promised a place inside himself to let him live happily, and in peace, with no memories of Lost Incident. Ai pointed out those would be fake memories, and Playmaker refused Bohman's "charity", and wanted to fulfil the wishes of his fallen allies. Bohman took his turn by using "Dragrid" effect to roll a dice. This time, he rolled the FIRE Attribute and brought out "Chimera Hydradrive Draghead - Flame", and Ai noted the monster' name. The monster destroyed all other monsters that were not linked to it: "Cyberse Quantum Dragon" was destroyed. Playmaker banished "Cyberse Synchron" from his GY to protect his dragon.[96]

With no other option left, Bohman's "Draghead" attacked and destroyed "Cyberse Quantum Dragon", leaving Playmaker at 2500 LP left. Once more, Bohman swapped his "Draghead" with "Chimera Hydradrive Dragrid" in his Extra Deck. To stop Bohman, Playmaker resolved himself to win this Duel. He set the field with Link Monsters; Bohman thought Playmaker's efforts were futile, but Ai wanted to stop Bohman boasting since he had a Link-5 monster. Using "Linkuriboh", "Clock Wyvern" and "Clock Spartoi" as materials, Playmaker Fusion Summoned "Cyberse Clock Dragon". Sending three cards, up to the number of Link Markers of Link Monsters used as material, Playmaker boosted the dragon's ATK by 3000, up to 5500. Bohman frowned, as Ai announced it was time for him to lose.[96] Ai was confident in their next attack, but Bohman reminded how their strategy with "Cyberse Quantum Dragon" had failed.[97]

Ai knew that Bohman would activate his Skill and attempt to negate their dragon's attack. It was why he believed the Neuron Link should be stopped first. Suddenly, he and Ai were contacted by Faust of the Knights of Hanoi, and explained they'd stop Neuron Link with Ghost Gal and Akira. He suggested to Playmaker that moment to be his perfect opportunity to attack. Bohman proceeded to activate his Skill, but felt a disturbance from Ghost Gal, Akira Zaizen and the Knights of Hanoi. As Faust told Playmaker that Akira and Ghost Gal sacrificed themselves to stop Neuron Link, Bohman got a severe headache. This caused a disturbance in the cyberspace, allowing Playmaker and Ai to see some of the victims. Playmaker and Ai swore to stop Bohman, who played the effect of "Chimera Hydradrive Dragrid". However, he rolled the LIGHT Attribute; Playmaker claimed that even luck has left him, and with no more defenses left, "Cyberse Clock Dragon" destroyed Bohman's monster, and Bohman suffered 1500 LP damage. Ai cheered, as now both sides' LP were equal.[97]

Ai sacrifices himself

Ai sacrifices himself to stop the Neuron Link.

Bohman became furious, noting that Lightning was correct that bond between humans was trouble. However, using hi power, Bohman repaired Neuron Link system, and Playmaker and Ai could not see the victims anymore. Bohman reminded this was his realm, and he could repair the Neuron Link any time. Ai, looking at Neuron Link, swore he would stop Bohman from using it. Much to Playmaker's shock, Ai left his Duel Disk, and went straight into the Neuron Link to stop it. Bohman became surprised, and questioned why would Ai sacrifice himself to help humanity. Ai reminded this was his desire, and Playmaker was already connected to the people that Bohman had absorbed. Ai evaded Neuron Link's bolts, reminding that when Playmaker was alone, he only thought of revenge, but by meeting new friends, he became stronger. It was why Ai believed Playmaker should give his best in defeating Bohman, to honor these friendships. Ai bid Playmaker farewell, as he became absorbed by the Neuron Link.[97] Bohman doubted in Playmaker's victory, who dedicated in Ai's promise. However, Ai reappeared in Playmaker's Duel Disk, as he had made a backup inside Roboppy earlier. In fact, Ai felt a chance he'd disappear, so he made such alterations to ensure his survival, and reminded he had free will to do so. Reminding themselves that the Neuron Link was stopped, but Bohman's Master Storm Access Skill has not, Playmaker decided to finish off Bohman in this turn. Before that, Ai wished to rescue his fellow Ignis from the Neuron Link. Playmaker asked of Ai to return after doing so, considering he had no backups left. Ai thanked Playmaker for those words, and entered the system.[4]

Despite its complexity, Ai reached its core, where he found the other Ignis absorbed. He approached Aqua, who questioned why he came here. Ai stated he had two lives, which made Flame remark he was crazy to enter the Neuron Link, as he had a backup. Ai stopped their talk, and swore to save them, as they were being used to power up Bohman's monster. Ai fired a beam, which did nothing; Lightning explained that they were completely fused with the system, and being compatible with Bohman, he doubted Ai could do anything. Ai refused to believe in that, but Aqua assured him that Bohman was rebuilding the Neuron Link, and Ai would soon be held captive as well. Lightning laughed, as his plan to unify the Ignises as one was near completion. He called upon Bohman, who tried to grasp Ai. Ai evaded his attacks, while Flame reminded Ai to leave, else he'd be trapped, too. Ai exclaimed if he left, the Ignises would be deleted, and believed if he didn't fight, the sacrifices they made would be wasted. Aqua, Flame, Earth and Windy lent Ai their powers, surprising Lightning, whom Aqua told that Ai's powers surpassed his. Lightning was forced to lend his power, too, which molded with the rest into Ai, needed to defeat Bohman. Ai still wanted to find a way to save the Ignis, but Flame reminded that they have forgotten that they weren't immortal, and their moment to pass away has come. Ai was annoyed at his words, but Flame reminded that he merely spoke the truth. Lightning claimed Ai didn't understand the truth, who left, after Aqua and Flame ordered him to do so. Before the Ignis vanished, Lightning knew it was Ai who would have to decide which path he'll take.[4]

Later, Ai returned to Playmaker, heartbroken that he could not save the Ignis, which have molded with Bohman. Still, he passed the power he obtained from the other Ignis to Playmaker. Bohman noted that Ai has escaped him, and swore to absorb him once the Duel was over. Ai promised he'd take revenge on Bohman for hurting his friends, who was amused by his fiery spirit. Bohman still reminded of all the effects he had, and wondered if Playmaker could even defeat his monster. Playmaker exclaimed he had the powers of the Ignis, and declared this to be his final turn, as he drew a card. In fact, Playmaker swarmed his field, all to set up the summon of the power of the Ignis, in form of a monster, the Link-5 "Firewall Dragon Darkfluid". Bohman could not comprehend why Playmaker had a Link-5 monster, if the only monster of such Link Rating was the one he had created. Ai exclaimed this was the representation of the power of the Ignis, who shared it with Ai. Playmaker placed 4 counters on "Firewall Dragon Darkfluid", one for each different monster type - Ritual, Fusion, Synchro and Xyz. It went to attack, gaining 2500 ATK for each counter it had, summing its ATK to 13000. While Bohman removed a counter to protect "Perfectron Hydradrive Dragon", Playmaker removed a counter from his dragon to let it attack, which displayed visions of the Ignis.[4]

Bohman's eyes widened, as Ai noted that he realized he ended up in a loop he could not escape from, a power created from his friends. Bohman gritted his teeth, seeing Playmaker had realized the dragon's power so quickly. Playmaker replied that bonds transcend evolution, and the voices of his allies had guided him to this strategy. Bohman used up his final counter to protect "Protectron Hydradrive Dragon", which caused its ATK to be reduced to zero. Playmaker also removed the final counter from "Firewall Dragon Darkfluid", reducing its ATK to its original 3000 value, but letting it attack one final time. With no counters left, Bohman was left vulnerable for the finishing move of "Firewall Dragon Darkfluid", "Neo Tempest End". With 2500 LP remaining, Bohman was defeated; he only remembered his brother, Haru, as he listened to his heart, of which Playmaker spoke of. Ai praised Playmaker, as did Bohman, who was severely hurt. The latter noted that Playmaker had a future he was not aware of, and stated that Ai has closed the future of the Ignis, by siding with humanity. He hoped that Ai does not regret that, and bidded farewell to his ultimate rival, Playmaker. Ai and Playmaker vanished, as they were warped away to LINK VRAINS. Ai noted that they won. Playmaker nodded, but stated the cost was too high, with unconscious victims lying around.[4]

Season Three

Ai cried that their friends didn't make it in the end. However, sparkles started to fall down in the cyberspace, causing everyone that had been fallen unconscious to wake up. Ai realized that Bohman freed everyone's consciousness; in fact, Soulburner appeared right in front of them. Seeing Ai and Playmaker, Soulburner realized that they had defeated Bohman. They were joined by Blue Maiden, Ghost Gal and Akira Zaizen. The group watched as the Mirror LINK VRAINS faded, seeing it was truly over. Soulburner asked if they had saved Flame, to which Ai apologized to him and Blue Maiden, as they were unable to rescue the Ignis. Soon after that, Ai left Yusaku.[98] Later, Ai was doing some research as a human, and thought of Lighting's words before the rest of the Ignis passed away.[1]

Ai and Roboppy in front of the Ignises Graves

Ai visits the Ignis graveyard with Roboppy.

Sometime later, Ai and Roboppy, in their human-like forms, mourned in the remains of Cyberse World over a digital graveyard, commemorating the five fallen Ignis.[98] As he continued mourning, he was called by Roboppy to join him and Linguriboh. Ai looked at the Ignis' graves, and the fallen Ignis that he had made his decision. Later, they stowawayed on SOL Technologies' ship, and hacked into two SOLtiS androids to take their place. Roboppy explained he did hack the ship's system, so their activity won't get them into trouble. As the two walked away, Roboppy exclaimed his gratefulness that Ai turned his into this. Ai stated his backup affected Roboppy as well. However, he didn't expect Roboppy to acquire free will, too. Roboppy simply stated that he got smarter, and exclaimed how great it felt to be free, and to have this body. Ai noted how lucky it was to have encountered something as useful as that, which SOL Technologies was selling. The two went to the casino, which Roboppy claimed looked like an amusement park. Ai described it as place where humans bet their money to gain even more. Roboppy thought humans were dumb to play games like these, but Ai reminded him that he said dumb was a bad word. The latter simply stated a good boy could say stuff like that.[1]

Roboppy spun the slots, and won the jackpot. However, he apologized to Ai, for they were gaining attention, which could cause them to get discovered. Ai didn't mind much, for they could live however they wanted without any worries. His hand glew, causing all the machines to break the jackpot, which amazed Roboppy. However, Ai became disinterested and left. The two went to the VIP room, hacked the door and found Queen. Queen became alarmed as she woke up, finding Ai, the DARK Ignis, and Roboppy. Queen remembered that Ai disappeared after the clash with Bohman, and wondered what he was doing in human form. Ai stated he shed his past look, to take over the company using Queen's code key, as well as to get revenge for what she did to the EARTH Ignis. He decided to give her a chance in a Duel, and touched her brow, activating a program. The two found themselves in cyberspace, looking like the stage on SOL Technologies' ship. Roboppy supported Ai, who told him to be quiet. Queen thought of Ai as an arrogant program, and braced herself for the Duel.[1]

On her first turn, Queen summoned her "Allure Queen" LV3, LV 5 and two copies of LV7, and played some Spell Cards. Using LV3, 5 and 7 "Allure Queen", she Link Summoned "Golden Allure Queen", who gained 2500 ATK from "Allure Palace" and "Allure Queen LV7", through its own effect. Queen exclaimed should Ai attack, his monsters would get destroyed in battle instead by "Golden Allure Queen". Ai's eyes widened, as he noted that "Allure Dance" forced him to attack "Golden Allure Queen". Roboppy supported Ai, who noted he was in trouble, seeing that Queen had set a lot of defenses up. Queen boasted about her abilities, but Ai told her not to underestimate him, thinking it'll be easy to break through these defenses. Playing "Ignister AiLand", Ai Special Summoned "Pikari @Ignister", and used it to Link Summon "Linguriboh". He used his Field Spell to summon "Bururu @Ignister", then Normal Summoned "Doyon @Ignister", whose effect let him add "Pikari @Ignister" back to his hand. Using the three monsters, Ai Link Summoned "Dark Templar @Ignister". As he Special Summoned "Pikari @Ignister" to the zone the "Templar" pointed to, the latter Special Summoned "Doyon" and "Bururu @Ignister" from the GY.[1]

Tuning the latter two, Ai Synchro Summoned "Wind Pegasus @Ignister". Using its effect, Ai Special Summoned "Doyon @Ignister", and overlayed it and "Pikari" to Xyz Summon "Light Dragon @Ignister". Queen was unphased, comparing Ai's 2300 ATK monsters with her 5000 ATK "Golden Allure Queen". Ai made her doubt these words, as "Wind Pegasus" destroyed Queen's "Allure Palace" and "Dance" Spell Cards, since he had three "@Ignister" monsters, which dropped the ATK of "Golden Allure Queen" to 4000. Next, Ai detached an Overlay Unit from "Light Dragon", destroying the two "Allure Queens". Queen became shocked how easily Ai emptied her field. With no monsters left, Queen was struck by the attack of "Wind Pegasus". Queen refused to be defeated, as the top of SOL Technologies. Despite Master Duel rules being in effect, Queen used her Honey Trap Skill. Roboppy pointed out that was cheating, but Queen silenced him, stating that she made the rules in here. She regained the LP she lost, and set a Trap that he could play in the same turn. She set "Drowning Mirror Force", but Ai was disappointed that's all what her Skill did. He tributed "Wind Pegasus" to Special Summon "Linguriboh" from his GY. The "Light Dragon" went to attack, so the Queen played "Drowning Mirror Force" to shuffle all of Ai's monsters back into his Extra Deck.[1]

However, Ai simply tributed "Linguriboh" to negate that effect and banish the card. With direct attacks from "Light Dragon" and "Dark Templar", Queen was defeated. Ai showed this was an easy victory, as he had proclaimed.[1] Ai and Roboppy left a message to Akira Zaizen, how they defeated Queen, and even revealed their identities. Ai threatened to attack Akira in three days and take his keycard. He felt a bit sorry that Akira recently became the top executive, but announced he'd see him soon. Later, Ai and Roboppy were flying in "Linguriboh"-shaped vessel through cyberspace. Roboppy showed there were many people that logged in the system, but Playmaker was not among them. Ai had his doubts, as Playmaker appeared on their radar. Ai knew nothing could start without Playmaker, so Ai and Roboppy went on their D-Boards to defeat everybody.[99]

Ai noted that Akira deployed a lot of people to protect him. Roboppy was concerned that they were greatly outnumbered. Ai claimed everyone had better ratings than Roboppy, and explained that they were simply better Duelists. He didn't think Playmaker was good enough, because most of the time Ai was with him to support him. Ai assumed himself to be way atop the other Duelists, while Roboppy to be far underneath Playmaker himself. Roboppy took offense, but Ai pointed out that he had no Dueling experience. To correct that, Ai explained there were many strong opponents for him to battle. Roboppy felt inspired, and the two rode away to start their plan. A moment later, Playmaker ran into Ai, who happily greeted his former partner. Playmaker asked Ai what he attacked humans, since he had wanted coexistence. Ai replied it was a dream that couldn't come true; because he's the last Ignis, he decided to carry on Lightning's plans. Playmaker reminded Ai that Lightning's ego made him an enemy to humanity, but the latter had made his decision, feeling he was responsible for the other Ignises' deaths. Playmaker tried to tell him that wasn't true, that he tried to save Flame and Aqua. Ai rebutted that he didn't, and saw no difference between having no choice or erasing them. In the end, he had to live as an Ignis, much to Playmaker's sadness.[100]

However, Ai met up not only with Playmaker, but with Varis and Soulburner at the same time. Ai thought that Soulburner hated him for failing to save Flame, and blamed himself for his deletion. Soulburner replied that he does not hate Ai, and reminded that Flame wouldn't want Ai to be fighting them. Ai simply stated there was no way to know that, since Flame was not around to say that. Ai also confronted Varis, expressing his amusement to see Varis helping SOL Technologies. Varis simply stated it was his destiny to fight and delete Ai, who smiled, explaining it wouldn't be fun to take away that destiny. Since neither of the three knew which was the real Ai, the trio started a Duel against Ai's copies. Ai played "Ignister AiLand" to swarm his field, Link Summoning "Fire Phoenix @Ignister" against all three opponents. Ai also played "AiAi Wall" to make both sides unable to conduct their Battle Phase for three turns, also the time increases if his opponent Link Summons a monster. Soulburner was annoyed that Ai used the tactic against him, whereas Varis muttered it was a lockdown. The latter also realized Ai wanted to stall them, and Ai complimented "Professor Varis" for that observation.[100]

The real Ai defeated Baira and Dr. Genome. As he went towards Akira Zaizen, he confronted Faust, who swore he wouldn't let him pass, even at the cost of his life.[100]



According to Ai, he is disliked by his own kind, which is explained to be because he was lazy and didn't do his duties like the rest of them. Despite this, he still considers them his friends and wishes to see them again. He worries deeply about them when he finds a desolated Cyberse. Other than his annoyance to the others, Ai was on good terms with the other Ignis, caring about each other in a sibling-like relationship, until the events of the second attack on Cyberse. He later expressed anger at Bohman after he acquired the power of the other 5 Ignis, claiming that his friends weren't Bohman's tools. Ai was heartbroken in having to leave his friends to be absorbed by Bohman, to the point that he even shed tears for them. Ai was left in grief after the loss of all his friends and made graves for each of them as a final tribute to them. The loss of his friends caused Ai to drastically change and turn against his former allies. Ai also harbours intense guilt about his friends' demise, believing he is the reason that they are gone and he was unable to save them.

  • Flame: Ai is very surprised to have received contact from Flame. Despite Ai's claim to be disliked, they interact as if they are old colleagues that know each other well, even referring to each other by the names they chose/were given. Ai is immediately on board with helping Flame and Takeru find the other four Ignis. The two tend to bicker with each other time to time, but their arguments quickly end and they usually agree in discussions. They also agree that coexistence with humanity is possible and work together to stop Lightning's plan. Among the Ignis, Ai appears to be the closest to Flame, as their relationship seems to be akin to that of brothers, despite their constant condensation towards each other, they genuinely care for each other. Ai was visibly distraught at Flame's demise. Ai was also angered when Bohman summoned Chimera Hydradrive Draghead - Flame.
  • Windy: When Ai reunited with Windy, he was not pleased with his prank. Ai appeared to have his plan for rebuilding Cyberse World, but he chose to continue looking for Bohman and the other Ignis. Ai points out to "Linkuriboh" that the two don't generally get along. Windy appears to be the least close toward Ai, stating had been hanging around humans too long, as he no longer spoke Ignis. He said he hated how slow Ai was at figuring things out. Ai was shocked when Windy called up a Data Storm so he and Lightning could absorb and rewrite his programming. He tried to convince Windy that Ignis and humans could coexist, but the Wind Ignis called it a waste of time. Ai was horrified to learn that Windy had caused an accident on his own partner from the Lost Incident. Despite everything, he couldn't stand to watch the Knights of Hanoi destroy Windy, and called out to Lightning to save their friend. Ai did not appear to be concerned about Windy's demise but recognized that his demise was Lightning's fault. Later, it was revealed that Windy's malevolence was because of Lightning reprogramming him, in which Ai seemed to feel pity for Windy, realizing that he was simply another victim of Lightning's actions. Ai even stated that at one point in the past, Windy was easy to talk to. Windy is actually a representation of what Ai could have been like had Lightning been able to reprogram him as well. Windy gave the last of his power to Ai to stop Bohman, showing his true faith in his friend. Although Ai doesn't show Windy the same amount of care and concern as some of the other Ignis, he still made a grave marker for Windy, out of respect for his fallen friend.
  • Earth: Earth appears to be closer to Ai than some of the other Ignis, as Ai happily hugs Earth upon their reunion and even names him "Earth". Ai understands that Earth is weak in social skills and even admits his own lack of social skills. However, Earth himself sees Ai as a rival for Aqua's attention, even confronting him to not go near Aqua anymore. When Earth Dueled against Gore, Ai believed strongly that Earth would win. But when he was defeated and captured, Ai was distraught and vowed to save his fellow Ignis. When Varis informed him and Yusaku of Earth's demise, Ai started crying and expressed hatred that SOL Technologies destroyed his beloved comrade. Among the Ignis's demises, Ai appeared the most hurt at Earth's demise. Ai eventually gets revenge for Earth by dueling Queen, crushing her in a OTK and rendering her unconscious and putting her in critical state. Ai also duels Gore and bears strong resentment towards him for Earth's death, showing that Ai is closest to Earth out of all his fellow Ignis.
  • Aqua: When it comes to Aqua, the Ignis' sub-leader, the two have a rocky relationship. Most of Ai's description of his kind disliking him mostly stems from his interactions with Aqua, in which his more relaxed and mischievous behavior irritates her and gets him in trouble. Despite this, the two still care about each other and support one another. When Windy accused Aqua of being a spy, Ai defended her by saying she wanted peace more than the other Ignis. He was very happy when he met Aqua again. After she was absorbed by Bohman, Ai was devastated and demanded the latter face him. Ai later seemed troubled when Bohman summoned Chimera Hydradrive Draghead - Aqua.
  • Lightning: Ai describes Lightning as a cool, calm, and collected leader, though he has a hard time understanding what he's thinking. Among the Ignis, Lightning seems to be the most respectful towards Ai, even calling him the wisest of the Ignis. Ai was shocked when Lightning decided to rebuild Cyberse World and rule over humans. He rejected the offer, believing it was still possible to live in peace with humanity. Despite saying Ai gave a wise answer, he still tried to take over Ai's programming. When Ai finds out that Lightning destroyed Cyberse World, he and Flame were enraged and driven to stop him. Lightning is shown to have an interest in Ai, believing he is a special AI, due to his instinct, even modelling his creation, Bohman, after Ai and his partner Playmaker. Ai was furious with Lightning for blackmailing Kolter and even more so when the Light Ignis mocked Playmaker's pain from losing his friend. Ai's anger towards Lightning reached its peak after Lightning's past crimes were exposed. Following the revelations, Ai was enraged at Lightning's selfishness, as well as his apathy towards the demise of their fellow Ignis, realizing how truly evil Lightning really is. This is pushed even further when Ai learned that Lightning reprogrammed Windy and was the cause behind his evil as well, as well as the curse that destroyed Flame and Windy. Ai was disgusted, showing regret at how the Ignis has chosen Lightning as their leader. Lightning is the opposite of Ai, with regards to their personalities and views on humanity, which adds to the fact that they were once friends, but now bitter enemies. Despite everything, Ai still made a grave marker for Lightning to honor him. Ai later decided to carry on Lightning's wishes and became the enemy of humanity.


Linkuriboh is Ai's personal Cyberse monster. The two of them would hang out together, going on walks and staring at the stars of Cyberse. Linkuriboh was the only creature Ai found in the desolated Cyberse and they share a happy reunion, showing how close the two are. Ai brings Linkuriboh along to VRAINS and cheers to his Cyberse friend on whenever Yusaku Link Summons him. Despite this close relationship, Ai left Linkuriboh behind with Yusaku and replaced him with Linguriboh.

Yusaku Fujiki/Playmaker

Ai was modeled after Yusaku during the Hanoi Project. Being trapped in Yusaku's Duel Disk, Ai somewhat reluctantly acts as Playmaker's Duel AI for the sake of staying safe from Hanoi and SOL Technologies. Ai offers frequent support and pulls mischievous acts and jokes on Yusaku, but he originally treats Ai as a hostage and is sometimes rude towards him. Yusaku gave it the nickname "Ai" (a pun on "A.I." and "eye"), much to his annoyance. Although he does grow to love the name later on. Despite the rockiness of their relationship, Ai seems to have gradually warmed up to Yusaku and is keen on treating him like a friend, though the feeling is not mutual. In the original, Ai occasionally calls Yusaku "Playmaker-sama" when they duel or if he feels like he's in trouble.

Their relationship takes a drastic change during their second confrontation against Varis, as the two were forced to work together to overcome him. Despite being treated in a hostage-captor relationship, he sacrificed himself (even though he did return) in order to allow Yusaku to use his skill without becoming injured in the Data Storm. From this point onward, Yusaku views Ai in a far more favorable light.

When Ryoken revealed that the Ignis are likely to rebel against mankind in the future, Yusaku refused to believe those claims and continued to believe that Ai isn't evil. Once Varis was defeated and the Knights of Hanoi disbanded, Yusaku did not hesitate to release Ai and let him return to Cyberse. Ai did return to Yusaku's Duel Disk in order to inform him of the disaster that fell on Cyberse.

The two now talk and address each other in much more friendlier terms. Although Yusaku states that being a hostage suits Ai, he does give him more respect and shows concern when the AI ate the anti-Ignis program. Ai is now also more cooperative with Yusaku, cheering for him following his second duel with Bohman. In episode 60, Ai refers to Yusaku as his best friend.

Ai has a habit of mimicking Playmaker's movements when the later Duels, showing how close he is to his partner. Ai also shows genuine concern for Yusaku in circumstances, as seen when he asked about him to Takeru when he noticed Yusaku wasn't with him. He even tells Earth that their bond is why Ai fights for humans. Ai immediately goes back to Playmaker's Duel Disk after he was freed from Windy's trap, showing how much he trusts him. The Ignis also reveals that he and Playmaker are linked to each other by the latter's Link Sense, giving them a deeper connection. After watching the video footage of SOL Technologies terminating Earth, Yusaku shows genuine kindness towards Ai by telling him that he and Kolter can create a place for the Ignis to live peacefully on their own, showing how much he cares for Ai. Yusaku has even indirectly referred to Ai as a part of himself, although he denies it. Ai was very worried for Yusaku after he passed out and angrily defends him against Lightning's taunts and was very happy when he woke up.

Although he does not forwardly show it, Yusaku shows concern for Ai whenever the Ignis is hurt or missing. It is later revealed that the two are connected by their Link Sense, showing that the two have a deep connection with each other, this is shown during their 4th duel with Bohman in which both of them heard the screaming of the victims in LINK VRAINS. Ai's loyalty to Yusaku brings him to sacrifice himself to fully destroy the Neuron Link. He tells Playmaker to not be afraid to make bonds, as they made him stronger, and to save LINK VRAINS before he makes contact with the Neuron Link. When Ai returned, thanks to his backup he gave Roboppy, Playmaker smiled. As Ai was about to go inside Bohman to save the other Ignis, Playmaker told him to come back. Hearing those words made Ai happy.

Despite having vastly different personalities, Ai and Yusaku are quite similar, as they are both individuals who care deeply for their friends/allies, they both have a firm sense of justice and both were willing to make sacrifices to ensure the safety of others. This further enforces the fact that the two of them are truly partners.

Yusaku was hurt and confused when he learned of Ai's attack on SOL Technologies. He was conflicted as to fight his Ignis or not, as he still wanted to trust Ai after all they had been through together. He eventually decided to join the fight, feeling it was his duty as Ai's partner to stop his criminal acts. In contrast, Ai didn't seem to be bothered at the idea of having to fight his former partner and ally. Despite this, he still seems to retain somewhat of a soft spot towards his Origin, as seen when one of his copies greets Playmaker in an overall amiable way, or at least one with no hostility. Playmaker, in turn, shows sadness for Ai after seeing that Ai was deeply impacted by the loss of his friends and was putting the blame on himself for their demise, but still vowed to stop and save Ai.

Cal Kolter

Both Ai and Kolter are shown to be on good terms with each other unlike Yusaku. Kolter is generally shown to be very friendly with Ai, often being the one to praise Ai. Ai also encourages Kolter as seen when Kolter was recalling how he met Yusaku. However, Ai can be annoyed with him at times as seen when Kolter made him hold up a Café Nom sign while flying around in his drone. Nonetheless, Ai genuinely cares for Kolter, showing concern for him whenever he sees Jin being controlled by Lightning. When Kolter is blackmailed into Dueling Playmaker, Ai didn't know what to do. After Kolter was defeated, Ai mourned his friend and absorbed his data to keep him close. Kolter appeared shocked that Ai had turned against him and his allies.


The two appeared to have some sort of romantic relationship early on, but Roboppy refers to Ai as "Big Bro". Roboppy appears to look up him and Ai in return praises her when she does something right. He uses their relationship to his advantage to convince her to set him free and promises he would make her smarter. The two exchange conversations whenever Yusaku leaves Ai at the apartment and the Ignis has had Roboppy modified Yusaku's Duel Disk to transform into a drone with his own will. It is also shown that they like to scroll through the internet and watch soap operas together. Before going into Mirror LINK VRAINS, Ai gave Roboppy a backup program, asking her to live up to his expectations. Ai later fully recruits Roboppy after his backup program causes her to gain free will and develop a human form.

Robppy tags along with Ai when they go somewhere, and Ai is usually having to tell Roboppy to not talk so much, just like how Yusaku used to tell him. However, he has shown to be patient with her as she has just gained free will and not fully knowledgeable of the outside world, presenting their interaction as a real brothe-sibling relationship.

Ryoken Kogami

For five years, Ai had been on the run from Varis who was attempting to destroy the Ignis. Ai showed anger towards him for attacking his home and destroying most of his body. He later got revenge by eating Varis's arm which also allowed him to regenerate. When Ryoken revealed his father's simulations that the Ignis would wipe out humanity, Ai defended himself saying he did not want to and only wanted to return home to his friends. However, since Ai is capable of lying, Ryoken didn't believe him. This was before Ryoken discovered that Lightning was the source of evil, so at the time, he viewed all Ignis as a threat.

In the second season, the two are on more neutral grounds. Varis inadvertently saved Ai when Lightning and Windy were about to overwrite his programming. Ai was still uncertain to trust the Hanoi leader since he still wanted to annihilate the Ignis, but after Varis gave him and Yusaku a program to protect them, he began warming up to Varis and was willing to work together to defeat Lightning's group. This is seen when he defended him when the other members of his team were sceptical and playfully teased Varis for fearing Lightning's power. Varis, in turn, was friendly towards Ai, asking Ai directly what free will was while explaining Lightning's sin and how Windy was reprogrammed to be evil, even teasing Ai for being the lazy Ignis. Ai even cheered Varis on against the Light Ignis. When Varis lost, Ai told him he fought well and was touched when Varis called him by his name for the first time before being turned to data. Ai was saddened by Varis's apparent death, along with their other fallen allies after the fight with Bohman was over.


Initially, Bohman and Ai had little interaction with each other. However, it was later revealed that Bohman was a third generation AI modelled after Ai and his partner Playmaker. During their third encounter, Bohman adressed Ai with respect and wanted to acquire him from Playmaker. During the third duel between Playmaker and Bohman, Bohman revealed that he destroyed the Cyberse World just to spite Ai, which worked. Bohman realized that Ai had something he lacked: instinct and claimed that Ai truly is a special AI. Ai appears to harbor immense hostility towards Bohman for destroying his homeworld. This hostility only grew as Bohman absorbed Aqua, this enraged Ai who immediately challenged Bohman and wanted to fight him. In the fourth duel between Bohman and Playmaker, Ai was incredibly angered at Bohman using the power of his fellow Ignis and was further appalled by Bohman's actions in creating the Neuron Link. Ai later expressed anger at Bohman for harming his friends and vowed never to forgive him. After Bohman's defeat, he told Ai that he had closed the Ignis future. Ai showed no hostility to Bohman after his defeat.


During Season 3, Ai uses an "@Ignister" Deck, which focuses on swarming the field with different "@Ignister" monsters so they can use removal effects equal to the number of "@Ignisters" they control. It is capable of Ritual, Fusion, Synchro and Xyz Summoning, making Ai the first Ignis to incorporate summoning methods other than Link Summons.

Unlike the other Ignis Decks, which just use one Attribute, Ai's Deck uses the others as well. This is possibly to honor the other Ignis.


Opponent Episode(s) Outcome
Queen 104 Win
Dr. Genome 106 Win
Baira/Clarissa Turner 106 Win
Faust/Aso 106-107 Win
Specter 107 Win
George Gore/The Gore 107-108 TBA


  • Ai has the following distinctions from the other Ignis:
    • He is the only one to be named by a human.
    • He is the only one whose name does not relate to his corresponding Attribute.
    • He is the only one not to be absorbed by Bohman.
    • He is the only one whose personal Deck was not revealed in Season 2.
    • He is the only one who Dueled on his own to use an older model Duel Disk.
    • He is the only one to have used a Summoning method other than Link Summoning, as well as use more than one Attribute.
  • While partnerships are common among protagonists, Yusaku and Ai's relationship is somewhat different. Most of the time, the spirit or non-human partner has a more serious nature. However, in this case, Ai is more easy going, friendly, and eager to crack jokes.
  • Ai shares a similar relationship with Yusaku as Astral's relationship with Yuma Tsukumo.
    • Both pairs are the respective protagonists of their series.
    • In the beginning, Yusaku and Yuma respectively disregard their partner's humor/advice.
      • Although, Yusaku and Ai are reverse personalities unlike Yuma and Astral.
    • After a while they come to see each other as valuable friends and their trust is constantly tested.
      • Ironically, Ai also has similarities with Astral; sharing a similar style of hair/head and both having yellow eyes (though for Astral, it is only the left eye).
    • Similar to both Astral and Yami Yugi, Ai claimed he lost his memories after he was attacked by "Cracking Dragon." This was later proven untrue, however.
      • Also, all three have names that begin with "A" (Yami's real name being Atem).
      • Ai being the Dark Ignis could relate to Yami Yugi (Dark Yugi).
      • Unlike Yami Yugi and Astral, Ai uses the same pronoun as his partner.
  • Ai is one of two Ignis to use a pronoun other than "watashi" in the Japanese version (in his case, "ore"); the other being Windy. In addition, both are the only Ignis to have their Code IDs revealed.
  • Ai is one of two Ignis that Varis has referred to by their human name; the other being Lightning.
  • Ai is the second partner of the main protagonist to become an antagonist; the first being Yubel. However, he is the first to do so after becoming the protagonist's partner.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 104: "Declaring a Crime"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 43: "The Reveal"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 68: "The Doorway"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 102: "Entrusted Wishes"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 45: "Standing Tall"
  6. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 50: "A Common Cause"
  7. 7.0 7.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 11: "Neutralized"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 41: "Truth and Consequences"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 96: "Lightning's Crime"
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 66: "Contact"
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 67: "Choosing Sides"
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 73: "Weathering the Storm"
  13. 13.0 13.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 1: "Link into the VRAINS"
  14. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 2: "Seize the Wind!"
  15. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 3: "Contact"
  16. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 4: "Pain and Gain"
  17. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 6: "True Blue"
  18. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 7: "Fallen Angel"
  19. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 8: "A Storm is Coming"
  20. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 9: "Malicious Mayhem"
  21. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 10: "Eye of the Storm"
  22. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 12: "Link the Circuit"
  23. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 13: "Playback"
  24. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 14: "An Invitation"
  25. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 15: "Camouflaged Chaos"
  26. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 16: "Hack Attack"
  27. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 17: "Blue's Back!"
  28. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 18: "Dueling for Answers"
  29. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 19: "The Lost Incident"
  30. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 20: "A Piece of the Puzzle"
  31. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 21: "Story Time"
  32. 32.0 32.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 22: "The Deleted"
  33. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 23: "A Grim Tale"
  34. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 24: "To Gore Or Not To Gore"
  35. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 25: "Suture the Circuit"
  36. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 26: "Diagnosis: Deletion"
  37. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 27: "The Brave Battler"
  38. 38.0 38.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 28: "Bugging Out"
  39. 39.0 39.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 30: "Under VRAINS"
  40. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 31: "Showdown in the Sewers"
  41. 41.0 41.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 32: "Tower of Hanoi"
  42. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 33: "Once Upon a Time"
  43. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 34: "Roots of Evil"
  44. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 35: "The Hollow"
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 36: "A Bridge Too Far"
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 37: "Out on a Limb"
  47. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 39: "Ring the Bell"
  48. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 40: "Gore at War"
  49. 49.0 49.1 49.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 42: "Storm Access"
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 44: "Illusion of Hope"
  51. 51.0 51.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 46: "Link to the Future"
  52. 52.0 52.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 47: "LINK VRAINS 2.0"
  53. 53.0 53.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 48: "Shed Some Light"
  54. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 49: "Bring the Heat"
  55. 55.0 55.1 55.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 50: "A Common Cause"
  56. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 51: "Bounty Hunting"
  57. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 52: "Tapping Out"
  58. 58.0 58.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 53: "The Shepherd"
  59. 59.0 59.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 54: "Game of Drones"
  60. 60.0 60.1 60.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 55: "A Windy Welcome"
  61. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 56: "Blue Gal Battles!"
  62. 62.0 62.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 57: "Bohman Returns"
  63. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 60: "Sidekick Showdown"
  64. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 61: "Darkness Dawns"
  65. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 62: "Fearing the Worst"
  66. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 63: "Scare Tactics"
  67. 67.0 67.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 64: "The Beginning"
  68. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 65: "Pieces of the Puzzle"
  69. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 69: "Coexistence"
  70. 70.0 70.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 71: "A Logical Decision"
  71. 71.0 71.1 71.2 71.3 71.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 72: "Strategy Shift"
  72. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 74: "Brain Hack"
  73. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 75: "Earthfall"
  74. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 76: "Awakened Memories"
  75. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 77: "A Family Reunion"
  76. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 78: "From One Hunter To Another"
  77. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 80: "Lightning Strikes"
  78. 78.0 78.1 78.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 81: "Heart of Darkness"
  79. 79.0 79.1 79.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 82: "Gored"
  80. 80.0 80.1 80.2 80.3 80.4 80.5 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 83: "Reaching Out"
  81. 81.0 81.1 81.2 81.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 84: "Payback"
  82. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 85: "My Brother’s Keeper"
  83. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 86: "The Weakest Link"
  84. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 87: "The Ultimate Connection"
  85. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 88: "A Breezy Battle"
  86. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 89: "Fan the Flames"
  87. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 90: "For a Friend"
  88. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 91: "From the Heart"
  89. 89.0 89.1 89.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 92: "Fight with a Friend"
  90. 90.0 90.1 90.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 93: "Promise With Each Other"
  91. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 94: "Raging Soul"
  92. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 95: "Radiance of the Phoenix"
  93. 93.0 93.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 97: "Ignis Unification Plan"
  94. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 98: "The AI that Crossed the Line"
  95. 95.0 95.1 95.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 99: "Door to the New World"
  96. 96.0 96.1 96.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 100: "Twisted Utopia"
  97. 97.0 97.1 97.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 101: "Unwavering Instinct"
  98. 98.0 98.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 103: "Journey to the End"
  99. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 105: "Intercept"
  100. 100.0 100.1 100.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 106: "Good Luck, Roboppy!!"
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