"The Brave Battler", known as "Naoki Shima the Fighter" in the Japanese version, is the twenty-seventh episode of the Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS anime. It first aired in Japan on November 15, 2017. It became available with official subtitles via Crunchyroll on the same day.and will air on Teletoon on December 1, 2018
As The Deleted phenomenon begins to affect the real world, everyone begins to panic, and LINK VRAINS is put on high alert. Due to something, Naoki Shima decides to fight against the Knights of Hanoi...
Later that night at Café Nom, Kolter and Yusaku report that all of The Deleted have been cured. Yusaku notices that all of their struggles against the Knights of Hanoi had been inside the virtual realm - against Baira, this was the first time they faced their enemy in the real world. Kolter knows his hacking can only go so far to prevent the Knights of Hanoi, or anyone else, from knowing that Yusaku is Playmaker. Inside LINK VRAINS, a Knight of Hanoi beats down another innocent duelist.
Later at school, Naoki Shima tells Yusaku that they can't stand and watch while Playmaker and Blue Angel are busy fighting. He claims they need help, but Yusaku isn't interested. He says the anti-virus has solved the problem with The Deleted, they haven't asked anyone for help and finally, bluntly, that Shima isn't good enough. Because if he is, he wouldn't need Yusaku's help. This puts Shima over the edge, and he runs away. Yusaku tells Ai that it's the truth.
Shima hides in the Duel Club room, and remembers his first day there. Shima proudly proclaimed that he was the King of Games... in the preschool circuit. Hosoda wondered whether Shima even beat someone in his own age group, but eased Shima's worries by welcoming him to the Duel Club. Now that it has disbanded, Shima claims it was because of him, the one with the talent to become champion. Suddenly, Shima's A.I. downloads new data, including the "Cyberse Wizard" card, which Shima realizes is Playmaker's card. He then reads a letter apparently sent to his A.I. by Playmaker, asking him to join the battle. Suddenly, Shima imagines being addressed by Playmaker directly. Shima is overjoyed that Playmaker chose him, and therefore, decides to log into LINK VRAINS.
Shima appears in LINK VRAINS in an avatar that he himself states, makes him feel like a superhero. Therefore, he "tests his superpowers" by running, only to trip up. He stands up and still claims he's awesome, only to see someone get thrown out of an alleyway ahead of him. A Knight of Hanoi walks past the fallen duelist, disgusted that his opponent is not Playmaker. Another duelist falls behind Shima, and two more are being chased. Shima suddenly realizes what is happening, only to be interrupted by the Knight of Hanoi that was ahead of Shima. Shima claims to be Playmaker's friend, and shows off the "Cyberse Wizard" card as proof. In a real-world lodge, Aso looks on.
Shima challenges the Knight of Hanoi, declaring his avatar's name for the first time: Brave Battler. His opponent is not impressed by Brave Battler's intro, and Brave Battler starts to panic. Nevertheless, the duel gets underway. The Knight of Hanoi goes first, only to find out that he's started with a brick hand. Although the Knight is scared of his opponent already gaining the upper hand, Brave Battler finds out that he can't play any of his starting hand either. The duelists notice each other, smile, and say to each other that they have the hands they need.
When the Knight of Hanoi plays "Hand Destruction", a card which forces his opponent to interact, Brave Battler thinks to himself that he's been given respect. However, neither the Knight nor Brave Battler are satisfied with the cards they drew in place of their discards. But, the Knight notices a strategy with the cards he drew, and plays it. Brave Battler's A.I. notes that his opponent is already down to 1000 Life Points. Brave Battler thinks that he can just hope to resurrect one of the "Green Baboon, Defender of the Forest" cards that he discarded. However, his opponent knows what the Brave Battler's thinking, causing him to panic, although he admits that his opponent's correct. The Knight of Hanoi therefore brings out "Steelswarm Hercules" by Tributing his three monsters.
Brave Battler's A.I. states the ATK of "Hercules", and the Brave Battler puts on a brave face, though deep down, he's scared. The Knight states "Hercules'" effect despite not being able to use it, and lets Brave Battler have his turn, although he doubts what Brave Battler can do. Brave Battler "shakes his fists" at his opponent, claiming that Playmaker believes in him. He starts his turn and draws the card he showed off earlier. The Knight wonders what it is. Brave Battler is staring at the card in his hand and wonders whether he's worthy of using it. Brave Battler starts dreaming of Playmaker addressing him again, this time with an "endearing smile", only for the opponent he's facing to bark at him impatiently.
Inside Café Nom, Kolter notices "Cyberse Wizard" being played inside LINK VRAINS, and alerts Yusaku just as he returns at around the same time. Yusaku wonders how the card ended up in someone else's hands. Kolter wonders who Brave Battler is. Ai accuses Brave Battler of stealing Yusaku's card, only for Yusaku to show his copy to Ai. Ai sees that Yusaku's copy has had its digital signature stolen. Aso continues to watch the duel unfold where he is.
The duel concludes with the Knight's defeat after an attack from "Cyberse Wizard". Brave Battler concludes with a catchphrase. Kolter and Yusaku see Brave Battler's triumph. Yusaku believes their focus needs to shift towards finding out who Brave Battler is, and Kolter gets on it. Meanwhile, the fallen LINK VRAINS duelists from earlier congratulate Brave Battler, who laps up the admiration before logging out. Aso notes this and quickly searches for Brave Battler's identity. He finds it at around the same time Yusaku has. Ai is surprised that the consistent dueling dunce at school would be the Brave Battler. Yusaku brings up the possibility that the Knights of Hanoi already know about him.
A while later, Shima walks home from school, bragging out loud about his achievement as "Playmaker's bestest friend", only for Aso to catch his attention from behind, and knock him out. Shima wakes up in an electric chair deep in a dark place, and cries for help. The voice that responds to Shima knows that Shima is the Brave Battler, and forcibly logs him back into LINK VRAINS. Kolter and Yusaku notice, and catch sight of another Knight of Hanoi cornering Brave Battler atop a building. Brave Battler is angry that he was zapped by the chair. The Knight of Hanoi in question declares his name as Faust and calls out to Playmaker to face him, unless he wants to watch his sidekick get his "Cyberse Wizard" stolen. Brave Battler responds that he was entrusted with the card by Playmaker. Yusaku is unaware of ever giving anyone any of his cards. Faust thus decides to duel Brave Battler to get his card. Brave Battler immediately flinches and moves back perilously close to the edge of the building.
Kolter and Yusaku hear Brave Battler claim to be locked away in a warehouse. Kolter concludes that Faust found Shima in real life and locked him away. Yusaku asks if Kolter can find Faust's real-life home, while he goes into LINK VRAINS to confront Faust. But before he can, Yusaku notices that his Duel Disk is missing. Kolter's cameras later show a feed of Den City from above. The camera eventually turns to face Ai, who claims to have re-engineered Playmaker's Duel Disk into a Duel Drone so that he can't be locked up anymore. Yusaku can't think of three reasons why he needs Ai to return, but suddenly suggests having Ai search for Shima from above. Kolter notes that Den City is huge, however, Ai says he knows where to look, because every card has a unique data signal. Upon hearing that Ai has found Shima, Yusaku and Kolter get on the move.
Shima protests that he isn't able to Speed Duel yet. Faust takes none of it and orders Brave Battler to get on the D-Board. After Brave Battler refuses again, Faust notes that he is facing a coward, and therefore, a fraud. This makes Brave Battler recall some harsh words at school. Brave Battler eventually points at Faust, agreeing to his challenge. Meanwhile, it is sunset in the real world. Ai is continuing towards Shima's location only to hit a high-rise building's wall. Yusaku asks for Ai's current whereabouts. When Kolter sees that he's getting closer to Ai, Yusaku asks Ai to seek their truck. Ai finds the Café Nom truck but doesn't know how to land. Yusaku asks for the Duel Disk to revert to its normal state, and Ai does so, securing the Duel Disk on Yusaku's arm. After asking Kolter to continue tracking Shima, Yusaku quickly gets into LINK VRAINS.
Featured Duel: Brave Battler vs. Knight of Hanoi
The Duel is conducted as a Master Duel.
Turn 1: Knight of Hanoi
KoH's hand contains three copies of "Steelswarm Mantis", "Steelswarm Hercules", and "Hand Destruction". Brave's hand contains three copies of "Green Baboon, Defender of the Forest" and two copies of "Yellow Baboon, Archer of the Forest".
KoH activates "Hand Destruction", making both players send two cards from their hand to the GY and draw two cards. KoH sends two copies of "Mantis" to his GY and draws "A Feather of the Phoenix" and "Soul Charge", while Brave sends two copies of "Green Baboon" to his GY and draws "Yellow Baboon" and "Wild Nature's Release". KoH activates "A Feather of the Phoenix", discarding a card to return a card in his GY to the top of his Deck. He discards the last copy of "Mantis", then returns "Hand Destruction" to the top of his Deck. KoH activates "Soul Charge", Special Summoning any number of monsters from his GY, then losing 1000 LP for each monster Special Summoned. He Special Summons three copies of "Mantis" (2200/0) (KoH: 4000 → 1000 LP). KoH Tributes the three copies of "Mantis" to Tribute Summon "Steelswarm Hercules" (3200/0).
Turn 2: Brave Battler
Brave draws "Cyberse Wizard" and subsequently Normal Summons it (1800/800). Brave activates the effect of "Wizard", letting him change a monster KoH controls to Defense Position and letting Cyberse monsters inflict piercing battle damage this turn, but he can only attack the targeted monster this turn. He changes "Hercules" to Defense Position. "Wizard" attacks and destroys "Hercules" (KoH: 1000 → 0 LP).
The following cards appeared in this episode. Cards in italics debuted here.
- This episode marks the last present-day appearance of a Knight of Hanoi other than Varis and the four lieutenants.