Yusaku Fujiki

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That's right. I am the emissary of revenge. I'll crush the Knights of Hanoi.
— Yusaku Fujiki[1]
Yusaku Fujiki
Yusaku Fujiki
Names
English
  • Yusaku Fujiki
Other
  • Playmaker
  • Unknown[2]
  • Personal
    Age 16
    Gender
    • Male
    • Education
    School Den City High School
    • Duelist
    Anime Deck Cyberse
    Appearances
    Anime debut Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 1: "Link into the VRAINS"
    Appears in
    Anime Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS
    Voice actors
    English
    Japanese
  • Shouya Ishige
  • Kana Omuro (younger)
  • Fujiki, Yusaku

    Yusaku Fujiki (ふじ ゆうさく, Fujiki Yūsaku), known as Playmaker in LINK VRAINS, is the protagonist of Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS.[4]

    Design[edit]

    Appearance[edit]

    Yusaku's normal and VR clothing.

    Yusaku is a rangy 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 consists of a slate-colored jacket with light blue trim over a white dress shirt with a blue tie and a pair of black pants and black and white shoes.

    While Dueling in LINK VRAINS, Yusaku wears a black and green bodysuit with a golden stripe going across his body and a grey belt at the waistline. His hair color also changes to yellow and red with pink strips and accents. Occasionally, the golden stripes in his "Playmaker" bodysuit glow when he uses his Skill. They also glow different colors when he uses different Summoning methods; glowing blue when he Ritual Summons and purple when he Fusion Summons.[5]

    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.

    Personality[edit]

    Yusaku may be the first Yu-Gi-Oh protagonist who is an anti-hero. He is not a bad person, but he can appear cold and apathetic. Yusaku is described as a boy who doesn't like standing out at school, not that he's timid or shy but because he is a hacker. Due to a certain incident, he generally tries to avoid contact with others and only seems to trust Kolter. However, he gets drawn into encounters with people as he tries out Dueling for once.[4]

    Yusaku is calm and collected most of the time. Outside of Duels he is shown to be intelligent and clever, but also calculating, standoffish, reserved, and somewhat anti-social. He prefers to distance himself from others and doesn't usually interact with people, not even remembering his classmates' names after a month in school. When Naoki Shima tried to be friendly with him, Yusaku casually admitted to being a loner and inadvertently irritated Naoki with his observations, then didn't react to Naoki storming off. In public, Yusaku comes off as rather awkward and often doesn't know how to answer questions, leading others to assume things about him, such as when Naoki assumed he wanted to join the Duel Club and Skye assumed he wanted new equipment from SOL. Despite his aloof and calm demeanor Yusaku can be quite sullen when it comes to dealing with Ai's antics.

    Despite his introverted and cold nature, Yusaku is both noble and golden-hearted deep down. He is on well terms with his best friend, Kolter and shows sympathy or care to others' situations like when he discovers that everything Gore does is for his orphanage, but refuses to let others get close to him and join his fight against Hanoi out of concern that they may get hurt.

    As Playmaker he is shown to have a cold and serious demeanor, but at the same time he displays some noble traits to his personality, such as saving Blue Angel when she was about to be attacked by "Cracking Dragon". Because of the Hanoi Project from ten years ago, Yusaku hates the Knights of Hanoi and swears revenge against them. He didn't hesitate to capture Ai and threatened to delete him in order to challenge the Hanoi. As pointed out by Varis he has a sense of justice and will help those hurt by the Hanoi. He is also very confident and has lot of faith in his abilities. He is a determined duelist who never gives up.

    Unlike most of the previous protagonists, who enjoy Dueling and see it as fun, Yusaku sees Dueling as a tool to eliminate those who are getting in his way. He is also unique in that his motivations for his actions are for revenge, instead of uniting people via Dueling. According to Kolter, Yusaku doesn't really seem to enjoy Dueling either, as such he tends to reject challenges from other Duelists. That said, when he is either forced to accept a Duel or willingly does so, he will not abandon it, such as when SOL prevented him from logging out when he was forced to Duel Gore and chose to continue it even when Kolter made an escape route for him. Furthermore, Yusaku is not above complimenting his opponents, as when he Dueled Gore, he claimed that his Duel style, which was meant to excite both the crowd and even his opponent, was first-rate.

    He is generally level-headed, serious, aloof and keeps a stoic expression most of the time, though he can give short smiles occasionally. He also doesn't seem to carry animosity towards others, as he stated that he didn't hate Akira for his foul torture, making it clear that he only hates the Knights of Hanoi.

    He also has a habit of listing out three reasons for his observations, something he learned from an unknown individual while he was in captivity when he was younger. Yusaku does this to order his thoughts better and clear his mind when confused or feeling discouraged. Oddly enough, Varis shares this habit.

    Yusaku receives counseling for his trauma.
    A horrified Yusaku wakes up from a nightmare due to his PTSD.

    It is later shown that Yusaku's cold anti-social nature was a result of the intense torture he went through during the Hanoi Project. Despite having undergone years of therapy, Yusaku still suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from that incident. Yusaku believes his life is already cut short due to the incident and as such he doesn't need friends or a future.

    Abilities[edit]

    Yusaku is said to be 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 good at reading people. 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.

    When in a Speed Duel, Yusaku's Skill is Storm Access which allows him to randomly access a never-before-seen card from a Data Storm when his LP are 1000 or lower, 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 for him to execute it, as when he used it in his Duels against the Knight of Hanoi and Gore, he struggled greatly, and had to use his left hand to steady his right arm; however, when he used it in his Duel against Blue Angel, he didn't struggle as much, nor did he steady his right arm). The cards obtained using this ability can then be converted into physical cards outside of LINK VRAINS using appropriate technology; also, as stated by Ghost Gal, "Storm Access" is a unique skill that not just any Duelist can use. He can also teleport back to his Duel Board should he fall off from it during a Duel, though he would first need to stop his fall to do so.

    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. Similar to Ai, he can also 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.

    Etymology[edit]

    Like the protagonists of the previous five series (Yugi MutoJaden YukiYusei 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 "The Playmaker".

    Biography[edit]

    History[edit]

    Young Yusaku loses in an unknown location with a VR mask on.
    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 being electrocuted 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, a voice told him he should not give up, and advised him to think of three reasons why to continue fighting. 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. Yusaku developed PTSD after the incident and went under treatments to cure it for years, but failed and continuously faced the tragedies that befell him. Instead, he took his Deck to confront his trauma, promising to "face his destiny". While Yusaku refused to believe he was rescued from this project, named "Hanoi Project",[6] though he still took the advice to think of three reasons to continue fighting.[7]

    Yusaku decided to hunt down the Knights of Hanoi, whom he believed to be responsible for the "Hanoi Project", under the alias "Playmaker" with Kolter's help. "Playmaker" soon became a famous Duelist within LINK VRAINS, with no one knowing what his real identity is because he always deleted his activity logs.[8]

    Hanoi[edit]

    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.[8]

    Yusaku and Kolter talking about the AI.
    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.[8]

    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 "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.[9]

    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 Duel Board. Blue Angel saved Playmaker by using her whip to throw the Duel 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 Duel Board, Yusaku declared that the Knight had no right to call himself a Duelist.[9]

    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.[10]

    Yusaku logs in to the network.

    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 the 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 Gore. With no choice, Playmaker started the Duel. When Gore made 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.[11]

    Gore Link Summoned "Gouki The Great Ogre‎‎"[11] and 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 the 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.[12]

    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. 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.[13]

    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.[13]

    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.[13]

    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.[14]

    Yusaku 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. 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.[15]

    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.[16]

    As the Speed Duel progressed, Playmaker defeated Varis's "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.[16] 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.[17]

    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 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.[7]

    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's surprise, Playmaker had "Firewall Dragon", protected by "Encode Talker", attack "Borreload Dragon", who had more ATK. With "Battle Buffer", "Encode Talker's" ATK 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 "Firewall Dragon's" ATK was raised by "Battle Buffer", Varis's "Rokket" dragons regained their effects. Varis claimed the match was over, as Playmaker could not attack anymore. 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.[1]

    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's 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's 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. [1]

    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's 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.[18]

    At home, Yusaku thought about Varis's words about AI with free will in his hidden room. Kolter called him to come to Cafe 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.[19]

    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". 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.[19]

    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.[20]

    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 Duel 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 Duel 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.[20]

    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. 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.[21]

    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 "Dotscraper" 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 Square 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 Square 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.[22] Playmaker questioned Ghost Gal and Akira as to why they were in the data bank. Ghost Gal explained that they were after the data, and Playmaker realized 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.[23]

    Yusaku becoming furious at Akira

    Playmaker Link Summoned "Decode Talker" and used its Link Materials - and "Stack Reviver" - to revive "Cyberse Gadget" and summon a "Gadget Token". 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 "Decode Talker's" ATK, 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 told he would set things straight, and asked for 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 "Firewall Dragon".[23]

    "Tindangle Hound's" effect caused "Firewall Dragon's" ATK to be reduced. Using "Linkage 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. 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.[6]

    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. 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.[6]

    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". 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 "Security Gardna". Akira pointed out the pointlessness of summoning the monsters, as Playmaker was unable to attack. Since "Security 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.[24]

    The effect activated, dealing 4500 LP damage to Playmaker. Akira turned around, but was surprised to see Playmaker survived as "Security 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 "Security 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. 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 Duel 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.[24]

    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.[25]

    Tower of Hanoi[edit]

    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 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. 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 "Anothers", not "Athnoers", which made Naoki furious, since Yusaku knew everything already. Inside the van, Kolter showed Ai and Yusaku the footage of a camera, when a person turned into an Another, 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 Another patients in the hospitals. Ai and Yusaku knew this was the same accident with Blue Angel, who was infected by a virus.[26]

    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 Anothers 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 Anothers. 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 Makoto Kimishima. Yusaku traced the person to his house, and saw lights at his window. Yusaku broke through into his room, and saw he became a victim. In addition, he and Ai watched Makoto's avatar inside LINK VRAINS being confronted by a person, who wished to know if he was Playmaker and had Ignis. Yusaku and Ai saw the person casted some glitter, causing Makoto to fall asleep and fall off the cliff, but was saved by the Gore. Playmaker watched as the Gore confronted the person, Dr. Genome, who placed the virus into Makoto, only to draw Playmaker out. Yusaku came to the hospital, where he heard Gore swear to defeat Dr. Genome. Gore saw Yusaku and realized he was also concerned about Makoto, who attended the same school. Yusaku gave his name to Gore, and left. At the van, Kolter and Yusaku watched the Knights of Hanoi Dueling people, and turning them into Anothers. 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 Duel 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.[26]

    Yusaku, Kolter and Ai watched the 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.[27]

    Yusaku and Ai logged into LINK VRAINS and Playmaker motivated the 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 Gore, 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 Another. 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 watch Kitamura making a public announcement that he developed an army of AI Duelists to confront the Knights of Hanoi.[28]

    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 Anothers 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 Anothers victims.[29] Yusaku and Kolter then hacked into Baira's profile and found out her real identity as Kyoko Taki, 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 who does he want to visit. But, Yusaku remained silent as Ai told him to say something before anything get 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 Kyoto's room, Yusaku found her in LINK VRAINS and watched Blue Angel defeat her. He and Kolter also witnessed the victims of Another 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 witness her getting purged by Varis.[30]

    Despite Another 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 Anothers, 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. 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 Roboppy modified it with a drone. While Yusaku noted the device felt heavier, Ai explained he was searching for Naoki, though the data of "Cyberse Wizard". Yusaku realized Ai even knew this would happen, which offended Ai, seeing Yusaku was even accusing him. Regardless, Ai showed the location, where Naoki was captured. 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.[31]

    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 Another 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 Duel 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. 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.[32]

    Playmaker goes through the Data Gale, using 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". 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 an Another. He also thought Ai could've been the one that sent "Cyberse Wizard" to Naoki, believing the Ignis put him in danger.[32]

    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.[32] 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 Anothers' incident has been resolved, but also reminded 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. 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.[33]

    Playmaker runs away from the data giant.

    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. 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.[33]

    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's "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 glowed with a red light, and started vanishing. She warned Playmaker of Varis and his new card before disappearing. Ai and Playmaker were terrified, and were soon visited by Varis behind bars. 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.[34]

    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's doing. Kolter analyzed Ghost Gal's data, showing the Tower of Hanoi. Yusaku remembered Varis's 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. 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 Spectre. They saw how Spectre 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.[35]

    This did not stop Yusaku, who wished to end this feud with Varis, and logged in LINK VRAINS. He quickly met up with the Gore and Blue Angel, the latter explaining she was fighting for everyone, as those people look up to her. The Gore exclaimed the same, since he was the hero that needed to protect LINK VRAINS. Ai noted how full of energy Gore was. Gore noted that was the Ignis, who yelled out he had a name, Ai. Playmaker explained he came to stop the Tower of Hanoi, rescue Ghost Gal and confront the mastermind, Varis. Blue Angel was shocked to hear Ghost Gal had 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 against and went in different directions.[35]

    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.[36] 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 as he realize that Spectre defeating Blue Angel.[37] 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 Spectre, who came out of a portal. Spectre introduced himself, and explained he would not let them pass through. He told these were Varis's orders, and they would be crushed, too, like Blue Angel was, which shocked Ai and Playmaker. Spectre informed them he defeated her without even having to use his full strength.[38]

    Spectre confirmed he did defeat Blue Angel, but he remembered she spoke something about "blue love", which Ai did not understand about. Spectre 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, Spectre again began by using "Sunseed Genus Loci" to Link Summon "Sunavalon Dryas", and setting a card. Playmaker remembered Blue Angel's tactics were about burning effect damage, and knowing he defeated her quickly, Ai proclaimed he was very dangerous, too. However, Ai noticed Spectre's monster did not look very offensive. Playmaker asked Spectre why does he fight, but Spectre claimed he fought for Varis. Playmaker tried to persuade Spectre to step down, if he did not know about Varis's mastermind plan. Spectre replied he knew that the data around the world would be destroyed, but he nevertheless would stand by Varis. Playmaker claimed Spectre did not understand Varis, whose plans have been continuing since ten years ago, in an incident many people were harmed. He claimed an outsider like Spectre had no reason to be involved in this. Spectre claimed he understood the Lost Incident, and was one of the six children that were involved in that event, just like Playmaker was.[38]

    Playmaker was surprised, and pointed out the atrocity of the Lost Incident that befell Spectre. Spectre 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. Spectre explained he was found by Varis at the site of the Lost Incident, and he gave Spectre a place where he could belong, among the Knights of Hanoi. Spectre 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 Spectre replied it started moving for him since then. Ai noticed Playmaker was distant, and reminded he was nothing alike Spectre, and pointed out the tower would continue growing as long as they waste time. Playmaker understood, while Spectre dared Playmaker to defeat him. 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, Spectre took the attack of "Binary Sorceress", only to replenish his LP by Special Summoning "Sunvine Gardna". Spectre 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.[38]

    Spectre 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 Spectre would be erased, too. Spectre counted on that, since he merely wished to fulfill Varis's goal. Playmaker's noted that Spectre woukd sacrifice himself for Varis. Spectre merely replied Playmaker would never understand their goals, as long as he chased after revenge. 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 Spectre would take 2000 LP damage. Spectre'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, Spectre 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, Spectre 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 Spectre's tricks. Spectre announced the tree could not be attacked, and Ai knew Spectre anticipated these attacks. "Binary Blader" made its second attack, giving Spectre 2600 LP damage and replenishing Playmaker's LP by the same amount. Spectre 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.[39]

    Ai praised Playmaker, while Spectre 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 Spectre told it was not perfect; "Sunavalon Glorious Growth" redirected the attack to "Sunvine Gardna", who reduced the damage. Once more, Spectre summoned a "Sunvine Gardna", regained the LP and made Playmaker's LP back to 4000. Ai realized Spectre has the advantage in here, who confirmed these words, for Playmaker was walking towards his defeat. Spectre smirked, showing that his tree had no weaknesses. Spectre explained they both experienced the Lost Incident. However, Playmaker was obsessed with revenge, while Spectre helped Varis in saving the world. The latter pointed the battle was decided from the start. Playmaker doubted that, while Spectre told it were moments before Playmaker's defeat. Spectre 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". Spectre 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 Spectre 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.[39]

    Spectre 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 Spectre's zones for its effects. "Sunavalon Daphne" sent "Binary Blader" to return the two "Sunvine Gardna" to Spectre's Extra Deck. Suddenly, the bridge began to break, as the data was being erased. However, Spectre's tree reformed the bridge, letting the Duel continue on. Using "Sunavalon Force", Spectre made his tree immune to effects, while Ai reminded Spectre could simply summon more "Sunvine" monsters to protect himself. Playmaker made three consecutive Link Summons to bring out "Excode Talker" and "Underclock Taker", preventing Spectre from using two Main Monster Zones and reducing the ATK of "Sunvine Thrasher" to 900. Spectre was displeased, since he could not use his combo to protect himself, while Ai gloated they would win. Spectre snapped his fingers, showing Playmaker that Akira was captured. Spectre explained Akira went to rescue his sister, and promised to touch him with the vines, which would corrupt him with a virus. Spectre threatened if he were to be injured, the vines would expand and eventually infect Akira. Ai and Playmaker were angry that Spectre was cheating and playing dirty, by dragging people that weren't even involved. Spectre 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.[39]

    Ai reminded Playmaker not to listen to this villain. However, Playmaker ended his turn, surprising Ai and Akira. Spectre 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, Spectre knew Playmaker would think of virtue to keep on fighting, which was what Spectre considered weakness. With the ATK of "Sunvine Thrasher" restored, Spectre pointed out the "undefeatable" Playmaker would soon experience his first and final defeat. "Sunvine Thrasher" slashed "Underclock Taker", and with "Sunavalon Force", Playmaker's LP were reduced to 900. Ai panicked, as the bridge continued collapsing.[39] Spectre lamented that he could not defeat Playmaker, considering the bridge was collapsing. Playmaker smiled, for Spectre's efforts did not defeat him. Spectre frowned, while Playmaker thought Varis would be disappointed to hear those news. When Playmaker fell, Spectre's tree reformed the bridge, just to continue on the Duel. Spectre became angry, and promised to finish Playmaker off by ending the Duel. Still, Spectre was confident Playmaker could not win, not only because of Spectre'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. Spectre ended his turn, daring Playmaker to risk Akira by attacking him.[40]

    Ai pointed at Spectre for cheating and dirty play, who took those words as a compliment. Spectre was happy, considering this foul play let him gain the advantage. Playmaker set a card, despite Spectre daring him to attack. Spectre was slightly disappointed, as was Ai. Spectre had "Sunvine Thrasher" attack "Excode Talker", who was protected by Playmaker's "Overload Anchor". Ai claimed they were just getting started, so Spectre 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 Spectre noted he truly was a champion of justice. Ai reminded Playmaker if they lose, the tower would be completed, and everyone would be erased. Spectre continued mocking Playmaker, who activated "Link Processing Failure" to stop Spectre's Link Monsters from attacking. Spectre claimed that was nevertheless a pointless move, and Playmaker could not do anything, unless he attacked. Ai voiced Spectre's words, telling him to forget Akira, else the world would be plunged into chaos. Ai named Playmaker as the world's last hope. Spectre 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 Spectre's monsters in Main Monster Zones could not attack the turn he used his tree's effect. Playmaker doubted that, since Spectre had a reason to summon that high ATK monster. Spectre commended Playmaker for that observation, as his tree attacked and gained ATK, equal to the ATK of the monsters it pointed to.[40]

    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. Spectre claimed it was still pointless, for "Sunavalon Force" shaved Playmaker's LP to 50. Ai praised Playmaker for avoiding defeat. Just as Spectre went to mock Playmaker's efforts, he saw "Sunavalon Dryatrentiay" falling, and was reminded of the tree he saw cut from his childhood. Without Spectre's tree, the cards on his field became destroyed. Playmaker noted it was very difficult to break Spectre's combo, until his tree was the one that attacked. Ai started to mock Spectre that "his mommy could not protect him". Spectre yelled out for his sacred tree, startling Ai and Playmaker. Spectre revived the tree with "Sunavalon Cursed Reborn", and while its effects were negated, its ATK became 4000. Ai was scared, while Spectre 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.[40]

    File:Playmaker and Ai fall down.png
    Ai and Playmaker fall down from the bridge.

    Akira smiled for a bit, and grasped the vines, taking damage and vanishing. Spectre laughed at Akira, for he entrusted the future to a man, who could not win. Playmaker, who became vengeful, made Spectre doubt his words, reminding his Dueling always wins, and with Akira gone, his doubts have disappeared. 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 Spectre's tree. Spectre noted Playmaker aimed for a mutual destruction, and yelled out his goal was complete, for Playmaker would never reach Varis. Playmaker replied Spectre'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 Spectre to fall down in defeat. Spectre 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, yet Spectre told doubt and regret were two different things. As the bridge continued collapsing, Playmaker and Ai continued towards the tower. However, the bridge collapsed, making the two fall down.[40]

    Neo Link VRAINS[edit]

    After defeating Blood Shepherd, Playmaker and Soulburner met again, and managed to enter the unknown world through its portal. Immediately after arriving, they were hit by strong winds, which forced Ai and Flame to protect them using Data Storms. At some point, the winds stopped, and they were able to reach a temple where they finally found the wind Ignis. After showing them the world he had build, the Ignis (who decided to call himself "Windy") explained how he did that in order to attract his fellow Ignis, and also to lure the responsible for destroying the Cyberse World. Despite not knowing who was the responsible, Flame pointed out they were after Bohman, who not only had stolen Jin's consciousness, but also had the card used to destroy the Cyberse World, and suggested he could've escaped to a world inside Windy's world. They then asked Windy to join them, which he promptly refused, as those statements had no evidence. However, Windy said he could weaken the winds near the area where Bohman supposedly escaped to, under the condition that Playmaker and Soulburner defeat the two invaders, Ghost Gal and an unknown partner.

    Upon making contact with the girls, Blue Girl presented herself as actually being Blue Angel. Soulburner was happy to meet another savior of the old Link VRAINS, but Blue Girl stated they were actually seeking to retrieve the Ignis. While both Playmaker and Ghost Gal were willing to solve the situation without Dueling, Soulburner accepted Blue Girl's challenge.[41]

    Relationships[edit]

    Kolter[edit]

    Kolter is one of the very few people Yusaku actively interacts with. The two are close friends 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.

    Naoki Shima (Brave Max)[edit]

    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 Faust, Yusaku showed genuine concern for him.

    Knights of Hanoi[edit]

    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.

    Ai[edit]

    Ai sees Yusaku as a partner, but Yusaku considers Ai to be nothing more than an object he needs to gain the upper hand against the Knights of Hanoi. He threatened to delete Ai in order to challenge a Knight, and ignored his pleas not to go back to 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's "Fire Prison". Ai seems to have gradually warmed up to Yusaku and is keen on treating him like a friend, though the feeling is not mutual.

    Skye Zaizen (Blue Angel)[edit]

    Skye and Yusaku are classmates, though Skye is not aware of his alter-ego but she seems be suspicious of his identity as Playmaker after noticing he has the same duel disk as him and asked to see his deck in order to confirm his identity. 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 she even saved him in return after he fell from his Duel Board.

    After Kolter figured out that Skye is "Blue Angel", Yusaku tried to get close to her in order to get a lead on Akira Zaizen and SOL Technologies regarding his past memories. Skye on the other hand believed Yusaku wanted her for her connections to SOL Technologies as many others had tried (which is technically correct, though not for the reasons she assumed), so she quickly dismissed him.

    Yusaku was shocked when he discovered that Skye may have ties to the Knights of Hanoi showing that he never thought of her as an enemy, but he was still willing to duel her. He was visibly disturbed when Hanoi's card began damaging Skye so he rushed to end the Duel as quickly as possible, out of concern for her well being. After the Duel, Yusaku felt it was his responsibility to help Skye recover from her coma and willingly walked into a trap set by Ghost Gal.

    Yusaku is shown to deeply care for Skye after he logged out following his duel with Varis he asked to Kolter if Skye is alright and after she recovered from her coma Yusaku is shown to be worried about her safety and well being that she doesn't attend school regularly and since her duel with him she stopped coming to LINK VRAINS. Ai also teases him for being worried about her or being linked with her which causes him to dodge the subject.

    After hearing about Yusaku's traumatic past, Skye felt a great feeling of sympathy for him.

    George Gore (The Gore)[edit]

    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 Another crisis and they formed an alliance.

    Akira Zaizen[edit]

    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 to grateful for 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 mantained that he deserved to learn the truth himself.

    Varis[edit]

    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.

    Playmaker, on the other hand, hates Varis for being Hanoi's leader and vowed to defeat him and discover his true identity. During their first Duel, Varis claimed that he wasn't interested in Playmaker's identity and considered him to be just another of the many people who hates Hanoi. However, during their second Duel, Varis recognized Playmaker's speech pattern of listing out three reasons and was disturbed when Playmaker mentioned about a certain incident that happened ten years ago. He chides Playmaker for siding with SOL Technologies without knowing the truth and, after the Duel, is 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 agrees under the condition it did not take too long.

    Emma Bessho (Ghost Gal)[edit]

    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 Tower of Hanoi and attempted to warn him about Varis's dangerous card. Playmaker in turn was angry for not being able to save her and vowed to do so.

    Deck[edit]

    Cyberse[edit]

    Hanoi[edit]

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

    Yusaku uses a Cyberse Beatdown Deck.[42] 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. Once his field is set up, he Link Summons multiple weak Link Monsters at once to then use them as Materials for his stronger ones such as the "code Talkers", and "Firewall Dragon". His other Link Monsters can also act as support for his primary ones. Yusaku also makes regular use of cards which banish themselves or other cards from the Graveyard or hand to activate effects, granting him access to a steady stream of resources even with an empty field or hand.

    "Decode Talker" materializing into a real card.

    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.

    During his Duel with Gore, spectators likened this strategy to Gore's habit of letting his opponent take the lead, then making a comeback from a pinch.

    Yusaku also used three copies of "Sphere Kuriboh" as shields during his inflitration of SOL Technologies' data bank. Whether or not they are in his Deck is unknown.[21]

    Deck

    New LINK VRAINS[edit]

    Prior to the events of this season, Yusaku added other Summoning methods to his Deck, including Ritual Monsters and Fusion Monsters to his Deck, in addition to support cards like "Cyberse Witch". He also acquires "Linkuriboh", and continues to acquire new Link Monsters like "Clock Spartoi" through Storm Access.

    Deck

    Past[edit]

    Prior to obtaining the Cyberse cards, Yusaku played a mash-up Deck that focused on swarming the the field with monsters to be used as material for Link Summons. The Deck was shown to have been quite reactive to his opponent's plays, including cards like "Forbidden Lance".[2]

    Deck

    LIGHT[edit]

    Additionally, Yusaku has a LIGHT dummy Deck for situations in real life where he has to show his Deck to other Duelists. The Deck is extremely basic in addition to using very old cards, to make it seems like Yusaku is a regular untalented Duelist.[13]

    Deck

    Duels[edit]

    Opponent Episode(s) Outcome
    Unknown Duelist 11 Lose (flashback)
    Unknown Duelist 19 Lose (flashback)
    Unknown Duelist 19 Lose (flashback)
    Knight of Hanoi 64 Win
    Knight of Hanoi 1 Win
    Number 10 2 Win
    George Gore/The Gore 4-5 Win
    Skye Zaizen/Blue Angel 7 Win
    Varis 9-10 DRAW
    Varis 10-12 Win
    Emma Bessho/Ghost Gal 14-15 Win
    Prototype Ai-A 16-17 Win
    Akira Zaizen 18-20 Win
    Knight of Hanoi 24 Win
    Faust 28 Win
    Spectre 35-37 Win
    Ryoken Kogami/Varis 41-42 DRAW
    Ryoken Kogami/Varis 43-46 Win
    Bohman 47-48 Win
    Blood Shepherd 53-54 Win
    Bohman 57-58 Win
    Kenmochi 62 Win
    Yoroizaka 63 Win
    Earth 66-67 Win

    References[edit]

    1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 12: "Impregnable Defending Dragon Firewall"
    2. 2.0 2.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 64: "Turning Point"
    3. Jake Paque's Twitter
    4. 4.0 4.1 "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.
    5. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 54: "Terrifying Battledrone"
    6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 19: "The Incident Buried in the Darkness"
    7. 7.0 7.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 11: "Roar of the Magazine Varreload"
    8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 1: "Link into the VRAINS"
    9. 9.0 9.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 2: "Seize the Wind!"
    10. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 3: "Contact"
    11. 11.0 11.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 4: "Pain and Gain"
    12. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 5: "Down for the Count"
    13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 6: "True Blue"
    14. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 7: "Fallen Angel"
    15. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 8: "A Storm is Coming"
    16. 16.0 16.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 9: "Malicious Mayhem"
    17. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 10: "Eye of the Storm"
    18. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 13: "Battle Record"
    19. 19.0 19.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 14: "Ghost Girl's Invitation"
    20. 20.0 20.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 15: "Altergeist that Hides in the Darkness"
    21. 21.0 21.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 16: "Infiltrate SOL's Cyber Fortress"
    22. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 17: "Flawless AI Duelist"
    23. 23.0 23.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 18: "Wound Etched Into His Heart"
    24. 24.0 24.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 20: "Unyielding Justice"
    25. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 21: "Embers of a New Battle"
    26. 26.0 26.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 22: "Blackened Sun"
    27. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 23: "Genome's Giant"
    28. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 24: "Dark Mask's Burden of Fate"
    29. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 25: "Virus Deck Operation"
    30. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 26: "Three Draws Leading to Hope"
    31. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 27: "Naoki Shima the Fighter"
    32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 28: "Final Commander of the Three Knights"
    33. 33.0 33.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 30: "Doorway to the Abyss"
    34. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 31: "The Final Trigger"
    35. 35.0 35.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 32: "Tower of Hanoi"
    36. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 33: "Angel With Blue Tears"
    37. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 34: "Sacred Tree"
    38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 35: "The Other Lost Incident"
    39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 36: "Worthless Justice"
    40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 40.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 37: "My Mother Tree"
    41. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 55: "To the Unknown World"
    42. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS Ending 3: BOY

    Notes[edit]

    1. This card is obtained via Storm Access in episode 2.
    2. This card is obtained via Storm Access in episode 7.
    3. This card is obtained via Storm Access in episode 15.
    4. This card is obtained via Storm Access in episode 10.
    5. This card is obtained via Storm Access in episode 28.
    6. This card is obtained via Storm Access in episode 42.
    7. This card is obtained via Storm Access in episode 17.
    8. 9.0 9.1 This card is sent from the top of his Deck to the GY via the effect of "Cyberse Clock Dragon" in episode 67.
    9. This card is sent from the top of his Deck to the GY via the effect of "Link Back" in episode 67.
    10. This card is obtained via Storm Access in episode 54.
    11. This card is obtained via Storm Access in episode 48.
    12. 13.0 13.1 This card is shown when he adds "Linkuriboh" to his Deck in episode 47.