"Sinister Shadows", known as "Countdown to Defeat! The Terror of Deck Destruction" in the Japanese version, is the ninety-seventh episode in the Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL anime. It first aired in Japan on March 31, 2013 and in the United States on February 15, 2014.
Having just reduced Yuma's Deck to three cards with "Vain Betrayer", Vector asks him why he shouldn't be doing his best - none of them will leave the field alive anyway, and all because Vector had lured Yuma there (in the dub, Vector says that Yuma and his friends are doomed because of Yuma himself). Yuma curses at Vector, who further asks him what he's hoping to accomplish when he can't even lay a hand on him. Yuma slumps as Vector points out that he's going to get revenge for him, isn't he? Both of their Life Points are shown, with Yuma standing at 1600, Vector at 3800.
In the Different Dimension Airship, Caswell says that he can't believe that Ray was in fact a Barian. Flip points out that Yuma knew the entire time and kept it from them, and Cathy wonders why he'd do something like that. Tori, meanwhile, just states that at this rate, Yuma and Astral will... (in the dub, Tori says that Yuma must have had a good reason for doing all this)
Yuma Sets a card and ends his turn, prompting Vector to remark that he'll take the effect of "Sargasso" that he promised him. Lightning strikes Yuma and Astral, reducing them to 1100 Life Points. Vector laughs at the sight, asking if this is what they call "tattered mind and soul?" He tells them that he'll hurt them even more before continuing to cackle (in the dub, Vector reasserts that each time Yuma plays, "Sargasso" makes him pay).
Astral comments that they've learned the truth through Vector's trap, and he's completely toying with them (in the dub, Astral says that Vector enjoys exploiting human psychology to further his strategy). Yuma admits that this is his fault. Astral claims that it was also due to his carelessness; he intended to use their Barian card as a weapon without considering the risks involved (in the dub, Astral says that he sensed that something was not right when Yuma started using the Barian cards). Yuma tells him to just say it already; if he hadn't talked with Ray, none of this would have happened. Astral can only utter Yuma's name before Vector agrees - it certainly wasn't a good idea to keep that secret from his partner, Astral. At Shark's field, Bronk mutters that Vector took advantage of Yuma's weakness. Rio adds that it's become a vulgar fight (in the dub, Rio says that deception is what is expected of a Barian), while Shark and Kite remain silent (shots of them are cut from the dub). Vector continues, accusing Yuma of being a traitor for choosing their friendship over the one with his partner. Yuma protests that it was because he'd said it would protect Astral, but Vector remarks that he's just making excuses. As Yuma continues to lose his cool, Astral thinks that this isn't good, as if this continues, he'll be lured into Vector's game completely (in the dub, Astral thinks that as Yuma is being lured into Vectors mind games, he will not listen to him anymore). As he wonders what he should do, he feels an uneasiness as if it's being generated by a fragment of darkness and wonders what it is.
Vector asks them what they're spacing out for, and begins his turn (in the dub, he simply says that they should get back to the Duel). He activates "Glorious Numbers", allowing him to Special Summon a "Number" from his Graveyard if he controls no monsters and draw a card. He Special Summons "Number 104: Masquerade", and comments that it's a pity after he's only just got "Utopia Ray V" out, it's all been a complete waste of time (Vector does not make this remark in the dub). Astral observes that Vector had even planned ahead to revive his "Number", and Yuma adds that if this keeps up, "Utopia Ray V" will be destroyed. Vector asks them why he'd do that, "Utopia Ray V" can't attack, use its effects, or even shield them, and as long as it's on the field, they'll continue to take the damage from "Sargasso". He tells them that they've gotta enjoy it thoroughly and continues to laugh madly (Vector's, Yuma's and Astral's comments on "Utopia Ray V" are cut from the dub). Instead of attacking, he uses the effect of "Masquerade", sending the "Spell Recycler" from the top of Yuma's Deck to the Graveyard, but preventing "Masquerade" from attacking this turn. He points out that they only have two cards left in their Deck, and when he loses the Duel, he'll sink into the darkness of "Sargasso". He wonders what will happen to Yuma's friends as well, causing Yuma to gasp in horror. On the Different Dimension Airship, Yuma's friends are horrified. Caswell asks in shock if this means they'll be buried in "Sargasso" forever. Cathy and Flip protest as well, but Tori just whispers Yuma's name. Vector comments that their frustrated expressions are great - now their worthless human friends will be reduced in number (in the dub, Vector comments that pretending to be a friend to the humans was fun because of their expressions). Yuma is furious that Vector called them worthless (in the dub, Yuma calls Vector pathetic), but Vector just Sets a card to end his turn.
Dumon tells Shark that he is coming at him - he activates the effect of "Number 102: Star Seraph Sentry", detaching an Overlay Unit to negate the effects of "Number 32: Shark Drake" and halve its ATK. "Star Seraph Sentry" materializes an arrow of light out of one of its Overlay Units and fires it from its bow, striking "Shark Drake" through the chest and reducing it to 1400 ATK. Dumon then declares his attack, and "Sentry" throws a spear of light as it attacks with "Lightning Cluster", destroying "Shark Drake" and reducing Shark to 1900 Life Points. Bronk yells his name. Mizar also attacks, destroying "Starliege Lord Galaxion" with "Number 107: Galaxy-Eyes Tachyon Dragon's" "Tachyon Spiral of Destruction" and reducing Kite to 2000 Life Points. Orbital 7 calls out his master's name (in the dub, Orbital yells, "No!"), and both Shark and Kite land in a crouch. Yuma sees them on two screens, and likewise yells out their names. Vector comments that it's pretty pitiful that those idiots followed Yuma around (in the dub, Vector says that they're suffering because of Yuma). Yuma curses at Vector again, only for Vector to cackle to himself.
Shark activates a Trap Card, "Shark Splash", which allows him to revive "Number 32: Shark Drake", reduce its ATK by 1000, and then inflict the resulting ATK to Dumon as damage. "Shark Drake" appears and launches its jaw-shaped energy blast, knocking Dumon backwards and reducing him to 2200 Life Points. Bronk and Rio cheer, but Dumon points out that Shark will take damage form "Sargasso", and Shark is hit by the lightning, reducing him to 1400 Life Points. Bronk is concerned, but Rio reassures him that Shark will tear through Dumon's flesh and crush his bones, and make a last second break through his tactics (in the dub, Rio tells Bronk that Shark knows what he's doing--taking damage was part of his strategy). Dumon Sets a card, ending his turn, and Shark begins his own turn. He uses "Shark Drake" as Xyz Material, performing a Chaos Xyz Evolution. His body glows purple as "Shark Drake" returns to its sealed form and enters the overlay network, and he declares that "the mightiest fangs awake from an abyss of pitch black darkness" as he summons "Chaos Number 32: Shark Drake Veiss". Bronk protests that he'll take "Sargasso's" effect again, and Shark is struck by lightning, lowering his Life Points to 900. Rio reassures him that that's fine, pointing out that when "Shark Drake Veiss" is summoned while Shark has more than 1000 Life Points, it's destroyed. By using the effect of "Sargasso", he was able to keep it on the field. Bronk is shocked that Shark planned that far, and Dumon praises Shark. He always knew that Shark was a man like this, and he makes him think of "that guy", commenting on Shark's savage way of speaking and a straightforward soul that can be felt head on, and conducting an honest and earnest Duel despite this (in the dub, Dumon observes that underneath Shark's recklessness and wild words, he possesses true skill). Shark just tells him to save the sleep-talk for his bed (in the dub, Shark says he isn't here to chat).
Kite begins his turn and activates "Triangle Evolution", allowing him to use a Level 5 or higher monster he controls as three materials for an Xyz Summon. He chooses "Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon", which splits into three copies and overlays them. Mizar notes the Xyz Summon and speculates what Kite is summoning (in the dub, Mizar knows what's coming). Kite brings out "Neo Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon", but he is struck by "Sargasso's" lightning and reduced to 1500 Life Points. Orbital exclaims that Kite took the damage from "Sargasso" again. Kite then states "Neo Galaxy Eyes" will lose 1000 ATK due to "Triangle Evolution". Mizar states that the battlefield has been set up, and he activates his Trap card, "Neutrino Dowsing"; when Kite Xyz Summons, he can detach an Overlay Unit from a "Galaxy-Eyes" monster on his field, and then send "Rank-Up-Magic Barian's Force" to the Graveyard to activate its effect; Ranking-Up "Tachyon Dragon" and Summoning a "Chaos Number". Mizar then Summons "Chaos Number 107: Neo Galaxy-Eyes Tachyon Dragon". This time the "Number's" sealed form appears, transforming into a golden, three headed form of "Number 107: Galaxy-Eyes Tachyon Dragon", with 4500 ATK. Kite grimly observes the "Chaos Number", remembering the last time it was Summoned; though the said Duel ended before he got the chance to see it (Kite's observations are cut from the dub). Mizar takes damage from "Sargasso" and states that the time has come for their true match, as lightning crackles through the sky.
Suddenly, the Different Dimension Airship is dragged backwards. Cathy screams (Cathy's screaming is cut from the dub), while Flip appears to have been jolted by electricity and asks what is going on. Caswell, looking at a diagram of the area, cries out that the airship is being sucked in. Tori is shocked, asking what that maelstrom is (Tori's reaction is cut from the dub). Yuma and Astral have taken note of the situation, and Vector explains that it happens from time to time - black holes periodically open in Sargasso and draw everything within reach inside them. Yuma is shocked as Vector comments that they go on to become sacrifices in Sargasso. Everyone on board the airship is screaming in terror, much to the shock of Bronk, Rio, Kite and Orbital 7. As Cathy screams that they have to find the escape route, Tori simply murmurs Yuma's name, while he calls out to her in return. Vector asks them if they know where the black hole leads (in the dub, Vector says he can close the black hole). He admits that if he alters the effect of "Sargasso Lighthouse", he may be able to save them, but not without a price. He tells Yuma to hand over all his "Numbers", and as Yuma repeats the question, comments that Yuma won't be able to, because it will mean that his partner, Astral will suffer if he does. He should continue the Duel over his friends in the airship (in the dub, Yuma did not say anything at this point; Vector instead continues that if Yuma hands over the "Numbers", Astral will disappear forever, and if Yuma doesn't, his friends will be gone). Yuma curses at him, telling the Barian that his opponents are him and Astral; Tori and the others have nothing to do with this. Vector counters with the statement that he dragged them into this, and laughs as Yuma tries to contain himself. He asks Yuma whether he'll save Astral or help his friends, though he can only get one outcome. Yuma wonders what he should do, knowing what will happen to Tori and the others if this keeps up. Astral interrupts, telling him to calm down. Yuma protests that everyone is in danger, (in the dub, he complains, "That's easy for you to say!") and Vector chimes in that Astral sure is cold - they're Yuma's friends, speaking the last bit in Ray's voice (in the dub, Vector says that Astral doesn't care about Yuma's friends, speaking the line all in his normal voice). Yuma is unable to choose between the two. Astral asks if Yuma doesn't get it - this is all Vector's plan. Yuma yells at him to shut up, he just wants to save his friends, he wants to save everyone (in the dub, Yuma adds that there's no right answer to this and doubts himself that he can't save anyone). Vector sadistically adds that the frustrated expression on Yuma's face is great (in the dub, Vector "pities" Yuma for putting so many lives in his hands). He bursts out in cackles again, and Tori gets a determined look on her face.
Tori contacts Yuma, asking him why he's so unsure of himself. She tells him not to worry about them and focus on the Duel with Astral. She states that they didn't come there to hold Yuma back, and reminds him that his mission is to protect Astral (in the dub, Tori adds that they came here to support Yuma). Tori tells him to win this Duel. If he believes in the bonds between the friends that he holds so dear, and he isn't mistaken about that, he must prove it. She tells him to do "Kattobingu!" before taking command of the Airship, ordering Flip to the command station, Caswell to the power station, and Cathy to monitor the system status. Orbital 7's voice rings out, telling them to wait just a minute, as he boards the airship through a floor panel, declaring that he is here under "Master Kite's" orders, and moves over to the walls, plunging his finger cords into the sockets, granting him access to the Airship's systems, while Cathy disables the security, and Caswell activates the main engine. The gears inside the ship begin to turn, and Flip declares a hard-to-starboard turn, as Tori wrenches the wheel across, and they begin to escape the singularity, cheered on by Yuma. The group calls out system updates and Tori calls out that they'll definitely make it through this. The Different Dimension Airship aligns itself, and the main engine sends out a pulse of green energy, blasting them away from the black hole, with Tori telling everyone to do "Kattobingu" as electricity crackles through the ship - and by extension, Orbital 7, still plugged in. The diagram shows the ship escaping, as Orbital states that they've passed the critical point, and the black hole closes. Yuma cheers happily that they did it and he tells them that was awesome. Tori brings up a screen, telling Yuma that now it's his turn. Caswell states that, in the end, and Flip interrupts, Yuma had better win, or not (translated roughly from his verbal tic of "ura"), while Cathy tells him to do "Cattobingu" (in the dub, Caswell and Flip encourage Yuma that if they can do it, he can to; Cathy chimes in with "Categorically!").
Yuma tears up, apologizing for putting them in danger but Shark and Kite interrupt. Shark reminds Yuma that he came to "Sargasso" of his own will, and Kite points out that they owe the Barians for what they did, even if Yuma tried to stop him, he too is here of his own free will. Yuma says his friends names, and Shark points out that if Yuma has time to worry about worthless emotions, he should just do what he came here to do--defeat Vector. Yuma tells him that he'll take care of it. He turns and apologizes to Astral, who lowers to eye level with Yuma, and states "Let's win this Duel" ("Together, we can do this. Victory is ours" in the dub). He states that they'll do ZEXAL. They begin the process, much to everyone's joy, and as they merge together, Vector tells Astral that it's time for the final finish.
Vector asks if Astral will really become one with Yuma. Does he really believe in him from the bottom of his heart, or is he doubting him deep down? He reminds Astral that Yuma lied to him, trusting Ray over his own partner, and pointing out the tiny crack of doubt deep down in Astral's heart. Astral confusedly remembers Yuma and Ray, and the results of this "friendship", and is stricken. Vector points out a small crack of darkness in Astral's heart, and it's about time he accepts it. Astral's own voice (distorted and sounding similar to that of Number 96; in the dub, this voice is replaced by a deeper voice) begins encouraging him to accept the evil, and Vector comments that he's been doubting Yuma for a while now, as Astral "remembers" confusedly "that card", and the Summonings of "Utopia Ray V" and "V Salamander". He states that within his heart, the grudge he holds, his suspicion is aimed at the one who "betrayed" him, as Astral still confusedly remembers "V Salamander" equipping to "Utopia Ray V" (in the dub, Vector says that the tiny black spot has grown into a gaping black hole of doubt and anger). Yuma is shocked, and Vector claims that Astral doesn't even know about the doubt that he holds within his heart, and that he's been affected by Yuma (in the dub, Vector says that Astral's heart was pure before Yuma corrupted it with his lies). That's why even the smallest bit of darkness is enough to be fatal, to pull him into an endless pit of despair. Yuma tells Vector that Astral won't lose to something like that (in the dub, Yuma tells Vector that he knows that Astral can trust him despite what had happened), and ZEXAL appears to have succeeded, showing the silhouette of the Morph. Vector wonders if Yuma can pull Astral out of the darkness he's been swallowed by (in the dub, Vector instead wonders if Astral will trust the darkness now). Yuma and Astral, still not fully revealed, ask him what he means. Vector asks them if they've forgotten that "Utopia Ray V" is the "power of Barian" and unleashing a shock wave, causing the ZEXAL Morph to be undone (in the dub, Vector does not remind the pair of the Barian origins of "Utopia Ray V", he just simply yelling that Yuma's and Astral's bond is no more). They are thrown apart, Yuma landing on the ground while Astral spirals through the air as he calls his name. The darkness in Astral's heart emerges, and wraps around him. Yuma can only yell Astral's name in shock as Astral screams in agony before the darkness engulfs him, expanding into a sphere. The darkness bursts apart to reveal that Astral has been taken over by the darkness. He smirks (switched to groaning in the dub), and Vector laughs claiming that he's completely out of control (in the dub, Vector comments that Astral has changed). Fully taken over by the darkness, Astral moves in closer to Yuma and holding his shoulder, chants "ZEXAL" crazily ("When two distant souls become one, the power of ZEXAL is revealed" in the dub). Yuma can only ask Astral what is wrong with him before Astral surrounds them in a sphere of darkness as Yuma screams (in the original, Astral repeatedly chants "ZEXAL", while in the dub, Astral says that his eyes have been opened to the truth). Even Vector is shocked by the turn of events, and Tori calls out Yuma and Astral's names as the darkness sphere glows with a purple light, before a purple mist floods the surrounding area. As everyone looks on in shock, the mist and the sphere clears, revealing ZEXAL standing before them, but with a darker color scheme and a dark purple aura. The black ZEXAL opens his eyes and looks at Vector with a psychotic smirk.
Turn 5: Yuma
Yuma and Astral attempt ZEXAL Morph, but a few words from Vector stops the process and Astral turns dark. Astral uses ZEXAL Morph with Yuma, re-initiating the process, and turning into Dark ZEXAL.
Turn 3: Shark
Shark performs a Chaos Xyz Evolution, overlaying "Shark Drake" to Special Summon "Chaos Number 32: Shark Drake Veiss" (2800/2100) in Attack Position, taking damage from "Sargasso" (Shark 1400 → 900) as he Summoned an Xyz Monster. As Shark's Life Points are 1000 or less, "Shark Drake Veiss" is not destroyed.
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