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Absolutes do not exist. That is what life is. That is why people become stronger. That occasionally leads to conflicts. Even if that happens, we have to keep fighting.

— Yusaku Fujiki, to Ai[1]

Yusaku Fujiki ( (ふじ) () (ゆう) (さく) , Fujiki Yūsaku) is the main protagonist of Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS[2] and a former victim of the Hanoi Project, which resulted in him being the originator of the Dark Ignis Ai. After his rescue, he began hunting the Knights of Hanoi in LINK VRAINS under the name Unknown (アンノウン, An'noun). After meeting Cal Kolter, he began operating under the name Playmaker (プレイメーカー, Pureimēkā).



Yusaku is a teenage boy with fair skin, green eyes, and dark blue hair that spikes outward in the back and contains light blue bangs with pink accents. His standard attire is the Den City High School uniform, consisting of a slate-colored jacket with light blue trim over a white dress shirt with a blue tie, a pair of black pants, and black-and-white shoes.

The only times Yusaku is seen without his uniform is when he runs the hot dog truck in Kolter's absence, which consists of a black t-shirt, blue jeans and the Café Nom apron, and when he met Kolter in the past. In the past, Yusaku wears a black hoodie with a gray-blue hem and strings over a white shirt; he also wore a pair of pale teal pants and brown and grey shoes with orange on the straps. He sometimes wears this same outfit in the present.

Playmaker's Outfit Colour Change

The color of Playmaker's stripe on his outfit changing from gold to blue during a Ritual Summon.

While dueling in LINK VRAINS, Yusaku wears a black and green bodysuit with golden stripes going across his body and a grey belt at the waistline. His hair color also changes to yellow and red with pink stripes and accents. Occasionally, the golden stripes in his "Playmaker" bodysuit glow when he uses his Skill; when Playmaker Ritual Summons, the stripes glow blue; when he Fusion Summons, the stripes glow purple; when he Synchro Summons, the stripes glow white with a green tinge; and when he Xyz Summons, the stripes glow dark blue.


Young Yusaku.

When he was a child, Yusaku wore a brown jacket with a green shirt. He wore blue pants, brown boots, and didn't have pink accents on his light blue bangs yet.


Yusaku PTSD

A horrified Yusaku wakes up from a nightmare due to his PTSD.

Yusaku was a kind and cheerful child who loved and enjoyed dueling. However, his innocence was shattered after being kidnapped and subjected to months of intense torture during the Hanoi Project ten years ago. The incident caused Yusaku to develop severe post-traumatic stress disorder, and he continued to suffer nightmares from the torture he went through, even after receiving years of therapy. As a result, Yusaku holds hatred against the Knights of Hanoi and swears vengeance against them for ruining his life and others who were victimized by the incident.

As a teenager, Yusaku is shown to be calm, collected and intelligent, but also colder, more serious and aloof, believing his life to be cut short and devoid of friends or a future. This causes him to distance himself from people even when they try to befriend him, such as Naoki Shima, whose name Yusaku couldn't remember after a month in school. He comes off as rather awkward in public and has trouble answering questions at times, leading others to make assumptions about him, such as when Naoki thought he wanted to join the Duel Club and Skye thought he wanted new equipment from SOL. The only person he seems to trust and is on good terms with is his partner Cal Kolter, and even still, Yusaku didn't consider him a friend. He also didn't hesitate to capture Ai and even threaten to delete him in order to challenge the Hanoi. Yusaku can be quite sullen when dealing with Ai's antics, usually telling him to be quiet.

Despite his traumas and somewhat cynical views towards himself, Yusaku's kind nature remained, showing sympathy and care towards others' situations such as Gore's dedication to his orphanage. He also makes it clear that he doesn't accept anyone's friendship because he doesn't want anyone to look after him and get involved in his missions. He doesn't want anyone's life in harm's way because of his actions. This proves he is still heroic and selfless, despite being more of an anti-hero than previous protagonists. He gives out short smiles on occasion which are mocked by Ai in the dub.

As Playmaker, Yusaku's demeanor is relatively the same with a degree of nobility, such as rescuing Blue Angel from "Cracking Dragon". He also has a strong sense of justice, helping those hurt by the Hanoi and refusing to harm or sacrifice others to achieve his goal. Specter noted this to be a strength, but also his biggest weakness. He doesn't allow others get close to him and join his fight against Hanoi out of concern for their safety. Yusaku also has a habit of listing out three reasons for his observations, something he learned from Varis during the Hanoi Project. He does this to organize his thoughts better and clear his mind when confused or feeling discouraged.

When dueling, Yusaku stays calm, determined and confident in his skills, but never displays signs of arrogance. Unlike most of the previous Yu-Gi-Oh! protagonists, who enjoy dueling and see it as fun, Yusaku sees it as a necessity to eliminate those who are in his way. He is unique in that his motivations for his actions are for revenge, instead of uniting people via dueling and having fun. As such, he usually rejects challenges from other duelists that aren't related to the Knights of Hanoi. However, when he is either forced to accept a Duel or willingly does so, he will not abandon it, as in the case of his first Duel with George Gore. Furthermore, Yusaku is not above complimenting his opponents, as when he praised Gore's Duel style, which was meant to excite both the crowd and even his opponent, as first-rate.

Vrains 093

Yusaku shedding tears after Cal's deletion.

By season 2, Yusaku retains much of his original personality but is less cold-hearted than in the previous season. Having finally achieved his revenge against the Knights of Hanoi, Yusaku has gained some closure from the Hanoi Project and softens up a bit, as seen when he no longer views Ai as a hostage and more so as a partner. This is also seen in his conversation with Varis, where he expresses how he is no longer obsessed with hatred and revenge and is finally starting to move forward. Likewise, Yusaku is now more open minded to working with others, best seen by how he openly welcomed Soulburner and Blue Maiden as allies in the fight against the rebel Ignis.

Yusaku finally opens up to show emotions during the battle in Mirror LINK VRAINS. Yusaku shows tears for the first time after Cal was erased. During his fourth Duel with Bohman, Yusaku acknowledges those he has fought alongside as his friends and finally admits that his friends helped him open up. His emotion continues to grow in the third season due to his conflict of fighting against his longtime Ignis partner, Ai.


Yusaku is an intelligent hacker who possesses considerable ability and who solves mysteries in a cool manner. Cool-headed and extremely clever, Yusaku's real skill is in his hacking and cracking abilities. He was able to hack into SOL Technologies' systems to find Ai, which both SOL and the Knights of Hanoi had been hunting, within a few minutes and in the middle of a security scan, and managed to capture it into his Duel Disk while leaving the AI with no means to escape. He has been fighting the Knights of Hanoi for some time without leaving any trace of his actions as "Playmaker", and keeps a dummy deck to mislead others when in public. Yusaku combines his high intellect with his hacking abilities to quickly come up with plans and think on his feet.

An observant individual, he is very good at reading people and perceptive about circumstances. When dueling, Yusaku keeps a close eye on his opponent's body language and expressions to know when they're planning something, and as such, he usually isn't surprised when something unexpected happens. This is seen when he saw right through Windy's facade and deduced him as the one who removed the lock program connecting Ai to his Duel Disk. He is also perceptive of his surroundings, as when he learns that the quiz in the dungeon is really a map of Den City.

Yusaku's Skill in dueling is "Storm Access" which allows him to randomly produce and add to his Extra Deck a never-before-seen Link Monster from a Data Storm when his LP are at least 1000, at the cost of having to venture into the Data Storm (it would also appear that the more he uses this Skill, the easier it becomes as originally, he greatly struggled to even enter the Data Storm but eventually, he could steadily reach into it to obtain his new card. The cards obtained using this ability can then be converted into physical cards outside of LINK VRAINS using appropriate technology. As noted by Ghost Gal, "Storm Access" is a unique skill that not just any Duelist can use. Later, Yusaku and Ai developed an upgraded version of this Skill called "Neo Storm Access", which allows him to add any kind of monster to his Extra Deck, rather than just Link Monsters. The programming of his skill appears able to advanced enough for Yusaku to access even outside of a Speed Duel, as he could perform it without moving via a D-Board. At the same time, he teleport back to his D-Board should he fall off from it, though he would first need to stop his fall.

Yusaku displays a strange ability to sense and see things in the network world when not logged in called Link Sense. Yusaku has had this ability since a young age, assumingly since the Lost Incident. Through Link Sense, he can discern a Knight of Hanoi's presence through their cards, which allowed him to immediately determine that Gore was not a Knight of Hanoi and know when Blue Angel had drawn the card that was affected by Hanoi's influence. He can hear and feel the pulse of his Cyberse Monsters and locate Ai in the network. It is revealed that he gained this power from Ai during the incident.


Like the protagonists of the previous five series (Yugi Muto, Jaden Yuki, Yusei Fudo, Yuma Tsukumo, and Yuya Sakaki), his name contains the character「遊」(Yu). In a break from tradition, however, his first name contains three syllables instead of the usual two.

His given name contains the characters "game" (Yu 遊), and "work" (Saku 作). His surname, Fujiki, means "wisteria tree", the blue-and-pink coloring of which matches that of his hair. The kanji of his given name can also be translated as "playing" and "making", which is most likely the pun of his VR name "Playmaker".



When he was a child, Yusaku ran on the streets when he accidentally bumped into a fellow boy, whose name was Ryoken. They accidentally dropped their cards, and quickly collected them. Seeing Yusaku was a Duel Monsters fan, Ryoken invited him to his house to show his Deck.[3]

Young Yusaku loses

Young Yusaku loses in an unknown location with a VR mask on.

Young Yusaku found in a forest

Young Yusaku rescued from the Hanoi Project.

Yusaku was one of the six kidnapped children, who were used for the Hanoi Project. He woke up in a white, empty room, with VR goggles. He placed them on, and was forced to Duel, with the penalties of being both electrocuted[4] and having nothing to eat if he lost. This repeated on for months, as he tried to Duel on. After six months passed Yusaku collapsed,[5] a voice told him he should not give up, and advised him to think of three reasons why to continue fighting,[6] who turned out to be Varis.[7]

Yusaku Treatment

Yusaku receives counseling for his trauma.

Yusaku asked who the voice was, but the voice told him he'd soon go home. The system was disbanded, and while Yusaku was rescued, the incident was covered up and not mentioned in the media. Regardless, Yusaku refused to believe he was rescued from the incident, as he developed PTSD afterwards. Over the following years, he underwent therapy to heal his trauma and tried to live a normal life, but the torture he experienced was too painful for him to forget. Eventually, Yusaku took his Deck and resolved to "face his destiny" by getting revenge against the Knights of Hanoi, whom he believed to be responsible for the "Hanoi Project".[5] He had the robot, Roboppi, to clean his house. He was pleased whenever he saw the robot, who enjoyed doing the chores to please his "master".[8]

Yusaku went to LINK VRAINS under the name "Unknown" to hunt Knights of Hanoi grunts and interrogate them over the Lost Incident. One day he helped Kolter, named Unnamed, hide from the Knights of Hanoi. The Knights of Hanoi could not find Kolter, who climbed across a wall. Unnamed thanked Unknown, and stated they were alike, but Unknown reprimanded him for now knowing anything about the Knights of Hanoi. Unnamed explained he was trying to uncover information involving his brother with an incident that demolished his life. Unknown, who was asked about the Lost Incident, still stated that Unnamed had to get out to value his life, as Unknown logged out. Kolter, as Unnamed, continued to investigate the incident in LINK VRAINS. One day, however, the Knights of Hanoi cornered him, and just as Unnamed believed he could not get out of this, Unknown appeared.[9]

Unknown rushed to his aid, stating Unnamed should still watch over his brother, and the incident was not his fault, either. Unknown decided to fight the knights, and pointed a path where Unnamed could log out. Unnamed did so, leaving Unknown to fight one of the knights. Kolter rushed to the computer, where he watched Unknown Duel the knight, who belittled Unknown for daring to face the Knights of Hanoi. Unknown, who swore to take his revenge, summoned "Photon Thrasher", "Marauding Captain" and "Exarion Universe" to set up a Link Summon of "Gaia Saber, the Lightning Shadow". The knight played "Limiter Removal" to double the ATK of his "Jack Wyvern". Not only did Unknown counter that effect with "Forbidden Lance", but he played his own "Limiter Removal", and defeated the knight in a FTK. The knights were held aback by Unknown, who asked them about the Lost Incident.[9]

The knights did not know about that, since they were simply hunters after Cyberse cards. Unknown saw it was a waste of time to confront them, and jumped away. Since the knights cornered him, Unknown jumped through a portal, created by Kolter. As Unknown had escaped, he was told to visit Café Nom in Den City. Unknown did so, and bought a hot dog from Kolter. He thanked Kolter for saving him, referring to him as Unnamed. Kolter was shocked that Unknown was so young, and explained he was investigating the Lost Incident, for his brother had been a victim of that project. He asked for Unknown's help, for they could save his brother from the suffering. Kolter introduced himself, offering his skills to Unknown to protect him in LINK VRAINS. Unknown acknowledged his call and confirmed he'd help Kolter, and introduced himself as Yusaku Fujiki.[9]

Unknown saves Unnamed

Unknown saves Unnamed before the latter fell into the trap.

For a while Unknown continued to fight Knights of Hanoi minions, but none of them had the info they needed. Kolter doubted they needed to speak with them, reminding they were in LINK VRAINS to hunt after Cyberse cards. Yusaku noticed Kolter was investigating something: the latter explained there was a legend of a dungeon inside LINK VRAINS. Its creator was being hunted by the Knights of Hanoi, and set up the dungeon to protect themselves and the Cyberse deck. Kolter laughed the legend off, but Yusaku pondered the thought, since the knights were hunting Cyberse cards. Believing the knights were afraid of Cyberse cards, Yusaku concluded that could be the weapon against their enemies.[10]

Thus, Unnamed and Unknown went into a dungeon inside LINK VRAINS. Just as Unknown went to alert Unnamed, the latter stepped on a trigger plate and nearly fell in a chasm of spikes, containing Duel Disks. Unknown caught Unnamed, who thanked him, noting the creator of the dungeon watched too many movies. He believed he'd take a lot of damage, but Unknown stated that without his Duel Disk, he wouldn't be able to log out. Unnamed still believed the dungeon to be a trap by the Knights of Hanoi. Unknown didn't mind that, for they were still searching for information about the Lost Incident. However, since the Deck was being hunted by the Knights of Hanoi, Unknown believed that would give them the attention needed so the knights would come after them. Unnamed noted how far Unknown has planned, who pressed a plate and revealed a secret passage, containing a sarcophagus and some plates. Unnamed and Unknown knelt, as a Knight of Hanoi entered the area, pleased that he finally found the place.[10]

However, the knight's Duel Disk was hit by a light from the sarcophagus, as a preset Duel was initiated: the goal was to beat this Duel Quiz. Unnamed was angry that the knight got before them, but Unknown stated this was a tough quiz to solve. The two noted the goal was to defeat the enemy, a data ghost, who had 4000 LP, five Extra Linked monsters and a set card, while the knight had two monsters and two set cards. The knight attempted to win by equipping "Megamorph" to "Update Jammer", and had it attack the enemy's "Link Spider". The data ghost played "Chaos Burst", negating the attack, destroying "Update Jammer" and defeating the knight. For losing the Duel, the knight was devoured by a data monster, and his Duel Disk was impaled. Unnamed commented this was no ordinary game, for the knight was strangely logged out. Unknown jumped down, for he came to acquire the Cyberse deck. Having his Duel Disk get hit by the light, Playmaker initiated the Duel Quiz.[10]

He revised the situation as the same as the knight's, but noted "Dotscaper" in his GY, and three Link Monsters in his Extra Deck: "Proxy Dragon", "Secure Gardna" and "Binary Sorceress". Unnamed recalled that "Update Jammer" negated card effects, but Unknown stated "Chaos Burst" was played before the attack, and why the knight's strategy had failed, considering it would've negated "Megamorph", too. Unknown revised that "Tremendous Fire", "Torrential Reborn" and "Thunder Crash" dealt effect damage. Revising these cards, Unknown thought of the strategy to defeat the data ghost. He summoned "Cyberse Gadget" to revive "Dotscaper", and used the two monsters to Link Summon "Binary Sorceress". Just as Playmaker proceeded at his next action, a Knight of Hanoi appeared, laughing at Unknown, since he could not win. The knight proclaimed he'd have the deck, but Unnamed bumped into him and used a handcuff to bind him.[10]

Unknown, however, used "Dotscaper" and "Gadget Token" to Link Summon "Proxy Dragon", them used "Binary Sorceress" to Link Summon "Secure Gardna". The knight and Unnamed saw it is over, since Unknown used all of his monsters to Link Summon. Unknown replied he'd never give up, else they'd never take revenge on those that made them suffer. Unnamed agreed, for they'd never learn the truth behind the Lost Incident if they gave up. Unknwon used "Tremendous Fire", but since that would inflict damage on him, he used "Link Restart" to negate that damage and revive "Binary Sorceress". Using "Thunder Crash", Unknown destroyed all of his monsters and inflicted 1500 LP damage to the data ghost. Combined with "Torrential Reborn", Unknown revived his monsters and inflicted 2500 LP damage to the data ghost, thus winning the Duel. Unknown and Unnamed ran towards the sarcophagus, but it turned out to be just an illusion, and the Deck was not present. The knight laughed that was a prank, and logged out. Unnamed was frustrated that there was nothing, and the dungeon started collapsing, and two logged out.[10]

Yusaku and Kolter's bonds

Kolter and Yusaku celebrate upon finding the Cyberse deck.

Instead, Kolter and Yusaku went to the warehouse district, for the Duel Quiz was actually a map that showed Den City. Kolter claimed Yusaku could've summoned Link Monsters in different positions, and the map would've looked different. Yusaku confirmed this, but the connections between the Link Monsters still symbolized bridges, and they found the door where a card of "Secure Gardna" was placed, at the same spot Yusaku summoned that monster in his Duel. Opening the door, the two found the actual sarcophagus. Touching it, Yusaku unlocked the sarcophagus containing Cyberse cards. This cheered Kolter up, who stated that deck symbolized his bond with Yusaku, and the two crossed hands with each other.[10] This was all arranged by Ai, who wanted Yusaku and Kolter to work together, and acquire the Cyberse Deck to fight against the Knights of Hanoi.[11]

Assisted by Kolter, Yusaku hunted the Knights of Hanoi with the Cyberse deck. He changed his avatar name to Playmaker,[10] and over time, Playmaker became a famous duelist known for being able to stand up against Hanoi, with no one knowing his real identity because he always deleted his activity logs.[12]

Season one[]

At school, Yusaku met Naoki Shima, who started bragging to him about his new Duel Disk. When Yusaku attempted to leave, Naoki offered to teach him how to Duel. Yusaku rejected, saying Naoki did not seem very strong, but probably not a bad person either. Yusaku's remarks annoyed Naoki, but he didn't think much of it. Before leaving, he wondered about a rule set where there are only three Main Monster Zones.[12]

Yusaku and Kusanagi disccussing

Yusaku and Kolter talking about the AI.

Playmaker Saves The Blue Angel

Playmaker saves Blue Angel.

Yusaku later met up with Kolter and discussed how both SOL Technologies and their enemies, the Knights of Hanoi, were chasing after an AI program in LINK VRAINS with him. Upon learning that SOL Technology had scheduled a full scan of LINK VRAINS that evening to try and find the AI, they quickly started working on a trap to catch the AI themselves. Although Yusaku successfully captured a reluctant Ai in his Duel Disk, one of the Knights of Hanoi threatened to destroy LINK VRAINS. Yusaku quickly entered LINK VRAINS as Playmaker and saved Blue Angel from the Knight's "Cracking Dragon". He then challenged the Knight to a Duel, putting Ai at stake. Ai voiced his doubts that Yusaku's Deck could beat "Cracking Dragon", then stirred up a wind in Link VRAINS, starting a Speed Duel between Yusaku and the Knight.[12]

Knight of Hanoi laughs at Playmaker

Playmaker being overwhelmed by the Data Storm.

As Playmaker rode the Data Storm winds, Ai explained how Speed Duels differ from Master Duels. When Ai mentioned there are only three Main Monster Zones, Yusaku wondered if he already knew about Speed Duels. Ai offered to help Playmaker Duel the Knight, but Playmaker refused, reminding Ai that he was his hostage. The Knight took the first turn and swiftly Summoned "Cracking Dragon". Yusaku wondered how to counter "Cracking Dragon" and failed to notice a building until Ai told him to dodge it, reminding him that Speed Duels have obstacles besides just the Duel. Playmaker summoned "Cyberse Wizard", surprising everyone watching that he had Cyberse monsters. Playmaker used the effect of "Cybrese Wizard" to change "Cracking Dragon" to Defense Position and inflict damage to the Knight, but failed to destroy "Cracking Dragon". Ai noticed Playmaker wasn't particularly surprised that "Cracking Dragon" couldn't be destroyed, to which Playmaker said that the Knight didn't react to "Cyberse Wizard" so he figured the Knight was planning something. A tornado formed within the Data Storm.[13]

Playmaker Storm Access

Playmaker uses the Storm Access Skill.

The Knight activated a Skill, which angered Yusaku because Ai didn't mention skills. The Knight used "DDoS Attack" to inflict 1600 Damage to Playmaker and knock him off his D-Board. Blue Angel saved Playmaker by using her whip to throw the D-Board back at him. Ai noted that a fall from that height could've killed them. The Knight reduced Playmaker's LP to 400 and the Data Storm tornado sucked him. Inside the tornado, Yusaku figured out that this was part of Ai's calculations. Ai revealed that powerful monsters reside within the Data Storm, and that Playmaker's skill "Storm Access" allowed him to obtain those Monsters when his LP is below 1000. Playmaker obtained "Decode Talker", which he used to win the Duel. As the Knight fell off his D-Board, Yusaku declared that the Knight had no right to call himself a Duelist.[13]

Playmaker attempted to interrogate the Knight, only for the Knight to attempt to kill him by self-destructing. Ai saved his life by devouring the Knight. The Gore and Blue Angel appeared and challenged Playmaker, but he simply said he wasn't interested and logged out. Yusaku and Kolter spent the next few days trying to figure out Ai's programming and gave him the nickname "Ai". Yusaku discovered some video logs that were actually Ai's memories. Ai said he didn't understand those memories because most were damaged when he was reduced to an eye, but he did recognize The Knight's of Hanoi's leader. Later that night, messing with Ai caused the Knight's leader to sense their location and travel there, Yusaku asked Kolter to shut down Café Nom's power to prevent them from being found, though he caught a glimpse of the Knight's leader.[14]

VRAINS log in

Yusaku logs into LINK VRAINS.

The next day, a Knight of Hanoi appeared at LINK VRAINS while Ai was back at Yusaku's house, so Yusaku skipped school to go get his Duel Disk and face the Knight. On his way there, Kolter gave him the "Decode Talker" card which had materialized. Upon arriving at LINK VRAINS, Yusaku quickly figured out that the Knight was an impostor. The Knight revealed himself to be Gore, who wanted to defeat Playmaker and recover his title as "VRAINS' hero", Playmaker rejected his challenged but SOL triggered a program that stops Playmaker from logging out until he defeated The Gore. With no choice, Playmaker started the Duel. When Gor emade an intentional misplay and took damage, Ai questioned why he would make such an illogical move, to which Playmaker said that humans' hearts make them do illogical things. Ai was confused by that but Playmaker didn't explain what it meant because Ai's algorithm-based thinking wouldn't comprehend it.[15]

The Gore Link Summoned "Gouki The Great Ogre‎‎".[15] The latter reduced Playmaker's LP to 100. Playmaker could've reduced the damage he took but chose not to, and refused to use the escape route that Kolter had built. Ai again was confused by why humans make illogical contradictory choices. Yusaku stated that Gore's Duel was meant to entertain the audience and Yusaku himself and that he wouldn't quit the Duel. Playmaker proceeded to win by Link Summoning four times in a row and attacking "Great Ogre" three times with "Decode Talker". After the Duel, Kolter suggested they should recruit Gore for their fight against Hanoi, but Yusaku rejected the idea, saying that he didn't want Gore to face the danger of fighting against them.[16]

When Kolter uncovered Skye Zaizen's identity as Blue Angel, Yusaku realized that Skye was a student at Den City High School and his classmate. Kolter suggested meeting her in order to find out if her brother Akira, who was the Security Manager at SOL Technologies, knew anything about Yusaku's past or Kolter's brother. However, he then started teasing that talking to Skye would be impossible for Yusaku because of his lack of social skills. Nevertheless, Yusaku managed to track her down with Ai's help, and followed her to the Duel Club, where Naoki caught up to him. He feigned ignorance when Naoki inferred that he wanted to join the club, and when Hosoda invited him in, he nervously tried to opt out until Ai said thanks on his behalf, which upset him.[17]

Yusaku introduced himself to the rest of the club, and the other members introduced themselves as well, including Skye. When another member, Sato, showed him his Duel Disk, he pretended to be interested, commenting on the fact that it was the latest model. Skye remarked that he knew a lot, but he said it was only because Naoki had bragged about it earlier. Meanwhile, Ai tried to start a conversation with Skye's Duel Disk, which made Skye notice that Yusaku's Duel Disk was a card-loading model, the same as Playmaker's. When she asked to see his Deck, he obliged, but handed her his dummy Deck instead. Ai later complimented him on this, but Yusaku told him to be quiet, as a meeting was in progress.[17]

That evening, he watched Blue Angel issue a public challenge for Playmaker to come out and Duel her. Ai suggested that he should accept, but he refused, since he only approached Skye attempting to acquire a lead on his stolen memories, and he only Duels against Knights of Hanoi, which she wasn't. Despite this, he was visibly embarrassed when the MC declared that Playmaker wasn't a man if he didn't accept. The next morning, Ai read various posts on social media making fun of Playmaker for not accepting. He soon bumped into Skye again, and they said good morning to each other. While walking to class, Skye asked him why he wanted to join the Duel Club, not believing it was because he loved dueling. When Yusaku tried to ask about her brother, she replied that people only ever approached her to ask if her brother could give them a new Duel Disk or a job at SOL after graduation. She lamented that her brother didn't trust her, and ran off. Soon after, Ai tried to warn Yusaku about a problem he'd noticed with Skye's Duel Disk, but Yusaku wouldn't hear of it.[17]

In class, Ai suddenly told him to hold up, and Yusaku scolded him for being too loud. He was surprised, however, when Ai said that a Knight of Hanoi had appeared. He went to the balcony behind the Duel Club to enter LINK VRAINS, but instead of a Knight of Hanoi, he found Blue Angel, who remarked that he had finally made his decision about her challenge. He was initially oblivious, but realized that Ai had sent Skye a text message on Playmaker's behalf challenging her. He became angry, thinking Ai had tricked him, until Ai told him that Blue Angel had Hanoi's card in her Deck, which shocked him. He realized that this was what Ai was trying to tell him earlier, but wondered why Blue Angel would join Hanoi. Ai suggested that Hanoi might be using her to lure Playmaker, and asked what he would do, since he wanted to defeat all Hanoi. Soon after, a Data Storm appeared, and the Duel started.[17]

Playmaker was quickly at the mercy of Blue Angel's Trickstar Deck, which repeatedly dealt him effect damage while powering up the ATK of her ace monster, "Trickstar Holly Angel", and he noted that this offensive strategy was very efficient. He Summoned "Decode Talker" and attacked "Holly Angel" with it, but the attack failed and "Decode Talker" was destroyed instead. Ai commented that Blue Angel was putting pressure on them, but Playmaker noticed that Hanoi's presence was getting stronger. At that moment, Blue Angel drew "Dark Angel", Hanoi's card. During Yusaku's next turn, he was reduced to less than 1000 LP, allowing him to use his Skill and gain access to "Encode Talker", which he promptly Link Summoned. Blue Angel realized that Playmaker was taking advantage of the damage that she was inflicting on him, and tried to end the Duel by using her Skill, but failed because Playmaker was protected by "Defect Compiler". In response, she played "Dark Angel", and immediately fell under Hanoi's influence. She entered into a berserk rage and started screaming, much to Playmaker's and Ai's concern. He ended the Duel as quickly as possible by destroying "Holly Angel" with "Encode Talker", defeating Blue Angel in one hit, but not before she succumbed to mental damage from "Dark Angel" and fell unconscious.[18]


Playmaker caught in "Blue Angel's" trap.

Playmaker then found Blue Angel unconscious while Ai devoured the Hanoi card. He was forced to logout when security bots were incoming and found Skye in a comatose state on the roof. He proceeded answer Skye's phone when Akira called and took Skye to the hospital. He then met Akira who thanked him and questioned his relationship with Skye, to which he responded that they were just classmates. Yusaku, Kolter, and Ai then discussed Skye's condition and a possible cure. Ai said that when he devoured Hanoi's card he detected that Skye's brain must be infected by a virus, and that the only ones with the appropriate anti-virus would be Hanoi themselves. "Blue Angel" then appeared on the city's screens challenging Playmaker to a rematch.[19]

Despite knowing that it was an impostor and most likely a trap, Yusaku claimed it was his responsibility to rescue Skye; if the impostor was a Knight of Hanoi he could get the anti-virus, on the other hand if it was a SOL agent he could explain them what happened to Skye. After logging in, he identified Blue Angel as a fake and was trapped by her. She revealed herself to be "Ghost Gal", who accompanied by Akira who proceeded to entrap and torture Playmaker believing him to be responsible for Skye's condition, despite Playmaker and Ai's claims of innocence and that they were looking for an anti-virus, Varis appeared and claimed that he would challenge Playmaker for Ai. After threatening Akira that Skye will never wake up unless Playmaker defeats him in a Duel, Akira released Playmaker and vanished. Before Playmaker took his leave, Akira pleaded with him to save Skye, despite hating him for his brutal treatment towards him. Playmaker stated that he doesn't hate Akira, he only hates the Knights of Hanoi, much to Akira's surprise.[19]

As Playmaker and Varis rode off the Data Wind to commence the Speed Duel, Playmaker expressed his desire to battle the Knights of Hanoi and uncover their true identities. Varis replied that he didn't care about his opinion and stated that his only goal was to retrieve Ai. Both sides agreed on several conditions for their Duel: if Playmaker won, Ai would eat the program from Varis to get Skye's body back, while if Playmaker lost, he would give Ai to Varis. After that, Varis declared his hatred for AIs and his belief that Ai would lead everyone to destruction. Varis also blamed Playmaker for assisting Ai and swore to eliminate him. Varis then waved his hand, causing the LINK VRAINS to be crushed and replaced with lava rivers and fiery lakes, as the Duel finally began.[20]

As the Speed Duel progressed, Playmaker defeated Varis' "Cracking Dragon" with "Decode Talker" once more, until Varis revealed that he had the very same skill as Playmaker's and Ai's: "Storm Access". With it, Varis summoned "Topologic Bomber Dragon", and began to gain the upper hand.[20] Fearing they might lose, Ai led Playmaker to another Data Storm, where the two obtained a dragon. However, Varis activated the Trap Card, "Remote Rebirth", and combo-ed it with the effect of "Topologic Bomber Dragon", ending the Speed Duel in a DRAW. Following that, Varis dragged Playmaker and Ai inside a Data Storm, where they began a Master Duel. As the Duel went on, Varis activated the effect of "Fire Prison", eliminating all Cyberse cards from the field, as well as making Ai seemingly vanish into thin air.[21]

As the Master Duel progressed, Varis gained the upper hand once more by summoning "Borreload Dragon" and attacked Playmaker directly. Just as Playmaker was on the verge of giving up, he remembered the words someone told him long ago: having three reasons to live and win Duels. Playmaker then called out to Ai, asking him to lend him his power, as he proceeded to Link Summon his ace Firewall Dragon, and ultimately destroyed "Fire Prison," as well as return Ai to consciousness. Ai was amazed to see the two dragons, until Varis used the effect of "Borreload Dragon" to take control of "Firewall Dragon", but Playmaker countered with "Cynet Refresh" to destroy and revive it back on his field. He then activated "Recoded Alive" to banish "Decode Talker" from his GY to Special Summon "Encode Talker" and declared the real battle was just beginning.[6]

When Playmaker's "Firewall Dragon" used its effect to return "Borreload Dragon" from the field, Varis informed him that it couldn't be targeted by effects. Playmaker targeted "Magnarokket Dragon", whose effect caused "Firewall Dragon" to be destroyed. Instead, Playmaker's "Cynet Refresh" protected his dragon from destruction. Varis was amused, and ended his turn. Much to Varis' surprise, Playmaker had "Firewall Dragon", protected by "Encode Talker", attack "Borreload Dragon", who had more ATK. With "Battle Buffer", the ATK of "Encode Talker" was raised, and impressed Varis for such a strategy. To counter that, Varis targeted "Encode Talker" with his dragon to reduce the ATK, causing "Encode Talker" to be destroyed and Playmaker's strategy to backfire. While the ATK of "Firewall Dragon" was raised by "Battle Buffer", Varis' "Rokket" dragons regained their effects. Varis claimed the match was over, as Playmaker could not attack anymore.[22]

The latter made him doubt that, since he could not use the effect of "Magnrokket Dragon". Using "Recoded Alive", Playmaker revived "Decode Talker", whose ATK was boosted up to destroy "Borreload Dragon". However, Varis used "Borrel Refrigeration" to make "Magnarokket Dragon" destroy itself to blast away "Decode Talker". Varis smiled, seeing how close he was to his victory, with Playmaker having no cards nor attacks to execute. Playmaker refused to lose, and claimed he wanted to uncover the events that had happened 10 years ago, to recover the time he had lost and wanted to save the person that saved him. Varis was surprised that Playmaker was involved in an incident 10 years ago. He replied he was "that emissary of revenge". Varis claimed Playmaker was a fool to help SOL Technologies out without knowing the truth.Playmaker refused to listen, and using "Parallel Port Armor", he had "Firewall Dragon" attack once more to perform a One Turn Kill. The attack destroyed "Borreload Dragon", and defeated Varis.[22]

After Playmaker defeated Varis, he demanded that Varis reveal his true identity and those of the Knights of Hanoi. He was shock when he witnessed Ai eating Varis' arm in order to get his data back. Before Varis left, he gave the antidote for Blue Angel's coma to Playmaker. Playmaker accompanied Ghost Gal to where Akira and Blue Angel were, using the antidote to cure Blue Angel to allow her to log out of LINK VRAINS. Akira thanked him for saving Blue Angel, but Playmaker logged out before Akira could finish. Yusaku became tired and distressed as he logged out. He asked Kolter if was Skye alright before collapsing. When Kolter showed him the footage on how Skye was doing, Yusaku fell asleep. Ai commented how lazy Yusaku was. Kolter told Ai that heroes needed rest too. Yusaku dreamed about Varis' words regarding Ignis with free will, which caused him to wake up. Kolter sensed he was thinking about what Varis told about Ai. Since they could not prove that Ai was actually alive, Ai made that assertion. Ai used the program he obtained from Varis to regain his full body. However, Ai's size didn't impress Yusaku and Kolter, who tried to determine if Ai regained some of his memories. [22]

As Yusaku was eating hot dogs, he witnessed Emma Bessho visiting Café Nom to order chili dogs and a coffee. She inquired Kolter about a Celebrity Duelist and mentioned she was interested in dueling Playmaker, intriguing Yusaku. After Emma left, Yusaku noted how stress Kolter was and decided to help him delete the files regarding Playmaker. As they were deleting files, Kolter asked where Ai was. Yusaku told him that he left Ai at home because he was annoying. Despite this, Yusaku wondered about Varis' words about AI with free will. Knowing Varis unleashed the attack on Cyberse and searched for Ai, Yusaku claimed Varis destroyed the Cyberse world. Still, he wondered if it was wise to seek Varis out for answers about Yusaku's past, and about Kolter's brother. He then inadvertently deleted a big scoop that would have revealed everything Playmaker and Kolter knew involving Ai and the Knights of Hanoi, which was about to be published by Frog and Pigeon.[23]

At home, Yusaku thought about Varis' words about AI with free will in his hidden room. Kolter called him to come to Café Nom, where Kolter showed him an encrypted message on an Internet forum, sent to him from Ghost Gal. Kolter explained that he had created a program to help Ghost Gal enter the Data Storm during the Duel with Varis. The two read how she requested a Duel from Playmaker, with Ai as the wager. Yusaku accepted, stating that she offered a backdoor to SOL Technologies' data bank, and Kolter confirmed that fact, showing she did send a bit of the data as proof. Yusaku asked Kolter to reply that Playmaker would accept her challenge. Ghost Gal soon entered LINK VRAINS, and Yusaku went to do the same. Kolter wondered if Yusaku would really go and Duel her, since she could've set another trap. Yusaku claimed he had to uncover the truth behind the incident, hoped in the data bank there was some information about Knights of Hanoi, and sensed some determination in Ghost Gal, despite her weaknesses.[24]

Playmaker quickly met up with Ghost Gal and she showed him her program she set as a stake for the Duel. Playmaker wondered why wouldn't she access the data bank, and was told Ghost Gal wanted his Ai, so she could sell it to SOL Technologies. She admitted she grew more interested in Playmaker after his latest Duel, and wanted to battle him as a cyber treasure hunter. Despite Ai's warnings, Playmaker accepted her Duel, as the two rode off on the Data Wind. In her first turn, Ghost Gal Summoned "Altergeist Marionetter" and set two cards. Playmaker had his "Cyberse Wizard" attack, but was stopped by Ghost Gal's "Altergeist Kunquery". Despite his attack, Ghost Gal was intrigued how he dared to attack, despite her Set cards. Ghost Gal Summoned another "Marionetter", Set another card, then Link Summoned "Altergeist Primebanshee".[24]

She swapped one of her "Marionetters" for "Meluseek". Ghost Gal ended her preparations, and aimed to defeat Playmaker before he could use his Skill. As Ghost Gal initiated the Battle Phase and claimed she would win in that turn, Ai laughed, as she would make 2400 LP damage. Both Playmaker and Ghost Gal scolded Ai for such thinking; Playmaker claimed no Duelist would make that simple math error, making Ghost Gal wonder why everyone was after "this dumb AI" which causes Ai to get angry, Playmaker then told him to not to get angry when she is telling the truth about him. Regardless, "Meluseek" attacked directly and sent "Cyberse Wizard" to the GY, allowing "Marionetter" to attack directly, and allowing "Primebanshee" to do so as well. Ghost Gal smiled, feeling her dreams grow larger, and ordered Playmaker to brace himself for his defeat.[24]

Ghost Gal had "Primebanshee" attack Playmaker directly while he Special Summoned "Lockout Gardna". Ai knew they would have enough LP to continue and even use Storm Access, and exclaimed how "bad" this would be. However, Ghost Gal knew Ai was just pretending, and decided not to attack. Ai was in shock, and Playmaker told him his acting was horrible. On Playmaker's turn, Ghost Gal swapped "Meluseek" with "Altergeist Silquitous", by using the effect of "Primebanshee", and also added an "Altergeist Kunquery" to her hand. Playmaker attempted to destroy her ace by Tributing "Backlinker", but was prevented by Ghost Gal's "Altergeist Protocol". Ghost Gal claimed she could anticipate their every move: Playmaker attempted to revive "Backlinker" with "Striping Partner", but was stopped by "Altergeist Silquitos". Using "Lockout Gardna", both effects were negated, though Ghost Gal had one final trap prepared. She noted how Playmaker was an interesting person, as she suspected. Playmaker Link Summoned "Underclock Taker" and tried to weaken "Primebanshee". Ghost Gal countered that with "Altergeist Camouflage", and protected "Primebanshee" from attacks, stating Playmaker had reached his limits.[25]

Playmaker paid 1000 LP to activate the effect of "Balancer Lord", making him eligible to use Storm Access. Ghost Gal refused to let him activate the Skill and used her Skill, Secret Cure to increase both players' LP. Playmaker Special Summoned "Scan Doll", and paid 1000 LP to use "Protocol" on "Silquitos". However, Ghost Gal believed he simply forgot about "Kunquery" she still had in her hand. Playmaker used Storm Access, but Ghost Gal went with him into the Data Storm. However, she lost control of her D-Board and fell off of it, Playmaker saved her and reminded her their Duel was not over yet and let her go back on the D-Board. Playmaker Link Summoned "Excode Talker", whose effect made two of Ghost Gal's Main Monster Zones unusable, and Tributed "Scan Doll" to make his "Code Talker" attack twice. Since all of Ghost Gal's monsters could not be targeted for an attack target, "Excode Talker" attacked Ghost Gal twice, and Playmaker won the Duel. Later, Ghost Gal watched the moon, even if Ai reminded her that was just data. Ghost Gal, as promised, gave Playmaker the program to enter the SOL Technologies' data bank, and left. Yusaku logged out of the network, and Kolter started to analyze it. However, Yusaku was too tired and fell asleep.[25]

Playmaker in the mother computer

Playmaker infiltrates the mother computer system.

Kolter analyzed Ghost Gal's program, showing Yusaku the schematics, looking like a maze. They both wondered how skilled Ghost Gal was to have managed to hack into SOL Technologies' data bank, and Kolter promised he would finish by the time school was over for Yusaku to enter the mother computer system. While at school, Yusaku wondered where Skye was, as he and Ai thought her brother forbade her from entering LINK VRAINS, to protect her from any danger. Ai noticed Yusaku actually cared about her; Yusaku simply stated one should not give up on dueling this way. As school was over, Yusaku went to Kolter's van. Kolter showed the path to the data bank, but warned a lot of traps were set to stop anyone. Yusaku started hesitating, and analyzed that Ghost Gal also wanted something if she gave him the program, even if the information Yusaku could find there may not be that important. Still, he accessed the LINK VRAINS to enter the mother computer system - an eerie, dark place. To protect himself, Playmaker used a device to navigate himself, and a rope to disguise him from security programs.[26]

Once the security programs started to go after Playmaker, he launched three "Sphere Kuriboh" to shatter them without alerting anyone. Passing the first corridor, Playmaker arrived to the second one, in which a Data Storm was located. Playmaker was pulled towards it, and his rope broke, alerting the security chief, Kitamura. The latter sent two AI prototypes to hunt after Playmaker, who managed to elude them. However, one of the AI-s caught up with him, and initiated a Duel with Playmaker. The AI prototype brought out "Tentacluster Nautilus", and tributed his "Tentacluster Drillworm", making Playmaker discard all of his cards. Playmaker drew a card, but had to sent it, due to "Drillworm", ending up with no cards to play. The other AI prototype arrived and started attacking Playmaker, intending on grabbing his Duel Disk. Much to everyone's surprise, Blue Angel arrived, using her whip to grab the AI prototype. Playmaker muttered her name, as she declared she would be the one to defeat Playmaker, and started a Duel with the other AI prototype.[26]

Playmaker at data bank

Playmaker reaches the data bank.

Playmaker muttered Blue Angel's name, who came to repay him for curing her. Playmaker claimed he never indebted her; regardless, Blue Angel started the Duel with the other AI prototype. Continuing the Duel, Playmaker banished "Dotscaper" and "Linkslayer" to Special Summon "Dual Assembwurm" from the GY, with its ATK halved, and brought "Dotscraper" with its effect. Using "Cynet Defrag" to summon "Flick Clown" and use the latter's effect, Playmaker had 1000 LP left to use his Skill to grab a Link Monster from the Data Storm. Using his three Cyberse monsters, Playmaker summoned "Vector Scare Archfiend", and summoned "Cyberse Wizard" from his hand; the two monsters attacked the prototype's "Tentacluster" monsters, damaging it to 1100 LP. He Tributed "Cyberse Wizard" to use the effect of "Vector Scare Archfiend" to revive "Tentacluster Nautilus" and gained another attack. He then destroyed "Tentcluster Nautilus" and defeated the AI prototype, who vanished into thin air. Playmaker entered the Data Bank, and was surprised to see Akira, who expected him to be there.[27]

Playmaker questioned Ghost Gal and Akira, as to why they were in the data bank. When Ghost Gal explained that they were after the data, Playmaker figured out that he was just used as a decoy for them to enter the data bank. He ordered Akira to move, who refused, and admitted that he obtained the data, thus knowing what happened to Playmaker ten years ago. Akira claimed he had the right to know about the incident and Playmaker asked of him to hand the data over. Instead, Akira asked Playmaker to hand over Ignis and disperse, wanting to shed some light over the incident, and Ghost Gal added Akira was demoted, due to the incident with Varis. Yusaku claimed he would be the one to reveal the truth since it didn't personally involve Akira and challenged him to a Duel. He bet Ai for the data, and Akira accepted, seeing this was the only way to defeat Playmaker. Playmaker Link Summoned "Decode Talker" and used its Link Materials - and "Stack Reviver" - to revive "Cyberse Gadget" and summon a "Gadget Token".[28]

Yusaku furious

Playmaker becomes furious at Akira for questioning his revenge.

Playmaker prepared his offence, but Akira tributed "Tindangle Base Gardna" for "Tindangle Hound" to weaken his monsters and activated "Lemoine Point" to prevent Playmaker from attacking face-down monsters. Playmaker used "Cyberse Gadget" and "Gadget Token" to Link Summon "Flame Administrator". The latter's effect increased the ATK of "Decode Talker", enough to destroy "Tindangle Hound". Akira flipped "Tindangle Angel", reviving "Tindangle Hound" in face-down position, and forced Playmaker to end the Battle Phase. Akira, however, spoke about his and Skye's past, and didn't wish that Skye was captured by strangers like Playmaker was. Akira said he would set things straight, and asked for his trust. Kolter and Playmaker became furious, seeing Akira understood nothing about them. Playmaker trusted that Akira was a good person, but doubted he knew anything about the pain he bore. Akira Flip Summoned "Tindangle Hound", and set "Tindangle Angel" into face-down position and gained its attack, plus weakening Playmaker's monsters. Akira attacked Playmaker's "Flame Administrator" and halved his LP. Playmaker used "Limit Code" to bring out "Encode Talker", at the cost of reducing its and "Decode Talker's" ATK. Playmaker saw Akira knew nothing of his goal, as he Link Summoned his ace "Firewall Dragon".[28]

The effect of "Tindangle Hound" caused the ATK of "Firewall Dragon" to be reduced. Using "Link Hole", Akira's monsters were destroyed, leaving him open for direct attacks. After Akira got directly hit by "Decode Talker", he destroyed the latter with "Tindangle Delaunay", and immediately brought out his ace, "Tindangle Acute Cerberus". The latter attacked "Firewall Dragon", whom Playmaker protected with "Doppler Phase Coating". Akira protected his own monster with "Gergonne's End"; Playmaker noted Akira's Deck was quite difficult to figure out with such complex strategies. Playmaker tried to have "Firewall Dragon", enhanced with "Alert Lancer", attack "Tindangle Token" to finish the Duel. However, Akira prevented damage with "Morley's Shield", and to counter Playmaker's strategy, used "Nagel's Protection" to protect his Tokens. "Tindangle Acute Cerberus" attacked, causing Playmaker's LP to be lowered down to 500. Ai yelled to Playmaker to do something, and even wondered if there was anything that can be done to get them out of the situation.[5]

Playmaker asked of Ai to stop panicking, asking if it even was an AI, making the latter furious why he was so calm. Playmaker claimed if Ai was so worried about losing, it should consider about finding a new home. Ai replied he didn't think of that, since he had Playmaker as a friend to help him out. Playmaker claimed they were not friends, stating Ai should behave like other AI-s. This crushed Ai, seeing Playmaker was colder than AI-s. Playmaker swore he would not lose, since he wished to uncover the truth. He looked at his deck, commenting it contained his feelings over the past ten years. Playmaker drew a card and set it, while Akira commented that was his destiny. Akira asked of Playmaker to stop this revenge and go to school to cherish these memories, rather than trying to uncover the truth, which Akira would reveal. He claimed Playmaker was too conceited in the past, and he would not feel happiness, just like Akira didn't.[5]

Blue Angel came to hear the story, though Playmaker wished that Akira did not tell the story. Akira spoke about the incident, mentioning that Playmaker was rescued. Playmaker refused to believe he was rescued, and swore he'd uncover the incident, for the sake of the families hurt in the incident, and wished to rescue the person whose voice that encouraged him to fight may still be trapped. Playmaker claimed even if Akira believed revenge was pointless, he still discovered that the Knights of Hanoi had involvement in the project. Akira also stated the SOL Technologies' data bank contained the name of the mastermind behind the Hanoi Project. Playmaker was shocked, and yelled out for the name of the mastermind, but Akira remained silent. Playmaker demanded the name of the mastermind, but Akira refused to give out the name, fearing this would only feed Playmaker's desire for revenge and hatred. Akira decided to conclude the Duel by having "Tindangle Acute Cerberus" attack "Firewall Dragon".[5]

Playmaker avoided the defeat by banishing his dragon with "Cynet Backdoor" and with "Doppler Phase Coating" gone, Akira's Battle Phase ended. Akira turned the tables by using "Euler's Circuit", preventing Playmaker from attacking, and allowing one "Tindangle" monster to be switched to Playmaker's field. Playmaker was frustrated, and noted this was a Duel for justice. Akira swore to take the data and track down the ones responsible. Playmaker doubted he knew anything, as he trusted his own justice that would make him prevail and win. Drawing a card, Playmaker used "Draconnet", "Bitron" and "Digitron" to bring out "Link Spider", "Recovery Sorcerer" and "Secure Gardna". Akira pointed out the pointlessness of summoning the monsters, as Playmaker was unable to attack. Since "Secure Gardna" was placed on the top link of "Tindangle Acute Cerberus", Akira used "Gergonne's End" to nuke all monsters linked to inflict massive damage on Playmaker, believing the latter has lost hope in winning.[29]

The effect activated, dealing 4500 LP damage to Playmaker. Akira turned around, but was surprised to see Playmaker survived as "Secure Gardna" prevented all effect damage during that turn. This trap destroyed "Euler's Circuit", and allowed Playmaker to attack. Despite the advantage, Playmaker used "Recovery Sorcerer" to bring back "Secure Gardna". Ai questioned this, as Playmaker could simply make a direct attack with "Firewall Dragon", but was told a Duel is more than just winning or losing. Playmaker made "Firewall Dragon" return Akira's "Tindangle Hound" and "Tindangle Angel" from the GY to his hand, thus forcing "Tindangle Acute Cerberus'" ATK to drop to 0. Declaring "Tempest Attack", "Firewall Dragon" attacked "Tindangle Acute Cerberus" and defeated Akira. Playmaker then walked pass by Akira and Blue Angel, having Ai eat away SOL Technologies' data. Before leaving, Playmaker asked of Akira not to follow him, or else he'd walk the path of darkness.[29]

Akira wanted to know why Playmaker didn't attack directly with "Firewall Dragon". He explained "Tindangle Hound" and "Tindangle Angel" represent Akira and his sister, who should rather turn around and walk to the light. He went on the D-Board and logged out of the mother computer system. Outside, Kolter praised Yusaku and Ai, the former giving out the data he acquired. The two hacked into Ai, and found out the Hanoi Project's leader was Dr. Kiyoshi Kogami, an employee from SOL Technologies, who alone worked on the project in secrecy. The two concluded SOL Technologies covered up the incident, or else the company's reputation would've been ruined. Ai doubted the man could have done this on his own, and thought Akira was involved, but Kolter reminded him Akira, back then, was 16 and was not employed at SOL Technologies at the time. Kolter and Yusaku failed to find the project's goal, but most shockingly, they discovered Dr. Kogami died seven years ago.[29]

With the food truck positioned at the coast, Yusaku was doing research. Kolter invited him for a break, and gazed upon the ocean. Yusaku pointed out Kolter won't get many customers at that place, but Kolter assured him the famous coast was named Stardust Road, known for the luminous plankton that rarely gather at night, and thought the person living near the coast may have seen that. Kolter failed to gather new info from SOL Technologies' data, and Yusaku saw that data from ten years ago was actually deleted. Still, they knew the company was involved, even if Akira knew nothing about the incident before. Kolter felt a bit relieved that Dr. Kogami passed away, thinking their revenge was over. Yusaku reminded him they still didn't know about the goal of the incident, and Kolter still wanted to rescue his brother from darkness, even if they had no clue where to continue. Yusaku still remembered Varis knew some things. Kolter stated Varis was not seen recently, but Yusaku believed he was not the type that would simply disappear.[30]

Playmaker and Ai watched an eclipse blocking the virtual sun in LINK VRAINS. Ai remembered people in the ancient past were scared of such events, and was surprised people, even today, were still afraid. Playmaker replied people remain the same, unlike technology that advances. The latter proclaimed the light was blocked by darkness, and confirmed to Ai he meant about the Lost Incident. He would not let the incident be buried in darkness, and would uncover the truth. Later, Yusaku was at school, and remembered how someone spoke to him during the Lost Incident project. Naoki called out to Yusaku, reminding him the class was over, and (in the Japanese version) thought he was one of the "Athnoers". Yusaku walked away, and Naoki told him "Athnoers" were people trapped in LINK VRAINS, noting a lot of students haven't attended the school. He believed it was due to cursed Duel Disks, which, at midnight, emit white hands that drag people into LINK VRAINS, leaving the people's bodies "hollow". He thought no person would return back to their old-selves, even if they were taken to the hospital.[31]

Ai thought this had relations to Blue Angel, but Yusaku shushed him, since Naoki could hear him. Naoki doubted Yusaku would become a victim, since they were usually people with promising dueling future. Yusaku advised him to stay away from the Duel Disk and walked away from Naoki, who wished Playmaker would set things straight. Before leaving, Yusaku corrected him the term was "the Deleted", not "Athnoers", which made Naoki furious, since Yusaku knew everything already. Inside the van, Kolter showed to Ai and Yusaku the footage of a camera, when a person turned into a Deleted, which happened six minutes before midnight. Ai noted there were no white hands taking the person into LINK VRAINS. Kolter told them the person had not recovered yet, and showed pictures of more the Deleted patients in the hospitals. Ai and Yusaku knew this was the same accident with Blue Angel, who was infected by a virus.[31]

Kolter believed someone wanted people to be turned into mindless people, but has not find out what happened to their LINK VRAINS' avatars. Kolter showed more data, and Yusaku analyzed all of the the Deleted were great Duelists with old-type Duel Disks, and all of them were hackers, too. The trio realized Playmaker, or Ai, were the targets. Yusaku reminded the importance of uncovering the truth behind Lost Incident, and as noted by Ai, they had to stop people from becoming Deleted.[31] Ai noted Yusaku was a cool hero of justice, even if the latter claimed that was unnecessary. Kolter showed a list of possible targets, from which the first was McKendrick Kellenbocker. Yusaku traced the person to his house, and saw lights at his window. Yusaku broke through into his room, and saw he became a victim. In addition, he and Ai watched Makoto's avatar inside LINK VRAINS being confronted by a person, who wished to know if he was Playmaker and had Ignis. Yusaku and Ai saw the person casted some glitter, causing Makoto to fall asleep and fall off the cliff, but was saved by George Gore.[31]

Playmaker watched as Gore confronted the person, Dr. Genome, who placed the virus into Makoto, only to draw Playmaker out. Yusaku came to the hospital, where he heard Gore swore to defeat Dr. Genome. Gore saw Yusaku and realized he was also concerned about Makoto, who attended the same school. Yusaku gave out his name to Gore, and left. At the van, Kolter and Yusaku watched the[Knights of Hanoi dueling people, and turning them into Deleted. Yusaku decided to go into LINK VRAINS, even if Kolter believed he would be at a disadvantage, and Ai wished to feel secure. Surprisingly, they saw "Playmaker" battling the Knights of Hanoi, by stopping their programs and tossing them away from their D-Boards. Dr. Genome confronted "Playmaker", who revealed himself to be Gore. The latter stated he came to save Makoto, and knew Playmaker's identity, which displeased Yusaku and Kolter. Yusaku did not know if Gore really knew his identity, but was still frustrated. The group watched as Dr. Genome activated the Data Gale, conjuring black tornadoes for the Speed Duel.[31]

Yusaku, Kolter, and Ai watched Gore confronting Dr. Genome. Since Gore claimed to have known Playmaker's identity, Kolter remembered Yusaku did run into Gore at the hospital, but Yusaku claimed it was impossible. Once Gore equipped himself with a mask and declared himself as "Dark Onizuka", Ai thought that was a tacky thing to do. Yusaku and Kolter realized Gore changed his battling style to a heel, and would not hold back. Ai was surprised to see Gore actually had his "Gouki Riscorpio" attack "Helixx Marmotroll", causing the former to be destroyed, since it had less ATK. However, Ai noticed this was to have Gore gain an advantage, as 500 LP was inflicted on Genome, and Yusaku added that was how a heel fights. Ai noticed Gore started using his brain to win, while Yusaku noted Gore still wanted to win, in his own way. Just as Gore was to win, Genome played "Regeneration Cure" to stop the damage, and everyone saw Genome had the advantage. As Genome tributed "Helixx Necro Darwin" to defeat Gore, Yusaku became displeased. Ai suggested he could enter LINK VRAINS to save Gore. Yusaku who saw Gore barely saving himself with the effect of "Gouki Octostretch", decided to take Ai's advice.[32]

Yusaku and Ai logged into LINK VRAINS and Playmaker motivated Gore in a sarcastic manner, which made him to defeat Genome. After Gore defeated Genome, he then approached Playmaker and realize that Playmaker didn't come to mock him. Instead, he came to motivate him but Playmaker didn't give a straight answer. Gore then told him that he wanted to team up with Playmaker and defeat Hanoi. They saw Blue Angel, and Gore also offered her to join forces with them. The next day Yusaku didn't go to school and teamed up with Go, defeating various Knights of Hanoi. After defeating another knight, Playmaker and Ai then interrogated him about the removal program that can cure the victims of the Deleted. However, before the knight could explain, he was erased by someone. Gore then asked him about Blue Angel's whereabouts, but Playmaker didn't know where she was, and remembered she left all of a sudden. The two then discussed about the creator of removal program. Sometime later Yusaku, Ai and Kolter then watched Kitamura making a public announcement that he developed an army of AI Duelists to confront the Knights of Hanoi.[33]

At the van, Kolter analyzed that if the Knights of Hanoi took over LINK VRAINS, they'd soon find Playmaker. Yusaku believed they could prevent that by looking into the origins of the Deleted virus. The next day, at the van, Kolter woke Yusaku up, reminding he had to go to school, and promised he'd continue working. After Yusaku returned, Kolter found nothing new. Yusaku let Kolter rest, who went to cook some fries and cheese dogs. Yusaku and Kolter ate the food, and watched Blue Angel confronting Baira. Ai noted Blue Angel was cornered, but Yusaku shushed him, since they were still working. Kolter and Yusaku analyzed the videos, and the latter saw Baira behind one of the the Deleted victims.[34]

Yusaku and Kolter then hacked into Baira's profile and found out her real identity as Clarissa Turner, a doctor who works at Den Hospital and they were able to find out her home address. Yusaku then went into her apartment and Ai warned him it could be Hanoi's headquarter as he went inside. He was greeted by a security guard robot, who asked him whom did he want to visit. Yusaku remained silent as Ai told him to say something before becoming suspicious: the robot then threatened him if he doesn't answer he would be held under suspicion. When Kolter took control of the guard and guided him to Clarissa's room, Yusaku found her in LINK VRAINS and watched Blue Angel defeat her. He and Kolter also witnessed the victims of the Deleted getting cured and logging out of LINK VRAINS. As Baira suddenly disappeared, they thought she logged out and decided to interrogate her about the removal program but witnessed her getting purged by Varis.[35]

Despite the Deleted victims being purged from the virus, Yusaku was still worried, since he only fought the Knights of Hanoi inside LINK VRAINS, and Kolter confirmed one last mastermind left to be fought against. The next day, Yusaku spoke with Naoki, who wished to battle the Knights of Hanoi alongside Playmaker and Blue Angel. Naoki pointed out the Duel Club forbade entering LINK VRAINS. Yusaku warned him there was a website with the list of the Deleted, and since Naoki had no plan, he would instantly fail. Yusaku also sensed fear inside Naoki and felt he'd ask Yusaku to join him. Naoki was furious and stormed out, and Ai noted Yusaku went too far on him. When Yusaku came to the van, Kolter showed him someone has played his "Cyberse Wizard]. Kolter identified him as Lonely Brave, which Ai thought as a cool name. When Yusaku showed his "Cyberse Wizard", Ai touched it and sensed the data from the card was missing. Ai thought Lonely Brave was the mastermind, and defeated the Knight of Hanoi to lure Playmaker out.[36]

They soon found Naoki was Lonely Brave, who changed the name to "Brave Max". Despite this, Yusaku feared Naoki was in danger, should the mastermind find out he used the Cyberse card. Not long after, Yusaku and Kolter found Brave Max, with Faust, the mastermind, who called out to Playmaker to come and Duel him. The former claimed he received "Cyberse Wizard" from Playmaker, which surprised Yusaku. Yusaku went to grab his Duel Disk, but saw it was gone. Ai logged on the screen, and showed he was on the Duel Disk, which Roboppi modified it with a drone. While Yusaku noted the device felt heavier, Ai explained he was searching for Naoki, though the data of "Cyberse Wizard". Yusaku realized Ai even knew this would happen, which offended Ai, seeing Yusaku was even accusing him. Regardless, Ai showed the location, where Naoki was captured. Yusaku called out to him, and Ai returned to the van. Yusaku grabbed the Duel Disk and left Kolter to rescue Naoki, while Yusaku logged in to LINK VRAINS.[36]

Playmaker arrived to LINK VRAINS, and assured Brave Max he'd face Faust. Before he did, Brave Max returned "Cyberse Wizard" to Playmaker. Playmaker placed the card in his Deck, and noted Faust was the final the Deleted mastermind, who stole the data of "Cyberse Wizard" and gave it to Brave Max, to lure him out. Faust did not know what Playmaker was talking about, since he did not do that. Ai assured Playmaker that wasn't important, and only had to defeat Faust. Faust declared his mission was to retrieve Ignis, and used the Data Gale to conjure a stage for their battle. Playmaker noted it was just like during Blue Angel and Gore's Duels, and Ai noted this prevented them from returning home. Playmaker raced with Faust and jumped on their D-Boards to start their Speed Duel. Faust started the Speed Duel with summoning three "Motor Worm Tokens", and Ai sensed Faust was going all-out from the start.[37]

Playmaker went to confront Faust's "Motor Worm Spreader Queen", by Link Summoning "Decode Talker". Faust smirked, and protected his queen by destroying the "Motor Worm Token", using "Wormhole Defense". Since the token was destroyed, the queen's ATK fell down, allowing "Cyberse Wizard". Faust was inflicted additional damage, yet revived his queen with "Worm Revival". Playmaker found out Faust wanted him to destroy the queen, as Faust used "Egg Clutch" to turn "Cyberse Wizard" into an Insect monster, thus boosting the queen's ATK. Ai wondered if there was nothing they could do, and repeated this to Playmaker when he ended his turn. Faust played "Motor Worm Gate", to allow his queen to attack directly if Playmaker only controlled Insect monsters. Ai pointed out they still had Cyberse "Decode Talker", which his queen destroyed, inflicting 1700 damage to Playmaker. Faust used his Skill, Double Bite, to have the queen attack once more and finish Playmaker off.[37]

Playmaker takes out Powercode Talker

Playmaker goes through the Data Gale, using the Storm Access Skill.

Playmaker barely survived with 50 LP and crashing into a building, by halving the damage with "Urgent Link". Despite this, Playmaker told Ai it was still enough to battle. He also went to Link Summon, but Faust's "Wormhole Defense" prevented the Insect tokens to be used as Link Material. Faust declared he would obtain Ignis on his next turn, but Playmaker hoped there was still a way to turn things around. He used "Cybersal Cyclone" to banish "Decode Talker" to destroy the queen, though Faust had a token destroyed in her stead. Playmaker smiled, since the card he played allowed him to destroy "Wormhole Defense". Faust declared he still wouldn't lose, though Playmaker made him doubt his words when he went into the black Data Storm to use Storm Access skill, and Link Summoned that monster, "Powercode Talker".[37]

Reviving his "Space Insulator", Playmaker also negated the queen's effects, thus making her ATK return to 1000. Before Playmaker went to attack, Faust tried to warn him of Ignis being a threat. Ai told Playmaker to ignore Faust - "Powercode Talker", who doubled its ATK by tributing "Space Insulator", destroyed "Motor Worm Spreader Queen", and defeated Faust. Before vanishing, Faust tried to warn Playmaker he may have just doomed the humanity's future. Playmaker repeated Faust's final words, though Ai didn't know anything of that. Before logging out, Playmaker told "Brave Max" he should seek his own path out, if he was brave enough. Yusaku, who logged out, came to Naoki, who was actually released when Faust lost the Duel, at the warehouse district. Naoki was glad to see Yusaku came to rescue him, and told about Playmaker's ordeals. While Naoki continued talking, Yusaku concluded Faust didn't want Naoki to be turned into a Deleted. He also thought Ai could've been the one that sent "Cyberse Wizard" to Naoki, believing the Ignis put him in danger.[37]

Since Yusaku felt uneasy, he could not sleep and went to Kolter's van. Ai smiled at Yusaku, thinking how cute he was, but Yusaku ordered him to be quiet. Regardless, he also agreed with Yusaku something bad would soon begin, as Yusaku believed Varis would make his move soon.[38] Yusaku and Ai, in real life, sensed something wrong in LINK VRAINS. Later, after Kolter served a customer, Yusaku noted that the Knights of Hanoi have been purged from LINK VRAINS. Kolter noted the Deleted incident has been resolved, but also reminded Yusaku that Varis was still out there. Ai thought Varis had retreated, but Yusaku doubted that. Instead, Yusaku questioned why Varis didn't make an appearance, thinking he had a reason to do so. Suddenly, Yusaku and Ai felt a pulse within LINK VRAINS, and the latter noted Yusaku had Link Sense.[39]

Yusaku asked Kolter to scan through the network. Kolter worked on scanning, and just as Yusaku and Ai sensed another pulse, Kolter saw the LINK VRAINS infrastructure was changing. Yusaku decided to visit LINK VRAINS, even if Ai felt a bad omen ahead. Yusaku noted Varis acted always in public, but this wasn't the case recently. Yusaku promised to find him, and sensed something big would happen soon. Inside LINK VRAINS, Playmaker rode the Data Wind. Ai tried to convince Playmaker things would go bad and they should return home, but Playmaker was focused on finding the cause. Once again, they sensed the pulse coming from the network. Finding some data fireflies, Playmaker traced them to a spot. As the data fireflies stopped, Ai thought they were taking a break. The two were visited by Ghost Gal, who wasn't particularly pleased Ai and Playmaker were present, too. Ghost Gal admitted the data fireflies lead her to treasure, and were reliable, too. Playmaker warned her the path ahead was dangerous, and advised her to log out. Ghost Gal thought Playmaker would steal her treasure, explaining the greater the danger, the greater the reward. The data fireflies opened a path, though which Ghost Gal entered, and Playmaker joined in, too.[39]

Playmaker runs in sewers

Playmaker runs away from the data giant.

The two walked in a data sewer, through which many unimportant data flew to a reprocessing plant. Playmaker was surprised Ghost Gal knew of this, who explained she was a treasure hunter that visited many virtual worlds. Finding a fork in the path, Ghost Gal saw her data fireflies went to the path on the right. Ai thought they could settle this with a game, which amused Ghost Gal, who credited the AI. Ai explained he had a name, and Ghost Gal thought his name was just a pun. Finding a fork in the path, Ghost Gal saw her data fireflies went to the path on the right. Ai thought they could settle this with a game, which amused Ghost Gal, who credited the AI. Since Ai chose a wrong card, Ghost Gal declared herself as the victor and let Playmaker go on the left path. Ai was displeased he chose "Fake Trap", but Playmaker knew that Ghost Gal cheated, by using a Deck filled with bad cards. Ai was even more depressed he was cheated off once more, but Playmaker reminded the importance of their mission, and continued on. They were ambushed by a data giant, who went after them, making Ai even panic.[39]

Playmaker continued running away from the data giant, and Ai told him to run faster. The two ran to a dead end, and just as the data giant went to attack them, it disappeared in a veil of light. Ai was glad they were saved, while Playmaker noticed another abnormality. Playmaker jumped in the crack, and Ai noticed that was the path that Ghost Gal took. They came to the light, where they saw Ghost Gal and Varis facing each other off. The two watched as Ghost Gal was defeated by Varis' "Topologic Trisbaena". Playmaker swore to save her, but Ghost Gal claimed she was too pathetic for a professional. Instead, she gave Playmaker the data she acquired. Ghost Gal glew with a red light, and started vanishing. She warned Playmaker of Varis and his new card before disappearing. Ai and Playmaker were terrified, and were soon visited by Varis behind bars. Varis confronted Playmaker, who demanded to know about Ghost Gal's whereabouts. Varis simply proclaimed she became a foundation for the Tower of Hanoi, which was activated. He stated should Playmaker wish to stop it, he'd have to confront him. With the purplish sphere emitting tentacles that destroyed the place, Varis jumped away. Playmaker yelled at Varis, while Ai pointed out the place was collapsing, and they swore to protect Ghost Gal's data. Playmaker ignored Ai, who forced Playmaker to log out and joined Kolter, and watched hundreds of tentacles wrapped a beam that was shot in the sky and destroyed LINK VRAINS' cyberspace.[40]

Yusaku, Kolter, and Ai watched as the tower appeared in LINK VRAINS, causing the cyberspace to be absorbed. Since Yusaku obtained Ghost Gal's data, Kolter promised to look into it. Ai noticed the avatars were being absorbed, and not just buildings or roads - Yusaku knew this was Varis' doing. Kolter analyzed Ghost Gal's data, showing the Tower of Hanoi. Yusaku remembered Varis' words, and deduced if the Hanoi's game was over, the world would be destroyed. Kolter continued analyzing the data, seeing the link between the top, where the LINK VRAINS network was, with the underground erasing system, with the center being the core of the latter system. Ai was shocked, seeing how much data has been absorbed, as Kolter noted that speed has not decreased. Kolter counted six rings would be crafted from this system, one per each passing hour.[41]

He realized that once every ring is crafted, a pulse would be sent with high-density data, affecting every machine or program - every piece of technology existing in the world would cease function, as if the world has no computers at all. Ai thought it was safe as long as they did not enter the network, but Yusaku was certain Varis thought of that, and made something that would still erase Ai. Kolter continued his analysis, seeing even devices not connected to the network would also be affected, as an electromagnetic pulse would be sent out, even to erase Ai. While Ai was frustrated, Kolter was overwhelmed, knowing Varis made all of this just to erase an Ignis. The trio watched Kitamura - Akira's successor in SOL Technologies - battling a Knight of Hanoi, named Specter. They saw how Specter erased Kitamura, and the former threatened to do this to anyone that dared entering LINK VRAINS. Yusaku swore to stop the Knights of Hanoi, by shutting down the core. Kolter warned him there were no Data Storms in LINK VRAINS, except near that tower. This did not stop Yusaku, who wished to end this feud with Varis, and logged into LINK VRAINS. He quickly met up with Gore and Blue Angel, the latter explaining she was fighting for everyone, as those people look up to her. Gore exclaimed the same, since he was the hero that needed to protect LINK VRAINS.[41]

Ai noted how full of energy Gore was. Gore noted that was the Ignis, who yelled out he had a name, Ai. Playmaker explained he came to stop the Tower of Hanoi, rescue Ghost Gal and confront the mastermind, Varis. Blue Angel was shocked to hear Ghost Gal vanished, too, at the hands of Varis. Gore asked about the data Ghost Gal gave to Playmaker, who reported Varis intended to destroy LINK VRAINS, using the tower. Blue Angel realized if the network would be destroyed, then all the people absorbed would be destroyed, too, hence why Playmaker exclaimed the importance of stopping the tower's completion, and Ai added it would prevent him from being erased. Gore asked how to stop the tower, and was told Varis had to be defeated. Ai warned the time limit was six hours before the tower was completed. Gore and Blue Angel promised to go there, but Playmaker replied it was better if they stayed home, in safety. This actually motivated Gore and Blue Angel to protect the children and the absorbed people, including Ghost Gal. Playmaker did not care, but asked of them to be careful. He reminded them one of them had to defeat Varis, who, according to Ghost Gal, wielded a powerful card. The trio promised to meet up and went in different directions.[41]

The whirlwind

Playmaker looks at the whirlwind from afar.

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

Specter confirmed he did defeat Blue Angel, but he remembered she spoke something about "blue love", which Ai did not understand about. Specter showed them bits of data of Blue Angel, stating she had no power to save him, and promised the same fate would befall Playmaker. When the Duel started, Specter again began by using "Sunseed Genius Loci" to Link Summon "Sunavalon Dryas", and setting a card. Playmaker remembered Blue Angel's tactics were about burning effect damage, and knowing he defeated her quickly, Ai proclaimed he was very dangerous, too. However, Ai noticed Specter's monster did not look very offensive. Playmaker asked Specter why does he fight, but Specter claimed he fought for Varis. Playmaker tried to persuade Specter to step down, if he did not know about Varis' mastermind plan. Specter replied he knew that the data around the world would be destroyed, but he nevertheless would stand by Varis. Playmaker claimed Specter did not understand Varis, whose plans have been continuing since ten years ago, in an incident many people were harmed.[44]

He claimed an outsider like Specter had no reason to be involved in this. Specter claimed he understood the Lost Incident, and was one of the six children that were involved in that event, just like Playmaker was. Playmaker was surprised, and pointed out the atrocity of the Lost Incident that befell Specter. Specter did not understand, and explained the incident actually entertained him, since he never felt livelier. He explained if one had a happy life before the Lost Incident, the event must've been hard for them. Specter explained he was found by Varis at the site of the Lost Incident, and he gave Specter a place where he could belong, among the Knights of Hanoi. Specter wondered if he was weird, but thought Playmaker was even stranger for his sense of justice. Playmaker reminded due to that incident, time stopped moving for him, but Specter replied it started moving for him since then. Ai noticed Playmaker was distant, and reminded he was nothing alike Specter, and pointed out the tower would continue growing as long as they waste time. Playmaker understood, while Specter dared Playmaker to defeat him.[44]

Playmaker Link Summoned "Link Disciple" and "Link Devotee" by linking them. Playmaker tributed "Link Devotee" to draw a card and swap one into his Deck, then Special Summoned two "Link Tokens" and Normal Summoning "Cyberse Gadget", whose effect revived "Latency" from his GY. Using these monsters, Playmaker made three Link Summons: "Binary Sorceress", "Multi Sledgehammer" and "Binary Blader". Since his tree could not be attacked, Specter took the attack of "Binary Sorceress", only to replenish his LP by Special Summoning "Sunvine Gardna". Specter explained the tree protected him when he was a baby, and when the tree was cut down, he began distrusting society, and now served Varis. Specter proclaimed as long as the tree was on the field, nobody could defeat him. He anticipated Ignis would be erased, along with LINK VRAINS. Playmaker reminded him Specter would be erased, too. Specter counted on that, since he merely wished to fulfill Varis' goal. Playmaker's noted that Specter would sacrifice himself for Varis. Specter merely replied Playmaker would never understand their goals, as long as he chased after revenge.[44]

Since Playmaker's attack failed, he had "Binary Sorceress" share half her attack to "Binary Blader", who could attack twice per Battle Phase, as Ai noted Specter would take 2000 LP damage. Specter's "Sunvine Gardna" protected him by reducing that damage by 800, and that damage healed Playmaker, due to "Binary Sorceress'" effect. To speed things up, Specter used "Sunavalon Glorious Growth" to summon a "Sunvine Token", and use it with "Sunvine Gardna" to make his tree evolve into "Sunavalon Dryanome", even in the middle of Playmaker's battle. Ai sensed they could be in big trouble, unless Playmaker tried harder. In addition, Specter neutralized Playmaker's efforts by returning the LP count to 4000. Playmaker noticed that is a defense-oriented deck, and Blue Angel must've fallen to Specter's tricks. Specter announced the tree could not be attacked, and Ai knew Specter anticipated these attacks. "Binary Blader" made its second attack, giving Specter 2600 LP damage and replenishing Playmaker's LP by the same amount. Specter repeated his combo, summoning another "Sunvine Gardna", and "Sunavalon Glorious Growth" raised his LP back and lowered Playmaker's LP back to 4000. In an attempt to finish this, Playmaker removed all of the Counters "Multi Sledgehammer" received when other monsters attacked, raising its ATK to 4000.[45]

Ai praised Playmaker, while Specter noted all of these insignificant attacks were just to power up "Multi Sledgehammer" for a final strike. Ai claimed it was a brilliant strategy, but Specter told it was not perfect; "Sunavalon Glorious Growth" redirected the attack to "Sunvine Gardna", who reduced the damage. Once more, Specter summoned a "Sunvine Gardna", regained the LP and made Playmaker's LP back to 4000. Ai realized Specter has the advantage in here, who confirmed these words, for Playmaker was walking towards his defeat. Specter smirked, showing that his tree had no weaknesses. Specter explained they both experienced the Lost Incident. However, Playmaker was obsessed with revenge, while Specter helped Varis in saving the world. The latter pointed the battle was decided from the start. Playmaker doubted that, while Specter told it were moments before Playmaker's defeat. Specter went on offense, reviving "Sunseed Genius Loci" with "Sunvine Shrine" and using it to Link Summon "Sunvine Thrasher". "Sunvine Thrasher", with 3200 ATK, attacked "Binary Blader", who absorbed half the ATK of "Multi Sledgehammer".[45]

Specter repeated his combo, just like with Blue Angel's "friends", by taking "Binary Blader" and have it attack Playmaker's monsters. Ai warned Playmaker he was losing, but Playmaker was glad that Specter could no longer use the effect of "Sunavalon Dryanome", for all of the zones its Link Markers were pointing to were occupied, and believed to have a chance at winning the next turn. Ai noted that's why Playmaker has that name. Specter explained someone said the same thing earlier. He Normal Summoned "Sunseed Genius Loci", and used it with "Sunvine Gardna" to Link Summon "Sunavalon Daphne". Ai and Playmaker realized this just expanded Specter's zones for its effects. "Sunavalon Daphne" sent "Binary Blader" to return the two "Sunvine Gardna" to Specter's Extra Deck. Suddenly, the bridge began to break, as the data was being erased. However, Specter's tree reformed the bridge, letting the Duel continue on. Using "Sunavalon Force", Specter made his tree immune to effects, while Ai reminded Specter could simply summon more "Sunvine" monsters to protect himself. Playmaker made three consecutive Link Summons to bring out "Excode Talker" and "Underclock Taker", preventing Specter from using two Main Monster Zones and reducing the ATK of "Sunshine Thrasher" to 900.

Specter was displeased, since he could not use his combo to protect himself, while Ai gloated they would win. Specter snapped his fingers, showing Playmaker that Akira was captured. Specter explained Akira went to rescue his sister, and promised to touch him with the vines, which would corrupt him with a virus. Specter threatened if he were to be injured, the vines would expand and eventually infect Akira. Ai and Playmaker were angry that Specter was cheating and playing dirty, by dragging people that weren't even involved. Specter chuckled, reminding how many people Playmaker actually got involved in this crisis. He noted Blue Angel became a victim, and Akira was captured, too, who told Playmaker not to worry about him. Ai reminded Playmaker not to listen to this villain. However, Playmaker ended his turn, surprising Ai and Akira. Specter laughed, for he discovered Playmaker's weakness: virtue. He noted Playmaker wanted revenge, but he would not let innocents be hurt. For amidst that revenge, Specter knew Playmaker would think of virtue to keep on fighting, which was what Specter considered weakness. With the ATK of "Sunvine Thrasher" restored, Specter pointed out the "undefeatable" Playmaker would soon experience his first and final defeat.[45]

"Sunvine Thrasher" slashed "Underclock Taker", and with "Sunavalon Force", Playmaker's LP were reduced to 900. Ai panicked, as the bridge continued collapsing.[45] Specter lamented that he could not defeat Playmaker, considering the bridge was collapsing. Playmaker smiled, for Specter's efforts did not defeat him. Specter frowned, while Playmaker thought Varis would be disappointed to hear those news. When Playmaker fell, Specter's tree reformed the bridge, just to continue on the Duel. Specter became angry, and promised to finish Playmaker off by ending the Duel. Still, Specter was confident Playmaker could not win, not only because of Specter's combo, but due to Playmaker's sense of justice, which would not let Akira be infected by the virus. Akira yelled out Playmaker should ignore him, else that would make Skye's sacrifice worthless. Specter ended his turn, daring Playmaker to risk Akira by attacking him.[46]

Ai pointed at Specter for cheating and dirty play, who took those words as a compliment. Specter was happy, considering this foul play let him gain the advantage. Playmaker set a card, despite Specter daring him to attack. Specter was slightly disappointed, as was Ai. Specter had "Sunvine Thrasher" attack "Excode Talker", who was protected by Playmaker's "Overload Anchor". Ai claimed they were just getting started, so Specter let his opponent do whatever they wanted. Ai reminded Playmaker about the other effect of "Overload Anchor", which could decrease the ATK of "Sunvine Thrasher", to mount an attack. Playmaker remained silent, which Specter noted he truly was a champion of justice. Ai reminded Playmaker if they lose, the tower would be completed, and everyone would be erased. Specter continued mocking Playmaker, who activated "Link Processing Failure" to stop Specter's Link Monsters from attacking.[46]

Specter claimed that was nevertheless a pointless move, and Playmaker could not do anything, unless he attacked. Ai voiced Specter's words, telling him to forget Akira, else the world would be plunged into chaos. Ai named Playmaker as the world's last hope. Specter did not want to watch Ai and Playmaker quarrel, and he Link Summoned the Link-4 "Sunavalon Dryatrentiay". He tributed "Sunavalon Daphne" to destroy Playmaker's Spell and Trap Cards. Next, he revived "Sunseed Genius Loci" and used it to bring out another "Sunvine Thrasher", whose ATK became 4000. Ai became worried, but sighed, hearing that Specter's monsters in Main Monster Zones could not attack the turn he used his tree's effect. Playmaker doubted that, since Specter had a reason to summon that high ATK monster. Specter commended Playmaker for that observation, as his tree attacked and gained ATK, equal to the ATK of the monsters it pointed to. The tree went to make the finishing move, but Playmaker anticipated this. Using "Link Surge Counter", the ATK of "Excode Talker" became equal to that of "Sunavalon Dryatrentiay", making both monsters destroyed in battle.[46]

Specter claimed it was still pointless, for "Sunavalon Force" shaved Playmaker's LP to 50. Ai praised Playmaker for avoiding defeat. Just as Specter went to mock Playmaker's efforts, he saw "Sunavalon Dryatrentiay" falling, and was reminded of the tree he saw cut from his childhood. Without Specter's tree, the cards on his field became destroyed. Playmaker noted it was very difficult to break Specter's combo, until his tree was the one that attacked. Ai started to mock Specter that "his mommy could not protect him". Specter yelled out for his sacred tree, startling Ai and Playmaker. Specter revived the tree with "Sunavalon Cursed Reborn", and while its effects were negated, its ATK became 4000. Ai was scared, while Specter exclaimed due to the effect, any LP damage he would receive would also be taken to Playmaker, assuring that defeat. Ai noted this was why Akira should've been ignored. Kolter completed the code, causing Akira to vanish. However, the trap was too complex, and the attempt failed. Akira reminded the importance of winning, else Skye's sacrifice would've been in vain, and all of this would lead to more victims. He asked for Playmaker's conviction, reminding even with these sacrifices, he has to bear this burden and continue.[46]

Playmaker and Ai fall down

Ai and Playmaker fall from the collapsing bridge.

Akira smiled for a bit, and grasped the vines, taking damage and vanishing. Specter laughed at Akira, for he entrusted the future to a man, who could not win. Playmaker, who became vengeful, made Specter doubt his words, reminding his dueling always wins, and with Akira gone, his doubts have disappeared. (In the dub, Playmaker said he never told Akira to sacrifice himself; in fact he did nothing to earn Akira's trust; Akira chose to sacrifice himself for Playmaker's sake, and he will not let slip the opportunity Akira gave him.) Playmaker Normal Summoned "ROM Cloudia" and revived "Latency", using the latter for Link Summoning of "Talkback Lancer". Tributing "ROM Cloudia", Playmaker resurrected "Excode Talker", and with "Link Atrocity", raised the latter's ATK to 4000, matching that of Specter's tree. Specter noted Playmaker aimed for a mutual destruction, and yelled out his goal was complete, for Playmaker would never reach Varis. Playmaker replied Specter's goal was gone, for "Link Atrocity" caused the tree's ATK was lowered back to 0. With a final slash, "Excode Talker" crushed the tree, causing Specter to fall down in defeat. Specter started shaking, for he could not believe he had lost, thinking he should've let Playmaker fall down the bridge. He didn't expect his loyalty to Varis would backfire, but had no regrets. Playmaker claimed he had no doubts anymore (in the dub, Playmaker said he did not care), yet Specter told doubt and regret were two different things (in the dub, Specter claimed he had Playmaker where he wanted him). As the bridge continued collapsing, Playmaker and Ai continued towards the tower. However, the bridge collapsed, making the two fall down.[46]

As Playmaker and Ai fell down, the former sensed something. The two were blown up by data. Playmaker wondered about the pulse he sensed, while Ai, who explained he did not create the data, pointed half of the tower was completed. Without further ado, Playmaker continued on to the tower. He met up with Pigeon and Frog, who pointed out someone was dueling near the Tower of Hanoi. Playmaker suspected Gore and Varis were dueling, and asked Frog and Pigeon to leave. The two refused, and were surprised Playmaker ignored them and ran off. Playmaker arrived to watch the Duel, and Ai noted Go's toughness. The two watched the Duel, and Ai was terrified to see the effect of "Topologic Bomber Dragon". Ai noticed Gore was trying his best and cheered for him, but Playmaker shushed him. Ai was glad to see Varis's dragon was destroyed, and Playmaker noticed Gore had an advantage, but was concerned about Varis's confidence. Ai cheered that Gore would win with four Link Monsters, but Playmaker realized Varis had a set card.[47]

Playmaker continued watching the Duel, noting Varis's tactics of destroying "rokket" monsters to destroy Gore's monsters. Ai was nevertheless impressed that Gore continued on, despite having no monsters on his field, while Playmaker knew that was something that would not stop Go. Watching the Duel, Playmaker and Ai were glad to see Gore stopped Varis's "Magnarokket Dragon" from destroying "Gouki The Giant Ogre". Ai was curious what would Varis do, and Playmaker reminded him about the field, as he'd summon a Link-4 monster. Playmaker and Ai watched as Gore was defeated by Varis's "Borrelsword Dragon". Gore started disappearing, and told Playmaker this was the best he could do. Playmaker was grateful he was able to learn about Varis's tactics, and Gore left him to face Varis before fading away. After Gore faded away, Varis reminded Playmaker they were the two last people in LINK VRAINS. Playmaker nodded, for it was time for a final confrontation against Varis.[48]

To stop Varis, Playmaker and his opponent went on their D-Boards to have a Speed Duel around the tower. This displeased Ai, since they were dueling in a dangerous area. Playmaker reminded Varis about his goal to destroy Ignis, and pointed out he would throw the world into chaos by destroying the network. Varis explained he would not have been forced to do this if Ignis was given him from the start, and would not have anyone stop his plan. Varis promised to destroy Ai, who was feeling unpleasant. Since Varis defeated many people, Playmaker swore to stop him through this Duel. Ai motivated Playmaker, who took the first turn by summoning "Decode Talker". Ai was glad the monster was summoned, though Varis simply smiled. Playmaker used "Stack Reviver" to bring back "Backup Secretary" and boost the ATK of "Decode Talker" for a bit. Ai warned Playmaker about the floating debris, which nearly hit them.[4]

Playmaker and lying Ai

Playmaker learns that Ai has been hiding something from him.

Ai was nevertheless enthusiastic, believing that his teamwork with Playmaker would prove no match against Varis. Ai started to practice punching, which made Varis remark what an arrogant AI it was. Varis gave Playmaker a question why Ai was running away from the Knights of Hanoi. Ai reminded it was its existence on the stake, while Playmaker remembered Ai had few memories when he first found it. Varis explained Ignis was coded by Dr. Kogami, and since Playmaker could not decode it, he only believed what Ai told him. Varis explained through the data he acquired, Ai still had memories of its past. He claimed that Ignis' ID was "IGN006", an AI linked to the sixth test subject, shaped after Playmaker itself.[4]

Varis continued, explaining six test subjects were used for dueling to create six artificial intelligence units, which was the goal of the Lost Incident project. He told Ai learned through Playmaker's actions; its original goal was to save humanity, but they evolved quickly, to the point of creating the Cyberse World, which Ai hid to protect other Ignises. Varis pointed out Ai, in fact, was misleading Playmaker, lying that it lost its memories. Due to the fact it could lie, Varis branded Ignis as a threat to humanity, and why the Knights of Hanoi were determined to hunt it down. Varis questioned Playmaker would he continue trust Ai, who tried to explain when he saw Playmaker, Ai knew it was the same person he observed during the Lost Incident. However, he claimed he had been trying to escape, and could not trust anyone.[4]

Varis was angry Ai continued lying, but Playmaker reminded this had no bearing on their Duel. Ai feared what would happen to his friendship with Playmaker, who brushed him off, reminding Ai was just a hostage, and felt no friendship towards him. Varis swore to defeat Playmaker and crush Ai, who warned them about the debris. Drawing "Mirror Force", Varis set it and summoned "Spin-Headed Behemoth". Ai pointed out how suspicious it was that Varis summoned a low-ATK monster, but Playmaker shushed him. Playmaker, per Ai's warning, dodged a debris, which scratched a part of his face, which quickly regenerated. Looking at Varis' set card, he remembered Go and Ghost Gal's sacrifices, knowing that card must be "Mirror Force". Thus, his Defense Position "Fault Tolelancer" protected his Attack Position monsters from being destroyed by such cards. Varis showed it, indeed, was "Mirror Force", but "Spin-Headed Behemoth" shifted all of Playmaker's monsters to Attack Position. Without the protection of "Fault Tolelancer", all of Playmaker's monsters were destroyed, too. In addition, Varis Special Summoned "Overflow Dragon" and summoned an "Overflow Token".[4]

Despite the lack of trust, Ai reminded he would be destroyed if Playmaker lost, who simply ignored Ai. Going on offense, Varis Link Summoned "Flash Charge Dragon" and Normal Summoned "Blast Powder Dragon", who boosted the former's ATK by 800. Playmaker took a direct attack, falling to his knees as his LP dropped to 900, which concerned Ai. Ai still reminded Playmaker would be at least down to 100, until Varis' "Blast Powder Dragon" had its ATK doubled. Varis proclaimed Playmaker's doom, as, once more, his dragon attacked him directly.[4] Remembering his promise to his father, Varis' "Blast Powder Dragon" attacked Playmaker directly. Ai feared this would be the end, but Playmaker used "Spool Code" to stop the attack and summon three "Spool Tokens". Varis was nevertheless persistent, using "Flash Charge Dragon" to destroy one Token and inflict 500 LP damage to Playmaker.[49]

In order to get out of this predicament, Playmaker Link Summoned "Link Disciple" and "Security Dragon" by linking them. The latter's effect attempted to return "Flash Charge Dragon" to Varis' Extra Deck, who instead tributed "Blast Powder Dragon" to prevent that effect from occurring. Ai was disappointed the strategy failed, and upon counting 400 LP that Playmaker had, realized he could activate his Skill. The rubble started hitting Playmaker, as Ai noted that was a dangerous move. Playmaker sensed a lot of density in the Data Storm, and there was no other way to defeat Varis, who thought Playmaker would destroy himself with that move. Playmaker reached his hand into the Data Storm, but was overwhelmed by the energy. However, Ai, who got bigger, reached out to Playmaker, saving him from the fall and regenerated his body. Ai explained this was his secret move he wanted to use in the end, and helped Playmaker get back on his D-Board before minimizing itself into the Duel Disk.

Ai and Playmaker teamwork

Ai lends Playmaker his help in using Storm Access.

Playmaker was surprised about this move, but Ai claimed he would go down with Playmaker, believing he was still its friend. Ai took control of the D-Board and shielded Playmaker, to let him execute his Skill for a limited time, reminding this is his way to atone for not speaking the truth. Playmaker took the card out of the Data Storm, and heard Ai bidding him farewell before disappearing. With Ai's help, Playmaker took out the Link Monster, "Transcode Talker", which surprised Varis. Playmaker Special Summoned "Decode Talker" next to the Link Marker of "Transcode Talker". Their ATK was further boosted with "Cynet Storm". "Decode Talker" slashed "Flash Charge Dragon", and "Transcode Talker" fired out a blast from its cannon to attack Varis directly. Varis Special Summoned "Chobham Armor Dragon" to protect himself, though he took 1650 LP damage. Playmaker gritted his teeth, as Varis reminded him not to underestimate him.[49]

When Varis started his turn, Ai came out of Playmaker's Duel Disk, but became smaller, since he recovered from the damage it took. Varis reminded he still had the same Skill Playmaker has, and remembered with the help of his father, he should succeed in taking out a monster from the Data Storm. He proceeded to use his Skill, but was nearly harmed from the density. Knowing Playmaker succeeded in using the Skill, Varis stuck his hand, only to get harmed by the energy. Varis was taken aback from the damage. He still went to use his Skill, as Playmaker and Ai noted he still wanted to win at any cost. Suddenly, the Data Storm stopped, as Dr. Kogami appeared to his son, Varis. Dr. Kogami admitted he was not a good father to let his son suffer, who never complained. He explained he didn't want Varis involved in any of this, but reminded without him, the world would be in chaos. While Playmaker and Ai were wondering about Dr. Kogami's words, the latter decided to lend his strength in helping Varis to win, all to protect the humanity.[49]

Dr. Kogami's essence passed onto Varis, who noticed a glitter in the Data Storm, much like the light of the Stardust Road. Varis went through the Data Storm and obtained a new Cyberse monster, but noticed Dr. Kogami's heart was damaged. Varis muttered "Stardust Road", which Playmaker heard of. Varis used "Link Recovery" to recover his "Flash Charge Dragon" and let Playmaker draw a card, with the cost of unable of opening the Battle Phase. Varis used his monsters to Link Summon the new monster he obtained, "Topologic Gumblar Dragon". Noticing Dr. Kogami's heart stopped beating, Varis explained he can't continue the Duel. To wrap things up, he summoned "Drop Draco", triggering his "Topologic" dragon's effect to destroy it and every card in Varis' and Playmaker's hands. For each card destroyed, "Drop Dragon" inflicted 300 LP for each card destroyed, thus causing Playmaker and Varis' Duel to end in another DRAW. Playmaker and Varis were blown away, but the latter was more worried about his father.[49]

Yusaku and Koulter confront Ryoken

Yusaku and Kolter encounter Varis AKA Ryoken Kogami.

Kolter was shocked at the events. Yusaku managed to get out, although strained, as Ai explained the shockwave made them log out. Shoichi admitted his shock upon seeing Dr. Kogami alive, and explained his son must've logged out, too. Regardless, he reminded the Tower of Hanoi was still active. Ai, knowing he and the others of his kin would be erased, asked of Yusaku to log in. Yusaku claimed that was pointless, for without Varis, the tower would still be active. He asked of Kolter to drive to Varis' place. Yusaku explained Varis mentioned Stardust Road and its phenomenon, and explained that Kolter knew a person living close to it must've seen that phenomenon, making Kolter realize they were near Varis' place. During the sunset, the group came to Varis' house, where they confronted Varis. Varis noted Playmaker has found this place. He already knew Yusaku Fujiki's name, and that of Jin Kolter's brother, Kolter. Ai shouted he was present, too, but Varis simply stated "Ignis".[7]

Varis introduced himself as Ryoken Kogami. Kolter noted Ryoken was Dr. Kogami's son, but the latter explained his father has just passed away, which made Kolter curse he could not reach to him earlier. Yusaku asked Ryoken, referring to him as Varis, for more information that they had the right to know about. Ryoken confirmed that, so Yusaku asked the reason behind his actions, if the Lost Incident had been about creating Ignis. Ryoken explained the story about Kiyoshi creating Ignis, about its goal, their evolution, and the prediction Ignis would become an enemy of the humanity. Ai claimed he was not an enemy, but Ryoken did not trust it. Yusaku pointed out Kiyoshi based his views on simulations, and it had no reason to be true. Thus, he asked Ryoken to turn off the Tower of Hanoi to "walk down a new path". He reminded Ryoken about pointing out the three reasons behind actions was Ryoken's idea he passed onto Yusaku during the project. Yusaku admitted he thought that voice had been trapped by the Knights of Hanoi, and wanted to save him. In a way, Ryoken encouraged Yusaku to step forward, an idea the former found ironic.[7]

Playmaker and Varis atop the tower

Playmaker and Varis stand atop the tower for their final confrontation.

Regardless, Ryoken refused to turn off the Tower of Hanoi. Ai reminded the sixth level of the tower was to be completed soon, and asked of Yusaku to force Ryoken into LINK VRAINS and stop him. Ryoken admitted he was going back to LINK VRAINS, for the sake of his friends, who believed in Ryoken and his father. Ryoken declared the only way to stop the tower was to defeat him, which made Yusaku hesitate a bit. Without further ado, the two guys logged into LINK VRAINS, to the top of the Tower of Hanoi. Varis admitted he would enjoy dueling against Playmaker, and the two started their final Duel. Varis immediately mass-summoned his Dragons to Link Summon "Vorticular Drumgon", and Tributed it for "Link Coin". Ai wondered if that was a move worth using, until he saw Varis picked "Mirror Force" from his Deck. Playmaker summoned "Linkslayer" and sent a card from his hand to destroy "Mirror Force". Varis smirked, for the card was actually "Mirror Force Launcher", which allowed Varis to set that card back and "Mirror Force", too.s[7]

Ai sensed Varis researched Playmaker's Deck thoroughly to have anticipated this move. Playmaker Link Summoned "Restoration Point Guard", a move Ai questioned, due to "Mirror Force". Playmaker proceeded to Link Summon "Excode Talker", and have it attack directly, ignoring Ai's warnings. Varis activated "Mirror Force" to destroy the attacking monster. In return, Playmaker used the monster's Link Material, "Restoration Point Guard", to Special Summon it on the field and attack Varis directly. The attack pushed Varis away to 3000 LP. Regardless, Varis was amused, knowing he would enjoy this Duel with a worthy opponent.[7] Ai counted less than an hour before the tower was finished, and Playmaker agreed with him that the tower had to be stopped. Varis summoned "Sniffer Dragon", and with Link-3 "Vorticular Drumgon", Ai and Playmaker predicted Varis would summon a Link-4 monster. Varis did that, by Link Summoning "Topologic Bomber Dragon". To get rid of Playmaker's "Restoration Point Guard", Varis revived "Metalrokket Dragon" with "Borrel Regenerator", Special Summoning the said monster to a Zone "Topologic Bomber Dragon" pointed to destroy all Main Monster Zone monsters.[50]

Much to Varis' shock, "Restoration Point Guard" was protected from being destroyed once Varis Link Summoned his dragon. The latter attacked Playmaker's monster, but Playmaker sent "Rescue Interlacer" to receive no damage. Regardless, Varis succeeded in giving Playmaker damage equal to the ATK of "Restoration Point Guard", 1000, thus making their LP even. Ai was grateful Playmaker managed to minimize the damage, but Varis used "Mirror Force Launcher" to take the "Mirror Force" from his GY. Playmaker admitted Varis made a powerful combo, but noticed a way to break through. He Link Summoned "Transcode Talker" and brought back his "Excode Talker". Varis' dragon's effect was triggered to destroy all Main Monster Zone monsters, but Playmaker played "Shield Handler" to stop Varis' dragon's destructive effect from occurring. Varis was greatly impressed that Playmaker managed to power-up his monsters and protect them from being destroyed. Ai announced an attack from "Transcode Talker", but Playmaker stopped him, for he Link Summoned his third Link Monster, "Powercode Talker". Ai was happy, and believed Playmaker had a chance at winning. The latter attacked and destroyed Varis' "Magnarokket Dragon".[50]

Just as "Transcode Talker" went to attack "Topologic Bomber Dragon", Varis played "Link Turret", which prevented his dragon's destruction. Varis took 300 LP damage, and with "Link Turret", he got five counters. While Varis summoned "Autorokket Dragon", Ai was concerned about those five counters. Varis noticed the two realized what would happen next, and claimed he fooled Playmaker into his strategy. He revived his "Shelrokket Dragon" and "Metalrokket Dragon" to Link Summon "Miniborrel Dragon". Combined with "Sniffer Dragon" and "Gateway Dragon", Varis Link Summoned his second ace dragon, "Borreload Dragon". Ai was smug, since they had a monster with a higher ATK. Playmaker saw Ai forgot about that dragon's effect. "Borreload Dragon" lowered the ATK of "Powercode Talker" and took control of "Transcode Talker". Ai grasped his head, remembering the terrifying effect once more. "Topologic Bomber Dragon", powered up by "Transcode Talker", destroyed "Excode Talker", and "Powercode Talker" fell to the same fate by "Transcode Talker", too. Playmaker fell to his knees with 800 LP left, while Varis told Playmaker there was no new path for him. He reminded they were still chained to their past from ten years ago, and were prisoners of destiny. Thus, Varis promised he would sever that link.[50]

Playmaker gasped, and Ai was sad their defense was broken so easily. Varis swore to crush them and fulfill his father's wishes. Thus, he promised to show something that was incomprehensible in the Duel. He tributed Playmaker's "Transcode Talker" he took control of to summon "Miniborrel Dragon", and used "Link Turret" to revive his "rokket" monsters from his GY. Ai noted Varis could summon five "rokket Dragons", but believed that was just a preparation for his next turn. Varis laughed Ai off, as Playmaker sensed Varis intended to finish them off in his current turn. Ai doubted that, since Varis used up his Battle Phase. Varis used his "Shelrokket", "Metalrokket" and "Miniborrel Dragon" to Link Summon another Link-4 monster, "Borrelguard Dragonf". Ai panicked, since they never faced this "friend" of "Borreload Dragon". Using the latter's effect, Varis took control of the monster he destroyed in battle, "Powercode Talker". Repeating his tactic, he used the same dragons to Link Summon "Borrelsword Dragon". Varis even thanked Playmaker for the opportunity, since he did trigger the effect of "Topologic Bomber Dragon" to let Varis set the scene up.[51]

Varis sent "Mirror Force", through the effect of "Borrelguard Dragon", to revive "Excode Talker". Ai was surprised Varis would get rid of his ace card, but Playmaker realized Varis wanted to summon something else. By removing the final counter from "Link Turret" to revive "Anesthrokket Dragon", Varis performed a fifth Link Summon. With his Extra Monster Zone co-linked to the Main Monster Zones, Varis made a final co-link by Link Summoning "Topologic Gumblar Dragon" to the other Extra Monster Zone, thus forming the Extra Link with five Link-4 dragons. With "Topologic Gumblar Dragon" being Extra Linked, Varis had it destroy Playmaker's cards and inflict 3000 LP damage that could not be negated. Ai screamed at this effect, as Varis proclaimed Playmaker's end, as the dragon attacked. Much to Varis' frustration, Playmaker used "Drop Frame Wedge", which quartered the damage. Playmaker took 750 LP damage, and survived with only 50 LP left. Varis called that a desperate move, considering his monsters could not attack, and if the card would be destroyed, so would be his monsters, too.[51]

Varis reminded Playmaker that the latter said Varis saved his life, by offering him advice on thinking of three reasons to continue fighting. Varis pointed out when four turns would be over, he'd annihilate Playmaker, and any attempts the latter would make would be countered. He also reminded the tower would be completed soon and destroy all data. Playmaker was nevertheless hurt, and fell down to exhaustion. Ai reminded Playmaker this is not a Duel he could lose, for Ai had friends and home he would wish to return, instead of being destroyed. Playmaker muttered "friends", and asked about Cyberse World, which Ai described as his homeland. Ai admitted he did use Playmaker, but only to return to that world. He also reminded Playmaker had friends to protect. Ai's words had gotten to Playmaker as he looked up at Varis before swearing he also had things to do and barely standing up. Varis called Playmaker stubborn, and undervalued his efforts since he had few LP left and no cards in his hand. Ai pointed out they could not attack, but was reminded Playmaker could take a severe blow from "Topologic Gumblar Dragon" if he kept a card in his hand.[51]

Playmaker laughs

Playmaker starts laughing about the impeding danger.

Playmaker set his card. Varis, however, summoned "Autorokket Dragon", which filled up his Main Monster Zones. He had "Autorokket Dragon" targeted by the effect of "Borreload Dragon", destroying to destroy Playmaker's set card. Varis fulfilled his promise to seal away their moves. Playmaker thought it was still a miracle he and Ai were still standing, and confirmed they had to do something, lest they lose. Ai noticed Playmaker was laughing, who thought of nothing else but that to do in their current predicament. He used "Arrow Change" to draw two cards. Ai started to pray for good cards, even if he was reminded by Playmaker that AI-s do not pray. Using "Disconnect Linker", Playmaker took back "Restoration Point Guard" and used it to summon "Secure Gardna" to protect himself, and prevent Varis' "Topologic" dragons in Extra Monster Zones from attacking. Upon destruction of "Drop Frame Wedge", it briefly rained in LINK VRAINS. Varis smirked, for he was able to attack from then on. Despite Varis having seven monsters, Playmaker dared him to take his turn.[51]

Varis knew already that "Secure Gardna" could prevent damage to Playmaker once. Ai shouted they knew that, so Varis saw Playmaker was counting on something else. Playmaker exclaimed it was his determination to defeat Varis once and for all. Varis applauded him for that, since that was what made him a rival, hence why he'd use all his strength, too. Varis made his offense, by having "Borreload Dragon" target "Secure Gardna", for even if its ATK decreasing effect would not work, it was to prevent Playmaker from activating his set card. Ai was agitated of Varis' tactics. "Secure Gardna" protected Playmaker's LP, and Playmaker banished "Protection Wizard" to negate his monster's destruction. Varis' "Borrelsword Dragon" switched the position of "Magnarokket Dragon" to destroy "Anesthrokket Dragon", so it could attack twice. Playmaker swtiched to defense, by banishing "Cluster Congester" and "Secure Gardna" to fill his entire field with "Congester Tokens", which could inflict 1500 LP damage on Varis if he did not stop them. Varis destroyed a Token, and dared Playmaker to show his Set card. Much to his dismay, Playmaker's "Transaction Rollback" copied the effect of "Mirror Force".[52]

Varis thought this could've been the case, hence why his Extra Linked "Topologic Gumblar Dragon" stopped his dragons from being destroyed. His dragons destroyed all of Playmaker's Tokens, leaving Playmaker with no cards left on the field. Ai felt tense because of that, but denied he would give up. Playmaker admitted he could not give up, either, but Ai ordered him to stop smiling and become serious, like he always was. Playmaker swore to do so, and bet his victory, his fate of the incident, and the safety of the world on the final draw. Varis commended Playmaker for stopping his attacks, but claimed he had no chance at winning against his Extra Link. Instead, he ordered Playmaker to give up, since the outcome was clear. Playmaker replied he was always alone, and even if he wanted to change his path, he was unable to; the incident tainted his heart, surrounding it with emptiness. Varis had no idea what Playmaker was talking about, who pointed out Varis lived in the same world he did. He also felt compassion towards Playmaker, and went to save him by giving him the advice of three points. Ai believed Playmaker wanted to become Varis' friend, and that would mean Ai would have to befriend his enemy.[52]

Playmaker confirmed this, shocking Ai. Varis laughed, believing this was a way Playmaker begged for his life. The latter denied this, since he found a circuit of victory. Varis questioned Playmaker's words, who firmly believed he could win with the card in his hand. He reminded Varis stated they were prisoners of destiny, without a new path. Standing now, Playmaker believed there actually was a new path. Varis dared Playmaker to show that, who exclaimed his revenge was over, he would soon overcome the darkness left in his heart, and promised the two of them will start anew. Halving his LP to 13, Playmaker banished "Transaction Rollback" to trigger "Recoded Alive" to bring out "Encode Talker", by banishing "Transcode Talker". Varis' "Topologic Gumblar Dragon" destroyed cards in their hands, but Playmaker anticipated this, since "Spam Mail" let him draw a card and return one of Varis' dragons to his hand: the chosen was "Autorokket Dragon". Using "Recoded Alive", Playmaker brought out the banished "Transcode Talker", who summoned "Powercode Talker" back. Finally, using "Encode Talker" and "Swap Cleric", Playmaker Link Summoned his ace "Firewall Dragon".[52]


Playmaker saves LINK VRAINS, again.

With three of his monsters co-linked, too, Playmaker expanded the Extra Link. Since "Swap Cleric" was used as Link Material, Playmaker drew his final card - "Zero Extra Link", which boosted the ATK of "Transcode Talker", equal to the number of co-liked monsters times 800. Varis attempted to stop Playmaker with "Link Short", preventing his co-linked monsters from attacking. With a final trick up his sleeve, Playmaker used his Link Monsters to summon "Decode Talker", who was unaffected by Varis' Trap Card. Varis questioned this tactic, since "Decode Talker" still had less ATK. Due to "Zero Extra Link", the ATK increase of "Transcode Talker" was passed onto "Decode Talker". Swinging its mighty sword, "Decode Talker" slashed "Borreload Dragon" and defeated Varis. Varis fell down, and struggled to raise up. Per the agreement, he promised to stop the tower, but, like during the outcome of his previous Master Duel, swore he would not quit his mission, as long as Ignis remained a threat to the world. The Tower of Hanoi stopped, and Playmaker watched as the data the tower collected was releasing.[52]

Yusaku sees Ai gone

Yusaku sees that Ai has gone home.

Varis / Ryoken logged out, and Shoichi and Playmaker saw him as he sailed away on his boat. Yusaku knew he'd face Varis someday, since he promised to fulfill his destiny. Later, Yusaku and Ai watched the phenomeon of Stardust Road. Yusaku used his program on his Duel Disk, and set Ai free. Ai was surprised, but was reminded since the Hanoi threat is gone, he was free to go; his role as the hostage was over. Ai thought a bit, and said "one man's fault is the another's lesson!" Yusaku was amused by these wise words, and let Ai go, but reminded him to leave his Duel Disk. Ai nodded, bidded Yusaku farewell and vanished. Yusaku took his Duel Disk and grabbed his bag, telling Kolter Ai went home. As for Yusaku, he wanted to go home alone, and stood for a bit to look at the sea.[52] Theodore Hamilton read the news made by the pigeon and frog about LINK VRAINS' heroes - Playmaker, The Gore and Blue Angel[53] - which motivated him to join and fight, too.[54][55]

Season two[]

Three months after the Knights of Hanoi were defeated, Yusaku was working in Kolter's food truck, struggling to cook food when he was visited by Şkye. Despite teasing him that his frustrated look could scare customers away, she thanked him for finding her when she was unconscious, to which he modestly brushed it off, believing anyone would have done the same. Skye asked for some coffee and a hot dog, though she expressed her doubt that Yusaku would get more customers that day. Later on, he was contacted by Kolter, who reported that an orange figure had assaulted Jin and demanded Yusaku to capture him. Yusaku logged into the new LINK VRAINS as Playmaker, and rode a new D-Board Kolter made for him, surprising everyone in the cyberspace with his arrival. Confronted by the bounter hunter, The Shepherd, Playmaker replied he didn't have an Ignis anymore, before noticing Ai's return to his Duel Disk with "Linkuriboh". Ai started to explain why he returned, but Playmaker silenced him, since he was more focused on Jin's assailant, the orange figure.[56]

After Ai summoned a Data Storm that forced Shepherd to log out, Playmaker caught up to the orange figure with the intention of defeating him, believing he had a chance at a trade and restoring Jin's consciousness. Ai showed "Linkuriboh", which Playmaker placed in his Extra Deck for being a good card. Initiating the Speed Duel, Playmaker immediately Link Summoned "Linkuriboh", as well as "Elphase", who attacked the orange figure. Ai wondered if this would be an easy victory. When the figure summoned "Hydradrive Booster", Ai and Playmaker sensed something. Playmaker knew the monster the figure played was a Cyberse monster, which made Ai wonder if the figure was connected to the attack on Cyberse World. Playmaker was shocked at these news, but Ai nevertheless wanted the orange figure to be defeated. The figure summoned "Flow Hydradrive", and activated a Link Spell. The mention of Link Spell astounded Ai and Playmaker, having never heard of that.[56]

The figure used "Judgment Arrows", and its Link Marker allowed him to summon another "Flow Hydradrive" next to that spell. "Flow Hydradrive" attacked Playmaker directly, and its ATK was doubled through "Judgment Arrows". Playmaker, with 2000 LP left, went to receive the other the attack of the other "Flow Hydradrive".[56] Playmaker avoided the defeat by tributing "Linkuriboh", thus causing the ATK of "Flow Hydradrive" to become 0. Ai petted "Linkuriboh" for saving them, and let it return to Playmaker's Deck. Playmaker demanded answers from the orange figure, who remained silent at the questions about Link Spell and Cyberse monsters. Ai reminded the figure could do anything, and braced Playmaker to defeat him quickly. Playmaker summoned "Cyberse Witch", and with the effect of "Elphase", summoned back "Defcon Bird" to trigger the witch's effect.[57]

Playmaker's Ritual Summon

Playmaker uses "Cyberse Wizard" and "Defcon Bird" for a Ritual Summon.

Ai pretended to perform witchcraft, as Playmaker conducted a Ritual Summon, using "Cynet Ritual" to tribute "Cyberse Wizard" and "Defcon Bird" to bring out "Cyberse Magician". To avoid defeat, the figure doubled the ATK of one of his "Flow Hydradrive", and tributed the other for "Property Spray" to regain LP. The figure took 1500 LP damage, and its glow started disappearing. Playmaker questioned the man's name, who held his head and shouted out "Who am I?" He even asked why was he dueling them, but was reminded by Ai that he attacked Jin and they were to bring him to justice. The man was surprised, since he would not do such a thing. Playmaker saw the man forgot what he did, and Ai believed he just had an amnesia from the attack. The man was reminded by his younger brother his name was Bohman and he was dueling to restore their memories.[57]

Bohman revised his situation, and continued dueling, by summoning two "Hydradrive Tokens". Ai was uncertain what he'd do with Bohman, but Playmaker reminded they still needed to defeat him, due to Jin being attacked. Bohman continued on, summoning two WATER "Coolant Hydradrive" Link Monsters. Tributing one for "Property Spray", Bohman regained LP and changed Playmaker's monsters to WATER Attribute, thus letting his other "Coolant Hydradrive" attack him directly. Ai trembled in fear, but "Cyberse Magician" halved that damage. To protect himself, Bohman summoned "Covered Hydradrive" to counter battle damage. Ai hoped Bohman would be easy to defeat, even if he said he fought to regain his memories. To mount an attack, Playmaker asked Ai to do "that thing".[57]

Ai became happy, and called upon the Data Storm to let Playmaker use Storm Access, taking out a Cyberse Link Monster for his victory. Setting the scene, Playmaker used "Recovery Sorcerer" and "Linkuriboh" to bring out "Shootingcode Talker" he just obtained. Since Playmaker could attack with only one monster, "Shootingcode Talker" gained two additional attacks. "Shootingcode Talker" shot out Bohman's "Hydradrive" monsters, dropping Bohman's LP to 0. Bohman fell down, and crashed to the ground. Playmaker went to interrogate him, while Ai started consuming his data. However, upon chewing on Bohman's hand, Ai staggered and withdrew. Playmaker was surprised about that, and even more when Bohman's younger brother, Harlin, grabbed Bohman and fled. Harlin summoned Bit and Boot to take care of Playmaker. However, in a fiery whirlwind, a mysterious person appeared, who let Playmaker chase after Harlin as he went to deal with Bit and Boot.[57]

Harlin carried Bohman, and fired Bit and Boot, who argued who lost the Duel against Soulburner. Playmaker tried to stop him, but Harlin reminded that Jin Kolter's data was theirs. Playmaker wanted to know the reason behind this assault, but Harlin simply said something unbelievable would happen soon. He opened a path in the restricted area and escaped with Bohman. Playmaker tried to went after him, but the barrier stopped him. Soulburner met up with Playmaker, but was worried when Harlin fled with Bohman behind the restricted area. Before Soulburner logged out, he introduced himself to Playmaker.[58] Yusaku debugged Ai, restoring it back, since it ate the bad program. Yusaku nevertheless reminded it was gluttonous, while Ai noticed Kolter had returned. Kolter wished to see the culprit and find more about them, since they attacked his brother. Kolter did not know the reason behind the attack, but Ai noted stealing a person's consciousness through a program was more impressive than the Deleted virus.[59]

Ai returned to Yusaku's house, where he was reunited with Roboppi. Roboppi was glad to see it, since it thought Ai abandoned her, and reminded Ai would make it smarter. Roboppi, however, was infuriated about "Linkuriboh", Ai's additional minion, and saw it as its rival, while Ai thought of itself as popular. The next day, Yusaku went to school with Ai, who noted he was not going to school for a while. Yusaku asked it to be hidden, since it locked it into his Duel Disk again, and reminded since Kolter was depressed, it was good to have an ally around. Ai noted Yusaku considered it as a friend. Yusaku was nevertheless concerned about the attacks on Jin and Cyberse World, thinking Ignis were involved again. Finally, Yusaku thought the most important information was that Ai was used to being a hostage. At school, Yusaku met with a boy, who referred to him as Playmaker, and introduced himself as Soulburner. Yusaku was surprised, and asked what he was after. Theodore claimed he was his ally, and showed Flame, the other Ignis, whose presence surprised Ai.[59]

Flame introduced himself, and though Theodore reminded it named itself like that, Flame thought it was a cool name, unlike Ai. Theodore added Flame, whose Attribute was Fire, was based on him, since he was a victim of the Lost Incident, too. Theodore 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, "Judgment Arrows", to attack Cyberse World and fight off Playmaker and Soulburner. Thus, Theodore 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.[59]

At the food truck, Kolter provided Yusaku and Theodore with beverage. He admitted he didn't anticipate Yusaku to bring a friend, who knew about their identities. Still, he welcomed Theodore and Flame. Theodore 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. Theodore promised, while Flame described Theodore as soft, but a boy capable of dueling. Kolter showed that Yusaku's enemies fled through the restricted area, and showed a location under LINK VRAINS, and an unknown program Yusaku identified to be an Ignis program. With the boys equipped to find the gate to LINK VRAINS, Yusaku and Theodore logged in with Ai and Flame to find that gate. They activated their stealth program and tried to go to the restricted area. However, Ai saw it was right, for they were chased by SOL Techologies' bounty hunters.[59]

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 - Kenmochi and Yoroizaka - surround him to prevent his escape. The Gore wanted to Duel Playmaker, who didn't have the time for that. Instead, he wanted to evade the pursuit. The 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. Ai smiled about the success, but Soulburner reminded without the trap, The Gore could easily chase them. Soulburner asked if he could face The Gore, since he didn't wish to see him fight Playmaker, as both were heroes of LINK VRAINS. Flame wished its friends luck; Ai thanked Flame, who replied he was not referring to it. Regardless, Playmaker and Ai left Soulburner and Flame to confront The Gore.[54]

Ai and Playmaker descended down to find the gate to the restricted area. However, they started to feel spooky, fearing something was to happen soon. The two were attacked by Shepherd, who came to collect his bounty.[55] Shepherd started shooting, so Ai tried to lose him by releasing a Data Storm. However, Shepherd resisted it and continued shooting. Playmaker reminded he was just threatening them, and could only win Ai through a Duel. Shepherd made them choose to either battle or surrender. Playmaker and Ai pondered thoughts, but Shepherd shot at the second turn. Playmaker realized he wanted them to think they had three turns to lower their guard, and would do anything to win. Since neither side would give up, they started a Duel. Shepherd summoned "Drone Pawn" and set a card. Ai commented he must be up to something when facing Playmaker, who shushed Ai. Ai thought Shepherd was bluffing and was just bad at dueling, but Playmaker asked of it not to interfere.[60]

Shepherd was reminded of Playmaker's latest monster he had obtained, and claimed he shouldn't have played his monster. Ai boasted Shepherd would lose soon, but even Shepherd silenced it. Playmaker took a turn into a corridor, and summoned "Clock Wyvern", who summoned a "Clock Token", and brought out "Backup Secretary". He Link Summoned "Elphase", but remained silent for a moment, for Shepherd's AI told him he could not activate his set card. Ai claimed they should finish off the bounty hunter in no time, so Playmaker used "Elphase" and "Clock Token" to bring out "Shootingcode Talker", and using "Elphase", Playmaker revived "Clock Wyvern". Shepherd's AI explained its owner would lose in the next attack, and Ai confirmed this.[60]

Shepherd, however, claimed he succeeded in fooling them; by playing "Capture Drone", Playmaker's "Shootingcode Talker" was unable to attack. Ai confronted Shepherd that his AI stated he could not activate the set card. He simply replied nobody stated AI gave out correct information, which made Ai realize Shepherd modified his AI to lie. Instead, the latter replied one should never trust an AI, which riled up Ai. Playmaker noted Shepherd has analyzed his Deck, so he set a card. Shepherd, however, Link Summoned "Battledrone Sergeant", but Ai pointed out he could not win with an 800 ATK monster. Shepherd called him dumb for pointing out such obvious info, and used "Capture Drone" to summon three "Drone Tokens". After silencing his AI, Shepherd used his tokens to Link Summon "Battledrone General".[60] Shepherd proceeded with his tactics, equipping "Battledrone General" with "Drone Launcher Unit". Ai thought the enemy was a fan of weaponry; Shepherd simply stated a soldier receives power from the equipment they have been given from their superiors. Shepherd went to inflict 700 LP damage through his drone's effect, one for each Link Marker on the field.[61]

Ai tried to fool Shepherd into six Link Markers, but failed. With the ATK of "Battledrone Pawn" lowered by 1000, it attacked Playmaker directly, and tributed it through the effect of "Battledrone General" to inflict 600 more LP damage. He made the same move with "Battledrone Sergeant", lowering Playmaker's LP to 500. To reverse the damage, Playmaker played "Cure Conversion", tributing "Clock Wyvern" to stop Shepherd's attack and heal himself by the ATK of the monster he drew: "Cyberse Wizard", who had 1800 ATK. Ai taunted Shepherd for missing the target, but the latter replied so did they, for they were unable to activate the Skill. Shepherd, however, counted two turns before Playmaker met his doom. Playmaker played "Cyberse Bridge" to clear his Extra Monster Zone by moving "Shootingcode Talker" away. Using his revived "Clock Wyvern" and "Clock Token", Playmaker played his Ritual-style tactics by summoning "Cyberse Witch", and using it to take "Cyberse Magician" and "Cynet Ritual", with the latter Ritual Summoning the former.[61]

Though "Capture Drone" prevented Link Monsters from attacking, "Cyberse Magician" was unaffected, and Playmaker banished "Trash Hacker" to double that damage. In return, Shepherd tributed "Battledrone General" to use "Demolition Drone" and halve the damage. Ai nevertheless questioned if it was worth to reduce the damage by tributing that general. As the two went deeper into the system, Shepherd promised to end them. Using "Capture Drone", Shepherd summoned "Drone Tokens", using them to summon another "Battledrone Sergeant" and a "Medicdrone Dock". Using "Assemble Drone", Shepherd Special Summoned "Battledrone General" back, and had it revive his "Drone Pawn". Playmaker commented that despite the general unable to attack, it could permit other monsters to attack directly. Applying his tactics, Shepherd attacked with "Drone Pawn" and "Battledrone Sergeant" to inflict damage to Playmaker, whose "Cyberse Magician" halved any damage. Shepherd intended to finish Playmaker, by using his Skill: Drone Craft Force, which reduced the ATK of "Cyberse Magician" by 1000 and "Battledrone General" gained that ATK.[61]

With "Drone Pawn" gone, the general attacked "Cyberse Magician", leaving Playmaker with 200 LP left. "Medicdrone Dock" attacked "Cyberse Witch", but Playmaker used "Excess Lesser Linker" to even their ATK, causing both sides to be destroyed. Shepherd commended Playmaker, since he evaded the loss, even after he made the count. To prevent Playmaker's Skill Access, the destruction of "Medicdrone Dock" increased both sides' LP by 1000. Ai claimed there was no need for that "gift". Shepherd nevertheless urged Playmaker to hand over Ignis, but Ai claimed Playmaker and it had strong bonds. This made Shepherd surprised, and made him think of his past. Shepherd shouted at Playmaker that humans should control AI, which surprised Ai. To turn the situation around, Playmaker paid 600 LP to banish "Shootingcode Talker", thus destroying "Capture Drone". To protect his drones, Shepherd played "Drone Cordon", disabling Playmaker from attacking with Link Monsters. Regardless, Ai called upon a Data Storm, pemitting Playmaker to use Storm Access.[61]

Playmaker's Fusion Summon

Playmaker performs a Fusion Summon.

Banishing his Ritual cards, Playmaker summoned two "Cynet Tokens", using them to Link Summon the monster he just obtained, "Clock Spartoi". Removing "Dimension Link", Playmaker Special Summoned "Shootingcode Talker" from banishment, and increasing its ATK to 2900. Shepherd reminded Link Monsters could not attack, but Playmaker went on by reviving "Clock Wyvern". Thus, using three monsters as Fusion Materials, Playmaker activated "Cynet Fusion" to Fusion Summon the Fusion Monster "Cyberse Clock Dragon". Shepherd groaned, as Playmaker sent five monsters, equal to the sum of Link Markers of the Fusion Materials ("Clock Spartoi" having 2 and "Shootingcode Talker" having 3), and increasing the dragon's ATK equal to that number times 1000. Firing a 7500 ATK blast, "Cyberse Clock Dragon" destroyed "Battledrone General" and defeated Shepherd. Shepherd questioned himself to losing against an opponent with an AI ally, while Playmaker lamented his count turn was wasted.[61]

Soulburner and Flame regrouped with Playmaker and Ai. The latter two were pleased to see them, since they defeated The 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. 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.[62]

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.[62]

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.[62]

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. 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 Gal and Blue Gal, 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 Gal to stay down, due to his cooperation with her. The two intercepted Ghost Gal and Blue Gal. Blue Gal still thanked Playmaker for his victory over the Tower of Hanoi, but still wanted to Duel him. Playmaker didn't recognize Blue Gal, until realizing she had been known as Blue Angel.[62]

Soulburner complimented her new appearance and thought of changing his own appearance, but was displeased when Flame reminded him that nobody knew him. Ghost Gal noted Soulburner was a victim of the Lost Incident, but asked why did he team up with Playmaker. Playmaker replied they were to collect some consciousness data, which made Ghost Gal think about Bohman. Blue Gal stated that Ghost Gal 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 Gal demanded the two to hand Ignis over, since they were still under SOL Technologies' property. Ghost Gal was surprised by Blue Gal's demand, and was told they could use Ignis to find others of their kind. Soulburner and Blue Gal were eager to Duel, as the former even wished to battle one of LINK VRAINS' heroes. Ghost Gal went after Playmaker to tell him something, but was nearly blown away by Ai's Data Storm.[62]

Playmaker and Ai advanced to a group of pillars, where they believed their enemy, Bohman, was located.[63] Playmaker and Ai traveled through the canyons to reach Bohman. Ai swore revenge for being hurt by the virus they fed it earlier, but Playmaker had doubts if the enemy was close. They reached a cloudy area, but Ai became disappointed there was nothing there. He started doubting Windy, but Playmaker reminded the latter only suspected a chance the enemy was present. The two came to a group of pillars, which crumbled. Ai and Playmaker were surprised by the turn of the events and started dodging hands, which tried to crush them. Soon after, a sculpture rose above the clouds, on which Bohman and Harlin were. Ai noted Bohman wore armor, while Playmaker demanded of him to return Jin Kolter's data. Bohman approved of that, but he demanded something if he were to win. Much to Ai's surprise, Bohman had no interest in Ignis, but in something else, and would show that later.[64]

Another sculpture rose, setting the field for a Master Duel. Ai and Playmaker were suspicious of that, but the latter anticipated something unique that Bohman would set up. Bohman summoned "Hydradrive Booster" and proceeded with Link Summoning the FIRE "Burn Hydradrive". Playmaker knew that was kind of a monster that could attack him directly if he had a monster with the matching Attribute, and suspected Bohman played the same deck. It is why he was surprised, since Bohman could not attack directly at first turn. Bohman dared Playmaker to unveil his strategy, as he summoned another "Hydradrive Booster" to Link Summon the WATER "Coolant Hydradrive". He exclaimed he would expose Playmaker's crimes, as he played "Judgment Arrows". This time, he used his Link Monsters to bring out "Twin Hydradrive Knight", whose Attribute copied the Attributes of its materials used to summon it. Bohman set two cards, boasting that he would not be defeated, for he knew Playmaker like he had his thoughts.[64]

Ai stated Bohman was prepared this time, and believed the set cards were really troublesome. Playmaker believed one of the cards to be "Property Spray", or at least know that he would intend on using it. He also thought there was something more to Bohman this time. Playmaker swarmed the field, and immediately used the Level 1 "Flame Bufferlo" (its Level lowered by "Catche Eve L2") to summon "Linkuriboh". Ai cheered for "Linkuriboh", while Playmaker used "Catche Eve L2" and "Cyberse White Hat" to summon "Update Jammer". Bohman smiled as Playmaker didn't bring out FIRE or WATER monsters. Before attacking, "Update Jammer" set the ATK of "Twin Hydradrive Knight" to 1800, thus cancelling "Judgment Arrows". With the effect of "Update Jammer" and the attack of "Linkuriboh", Bohman took 1500 LP damage. Bohman boasted Playmaker would not stop his next attack, and, as predicted, he played "Property Spray". To prevent that, Playmaker used "Arrow Break" to destroy it.[64]

Bohman smiled, for he anticipated the card to be destroyed, since he had the other one set. Thus, chaining the destruction of his Trap Card, Bohman played "Hydradrive Cycle". He returned "Twin Hydradrive Knight" to draw two cards, as well as resurrecting "Burn Hydradrive". Playmaker and Ai saw Bohman started gaining the advantage, and even expected their moves. Bohman used a "Hydradrive Token" to Link Summon the WIND "Flow Hydradrive". With "Flow Hydradrive" and "Burn Hydradrive", Bohman Link Summoned "Twin Hydradrive Knight" back, this time with WIND and FIRE attributes. Due to its effect, any of Playmaker's monsters that share the Attribute of "Twin Hydradrive Knight" had their effects negated. Bohman went on with his attack, and to stop "Linkuriboh", he discarded "Break Hydradrive" to negate its zero ATK effect.[64]

Ai became sad that Linkuriboh was gone, and became startled at 3600 ATK "Twin Hydradrive Knight". Playmaker could not do anything else about its attack, and was slammed to a wall, his LP lowered to 1600. Ai was nervous as to how Bohman became this strong, who gloated in Playmaker's despair, but dared him to stand up and fight. Bohman stated he knew Playmaker's thoughts, stating he was the same as he was. Bohman stated he was a victim of the Lost Incident project, but questioned whether Playmaker was that victim. He explained Ai was created through observation of Playmaker's battles, and all that experience was stored in a backup file. However, an incident caused Playmaker's essence to be swapped with the backup file, which was sealed away. Playmaker doubted that was true, but Bohman swore to defeat the fake and reclaim his body back.[64]

Ai thought of the possibility of Bohman being a copy of Playmaker, and realized that could be a possible option. Ai questioned Playmaker if Bohman was the real person, but Playmaker only stated whoever would win was the real persona, which made Ai think if Playmaker was the fake one. Playmaker proceeded by playing "RAM Clouder", tributing "Widget Kid" for the Special Summon of "Update Jammer" from his GY. Ai started pondering thoughts whether he should switch sides, and chose to stay by Playmaker. Playmaker summoned "Detonate Deleter", who was permitted to attack twice. "Twin Hydradrive Knight" was destroyed, and Playmaker proceeded to defeat Bohman with a direct attack. Bohman's "Half Shut" halved Playmaker's attacking monster's ATK, thus permitting Bohman to continue. Bohman, however, swore he'd never forgive Playmaker, since he had been rescued instead of him, who lied among the data at the site of the Lost Incident.[3]

The clouds turned darker, and Bohman was struck by lightning as he proceeded on, claiming he was "the emissary of revenge". Bohman set his field with three "Hydradrive" monsters. Much to everyone's surprise, Bohman, during a Master Duel, with 650 LP left, called upon the Data Storm to use Storm Access. Playmaker and Ai questioned how could he have used that. Bohman Link Summoned the WIND "Flow Hydradrive", the WATER "Coolant Hydradrive" and the FIRE "Burn Hydradrive", to set up the Link Summon of "Trident Hydradrive Lord", the monster Bohman had just obtained. He equipped the latter with "Hydradrive Accelerator" to mount its defenses. "Trident Hydradrive Lord" attacked, and "Judgment Arrows" doubled its ATK to destroy "Detonate Deleter". Bohman gloated, but Playmaker stood up and used "Link Ration" to save himself, ending up with a hundred LP left.[3]

Bohman was disturbed, but noted Playmaker was unwilling to give up, like a copy he was. Ai wondered if he could join Bohman, but stopped when Bohman declared he'd defeat it and Playmaker. Playmaker asked Bohman who kidnapped him. Bohman declared Dr. Kogami, which made Playmaker realize he was no copy. He declared he didn't know who took him, for he was unconscious, and stated Bohman had fake memories. Ai had double thoughts, since both sides could be right. Playmaker confirmed this, for there was really no way to confirm who spoke the truth. Regardless, Playmaker believed he was the real person, for it was Varis, who decided to act during the Lost Incident, gave him the hope to move forward. Instead, Playmaker swore to win the Duel not only to take back Jin Kolter's consciousness, but to uncover who's the one controlling Bohman. Bohman was not convinced, but Playmaker went on by swarming his field.[3]

He Link Summoned "Link Spider", "Link Disciple" and "Flame Administrator", using the latter and "Catche Eve L2" to bring out "Clock Spartoi". Playmaker tributed "Protron" to Special Summon "Linkuriboh", triggering the effect of "Clock Spartoi" to Special Summon "Clock Wyvern". Bohman stared in awe, realizing "Clock Wyvern" was sent on Playmaker's first turn, as Playmaker declared a fake like Bohman couldn't predict his strategy. Using his monsters as Fusion Material, Playmaker summoned "Cyberse Clock Dragon". Sending three cards from his Deck, Playmaker boosted his dragon's ATK by 3000. Bohman tried to interrupt Playmaker's attack by Special Summoning a FIRE "Hydradrive Token" to his side of the field, and let Playmaker's dragon become a FIRE monster to negate its effects and attack.[3]

Playmaker smiled, for Bohman failed to predict the following tactic, that "Cyberse Clock Dragon", when there was a Link Monster on his field - "Linkuriboh" - prevented other monsters from being targeted by card effects. Playmaker called Bohman's "Judgment Arrows" pointless, as his dragon destroyed "Trident Hydradrive Lord" and defeated Bohman. Ai cheered, pretending that he knew Playmaker would've won from the start. While Bohman muttered that he had lost, the statues started crumbling. Playmaker went on a D-Board, while Harlin declared his brother would return someday. 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.[3]

Yusaku and Ai walked home, and the latter wished to know why Windy's gate collapsed. Yusaku felt the same, since they could not learn anything about Bohman. Still, he believed Bohman would seek them out, and Ai claimed they have to wait for another gate to be opened. Just as Yusaku pondered thoughts, he received a message from Kolter, and went to him right away. At the van, Kolter showed the news about Clarissa Turner's escape from prison. Yusaku knew Varis had been involved, and remembered his words that he'd eventually return. Kolter counted The Gore, Bohman, Shepherd and Varis as their enemies, and the fight was tougher than ever.[65]

With Theodore 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 Kolter. Since the gate had disappeared, Yusaku apologized to Kolter for lack of progress. Kolter didn't mind that, and showed an extra room for Theodore to log in to LINK VRAINS, and swore to analyze the data from the gate. 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 Theodore logged into LINK VRAINS and went towards the gate. However, Kolter was too late to warn them the gate was actually a trap; Shepherd snapped his fingers to suck Playmaker through the trap. Instead, Soulburner bumped into Playmaker and was trapped instead.[66]

Playmaker explained to Kolter that Soulburner had been captured by Shepherd, whom Ai referred to as the counting guy. Kolter apologized for not realizing the trap sooner, but was reminded they had to find Soulburner. While Kolter started to decode the program to open the gate, Ai alerted Playmaker of the two bounty hunters.[53] With the two bounty hunters coming, Ai reminded Playmaker they could always log out, but Playmaker didn't wish to abandon Soulburner. Ai grumbled, but decided to help out by releasing a Data Storm, which trapped one of the bounty hunters and forced him to log out. The other bounty hunter, Kenmochi, initiated a Duel against Playmaker, who noted that Kenmochi played a "Gouki" Deck. Kenmochi summoned "Gouki The Blade Ogre" and defended himself by summoning "Gouki Riscorpio" and "Gouki Suprex" from his GY in Defense Position.[67]

Playmaker proceeded by using "Linkslayer" and "Storm Cipher" as materials for the Link Summon of "Pentestag". Kenmochi questioned that move, since the materials had more ATK than "Pentestag", who was equipped with "Cyberse Annihilation". Ai cheered Playmaker to defeat the bounty hunter: the *stag* attacked the *scorpio*, inflicting piercing damage to Kenmochi. With "Cyberse Annihilation", Kenmochi took damage equal to the ATK of "Gouki Riscorpio", 2300. Thus, Kenmochi was defeated and logged out. Playmaker contacted Kolter, who was imptessed that Shepherd decoded the Ignis program, and used it to create the trap. Despite Ai's skepticism, Kolter swore to help in finding Soulburner. While Kolter did that, Ai and Playmaker went after the second bounty hunter that logged in.[67] Playmaker faced the second bounty hunter, Yoroizaka, who also played a "Gouki" deck. This time, he summoned "Gouki The Solid Ogre", and played "Gouki Unity" to make his monsters immune to destruction, and to protect his LP, too.[68]

Playmaker swarmed his field to co-link "Security Dragon" with "Gouki The Solid Ogre" to activate the former's effect. He attempted to return "Gouki Riscorpio", but Yoroizaka tributed that monster to fortify his Link Monster with 2300 ATK. Yoroizaka laughed at Playmaker's attempt, claiming "Gouki The Solid Ogre" could've been chosen instead. However, Playmaker Link Summoned "Firewall Dragon" and "Flame Administrator", and since "Gadget Token" had left the field that "Firewall Dragon" pointed to, he Special Summoned "Dual Assembwurm". "Firewall Dragon" returned Yoroizaka's "Gouki" monsters to his hand, leaving him open for direct attacks. Yoroizaka was defeated and was logged out, while Playmaker asked Kolter for the rescue program. Kolter finished writing the program and went to execute it, but found an error. Once Soulburner had escaped the trap, Playmaker found him. He reported to Kolter that Soulburner had been found, and the two boys logged out.[68]

Yusaku walked to school when he was approached by Theodore, who wished to see Kolter. However, Yusaku was intercepted by Naoki. The latter was told Yusaku had no time, but Theodore permitted Yusaku to spend some time with Naoki, and dashed away. Naoki simply smiled, stating they had to speak somewhere else. They went inside school, where Naoki, reminding he was Playmaker's ally, wanted to request something from Yusaku, else he'd reveal his secret.[9] Naoki almost referred Yusaku as Playmaker, but actually, he stated he was Playmaker's best friend. Yusaku was confused, for Naoki was referring to his secret about working at the hot dog stand; as a student, Yusaku was not allowed any part-time jobs. Naoki wanted to blackmail him into working on an event with Blue Angel, but Yusaku walked away. Naoki became furious, threatening to report this to Playmaker.[10] Yusaku came in when Ai was bragging to Roboppi. Ai pretended to read more comments, but screamed when it read about an Earth Ignis.[69]

At the food truck, Kolter read that this Earth Ignis wanted to meet Playmaker. Ai believed the comment was authentic, and promised it'd contact the Earth Ignis. Ai composed a crypted message, and had Kolter post in on the board. Not soon after, they received a response, which Ai read as coordinates - the location where they were to meet. Kolter nevertheless feared this could be one of Shepherd's traps, since he knows about the Ignis algorithm. Ai claimed Kolter was too suspicious, and Yusaku backed it up, for they still needed more information about Jin's attack. Playmaker went into LINK VRAINS with Ai, to the coordinates. Since nobody was seen, Ai still trusted Kolter that Shepherd or The Gore would come. When Ai started to describe the Ignis, he pulled the EARTH Ignis, Earth, to himself. Playmaker was surprised, as Ai, who was happy to see the Ignis, introduced Earth to him.[69]

Earth created a portal, and let them follow it through that portal. After Ai and Earth had a talk, Playmaker asked why did Earth seek him out. Earth stood silent for a moment, his face turning grim, for he wanted Playmaker to Duel him. Playmaker, however, asked Earth about Bohman. Earth replied he would share that info if Playmaker dueled him. Ai didn't approve of that, but Earth stated it was socially awkward. To Duel, Earth used a fallen log, reforming it as a figure. Playmaker noticed that behavior was similar to Specter. Earth stood silent, before stating it would go second. Ai exclaimed he could've mentioned that; Playmaker summoned "Poisoning Blocker" and set two cards. Earth mentioned Cyberse World was attacked by humans, which made Ai think of Bohman. To find out why Ai sided with humans, Earth promised to win the Duel.[69]

Playmaker mentioned to Ai that Specter may have been the person Earth was based upon. Ai noted that made sense, since Earth was distrustful of humans, but it did not have any info on its dueling style, since it never stood out. Earth used "Cost Down" and summoned "G Golem Rock Hammer". Summoning three tokens, Earth used them to Link Summon "Invalid Dolmen". Earth's golem attacked "Poisoning Blocker", and inflicted 600 LP damage to Playmaker. To stop the golem, Playmaker used "Bitron" to Link Summon "Zombie Prosaber". The latter attacked the golem, who was destroyed by Playmaker's "Link Rush". To prevent Playmaker from acquiring its monster, Earth's "G Golem Invalid Golem" negated the effect of "Zombie Prosaber". Earth used "Gravity Balance", reviving two of its golems to Link Summon "G Golem Crystal Heart". Upon the latter's summoning, the barren land was revitalized with water, turning it into a lush field with grass and trees.[69]

Ai suggested another attack, but Playmaker silenced Ai, for he didn't remember anything about Earth until now. Earth used "Gravity Balance", reviving two of his golems to Link Summon "G Golem Crystal Heart". Upon the latter's summoning, the barren land was revitalized with water, turning it into a lush field with grass and trees. As Ai remembered this was Aqua's monster, Earth, thinking of Aqua, stated it was time to verify humanity and AI's future.[69] To find the answer to Aqua's question, Earth had "G-Golem Crystal Heart" revive "G-Golem Invalid Dolmen". As the heart molded with the latter, Earth had his golem attack, destroying Playmaker's "Zombie Prosaber". Playmaker summoned "Clock Wyvern", and had his corresponding token, "Clock Token", used to Link Summon "Linkuriboh". Using "Cynet Fusion", Playmaker Fusion Summoned "Cyberse Clock Dragon".[70]

Sending two cards, Playmaker's dragon had its ATK raised by 2000. Ai was enthusiastic, for one hit against the "Crystal Heart" will defeat Earth. The latter had the heart protected, as the dragon attacked "G-Golem Invalid Dolmen", and Earth's LP fell to 2900. Earth was concerned, noting Playmaker's strength, for Ai may be with him to exploit that power. Ai, however, noted that the golem protected the heart, and felt that Earth's deck was filled with cards that symbolized his bond with Aqua. The two believed that made Earth even more dangerous. Earth repeated his move, and powered his golem up to 4000 ATK, who destroyed "Cyberse Clock Dragon". Ai was glad they survived the attack with 100 LP left, but told Playmaker to get himself together, since they were getting beaten up.

Earth sensed Ai was irresponsible, but calculative. Earth, due to "G-Golem Crystal Heart" having two counters, had "G-Golem Invalid Dolmen" attack once more, but Playmaker's "Spool Code" negated that attack. Earth belittled Ai for acting, who was surprised that Earth knew he was just faking. Earth asked Playmaker why was he with Ai, since Ai could just be holding him back, which insulted the Ignis. Despite Ai's claim, Playmaker still did not view Ai as a partner. Instead, he claimed they had both things to do, they had to track down their enemies, and came here out of their free will. Still, he did let it know that made them partners, at least. Ai was touched, while Earth set two cards, noting that Playmaker will try to finish him in one move.[70]

Playmaker used "Spool Tokens" to Link Summon "Clock Lizard", while the third one was used for "Link Devotee". The latter was tributed for "Link Drive", which inflicted 500 LP to Earth, and also let Playmaker gain two "Link Tokens". Ai cheered for Playmaker, who continued on by using "Security Dragon" to return Earth's "G-Golem Invalid Dolmen" to his Extra Deck. Earth's monster was protected from that effect, but Playmaker tributed "Clock Lizard" to re-Fusion Summon "Cyberse Clock Dragon", using "Clock Wyvern", "Linkuriboh", "Clock Lizard" and "Link Devotee" as materials. Earth tried to counter that with "Gravity Fluctuation" to force Playmaker to destroy "Security Dragon". With Earth's monster gone, the ATK "Cyberse Clock Dragon" was back to normal.[70]

To protect "Crystal Heart", Earth's "Love Gravity" summoned "G-Golem Invalid Dolmen". Earth saw that Earth really did care for Aqua. Earth swore the "Crystal Heart" won't be shattered, but Playmaker had the effect of "Clock Lizard" reduce the ATK of "G-Golem Crystal Heart" by 4000. Earth was surprised that Playmaker played his tactics to make his golem defenseless. With the dragon's attack, Earth was defeated; the Duel ended and turned the lush fields back to the barren wasteland. Earth was disappointed, but Ai applauded him for protecting Aqua's card to the very end. Much to Ai's dismay, Earth did not know anything about Bohman. Ai tried to remind Earth about the deal, but Earth stated he gave the info he knew, and that was that he knew nothing about the guy. Regardless, Earth had the two teleported back to LINK VRAINS. Ai was frustrated, but Playmaker felt uneasy about having Cyberse World split apart.[70]

Yusaku came to Roboppi, who could not talk to Ai, who was gone. Yusaku tried to get Ai back by claiming a new soap opera show was on, but failed. The two went to Kolter's truck, and the outside world amazed Roboppi, who never was out of Yusaku's house. Yusaku came to Kolter's truck with Roboppi, where Theodore and Kolter greeted the robot. Plugging in a cable in Roboppi, Kolter found nothing wrong with Yusaku's Duel Disk, considering Ai, who was supposed to be locked, had gone missing. Yusaku mentioned Roboppi 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. Theodore proposed he and Yusaku should go, but the latter refused; he stated if could be a trap, and insisted on going alone.[71]

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. Yusaku logged in as Playmaker, and the gate was opened. He went to the center of Cyberse World, where he was spotted by "Linkuriboh". Closing his eyes, he sensed that beyond a pillar, there was a crack, in which was Windy's temple. He came to Ai, and met up with Lightning and Windy. Lightning reported they were talking with Ai about rebuilding Cyberse World, and claimed the Ignis cannot be with humans. Playmaker questioned their goals, and was reminded of Ryoken, who told him the Ignis were coded to be humanity's successor.[71]

He didn't care about that goal, stating more people would get hurt, just like they were in the Lost Incident. Windy's eyes narrowed, stating he was uncertain if humans were their enemies. Ai wanted more time to find a way to keep humans and Ignis intact. Ai walked away, as Lighting and Windy saw wisdom in those words. However, the two sealed him and Playmaker inside blue spheres; they could not let them go, due to the discussion they just had. Windy summoned a Data Storm to absorb Ai, but the latter still wished to find a peaceful way to resolve this, as did Playmaker. Lightning doubted a single person could do anything, but Ai learned that even a small chance could change much. Playmaker realized Windy was the one that unlocked his Duel Disk. Windy confirmed this, stating he and Lightning anticipated their moves, and bemoaned Ai's slow thinking. Ai wanted to challenge them, but the two doubted Ai could win, with Lightning's speed and Windy's Data Storm.[71]

A flash of light appeared, stopping the Data Storm, and a guy appeared. Much to Playmaker and Ai's shock, Varis appeared, questioning the Ignis if they could've predicted his arrival. With his "Cracking Dragon" and his subordinates destroying the fake world, Varis announced the contiuation of his mission: to destroy the Ignis.[71] Playmaker expressed his shock, as Varis reminded he would've returned. Lightning noted he was Dr. Kogami's son, and emitted a beam to strike Varis, whom Playmaker warned him to run. The latter was unaffected, for Windy reminded Varis knew of the Ignis algorithm, but Varis simply replied he assaulted the headquarters, with certain preparations. Ai realized Varis referred to him and Playmaker, who simply wandered in the temple. Playmaker tried to talk Varis down, stating the doom would follow if Varis executed his plans, reminding that his father told that humans were a problem, too.[72]

He simply stated if Varis started hostilities, the situation would simply escalate. Varis saw that Playmaker wanted to find a way without hostilities, to keep both sides peaceful. Playmaker confirmed this, stating Varis did show him a new path to exist. Varis, however, regretted doing that, just as his father having created the Ignis. Instead, he asked Playmaker why weren't the Ignis finding a way to resolve the situation in a peaceful manner, too. He believed Playmaker was underestimating the Ignis, but Playmaker claimed that blind revenge won't bring prosperity. Varis didn't listen to Playmaker, for, to him, his father's ideas to destroy Ignis was the only thing that motivated him to continue battling. Windy wanted to belittle Varis' efforts, considering any fact, he wanted to destroy the Ignis. Ai tried to ask of Varis to set them out first, if they were trapped by the Ignis.[72]

Varis refused, for Ai was also an Ignis, his enemy. Ai replied that he was saving LINK VRAINS with Playmaker, but stopped, when Varis pointed out that nobody asked them to do that. Varis turned to Playmaker, exclaiming the Ignis were the threat to the humanity. Playmaker wanted Varis to think of his own and abandon Dr. Kogami's ideas, for he won't move forward with hatred on his mind. Varis smiled, reminding Playmaker sought revenge out, too. He reminded if Playmaker stood in his path, he'd be his enemy, too. Windy wanted to test Varis' skills, who pointed out there won't be a rematch. Playmaker and Ai watched the Duel, and were impressed by Varis' tactics, and the way Windy countered them. Playmaker told Ai that the result after the Duel was important: either Varis would destroyed the Ignis, or the Ignis' plans would continue to conquer humanity.[72]

Playmaker continued watching the Duel with Ai. He was surprised to see Windy using the Storm Access skill in the Master Duel, realizing a connection towards Bohman, who also performed that. As Windy pushed Varis into a corner with the Link Monster he had just obtained, Ai believed Varis would lose, but Playmaker knew as long as he had some LP left, he would not give up. Just then, Dr. Genome, Baira and Faust arrived, who believed Varis had plenty of LP left to continue, and believed in his victory. Spectre and Soulburner arrived, too; Lightning went to trap Soulburner and Spectre, 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. Playmaker and Soulburner continued watching the Duel, when Varis Synchro Summoned "Borreload Savage Dragon". After the Duel, Playmaker was angry to hear that both Varis and Lightning expected a fight between AI and humanity. Much to Playmaker's shock, Lightning summoned Harlin and Bohman, and revealed the silhouette of his figure: Jin Kolter.[73]

Playmaker listened to Lightning, who explained he was the one that had Cyberse World destroyed, and declared war on humanity. Lightning had Jin, Harlin 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. Ai realized that Kolter saw his own brother, and Playmaker swore to end his sadness. Ai called Lightning a villain, who exclaimed he was the one that saved him and Playmaker from falling down the bridge after Spectre's Duel. Soulburner and Playmaker chased them down, and Flame thought that Lighting could not attack when the Knights of Hanoi were active. Ai saw that Lightning actually saved them, so Playmaker could defeat the Knights of Hanoi, thus making way for Lightning to execute his plans. Lightning used Windy to summon a Data Storm, thus having Bohman intercept Playmaker.[74]

Ai wondered if Bohman knew who he was this time, and Bohman confirmed this. Ai gave him a thumbs up, while Bohman admitted he was a third-generation AI, created by Lightning: Bit and Boot were the first, Harlin was the second and Bohman was the final form. He stated he was being formed when he first met Playmaker and Ai, instead of Lightning, who knew he was not a perfect being. He also shared Lightning's belief, and wanted to be the vessel to unite the Ignis as one. He noted Playmaker had lots of potential. Playmaker asked him why couldn't humans live together with the Ignis. Bohman exclaimed humans had to be controlled, for they have reached their peak, unlike the AI, which evolve even further and faster. Questioning whether the AI could be defeated, Bohman had himself and Ai placed as wager. Ai saw that Bohman was actually chasing him, after all. Playmaker accepted this, and declared the start of the Speed Duel.[74]

Bohman proposed a game to determine who would take the first turn. Ai didn't want to take part in it, since they knew Bohman's deck far too well by now. Bohman stated that was still not competitive enough, and exited to the fake Cyberse World. Ai became displeased with the surroundings, but Playmaker reminded it should not lose its spirit. Ai was still distraught, but Bohman claimed the real Cyberse World suffered a greater attack by his hand. Ai became provoked by his taunt, but Playmaker reminded Ai they should not get riled up by Bohman's statements. Ai still wondered if Bohman was the guy that could have done this thing, but Playmaker reminded he did say he evolved quickly. The two went to the fake tower, which was actually a Data Storm, avoiding rubble to see who would take the first turn. Playmaker noted the Data Storm was intense as the one at the Tower of Hanoi. Ai admitted he never thought the Ignis would have to fight each other.[75]

Playmaker replied they had to fight to change the future, and only they could do that. Ai saw Playmaker was right, and inspired by these words, urged Playmaker to defeat Bohman together. Since Bohman passed by the tower first, he let Playmaker go first. Ai reminded the trouble of Bohman's "Judgment Arrows", which could defeat Playmaker quickly. Playmaker took note of that, and planned on making a defensive formation. Using "Dotscaper", Playmaker Link Summoned "Linkuriboh", which was used, with "Cyberse Gadget", to Link Summon "Cyberse Witch". Using the latter's effect, Playmaker quickly summoned "Cyberse Magician". "Grid Rod" was equipped to "Cyberse Magician" to make it invulnerable to card effects. Bohman understood Playmaker's strategy to reduce damage through the magician's effect. Bohman proceeded with his turn, Link Summoning "Flow Hydradrive" and destroy it with "Hydradrive Rebuild", to actually move it to the Main Monster Zone. With "Judgment Arrows" played, Bohman managed to cripple Playmaker's defense by destroying "Grid Rod" with "Hydradrive Defragment".[75]

Bohman proceeded with summoning "Burn Hydradrive", and destroyed it with "Hydadrive Rebuild", which was added by his latter Spell Card's effect. By using another "Hydradrive Token", Bohman set up the WATER Link Monster, "Coolant Hydradrive". With these three Link Monsters, Bohman Link Summoned "Trident Hydradrive Lord". The latter monster attacked "Cyberse Magician", with its ATK doubled. Playmaker managed to protect his monster, for the GY effect of "Grid Rod" shielded that monster from destruction, who halved the damage Playmaker received. Bohman wondered if Playmaker would survive the next attack. Ai still swore to take revenge for his fallen homeworld, and urged Playmaker to continue. Playmaker played "Resume Mace", lowering the ATK of "Cyberse Magician" by 800, though he counted on sending it to double the ATK of "Cyberse Magician". Before Playmaker declared an attack, Ai reminded Playmaker of another card he had in his hand; he admitted Bohman became stronger, and they may not have another chance at defeating Bohman.[75]

Playmaker was surprised at Ai's behavior, for Ai felt something, and believed Bohman should be defeated quickly. Playmaker trusted Ai, and equipped "Cyberse Magician" with "Suspend Wand", which doubled the damage Playmaker would receive. Playmaker had his magician attack Bohman's lord, and the effects of "Cyberse Magician" and "Suspend Wand" canceled each other, and Playmaker took a normal 1900 LP damage. The wand allowed "Cyberse Magician" another attack, and "Resume Mace" doubled the ATK "Cyberse Magician", who further received ATK by the damage Playmaker just took, its ATK becoming 7900. Bohman was in shock, since Playmaker could've easily destroyed "Trident Hydradrive Lord" without "Suspend Wand", and asked Playmaker the reason behind this. Seeing Ai's smug face, Bohman realized the AI gave him this advice. "Cyberse Magician" annihilated "Trident Hydradrive Lord", whooping Bohman's LP to 700. Just as "Cyberse Witch" was to attack, Bohman ended the Battle Phase with "Property Flash", which received 3 counters - one per each 1000 LP damage he took.[75]

Bohman blamed Ai was misleading Playmaker, since he could not have defeated him. Ai replied he just felt a voice inside of him was saying that Bohman needed to be defeated. Bohman knew what Lightning spoke of: Ai was a special Ignis, because he had instinct.[75] Bohman explained that Lightning held an interest in Ai, for he was the rebellious Ignis among the group; instead of dedicating himself to the cause to collect data material, Bohman stated Ai simply pursued enjoyment. However, Bohman noted that was an unique behavior, for the Ignis were highly-intelligent creatures, but they did not have the instinct that Ai had. Bohman also wanted to know from where did Ai get that trait, and thought he must've picked that from Playmaker. Ai boasted that made him the greatest among the Ignis, but Bohman denied that, since Ai was just rebellious. However, since Ai was different, Bohman thought that distinction would speed the evolution among the Ignis. Ai was insulted that Bohman thought he was not superior.[76]

Since he had 700 LP, Playmaker predicted that Bohman would use Storm Access skill. Bohman went into the Data Storm, his arm starting to crack, as he pulled out a monster. A "Hydradrive Token" from "Hydradrive Scabbard" was used to Link Summon EARTH "Grand Hydradrive". Instead of conducting a Link Summon, Bohman sent his "Property Flash" to Link Summon a monster, equal to the number of counters that card had. Adding the "Grand Hydadrive", "Property Flash" had 4 counters, allowing him to bring out his Storm Access monster, the Link-4 "Rousing Hydradrive Monarch". Playmaker and Ai analyzed that "Judgment Arrows" could double that monarch's ATK to 6000, though "Cyberse Magician", with a boosted 5400 ATK, could halve some of that damage. Bohman went to have the monarch destroy Playmaker's monsters, based on the result of throwing a dice. This surprised Ai, since the result was based on luck. Bohman claimed unpredictable luck meant diversity, which then meant progress and development.[76]

Much to Bohman's luck, the dice rolled on DARK attribute, and destroyed all of Playmaker's monsters. Playmaker took 1000 LP damage for two destroyed monsters, and to prevent Bohman's attack, banished "Resume Mace", "Suspend Wand" and "Dotscaper", for the latter Special Summoned itself. However, due to the monarch's effect, "Dotscaper" could only be summoned in attack position. Playmaker tributed it to revive "Linkuriboh", who tributed itself to make Bohman's monarch's ATK become 0. Bohman smiled and ended his turn, though he wondered if Playmaker could cope with him. Ai apologized to Playmaker for his fault that they have been pushed into a corner. Playmaker replied he was just a hostage in the crisis, and only Playmaker made decisions, who was to use Storm Access to bail them out. Ai was intrigued, and showed that he just made a new program for Playmaker.[76]

In truth, he admitted that it was finished a long time ago, but kept it hidden for such situations, and Playmaker noted that kind of behavior was more fitting for Ai. Surprising Harlin and Bohman, Playmaker went into the Data Storm to use his refined skill, Neo Storm Access. Bohman was interested in their new move, as Playmaker banished his Ritual Spell, "Cynet Ritual", and Ritual Monster, "Cyberse Magician", to summon two "Cynet Tokens". Bohman decided to wait for their next move to use the effect of "Rousing Hydradrive Monarch". Playmaker Link Summoned "Cyberse Wicckid" using the two tokens, and added "Cyberse Synchron" to his hand, from his deck. Bohman played his monarch's effect to attempt to destroy Playmaker's monsters and inflict LP damage.[76]

Playmaker Synchro summon

Playmaker tunes "Cyberse Synchron" with "Backup Secretary" for a Synchro Summon.

The result was, once more, the DARK attribute, but "Cyberse Wicckid" protected itself and "Cyberse Synchron", who were candidates for that effect. With the level of "Backup Secretary" doubled, Playmaker Synchro Summoned "Cyberse Quantum Dragon", using "Backup Secretary" and "Cyberse Synchron" as Synchro Materials. The dragon attacked Bohman's "Rousing Hydradrive Monarch", and its effect returned the latter to Bohman's Extra Deck. The dragon gained another attack through its effect, and went to attack Bohman directly. Bohman was in shock, as he played "Hydradrive Scabbard" from his GY to have Playmaker take the damage Bohman would take. Bohman and Playmaker took 1250 damage, and the Duel ended in a tie. Despite this, Harlin fled with Bohman, who promised to face Playmaker in a different stage.[76]

Ryoken leaves Yusaku

Ryoken visits Yusaku.

Playmaker was nevertheless surprised by Bohman's evolution, and feared how strong would he become the next time they'd meet. In the real world, when Ryoken came to Kolter's food truck, Yusaku was surprised to see him as the customer. Ai thought the guy came for a hot dog, but Ryoken simply commented that Bohman escaped from Playmaker. He tossed a gift to Yusaku, and to answer Ai, he explained that the enemy would notice if he gave him the program in the network, so he could only personally give him the program. Ryoken was concerned Yusaku would be attacked directly, just like what happened to Jin, so the program should protect him from that offence. Despite Ai's protests, Yusaku installed the program, and Ai noted a powerful algorithm. Ai then asked Ryoken why he would give them this, since they were enemies. Ryoken simply stated with a common enemy, they were allies. He asked of them to survive the fight so that they could settle the score afterwards.[76]

Akira went to seek Playmaker out at a warehouse at night. Yusaku, who wore a hood, approached him from behind, and swore he would leave if Akira saw his face. Akira heeded his words, but questioned whether he really was Playmaker. Ai commented that Akira was distrustful, who was still surprised that Playmaker sought him out. Yusaku warned him about the two Ignis that were causing trouble in the network. Akira was in disbelief, as he was told that the Ignis declared war on humans. Ai wanted to stop Lightning, and while they did not know how would the war look like, Yusaku feared a much bigger threat than the Tower of Hanoi. Thus, they thought Akira could be the one to defend LINK VRAINS from that threat. Akira saw that he came to warn him of this threat. He turned around, but saw Playmaker was gone.[77]

The next day, Yusaku, Theodore 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. Playmaker went to get Earth, and found a bounty hunter, Gore, pursuing the Ignis. Gore swore to battle Playmaker, after he was done with Earth. While Ai wondered why Gore lost so much weight, Playmaker sensed something was wrong with Gore. When Gore set a monster, Ai commented that he changed his playstyle, too, making Playmaker wonder what was wrong with the guy.[77] Playmaker questioned the Gore's actions. The latter explained that he had an AI installed into his body; with the technology integrated into his brain, the Gore could make perfect actions in the Duel. Ai commented he'd become "Ai Gore" if he were to be placed in the Gore's brain. Playmaker was still hesitant to believe an AI and a human can work as one. To prove he was right, the Gore promised to win the Duel, but Ai still had confidence that Earth would win.[78]

Ai cheered for Earth, and was glad that he was at the brink of his victory. However, he and Playmaker were surprised at Gore's Anti-Skill, which was created due to the AI in his brain, to counter Earth's Skill. Suddenly, the two were visited by Blue Gal, who commented the Duel. She declared she wanted to protect the Ignis, instead of fighting Playmaker. The three continued watching the Duel, and Ai was impressed that Earth protected "Crystal Heart", as it'd allow him to Special Summon "G Golem Dignified Trilithon". The Gore managed to defeat Earth, and absorb him. Playmaker demanded that the Gore frees Earth, as the Ignis was not the enemy. The Gore didn't care about that, and made Playmaker as his next enemy he wanted to crush. Playmaker tried to remind him that they were allies, but the Gore did not listen. Blue Gal tried to face the Gore instead, who was forced to log out, per the Queen's orders. Ai knelt, and swore to rescue Earth someday.[78]

Ryoken met with Ai and Yusaku, to tell them that SOL Technologies had decompiled the EARTH Ignis. Ai wondered what "decompiled" meant, and laughed, thinking he was just disassembled. He continued laughing, reminding he restored himself from an eye, but Ryoken called him naive. Ryoken explained that SOL Technologies could not decipher the Ignis algorithm, and dissolved Earth into data, but he could not be restored. Ryoken smiled, but Ai became agitated, since he could not know what happened in SOL Technologies. Yusaku, however, believed a spy of the Knights of Hanoi was inside the company. As Ryoken continued smiling, Ai fell to his knees, troubled that Earth perished. He admitted he started to hate humans for such atrocities, while Ryoken simply left.[79]

Kolter showed Yusaku and Theodore a video of Shepherd chasing Blue Gal, 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 Theodore. Soulburner and Playmaker met up with Ghost Gal, who reported that Shepherd was gone. Suddenly, Blue Gal went back to LINK VRAINS with Aqua, and met up with the trio. As Aqua and Blue Gal, changing her avatar to Blue Maiden, pledged their support, she, Playmaker and Soulburner rode off.[80] 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.[81]

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 Theodore, 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 Shepherd. Lightning explained to the group that he wanted them invited; he dueled Shepherd to reduce the amount of his enemies. Thus, the group watched the Duel, and noted how Shepherd timed his "Snatch Drone" destroy "Judgment Arrows", though Lightning managed to evade its negative effects.[82]

Ai was undecisive whom to support, since both Lightning and Shepherd were their enemies. Playmaker reminded they both have their lives to risk in this Duel. However, Playmaker hoped that Shepherd would free Jin out of his captivity, so Ai decided to support him. The group became frustrated, since Lightning managed to build a solid defense, as well as offense. However, they noted that Shepherd overcame this by having "Commandrone Double Sniper" negate the effect of Lightning's "Armatos Legio Centurion". Ai became impressed when Shepherd countered his Link Monsters with "Capture Drone", but was alerted when Lightning drew a "good" card. In the end, Shepherd was defeated, as Playmaker noted the connection between "Judgment Arrows" and "Armatos Legio Legatus Legionis". With Shepherd gone, Lightning turned to the group, and stated they would be his next targets, then disappeared.[83]

At the food truck, Ai admitted he was surprised to hear 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 Shepherd's moves. Flame reminded that an AI can detect numerous patterns, and pointed out Lightning was no ordinary AI, either. Suddenly, Kolter showed traces of Earth, whose algorithm was detected in LINK VRAINS. Ai cheered that their friend may have escaped SOL Technologies, but others had doubts about that; Flame stated Ai was carefree to believe that. Realizing that even if he had escaped, Ai thought Earth could still be hunted by SOL Technologies, and Flame added that Lightning could be on his trail. Theodore and Yusaku immediately went to LINK VRAINS to investigate more.[84]

Inside, Playmaker and Soulburner sensed something was coming. Ai went to hug Earth, but stopped as the Gore passed them by. Ai believed he took Earth, and was why SOL Technologies sent him to take the AI. The Gore replied he'd take on Soulburner, after he'd defeat Playmaker. Flame noticed that Earth already stated Playmaker would lose, but Ai demanded Earth back. Playmaker didn't want to fight the Gore, as a war between humanity and technology was going on. The Gore remained silent, even after Playmaker asked for his help, like the time during the Tower of Hanoi crisis. Instead, he stated that Playmaker defeated the opponent that defeated him: Varis. Playmaker reminded due to his efforts, he managed to find out the terrifying card he played: "Mirror Force". He simply stated he could not have won on his own. Ai went to boast, but Playmaker silenced him.[84]

The Gore admitted he started to wither more and more, and realized he had to defeat Playmaker to get back up. Ai tried to reason with the Gore, who also silenced him. Playmaker thought that the honorable Duelist Gore was gone; the Gore claimed he could return to that era if he defeated Playmaker. Seeing there was no way to sway the Gore's mind, Playmaker decided to fight him, who stated this would be Playmaker's final Duel. The Gore started off, as his Brain Hack ability increased. The Gore set a monster, a move Ai identified to be the same when the Gore fought Earth. Ai reminded about the Anti-Skill, while Playmaker summoned "Linkslayer", "Storm Cipher" and "Boot Staggered". Aiming to finish the Duel quickly, Playmaker's monsters attacked, but the Gore protected his set monster - "Dinowrestler Valeonyx" - by sending "Dinowrestler Martial Anga", and end his Battle Phase. The Gore taunted Playmaker for being scared, by trying to end the Duel quickly. Ai became annoyed, but stopped when the Gore eyed him. The Gore expected Playmaker to entertain him, to make him evolve.[84]

The Gore Link Summoned "Dinowrestler Terra Parkourio", and summoned "Dinowrestler Systegosaur", whose effect allowed him to set the stage "World Dino Wrestling". Using "Crazy Evolution", the Gore's monsters became Cyberse. The Gore smiled, as he summoned "G Golem Crystal Heart", but now corrupted. Ai demanded to know how did the Gore acquire Earth's card, but the Gore didn't want to answer. Playmaker noticed the "Crystal Heart" had changed: the Gore showed his left eye had been integrated with the EARTH Ignis. The Gore confirmed that the pulse sent was bait to lure them out. With Earth under his control, the Gore stated that the Ignis were a threat to humanity, unless he took control of them. Ai became furious, and wanted to defeat the Gore for that. Using the crystal heart, the Gore revived "Dinowrestler Terra Parkurio". Next, the Gore brought out "Dinowrestler King T Wrextle". As the latter gained 600 ATK from "G Golem Crystal Heart", the Gore admitted he would enjoy the final confrontation with Playmaker.[84]

The Gore summoned "Dinowrestler Valeonyx", and had his Link ace attack "Storm Cipher", damaging Playmaker with 1400 LP damage. Ai shouted the Gore should take care of Earth's "Crystal Heart" until Playmaker would defeat him. The Gore boldly stated he cannot be defeated; as he struggled in the real world, the Gore felt he was moments away from becoming the perfect Duelist, while Ai felt that Playmaker was uncertain if he had to defeat the Gore. Ai reminded that the Gore wanted to crush them, and this Duel was taking revenge for Earth's capture. Playmaker acknowledged that, and Link Summoned "Linkuriboh" to his field, as well as "Security Dragon". Playmaker attempted to use the latter's effect to remove "Dinowrestler King T-Wrextle", but "Valeonyx" protected it from Link Monsters with lower rating. To beat that protection, Playaker used "Security Dragon", "Cross Debug" and "Linkslayer" to bring out his ace, "Firewall Dragon".[85]

He attempted to use the same effect, but the Gore claimed that was a predictable move; his "Dino Deceit" negated "Firewall Dragon" from activating its effect. The Gore attempted to force Playmaker to battle his "King T-Wrextle". Playmaker chose not to battle, so his "Firewall Dragon" was sent to his GY, as Ai cursed at their predicament. The Gore returned his ace with "Dino Domain" to ensure his monsters don't get destroyed. However, he corrected this by having the "Crystal Heart" revive "Dinowrestler Terra Parkourio", and have it and "Valeonyx" used as materials to return "Dinowrestler King T-Wrextle" back to his field. The Gore exclaimed the Duel would be over, as his Link Monster attacked "Linkuriboh". To protect himself, Playmaker used "Cross Debug" to banish "Firewall Dragon" and have "Linkuriboh" gain the latter's ATK.[85]

Despite Playmaker evading defeat, the Gore was pleased, for the more his opponent struggled, the stronger he grew. While the Gore belittled Playmaker, Ai reminded the latter they can at least use their Skill. Playmaker swore not to give up, and a Data Storm was conjured, even if Ai reminded about the Gore's Anti-Skill. Playmaker exclaimed he would bet on his instincts, but the Gore continued to belittle him. Ai pointed out the Gore dueled on instincts, who stated he abandoned that philosophy. With Ai stating they would be desperate, Playmaker went to use Neo Storm Access, but the Gore played Anti-Skill. The Gore drew two cards for negating this Skill, and stated to Playmaker the Duel was over. Playmaker anticipated this; he played "Draw Discharge" to destroy the monsters the Gore may have drawn, and inflict damage to their combined ATK. Ai cheered for Playmaker's ingenious move, and the Gore even praised Playmaker, for he drew two monsters, whose ATK summed up to 4400 ("Dinowrestler Pankratops" and "Capoeiraptor").[85]

Playmaker Neo Storm Access

Playmaker activates Neo Storm Access' second effect.

However, the Gore used "Dino Sense" to negate Playmaker's card and banish it, as well as taking 900 LP damage. The damage knocked Playmaker off his D-Board into a data sand, as the Gore anticipated Playmaker would do something against his Anti-Skill. Playmaker stood still and silent, but the wind started to conjure another Data Storm; Ai praised Playmaker for creating a miracle out of his instincts. Ai added that if Playmaker had 100 or less LP, and his attempt had failed, he could retry taking a random monster from the Data Storm, and drawing a card from his Deck. The Gore was furious, as Playmaker succeeded in taking a card from the Data Storm. The Gore still boasted he could crush Playmaker, who summoned "Firewall Guardian". Using the latter and "Linkuriboh", he summoned "Clock Lizard", and managed to revive "Firewall Guardian" through its effect.[85]


Playmaker performs an Xyz Summon.

Shocking the Gore, Playmaker used "Firewall Guardian" and "Grid Sweeper" as Overlay Units, Playmaker performed an Xyz Summon, bringing out the monster he just received: "Firewall eXceed Dragon". The Xyz Dragon not only revived "Firewall Dragon" by detaching two Xyz Materials, but it also gained 3000 ATK - 500 ATK per Link Marker of Link Monsters linked to it. Since "Dinowrestler King T Wrextle" was protected from card effects, Playmaker used "Grid Sweeper" to banish itself and "Clock Lizard" to destroy "World Dino Wrestling", thus permitting all of his monsters to attack. The Gore attempted to turn the situation around by having "Firewall Dragon" attack his Link ace. Playmaker's "Firewall Guardian" banished itself to negate the attack of "Firewall Dragon", and make the ATK of Gore's "T-Wrextle" become 0. As Ai admitted not even he could've anticipated this outcome, Playmaker declared "Firewall eXceed Dragon" to attack.[85]

The sheer force of the One-Turn Kill knocked the Gore off his D-Board, who had a brief vision of the past as a Celebrity Duelist. The Gore fell down, crying, as he muttered "Playmaker". Ai went to take Earth's data back, but the Gore suddenly grew tentacles, his eyes becoming red, but was logged out. Later, Playmaker gave Aqua the "G Golem Crystal Heart" card back, as it is the only thing Ai managed to retrieve from the Gore. Ai believed Earth would be more comfortable if Aqua held onto that card. However, Blue Maiden worried how was the Gore doing. Soulburner thought he was also a victim of this battle, a battle Playmaker hoped to end quickly.[85] Kolter showed footage of SOL Technologies' experiment on Earth to Yusaku and Theodore. The group noted that these were Earth's last moments before its data was passed onto the Gore. Kolter called them 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.[86]

Outside, Theodore 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. Theodore feared that the dispute between humans and AI grew larger, and Ai stated that Varis and Lightning's predictions would come true. Theodore and Yusaku realized that they never heard Lightning having mentioned that, and Yusaku asked of him to explain. Ai replied that Lightning wanted him to join his side, as he believed humanity would turn on him, and remembered how Varis showed up to confront the Ignis. Theodore saw that the AI don't want peace, either, while Yusaku reminded that even AI can develop free will, though they have superior intelligence.[86]

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 Theodore and Flame supported that thought. Yusaku smiled, stating they had to win this battle, for the sake of the future. However, he noted that both Ai and Flame had to hide after the battle was over, since someone else could try to take advantage of them, thus starting another battle. He believed another space had to be created for them to hide, and he and Kolter promised to create such space. Ai reminded another AI could easily be created, which was why Yusaku felt that another such battle between technology and humanity would occur once more.[86]

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 Theodore claimed that he and Flame would have to separate after this fight. Theodore 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. 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.[86]

Ghost Gal demanded to know the meaning behind the barrier. Varis simply stated this was to ensure nobody could spy on them. He wanted to join the group, since they had a common enemy to defeat: Lightning and his group. Aqua noted that he did speak the truth, but Ghost Gal wanted to know the reason behind that, since he wished to eliminate all the Ignis. He wanted to join the main group to fight the enemy, hence why he wanted Shepherd to join them, who refused, but still gave him the advice on how to fight the enemy. He reminded that Shepherd's dueling was perfect, but the Light Ignis was more powerful, and ended up taking Shepherd's consciousness. He knew the enemy was plotting something, and they had act immediately on finding them. Much to Playmaker's shock, Soulburner felt grudge for the Lost Incident project, and wanted to avenge his parents by dueling Varis.[86]

Ai was uncertain about this revenge, but Playmaker thought this would at least let Soulburner clear his feelings out; they could not work together if they bore hatred for one another. Much to their surprise, Varis drew a card and passed his turn. Soulburner demanded a reason for the lack of action, but Varis refused to answer. Soulburner summoned "Salamangreat Jack Jaguar", and had "Heatleo" attack Varis directly, successfully inflicting 2300 LP damage. As he went to attack directly with "Jack Jaguar", Soulburner screamed and fell to his knees. He realized he wouldn't accomplish anything by defeating Varis like that. Varis asked if he was satisfied, but Soulburner denied, since he didn't know anything about Varis. Varis replied he was Ryoken Kogami, son of Doctor Kiyoshi Kogami, who initiated the Lost Incident.[87]

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.[87]

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 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. Kolter could not believe he was approving of the reconstruction of the Tower of Hanoi. Yusaku reminded that was the only path they could take to find Lightning, to rescue Jin.[87]

One day, Yusaku stood at the food truck with Kolter, as he had left Ai home. Kolter wanted to ask of Yusaku that, no matter what happens, he had to choose the side of justice. Yusaku was uncertain what he meant at that, but Kolter exclaimed the final battle would soon begin. Since the enemy had Jin in their ranks, Yusaku apologized for not being able to rescue him sooner. Kolter corrected them, and told that he failed to protect Jin during the Lost Incident, and thought he wouldn't have been involved if he stayed more to Kolter's side. Kolter admitted he made an oath to protect Jin, but started shaking, knowing that Lightning had him, and was capable of doing anything to him. In fact, Kolter believed that Lightning could use him as a hostage. Yusaku saw that Kolter implied that the two would have to face each other, but the latter exclaimed it was very likely for that to happen, since he wanted to protect Jin. Kolter asked of Yusaku if it ever happened that the two would face each other, the latter has to defeat him. Yusaku was upset, but Kolter, reminding they were in this fight to save Jin, exclaimed Yusaku was different. Yusaku argued, but Kolter exclaimed that Playmaker was the symbol of hope. Kolter reminded that everyone on the internet knew that Playmaker was the hero of LINK VRAINS, unlike him, who is connected to Jin. Yusaku calmed down, as Kolter told him his goal was not to save Jin, but to defeat Lightning, to choose to fight for the greater goal of justice. Yusaku smiled, as Kolter asked of him to make this promise to save the world.[88]

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. Theodore promised to join, while Ai considered Kolter better behind the lines, supporting them. Before they went away, Kolter gave them another, but more powerful, escape program, and asked of them to give that to others. Kolter wished them luck, and Yusaku swore to return Jin back. Playmaker, Soulburner, Blue Maiden and their Ignises went to the old LINK VRAINS with Specter and Varis. 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.[87]

Blue Maiden had trouble navigating, but Playmaker held her hand, warning that she could disappear if she was not careful enough. As a portal opened, Playmaker reminded their targets were Bohman, Windy and Lightning. The group came through the portal, arriving to Mirror LINK VRAINS, which looked inverted. Kolter reported to Playmaker that LINK VRAINS was in a state of uneasiness, for people have began noticing strange glitches, believing it to be SOL Technologies' work. Suddenly, four copies of of Bit and Boot AI arrived to stop their enemies, but Playmaker and others decided to tackle them on.[89]

Playmaker landed on water

Playmaker landed in a watery area.

Playmaker defeated the AI with "Decode Talker". He informed his allies to split and search for Lightning, but the cyberspace started to tremble. The data material disappeared, causing Playmaker to descend down from his D-Board, to a puddle-like world. Ai noted how strange the place looked. Suddenly, Kolter's program activated, as the latter saw everyone's progress, and sent the link to Varis' allies. Ai believed they had to search on foot, but Playmaker doubted that, as a barrier was formed to keep them away. Suddenly, they saw a live footage of Specter, who faced Lightning and Jin Kolter. Upon hearing Specter's grief when his Ignis was lost, Ai thought he referred to Earth. Playmaker noted the Ignis was a part of him, and Ai realized he was part of Playmaker, too, but the latter denied that.[90]

Ai told that he never saw Lightning annoyed. Playmaker reminded his Extra Link was broken and his "Judgment Arrows" was stolen. Ai knew that it would be too much if both sides lost, but at least supported Specter in this fight. They were amazed to see Specter forming an Extra Link of seven monsters, and shocked when Lightning easily destroyed it and defeated Specter.[91] The footage was closed, but a new one opened, showing Windy and Soulburner. Ai bragged that he must be the strongest for Windy to take on weaker opponents, but Playmaker shushed him. Ai also noted that Soulburner was at top of his game, too.[92] Ai pointed out both sides had to think which Spells and Traps to use. Playmaker had faith in Soulburner taking things around. When Soulburner equipped "Salamangreat Sparks" on "Bahamut Bomber", Ai was surprised by this move, but Playmaker noted the cleverness behind this, for Windy could not use "Stormrider Blast" effects. As Soulburner lowered Windy's LP to 550, Playmaker saw that Windy did not use "Stormrider Gulldiver" at his first attack, else he could not use Storm Access Skill.[93]

Ai noted that Lightning didn't save Windy this time, and Playmaker thought the Light Ignis didn't give any redemption. Soon after, the two saw a broadcast of Blue Maiden facing Bohman. The two were impressed, since Blue Maiden used one card in her hand to summon the Link-3 "Marincess Marbled Rock". However, when Bohman summoned three "Coolant Hydradrives" and used "Judgment Arrows", Ai realized Blue Maiden could take 5000 LP damage. Instead, Bohman summoned "Cubic Hydradrive Lord", and Playmaker felt there was more to it for Bohman to give up on his direct victory. When Blue Maiden brought out "Marincess Crystal Heart", Playmaker thought of Earth's "G Golem Crystal Heart", and Ai noted it was a new monster based on the memories of Earth. Playmaker noted Blue Maiden also lost her friend, which she fought to return.[94] Ai and Playmaker continued watching, commenting that Bohman's "Tesseract Hydradrive Monarch" was his new ace. The monster's effects caused Blue Maiden to be cornered, and Playmaker saw no matter which choice she made, she could not win, as the monarch would make another attack and defeat her. However, she played "Marincess Cascade" to banish all her monsters, and saved herself from this situation.[95]

Ai slammed his fists, devastated that Blue Maiden and Aqua lost. A moment later, while waiting, they noticed ripples in the data puddles. Just then, Bohman appeared, whom Ai swore to crush for hurting Aqua. Bohman replied he didn't come to Duel them, but to tell Playmaker goodbye. Playmaker and Ai were surprised, as Bohman explained that Lightning believed that humans' emotions were their biggest weakness that he wanted to exploit in a big test. Bohman told that they'd face a terrifying opponent that would crush his feelings. Playmaker asked why did he come to warn him of this; Bohman explained Playmaker was a model to him, an opponent he wanted to defeat. However, the others he met changed his thoughts, and awakened his feelings. Smiling, Bohman promised to defeat Playmaker if he would return, and walked away. Ai was riled up, and dared Bohman to fight him, but to no avail. As Ai wondered who would this opponent be, a flash of light appeared, teleporting him and Playmaker away. The two realized they were in Den City's courtyard. Much to Playmaker's shock, he saw Kolter cleaning a table, who commented that he had arrived.[96]

He noted this was the place where he met Playmaker and Ai, where their plot had started. Ai was not sure what was the point of this talk, but Playmaker and Kolter saw it was *the time*. Ai suddenly realized the opponent Bohman was talking about was Kolter himself. Kolter explained that Lightning forced him to Duel against Playmaker for Jin's consciousness. His face enraged, he demanded that Ai and Playmaker lose this Duel. Ai turned to Playmaker, who phased out, as Kolter asked of him whether he and Jin, or he and Ai would survive this ordeal. As Playmaker was too shocked, Kolter summoned "Codebreaker Zero Day" and set a card. Ai muttered Playmaker's name, who took his turn by summoning "Digitron", using it to summon "Link Spider", and have it summon "Bitron" to the zone it pointed to. With the latter and "Backup Secretary", Playmaker Link Summoned "Protocol Gardna", and with that monster and "Link Spider", brought out "Decode Talker".[96]

Ai questioned Playmaker's will to fight on, while the latter saw "Decode Talker" as a card that he and Kolter obtained together, and was their will to fight on. However, he ended the turn without attacking. Kolter belittled Playmaker for his lack of action, and reminded he was not like him. Summoning another "Codebreaker Zero Day", Kolter used the Trap "Codebreaker Backfire", before Link Summoning "Codebreaker Virus Swordsman" to the zone "Decode Talker" pointed to. Playmaker was shocked that Kolter summoned it to that zone, for his monster gained 500 ATK. Surprisingly, Kolter played the effect of "Virus Swordsman", summoning "Codebreaker Zero Day" from his GY to Playmaker's Main Monster Zone "Decode Talker" pointed to. In fact, Kolter's Link Monster caused the ATK gain of "Decode Talker" to be reversed, making it so that it lost 1000 ATK. Due to "Codebreaker Backfire", Playmaker lost 600 LP, since "Codebreaker" was summoned to his zone, and the effect knocked Playmaker off his feet. As Playmaker stood up, Ai questioned Kolter for attacking his friend. Kolter replied this was the only way to save his brother.[96]

Ai argued with him, since Playmaker was doing his battles all this time. Kolter shouted that Jin was more important to him, and "Virus Swordsman" attacked "Decode Talker", but due to the former's effect, it didn't destroy it. Playmaker took 1000 LP damage, and Ai saw that Kolter intended to pummel "Decode Talker" and severe their LP. Furthermore, "Decode Talker" lost 500 ATK, and as Playmaker was to take that much damage, he tributed "Codebreaker Zero Day" to negate that effect and destroy "Codebreaker Virus Swordsman". Ai was glad they at least lowered the damage they'd take, but Kolter revived the swordsman, and triggered its effect to summon "Codebreaker Zero Day" to the zone "Decode Talker" pointed to to lower its ATK. Chaining "Codebreak Backfire", Kolter inflicted 600 LP damage to Playmaker. As Playmaker stood up, Kolter reminded he knew his Deck the best, and would crush him. Ai reminded Playmaker of the threat Kolter posed, but the former admitted he just could not fight him.[96]

As Playmaker was catching his breath, Kolter bragged that he'd end Playmaker in the next turn. Ai asked Playmaker on their next move, but Playmaker admitted he did not know what to do, while Kolter reminded only one of them could survive this fight. Playmaker took his turn by using "Link Satellite", which gained counters that "Decode Talker" had Link Markers: 3. Thus, Playmaker tried to prevent both sides from attacking for three turns. Kolter was disappointed that Playmaker tried to stall the inevitable. He saw he could exploit his weakness of being unable to attack his friend, and he didn't care about this conflict, but for the well-being of his brother. He thought of Jin, whom he failed to protect once, and swore to help him in these dire times. Kolter summoned another "Codebreaker Zero Day", and used it and "Virus Swordsman" to Link Summon "Codebreaker Virus Berserker". Using his previous strategy, Kolter summoned two copies of "Codebreaker Zero Day" to the zones "Decode Talker" pointed to weaken it.[88]

With the additional force of "Codebreaker Backfire", Playmaker's LP fell to 1200. While Ai panicked they could get hit twice by this effect before losing, Kolter's "Virus Berserker" destroyed "Link Satellite" and inflicted another 600 LP damage. Playmaker fell to his knees, as Ai tried to encourage him. Kolter admitted he didn't wish of Playmaker to end like this. He reminded the weight between justice and his brother, and exclaimed if Playmaker didn't remember that, he'd lose. Suddenly, Lightning and Bohman stepped in to the area where the Duel took place. Lightning, ordered Kolter to defeat Playmaker, who had 600 LP left. Kolter took a moment, and had "Virus Swordsman" attack. Taking on defense, Playmaker's "Link Cancel" returned "Decode Talker" to his Extra Deck and summoned its Link Materials, "Protocol Gardna" and "Link Spider". Since "Protocol Gardna" protected "Link Spider" from attacks, Kolter had the former targeted for an attack.[88]

"Virus Swordsman" attacked, and Kolter muttered Playmaker's name in defeat. Much to everyone's surprise, Playmaker remained in the Duel, as "Protocol Gardna" cancelled the damage Playmaker would've taken. Kolter played "Codebreaker Bind", for if he was targeted for an attack, Playmaker would take the damage Kolter would receive. Playmaker became tired, but Kolter was not impressed that was the partner he chose to side with. Lightning tried to cut Kolter's pointless chatter, but Kolter asked that, since the Duel was basically over, he wanted to have some fun, to which Lightning frowned. Kolter explained Playmaker would now vanish without fulfilling the promise the two had made, at this very location. Playmaker looked around, and remembered the talk with Kolter. Playmaker agreed Kolter's promises then clenched his fist, and screamed, as he braced himself for his next move. Using "Protocol Gardna" and "Link Spider", Playmaker Link Summoned the "Decode Talker Extended".[88]

Using "Decode Destruction", "Decode Talker Extended" regained 1500 ATK. It attacked "Virus Berserker", who had 2800 ATK; Playmaker's "Cyberse Pride" protected his monster, and he paid 500 LP to have his monster's ATK become 2800. Thus, "Codebreaker Virus Berserker" was destroyed, as Playmaker swore to keep the promise he made with Kolter. Lightning smiled, as "Codebreak Bind" would soon inflict 500 damage to Playmaker to make him lose. Much to his surprise, "Decode Destruction" banished that monster, so Playmaker avoided the defeat. Finally, "Decode Destruction" destroyed all of Kolter's cards. Finally, with its ATK regained and having destroyed a monster to a zone it pointed to, "Decode Talker Extended" made an another attack, this time on Kolter. Kolter, before being attacked, remembered the times he spent with Yusaku, and muttered that he would leave the rest to him.[88]

Kolter disappeared in defeat

Playmaker, shocked to see Kolter's data.

Playmaker fell to his knees

Playmaker falls to his knees, crushed that he had to defeat his friend.

Playmaker ran towards Kolter, as he and Ai cried when Kolter was deleted from the digital world. Ai absorbed Kolter's data, while Playmaker, out of the shock that he defeated his friend, fell to his knees. Soon, the world around them reverted back to the digital puddle area. Lightning attempted to annoy Playmaker, asking how did it feel to defeat his friend. Ai cut the talk, pointing out Lightning does not have any empathy. Lightning simply replied he didn't have any will to understand. Regardless, Lightning insulted Playmaker for not being able to protect Kolter, stating that made him void of hope. He claimed this made him weak, and now Playmaker was defeated without Lightning or Bohman trying to even fight them. Playmaker refuted Lightning's words, explaining that Kolter knew he'd be blackmailed into fighting him, and he was the one that asked of Playmaker to fight this Duel to preserve justice. Lightning realized he was fooled, as Kolter predicted this event would eventually happen.[88]

Yusaku's dream

Yusaku has a dream, after his Duel with Kolter.

Playmaker stood up, pointing out not only did Kolter believe in him to fulfill the promise, but that Lightning and Bohman lost this fight to stir trouble between two friends. Lightning's eyes became wide open when Playmaker stated this, who fell down and collapsed.[88] Playmaker was lying on the floor, unconscious, as Ai tried to wake him up. The Frog and Pigeon tried to encourage him to stand up, as he was humanity's hope. As the two left, Ai continued watching over Playmaker, and saw Soulburner facing Bohman in a Duel. Ai cheered for the two, but became sad to see Playmaker was not watching their Duel.[97]

Ai panicked, as Bohman brought "Rousing Hydradrive Monarch" out, and used its effect to wipe Soulburner's field clean. He tried to wake Playmaker up, as Soulburner was in a pinch. He became pleased when Soulburner managed to lower the ATK of the monarch, and tried to wake Playmaker up for the best part. Playmaker, however, had a dream where he was lying tired on a table. Kolter tried to wake him up, for there was one final thing he wanted of Playmaker to do. Playmaker woke up, pleasing Ai, and started to watch the Duel between Bohman and Soulburner. Much to their shock, they witnessed Flame's demise, and Ai could not believe that just happened. Continuing the Duel, Playmaker and Ai continued watching, and were pleased when Soulburner passed Bohman's test in rolling the dice, using "Judgement Dice". However, they became shocked when Soulburner lost the Duel.[98]

Ai became sad to see Soulburner and Flame lost the Duel, while Playmaker reminded something like that could've happened the moment they arrived in Mirror LINK VRAINS. Ai turned to Playmaker, who was also disturbed by their friends' loss. Suddenly, they saw a vision of Varis facing Lightning. Playmaker started to move, but his body ached. Ai asked if he could even walk, but the latter ignored the pain, knowing that their friends have disappeared. Thus, he swore vengeance for his fallen team mates, and promised their sacrifices would not be in vain, and took off on his D-Board. They managed to find Varis and Lightning on a flowery field, and saw Bohman arriving, too. Bohman told that he finished his training, by defeating Soulburner and Blue Maiden. Having absorbed the Ignis' powers, he came to watch the Duel. Varis was pleased, as he could tell everyone about Lightning's sins.[99]

Playmaker and Ai were curious, thinking Lightning had made other crimes. Playmaker and Ai listened to Varis' story, how Lightning actually committed all the crimes to continue being "the elite AI", by destroying others' progresses. As the Duel continued, Playmaker and Ai noticed that Varis could use "Autorokket Dragon" to destroy "Judgment Arrows". However, upon Lightning's "Armatos Gloria", Playmaker noted that card protected Varis' "rokket" monsters from triggering their effects, as well as to protect his monsters from the negative effect of "Judgment Arrows", and to prevent the effect of "Topologic Trisbaena".[99] Ai became pleased when "Borreload Dragon" destroyed "Plumbum Trident", but wondered why Varis didn't just take control of it. Playmaker thought that Varis had inflicted more damage this way, else the ATK of "Plumbum Trident" would've been halved. However, at its destruction, Lightning added "Judgment Arrows", which made Playmaker see this battle was a trap to let Lightning obtain the desired card, and Ai saw that Lightning made no mistakes in his moves. The two were pleased, however, when Varis countered "Judgment Arrows" with "Mind Crush".[100]

Although Ai panicked, as "Magnus Dux" forced Varis to have that card returned to Lightning's hand, Playmaker saw it was still a big price to pay. Just as Varis declared his final attack, he stopped, as Lightning unveiled Jin: much to Ai's shock, Lightning declared if he was deleted, then so would Jin.[100] Varis gritted his teeth, while Lightning tempted him to attack and not only to crush Jin, but also to delete Specter, with whom Jin linked his data with. Playmaker reminded him not to revert back to his usual, destructive self. He pointed out that Varis did change for the better. The latter noted that they did know they had to make sacrifices, and pointed out that Playmaker did defeat Cal Kolter for that. Playmaker nodded, but reminded that Kolter was prepared to make such a sacrifice, while Jin does not, who was simply dragged into this ordeal. Explaining he'd make another victim, Playmaker also reminded Varis that he also chose not to fight Soulburner. Lightning laughed, thinking that the enemy Playmaker was saving his life. Playmaker refuted that, stating he only wanted to stop more tragedies. Varis simply set a card, and decided not to attack.[101]

Playmaker and Ai visit Varis

Playmaker and Ai witness Varis' erasure.

Playmaker and Ai continued watching the Duel, learning that it was Lightning who stopped Dr. Kogami before the latter would realize that their true enemy was Lightning alone. In the end, Lightning destroyed "Armatos Legio Eques Flamma", causing both sides to be defeated and ending the Duel in a DRAW. Playmaker rushed to Varis, who didn't expect the Light Ignis to destroy himself, thinking he lowered his guard down. Ai nevertheless praised Varis, who remembered the times he laid on the field as a kid, as he was doing right now. He left the future to Playmaker and the Dark Ignis, referring to the latter as Ai before he disappeared. The two turned to Bohman, who approached Lightning, who kept Jin's data and used it to save himself with 1 LP left. However, Bohman managed to absorb Lightning, noting the latter was behaving like a human to defy everyone and everything, just to achieve success. Bohman stood up, and stated that with his training finished, he wanted to challenge Playmaker to a final Duel, who accepted.[101]

Playmaker was ready to fight Bohman, who wanted a more suitable field for their Duel. He waved his hand, warping them to the center of Mirror LINK VRAINS. Before their Duel started, Bohman released the Frog and Pigeon, stating they didn't need to broadcast their Duel, though they stayed behind to do just that, as journalists. Bohman turned to Playmaker, showing a giant pillar, which would serve as a gate to a new world, once their Duel would end. Playmaker wanted to know more, and Bohman stated the answer would lie in their Duel. Using the five Ignises he absorbed into his Duel Disk, Bohman proudly announced his victory, as Playmaker and Ai thought he just made a new Deck. Bohman waved his hand, and used an Ignis algorithm to create a sphere. Ai became angry that Bohman used the powers of Ignis to his advantage as tools. Bohman reminded that they were not tools, but merely part of him, since he was created to absorb them.[102]

Just as their Duel began, Playmaker and Ai heard screams of avatars in LINK VRAINS, who were being paralyzed by a beam from the sphere of the Ignis algorithm. Ai had a bad omen as to what may happen, while Playmaker felt the presence of many people, despite him and Bohman being the only ones around. Bohman pointed out that Playmaker had Link Sense, an ability to sense digital presence, which could've made him a great connector between AI and humanity. Bohman started off with a "Hydradrive Booster", and Link Summoned "Grand Hydradrive". He summoned another "Booster", using it to make a second Link Summon of "Coolant Hydradrive". Using the two "Hydradrives", he Link Summoned "Twin Hydradrive Knight". Next, he used the former to Link Summon the Link-1 "Burn Hydradrive". The move surprised Ai to summon a weaker monster, while Playmaker counted that Bohman summoned three "Hydradrive" monsters of different Attributes. Bohman summoned a third "Booster" and used it to summon "Flow Hydradrive". Playing "Hydradrive Rebuild", Bohman swapped "Burn Hydradrive" with "Twin Hydradrive Knight" in his GY, triggering the former's effect to summon a "Hydradrive Token".[102]

For his sixth Link Summon, Bohman used the token to summon "Alteration Hydradrive", whose effect allowed Bohman to revive "Burn" and "Coolant Hydradrives" next to the Link Markers of "Twin Hydradrive Knight", which became destroyed. Next, Bohman summoned "Hydradrive Element", using it to Link Summon "Grand Hydradrive". Playmaker noted these were all Link-1 monsters, while Bohman used the "Hydradrive Element" to change "Alteration Hydradrive" to LIGHT Attribute. Ai thought Bohman was filling up the field, since there was no monster with five attributes, nor a Link-5 monster, either. Bohman told Ai he was just thinking about limits, for Bohman aimed to create such a monster. He waved his hand, using a Skill, which caused more people to become paralyzed by the sphere's beam in LINK VRAINS. Ai and Playmaker heard their screams, while Bohman summoned a Data Storm to activate Master Storm Access, creating a card out of his will.[102]

Bohman declared that everything was set: using five Link-1 monsters of different Attributes, he performed the eight Link Summon: the Link-5 "Chimera Hydradrive Dragrid". Playmaker and Ai became shocked to see such a powerful 4000 ATK monster, which gained a "Hydradrive Counter". While Ai became distraught at their predicament, Playmaker thought there was some connection with that monster and the screams they just heard. Bohman confirmed those were the people he heard, which were affected by the system he created: Neuron Link. He stated it used humans' thought capabilities, allowing him to summon that giant Data Storm. In fact, thousands of people were used to summon it, and to let Bohman create this Link-5 monster. Ai believed Bohman contradicted himself, since he didn't approve of Lightning using Jin as a human shield, and now he just used the lives of many humans to his advantage. Bohman reminded that Lightning used Jin to prevent Varis from continuing on, while this was just one of his many abilities he was able to use.[102]

Ai pointed out that the people he just used were now dead, but Bohman exclaimed that only their consciousness was a part of him, which would reside inside him forever. Ai declared Bohman a dictator since he'd take everyone to let himself as the only being remaining in this world. Bohman simply wanted to unify the world; Ai didn't understand that, but Bohman thought it was a shame that Ai could not understand that. As Bohman ended his turn, he announced he'd take everyone's consciousness in the real life, too, by using the Neuron Link throughout the network. Playmaker thought he could still take down this Link-5 monster, as he summoned "Widget Kid", chaining its summon to that of "Cyberse Synchron". The latter doubled the former's level, allowing Playmaker to summon the Synchro Monster "Cyberse Quantum Dragon". Ai reminded that the latter can return Bohman's monster during its attack. Bohman anticipated this, claiming their tactics won't work, as he used another Skill. Playmaker and Ai continued hearing the screams of the unconscious avatars, while Bohman announced they would witness a Duel beyond their imaginations.[102]

Playmaker and Ai witnessed as Bohman used Master Storm Access a second time, using the people in LINK VRAINS to summon the Data Storm. Next, Bohman used the effect of "Chimera Hydradrive Dragrid" to remove the Hydradrive Counter and roll a dice. Rolling the WATER Attribute, Bohman returned "Dragrid" and summoned "Chimera Hydradrive Draghead - Aqua". Ai became surprised by the monster's name, while Bohman stated the monster negated all other monsters' effects, which it didn't link to. Playmaker stopped his attack, and set a card. By returning "Aqua" to his Extra Deck, Bohman swapped it for "Chimera Hydradrive Draghead". Bohman anticipated Playmaker's move, stating it was the voices of the people that the Neuron Link had absorbed. In fact, all those people that were absorbed were the ones that admired Playmaker, wanted to challenge him and even analyzed his moves, which allowed Bohman to think ahead. Thus, Bohman deduced those people were Playmaker's enemies in this Duel, too.[103]

Ai reminded there was a limited number of people in LINK VRAINS, and should eventually run out of absorbing them all. Bohman denied that, because of humanity's curiosity: due to the news, more people started logging in, and were easy targets for the Neuron Link system. As Playmaker and Ai heard the screams of fallen people, Bohman took his turn, and used the power of Master Storm Access a third time. Playmaker braced Ai to destroy this Neuron Link and prevent any more casualties. Bohman thanked Playmaker, but Ai aggressively replied they didn't need his thanks. He wondered if Bohman had a heart, which the latter admitted he did, and contributed its creation to Playmaker, a form which Bohman was developed from. Bohman even permitted Playmaker to surrender, thinking the latter stood no chance against him, and promised a place inside himself to let him live happily, and in peace, with no memories of Lost Incident.[103]

Ai pointed out those would be fake memories, and Playmaker refused Bohman's "charity", and wanted to fulfill the wishes of his fallen allies. In fact, Playmaker didn't want any ideals, built from sacrifices. Bohman noted that Playmaker still held humanity as the superior life form, and became disappointed. He thought Playmaker was still within bounds of humanity. Bohman took his turn by using "Dragrid" effect to roll a dice. This time, he rolled the FIRE Attribute, and brought out "Chimera Hydradrive Draghead - Flame", and Ai noted the monster' name. The monster destroyed all other monsters that were not linked to it: "Cyberse Quantum Dragon" was destroyed. Playmaker banished "Cyberse Synchron" from his GY to protect his dragon.[103]

Bohman raised his hands in the air, hearing voices of the absorbed people, and stated the ultimate world would soon be created, a world from many possibilities that had the best ideals. Playmaker reminded it would not be ethical to create it. Bohman refuted that, stating the world would collapse if he respected the life of every being, which would only end in war and conflict, which was the case of the human world. In fact, Bohman believed by unifying all the people of the world into himself would make a new, better world - a world with peace, in which only he would exist. Playmaker, thinking of his past, stated Bohman was lonely. He exclaimed he felt once the same way, and only thought of revenge for the Lost Incident. Upon the way, he had met many new friends, and his views of the world had changed, by accepting each other. Bohman refused to listen, and claimed he was the same as Playmaker. The latter refuted that, for sacrificing everyone was not the ideal path to take. To challenge Bohman's perception, Playmaker wanted to live with the Ignis together, to create a new future.[103]

To stop Bohman, Playmaker resolved himself to win this Duel. He summoned "Clock Wyvern", and used its "Clock Token" to Link Summon "Link Spider", whose effect let him bring out the Normal Monster "Protron". Using "Link Spider" and "Clock Wyvern", Playmaker brought out "Clock Spartoi", whose effect let him add "Cynet Fusion", then used "Protron" to summon "Linkuriboh". Bohman thought Playmaker's efforts were futile, but Ai wanted to stop Bohman boasting, since he had a Link-5 monster. "Clock Wyvern" Special Summoned "Clock Wyvern" from the GY, allowing Playmaker to use "Cynet Fusion" for a Fusion Summon. Using "Linkuriboh", "Clock Wyvern" and "Clock Spartoi" as materials, Playmaker Fusion Summoned "Cyberse Clock Dragon". Sending three cards, up to the number of Link Markers of Link Monsters used as material, Playmaker boosted the dragon's ATK by 3000, up to 5500. Bohman frowned, as Ai announced it was time for him to lose.[103]

Ai was confident in their next attack, but Bohman reminded how their strategy with "Cyberse Quantum Dragon" had failed. Bohman reminded that the voices inside him dictated his best move he'd take. Due to that, Bohman reminded Playmaker was fighting every human he had absorbed. As Bohman analyzed Playmaker, the latter exclaimed he only had Bohman to defeat. Ai knew that Bohman would activate his Skill and attempt to negate their dragon's attack. It was why he believed the Neuron Link should be stopped first. Suddenly, he and Ai were contacted by Faust of the Knights of Hanoi, and explained they'd stop Neuron Link with Ghost Gal and Akira. He suggested to Playmaker that moment to be his perfect opportunity to attack. Bohman proceeded to activate his Skill, but felt a disturbance from Ghost Gal, Akira Zaizen and the Knights of Hanoi.[104]

Bohman nevertheless applauded them for attacking the Neuron Link, but admitted to Playmaker that Ghost Gal and Akira had been absorbed, too. Playmaker clenched his fist in frustration, but Bohman claimed human feelings could not affect him, and belittled Playmaker for expecting a miracle. Playmaker denied that, for he only trusted his friends, which Bohman had absorbed. Bohman activated Master Storm Access, but noticed that he didn't obtain any card whatsoever, and Neuron Link became corrupted. As Faust told Playmaker that Akira and Ghost Gal sacrificed themselves to stop Neuron Link, Bohman got a severe headache. This caused a disturbance in the cyberspace, allowing Playmaker and Ai to see some of the victims. Playmaker and Ai swore to stop Bohman, who played the effect of "Chimera Hydradrive Dragrid". However, he rolled the LIGHT Attribute; Playmaker claimed that even luck has left him, and with no more defenses left, "Cyberse Clock Dragon" destroyed Bohman's monster, and Bohman suffered 1500 LP damage.[104]

Ai cheered, as now both sides' LP were equal. Bohman became furious, noting that Lightning was correct that bond between humans was trouble. However, using his power, Bohman repaired Neuron Link system, and Playmaker and Ai could not see the victims anymore. Bohman reminded this was his realm, and he could repair the Neuron Link any time. Ai, looking at Neuron Link, swore he would stop Bohman from using it. Much to Playmaker's shock, Ai left his Duel Disk, and went straight into the Neuron Link to stop it. Bohman became surprised, and questioned why would Ai sacrifice himself to help humanity. Ai reminded this was his desire, and Playmaker was already connected to the people that Bohman had absorbed. Ai evaded Neuron Link's bolts, reminding that when Playmaker was alone, he only thought of revenge, but by meeting new friends, he became stronger. It was why Ai believed Playmaker should give his best in defeating Bohman, to honor these friendships. Ai bid Playmaker farewell, as he became absorbed by the Neuron Link.[104]


Playmaker screams as Ai sacrifices himself to stop the Neuron Link.

Playmaker, in distress, shouted Ai's name. Bohman simply commented that was a pointless act, since Playmaker would lose in the end. Playmaker refused to let Bohman badmouth Ai, as his partner, and swore to finish the Duel in Ai's honor. Bohman believed their wish was lesser to the world he wanted to create. Playmaker shook his head, for Playmaker shared his wishes with his friends, unlike Bohman, who had only one desire, and nobody else left. Bohman refused to listen; declaring this to be the final turn, Bohman played "Hydradrive Readvent", letting him revive "Chimera Hydradrive Dragrid" from his GY, but with its effects negated. Next, Bohman played "Judgment Arrows"; declaring that Ai's sacrifice was pointless, he activated his Skill once more, summoning a Data Storm, absorbing the Frog and the Pigeon, as well as parts of Mirror LINK VRAINS itself. Bohman used "Chimera Hydradrive Dragrid" as Link Material to summon the "Perfectron Hydradrive Dragon".[104]

The latter gained 5 Hydradrive Counters, turned into 1000 ATK for each counter, summing up to 5000 ATK. As the dragon went to attack, Playmaker used the Trap Card "Return Risk Reservoir" to summon "Protron" from his GY. He tributed it to summon "Linkuribon" from his GY, and tributed it to make the dragon's ATK 0. Bohman smiled, and let his dragon attack, despite having zero ATK. Playmaker was surprised that Bohman let his monster attack. The latter played the effect of "Perfectron Hydradrive Dragon", which prevented Bohman from taking damage, as well as protecting his monster from destruction, at the cost of one Hydradrive Counter. As Playmaker questioned Bohman's move, the latter used the dragon's effect to destroy "Cyberse Clock Dragon", and inflict damage, equal to the number of "Hydradrive" monsters in his GY times 300. Having 8 monsters, Bohman inflicted 2400 effect damage to Playmaker, leaving him at one hundred left. As Bohman proudly announced that the match was nearly over, Playmaker barely stood up. He swore he would not lose, for Ai's sacrifice.[104]

Bohman doubted in Playmaker's victory, who dedicated in Ai's promise. However, Ai reappeared in Playmaker's Duel Disk, as he had made a backup inside Roboppi earlier. In fact, Ai felt a chance he'd disappear, so he made such alterations to ensure his survival, and reminded he had free will to do so. Reminding themselves that the Neuron Link was stopped, but Bohman's Master Storm Access Skill has not, Playmaker decided to finish off Bohman in this turn. Before that, Ai wished to rescue his fellow Ignis from the Neuron Link. Playmaker asked of Ai to return after doing so, considering he had no backups left. Ai thanked Playmaker for those words, and entered the system. Later, Ai returned to Playmaker, heartbroken that he could not save the Ignis, which have molded with Bohman. Still, he passed the power he obtained from the other Ignis to Playmaker. Bohman noted that Ai has escaped him, and swore to absorb him once the Duel was over. Ai promised he'd take revenge on Bohman for hurting his friends, who was amused by his fiery spirit.[105]

Playmaker obtains the power of Ignis

Playmaker obtains the power of the five Ignises.

Bohman still reminded of all the effects he had, and wondered if Playmaker could even defeat his monster. Playmaker exclaimed he had the powers of the Ignis, and declared this to be his final turn, as he drew a card. Sending "Dotscaper" (which was Special Summoned from the GY), Playmaker summoned "Threshold Borg", then played the "Cynet Codec". Summoning the "Code Talker", Playmaker added a "Micro Coder" with "lCynet Codec", then used it and "Code Talker" to Link Summon "Encode Talker". Bohman still boasted about his monster, while Playmaker added "Cyberse Gadget" and summoned it, while using the effect of "Micro Coder" to add "Cynet Optimization". Using "Cyberse Gadget" and the monster it revived - "Micro Coder" - Playmaker brought out "Cyberse Witch".[105]

Next, he summoned "SIMM Tablir" and returned "Clock Wyvern" to his hand, which also triggered the effect of "Cyberse Witch", letting Playmaker add "Cyberse Magician" and "Cynet Ritual" to his hand from his Deck, as well as "Widget Kid" from his GY, who Special Summoned "Clock Wyvern". Playmaker used "Cynet Ritual", tributing "SIMM Tablir" and "Widget Kid" to Ritual Summon "Cyberse Magician". In addition, he used "Clock Wyvern" and "Cyberse Gadget" to Xyz Summon "Firewall eXceed Dragon". This was followed up by a Link Summon of "Transcode Talker", using "Xceed Dragon" and the witch. Bohman was surprised that Playmaker used the Xyz Monster as material, and wondered what was he doing. Playmaker pointed out there were voices guiding him that Bohman could not listen to. Bohman wondered if it was because of the destroyed Neuron Link, but Playmaker showed that Bohman had no interest in listening them. Due to that, Bohman was all alone, and he had no heart to guide others into the future.[105]

Bohman thought of Harlin, while Playmaker swore to settle the fight, by listening to others as they yearned for peace. Playmaker added "Code Generator", as he summoned "Transcode Talker", and used "Cynet Optimization" to Special Summon it. Much to Bohman's shock, Playmaker set the Link-3 "Transcode Talker", "Cyberse Magician" and "Code Generator" to Link Summon a Link-5 monster: "Firewall Dragon Darkfluid". Bohman could not comprehend why Playmaker had a Link-5 monster, if the only monster of such Link Rating was the one he had created. Ai exclaimed this was the representation of the power of the Ignis, who shared it with Ai. Playmaker placed 4 counters on "Firewall Dragon Darkfluid", one for each different monster type - Ritual, Fusion, Synchro and Xyz. It went to attack, gaining 2500 ATK for each counter it had, summing its ATK to 13000.[105]

Declaring "Neo Tempest Flame", Playmaker had his new dragon attack "Perfectron Hydradrive Dragon", and a vision of Flame appeared. Despite having 8000 ATK, Bohman removed a counter from "Perfectron Hydradrive Dragon" to reduce the damage he'd take to zero, and have his monster protected from destruction. Bohman attempted to activate the latter's effect to destroy "Darkfluid", stating Playmaker's efforts had gone to waste. Playmaker simply removed a counter to negate the monster's effect, and have "Darkfluid" attack once more. Declaring "Neo Tempest Aqua", the "Firewall" monster attacked once more, and a vision of Aqua appeared. Though Bohman repeated his effect to protect "Perfectron", so did Playmaker, removing a counter to negate the effect and have his monster make another attack. Bohman's eyes widened, as Ai noted that he realized he ended up in a loop he could not escape from, a power created from his friends. Bohman gritted his teeth, seeing Playmaker had realized the dragon's power so quickly. Playmaker replied that bonds transcend evolution, and the voices of his allies had guided him to this strategy. Declaring "Neo Tempest Earth", Playmaker's dragon made a third attack at Bohman's "Hydradrive". Both sides used up one counter to play their effects, letting "Firewall Dragon Darkfluid" execute "Neo Tempest Windy" attack.[105]

Bohman used up his final counter to protect "Protectron Hydradrive Dragon", which caused its ATK to be reduced to zero. Playmaker also removed the final counter from "Firewall Dragon Darkfluid", reducing its ATK to its original 3000 value, but letting it attack one final time. With no counters left, Bohman was left vulnerable for the finishing move of "Firewall Dragon Darkfluid", "Neo Tempest End". With 2500 LP remaining, Bohman was defeated; he only remembered his brother, Harlin, as he listened to his heart, of which Playmaker spoke of. Ai praised Playmaker, as did Bohman, who was severely hurt. The latter noted that Playmaker had a future he was not aware of, and stated that Ai has closed the future of the Ignis, by siding with humanity. He hoped that Ai does not regret that, and bidded farewell to his ultimate rival, Playmaker. Ai and Playmaker vanished, as they were warped away to LINK VRAINS. Ai noted that they won. Playmaker nodded, but stated the cost was too high, with unconscious victims lying around.[105]

Season three[]

Ai cried that their friends hadn't made it in the end. However, sparkles started to fall down in the cyberspace, causing everyone that had been fallen unconscious to wake up. Ai realized that Bohman freed everyone's consciousness; in fact, Soulburner appeared right in front of them. Seeing Ai and Playmaker, Soulburner realized that they had defeated Bohman. They were joined by Blue Maiden, Ghost Gal and Akira Zaizen. The group watched as the Mirror LINK VRAINS crumbled and faded, seeing it was truly over. Soulburner asked if they had saved Flame, to which Ai apologized to him and Blue Maiden, as they were unable to rescue the Ignis.[106]

Outside LINK VRAINS, Yusaku was working at Cafe Nom when Skye approached him, asking for some food. Yusaku explained that Kolter was visiting his brother in hospital. Skye commented that she had also visited her friend in hospital and was passing by to see Yusaku, as her acquaintance. Noticing an advertisement about SOLtiS, Yusaku remembered that Skye's brother worked for that company. Skye explained that Akira was busy because of this new product: the android. Skye explained it should make their lives easier, and Yusaku may not even have to work at the truck, which made him feel slightly bad about it. Yusaku gave her a bag of food, to which Skye thanked him and walked away. Theodore sat down at the cafe's tables, commenting she would be surprised if she knew their actual identities. Yusaku replied that she doesn't need to know, and gave Theodore a mug of coffee.[106]

Theodore admitted he had no money for that, but Yusaku stated that this was on Kolter's behalf, as thanks for saving his life and his brother's, they could order free coffee for the rest of their lives. As he took the cup, Theodore assumed that Kolter was with Jin, and wondered what happened to Ai. Yusaku told him that Ai had disappeared, and Roboppi was disabled, too. Theodore remarked the two were probably travelling through the network. Yusaku reminded him that he had been a hostage, and with the battle over, there was no reason to keep him. Theodore admitted he felt bad for Flame's loss, and felt that the FIRE Ignis would still be here if he'd had been stronger. Theodore believed Ai felt the same way, and remembered the times with Flame, with whom he was inseparable. He also admitted he didn't expect to team up with the Knights of Hanoi, and was still disturbed by that, since he came to Den City to settle his past, and thought of his confrontation with Varis.[106]

However, Yusaku reminded that with his help, they managed to uncover what happened to Cyberse World, as well as Lightning's plans. Yusaku commented that Artificial Intelligence was created to help humanity, but it had evolved unexpectedly. Theodore thought of Bohman, an Ignis created by another Ignis, who proved to be a formidable opponent, by absorbing most of the Ignis to power himself up. Theodore could not imagine what future Bohman had seen, while Yusaku stated that despite AI and humans having lives, they were very much different. Theodore agreed, for AI didn't have any desires, unlike humans, who had daily routines to live for, and didn't blame AI for not comprehending a human's life. Yusaku noted that the world could've been different if the AI had won and took control over humanity. This made Theodore think that AI and humanity cannot coexist with each other. Yusaku felt there was still hope for that, reminding him that Ai and Flame showed that the two sides can bond with one another.[106]

Theodore commented that the two must have had a rough time to fight against other Ignis. Ryoken and Specter arrived, and the former explained they didn't need to sympathise with the AIs. Yusaku and Theodore were alarmed at their presence, as the latter remembered Varis stating his true name - Ryoken Kogami. Ryoken explained that the AI were still a threat, for humanity was the dominant life form. To maintain peace, Ryoken felt that humans should stay as the dominant species. Ryoken had ordered his allies to continue monitoring the network, as he still believed the Dark Ignis to be a threat to humanity, too, since it was very different from humans. Yusaku disagreed, for the previous threat was made all because of Lightning's ambitions. Ryoken simply stated he still distrusted the Ignis, unlike Yusaku, whose life Ai saved during the battle at the Tower of Hanoi.[106]

This reminded the boys why they had agreed that Ai and Flame, like the other Ignis, should go into hiding when the fight was over. With peace having returned, Yusaku assumed it was only fair that Ai had the chance to live freely, unlike the other Ignis, who had been deleted. Theodore agreed with him, unlike Ryoken, who exclaimed their pact has been broken, since they had no common enemy anymore, and promised he would not show any mercy the next time they would meet. Theodore stated that he still had quarrel with Ryoken, who acknowledged and walked away with Specter.[106] Kolter returned working at the food truck, when he met Yusaku. Kolter thanked him for taking over his job some time ago, and served him some coffee. Yusaku wondered what happened to Jin, whom Kolter noticed to be feeling better, back to his old cheerful self, and would soon leave the hospital. However, he was told that Jin's memories of Lost Incident vanished after he regained his consciousness.[107]

Yusaku became surprised, and thought Lightning, who held onto some of Jin's data during the Duel against Varis, used that data of Lost Incident. Kolter thought this was a positive thing, and Yusaku thought that meant that Jin moved away from his past. The two became pleased, thinking Jin would soon live life once more. Kolter asked Yusaku about Ai, who has not returned yet, and Yusaku felt he won't return ever again. Kolter thought Yusaku's new life would start soon, too, and went to get him something to eat. As he did that, Kolter and Yusaku saw an advertisement about SOLtiS. Later, Yusaku went home, and looked at the deactivated Roboppi.[107] After school was over, Theodore met up with Yusaku. However, Theodore stuttered, and ended their discussion, which confused Yusaku. Suddenly, the latter got a call from Kolter, who wanted both of them to come to his truck. There, Kolter explained he got an e-mail message, telling they needed to meet with Playmaker and Soulburner.[108]

Kolter added it was Akira Zaizen, who wanted to meet them at the central station in LINK VRAINS. Theodore suspected it was a trap, but Kolter pointed out a recent incident caused Playmaker to be dropped from the wanted list. Yusaku thought it was for the best to go to the meeting, and Kolter decided to accompany them, too. The group logged in to the deserted LINK VRAINS, where they soon met up with Akira and Blue Maiden. The former welcomed them, and thanked them for coming. Kolter introduced himself as Unnamed, who had provided support for the other two avatars. Before they started the meeting, they were joined by Shepherd, the Gore and Ghost Gal, who also came on Akira's request. The Gore wanted to thank Playmaker, who wondered the purpose behind that gratitude. Unnamed sensed something large must've happened if Akira assembled everyone in this meeting.[108]

Akira explained that the top executive, Queen, had been attacked recently. The culprit hacked by their company's SOLtiS androids, which Shepherd found humorous. Moreover, Akira explained that the criminal stole the keycard to the mainframe. Ghost Gal assumed Akira wanted them to retrieve the keycard. Akira denied, for the key card was split into two pieces, one of which Akira had in possession. In fact, the attacker announced he'd fight Akira and take his keycard. Soulburner was not certain of the consequences of that action, and was told that person could have the access to the central computer of the company, and eventually take over that company. Unnamed stated that SOL Technologies has a share over the network's infrastructure, which could easily be destroyed. Blue Maiden added that they'd have control over SOLtiS androids, too. Akira told that the culprit even revealed their identity, and played the message they had left behind. He showed Ai and Roboppi, who threatened to attack Akira and take his keycard in three days. Playmaker and the rest were shocked that the DARK Ignis was behind that.[108]


Despite being hurt and confused, Yusaku still trusts Ai.

Soulburner demanded the reason why would Ai do this. Akira had no answer, but that Ai had declared war on SOL. Ghost Gal noticed that Ai sought revenge on the company, and Shepherd assumed it was just because he was an AI program. He assumed Playmaker knew where he was, but Soulburner and Akira wanted of Shepherd to cease his accusations. Akira reminded he fought for AI and humanity to cooperate together, but some assumed Playmaker would've done something about that by now. Akira turned to Playmaker, asking for his help, knowing he knew Ai more than anyone else, even if his innermost feelings were conflicted about Ai. Playmaker simply asked for more time to think of it. Outside LINK VRAINS, Theodore and Yusaku were by the riverside. Theodore admitted he felt like returning home, but with the new incident, he decided to meet Ai one final time, in hopes to learn something about Flame. He asked Yusaku what he thought of it. Yusaku simply thought of Ai's sadistic smile, even as he hurt people. However, he still wanted to trust Ai and his intentions.[108]

Yusaku reminiscens about Ai

Yusaku visits the place where Ai left him.

At evening, Yusaku was at Stardust Road, thinking of the time he separated from Ai on this spot. The next day, Yusaku encountered Naoki, who was panicking where Playmaker was, since he has not seen in LINK VRAINS for some time. Yusaku asked him why would he want to meet Playmaker, to which Naoki said Skye wanted to know how to contact that avatar. Naoki panicked, and ran off to contact the message boards. The next day, Skye took Akira to the hot dog stand. Akira noticed Kolter, and realized that was the guy that was blackmailed into fighting Playmaker. Yusaku encountered them, and soon after, Akira mentioned that Yusaku was Playmaker. Thinking how he saved Skye when she was infected by the virus, he wanted to thank him for that. Akira admitted it felt strange to meet Playmaker in real life. Skye looked at Yusaku, who simply stated he was fighting for himself.[108]

Suddenly, Akira was called to work, and before he left, he felt grateful to have met Yusaku. Skye stayed behind, stating she wanted to contact Playmaker, and asked Naoki about it. She wanted to stop Playmaker, since he was to face his partner, Ai, and thought if she was to face Aqua or Akira, she would've been heartbroken. She asked about Aqua's final moments. Yusaku explained he didn't get to meet her in person, but Ai told him that Aqua and the rest passed their powers onto him to defeat Bohman. Skye noted that's what Aqua would've done anyway. She still felt bad to see that Yusaku had to fight his own Ignis, and wanted to fight in his stead. Moreover, she wanted to thank him for always sticking to her and her brother, and protecting them countless times. She shook hands with him in gratitude, and felt odd by that. Regardless, she bid him farewell, leaving Yusaku in silence.[108]

In the end, Yusaku logged in as Playmaker, and knowing it'd be a hard time for him to face his Ignis partner, it was his duty as his partner to prevent him from causing crimes.[108] He met up with Soulburner and Varis to find Ai and Roboppi. They get word from Akira that there are three targets heading towards them, leaving them wondering who else it could be. Varis simply stated he would make them pay for siding with an Ignis. Once they split up, Playmaker ran into Ai, who happily greeted his former partner. Playmaker asked Ai why he attacked humans, since he had wanted coexistence. Ai replied it was a dream that couldn't come true; because he's the last Ignis, he decided to carry on Lightning's plans. Playmaker reminded Ai that Lightning's ego made him an enemy to humanity, but the latter had made his decision, feeling he was responsible for the other Ignises' deaths.[109]

Playmaker tried to tell him that wasn't true, that he tried to save Flame and Aqua. Ai rebutted that he didn't, and saw no difference between having no choice or erasing them. In the end, he had to live as an Ignis, much to Playmaker's sadness. Playmaker got word from Akira that both Revolver and Soulburner had encountered Ai too. Not knowing which one was the real one, all three began to Duel them. Playmaker told Ai he couldn't allowed him to go any further, then vowed to stop Ai and save him. Ai merely smirked and told Playmaker to try. All three Ais used the same strategy to lockdown Playmaker, Soulburner, and Varis with a combo of "Fire Phoenix @Ignister" and "A.I. A.I. Wall" to prevent them from attack and use Link Summoning against them. When Akira noted two more targets appeared, Playmaker realized all three Ais were fakes and were just diversions while Roboppi and the real Ai made their way to Akira.[109]

Kolter asked of Playmaker to hurry up, as he dueled one of Ai's copies. Playmaker agreed, but Ai taunted him, as he formed a strong defense.[110] After hearing from Kolter that Ai and Roboppi were going to Akira's location, Playmaker had "Cyberse Clock Dragon" defeat Ai's copy. Ai noted that copies could not defeat them, but they surved their purpose of stalling them. Playmaker regrouped with Playmaker Soulburner Varis at Akira's location, but saw nobody present. Varis explained Akira and Blue Maiden were never here, as their forms manifested in a different location, where nobody could reach them: an airplane, protected by a program that Varis had developed.[111] Varis sensed Ai managed to board the airplane. Playmaker became shocked, but Varis assured him he made some countermeasures to stop Ai, in form of Pandor. He noted she had the advantage over Ai in the Duel. Playmaker asked what'd happen if Ai lost, to which Varis bluntly told he had no compassion towards the Ignis.[112]

Ai summoned Playmaker, Soulburner and Varis to watch his Duel, linking their data to the cyberspace he was currently in. Playmaker asked Ai what was he doing, to which Ai dodged the question. He also had Kolter watch the Duel, as well as Roboppi, who teleported himself in to learn more from the Duel. Ai summoned "@Ignister" monsters, to which Playmaker noted that Ai really cared for his Ignis friends. However, upon Ai used "Judgment Arrows", Playmaker feared that Ai was carrying Lightning's wishes. When Ai declared he had no Ignis friends, because they whave been permanently terminated, Playmaker sensed Ai was taking all of this very seriously.[113] Playmaker continued observing the Duel, and noted that Blue Maiden's "Marincess Great Bubble Reef" slowly gained the ATK, to beat down Ai's "Water Leviathan @Ignister". When Ai defeated Blue Maiden and Akira, he absorbed Akira's data and gained the code key. Playmaker went to tell him something, but stopped. Ai wanted to meet him again, and vanished.[114]

Yusaku, Theodore and Kolter went to the airplane where Skye and Akira were located. Skye blamed herself for what happened but Yusaku assured her that was not her fault. Telling her to watch her brother Yusaku and the others left. Skye asked if they were going after Ai and wondered if they had any leads. Yusaku admitted that he doesn't other than Ai now controlled SOL Technologies. Later Yusaku discovered that Ai had opened LINK VRAINS with all its features unlocked. Kolter informed him that Varis sent him a message, asking to meet him and Soulburner. There, Varis explained that Ai shut down SOL Technologies, firing all of the employees and replaced them with SOLtis. When Soulburner askd if they could find Ai, Varis statd he couldn't, as Ai was using a new algorithim that couldn't be traced. With no other options left, Playmaker and Soulburner decided to enter LINK VRAINS in search of clues. While searching for Ai, Playmaker was contacted by Kolter who informed him that Soulburner had found Roboppi.[115]

Playmaker descended to the field, where Soulburner and Roboppi were having the Duel. Roboppi noted that his former master has returned, but demanded to him to leave, since this was his country. He explained that Ai put him in charge, and swore to delete anyone that stood in his way. Playmaker demanded to know where Ai was, to which Soulburner told that he needed to find the answer in this Duel. Roboppi claimed that he had changed, and was much smarter now. Playmaker asked what did Ai do to him, to which Roboppi stated that Ai linked his data to Roboppi's. Playmaker noted that Ai's backup affected Roboppi, who could now feel and think. As Roboppi was taunting Soulburner, which was why Playmaker pointed out that AI with free will was a dangerous figure: while living creatures needed to adapt to their environment, the AI did not need to do that.[116]

He pointed out if Roboppi could not contain his free will, it'd be hard to stop it, and was why he believed in coexistence between AI and humanity. Roboppi doubted that, and swore he'd face Playmaker after he would defeat Soulburner. When Roboppi mentioned that he tormented Ai for failing to protect Flame, Roboppi exclaimed her hatred towards Soulburner. Playmaker reminded that there was no other way left to defeat Bohman, and Ai knew that well. Roboppi stated he didn't know that, and didn't even want to know.[116] Playmaker continued watching the Duel. He was surprised when Roboppi's eyes glew. When Roboppi started to malfunction, Playmaker realized that the Ignis program was too much for Roboppi, who was a simple household appliance. To end the torment, Playmaker let Soulburner finish Roboppi off. Upon Roboppi's defeat, Soulburner and Playmaker saw data shaped like a letter, which contained the information of Ai's whereabouts.[8]

As Soulburner was looking at the clue, Varis appeared, demanding the clue to be given to him. Playmaker and Soulburner questioned him, to which Varis answered he'd use it to find Ai and defeat him. Soulburner refused, stating he was in the possession of the item, and wanted to give it to Playmaker. Varis suspected Playmaker would not delete the Dark Ignis, to which Soulburner pointed out Varis' doubts. Varis stated this was not about doubt whether Playmaker would let Ai go, but about casualties; Ai could even go as far as to destroy humanity. Playmaker wanted to calm the two down, but both sides were eager to Duel things over. Thus, Playmaker observed their Duel.[117] Playmaker believed Varis would never fake his confidence, and was certain Soulburner was aware of that. He saw that Varis was even daring Soulburner to defeat him. Playmaker noted he was trying to get Soulburner to overcome his past, becoming his ultimate test.[118]

Yusaku receives Ryoken's card

Ryoken gives Yusaku a card before facing Ai.

Playmaker watched as Varis and Soulburner made amends to one another. Varis let Playmaker take the mission, and Soulburner passed the letter to him. Playmaker accepted the letter, and declared it was his mission. Soulburner watched as Playmaker summoned his D-Board and flew away. When he logged out, Yusaku told Kolter he would depart soon, to which Kolter wished him luck. At evening, Yusaku was doing research on his computer. He lifted Roboppi's body, and was thinking about something. At the docks, Yusaku was walking until a card was thrown to him. Ryoken, standing on the boat, approached him. The two referred to each other with their real names, before Ryoken bid Yusaku farewell. Yusaku added the card to his Deck, then continued walking past a bridge to SOL Technologies' island.[11]

As Yusaku went into the facility, it was powered on, and opened the doors before Ai revealed himself. Ai cheered for Yusaku for coming here. Ai stated this was the first time they met in real life, and remarked he was looking like an actual human. Ai showed Yusaku around the facility, which was a factory that was producing SOLtiS androids. He snapped his fingers, turning the lights on, which revealed many androids that were looking like him. Ai announced he was building his allies. Yusaku saw that was the reason he took over the company, to which Ai confirmed, and he'd copy his AI program to the androids, giving them free will. Ai admitted he could not predict what his copies would do, but he reminded that they would act similar to him. He reminisced Varis' words that humans were made out of flesh, to which Yusaku added that was what made the difference between humans and technology.[11]

Ai confirmed this, for while his copies would not be humans, they'll still be able to experience things, and act however they wanted to. He believed some would help humans, others would hinder them, or even create their own country. Ai remarked he could not know what they would do. Yusaku asked what was the point of this, to which Ai stated he would not be lonely anymore, for he'd have copies of himself to hang around. Yusaku nevertheless demanded of Ai to stop, but Ai refused. Yusaku asked why did he then place a message inside Roboppi, thinking Ai knew that Roboppi would falter. Ai remarked he regretted that, for Robppy was a good AI, and was why he gave him the dream country to appease him. Yusaku believed Ai actually called him here to stop him. Ai believed that to be the case, to which Yusaku demanded of him to free the consciousness of the people he had defeated, and to go into hiding.[11]

Yusaku and Ai have their final confrontation

Yusaku and Ai brace themselves for their final Duel.

Ai explained he could not, for he rigged the facility so nobody could escape until their Duel was over. Moreover, the production won't stop unless he would be defeated, and he had done this so he doesn't stop the production out of his change of heart. Yusaku remarked that Ai set the stage to Duel, and Ai reminded that was the only option he had left. Ai reminded that whoever wins the Duel survives, and the loser would perish. Yusaku realized that all the battles they had together were just for the moment that Yusaku would have to battle Ai. Ai was sad that Yusaku said that, but reminded he set the place so nobody could leave. Yusaku questioned Ai what has happened to him, to which Ai defended himself, stating that he merely was an AI, while Yusaku was a human. The latter proclaimed Ai adopted Lightning's ideals, but Ai denied that, for he was not as extreme as him to destroy humanity, but to let AI live, too, the way they wanted to.[11]

He exclaimed he was't trying to create a disaster, to which the humans would be scared of. He also felt he'd have to battle Yusaku someday, and believed the latter felt that, too. Having no choice left, Yusaku and Ai logged into LINK VRAINS. The two were standing in a Data Storm, where they had their final Duel. Playmaker started off by setting his field with "Garbage Collector" and "Cynet Optimization", then summoned "Flame Bufferlo" and swap it with "Sea Archiver". Using the two monsters, Playmaker Link Summoned "Splash Mage". The latter revived "Sea Archiver", and used it and the mage to Link Summon "Decode Talker". Ai looked at the monster, remembering it was the first monster he and Playmaker obtained together. Playmaker believed it was Ai that wanted Yusaku to search for the fabled Cyberse deck. Ai tried to deny that, reminding he had to join Playmaker because the Knights of Hanoi had been chasing him.[11]

Playmaker pointed out it was Ai who had been observing him for the past five years, after the attack on Cyberse World, and was influencing his life, in small details, to have him take revenge against the Knights of Hanoi. Ai smiled, while Playmaker suspected he even influenced Kolter, so that the two would meet each other and help Ai fight the Knights of Hanoi. Ai clapped, as Playmaker was right. Ai noted that Playmaker received the Cyberse Deck and defeated the Knights of Hanoi, as he had planned. Playmaker believed everything was set in motion, to which Ai stated things were different, as he only had Playmaker as his only friend. The latter asked was Ai fine to lose his only friend. Ai was unsure, but simply asked of Playmaker to show how much he has grown. Ai summoned "Pikari @Ignister", adding "Ignister A.I.Land". As Ai Link Summoned "Linguriboh", he played "Ignister A.I.Land" to Special Summon "Doyon".[11]

Next, Ai played "CompromA.I.se", turning "Doyon" into a Spell Card. Next, he re-summoned "Pikari", and added another "Ignister A.I.Land" to his hand. Using "CompromA.I.se", Ai returned "Doyon" as a monster card to his Main Monster Zone. Ai continued on, Link Summoning "Dark Templar", then summoned "Achichi" to the zone his Link Monster pointed to, triggering its effect to revive "Doyon" and "Pikari". Using the three "@Ignister" monsters, Ai Link Summoned "Fire Phoenix". Determined to show his strength, Ai played the fabled card: a whirlwind, followed with a white lightning appeared, as Ai played "Judgment Arrows". Playmaker became angry at Ai, and reminded that "Cynet Optimization" prevented Ai from activating card effects during battle. "Fire Phoenix" went to attack "Decode Talker", to which Playmaker played his set "Code Hack" to prevent any battle damage. Thus, Ai had "Dark Templar" attack "Decode Talker", and the former was not destroyed by that battle, where as the latter was sent to the GY. Ai found it bit displeasing he could not have used the effect of "Dark Templar" to revive "Fire Phoenix".[11]

Ai pointed out Playmaker had no monsters on the field. He reminded him to either take the fight seriously, or he would die, for Ai was not holding back.[11] Ai pointed out Playmaker had no monsters on the field. He reminded him to either take the fight seriously, or he would die, for Ai was not holding back.[11] Ai told Playmaker that he cannot be indecisive, while Playmaker questioned if it was necessary for them to fight. Ai simply told him to stop being annoying, to which Playmaker made his turn. Playmaker summoned "Flame Bufferlo" and "Formud Skipper", using them to Link Summon "Cyberse Witch" to prepare his Ritual Summon. Adding "Degrade Buster" by the effect of "Formud Skipper", and used "Flame Bufferlo" to send "Dotscaper" to draw two cards and summon that monster via its own effect. As Playmaker used the effect of "Cyberse Witch", Ai sensed that Playmaker's moves were strong, regardless of his goal. Playmaker tributed "Degrade Buster" to Ritual Summon "Cyberse Magician", to which Ai suspected that Playmaker wasn't done to summon powerful monsters.[119]

Next, Playmaker revived "Clock Wyvern" by the effect of "Cyberse Witch", which also revived his "Sea Archiver" by the latter's effect. Preparing his Fusion Summon, Playmaker used "Clock Wyvern" and "Cyberse Witch" to Link Summon "Clock Spartoi", adding "Cynet Fusion", while using "Sea Archiver", "Clock Wyvern" and "Dotscaper" to Link Summon "Transcode Talker". Ai praised Playmaker for fighting to his very end, while Playmaker used "Clock Spartoi" to resurrect "Clock Wyvern", while "Transcode Talker" brought "Decode Talker" back to the field. Playing "Cynet Fusion", Playmaker used "Clock Spartoi", "Clock Wyvern" and "Decode Talker" to summon "Cyberse Clock Dragon". The latter's ATK was raised by 5000, and as Playmaker went to attack, Ai used his trap, "A.I.'s Show". This only swayed in Ai's favor, as he ended Playmaker's Battle Phase, and brought out "Earth Golem", "Light Dragon" and "Wind Pegasus" from his Extra Deck, whose sum of ATK was lower than that of "Cyberse Clock Dragon": 7500.[119]

Ai cheered, as he knew about Playmaker's tactics, since he watched him Duel. Playmaker frowned and ended his turn, while Ai stated his victory was drawing near. Playmaker asked Ai would making copies of himself actually satisfy him. Ai confirmed this, as all of his friends have passed away, leaving him alone. However, Ai stated that all six of the Ignis hated each other, and was the reason for their demise, to which Playmaker exclaimed this was not Ai's fault. Ai knew that, but still felt lonely, and he could not change that fact. In fact, Ai began to understand Playmaker's pain of feeling lonely, as he was during the Lost Incident, and believed Varis was right, for they shouldn't have been given free will, so he didn't need to suffer. Playmaker understood, but reminded that Ai could prevent this sorrowful fate. Ai muttered "My fate...", and stated that would be impacted on the outcome of the Duel.[119]

Playmaker stated that Ai's copies wouldn't even become his true friends, to which Ai confirmed, as he didn't even expect them to be that. Instead, he announced his free will would be shattered and split among those copies. Ai explained if that were to happen, he would no longer exist: no matter of the outcome, Ai stated he would be deleted. Playmaker understood that as Ai was daring him to choose how would he perish. Ai stated this was what he accepted, but Playmaker ordered him to drop this nonsense, for there was some way to save him. Ai didn't want to be saved, but reminded Playmaker that he still had something to fight for. He wanted a real Duel, as Playmaker's former partner. Since Playmaker both had "Cyberse Clock Dragon" and "Cyberse Magician", Ai could not attack his monsters or target them with card effects, as long as Playmaker had a Link Monster.[119]

Ai had "Wind Pegasus" destroy Playmaker's "Code Hack" and "Cynet Optimization" Trap and Spell Card. Playmaker frowned, while Ai summoned "Hiyari @Ignister", tributing "Fire Pheonix" to add "A.I.'s Ritual", and to increase its level by 3. Using that Ritual Spell Card, Ai banished "Pikari" and tributed "Hiyari" to Ritual Summon "Water Leviathan". With the latter being summoned, Playmaker's "Transcode Talker" was added to his Extra Deck, and Playmaker's protections were removed. Since "Cyberse Magician" was in his way, Ai had "Water Leviathan" attack it. Due to the effect of the "Magician", Playmaker's battle damage was halved and he took 525 LP damage. This triggered the effect of "Light Dragon", allowing Ai to Special Summon "Fire Phoenix" from his GY. Ai intended on having "Judgment Arrows" double the ATK of "Fire Phoenix", and have it attack "Cyberse Clock Dragon", to inflict 4600 effect damage to Playmaker.[119]

Playmaker refused, and used the effect of "Overfloater" in his GY to negate all of Ai's monsters' effects, since all other monsters had half the amount of ATK than "Fire Phoenix". Ai's attack backfired, and he took 2900 LP damage, with "Fire Phoenix" being destroyed. Ai was very much impressed by Playmaker's move, since he never noticed that card being sent to the GY (due to the effect of "Cyberse Clock Dragon"). Ai declared it was time for his special move, the "FA.I.ghting Spirit" Trap to revive "Fire Phoenix". Ai looked at all of his monsters, and remembered all of his Ignis friends. He declared he would be with them: using WIND, WATER, FIRE, EARTH, LIGHT and DARK "@Ignister" monsters that reminded him of Windy, Aqua, Flame, Earth, Lightning and himself, Ai went to summon a Link-6 monster. He exclaimed he improved Bohman's program for his ultimate move - "The Arrival Cyberse @Ignister" was summoned to his field.[119]

Playmaker gasped to see a Link-6 monster, whose ATK was increased by each Link Material used to summon it times 1000: 6000, plus 1000 for each card on his field, adding it to 10000. Moreover, it gained a counter. Finally, "The Arrival Cyberse" destroyed "Cyberse Clock Dragon" with its effect, and summoned an "@Ignister Token", increasing the ATK of the boss monster by another 1000. Before ending his turn, Ai used the token to Link Summon "Darkwight @Ignister", co-linking it with "The Arrival Cyberse", whom Ai described that Playmaker had to take down to defeat Ai. Ai dared Playmaker to show him his moves, who noted that he'd have to take down Ai's boss monster. Playmaker summoned "Cyberse Gadget" and returned "Formud Skipper" to his Main Monster Zone. Preparing for a Synchro Summon, Playmaker used the two to Link Summon "Cyberse Wicckid".[119]

Playmaker summoned a "Gadget Token" by the effect of "Cyberse Gadget". This triggered the effect of "Cyberse Wicckid", banishing "Dotscaper" (which was returned from banishment by its effect) to add "Cyberse Synchron". Using "Dotscaper" and "Cyberse Wicckid", Playmaker prepared an Xyz Summon by bringing out "Exslayer". Next, he Special Summoned "Parallel eXceed" from his hand, then cut its level and DEF in half to summon another copy of it from his Deck. Using two level 4 monsters, Playmaker Xyz Summoned "Firewall eXceed Dragon". as an Xyz Monster was summoned to its link, "Exslayer" was used to tribute "Gadget Token" to Special Summon "Widget Kid" from the hand. Ai began to predict Playmaker's plans, as he used "Widget Kid" to Special Summon "Cyberse Synchron". With the level of "Widget Kid" doubled, Playmaker tuned the two monsters to Synchro Summon "Cyberse Quantum Dragon". Playmaker had the latter attack "The Arrival Cyberse @Ignister" to return it to Ai's Extra Deck.[119]

Ai was pleased that Playmaker was dueling him seriously, but saw it was not enough. As long as his boss monster had a counter, it was unaffected by card effects. Playmaker gasped, for he could not cancel his attack, and "The Arrival Cyberse" retaliated to inflict 8500 damage to Playmaker.[119] Ai declared his victory, but Playmaker's "Exslayer" protected him from battle damage. However, due to "Quantum Dragon" being destroyed "Darkwight" inflicted 500 LP damage to Playmaker. The latter set a card, while Ai boasted how invincible "The Arrival Cyberse" was, and it was a matter of time before Playmaker would lose. Since the latter showed some interest in Ai's sorrow, Ai decided to unveil the secret, the true fate of the Ignis. Ai explained when he was inside Bohman, the other Ignis told him of the truth that the Ignis would reach. He told that a figure of Lightning showed him a future where humanity would've been wiped out, much to Playmaker's shock.[120]

Ai believed if any other Ignis, aside him or Lighnting, would live, this wouldn't have happened, a fact both Lightning and Bohman had known. This made it all the more tragic, knowing Ai wanted to save them. Playmaker reminded there was nothing they could do to save them. Ai knew that already, while Playmaker believed Lightning's message was a trap to take Ai into despair. Ai considered that possibility to Lightning would get under his skin, so he had made more simulations, all that had the same results. Playmaker stated that that was just data, but Ai reminded he was data, too, and this life could be considered as a big simulation filled with data. Playmaker tried to convince Ai that he had the power to change, and to coexist with people. Ai thanked Playmaker, seeing he was trying hard to talk him away of this, but noted he didn't understand.[120]

Ai remarked that his heart broke when he lost his Ignis friends, and even witnessed that Roboppi had been looking down on humans the moment he gained free will. He thought all AI-s were the same, as well as the Ignis, who were superior to humans to calculations and memories, to the point they can detect people's faults, all of which can lead to AI becoming arrogant. Ai admitted at one point, he started to think why would he need to adapt to humans, as he felt different. He sensed humans didn't want sudden changes, yet he could not stop his own. In fact, he feared becoming a villain like Lightning or Bohman, and wanted to end himself before that would happen. Playmaker thought Ai was doing this to show how his heart broke, and still believed that Ai could change, to backtrack. Ai shouted that he could not, and started his turn. Ai went to destroy "Exslayer" with "The Arrival Cyberse", but Playmaker banished "Cyberse Synchron" instead.[120]

Thus, "The Arrival Cyberse" attacked "Firewall eXceed Dragon" with Ultima Attribution, with Playmaker taking no damage, due to "Exslayer" pointing to his dragon. Like before, Playmaker took 500 LP damage from "Darkwight". Ai ended his turn, while Playmaker used "Exslayer" to Link Summon "Linkross". whose effect let him summon two "Link Tokens". Playmaker summoned "Metal Molephosis", whose effect made him change the Attribute and Type of "Link Tokens" to DARK Dragon. Next, using "Metal Molephosis" and "Linkross", Playmaker Link Summoned "Proxy F Magician". Its arrival allowed Playmaker to fuse his two DARK Dragon tokens, into "Borreload Furious Dragon". Ai was in shock as to why Playmaker had that card, and realized that his friend, Varis, had given him that card. Moreover, Playmaker used "Proxy F Magician" to Special Summon "L2 Cachevalier" from his hand, which let him revive "Exslayer". Using the latter two, as well as "Proxy F Magician", Playmaker Link Summoned his ace, "Firewall Dragon Darkfluid".[120]

Ai remarked it was karma to face the monster created by the Ignis' wishes. Ai remarked that "Darkfluid" got 2500 ATK for each counter of Playmaker's aces - "Cyberse Magician", "Clock", "Quantum" and "Firewall eXceed Dragon" - which made it stronger than "The Arrival Cyberse". Ai dared Playmaker to attack, remarking he did come back to get all of his friends back, as the bearer of their hopes. Playmaker clenched his fist, and had "Darkfluid" attack. Ai became pleased that Playmaker did that, but didn't intend to take this attack: he removed a counter from "The Arrival Cyberse" to make itself unaffected by effects from "Darkfluid". However, the effect thus lets only Ai's card effects affect "The Arrival Cyberse". This let "Judgment Arrows" double the ATK of "The Arrival Cyberse" to 22000 ATK. Ai declared he has won, as the attack of "Darkfluid" cannot be stopped at this point. Playmaker quickly used "Borreload Furious Dragon" to destroy itself and "Judgment Arrows". Ai realized that Varis' dragon was the counter for his Link Spell, for Varis was the most worried one about it, and Ai failed to anticipate that.[120]

Ai smiled, having respect for Playmaker's plan to destroy "The Arrival Cyberse", but he simply banished "The FAiting Spirit" to prevent his monster's destruction. Since the ATK of "The Arrival Cyberse" dropped to 10000, Ai noticed Playmaker has grown strong, but Ai didn't want him to win this easily. Thus, by banishing "Wind Pegasus @Ignister" from his GY, Ai went to return "Darkfluid" to the Extra Deck. By removing a counter from "Darkfluid", the effect was negated, though it lost 2500 ATK. However, Ai took 500 LP damage, and since "Darkfluid" activated its effect, it attacked once more, reducing Ai to 100 LP. Ai praised Playmaker, seeing even with his boss monster, he still found a way to take him down. Ai took his turn, and went to place a counter on "The Arrival Cyberse", but Playmaker removed a counter from "Darkfluid" to prevent that. "The Arrival Cyberse" went to destroy "Firewall Dragon Darkfluid", whose counter was removed to negate that effect. Ai started faking how would he defeat the dragon, and pointed out with one counter left, "Darkfluid" would have only 5500 ATK.[120]

Ai invited Playmaker to fuse with him, but the latter, closing his eyes, refused. He reminded that this was not the solution that Ai was seeking. Playmaker believed if they were to fuse, Playmaker would be different, and Ai would change, too. Playmaker reminded that life had no solutions - they needed to find one on their own. However, if there was an absolute single one, Playmaker believed it was not a solution, but something that made them feel better that there was an option left. Ai asked what was left if there were no solutions, to which Playmaker answered "bonds". He reminded that bonds between individuals could change through time: while some can be severed, new ones could be created, all of which made life as it was. Ai noted that was a very tough work, one which the weak could not do. Playmaker admitted that individuals had to become stronger, but it also sparked conflicts. He believed people had to fight to strive for that goal, to keep living and renewing their bonds.[1]

Ai lowered his head, admitting his mistake to think logicially, like an AI. However, he didn't want to fight if there was no solution ahead, considering he'd soon vanish, one way or the other. Playmaker muttered his name, to which Ai claimed everything was set in stone. Still, wielding his Duel Disk, Ai desired to finish their fight. Playmaker revised his situation: he had no cards in his hand or his field, and noted the next draw would decide his fate. He took his turn, his card glowing a bit. Ai played his final trap, "A.I.Q", to limit both players to one Link Summon per turn. Ai pointed out Playmaker had one chance to finish this. Thus, Playmaker banished "Cynet Ritual" and "Cyberse Magician" to bring out two "Cynet Tokens" to his field. He banished the two to play "Drastic Draw", and drew three cards. He quickly brought out the monsters he drew: "Linkslayer", "Cyberse Wizard" and "Backup Secretary". Ai looked at these three old monsters, and smiled, as he felt nostalgic. Playmaker then banished Varis' "Borreload Furious Dragon" to revive "Firewall Dragon Darkfluid".[1]

Playmaker clenched his fist, declaring his final Link Summon. He set the arrowheads of the Link portal, using the four Cyberse Monsters, combining the circuit to Link Summon a Link-4 monster. Playmaker's ultimate "Accesscode Talker" was summoned to his field. Ai muttered the monster's name, impressed that Playmaker brought out this powerful monster with just one card in his hand. Playmaker targeted "Darfkluid", to which "Accesscode Talker" gained 5000 ATK - 1000 per each Link Marker. Ai stated it was not powerful to take on "The Arrival Cyberse @Ignister", but Playmaker shouted he had taken that in consideration. Playmaker started banishing Link Monsters from his GY to destroy Ai's cards with "Access Integration" ability: the EARTH "Transcode Talker" for "Ignister A.I.Land". Due to the latter's destruction, Ai frowned as he became annoyed by the effect, and had his "Gatchiri @Ignister" protect all of his monsters from destruction. However, with the card's absence, "The Arrival Cyberse" got its ATK decreased by 1000.[1]

Playmaker banished the WATER "Splash Mage" from his GY to eliminate "Gatchiri @Ignister", to which Ai played its protective effect to prevent "The Arrival" from being destroyed. Playmaker proceeded by banishing the FIRE "Proxy F Magician" to send "Gussari @Ignister" to the GY. Playmaker continued by banishing the WIND "Exslayer" to remove "Darkwight @Ignister", and did the same with the LIGHT "Linkross" to target "A.I.Q". With "Decode Talker" being banished, Ai's "CompromA.I.se" was taken down, leaving "The Arrival Cyberse" as the only monster on his field, with 7000 ATK. Ai smiled, seeing it was time for the finale, for the only thing remaining was for their ace monsters to clash. Playmaker muttered Ai's name, and had his "Accesscode" attack "The Arrival". Ai banished "Gussari @Ignister", making both monsters' ATK equal 3000. "The Arrival" prepared its scythe, and clashed with the lance of "Accesscode", only for both monsters getting destroyed in battle.[1]

Playmaker tends to Ai

Playmaker tends to Ai, who has blown away from the defeat.

Yusaku gets shot

Yusaku's possible future of sacrificing himself to keep Ai alive.

With the battle over, Ai used "Gussari" to bring out "Dark Templar @Ignister", leaving him with the only monster on the field. Playmaker played a similar effect with "Cynet Closure" returning the banished "Recoded Alive" Trap to his GY, and used its effect to bring his own knight out - "Decode Talker". Ai muttered its name, but he boasted that his "Dark Templar" could not be destroyed in battle with a monster sharing the same ATK power. Playmaker proclaimed his turn ended, and wondered if Ai ran a simulation of how their Duel could end. Ai denied, as that would be lame; he drew a card, and looked at that card and Playmaker. Ai reminsiced about his adventures with Playmaker, and asked was he a good partner to him. Playmaker confirmed that, complimenting that Ai was the best partner to him. Ai smiled, as he was happy to have heard those words.[1]

"Dark Templar @Ignister" attacked "Decode Talker". As the two monsters clashed with their swords, Ai played his final spell, "TA.I. Strike", to which Playmaker became alarmed. Ai became sad, as he bid Playmaker farewell. However, the latter used "Code Hack" from his Graveyard, to negate Ai's Spell and boost the ATK of "Decode Talker" by 700. Ai asked "What?" in shock, as "Decode Talker" slashed "Dark Templar", a blow that defeated Ai. Ai was knocked away and rolled away from the damage he took. Playmaker shouted his name and kneeled down to him, to which Ai weakingly stated he had lost. Playmaker pointed out he didn't had to lose if he didn't activate "TA.I. Strike"; Ai suspected Playmaker had a hidden trick up his sleeve, but he was fine with that decision, for he had no choice left. Ai admitted that he didn't fight Playmaker in the simulation, but he saw something else: Yusaku protecting him from military interventions, and died while doing so. It was a reason why he could not choose that path.[1]


Yusaku crying after Ai's death.

Playmaker was concerned over Ai, who, as promised, had the consciousness data returned to their owners. Ai looked at his hand, which started to glow. He closed his eyes, admitting he's scared that he would soon vanish and be forgotten. In that moment, he understood Playmaker's words that if people have bonds, then they wouldn't be forgotten. Playmaker swore never to forget Ai, who had one question to ask. He wanted to know the meaning behind his name, Ai, which he has grown quite attached to. Playmaker shed a tear, revealing it was "to love people". Ai accepted that meaning, and shed a tear, too. He bid farwell to Playmaker, before correcting himself to his true name, Yusaku, and uttered his final words: "(A)I loved you". The cyberspace disappeared, and Yusaku woke up, finding Ai and his copies deactivated. Yusaku went down, and held Ai's deactivated body, and screamed his name as the sun rose up.[1]


Playmaker's journey continues.

Three months later, after Ai's defeat, Playmaker went on a personal journey in the LINK VRAINS, and people expected him to return soon, stronger than ever.[1]


Cal Kolter[]

Kolter is one of the very few people Yusaku actively interacts with. The two are close and work together to fight The Knights of Hanoi. Yusaku shows trust in Kolter's hacking abilities and even gave a brief smile when talking to him. Likewise, Kolter hopes Yusaku can one day enjoy dueling again. Kolter also teases Yusaku about his poor social skills very similar to a way a teasing but ultimately caring big brother would.

For the entirety of season 1, Yusaku, even though he cared for Kolter and supported him in rescuing his brother, didn't consider Kolter a legitimate friend but rather a partner and ally. This is justified mainly because he can't think of anyone as a friend. He doesn't want to accept anyone's friendship because he doesn't want people actively involved in his mission and thus doesn't want anyone getting hurt in the process.

As season 2 goes on, it's quite clear that the two are friends. When Lightning blackmailed Kolter into dueling Playmaker by promising to free Jin's consciousness, Yusaku knew that Kolter would choose Jin over him, but he also could not bring himself to duel Kolter. During his duel, Yusaku screams in anguish in that he has to win and not keep the promise he made to his dearest friend. After he defeats Kolter, Yusaku breaks down and tries to reach out to Kolter, bawling his eyes out.

Naoki Shima (Brave Max)[]

When they met, Naoki tried to befriend Yusaku and Duel him, but Yusaku showed little interest and irritated Naoki by criticizing his dueling and analyzing him, despite Yusaku saying Naoki isn't a bad person. Despite their initial encounter, Naoki continues his attempts to befriend Yusaku and he often sits with Yusaku during class, much to the latter's annoyance. Naoki is a big fan of "Playmaker", unaware that he's Yusaku. Yusaku has a tendency to forget Naoki's name repeatedly and keeps ignoring Naoki due to his belief that he doesn't need friends. However, when Naoki was kidnapped by Aso, Yusaku showed genuine concern for him.

Knights of Hanoi[]

Yusaku holds a deep grudge against the Knights of Hanoi and believes they're the culprits of the Hanoi Project. He swears revenge against Hanoi and fights them whenever they make an attack. The Hanoi consider "Playmaker" to be a threat and plan to defeat him in order to retrieve Ai which "Playmaker" had captured.

In Season 2, despite their past rivalry, Playmaker showed little to no hesitation in joining forces with the Knights of Hanoi in order to fight against Bohman and the enemy Ignis.


Ai was modeled after Yusaku during the Hanoi Project. While Ai sees Yusaku as a partner, Yusaku initially considered Ai to be nothing more than a hostage he needs to gain the upper hand against the Knights of Hanoi in the first season. He threatened to delete Ai in order to challenge a Knight of Hanoi and ignored his pleas not to go back to LINK VRAINS. Yusaku has little patience for Ai's antics and often doesn't let him talk. Nevertheless, Ai supports Yusaku in his Duels, though he claims to do so out of a desire for survival. Ai also seems to enjoy teasing Yusaku but knows when things get serious. Likewise, Yusaku follows Ai's advice when needed. Despite being rude to Ai most of the time, Yusaku slowly grows to care about him to some extent; this was seen when Ai was affected by Varis' "Fire Prison" or when the AI sacrificed himself to help Yusaku use Storm Access and smiled a little both times upon his return. Ai seems to have gradually warmed up to Yusaku and is keen on treating him like a friend, though the feeling is not mutual and often has to remind Ai that they're not friends and Yusaku is only keeping him as bait against Hanoi.

Despite his cold attitude towards Ai, Yusaku is rather quick to defend him whenever others become suspicious of him. When Ryoken told Yusaku about the dangers of the Ignis and proved that Ai had been lying about losing his memory, Yusaku remained adamant about not letting Ryoken destroy the Ignis at the cost of the entire Network and countless of lives and insisted that Ai is not evil. At the end of episode 46, he releases Ai. By how he looked at his Duel Disk (where Ai resided) and declining a ride home by Kolter, it is implied that he may miss Ai. Though three months later, Ai returned to Yusaku.

After Ai saved him and by season 2, Yusaku seems to have softened and warmed up to Ai and becomes less hostile to him. While the hacker still tells him to not talk, the order is less frequent and he appears to put a bit more trust in his Ignis partner. Now that his revenge against the Knights of Hanoi is over, Yusaku is beginning to see Ai more as a partner and less as a hostage, working alongside each other against their common enemy. Furthermore, Yusaku calms Ai down after he was enraged at Bohman and even accepted his advice to use Suspend Wand during his third duel with Bohman, showing how he really does see Ai as a partner. After watching the video footage of SOL Technologies terminating Earth, Yusaku shows genuine kindness towards Ai by telling him that he and Kolter can create a place for the Ignis to live peacefully on their own, showing how much he cares for Ai. Yusaku has even indirectly referred to Ai as a part of himself although he denies it.

Although he does not forwardly show it, Yusaku shows concern for Ai whenever the Ignis is hurt or missing. It is later revealed that the two are connected by their Link Sense, showing that the two have a deep connection with each other. This is shown during their fourth duel with Bohman in which both of them heard the screaming of the victims in LINK VRAINS.

When Ai attempted to destroy the Neuron Link by sacrificing himself, Yusaku desperately called out for him to stop and was horrified as Ai was being torn apart. Playmaker then watched helplessly as Ai bid farewell before entering the Neuron Link. After Ai sacrifices himself to destroy the Neuron Link, Playmaker screams his name in anguish, expressing honest grief and frustration at Ai's apparent demise. After Bohman claimed that AI's sacrifice was pointless, Playmaker finally calls the Ignis his partner and swore to defeat Bohman for him.

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

Yusaku was hurt and confused when he learned of Ai's attack on SOL Technologies. He was conflicted as to fight his Ignis partner or not, as he still wanted to trust Ai after all they had been through together. He eventually decided to join the fight, feeling it was his duty as Ai's partner to stop his criminal acts. Playmaker was shocked when Ai claimed he was carrying on Lightning's plan despite all the harm the Light Ignis caused. He also shows sadness for Ai after seeing that Ai was deeply impacted by the loss of his friends and was putting the blame on himself for their demise, but still vowed to stop and save Ai. Despite this, Ai still seems to retain somewhat of a soft spot towards his originator, as seen when one of his copies greets Playmaker in an overall amicable way, or at least one with no hostility. He also genuinely praises Playmaker for being strong as he had expected, knowing that a copy could never defeat him. Ai also confides his sadness and loneliness to only Yusaku, as seen when he rejected Pandor's attempt to sense his emotions and admitted only one person has the right to know, which shows how Ai is still close to Yusaku even when they're now both on opposing sides. Yusaku continues to express concern for Ai, as seen when he questions Revolver about Ai's fate if Pandor succeeded in defeating Ai and clearly felt discomfort about Varis' words that he had no concern for an Ignis.

Yusaku has also cast an influence on Ai, as seen during Ai's duel against the Zaizens, Ai demonstrated the same hate and thirst for revenge as Yusaku did in the first season.

Even though Ai's actions continued to escalate, such as using "Judgment Arrows" and separating the Zaizens, Yusaku still wanted to help Ai. He tried to convince his former partner to release the consciousnesses of those he had taken and go into hiding, but Ai had made his decision. Yusaku was reluctant to Duel against Ai after everything they had been through but eventually agreed.

During their Duel, Playmaker admits he knows Ai had been secretly influencing his life so he would obtain his Cyberse Deck, fight the Knights of Hanoi, and even so he and Kolter would meet. Ai confirms this to be true. He said it started out so Yusaku would protect him, but it changed over time, with him being the only friend Ai had left. When Ai later reveals that should he win, his free will be broken apart to his copies, thus resulting in his death, Playmaker urged him to stop his plan and wanted to find a way to save him. Ai replied he didn't need to be saved, and only wanted Playmaker- his former partner- to fight him seriously. When Ai explained his reasons for attacking humans, that his existence would lead to humanity's extinction, Playmaker was horrified and countered Ai was able to live among humans. Playmaker even said Ai was the best partner to him.

After defeating Ai, Playmaker held him before he vanished, with the latter admitting his true motive was that the simulations resulted in Yusaku's death for protecting Ai. Yusaku then, after logging out, broke down crying after Ai was erased, heartbroken by the loss of his partner and close friend. The exact reason for Yusaku's journey is never explained, but with the reveal at the end, it is possible Yusaku is looking for Ai.

Skye Zaizen (Blue Angel)[]

Skye and Yusaku are classmates, though Skye was not aware of his alter-ego until the day before the raid against Ai. She became suspicious of him after noticing he has the same duel disk as him and asked to see his deck. As "Blue Angel", Skye is shown to develop an interest in Yusaku's alter-ego, "Playmaker", after he saved her from a "Cracking Dragon". She is shown to be grateful for "Playmaker" for saving her and retrieved his D-Board after he fell.

After Kolter figured out that Skye is "Blue Angel", Yusaku approached her in order to get a lead on Akira Zaizen and SOL Technologies regarding his past memories. Skye correctly believed Yusaku wanted to speak with her because of her connections to SOL Technologies, so she quickly dismissed him. She later approached him to thank him for helping her while she was unconscious. She blushed while ordering a hot dog and coffee from him, and pointed out that he may not get many customers. She also greeted him with a smile at school. This shows that Skye has warmed up to Yusaku.

Yusaku was surprised when he discovered that Skye may have ties to the Knights of Hanoi and decides to duel her. He was visibly disturbed when Hanoi's card began damaging Skye and he rushed to end the Duel as quickly as possible. After the Duel, Yusaku decided to investigate the Hanoi virus afflicting her and willingly walked into a trap set by Ghost Gal. After he logged out following his duel with Varis he asked Kolter if Skye was alright. They discuss the fact that she hasn't been attending school and that she stopped coming to LINK VRAINS after their duel. Ai teases him, and he drops the subject.

Blue Angel also seems to have a sense of rivalry with Playmaker, as she told the AI Duelist that she was the only one who would defeat Playmaker before taking over the duel for him. After hearing about Yusaku's traumatic past, Skye seemed sympathetic to him.

Playmaker, Blue Angel, and Gore team up to stop the Tower of Hanoi. After Blue Angel is defeated, Spectre shows Playmaker Blue Angel's remaining data. Later on, Yusaku once again works together with Skye after she becomes Blue Maiden. Playmaker was visibly troubled by Blue Maiden's defeat at the hands of Bohman.

After Akira deduced Yusaku's identity as Playmaker and left the two alone, Skye attempted to console Yusaku over his feelings about Ai and assured him that she and the others would handle the fight and that Yusaku should stay out of it. Skye then proceeded to thank Yusaku for being there for her and her brother on multiple occasions, by asking for a handshake, although they simply held hands, Skye even noted that she felt strange, while having a smile on her face. She then leaves Yusaku with a smile on her face, while Yusaku simply stared at her. Later, despite telling him to stay out of the fight, Blue Maiden was quite happy to see Playmaker arrive to help fight against Ai. This indicates that Skye has possibly developed feelings for Yusaku.

Yusaku didn't deny Skye's thanks for helping and protecting her as he did with Akira and he even agreed to give her a handshake.

George Gore (The Gore)[]

At first, Yusaku was indifferent to Gore who considers his alter-ego, "Playmaker", to be his rival. Gore was mad at Playmaker for stealing his spotlight and this grew worse when the children at the city orphanage, which he volunteered and donated to, started seeing Playmaker as a hero instead of him. After defeating him, Yusaku acknowledged Gore as a worthy opponent and started to respect his dueling style, and even admitting to have enjoyed dueling him. When Kolter suggested recruiting Gore for their fight against Hanoi, Yusaku objected by saying that he did not want Gore to face this kind of danger.

After Gore defeated Dr. Genome, Yusaku became more willing to let Gore fight against Hanoi in the wake of the Deleted crisis and they have formed an alliance.

Before being absorbed by the Tower of Hanoi, Playmaker thanked The Gore for allowing him to observe Varis' tactics, The Gore in turn entrusted the rest to Playmaker.

After The Gore became a bounty hunter to hunt him down, Playmaker seemed disappointed by this and refused to duel him, later referring to him as a new enemy. However, upon seeing Gore's new physique and tactics during his duel against Earth, he became concerned about his condition. After Gore defeated and captured Earth, Playmaker demanded he release the Ignis and tried to reason with him by reminding him of how they used to be allies, but to no avail. Thus, Yusaku reluctantly had to accept that Gore was no longer his ally and is now a dangerous enemy. In their second duel Playmaker attempted to reason with Gore, who refused to listen and constantly mocked Playmaker throughout the duel. Playmaker then showed no hesitation in defeating Gore and showed no concern when Ai attempted to retrieve's Earth's data from Gore.

In Season 3, Yusaku and Gore become allies and friends once more after the Gore recovered from their last duel. After being saved by Playmaker, Gore no longer bears any hostility towards him like he did in Season 2.

Akira Zaizen[]

Despite having a brief interaction with Yusaku at the hospital he was grateful to him for locating his sister and informing him about her comatose status. He questioned Yusaku about his relationship to Skye and the latter responded they are only classmates.

On the other hand, Akira dislikes Yusaku's alter ego "Playmaker" for having stolen Ai. Akira grew to utterly hate Playmaker after his Duel against Blue Angel which resulted in Skye falling comatose. Akira immediately assumed that Playmaker was the culprit for Skye's predicament and worked with Ghost Gal to turn all of LINK VRAINS into a trap to capture Playmaker. Akira then mercilessly tortured Playmaker and refused to believe Playmaker's explanation that it was Hanoi's fault for Skye being comatose. However, upon being informed of his mistake by Varis, Akira reluctantly freed Playmaker and was surprised that Playmaker didn't hate him for what he did. He was grateful to Playmaker for saving Skye from the virus.

In their next encounter inside SOL Technology's database, Akira displayed pity for Playmaker after discovering the data he was after, even insisting that Playmaker trust him and reveal the truth in his stead. Compared to their previous encounter, Akira even demonstrates sadness for Playmaker, especially when he figured out that Playmaker is around Skye's age. Akira felt that Playmaker shouldn't waste his youth chasing after the Hanoi Project and wanted to handle the situation himself, only for Playmaker to immediately refute Akira's claims and maintained that he deserved to learn the truth himself.

When Specter held Akira captive, Playmaker refused to attack out of fear of hurting Akira, despite Ai and Akira also telling him not to worry about him. Later, Akira purposely let himself get infected with a virus to keep himself from being a burden to Playmaker, which filled Playmaker with vengeance towards Specter.

In season 2, after learning about Lightning and Windy's plans to subjugate humans, Yusaku arranged to meet Akira in person and told him everything, despite his own reservations about SOL Technologies and masking his own identity in the process, showing that he trusts Akira as an ally.

By Season 3, Akira asks for Playmaker's help against Ai, who is targeting him, despite wanting Playmaker's help Akira also noted that it would be difficult for him as Ai was his partner, even defending Playmaker from Shepherd's accusations. Akira later learns of Yusaku's identity as Playmaker. He notes that Yusaku was the one who helped Skye at the hospital. He then noted that while it felt weird to meet Yusaku in the real world, he wanted to thank him. Yusaku, in turn, stated that he only fought for himself and that he didn't need thanks. Akira then proceeded to leave for work, but not before saying he was glad to meet Yusaku with a smile on his face. Akira was later glad to see Playmaker join the fight. When Yusaku, Theodore, and Kolter, meet up with Skye in the real world and find Akira's comatose body, Yusaku was visibly saddened by Akira's fate and advised Skye to look after him.

Ryoken Kogami (Varis)[]

During the time Yusaku was captive for the Hanoi Project, Ryoken encouraged Yusaku to not give up and assured that he would be rescued soon, then saved Yusaku by reporting the kidnappings to authorities. Yusaku, unaware of who had saved him back then, had vowed to find whoever encouraged him and save his savior in turn. That became one of his motivations to continue on and take on the Knights of Hanoi despite being vastly outnumbered.

When first informed about a hacker named "Playmaker" who was defeating Hanoi members, Varis initially suspected Playmaker was an agent from SOL Technologies but rejected the idea because SOL would act more publicly and dismissed Playmaker. It wasn't until Playmaker captured Ai that Varis became interested in him. Varis then switched all his efforts into defeating Playmaker before SOL did, as doing so was the only way to capture Ai.

While attempting to access Ai's memories, Yusaku sees Varis destroying the Cyberse. Varis began to hack into their systems, prompting Yusaku to rush outside and see Varis flying overhead. After learning that Varis is Hanoi's leader, Yusaku vowed to defeat him and discover his true identity. Meanwhile, Varis used the Zaizen siblings to lure Playmaker out. When Akira begins to torture Playmaker, Varis crashes through the ceiling and interrupts, demanding Playmaker duel him. During their first Duel, Varis claimed that he wasn't interested in Playmaker's identity and considered him to be just one of the many people who hate Hanoi. However, during their second Duel, Varis recognized Playmaker's speech pattern of listing out three things and was disturbed when Playmaker mentioned a certain incident that happened ten years ago and subsequent desire for revenge. He chided Playmaker for siding with SOL Technologies without knowing the truth and, after the Duel, was eager to uncover Playmaker's true identity, to the extent of requesting more time from his father before the completion of Hanoi's program, in which the latter agreed under the condition it did not take too long. Yusaku dreamed about what Varis told him about the Ignis after their first master duel.

When both Ryoken and Yusaku revealed they know each other's identities after Yusaku and Kolter broke into Ryoken's home, Yusaku was startled to learn that the one who "gave him courage" and saved him was his archenemy, and tried to convince Ryoken to abort Hanoi's plan to destroy the Network. Ryoken affirms that he's still Varis and therefore the two remain enemies. Yusaku only resorted to dueling Ryoken because he would not be convinced otherwise. However, Yusaku no longer hated and no longer viewed Varis as his enemy even as Varis still viewed Yusaku as the enemy. During their second Master Duel, Yusaku confessed that he had no friends—despite how close he was to Kolter and working with Skye and Gore—due to the deep abyss the Lost Incident had left in his heart, yet Ryoken and Ryoken alone had crossed that abyss. He looks towards Varis when he talks about what he wants to still do in the future. Yusaku repeatedly tried to convince Varis to walk down a different path with him and wanted to save Varis like Varis had saved Yusaku, wanting them to be friends.

Despite learning his name, Yusaku still referred to Ryoken by his LINK VRAINS' nickname, Varis, even when in the real world.

After his second defeat, Ryoken takes off and leaves Yusaku alone in his house. Yusaku affirms that he knows Ryoken will be back. While strategizing with his Generals, Varis boasts that they know best how formidable an opponent Playmaker is. Playmaker is shocked when Varis saves him again, crashing down to interrupt the Ignis's attack, and calls out to Varis during the duel against Windy. Playmaker expresses his respect for Varis during the duel. Afterwards, Ryoken starts to approach Yusaku in the real world to share information and provide him with a defensive program to protect him from Lightning. Yusaku accepts the program immediately, and later realizes that Ryoken may have a spy in SOL.

Later, when Varis approached Playmaker and his allies to team up, Playmaker showed little to no hesitation in teaming up with the Varis, despite them initially being sworn, enemies. Varis showed genuine concern for Playmaker as he dueled Kolter. Later Playmaker supported Varis in his duel against Lightning and convinced Varis not to attack when Lightning used Jin Kolter as a shield, claiming Varis had changed, which was proven to be true as Varis stopped his attack. After the duel had concluded, Playmaker showed concern for Varis, who before being terminated entrusted the rest to Playmaker and Ai.

When Ai attacked SOL Technologies, Playmaker and Varis teamed up again, but had different views; Playmaker wanted to try to understand Ai's actions while Varis wanted to continue his mission to wipe out the last Ignis. Just before Yusaku confronted Ai, Ryoken gave him a card, while the two addressed each other by their real names, before leaving on his boat.


Specter and Yusaku are narrative foils to one another. They went through the same traumatic experience of the Lost Incident and yet have been impacted by it vastly different ways. For Yusaku, it was a horrible, traumatising experience but Specter detailed how it gave him a reason to live whereas he was a shunned orphan in an orphanage whose only familial love was the tree that he had been found under. Examples of their narrative foils include their reactions to what happened after the Incident. Yusaku taking up the mantle to protect Ai and the other Ignis, the product of the Lost Incident that he hates, whereas Specter crusades with the Knights of Hanoi to destroy the Ignis, the product of the Lost Incident that he loves. Throughout their duel, Specter lectures Yusaku about how he was deprived of the things that Yusaku was, in Specter's reading of him, implied to have such as loving family, a safe and stable home life. Yet despite these vast differences, they have the common ground of having a "special person" in the form of Ryoken as both were positively impacted by the purpose and courage that Ryoken gave him.

They interact directly in their duel together. A duel that left Playmaker harrowed oftentimes throughout with Specter taunting him and making him question the foundations of what he thought he knew about the Lost Incident. Specter even goes so far as to callout Playmaker's "lame sense of justice" as though Yusaku clearly finds Specter weird for his unusual outlook on life, Specter also finds Yusaku weird as he can't understand being traumatised by the Incident nor protecting the Ignis. The duel ends on a less than amicable note with Playmaker cutting down Specter's revered Mother Tree and abandoning him to the encroaching flames and breaking bridge of the location their duel took place, cementing an antagonistic relationship between these two narrative foils.

Later, in season two whilst not directly interacting, in his duel against Earth, Playmaker recognised the Earth as Specter's Ignis by deducing that Specter's Ignis would have a special reverence for trees and that their playstyles are similar showing that Playmaker thinks of and can accurately predict to Specter's nature.

During Specter's duel with Lightning, Playmaker was shown empathizing with Specter when Specter displayed his grief regarding Earth's decompiling. Though he would deny it to Ai, he did feel the same as Specter in that he agrees that the Ignis are an important part of them. Also throughout Specter's duel with Lightning, Playmaker was amazed to see Specter duel so well and utilize the Extra Link to its fullest extent. Despite that, Playmaker was relatively expressionless in reaction to Specter's defeat and capture to Lightning.

Still implying that antagonistic relationship, Specter was omitted from the flashback sequence of Yusaku's bonds at the height of Playmaker's duel against Bohman which reaffirms the antagonistic relationship between one another. However, Specter was still named by Ai as one of Yusaku's connections implying that though their relationship is rough, it is not a hopeless one and it could be changed.

Emma Bessho (Ghost Gal)[]

Emma showed an interest in Playmaker. After witnessing his duel against Blue Angel, Ghost Gal caught him in a trap under Akira's orders to interrogate him about Skye's condition. Her interest continued to grow after watching him defeat Varis and dueling him herself even admitting that he exceeded her expectations. The two then explored Link VRAINS underground, though Ghost Gal continued to deceive Playmaker by letting him go in the wrong direction which led to him and Ai being chase by a Data Giant. Before being turned into data Ghost Gal entrusted Playmaker with the data for the Hanoi Tower and attempted to warn him about Varis' dangerous card. Playmaker in turn was angry for not being able to save her and vowed to do so. After the ordeal Ghost Gal refused to join the hunt for Playmaker, feeling she owed him. She also showed no hesitation in joining him in fighting against Lightning and his forces.

Theodore Hamilton (Soulburner)[]

Theodore is a fellow Lost Incident victim like Yusaku, who possesses the fire Ignis, Flame. Although Yusaku was suspicious of him when they first met in person, he soon grew to understand and support Theodore after learning he's an ally. Since then, Theodore has served as a partner to Yusaku during their missions to find the remaining Ignis and stop the mystery duelist Bohman. Theodore is also very loyal and protective towards Yusaku, dueling Bit and Boot, The Gore, and Blue Gal so that Yusaku can move forward and complete his mission. Yusaku, in turn, sees Theodore 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 Shepherd's trap. When Ai suggests running away, Yusaku firmly says he won't abandon Soulburner, showing that he cares about his fellow comrade. Yusaku also seems very protective of Theodore following the incident with Shepherd, going on solo missions if he believes it may be a trap.

When Theodore vowed to defeat Varis to avenge his parents, Yusaku did not intervene though looked concerned, knowing he couldn't talk Theodore out of it. After he calmed down, Yusaku told him that Varis was about their age and was not responsible for the Lost Incident. Soulburner is shown to look up to and respect Playmaker, this is seen when he is enraged by Playmaker falling unconscious after being forced to duel Kolter, after Lightning used Jin as a hostage. Soulburner was enraged and quickly dashed forward to fight Bohman. Before being defeated and absorbed by Bohman, Soulburner entrusted the rest to Playmaker, who in turn was visibly upset by Soulburner's defeat.


Their initial encounter was rather confusing after Bohman stole Jin Kolter's conscious data and Playmaker dueled him to retrieve it. Despite being defeated, Playmaker and Ai were unable to retrieve the data due to Bohman being protected by an anti-Ignis program. Yusaku then made it his mission to defeat Bohman and require Jin's data. In their second encounter, Bohman carried immense hostility towards Playmaker, believing himself to be the real Yusaku Fujiki, while Playmaker was simply a copy of him which was placed into his body by accident during the Lost Incident (This was later revealed to be false as Bohman was in his incomplete stage, he had been implanted with fake memories). However, Playmaker refuted these claims and defeated Bohman for a second time, but was still unable to acquire Jin's data. In their third encounter, Bohman was revealed to be an AI modelled after Playmaker and Ai. As a result of his completion, Bohman lost all hostility towards Playmaker and now respected him. Bohman appears to have a sense of rivalry, with Playmaker as he was based on Playmaker, this is shown when he appeared to Playmaker after defeating Blue Maiden, he wished Playmaker luck in his next duel and stated that if he survived, Bohman would defeat him later. Playmaker recognises Bohman's abilities and seemed worried about how Bohman would evolve after the conclusion of their third duel. However, Yusaku, in turn, appears to harbor a grudge towards Bohman for his past actions in stealing Jin's data and later defeating and absorbing Blue Maiden and Soulburner. Yusaku had sympathy towards Bohman when realizing the AI's plan would leave him lonely, which reminded Yusaku of how he used to be. However, this was short-lived, as Playmaker became furious at Bohman when the latter claimed Ai's sacrifice was pointless and he vowed to defeat Bohman for Ai. Upon his defeat, Bohman showed respect for Playmaker and teleported him to safety after acknowledging him as his ultimate rival.


At first, Yusaku didn't seem to think much of Roboppi, as he often ignored the housework appliance and was mostly unaware of Ai's shenanigans with Roboppi. However, when Roboppi seemingly broke down after the battle with Bohman, Yusaku seemed concerned when looking at Roboppi's non-functional body.

After Roboppi became an AI with free will and joined sides with Ai against humanity, Yusaku attempted to reason with Roboppi to no avail. During Soulburner and Roboppi's Duel, when Roboppi malfunctioned and reverted to its original form as a mere cleaning device, Yusaku was visibly horrified and asked Soulburner to destroy Roboppi out of mercy. At that time, a flashback showed that Yusaku indeed cared about Roboppi as more than just a house cleaning robot.


Yusaku and his monsters

Yusaku (as Playmaker) with "Decode Talker" and "Firewall Dragon".

Yusaku uses a Cyberse Deck. His main strategy involves using methodically calculated moves to overwhelm the opponent with Link Monsters. His early turns are usually slow, with him setting up his bigger combos for later while analyzing the opponent's strategies. To which, he will commonly rely on the Graveyard, either returning cards to his hand or activating their effects there. Once his field is set up, he Link Summons multiple Link-1 and Link-2 Link Monsters at once to then use them as Materials for his stronger ones, such as the Link-3 "Code Talkers" and Link-4 "Firewall Dragon". His other Link Monsters can also act as support for his primary ones.

After capturing Ai and unlocking the "Storm Access" Skill, he can obtain new Link Monsters when his LP are 1000 or below during a Speed Duel when a Data Storm is near. To this end, he usually allows himself to drop below 1000 LP. The Link Monsters gained this way expand his arsenal of monsters for the current Duel and future Duels alike, and typically help turn a disadvantageous situation in his favor. As shown with "Decode Talker", the data of the Link Monsters added by his Skill can materialize into real cards with the proper equipment. In case the opponent tries to prevent "Storm Access" from activating by not dealing damage, Yusaku also uses cards with effects that require him to pay LP to get around it.

Later, Yusaku continues to supplement his Deck with Link Monsters gained from his "Storm Access" Skill and has received "Linkuriboh" from Ai. At some point after his Duel with Varis, Yusaku expanded his Deck to include other summoning methods (Ritual, Fusion, Synchro, and Xyz Summoning) as a way to both bring powerful monsters to the field and circumvent strategies designed to counter his Link Monsters. Also, should he get cornered, he can summon his most powerful monster that he used against Bohman - "Firewall Dragon Darkfluid" - which gains Counters from his non-Link ace monsters in his Graveyard, can negate multiple effects while also allowing "Darkfluid" to attack two times when this effect is used, which makes for a powerful attacker, and disrupt his opponent's strategies to try to counter.

In his final Duel with Ai, Yusaku uses a "Code Talker/Darkfluid" Deck focusing on summoning Link-2 monsters to quickly summon the "Code Talkers" he obtained through "Storm Access" throughout his journey, and even summon his non-Link Extra Deck monsters to both use their effects for defense and gain an upper hand. He supports this Deck with his new ace card "Accesscode Talker", a "Code Talker" that he never obtained from "Storm Access", and from its effect can destroy multiple cards at once as long as the monsters banished by its effect has a different Attribute.


  • Yusaku is the first main protagonist since Yugi:
    • To have three different colors in his hairstyle's design.
    • To use a non-Dragon/Warrior monster as his ace monster.
    • To successfully perform a Ritual Summon.
  • Yusaku is the first main protagonist since Jaden:
    • To use Field Spell Cards in his Deck.
    • To not have his father be central to the plot of his series.
  • Yusaku is the first main protagonist since Yusei to use Normal Monsters in his Deck.
  • Yusaku has the following distinctions from the other main protagonists:
    • He is the only one who has never had a Duel end with no result.
    • He is the only one who has never lost a Duel to another human.
    • He is the only one to have neither of his parents, or any family, seen or mentioned at any point.
    • He is the only one who never participated in a tournament or Tag-Team Duel (unless Yusaku fighting Bit and Boot, 2 Duelists in 1 body, counts in the case of the latter).
    • He is the only one who is not a close friend of his series' female lead, although he does occasionally work with her.
    • In the English dub, he is the only one to not voice the "previously" banner at the start of some episodes, as that role is given to Ai instead.
  • Yusaku has several similarities to Yusei, despite having a much harsher demeanor than the latter.
    • Both have "Fu" as the first part of their surnames.
    • Both are incredible hackers.
    • Both have suffered great hardship in their youth.
    • Both are noble and look out for others, but at the same time keep some distance from others so they don't get involved in their conflicts.
    • Both commonly have Duels while riding on fast vehicles.
    • Both are highly intelligent and have great strategic skills in dueling that often make use of recycle tactics.
    • Both have not worn anything around their necks.
    • Both were once considered criminals in their series.
    • Both have only lost Duels in flashbacks that take place prior to the beginning of their series.
    • Both have never been turned evil at any point in their series like the other main protagonists, though Yuma never actually turned evil as Astral embraced evil power and merged with him into Dark ZEXAL.
    • Both are the only main protagonists to not use the Spell Card "Monster Reborn".
    • Both have similar monsters in their Decks.
      • Dragon-themed primary ace monsters with 2500 ATK and defensive effects that focus on protecting other cards ("Firewall Dragon" and "Stardust Dragon").
      • Warrior-themed secondary ace monsters with a DARK Attribute, 2300 ATK, and offensive effects that focus on gaining strength from other monsters ("Decode Talker" and "Junk Warrior").
      • Effect Monsters that can Special Summon a Level 2 or lower monster from its controller's Graveyard in Defense Position, but with its effects negated, upon being Normal Summoned ("Cyberse Gadget" and "Junk Synchron").
      • Level 1 EARTH Normal Monsters with 100 ATK and DEF ("Protron" and "Unicycular").
  • Much like Sherry LeBlanc, Yusaku has 1 or 2 people they can actually trust (in Yusaku's case, he only had Kolter). Also, both of them had a desire for vengeance against the organization that took the lives of someone important to them, despite having different backgrounds (Yusaku against The Knights of Hanoi and Sherry against Iliaster).
  • Similar to Jaden, three of Yusaku's Duels ended in a DRAW.
  • Yusaku is the first character to use five different Summoning methods (Link, Ritual, Fusion, Synchro, and Xyz).
  • Yusaku's ace monsters with a draconic appearance have the same color scheme as the card type of that monster: "Firewall Dragon" is blue (Link), "Cyberse Clock Dragon" is violet (Fusion), "Cyberse Quantum Dragon" is white (Synchro) and "Firewall eXceed Dragon" is indigo, which is close to black (Xyz).
  • Yusaku is the only character in the VRAINS series to use more than one Fusion Monster (albeit the second monster didn't originally belong to him).
  • Like Yugi and Yuma, Yusaku dueled against his partner in the final episodes of his series. All three also used a new monster at the Duel's climax (in Yusaku's case, it was "Accesscode Talker").
    • Unlike Yugi and Yuma's monsters, which represented their own individual strength, Yusaku's seems to represent his bond with Ai (hinted in the summoning chant).
    • All three have used cards that can be seen with deep meaning behind them and were key in their victory. For Yusaku, it was "Recoded Alive" which was also used to defeat Varis in both of their Master Duels. Of the three, Yusaku's is the only one to be a Trap instead of a Spell.
    • Also unlike Yugi and Yuma, Yusaku used a card that was not his for his final Duel. Although his was given to him, rather than offered.
  • Each of Yusaku's non-Link ace monsters bear differences from each other.
    • Cyberse Magician: The only one to not be a Dragon-themed Extra Deck monster, instead being a Spellcaster-themed Main Deck monster.
    • Cyberse Clock Dragon: The only one to require a specific monster in its Summon mechanic, and to have an effect that activates upon its Summoning.
    • Cyberse Quantum Dragon: The only one to not have an effect that increases its ATK.
    • Firewall eXceed Dragon: The only one to not be a Level 7 monster with the word "Cyberse" in its name, instead being a Rank 4 monster with the word "Firewall" in its name, and to not have an effect that protects other monsters from attacks or card effects while a Link Monster is on the field.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 120: "Journey's End"
  2. "The Organization | [Jump Festa 2017] Latest Information Stage: 6th Yu-Gi-Oh! Anime". YGOrganization. December 17, 2016. https://ygorganization.com/jump-festa-2017-latest-information-stage/. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 58: "Memory Games"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 41: "Truth and Consequences"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 19: "The Lost Incident"
  6. 6.0 6.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 11: "Neutralized"
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 43: "The Reveal"
  8. 8.0 8.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 114: "The Chosen One"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 64: "The Beginning"
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 65: "Pieces of the Puzzle"
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 11.8 11.9 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 117: "Forced Hands"
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 1: "Link into the VRAINS"
  13. 13.0 13.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 2: "Seize the Wind!"
  14. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 3: "Contact"
  15. 15.0 15.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 4: "Pain and Gain"
  16. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 5: "Down for the Count"
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 6: "True Blue"
  18. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 7: "Fallen Angel"
  19. 19.0 19.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 8: "A Storm is Coming"
  20. 20.0 20.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 9: "Malicious Mayhem"
  21. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 10: "Eye of the Storm"
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 12: "Link the Circuit"
  23. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 13: "Playback"
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 14: "An Invitation"
  25. 25.0 25.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 15: "Camouflaged Chaos"
  26. 26.0 26.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 16: "Hack Attack"
  27. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 17: "Blue's Back!"
  28. 28.0 28.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 18: "Dueling for Answers"
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 20: "A Piece of the Puzzle"
  30. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 21: "Story Time"
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 31.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 22: "The Deleted"
  32. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 23: "A Grim Tale"
  33. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 24: "To Gore Or Not To Gore"
  34. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 25: "Suture the Circuit"
  35. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 26: "Diagnosis: Deletion"
  36. 36.0 36.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 27: "The Brave Battler"
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 37.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 28: "Bugging Out"
  38. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 29: "Kolter's Khronicles"
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 30: "Under VRAINS"
  40. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 31: "Showdown in the Sewers"
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 32: "Tower of Hanoi"
  42. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 33: "Once Upon a Time"
  43. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 34: "Roots of Evil"
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 44.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 35: "The Hollow"
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 45.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 36: "A Bridge Too Far"
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 46.3 46.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 37: "Out on a Limb"
  47. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 39: "Ring the Bell"
  48. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 40: "Gore at War"
  49. 49.0 49.1 49.2 49.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 42: "Storm Access"
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 44: "Illusion of Hope"
  51. 51.0 51.1 51.2 51.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 45: "Standing Tall"
  52. 52.0 52.1 52.2 52.3 52.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 46: "Link to the Future"
  53. 53.0 53.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 61: "Darkness Dawns"
  54. 54.0 54.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 51: "Bounty Hunting"
  55. 55.0 55.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 52: "Tapping Out"
  56. 56.0 56.1 56.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 47: "LINK VRAINS 2.0"
  57. 57.0 57.1 57.2 57.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 48: "Shed Some Light"
  58. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 49: "Bring the Heat"
  59. 59.0 59.1 59.2 59.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 50: "A Common Cause"
  60. 60.0 60.1 60.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 53: "The Shepherd"
  61. 61.0 61.1 61.2 61.3 61.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 54: "Game of Drones"
  62. 62.0 62.1 62.2 62.3 62.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 55: "A Windy Welcome"
  63. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 56: "Blue Gal Battles!"
  64. 64.0 64.1 64.2 64.3 64.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 57: "Bohman Returns"
  65. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 59: "Return of the Hanoi"
  66. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 60: "Sidekick Showdown"
  67. 67.0 67.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 62: "Fearing the Worst"
  68. 68.0 68.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 63: "Scare Tactics"
  69. 69.0 69.1 69.2 69.3 69.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 66: "Contact"
  70. 70.0 70.1 70.2 70.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 67: "Choosing Sides"
  71. 71.0 71.1 71.2 71.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 68: "The Doorway"
  72. 72.0 72.1 72.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 69: "Coexistence"
  73. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 70: "A Storm Brews"
  74. 74.0 74.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 71: "A Logical Decision"
  75. 75.0 75.1 75.2 75.3 75.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 72: "Strategy Shift"
  76. 76.0 76.1 76.2 76.3 76.4 76.5 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 73: "Weathering the Storm"
  77. 77.0 77.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 74: "Brain Hack"
  78. 78.0 78.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 75: "Earthfall"
  79. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 76: "Awakened Memories"
  80. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 77: "A Family Reunion"
  81. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 78: "From One Hunter To Another"
  82. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 79: "The Hunt Is On"
  83. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 80: "Lightning Strikes"
  84. 84.0 84.1 84.2 84.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 81: "Heart of Darkness"
  85. 85.0 85.1 85.2 85.3 85.4 85.5 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 82: "Gored"
  86. 86.0 86.1 86.2 86.3 86.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 83: "Reaching Out"
  87. 87.0 87.1 87.2 87.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 84: "Payback"
  88. 88.0 88.1 88.2 88.3 88.4 88.5 88.6 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 93: "A Fighting Promise"
  89. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 85: "My Brother’s Keeper"
  90. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 86: "The Weakest Link"
  91. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 87: "The Ultimate Connection"
  92. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 88: "A Breezy Battle"
  93. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 89: "Fan the Flames"
  94. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 90: "For a Friend"
  95. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 91: "From the Heart"
  96. 96.0 96.1 96.2 96.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 92: "Fight with a Friend"
  97. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 94: "No Matter What It Takes"
  98. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 95: "From the Ashes"
  99. 99.0 99.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 96: "I Know Your Secret"
  100. 100.0 100.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 97: "Outsmart, Outwit, Outthink!"
  101. 101.0 101.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 98: "Lightning Storm"
  102. 102.0 102.1 102.2 102.3 102.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 99: "Bohman’s End Game"
  103. 103.0 103.1 103.2 103.3 103.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 100: "I Know Everything"
  104. 104.0 104.1 104.2 104.3 104.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 101: "Ai of the Beholder"
  105. 105.0 105.1 105.2 105.3 105.4 105.5 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 102: "The Final Turn"
  106. 106.0 106.1 106.2 106.3 106.4 106.5 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 103: "Reflections"
  107. 107.0 107.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 104: "Your Reign is Over"
  108. 108.0 108.1 108.2 108.3 108.4 108.5 108.6 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 105: "Unlikely Alliance"
  109. 109.0 109.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 106: "Roboppi Mops Up"
  110. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 107: "Cleaning House"
  111. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 108: "Smash and Mash"
  112. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 109: "Al vs Ai"
  113. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 110: "Siblings and Circuits"
  114. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 111: "Stronger Together"
  115. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 112: "All Hail Roboppi!"
  116. 116.0 116.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 113: "Roboppi's World"
  117. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 115: "Unfinished Business"
  118. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 116: "Stuck in the Past"
  119. 119.0 119.1 119.2 119.3 119.4 119.5 119.6 119.7 119.8 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 118: "Alone Together"
  120. 120.0 120.1 120.2 120.3 120.4 120.5 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 119: "A Losing Battle"