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I made a decision. To take a new step forward with Flame.

— Takeru Homura[1]

Takeru Homura (むら たける, Homura Takeru) is one of the main characters in season two of the Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS anime. In LINK VRAINS, he is known as Soulburner (ソウルバーナー, Sōrubānā). He was a victim of the Hanoi Project, and is in possession of Flame, the Fire Ignis.

Design

Appearance

Takeru

Takeru is a fair-skinned young man. He has white hair with red highlights and blue eyes. He wears a green framed glasses and he usually wears the standard Den City High School uniform. His uniform consists of a slate colored jacket with light blue trim, a white dress shirt with a pink necktie, black pants, and brown shoes.

As Soulburner in LINK VRAINS, he removes his spectacles and his eyes turn gold. His hair becomes slightly longer and his central bangs reverse direction and become more angular. The upper layer of his hair becomes turquoise, while the bottom layer and his eyebrows both become blue and more prominent. His bangs become red; the framing bangs are shot through with orange, while the central bang turns orange. Soulburner wears a grey jumpsuit patterned with orange flames licking the limbs, red rib sections, and a yellow arrowhead shape running down his chest with a triangular aquamarine gem in the center. He has red shoulder-pads, greaves, and a gauntlet on his left hand and an elbow-guard on his right arm, which is bare to the wrist. Soulburner wears gloves with a similar basic design; the one on his right hand is a fingerless red glove with orange knuckles and a square-shaped section missing from the back of the hand, and the one on his left is black, with red knuckles and a red patch on the back of his hand. He also wears red boots with grey, orange-lined tongues and orange soles. Soulburner wears an unusual scarf around his neck that appears to "flicker"; small sections either hover separately as if they were attached or are constantly emitted. The scarf is able to appear and disappear accordingly, similar to a D-Board.

Before moving to Den City, Takeru wore a white hoodie with yellow highlights over a black shirt, as well as white pants with black and white shoes. He also sported a different hairstyle, having his hair gelled backwards.

As a child, Takeru wore a white shirt with a blue jacket, and had his present day haircut.

Personality

True to his persona, Takeru is a fiery passionate duelist who views dueling as a way to regain himself, after losing a part of himself because of the experiments done to him by the Hanoi Knights. He is brave, smart and fierce during duels, but regrets that he did not go after the Hanoi Knights like Playmaker did. Even though he knows that the Hanoi Knights are gone, Takeru sees Sol Technologies as being equally culpable to the suffering caused by the Hanoi Project. As a result, Takeru has a deep hatred towards the Hanoi Project for causing the death of his parents, even going as far as blindly challenging Varis to a duel despite the latter's genuine interest in working together.

Takeru views The Gore, Blue Angel and Playmaker as heroes for stopping the Tower of Hanoi, and respects them, to the point where he learned their real world identities (even though he is bad at programming and hacking). He becomes thrilled when he gets to Duel them, regardless of their intentions. Occasionally, Takeru shows a lack of confidence in himself and what he is doing, so he counts on Flame to give him advice on his next move.

After moving to Den City, Takeru has become polite and less rude. As a result of his torturous experience on the Hanoi Project, Takeru had a crippling fear of "Despair from the Dark" a monster that would regularly cause him nightmarish times, both figuratively and literally and that became the symbol of every torment he endured. Thanks to Flame, he was able to overcome his trauma and no longer daunted by the Zombie-Type Monster.

Takeru has also shown to have a sense of justice as he vowed to defeat Windy in order to avenge his partner and when he promised to defeat Bohman and Lightning to avenge Kolter.

Abilities

When in a Speed Duel, Takeru's Skill is "Burning Draw". This Skill reduces his Life Points to 100, but allows him to draw a card for every 1000 Life Points he sacrifices. Using this ability puts noticeable strain on Soulburner's body, as noted by Flame. Just like the other victims of the Lost Incident Takeru has a special connection to his Ignis Flame and that ability has yet to be seen. Additionally, when in Link VRAINS, he displays pyrokinetic abilities, such as his eyes igniting, or generating a stream of fire with Burning Draw.

He is revealed to have been well-trained in Judo, Jujitsu, and Aikido by his grandfather.

Biography

History

Young Takeru after getting rescued

Young Takeru after getting rescued.

Takeru in Lost Incident

Takeru suffers electrocution during the Lost Incident.

Takeru was one of the six kidnapped children, who were kidnapped for the Hanoi Project. The children were used to create the Ignis,[2][3] but the project took a toll on Takeru, who greatly suffered from intense Dueling,[4] and after facing a "Despair from the Dark" that brutally attacked him,[5][1] he swore he'd never Duel again.[6]

Young Takeru learning about his Parents death

Young Takeru learning about his parents death.

After six months in captivity, Takeru was eventually rescued and admitted to an hospital to recover. There, his grandfather and grandmother arrived to check on his well-being. Upon being asked by Takeru as to why his parents didn't come, his grandparents sadly looked away and started crying. Later on after Takeru was released from the hospital, and was taken back to his grandparents home. He eventually learned that both of his parents had died in an accident within those six months, while they were trying to search for the missing Takeru. Hearing this information, Takeru, who had moved in to live with his grandparents, started hating everything and became depressed and closed off.[7]

The Deleted

After Cyberse World was attacked, Flame sought Takeru out to get help from him in search for the other missing Ignis.[3]

Takeru trains martial arts

Takeru's grandfather teaches his grandson about martial arts.

10 years later, Takeru became depressed to the point he didn't go to school. His friend, Kiku, was worried about him, warning him he'd get expelled, hence why his grandfather visited the school for that issue. He walked away, and felt pain from a nightmare, when he was Dueling during the Lost Incident project. He later approached some bullies harassing a boy, and took their attention by glaring them. The bullies left, noting how dangerous Takeru looked, whom the boy thanked for the rescue. Takeru walked away past an electronics store. A voice from Flame from the TV muttered Takeru's name. Takeru swore he heard a voice, but Kiku smirked, thinking Takeru was afraid of ghosts, who didn't even appear during daytime. Takeru went back home, where his mother asked of him to come to the dojo. There, Takeru practiced martial arts with his grandfather, who didn't approve of Takeru missing out on school, and slammed him to the ground. He grasped his grandfather, but hesitated to attack him. Later, he went outside to take a quick shower, cursing his past, before returning to his room to think about his parents. Flame appeared on screen to contact Takeru, muttering about "Link Brains" and "Playmater".[6]

The next day, Takeru was walking by the bullies he confronted earlier, overhearing about LINK VRAINS' hero, Playmaker, having defeated the Knights of Hanoi. Takeru intimidated the bully into telling him about Playmaker, the Duelist from Virtual Reality space, LINK VRAINS. Takeru walked away, as the bully thought of a plan to take revenge on Takeru. The latter met up with Kiku, who showed him the news on a tablet about Playmaker. While Kiku received a phone call, Flame appeared once more on the tablet, muttering about Takeru's past 10 years ago. Takeru threw the tablet in panic, but Kiku managed to catch it before it fell down. She scolded Takeru how expensive the device was, but to the argument the tablet spoke, Kiku found nothing. Takeru, back home, pondered the thoughts Flame told him about. He found his Duel Disk, on which Flame, in his eye form, appeared to congratulate Takeru for finding the item. Takeru became frightened, throwing the Duel Disk as he screamed the Ignis was actually a ghost his grandfather told him about. Takeru went to smash the Duel Disk, but Flame exclaimed he was an AI, and mentioned Takeru's past was connected to that of Playmaker. Takeru stopped, and listened to Flame, who told Takeru that he, like Playmaker, was a victim of the incident.[6]

Takeru didn't wish to remember his past, but Flame replied that Playmaker was actually confronting his past. Takeru was still alert of Flame, who tried shifting into his true form, but Takeru preferred him to be in his eye form. Still, Flame exclaimed if Takeru were to find Playmaker, he would seek his path, advising to seek him out in LINK VRAINS by going to Den City. Takeru saw he'd have to Duel again, and remembering the trauma, he swore not to Duel ever again. Just as Flame was to continue, Takeru came outside, as a friend came to report that Kiku was taken by the bullies. Takeru went to confront the bullies, but after being told of another message, he came to Flame again. Takeru came to the bullies alone, one of whom challenged Takeru to a Duel, due to his interest in Playmaker. Flame spoke to Takeru that this Duel would mark his future, and had to change to face his destiny. Takeru took on their challenge, and told Kiku to go home. Takeru faced the bully, whose brother boasted that he was the national champion. The bully, Ryujiro Mizunuma, used "Call of the Mummy" to Special Summon a "Plague Wolf" and Normal Summoned another copy of it. Takeru questioned the bully's move, as the wolves' ATK doubled, but could not attack, and were destroyed at the end of the turn. The bully simply revived the wolves with "Surrounded by Fallen Wolves", and drew two cards.[6]

Takeru deciding to move to Den City

Takeru deciding to move to Den City after the fall of the Knights of Hanoi.

Takeru immediately went to play his ace with "Majesty of Flames", "Phoenix Gearfried", and boosted it with "Phoenix Gearblade". With "Valkyrian Knight", Takeru had the two monsters attack. With the wolves slayed, Takeru sent "Phoenix Gearblade" to his GY to have his monsters repeat their attacks. Ryujiro screamed to fool Takeru, as he played "Howl of the Fallen Wolves", reviving his wolves again, and adding a Field Spell Card, "Edge of Darkness", to his hand. The wolves were pummled again, but Ryujiro started his turn. He played "Edge of Darkness" to add a monster to his hand, and Special Summoned it with "Call of the Mummy". Much to Takeru's shock, the monster was "Despair from the Dark" that caused Takeru pain during the Lost Incident.[6] Flame shouted at Takeru to calm down, while Ryujiro played "Skull Conductor". Takeru's monsters were destroyed and he took 500 LP damage, but Takeru fell on his knees and begged this torture to stop. Flame reminded Takeru that he had much more strength than he had thought, and should not give up. Takeru claimed he could do nothing against that monster. Flame exclaimed that the death of his parents, the refusal to Duel made him isolated. While Ryujiro set a card, Flame encouraged Takeru to stand up and "revive" himself. Takeru did so, and using combination of "Rising Fire" and "Tempest Fire", destroyed all monsters on the field to inflict Ryujiro enough damage to defeat him. Takeru was happy that he won, and Flame congratulated him. Takeru thanked the Ignis, who introduced himself as Flame. Takeru thought its name was a translation to "Fire", but Flame, in embarrassment, ignored Takeru.[1]

Takeru read the news about Blue Angel, The Gore and Playmaker saving LINK VRAINS from Knights of Hanoi,[8] when his friend, Kiku, arrived to inform him he had to go to school. Takeru swore he'd would go, while Kiku reminded the summer break would be starting soon. Takeru admitted he didn't care about that, and announced he would be leaving this town soon, claiming this was not him. Kiku was surprised, but respected Takeru's decision, who asked of her to watch over his grandparents for him. Kiku noted Takeru was full of life, who thanked her and ran away to Den City, motivated by the news to start fighting, too.[7]

Lost Memories

Soulburner pointed out he found Flame's friend. Flame did not wish to be called Ai's friend, seeing that Ignis cowering in fear. When Playmaker was stopped by Bit and Boot, Soulburner, in a fiery whirlwind, appeared with Flame. He let Playmaker continue, as he went to deal with Bit and Boot himself. Flame was relieved it could help Soulburner out, who promised to burn away his enemies.[9] Soulburner took the two on, and Flame supported him, since he was powerful enough to defeat them. Soulburner asked Flame to cool down, and wondered if it was an AI to be telling those things. Flame confirmed he was an AI, and Soulburner's partner. He reminded it was ten years since he was born, and his name being translated from "indomitable soul dream", meaning "Flame", reminding he said this 37 times already. Bit and Boot decided to take on Soulburner to retrieve the "fire Ignis", and fused together as one entity: BitBoot. Flame simply assumed this would make their Duel more fun.[10]

BitBoot quickly summoned "D-Scale Battle Coela". BitBoot moved their Link Monster to the Main Monster Zone, so that through their Skill, Marker's Portal, they could bring out "Judgement Arrows". Soulburner and Flame noted like Playmaker's opponent, these ones used Cyberse monsters and used Link Spells, for which Flame swore to never forgive them. Soulburner hoped they could defeat this duo and interrogate them for information. BitBoot moved their Link Monster to a different Main Monster Zone, to inflict 800 LP damage to Soulburner for each time their Link Monster was displaced. BitBoot were proud of their combo, and Flame reminded they could move their Link Monster three more times before Soulburner would be defeated. Soulburner tried to remove "Judgement Arrows" with "Salamangreat Foxy", but was reminded the Skill BitBoot had activated protected it from destruction. Soulburner was surprised, but reminded he had different options. Soulburner swapped his "Salamangreat Falco" for "Salamangreat Meer", to prepare himself. Flame got fired up, announcing a Link Summon, but let Soulburner conduct it.[10]

Using three monsters, Soulburner Link Summoned "Salamangreat Heatleo". Since "Judgement Arrows" could not be destroyed, Soulburner had the card returned to the Deck with the effect of his Link Monster, and due to the negative effect, "D-Scale Battle Coela" was destroyed. This left BitBoot open for a direct attack, who suffered 2300 LP damage. BitBoot commended Soulburner, but announced their counterattack. After Special Summoning back "D-Scale Battle Coela", BitBoot activated their Skill once more to place "Judgement Arrows" on the field. Soulburner and Flame were in shock, for a Skill could only be activated once, but were informed that Bit had activated his Skill in the first turn, and this time, it was Boot doing it. BitBoot Link Summoned "D-Scale Full Metal Dunkle", and with "Judgement Arrows", the monster attacked with 4800 ATK. Before the attack resolved, Soulburner had played "Energy of Fire" to restore his LP, equal to the ATK of "Salamangreat Falco": 1200. BitBoot were annoyed, but complimented each other for the progress, believing Ignis would soon be in their possession. Flame reminded Soulburner everything depended on his next draw. He drew "Monster Reincarnation" and went to play it, but BitBoot used "D-Scale Chaff" to negate cards on his field and hand.[10]

BitBoot exclaimed they were the greatest, and demanded Soulburner to surrender. The latter smiled, and was pumped up to finish them off. He used his Skill, Burning Draw, taking 1000 LP damage to draw a card. He drew and played "Salamangreat Sanctuary", as Flame reminded that card was unaffected by "D-Scale Chaff". BitBoot were not impressed by these efforts. Regardless, Soulburner used "Salamangreat Heatleo" to Link Summon another copy of it, a move he called Reincarnation Link Summon. Soulburner exclaimed he used "Salamangreat Heatleo" to Link Summon a monster with the same name, since "Salamangreat Sanctuary" allowed him to do that. Soulburner's "Salamangreat Heatleo" removed "Judgement Arrows", and Flame reminded that BitBoot's "D-Scale Full Metal Dunkle" was destroyed. However, the monster was protected from destruction of card effects and moved to a new Main Monster Zone, and went to destroy "Salamangreat Heatleo", which was in the same column. Flame saw it really was over, and realized he really would be taken away. However, as "Heatleo" was Reincarnation Link Summoned, it was able to make the ATK of "D-Scale Full Metal Dunkle" become that of "Salamangreat Meer": 800. "D-Scale Full Metal Dunkle" was destroyed in battle, and BitBoot lost the Duel.[10]

Flame was proud, knowing Soulburner would win, but the latter reminded a second ago Flame was depressed about being taken away by the enemy. Soulburner kneeled in pain, since Burning Draw did hurt him, and Flame confirmed this. Soulburner wished Flame to show more empathy, but changed his mind once Ignis started to worry sarcastically. He met up with Playmaker, but was worried when Haru fled with Bohman behind the restricted area. Before Soulburner logged out, he introduced himself to Playmaker.[10] Skye passed by Takeru, who, from a distance, knew she was Blue Angel. Naoki reported to Skye that the next club meeting would be held in a special room, while Takeru noted nobody knew she was the idol of LINK VRAINS. Flame responded that Naoki was Brave Max, Playmaker's best friend. Takeru saw Yusaku, and noted he was Playmaker in LINK VRAINS. He followed him, but when Yusaku turned his head, Takeru hid in a different room. Flame pointed out Yusaku knew about them, since he had contacted the "Dark Ignis".[3]

Takeru asked of Flame not to do anything on its own, for Playmaker could be alerted. Flame assured him it was fine, since Ignis communicate with each other with a code no human could understand. Takeru objected, but was reminded those were the people that had defeated the Knights of Hanoi. Flame pointed out they were not without confidence, unlike Takeru, and went further to conquer the enemy. Takeru was nevertheless upset, but Yusaku entered the room. Takeru greeted him as Playmaker, which infuriated Yusaku, demanding his name. Takeru explained they met yesterday, with him being Soulburner, fully named Takeru Homura. 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 it named itself 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.[3]

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 its 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. 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.[3]

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. Yusaku thought SOL Technologies were involved; Kolter simply stated something was lurking there. He showed an unknown program, which Takeru did not understand, since that was not his expertise. Yusaku didn't understand it, either, but compared it to the one found in Ai's memories, the Ignis program. Kolter was overwhelmed, while Flame identified it to be the Wind Ignis' program, while Yusaku noted they should check the area out. Before the boys logged into LINK VRAINS, Kolter showed data from Ghost Girl, who obtained it from Akira, about a gate to the restricted area. With their evasion program on, Takeru and Yusaku went into LINK VRAINS as Soulburner and Playmaker. They activated their stealth program and tried to go to the restricted area. However, Ai saw it was right, for they were chased by SOL Techologies' bounty hunters.[3]

Ai recognized The Gore, who was working for SOL Technologies. The Gore announced his pleasure that Playmaker returned to LINK VRAINS, and had his fellow bounty hunters surround him to prevent his escape. Gore wanted to Duel Playmaker, who didn't have the time for that. Instead, he wanted to evade the pursuit. Gore collided with Playmaker's D-Board, ordering not to let them get away. Even with SOL Technologies' trap activated, Playmaker wanted to continue. He and Soulburner evaded the trap, which two of the bounty hunters were caught in. Per Soulburner's request, Playmaker let him face Gore. Gore refused to deal with Soulburner, claiming he had "no time to be playing with him". Soulburner showed his Ignis, Flame, which made Gore realize Soulburner was one of the victims of the Lost Incident. Soulburner confirmed this, and still challenged his senior. Gore brushed Soulburner off for being called a senior, but accepted his challenge, since his job was to obtain the Ignis. Soulburner cheered as Flame introduced himself, but Gore bluntly replied he would show no mercy and would make Soulburner regret his decision.[8]

Soulburner asked Flame about Gore; Flame joked he'd "go-go" and attack. Regardless, Flame reminded Gore constantly evolved in Duels, and didn't know what Gore could pull out at the moment. Much to Soulburner's surprise, Gore immediately used his Skill, "Dinowrestle Revolution" to play "World Dino Wrestling", as well as to summon "Dinowrestler Capoeiraptor". Despite the change in Gore's Deck, Soulburner was impressed by his opponent. Soulburner proceeded with his tactics to swap "Salamangreat" monsters in his hand and GY to swarm the field, to Link Summon "Salamangreat Heatleo", which Gore noted to be his ace monster. The latter's effect returned Gore's "Dinomuscle", and "Salamangreat Jack Jaguar" was summoned to the Link Marker of "Salamangreat Heatleo". Gore's "Dinowrestler Capoeiraptor" protected itself from being destroyed in battle and switched to defense. Soulburner intended to inflict piercing damage, but "World Dino Wrestling" permitted only one attack per turn. Soulburner laughed, admitting Gore's strategy was impressive, and enjoyed his time.[8]

Gore summoned another "Dinowrestler Capoeiraptor", as well as a "Dinowrestler Capaptera". Using the three monsters, Gore Link Summoned "Dinowrestler King T Wrextle". Gore thought about his life, and reminded he was here to prove he was the best, and he would fiercely fight to prove that. Gore's Dinosaur attacked Soulburner's "Salamangreat Heatleo", and prevented Soulburner from using his set card. Soulburner took 1900 LP damage, while Gore boasted he needed to win to be acknowledged. Soulburner listened to Gore's frustrations over Playmaker. Soulburner doubted Gore was "a stepping stone", but pointed out he was SOL Technologies' loser, who complained to strangers about his problems. Gore was insulted, but Soulburner still bore respect towards him. However, he believed the real Gore would never be pathetic like that. Soulburner admitted he was a fan of LINK VRAINS' heroes, since they defeated the people that hurt him. The courage and believing in strength was what Soulburner motivated to go forward. Soulburner asked where was that Gore, who remained silent. Soulburner wished to fight the "real" Gore, even if he also had a reason to win the Duel.[8]

Soulburner retrieved "Salamangreat Heatleo" with "Link Fire's Return", and inflicted moderate damage to Gore. Suddenly, Soulburner was nearly attacked, and accused Gore of attacking him during the Duel. Gore denied being involved in the attack, as Hayami of SOL Technologies was trying to attack Soulburner to prevent Akira's demotion. She launched another attack, but Gore took the hit, much to Akira and Soulburner's surprise. Gore and Soulburner continued the Duel, as the latter and Flame were glad Gore wouldn't resort to such low attempts to capture them. Using "Salamangreat Sanctuary", Soulburner made another Reincarnation Link Summon of "Salamangreat Heatleo", which lowered the ATK of Gore's "Dinowrestler King T Wrextle" to 800. To lower the damage he'd take, Gore's Link Monster forced Soulburner's "Salamangreat Jack Jaguar" to attack it, which prevented "Salamangreat Heatleo" from attacking. By discarding "Dinowrestler Martial Ankylo", Gore protected his Link Monster and took 1000 LP damage. Soulburner noted Gore's monsters were tough, as Flame noticed he mastered his Deck.[7]

Gore intended to win, rather than having an entertaining match when two sides' ace monsters would clash. Gore's "Dinowrestler King T Wrextle" attacked "Salamangreat Jack Jaguar"; to prevent defeat, Soulburner used "Salamangreat Sanctuary" to reduce the ATK of "Salamangreat Heatleo" and gain LP, thus avoiding the defeat with 1100 LP left. To protect his monster from "Salamangreat Heatleo", Gore summoned "Dinowrestler Rambrachio". Soulburner noted Gore put a lot of effort into Dueling, but reminded Soulburner also had a reason for winning. Soulburner claimed he came to fight, being inspired by the heroes that fought against the Knights of Hanoi, to free him from his depression. Flame supported Soulburner, who activated Burning Draw skill to draw a card. Much like Playmaker, Soulburner played "Rise of the Salamangreat" Ritual Spell Card, returning "Salamangreat" monsters from his GY to Ritual Summon "Salamangreat Emerald Eagle". Gore reminded his monster still had more ATK. Soulburner tributed "Salamangreat Heatleo" and had his eagle attack, whose effect destroyed Gore's monster and inflicted damage to its ATK, thus making his LP drop to zero.[7]

Ai and Flame shield

Ai and Flame protect their originators.

Gore was defeated, but Soulburner offered him his hand to get up. Gore refused and walked away. Soulburner pointed out Gore was, to him, one of LINK VRAINS' heroes, but swore in order to regain his old self back, had to continue winning. Gore stopped Soulburner, pointing out everyone could lose a Duel, but the important thing was whether dwell on the defeat or continue fighting. He claimed the true self was revealed once someone loses, and logged out, but Flame commented Gore was a sore loser to say that.[7] 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 itself. 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.[11]

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. The Wind Ignis wondered if its 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, it did not seek its Lost Incident Partner, since it could not trust humans that easily to be captured. Since the Wind Ignis name was mouthful, it decided to be nicknamed Windy. It pointed to the monk, claiming it is a program it named as Echo. Playmaker asked Windy why was it here, but Windy examined him and Soulburner, and had them follow them around.[12]

Windy stated it waited for its friends to come, and created the world to lure them and rejoin them. It 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 its calm nature. Windy proclaimed the place to be a trap, since it did not have the strength to battle the enemy. It is why it 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. Windy was intrigued, but had no clue, since most people that venture in the world were usually overwhelmed by its wind trap. However, it 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, it 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.[12]

Windy saw no point in trying to convince the two. It promised to help them in weakening the Data Storm to access that new world, but asked for a favor. Snapping its fingers, Windy showed Ghost Girl and Blue Girl, whom it wished to see gone. Windy told if the two are defeated in a Duel, they would return to the real world. It did not wish to fight them alone, for the sake of exposing itself and the temple. Playmaker accepted the task, asking the winds to be toned down, believing he could convince Ghost Girl to stay down, due to his cooperation with her. The two intercepted Ghost Girl and Blue Girl. Blue Girl still thanked Playmaker for his victory over the Tower of Hanoi, but still wanted to Duel him. Playmaker didn't recognize Blue Girl, until realizing she had been known as Blue Angel. Soulburner complimented her new appearance and thought of changing his own appearance, but was displeased when Flame reminded nobody knew him. Ghost Girl noted Soulburner was the victim of Lost Incident, but asked why did he team up with Playmaker. Playmaker replied they were to collect some consciousness data, which made Ghost Girl remember something about Bohman.[12]

Blue Girl stated that Ghost Girl and her came to find an Ignis, to have her brother analyze it. Soulburner noted not only bounty hunters were hired, and replied that they would not hand Ignis over to SOL Technologies, since they were also involved in the Lost Incident. Instead, Blue Girl demanded the two to hand Ignis over, since they were still under SOL Technologies' property. Ghost Girl was surprised by Blue Girl's demand, and was told they could use Ignis to find others of their kind. Soulburner and Blue Girl were eager to Duel, as the former even wished to battle one of LINK VRAINS' heroes. While Ghost Girl went to track Playmaker down, Soulburner reminded Blue Girl that like Playmaker, he was ruthlessly strong. Blue Girl intended to show the power of her new Trickstars, too.[12] Blue Girl shared her ambitions, wanting to obtain Soulburner's Ignis to have her brother's approval, using the new Deck she had constructed; in addition, she would use the Ignis to find more of its kind. Flame reminded Soulburner about Blue Girl's effect damage tactics, so Soulburner swore to quickly set up a formation to counter that. The two raced to a spot to determine who would take the first turn, and Blue Girl won that race.[13]

Blue Girl proceeded by swarming the field, using "Trickstar Lilybell" and "Trickstar Lycoris" for the Link Summon of "Trickstar Divaridis", and inflicted first 200 damage to Soulburner. She brought "Trickstar Birdhelm", and inflicted 200 points of damage on Soulburner, but could not attack this turn (and neither could she at her first turn). Returning the latter monster, Blue Girl used its effect to equip it to "Trickstar Divadiris". Soulburner's turn started, but he immediately took 200 LP damage, due to "Trickstar Lycoris". Flame and Blue Girl reminded Soulburner could not use Burning Draw, else he'd take 200 LP damage when he would have 100 LP left. Soulburner summoned "Salamangreat Meer", but took 200 LP damage from "Trickstar Divadiris". He noted that the damage would add up, and intended to save his LP by taking out her monsters. He used the effects of his monsters to swap "Salamangreat Meer" with "Salamangreat Falco", and summoned "Salamangreat Wolvie", his LP lowered to 2400. Blue Girl expected Soulburner's "Salamangreat Heatleo", for "Trickstar Birdhelm" didn't allow itself and the equipped monster - "Trickstar Divaridis" - to be targeted by card effects. "Trickstar Heatleo" went to attack, and Blue Girl noted she lost her previous battles, since the enemy broke through her weak ATK monsters.[13]

This time, she used "Trickstar Corobane", which doubled her monster's ATK, thus cancelling Soulburner's ATK and lowering his LP to 900. Fortunately for Soulburner, "Salamangreat Heatleo" became undestructible, as it used "Salamangreat Wolvie" as material. Still, Soulburner complimented her as one of the LINK VRAINS' heroes. Flame reminded Soulburner he had one thing that improved himself, the Ignis. Soulburner, who believed Flame was just arrogant, asked if he could actually do something, but was told Flame could only observe. Blue Girl summoned a "Trickstar Token". This time, the effect of "Trickstar Divaridis" on her monsters to inflict 200 LP damage on Soulburner. To prevent any such small damage being inflicted, Soulburner used "Gate of Fire". Using her new Skill, "Trickstar Gig", Blue Girl sent cards from her Deck, equal to the number of Trickstar monsters she controlled, and added a Trickstar card from her GY. Using "Trickstar Token" and "Trickstar Lycoris", she summoned "Trickstar Holly Angel", thus setting up a Fusion Summon with "Trickstar Fusion", the card she obtained through her Skill.[13]

Using "Trickstar Token" and "Trickstar Holly Angel", Blue Girl performed the Fusion Summon of "Trickstar Band Sweet Guitar". Flame saw Blue Girl continued to develop herself. Cancelling Soulburner's "Gate of Fire", "Trickstar Divaridis" inflicted 400 LP damage, since her new Fusion Monster doubled that Effect Damage. Blue Girl's "Trickstar Band Sweet Guitar" raised its ATK by that amount, while Blue Girl added her "Trickstar Corobane" into her hand. Sending "Salamangreat Racoon", Soulburner gained 2600 LP, equal to the ATK of Blue Girl's Fusion Monster, with the additional effects of preventing effects from being used and preventing the destruction of "Salamangreat Heatleo". Thus, he survived the turn, with Blue Girl using the effect of "Trickstar Corobane" to double the ATK of "Trickstar Divaridis". Despite having not won this turn, Blue Girl's confidence was unwavered, as she added "Trickstar Corobane" into her hand. Soulburner was not glad of the circumstances, but Flame stated there was a card in his Deck that could turn the site of battle around. Soulburner drew a card, but was disappointed it was not the card he wanted. Flame dared him to use his Skill, else he'd think Soulburner was lacking courage to face destiny. Soulburner used his Skill, Burning Draw, and succeeded in drawing the desired card.[13]

He played "Fusion of Fire", but Blue Girl reminded him that even if he summoned a monster, "Trickstar Divaridis" would finish him off. However, Soulburner used the latter monster on her side of the field and "Salamangreat Heatleo" on his side of the field to bring out "Salamangreat Violet Chimera". Its effect increased its ATK, equal to the materials' ATK. To reduce damage, Blue Girl sent "Trickstar Corobane", increasing the ATK of "Trickstar Band Sweet Guitar" to 4400. Soulburner anticipated this, seeing she recognized her weakness and played "Trickstar Corobane". In the change of ATK power, the ATK of "Salamangreat Violet Chimera" doubled to 9700; by attacking her Fusion Monster, Soulburner defeated Blue Girl, who was slammed to the mountain wall. Soulburner approached her, complimenting her strength. Flame stated she lost because she didn't have Ignis as an AI, which made Blue Girl remark the two's friendship. She fainted and logged out.[13]

Ghost Girl confronted Soulburner, who explained the program activated to make her log out. Ghost Girl wanted to face Soulburner, but saw he was weakened from the last Duel. Instead, Flame showed a copy of the program that forced Blue Girl to log out. Ghost Girl took the program, thinking Flame is more charming than Ai. She logged out, proposing to meet someday. Flame, however, blushed at Ghost Girl's charming words.[13] Soulburner went to find Playmaker, and sensed the winds were getting stronger. Flame suspected it was because of a Duel going on. Later, Soulburner reunited with Playmaker, and Flame pointed out the cyberspace was vanishing. Soulburner logged out, as did Playmaker, who wondered who was the one controlling Bohman.[14]

Ignis Warfare

With Takeru by his side, Yusaku told Kolter about Bohman, who apparently possessed the same memories of the Lost Incident as he did. The two believed Bohman has analyzed him to have gained such memories, but the former reminded he was the only clue they had to restore Jin Kusanagi. Since the gate had disappeared, Yusaku apologized to Kolter for lack of progress. Kolter didn't mind that, and showed an extra room for Takeru to log in to LINK VRAINS, and swore to analyze the data from the gate.[4]

Soulburner unconscious

Soulburner in Blood Shepherd's trap.

Later, Kolter found a trace of the gate, opened on one of the floating islands, in the area that was 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. However, Kolter was too late to warn them the gate was actually a trap; Blood Shepherd snapped his fingers to suck Playmaker through the trap. Instead, Soulburner bumped into Playmaker and was trapped instead. Soulburner was touched by a particle; Flame watched as Soulburner became paralyzed by the fear from the Lost Incident memories.[4] Despite not the target he wished to capture, Blood Shepherd was nevertheless pleased, since Soulburner had an Ignis, too. Bubbles appeared to show some of Soulburner's memories.[6] Flame appeared next to Soulburner, seeing that Blood Shepherd was destroying the bubbles containing Soulburner's memories. Flame tried to wake Soulburner up, while Blood Shepherd had found Soulburner's weakness: "Despair from the Dark". Flame managed to wake Soulburner up, and told him that Blood Shepherd had trapped him and spied on his memories.[5]

A cave filled with lava was formed before Blood Shepherd confronted Soulburner. Soulburner was not pleased that Blood Shepherd peeked inside his memories, who shot Emma Bessho's surveillance, in form of a data ladybug, down. The two then commenced a Master Duel. Blood Shepherd summoned a "Duplicate Drone"; Soulburner was displeased that Blood Shepherd had his AI explain the card effects, but Flame reminded him to concentrate on his turn. Soulburner proceeded to use "Salamangreat Meer" and "Salamangreat Wolvie" to Link Summon the Link-2 "Salamangreat Sunlight Wolf", then used the latter with "Salamangreat Mole" to summon his ace monster, "Salamangreat Heatleo". Its effect returned Blood Shepherd's "Mirror Coat Unit" to his hand, but its effect let him add a "Duplicate Drone" to his hand. Soulburner was in shock, since the AI didn't mention that effect, but Blood Shepherd simply claimed he didn't let the AI speak. Flame alerted Soulburner of this, for Blood Shepherd did something like that during his Duel with Playmaker. Due to this, Blood Shepherd called Soulburner a fool to trust an AI, for it was a tool that should only serve humans, and showed his right arm as reference.[5]

Since his field was wide open, Blood Shepherd activated "Drone Barricade" to protect himself from direct attacks. Soulburner, using "Salamangreat Sanctuary", summoned a new "Salamangreat Heatleo" to remove the barricade. Much to h is dismay, Blood Shepherd countered that by setting a new "Drone Barricade" from his Deck and activate it. Flame noticed that Blood Shepherd did study Soulburner's Deck. Soulburner ended his turn, while Blood Shepherd started his own. The latter declared Soulburner would lose in this turn, to himself. Soulburner questioned the meaning of those words, as Blood Shepherd uses the effect of "3D Bio Scanner" to Special Summon "Despair from the Dark" from his deck. Soulburner suddenly became paralyzed with fear, remembering his trauma from the Hanoi Project. Taking advantage of the situation, Blood Shepherd uses the effect of three of his copies of "Duplicate Drone", to move "Despair from the Dark" to the Spell & Trap Zone. The drones camouflaged themselves as "Despair from the Dark", which overwhelmed Soulburner with fear. Flame called upon Blood Shepherd for using that fear to his advantage, but Blood Shepherd simply replied that he'd use everything to win. He proclaimed he'd bury Soulburner in dark despair.[5]

The first "fake" "Despair from the Dark" destroyed Soulburner's "Salamangreat Heatleo". The second one attacked Soulburner directly, who recalled his painful memories during the Lost Incident. To protect himself from the attack of the third monster, Soulburner Special Summoned "Salamangreat Parro", and had its ATK become that of "Salamangreat Heatleo", 2300. Soulburner barely survived the attacks, but Blood Shepherd knew of his weaknesses, proclaiming he won't last the next turn. In fact, due to the incident having happened when Soulburner was a child, Blood Shepherd knew that he still struggled against the trauma. Snapping his fingers, he demanded the Ignis from him, and set a card. Flame, however, asked of Soulburner to calm down. Blood Shepherd still offered a chance to Soulburner to surrender and give Ignis up. Soulburner refused, and played "Rising Fire" to revive "Salamangreat Heatleo". He performed a third Reincarnation Link Summon of "Salamangreat Heatleo". Blood Shepherd doubted in Soulburner's actions, claiming they were pointless. Soulburner countered his point, for "Rising Fire" banished all of Blood Shepherd's monsters, and he took 2800 LP damage.[1]

Soulburner's Duel interrupted

Soulburner's Duel is interrupted by the rescue program.

Blood Shepherd was surprised at these actions, since Soulburner should've been terrorized with fear. Flame and Soulburner played dumb, as Blood Shepherd realized he was fooled. Flame reminded Blood Shepherd that he did say one should not trust an AI. Flame also added that Soulburner also controlled himself to reveal a part of his memories. Soulburner thanked Flame for helping him with that, and belittled Blood Shepherd for failing to see his weakness. "Salamangreat Heatleo" returned "Drone Barricade", but this allowed Blood Shepherd to set a new barricade from his Deck. With "Salamangreat Foxer", Takeru returned a "Salamangreat Heatleo" and destroyed Blood Shepherd's barricade. Despite Blood Shepherd's set card, Soulburner declared he would make a new step with Flame by his side, which disgusted Blood Shepherd. Blood Shepherd went to play his set card, but Kolter's executed program disrupted the Duel, shattering the place. Blood Shepherd fled, while Soulburner returned to LINK VRAINS. Playmaker quickly found him, and reported to Kolter before the boys logged out.[1]

Yusaku walked to school when he was approached by Takeru, who wished to see Kolter. However, Yusaku was intercepted by Naoki. The latter was told Yusaku had no time, but Takeru permitted Yusaku to spend some time with Naoki, and dashed away. Naoki simply smiled, stating they had to speak somewhere else. Takeru came to speak with Kolter at the food truck, and was seen by Ai. 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 it simply fell, for in its 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.[15]

Ai identified the present to be a burger, and exclaimed one should not bring such food to a food truck. Kolter silenced Ai, reminding it 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 its doubts about Naoki having something important to say, however. 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. Kolter, however, warned there was a part involving the Lost Incident, which Takeru wanted to hear, too.[15] 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.[16]

Yusaku came to Kolter's truck with Roboppy, where Takeru and Kolter greeted the robot. Plugging in a cable in Roboppy, Kolter found nothing wrong with Yusaku's Duel Disk, considering Ai, who was supposed to be locked, had gone missing. Yusaku mentioned Roboppy and Ai were on a quiz site the night before, which showed a crossword puzzle. Yusaku pointed at a rectangle, which opened a site; Flame noticed that was a clever Ignis algorithm. The site showed a gate, which led Yusaku to believe they needed to log in the VR system to access it. Takeru proposed he and Yusaku should go, but the latter refused; he stated if could be a trap, and insisted on going alone. Flame was surprised at Yusaku, for that program was made by his allies. Yusaku simply exclaimed he didn't trust Windy, since the world that Windy had built was demolished moments after Bohman was defeated. He still let them know they could come after him, should he take too long.[17]

Soulburner's LINK VRAINS log in

Takeru logs into LINK VRAINS.

Kolter traced Playmaker's location in the cyberspace, and Takeru believed something was going on. Flame still trusted Windy, claiming he was their ally. Before Takeru headed off, Kolter installed a program in his Duel Disk, so he would be able to interrupt the Ignis program, but was uncertain in its efficiency. Kolter counted on Takeru, who logged in as Soulburner. He went around the destroyed area, trying to find Playmaker. He and Kolter were shocked at the devastated surroundings.[18] He approached Windy's temple, and noticed the remnants of a large battle. Flame wondered where Ai and Playmaker were, and Soulburner noticed Specter atop the stairs. Soulburner identified Spectre, who awaited Soulburner's coming. Specter knew of Soulburner's accomplishments, and that Flame joined him. Instead of Dueling Soulburner, Specter wanted of Soulburner to follow him. Flame thought it was a trap, but Specter simply wanted Soulburner to find the truth about the Ignis. He wanted Soulburner to question his alliance with Flame, and threatened to erase him should he not change his mind. Thus, the two went inside to watch Varis Duel Windy, where Specter exclaimed that Varis was just getting started for the climax.[19]

Flame was told that Lightning and Windy trapped Playmaker and Ai. Flame was in shock, while Windy bemoaned that another human-supporter just arrived. Lightning went to trap Soulburner and Specter, but Flame used Kolter's program: he created a sphere to protect them from that attack, and flinged some of it to Playmaker and Ai to free them. Soulburner and Flame watched the end of the Duel, where Varis Synchro Summoned "Borreload Savage Dragon" to defeat Windy. Lightning questioned Flame whether he supported humans. Flame claimed there were no sides, and Soulburner backed him up, for they wanted to resolve the situation without hostilities. Much to their shock, Lightning summoned Haru and Bohman, and revealed the silhouette of his figure: Jin Kusanagi.[19]

Soulburner listened to Lightning, who explained he was the one that had Cyberse World destroyed, and declared war on humanity. Lightning had Jin, Haru and Bohman fly away, but Playmaker and Soulburner were chasing them down. On their way, Soulburner passed Kolter's program to Playmaker, to let Kolter check on them. Soulburner and Playmaker chased them down, and Flame thought that Lighting could not attack when the Knights of Hanoi were active. Lightning used Windy to summon a Data Storm, Soulburner and Flame separated from Playmaker and Ai, who confronted Bohman. Regardless, Flame swore to stop Lightning, and Soulburner supported him.[20] Soulburner and Flame continued their pursuit.[21] Flame claimed that the fighting would stop once Lightning would be defeated. Flame and Soulburner wanted to confront him and Jin, but since they were stalled by Bit and Boot clones, Jin and Lightning managed to escape. Flame called the clones weak, and Soulburner logged out.[22]

While Yusaku spoke with Akira, Takeru and Flame watched them from a nearby roof. Flame thought it was unwise to share their information with SOL Technologies, but Takeru reminded the company had created the Ignis. Flame simply reminded him of the bounty hunters that sought them out, and believed they could not be trusted. The next day, 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. He and Yusaku logged in, and split up to find Earth. Kolter discovered Earth's location in LINK VRAINS, and sent it to Soulburner and Playmaker. Soulburner commented that the location was too far away from him, and had Playmaker go after Earth.[23] 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. Soulburner and Playmaker met up with Ghost Gal, who reported that Blood Shepherd was gone. Suddenly, Blue Girl went back to LINK VRAINS with Aqua, and met up with the trio. As Aqua and Blue Girl, changing her avatar to Blue Maiden, pledged their support, she, Playmaker and Soulburner rode off.[24]

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.[25] The group continued searching the network, but found no trace of Lightning. Flame and Aqua advised caution, for Lightning was the type that erased any sort of evidence. Soulburner sensed they could only wait until the situation escalates. Later, Kolter saw a signal in LINK VRAINS, and led Playmaker to it. Playmaker regrouped with Takeru, Blue Maiden and Ghost Gal, and sensed Lightning beyond the portal. Blue Maiden exclaimed this was their opportunity to face Lightning, and Soulburner cheered her on for her bravery. The group went through the portal, where they saw Lightning and Jin facing Blood Shepherd. Lightning explained to the group that he wanted them invited; he Dueled Blood Shepherd to reduce the amount of his enemies. Thus, the group watched the Duel, and noted how Blood Shepherd timed his "Snatch Drone" destroy "Judgement Arrows", though Lightning managed to evade its negative effects.[26]

Soulburner commented how easily Blood Shepherd had cornered Lightning, as Flame stated he had a big advantage. Blue Maiden was surprised at "Armatos Legio Gradius", as Soulburner and Aqua explained that it applied its effect to "Centurion", whom it linked to that monster. The group became frustrated, since Lightning managed to build a solid defense, as well as offense. With the Fusion Summon of "Fortressdrone Beehive", Flame reminded that "Drone Unity" would give all of Blood Shepherd's tokens an ATK of 5000. In the end, Blood Shepherd was defeated. With him gone, Lightning turned to the group, and stated they would be his next targets, then disappeared.[27] 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.[28]

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. Inside, Playmaker and Soulburner sensed something was coming. The Gore appeared, and confronted Playmaker, wanting to crush him. The Gore replied he'd take on Soulburner, after he'd defeat Playmaker. Playmaker confronted the Gore, and Soulburner watched with Blue Maiden, who later joined him. Soulburner and Flame gasped, as the Gore used Earth's Link Monster, "G Golem Crystal Heart", showing that Earth's data has been integrated into the Gore.[28] Soulburner and Flame continued to watch their Duel, and were shocked when Playmaker fell of his D-Board. Soulburner felt that Playmaker would even lose the Duel, but was interested when he Xyz Summoned a new monster. After the Gore's defeat, 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.[29]

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. 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.[30]

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. 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.[30]

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. 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.[30]

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. 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.[30]

Soulburner furious

Soulburner swears to take revenge on Varis.

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. He knew the enemy was plotting something, and they had act immediately on finding them. Ai sensed that even Varis feared Lightning. However, Soulburner distrusted Varis, due to the involvement of the death of his parents. Soulburner blamed Varis for the condition he was in. Varis stated that he knew how he felt, but Soulburner didn't think so, and demanded a revenge Duel for his parents. Varis closed his eyes, and accepted the challenge.[30]

Soulburner swore to held Varis responsible for all the misdeeds of the Lost Incident project if he won, else he'd surrender Flame to him. Varis calmly accepted the challenge, and the two started a Duel. Soulburner immediately Link Summoned "Salamangreat Heatleo" with "Wolvie", "Parrot" and "Falco". Flame noticed that Soulburner's feelings took control of him, and reminded it was somewhat irresponsible and let Flame at risk of being taken away. Soulburner reminded this was revenge for his parents, but swore he won't lose. Varis drew a card, and ended his turn, surprising Soulburner. The latter 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.[31]

Varis replied he was Ryoken Kogami, son of Doctor Kiyoshi Kogami, who initiated the Lost Incident. 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.[31]

Varis confirmed this, for it was the only way to find the Light Ignis. In fact, by scanning the network, Varis believed they could find his hideout. However, he needed a programmer that knew about the Ignis algorithm. Ghost Gal noted that was the reason why he sought Blood Shepherd out. Blue Maiden sensed the risk of using the Tower of Hanoi, since Varis could simply use it as a weapon to delete everything, as he did with Ghost Gal. Varis showed them a program that they could use to simply stop the tower's reconstruction. Playmaker accepted this deal, since they all had to work together to build a new future. The frog and the pigeon were shocked to see Playmaker and Varis teaming up, and wanted to make a new story out of it. However, Varis knew they were hiding behind a rock; to stop them, he locked them up. Outside of LINK VRAINS, Kolter and Yusaku gave approval for this plan, as they analyzed Varis' program. Takeru went out and spoke with Flame, and decided to pledge his support, too. Flame asked Takeru why did Varis invite him, too. Takeru assumed he wanted his attention, but Flame exclaimed that Varis sought out a programmer.[31]

Flame pointed out Takeru was not a programmer, and Varis could've taken Playmaker, Ghost Gal and Blue Maiden in, and later take Flame into his ranks, too. Takeru stated he was part of Playmaker's team, but Flame shook his head, since Varis knew that Takeru would be angry with him. Takeru saw Flame was right, but the latter repeated his question, and believed it was a way to apologize. Takeru noted it was why Varis passed his turn during their Duel. Flame pointed out Varis didn't show that emotion, and Takeru told Flame that he understood humans better. 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.[31]

The group reactivates the tower

Soulburner, Blue Maiden and Specter raise hands to activate the Tower of Hanoi.

Playmaker, Soulburner, Blue Maiden and their Ignises went to the old LINK VRAINS with Specter and Varis. Blue Maiden mentioned that Ghost Gal stayed in new LINK VRAINS, to report to Akira in case of a disaster. Specter mentioned their allies remained logged out, to support the group. The group raised their hands, as they triggered the program. 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. Varis wanted the frog and pigeon stay out of the conflict, but changed his mind, since they could report about this clash. The group advanced through the portal, and the passage to the other cyberspace.[31] The group advanced through the portal, and reached Mirror LINK VRAINS. Suddenly, the group faced copies of BitBoot AI, which started a Duel.[32] Soulburner defeated the AI with "Salamangreat Heatleo". Playmaker informed his allies to split and search for Lightning, but the cyberspace started to tremble. The data material disappeared, causing Soulburner to descend down from his D-Board, to a airport-like world. Suddenly, Kolter's program activated, as the latter saw everyone's progress, and sent the link to Varis' allies.[33] They were amazed to see Specter forming an Extra Link of seven monsters, and shocked when Lightning easily destroyed it and defeated Specter.[34]

Windy and Souburner's Master Duel

Soulburner faces the Ignis in the Master Duel.

With the video link severed, Soulburner noted how strong Lightning was. As he and Flame walked, they noticed the airplanes moving, despite nobody being on board. Soulburner was unnerved, and Flame joked those were ghost airplanes, which frightened Soulburner. Still, they noted that the airplanes blocked their path. Behind them, Windy appeared, while the Frog and the Pigeon were summoned, too. Soulburner was pumped up to Duel, while Windy braced Flame to battle. Soulburner felt ignored, but Flame believed Windy came because Varis would be too much to take on. Windy tried to silence Flame, while Soulburner realized that Windy thought they were weaker than Varis. Windy belittled Soulburner, who became furious. Flame calmed Soulburner down, since Flame was undertaking a plan to annoy Windy. Knowing that Windy lost his cool against Varis, Flame believed they could use the same exploit to win. He told Windy they'd exceed his expectations by not being weak. Windy bursted out, since Flame was smug to know about everything, and hated him for that. Flame replied that he didn't hate Windy, since he was now different, and asked what had changed inside him.[35]

Soulburner's hand

Soulburner is forced to show the cards in his hand.

Windy admitted this was his true-self, which made Flame exclaim he would never forgive him for the crimes he did. Flame pointed out he believed in Windy, who broke that trust. Windy didn't even expect of Flame to forgive him. Windy, who became impatient, decided to start the Duel, while Flame muttered to Soulburner that Windy may have lost his cool. Windy used "Stormrider Griffore", and had the advantage of looking into Soulburner's hand, letting him set "Salamangreat Roar" Counter Trap. Using the fact Soulburner set a card, Windy summoned "Stormrider Hippogriff", and used the two to Link Summon "Stormridership Rockbuster". Using "Hippogriff", Windy destroyed Soulburner's set card, and had it re-set to summon "Stormrider Skyfisher". Finally, Windy Link Summoned "Stormridership Bahamut Bomber". Smug about the monster's effect, Windy had it destroy Soulburner's set card, and inflict 500 LP to him. Soulburner commented how Windy used their card to his advantage, while the Ignis planned on defeating him in the next turn.[35]

Soulburner was nevertheless annoyed, but took his turn. Summoning "Falco", Soulburner used it to summon "Salamangreat Balelynx" Link Monster, and added "Salamangreat Sanctuary" to his hand. Though he could use "Falco" to set "Salamangreat Roar", Soulburner and Flame agreed it would only improve Windy's position. Next, he used "Mole" and "Balelynx" to Link Summon "Sunlight Wolf", and summoned "Fowl" to take back "Falco" to his hand, from his GY. Using the two materials, Soulburner performed a third Link Summon of "Salamangreat Heatleo". Just as he was to attack, Soulburner was stopped by Flame. Windy laughed, seeing what a nuisance Soulburner was to Flame. Flame questioned Windy's words, who thought partners hindered each other down. Flame pointed out this was why Windy tried to kill his partner. Soulburner wanted to know how Windy felt to take part in such a crime, who replied he felt nothing. Soulburner was frustrated, reminding that in Lost Incident, he and other children felt despair each day, as they were forced to take part in that project. However, they had some hope that they'd be saved that day, and their dreams were fulfilled.[35]

Now, Soulburner questioned Windy for thinking his partner as a nuisance. He exclaimed he would never know the feeling to take someone's hope away. Windy called this lame, but Flame reminded him the Ignis were created out the children's endurance towards the despair. He believed they should be thanking them, rather than to steal hope. Windy realized that they talked about thanking partners for creating the Ignis. Windy refused, and wanted to prove they were a hindrance, and bragged just as they would understand this, they would be deleted. Flame saw how arrogant and corrupted Windy was. Soulburner felt it was hopeless to talk Windy down, who sent "Stormrider Gargoyle" to his GY to activate "Stormrider Turbulence", which boosted the ATK of "Bahamut Bomber". Windy knew Soulburner would perform a Reincarnation Link Summon to decrease his monster's ATK. Due to his new Field Spell, any Link Monster with an equal or greater amount of Link Arrows than "Bahamut Bomber" had its effects negated. Soulburner summoned "Salamangreat Beat Bison", returned "Sunlight Wolf" to his Extra Deck and negated the effect of "Stormrider Turbulence".

With that done, Soulburner successfully used "Salamangreat Heatleo" to summon another copy of it. However, Windy banished his gargoyle from his GY to swap "Turbulence" with "Blast" Field Spell. In fact, this new spell negated Soulburner's Link Monster effects, and forced him to attack "Bahamut Bomber" with all his monsters the monster he had. "Salamangreat Heatleo" attacked, but using "Balelynx" from his GY, Soulburner protected his ace, but still took 1200 LP damage. Windy thought it was bad for his enemy to have taken so many steps, but no progress was made. Windy showed that human partners could not do anything, but Flame disagreed. Repeating his last turn, Windy used "Skyfisher" to set "Salamangreat Roar", only for "Bahamut Bomber" to destroy it and have Soulburner take 500 LP damage. Next, Windy used "Skyfisher" to Link Summon "Stratastorm". The two monsters destroyed Soulburner's "Salamangreats", lowering his LP to 600. At the end of his turn, Windy banished "Stratastorm" to keep the effects of "Stormrider Blast" intact.[35]

Flame noted despite his trickery, Windy was still an Ignis, who, as a reward, promised Soulburner and Flame a trip to doom. Windy continued boasting, as he'd blow their flame with his winds away. Flame and Soulburner were still pleased to know it won't end like this. Windy noticed they were encouraging each other, which Soulburner pointed out that was what partners do. He swore to take revenge on Windy for his fallen partner, who dared him to try.[35] Playing "Salamangreat Performance", Soulburner summoned a "Fowl", since he had one copy of it in his GY. In addition, using his mole, he returned Salamangreat cards in his GY to his Deck. With "Rising Fire", he summoned "Salamangreat Heatleo" back from his GY to make its ATK equal to Windy's ace, though Windy negated its effects with "Stormrider Blast". To mount an offense, Soulburner played "Salamangreat Sparks", but equipped it on "Stormridership Bahamut Bomber", which prevented the effects of "Stormrider Blast". Windy clenched his fist, while Soulburner used "Salamangreat Claw" to protect his monster, so only "Bahamut Bomber" would be destroyed. Windy was annoyed by this card, and used "Bahamut Bomber" to destroy the claw, and lower Soulburner's LP to 100.[36]

Soulburner anticipated this move, and summoned "Salamangreat Falco", and by the fowl's effect, Soulburner Special Summoned it. Using "Salamangreat Falco", he summoned "Balelynx", and set "Salamangreat Claw" to his field. His fist burning, Soulburner used "Fowl" and "Balelynx" to Link Summon "Sunlight Wolf". Windy continued to use "Blast" effect to negate Soulburner's Link Monster effects. With "Salamangreat Sanctuary", Soulburner used a "Heatleo" to summon another copy of it. Trying to finish Windy quickly, he equipped the latter with "Salamangreat Claw", and since it used a copy of itself as material, "Heatleo" could attack three times. Due to "Salamangreat Sparks", the ATK of "Bahamut Bomber" was lowered down to the ATK of "Heatleo". Windy pleaded Soulburner not to attack, whose "Heatleo" attacked "Bahamut Bomber", and only the latter was destroyed. With two "Salamangreat Tokens" on Windy's field, Soulburner wanted "Heatleo" to destroy them, and inflict piercing damage. Windy begged him to stop, but Flame cut the talk, as "Heatleo" dealt 2300 LP damage to Windy. His eyes ablaze, Soulburner went to finish the Duel with a third attack.[36]

Windy smiled, as he sent "Stormrider Gulldiver" to halve the damage and end the Battle Phase. Flame saw it was a bad situation, which reminded Soulburner of a Skill. Windy gloated, exclaiming he could use Storm Access during a Master Duel. Windy laughed, for his acting made them believe in their premature victory. By banishing "Gulldiver", Windy revived his ace, at the cost of negated effects and halved ATK. To reverse the situation, Soulburner's "Salamangreat Sublimation" made him regain LP, equal to the ATK of the tributed "Sunlight Wolf": 1800. Soulburner proceeded to set the card he drew with the latter's effect, but Flame advised him to think, since Windy could have other measures against set cards. Soulburner frowned, and Flame let him do as he pleased. Windy was amused by Soulburner's foolish decision, and pointed out to Flame this was why they did not need partners. At Windy's turn, he Special Summoned "Stormrider Stolastorm" from banishment. Windy conjured a Data Storm for Storm Access Skill for the Master Duel. Flame claimed that was cheating, but Windy thanked him for those words.[36]

Using his two Link Monsters, Windy Link Summoned "Stormriderflagship Bahamut Bomber Custom". With "Blast" Field Spell, Windy's new ace's ATK became 3700. Furthermore, its effect made "Heatleo" a Continuous Spell Card, thus destroying "Salamangreat Claw". Its final effect destroyed all of Soulburner's cards in Spell & Trap Zone, and since he could not counter that effect, Soulburner took 1000 LP damage - 500 for his set card and "Heatleo". As Soulburner saw Flame was right, Windy gloated, since the human should've listened to his Ignis, which was a superior life form, though siding with a human made them inferior. "Bahamut Bomber Custom" went for a direct attack. Soulburner smiled, as he went to use a Trap, but Windy didn't see any set cards. Flame told Windy he was too excited to win; Soulburner used the card that was just sent to the GY - "Salamangreat Ascetic" - to return "Heatleo", and summoned "Salamangreat Falco" in defense to protect himself. Windy was furious, and had his ace attack "Falco", whom Soulburner protected by banishing "Balelynx". Flame counted on Windy to destroy "Salamangreat Ascetic", who was enraged that he was fooled. Regardless, he counted on "Stormrider Blast", since it could turn Soulburner's monsters into attacking his "Bahamut Bomber Custom".[36]

Soulburner's Xyz Summon

Soulburner overlays his monsters for the Overlay Network.

Soulburner admitted they had been put in a difficult position, which made Windy dare him to try. Flame believed in his and Soulburner's future, and the latter smiled, calling Flame a partner. Soulburner made a pose like his "Burning Draw" Skill, and summoned the monster he drew, "Salamangreat Gazzele". Its effect put "Salamangreat Spinny" to the GY, who was taken to the field by its own effect. Windy claimed these monsters were nothing compared to his ace, but Soulburner made him doubt his words. Using the level 3 "Spinny" and "Gazelle", Soulbuner performed an Xyz Summon, overlaying the monsters into "Salamangreat Miragestallio". Its detachment allowed Soulburner to call upon "Beat Bison" from his Deck. Returning the two "Salamangreat Heatleo" cards in his GY to his Extra Deck, Soulburner negated "Bahamut Bomber Custom" and "Stormrider Blast" cards' effects. "Beat Bison", "Miragestallio" and "Falco" were used to summon "Salamangreat Heatleo" back, and the Xyz Monster, used as Link Material, allowed Soulburner to return Windy's ace back to Extra Deck.[36]

Windy went to protect it by sending "Stormrider Tubieloof" from his hand, to negate that effect. Windy yelled out he could still fight, though Soulburner exclaimed "his wind has stopped blowing." Swapping one "Heatleo" for the other one with "Sanctuary" on the field, Soulburner reduced Windy's ace's ATK, equal to "Salamangreat Spinny" in his GY: 1000. Windy became distraught, as Flame exclaimed the flame could burn stronger than being blown by the wind. "Heatleo" crashed through "Stormriderflagship Bahamut Bomber Custom", and defeated Windy, who was knocked off his Echo program. Windy was uncertain why did he lose, but Flame replied he only thought of himself; as a partner, both Flame and Soulburner had to respect each other to create a strength that could transcend obstacles. Soulburner exclaimed Windy lost that strength the moment he ditched his partner. Windy, set on flame, shouted that he lost because he lost his cool, and called upon Lightning. Flame jumped, and collected Windy's data, but not before Windy swearing he'd curse him.[36]

Soulburner wondered about the curses, but Flame, closing his eyes, replied that AI do not curse.[36] After the Duel was over, soon after, the two saw a broadcast of Blue Maiden facing Bohman. They became concerned when Blue Maiden took an attack from "Cubic Hydradrive Lord", but were relieved when "Marincess Crystal Heart" was brought out. He saw that Blue Maiden was similar to them, too.[37] Soulburner became surprised when Bohman used "Cubic Hydradrive Lord" to Link Summon a LINK-4 monster. However, he became pleased when Blue Maiden managed to power up "Marincess Wonder Heart" to outweigh the ATK of Bohman's monster.[38] They were alerted when Blue Maiden lost the Duel. Much to their shock, Soulburner and Flame saw a screen showing Kolter facing Playmaker. The two realized that Lightning was blackmailing Kolter, threatening Jin's life in order to defeat Playmaker. As Playmaker summoned "Decode Talker", Flame noted it could've been summoned to the Extra Monster Zone to point to "Codebreaker Zero Day" and gain ATK. He thought Playmaker had doubts if he should fight. Soulburner confirmed this, since this was his friend they were talking about, but Flame reminded of the consequences.[39]

Soulburner crying

Soulburner cries over Playmaker's despair.

Soulburner's revenge

Soulburner's hatred towards Lightning and Bohman intensifies.

Flame knew that Playmaker could not fight Kolter, as Soulburner added that the latter was like family to Playmaker. As the latter played "Link Satellite", the two acknowledged that Playmaker was safe from attacks for a few turns. Regardless, Soulburner wished there was a way he could help Playmaker out. As "Link Satellite" was destroyed, the two were frustrated to see Playmaker in a pinch. Playmaker barely survived Kolter's attacks, and Soulburner explained that Playmaker was tired due to the emotional damage he was taking. The two were in despair when Playmaker screamed, but were relieved when he summoned "Extended Decode Talker". After Playmaker defeated Kolter and fell to his knees, Soulburner and Flame screamed for their names. After Playmaker confronted Lightning and fell unconscious, Soulburner started crying, as he screamed Playmaker's name. Fueled by revenge, Soulburner promised to avenge his fallen friend whom Bohman and Lightning attempted to trick.[40]

Relationships

Flame

Flame is Takeru's partner who was modeled after him during the Lost Incident. Although the Ignis teases him at times and Soulburner is shown to be unamused by Flames behaviours. Takeru is very close to Flame as they take on challenges together. It was Flame's encouragement that helped Takeru overcome his fears and move forward. Whenever Takeru shows a lack of confidence, he often relies on Flame for advice and shows genuine concern for him when in trouble. Similar to Ai, Flame sometimes mimics Soulburner's movements during his duels.Their closeness is best shown in their duel against Windy in which they proved the power of the bond between Ignis and Partner.

Kiku Kamishirakawa

Kiku is a close friend of Takeru. She would often try to convince him to come back to school. She occasionally teases Takeru over is fear of ghosts or lack of computer skills. Still, the two care about each other, as Takeru came to save Kiku when Ryujiro and his gang kidnapped her, even though it meant dueling which he swore never to do again after the Lost Incident. Takeru trusts Kiku enough to look after his grandparents when he left for Den City, and even admitted he was not himself the way he was. She in return did not ask why, but understood when she noticed he was full of life in his decision to leave.

Yusaku Fujiki

Yusaku is a fellow Lost Incident victim and Takeru's partner, who idolizes him as the hero of LINK VRAINS. Although Yusaku was suspicious of him when they first met in person, he soon grew to understand and support Takeru after learning he's an ally. Since then, Takeru has served as a partner to Yusaku during their missions to find the remaining Ignis and stop the mystery duelist Bohman. Takeru is also very loyal and protective towards Yusaku, dueling Bit and Boot, The Gore, and Blue Girl so that Yusaku can move forward and complete his mission. Yusaku, in turn, sees Takeru as a partner and cares about him as seen when he shows relief after he regroups with him following his duel with The Gore and when he shows genuine concern for him when he falls prey to Blood Shepherd's trap. When Ai suggests running away, Yusaku firmly says he won't abandon Soulburner, showing that he cares about his fellow comrade. When Takeru is eventually saved by Emma, Yusaku once again shows relief that he's okay.

Cal Kolter

Upon first meeting, Kolter was very welcoming of Takeru, Likewise Takeru is in good terms with Kolter and sympathizes with Kolter over Jin's situation. Kolter would soon add a second chamber to Cafe Nom for Takeru to use and not long after told him and Flame the story behind how Yusaku and Kolter met, noting that both Takeru and Flame are their allies in their fight, and therefore they should know more about Yusaku. When Kolter was erased following his duel against Yusaku, Takeru shed tears and mourned his death, becoming deeply enraged and promising to make Bohman and Lightning pay for their actions.

Skye Zaizen

Takeru admires Skye as one of the heroes of Link VRAINS for defeating the Knights of Hanoi. When he met her as Blue Girl, he thought her new avatar was cool. He was excited for the opportunity to duel her. When Takeru introduced himself to Skye in the real world, he noted how different her personality was and wants to talk about how exciting their duel was. When Skye revealed she teamed up with Aqua and changed her avatar to Blue Maiden, he was both amazed and happy to be working with her.

George Gore

Takeru considers The Gore as one of the heroes of Link VRAINS. He was thrilled at the opportunity to duel George, referring to him as "senpai." However, Takeru soon became disheartened when George said he only cared about defeating Playmaker and proving he was the best. Takeru told George that "The Gore" he knew was a great Duelist who gave him courage, not at all the man he was now. Soulburner seemed to be disheartened at how the Gore had become during his second duel against Playmaker.

Varis

Much like Yusaku, Takeru initially believed the Knights of Hanoi were fully responsible for the Lost Incident and personally blamed Varis for it and the death of his parents. When Varis offered a temporary alliance with Playmaker's team, Soulburner immediately refused and lashed out against Varis, recklessly demanding a duel. After Soulburner calmed down Varis revealed his true identity as well as the fact that he was only an 8-year old during the incident. Ryoken also revealed that he was the one who reported the kidnappings to the police in the first place. Takeru cautiously decided to work with Varis, though he still remained wary of him.

Deck

"Salamangreat" Deck

Takeru uses a "Salamangreat" Deck. The Deck's primary strategy is to rely on swarm and Graveyard effects to Link Summon "Salamangreat Heatleo" and use monster effects to disrupt the opponent's backrow. If pushed on the defensive, Soulburner is able to use a variety of cards with life restoring effects, such as "Energy of Fire" and "Salamangreat Raccoon", to restore his Life Points to sustain heavy damage. With "Salamangreat Sanctuary", Soulburner is able to pull off a "Reincarnation Link Summon", a different approach to Link Summoning, strengthening his ace monster further. Takeru compliments this by using effects that return cards from his Graveyard to the Deck, allowing him to recycle his Link Monsters to reuse "Reincarnation Link Summoning" multiple times. He is also able to use Ritual, Fusion, and Xyz Summoning as additional offensive measures.

Deck

Past Deck

Before obtaining his Salamangreat cards, Takeru used a FIRE Warrior Deck that focused on monsters that can Special Summon themselves with varied tactics such as strong offensive power or inflicting effect damage.

Deck

Duels

Opponent Episode(s) Outcome
Unknown Duelist 61 Lose (flashback)
Unknown Duelist 61 Lose (flashback)
Ryujiro Mizunuma 61-63 Win (flashback)
Bit and Boot 49 Win
George Gore/The Gore 51-52 Win
Skye Zaizen/Blue Girl 56 Win
Kengo Dojun/Blood Shepherd 62-63 No result
Ryoken Kogami/Varis 84 No result
Bit and Boot 86 Win
Windy 88-89 Win
Bohman 94-95 TBD

Trivia

  • Takeru's hair colors as Soulburner appear to be a combination of Playmaker's, Blue Angel's and The Gore's, all of whom he refers to as the heroes of LINK VRAINS for stopping the Knights of Hanoi.
  • Like many characters, Takeru says "Are you sure?" when he's about to turn a Duel around in the original. However, he says "Soitsu wa dou kana?" instead of "Sore wa dou kana?"

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 63: "Reincarnating Flame"
  2. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 41: "Truth and Consequences"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 50: "Transfer Student Takeru Homura"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 60: "Brave Max the Loser"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 62: "The Ominous Ghost"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 61: "Despair from Darkness"
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 52: "Hero In Name Only"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 51: "Man Who Gave Up Charisma"
  9. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 48: "Judgment Arrow"
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 49: "Duelist Clad in Flames"
  11. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 54: "Terrifying Battledrone"
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 55: "To the Unknown World"
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 56: "Blue Girl's First Battle!"
  14. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 58: "Soul of Replica"
  15. 15.0 15.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 64: "Turning Point"
  16. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 65: "Playmaker's Breath"
  17. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 68: "Secret Meeting"
  18. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 69: "Mission That Must Be Accomplished"
  19. 19.0 19.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 70: "Tuning Bullets"
  20. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 71: "Declaration of War"
  21. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 72: "Clear Perfection"
  22. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 73: "Light Blade that Slices Despair"
  23. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 74: "Captured Ignis"
  24. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 77: "Siblings in Conflict"
  25. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 78: "Rebellious Bounty Hunter"
  26. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 79: "Speed of Light - Lightning"
  27. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 80: "Bounty Hunter's Duty"
  28. 28.0 28.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 81: "Arrived at the Summit"
  29. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 82: "What's Beyond Instincts"
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 30.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 83: "Irregular Meeting"
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 31.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 84: "A Turbulent Past"
  32. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 85: "True Tears"
  33. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 86: "Wisdom of the Deprived"
  34. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 87: "Chain Destruction"
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 35.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 88: "Windy the Revenger"
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 36.3 36.4 36.5 36.6 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 89: "Two Flames Unite"
  37. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 90: "Creator of the Next Generation"
  38. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 91: "Proud Maiden"
  39. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 92: "Big Test"
  40. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 93: "Promise With Each Other"