Ai

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This article is about the character. For the archetype, see "A.I.".
Ai
Ai
Names
English
  • Ai
Other
  • Mysterious Lifeform (謎の生命体, Nazo no Seimeitai)
  • Ignis's Control ID - IGN006[1]
  • Dark Ignis
NicknamesIgnis (by SOL Technologies and the Knights of Hanoi)
Japanese
JapaneseAi
Rōmajiアイ
Other languages
Italian
IA
  • Duelist
Deck
Appearances
Anime debutYu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 1: "Link into the VRAINS"
Appears in
AnimeYu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS
Voice actors
EnglishMichael Liscio Jr.
JapaneseTakahiro Sakurai[2]
Ai

AI's don't pray! They only make calculations to win!

— Ai[3]

Ai (Aiアイ) is a character from the Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS anime, and the deuteragonist in the first and second seasons. He is one of the six Ignis, representing the DARK-Attribute, and he was created from Yusaku Fujiki. His name was given to him by Yusaku and Kal Kolter. As an Ignis, he has free will and is sought by SOL Technologies and the Knights of Hanoi. He was captured and imprisoned inside Yusaku's Duel Disk.[3] Yusaku released him after they stopped the Tower of Hanoi, but Ai was forced to return after he found the Cyberse destroyed.

Following his and Yusaku's victory over Bohman, Ai is left as the last remaining Ignis. He takes on a human appearance, and he is able to manifest this appearance in the real world through hacking a SOLtiS. He becomes the main antagonist of the third season, taking Roboppi under his wing after giving it free will and planning to use SOL Technologies for his own ends.

Design[edit]

Appearance[edit]

Full body view of Ai's original form.

Ai is a small digital humanoid being. Like other Ignis, Ai has markings over his body, in shape of lines and circles, which are tinted with a purple color. When he becomes angry, Ai turns into a fiendish shape, with six tentacles, a large yellow eye and mouth, with two of his eyes on the center of his body. When Varis's "Cracking Dragon" ate his body, Ai was reduced to an eye, though he retained his ability to project his monster form. However, when he ate Varis's arm, Ai regained his body.

Ai's human form.

Ai's human form takes cues from both his A.I. body and Yusaku. He retains yellow eyes, and his hair becomes a very dark blue lined with gold, extending to the nape of his neck in jagged spikes. He has five crooked locks of hair resembling Yusaku and Theodore's; purple with pink centers. He wears earrings shaped like his A.I. form's head, and at his throat is a blue diamond symbol. Due to hijacking a waiter SOLtiS, he initially wears a waiter's uniform in the real world; a white shirt with a black bowtie, a charcoal waistcoat and shoes, and a long black apron. In digital worlds, and later in the real world, Ai dresses very extravagantly in a flashy suit with military trappings. He wears a light purple shirt with puffed sleeves and black cuffs fastened at the neck with a black ascot with red gem in a gold brooch, a black high-collared mantle with a gold lining and red interior, tasseled shoulder pads, gold cord binding the mantle with red buttons, and the same diamond symbol on the back, a knee-length sleeveless coat of the same color but with a lilac interior under that, black pants, and black shoes with grey toes.

While enjoying his newfound supremacy over SOL Technologies, Ai toys around with more casual outfits, including a purple kimono with dark purple lining and a violet sash (and turning his hair into a mustache and beard at the same time), before settling on a dark violet shirt, black pants, a purple short-sleeved jacket, white gloves and socks, and wooden clogs with purple straps. He ties his hair back with a long white headband and accessorizes with paper fans.

Personality[edit]

Ai is a mischievous, cocky, playful, energetic, often self-centered, arrogant, and snarky A.I. who gets carried away easily and likes to joke around. He is completely motivated by his own enjoyment and primarily considers situations based on how they would benefit him. According to his own words, he is very disliked by his own people. Ai struggles to understand humans' way of thinking that often seem completely illogical compared to his algorithm based way of thinking. However, he is helpful and can be more serious at times such as making observations both in and outside of Duels. He also has a tendency to panic when Playmaker is about to lose, and even after becoming a skilled Duelist himself, panics when he is close to losing.

Ai frequently tries to interact with other A.I.s, showing a more social side but is always left disappointed because they're not as capable of free thinking as himself. He also enjoys insulting and taunting Playmaker's opponents, as well as trying to manipulate them into falling for Playmaker's strategies, though these attempts of his to help are more often detrimental than not. In the dub, Ai frequently gets distracted by non-sequiturs and is forgetful of his current status. He tends to curse using the word "glitch".

Despite his comedic attitude, Ai is incredibly manipulative. He arranged for Yusaku and Kolter to meet and constantly misled Yusaku about his involvement in both the Lost Incident and guiding him to meet Kolter, even after they had become friends. After he decided to have himself vanish, he arranged events to ensure that he would die one way or another.

As tragedy heaps itself upon Ai, he slowly begins to take more serious and extreme turns. He is horrified to learn of the destruction of the Cyberse, and in the dub in particular he severely blames himself for failing to protect it. As he learns of those who wronged both the Cyberse and his fellow Ignis, he becomes far more vengeful and instinctive and admits to himself that he is beginning to hate humans. His rage comes to a head when Dueling Bohman, the individual who destroyed the Cyberse, and during Playmaker's second Duel with The Gore, though Ai is later able to let go of his hatred for Gore and he even admits to admiring his resolve. The revelation of Lightning's actions during his Duel with Varis infuriates Ai, and he furiously turns aside Lightning's insults and denounces him for the consequences of his actions.

Ai's failure to save the other Ignis drives him to tears, and for the rest of Playmaker's final Duel against Bohman after this failure he becomes consumed with rage until Bohman is finally defeated. Following the final Duel against Bohman and the deaths of the other Ignis, Ai becomes consumed by loneliness and regret, and these feelings are only worsened when he learns of simulations that predict the destruction of humanity and the death of Yusaku due to his existence. Although he does his best to hide this behind acting playfully and frivolously, Ai becomes far colder and bitter in truth; sparing Blue Maiden from being erased to know his pain of failing to protect everyone and embracing the use of Lightning's "Judgment Arrows". Varis theorizes that Ai may simply have spared Blue Maiden to prevent Pandor from being erased from existence, but this is never confirmed. Despite his projections, some fragments of Ai's true personality do shine through, most notably in his Duel with Gore, where he enjoys the Duel due to how close Gore is able to bring him to defeat and regards him as a worthy opponent for rediscovering himself.

Abilities[edit]

Ai and Flame using Data Storms as shields.

As an Ignis who created the Cyberse, Ai has some degree of control over it. He is the only one who knows its location and can unlock data from it to start a Data Storm. Ai can manipulate Data Storms in other ways, such as using them a shield to negate other wind storms.[4] Ai is shown to be far more sophisticated than other A.I.s, being fully capable of thinking and acting on his own free will and showing emotion; because of that Ai is considered to be an actual living being. According to Kolter, Ai is built out of highly complicated algorithms that even Yusaku couldn't fully decode. Ai's memories are stored in the form of video logs. However, Ai's level of free will is limited by the fact that he is still a computer program, as such he can't comprehend why humans do actions that would seem illogical and contradicting with each other. Ai was the first of the Ignis to demonstrate natural instinct; the other Ignis developed their own instinct by observing Ai.

Ai about to devour a Knight of Hanoi.

Ai's Skill is Storm Access which is given to Yusaku after being trapped in Yusaku's Duel Disk. As he didn't trust Yusaku, he withheld the full extent of his Skill, Neo Storm Access, until he decided the time was right. Whilst trapped in the Duel Disk, he can also act as a Duel A.I. Inside LINK VRAINS, Ai is shown to be able to transform into a monster, which he did to devour a Knight of Hanoi member and a card infected by Hanoi. Ai has the ability to sense a Knight of Hanoi's presence through the cards in their Deck, such as when he knew immediately that The Gore was pretending to be a Knight and when he discovered the Hanoi-affected card in Blue Angel's Deck and could tell when it was drawn. After Playmaker defeated Varis, Ai regained his full body and can materialize himself in the real world, though he still can't leave Yusaku's Duel Disk.

After leaving Yusaku's Duel Disk and taking on a human form that he can manifest in the real world through a SOLtiS, Ai demonstrates a range of new abilities. He can log people into digital worlds or put them to sleep with merely a gesture, hack nearby machines with little effort, and erase Duelists that he has defeated and absorb their data. His SOLtiS bodies also contain different functions, including extendable arms that can function as grappling hooks and an altimeter. Most notably, Ai's Duelings skills become vastly better; he goes from being inept and unfamiliar with strategies to one of the best Duelists in the series.

Biography[edit]

History[edit]

Ai and the other Ignis were created by Dr. Kogami to be the saviors of humanity; Ai was created from Yusaku Fujiki. Alongside his fellow Ignis, Ai evolved and they created the Cyberse and the Cyberse monsters. Their progress worried Dr. Kogami, who predicted the A.I. and humanity would become enemies.[5] Despite this, Ai and the other Ignis continued developing the Cyberse; Ai's sector becoming a massive chasm due to his laziness. In Ai's words, the Ignis would never try harm humanity, and would rather live in their own world.[6][7] Ai preferred to slack off with "Linkuriboh, and he was often at odds with Aqua due to his carelessness and laziness. After one escapade where they almost fell over a waterfall, Aqua scolded him for not acting as was becoming of an Ignis. The incident put him at odds with Earth, who told him to stay away from Aqua.[8][9]

Ai is devoured by "Cracking Dragon".

Five years prior to the start of the series, the Knights of Hanoi launched an attack against the Cyberse and captured the Ignis protecting it, except for Ai who wasn't present. Ai arrived, noting that it was a good time to be hated by his own kind. He stole vital information from the Cyberse and hid it within himself, disconnecting it from the rest of the network which forced the Hanoi to stop the attack. Despite being crushed by a "Cracking Dragon", his eye survived. Ever since, he had been running from both the Knights and SOL Technologies.[3] In order to combat the Knights of Hanoi, he hid a Cyberse Deck in Den City and he guided Yusaku and the brother of one of the other victims, Kal Kolter to meet one another and find the Deck, hoping that they would defeat the Hanoi.[10]

Pre-Tower of Hanoi[edit]

Ai trapped inside Yusaku's Duel Disk.

Ai remained hidden from both the Knights of Hanoi and SOL Technologies in LINK VRAINS for five years, but as he watched Playmaker confronting a Knight of Hanoi, he was eventually detected. SOL Technologies initiated a security scan, and their drones and a Knight of Hanoi pursued them. During his escape Ai fell into a trap created by Yusaku Fujiki, who saved him by absorbing him into his Duel Disk, thus necessitating the defeat of Playmaker in order to recover Ai.[3] Ai realized immediately that he had been captured by his Origin and the partner that he had arranged for him, but despite his plans for Yusaku to aid him, he didn't trust Yusaku and withheld this fact from him, claiming that he'd lost his memories.[1] Ai doubted that Playmaker's Deck was strong enough to defeat the Knights' "Cracking Dragon", and he generated a "Data Storm" that initiated a Speed Duel.[3]

Before the Duel began, Ai explained to Playmaker how Speed Duels worked, but he didn't mention Skills. Throughout the Duel Ai repeatedly tried to offer support for Playmaker, only for Playmaker to silence him and remind that he was holding Ai hostage. They were sucked into a tornado within the Data Storm, and Playmaker figured out that Ai withholding mention of Skills and bringing him into the tornado were part of his calculations. Ai confirmed this, and activated Playmaker's Skill "Storm Access", which allowed them to obtain "Decode Talker" so that Playmaker could defeat the Knight.[11]

The Knight attempted to self destruct and kill Playmaker, but Ai turned into a monster and devoured the Knight's Avatar to save Playmaker. Yusaku and Kolter spent the next few days trying to figure out Ai's programming and nicknamed him "Ai", a pun on "A.I." and "eye". Eventually Yusaku found footage from some of Ai' memories, which Ai himself didn't understand except for Varis being the leader of Hanoi. Scanning those recordings caused Varis to sense Ai and try to find him, but Kolter shutting off Café Nom's power prevented him from finding them. The next day, Ai was left at Yusaku's house in a storage shelf, there he tried to convince Roboppi to set him free.[12]

Ai panicked when Yusaku returned home and had Roboppi put him back on the shelf. When Yusaku found them, Ai noted that Yusaku had arrived home early, and Yusaku explained that a Knight of Hanoi had appeared and revealed a secret room he used to log into LINK VRAINS. As soon as they arrived, both Playmaker and Ai quickly realized that the Knight was fake. The "Knight" revealed himself to be The Gore, who wanted to challenge Playmaker. Ai looked up information about The Gore, but Playmaker was uninterested and attempted to log out. However, a program from SOL prevented him from doing so, so he was forced to Duel The Gore. During the Duel, Ai continued researching The Gore and he learned that Gore donated most of his money to the orphanage where he grew up. When Gore let himself take damage when he had the chance to avoid it, Ai was confused about why humans made illogical choices. Playmaker said it was because of their hearts, but didn't explain what that meant because Ai's algorithm-based thinking wouldn't understand it.[13]

When Kolter found out that Skye Zaizen, Yusaku's classmate, was Blue Angel, Ai helped Yusaku locate her while they were at school. Ai forced Yusaku to join the Duel Club and tried to interact with Skye's Duel Disk's A.I. The next day Ai noticed something strange about Skye's A.I. so he sent her a text message on Playmaker's behalf challenging Blue Angel to a Duel, then tricked Yusaku into going into LINK VRAINS to confront Blue Angel. There, he explained that the Knights of Hanoi must have planted a card in Blue Angel's Deck to use her as bait for Playmaker.[14] During the Duel, Ai was horrified when Blue Angel was affected by the Hanoi's card and warned Playmaker that if the Duel continued much longer, Skye would suffer permanent brain damage.[15]

After the Duel concluded Ai devoured the Hanoi's program and detected that they had infected Skye with a virus to keep her comatose. Ai told Yusaku and Kolter that the only way to remove the virus was to get an anti-virus from Hanoi. Right after that, a "Blue Angel" impostor appeared, demanding a rematch. Despite knowing that it was a trap, Yusaku went to confront the impostor, hoping for a chance to obtain the anti-virus. Upon arriving however, the impostor turned the entirety of LINK VRAINS into a trap to capture Playmaker and revealed herself to be Ghost Gal. Akira Zaizen appeared and tortured Playmaker, believing him to be the culprit of Skye's condition and swore to reclaim Ai. Playmaker and Ai tried to explain that Hanoi were the real culprits to no avail, until Varis appeared and blackmailed Zaizen into releasing Playmaker so they could Duel.[16] During the Duel, Ai noted that Varis didn't have an A.I. in his Duel Disk; Varis replied that he didn't trust A.I. and that Ai must be destroyed to prevent the virtual fiction of VRAINS from destroying the world. Ai was shocked when Varis used "Storm Access" during the Duel, as it was his signature program, and when he saw Varis use the Cyberse "Topologic Bomber Dragon", he called him out on his hypocrisy of wanting to destroy the Cyberse while borrowing power from it. Varis countered that claiming that he was "countering poison with poison".[17]

"Fire Prison" causes Ai to disappear.
Ai, at sea.

As the Duel progressed, Varis gained the upper hand, and worrying that 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 combined it with the effect of "Topologic Bomber Dragon", ending the Speed Duel in a DRAW. Following that, Varis dragged Playmaker and Ai inside the Data Storm, where they began a Master Duel. When Playmaker summoned two Cyberse Link Monsters, Varis activated the effect of "Fire Prison", eliminating all Cyberse cards from the field, as well as making Ai seemingly vanish.[18] Ai woke up at sea, and remembered how "Fire Prison" erased his program. Though he was surprised by his surroundings, Ai felt somewhat sleepy, even if he never had felt this before. When Playmaker called out to him, Ai woke up and he returned after Playmaker summoned "Firewall Dragon" and "Fire Prison" was destroyed. Ai was concerned if Playmaker lost, and panicked to see he only had 600 LP left. Ai was amazed to see Playmaker's "Firewall Dragon" squaring off against "Borreload Dragon", until Varis used the effect of "Borreload Dragon" to take control of "Firewall Dragon".[7]

Ai takes revenge on Varis.
Ai gets his body back.

Ai was frustrated that "Firewall Dragon" was unable to remove "Borreload Dragon" from the field, and reminded Playmaker to protect his own dragon and that they had to count everything on their next draw. Ai was pleased when "Firewall Dragon" defeated "Borreload Dragon", and Varis as well. He then became vicious and tried to devour Varis, but he was only able to devour his avatar's arm before a lightning strike restrained him. After the logged out of LINK VRAINS, Ai noticed Yusaku sleeping, and called him lazy. Kolter replied that heroes need rest too, prompting Ai to start bragging how heroes needed to be just like him. Kolter began analyzing the program Ai had obtained from Varis, but Ai refused to say anything about the program. Later, Ai woke up and explained to Yusaku and Kolter he was alive, but they wanted proof. Ai started to focus and a golden light appeared out of Yusaku's Duel Disk. Ai came out, with his body intact, stating his pride at recovering his body. Yusaku and Kolter were unamused by his small size and went to analyze if Ai had any memories of his past. Ai was displeased by their ignorance, wanting them to show some reaction to seeing his true self.[19]

Ai talks to Playmaker about Ghost Gal's tactics.

After Yusaku left him at home, Ai flexed his muscles to impress Roboppi, and he claimed that once he was completed, they would "start doing that again", which made him and Roboppi blush.[20] Ai "played" with Roboppi, and claimed Yusaku wouldn't watch them, since he was deep in thought, though Roboppi had to quickly toss him back to the shelf when Yusaku came in. Yusaku took Ai with him to Café Nom, where they learned that Ghost Gal had challenged Playmaker to a Duel, wagering a backdoor program to SOL Technologies' data bank for Ai. Ai stated they didn't have to accept her challenge, but to his displeasure, Yusaku nevertheless did so, as he was interested in the data from SOL Technologies' data bank.[21]

As Playmaker and Ghost Gal Dueled, Ai reminded Playmaker that Ghost Gal would have studied his tactics well, while they knew nothing about her Deck. Ai took note of Ghost Gal's defenses, but was surprised when she stopped their attack with a monster effect rather than a Trap. Ghost Gal swiftly assembled her "Altergeist" monsters, claiming she'd win that turn, and Ai laughed, believing she'd miscalculated based on her monsters' ATK. Both Playmaker and Ghost Gal scolded Ai for such thinking, much to Ai's offense, but they were proven right when the effect of "Altergeist Meluseek" destroyed "Cyberse Wizard", allowing "Altergeist Marionetter" and "Altergeist Primebanshee" to attack directly.[21] Ai started panicking, but Playmaker was able to save them with "Lockout Gardna", which would leave them with enough LP to use Storm Access. Ai attempted to lure Ghost Gal into attacking, but Ghost Gal knew Ai was just pretending and decided not to attack. Ai was shocked that she saw through his acting, and Playmaker told him his acting stunk, prompting Ai to sniff himself. Playmaker managed to lower his LP enough to use "Storm Access" but Ghost Gal restored their LP with her own Skill, "Secret Cure", But Playmaker paid more LP to activate the effect of "Scan Doll" and Ai praised him, encouraging him to use Storm Access. Ghost Gal followed them into the Data Storm, and to Ai's surprise, Playmaker saved her despite the risk to them, and he commented that Playmaker was behaving like a hero. Playmaker Link Summoned the new monster he'd acquired, "Excode Talker" and defeated Ghost Gal. After the Duel, Ai commented that it was a stressful battle, and that it would've ended in their defeat if it wasn't for him. After Ghost Gal left, Ai asked what was in SOL Technologies' data bank, and Playmaker admitted that he didn't know, but hoped there was some info about himself from ten years ago.[22]

The next day, Yusaku was searching for Skye at school, as she hadn't been there or in LINK VRAINS. Ai suggested her brother was blocking her access to LINK VRAINS, to prevent any further harm to her and wondered why Yusaku was concerned about her. Yusaku explained that he believed that she shouldn't give up on Dueling. The following night, Kolter created a link to SOL Technologies' mother computer, but to Ai's surprise, Yusaku hesitated to enter, wary of the backdoor program containing a trap. Ai was irritated by his caution, as they already knew there were traps set by SOL Technologies. They logged into the system, and Ai noted how empty the place was. As they progressed, Ai warned Playmaker about the security traps. They passed through Area A successfully, but to Ai's shock they came upon a Data Storm inside the system, which caused them to alert SOL Technologies. Two A.I. prototypes attacked them and challenged them to Duels, despite Ai reminding them Duels were one on one. Playmaker initially avoided them and proceeded further, but one of the A.I.s intercepted him. The two began a Speed Duel, in which the A.I. prototype discarded Playmaker's hand with "Tentacluster Nautilus", and Ai told Playmaker he had no luck. They were attacked by the other A.I. prototype until Blue Angel arrived to help them.[23] Playmaker was able to use the effects of the cards in his Graveyard to Summon monsters and reduce his LP to 1000, and Ai encouraged him to enter the Data Storm, wondering what monster he would obtain. Playmaker defeated the A.I. with "Vector Scare Archfiend", and they managed to make it to the data bank.[24]

Ai and Playmaker were surprised to see Zaizen there, who claimed that he'd expected Playmaker.[24] Ghost Gal revealed herself as well, and Ai accused her of losing to them on purpose to give them the backdoor route, though Ghost Gal pointed out that she still had the opportunity to obtain Ai if she'd won and had been fine with either outcome. Ai cursed her for being so cunning, which Ghost Gal took as a compliment. Zaizen refused to hand over the information from the data bank, so Playmaker challenged him to a Duel, betting Ai for the data, which Akira accepted. Ai was displeased that being bet had become normal, and as the Duel began, he noted that Zaizen was a stiff man like his strategy. He was unnerved by the frightening appearance of Zaizen's "Tindangle Hound", and Playmaker brought out "Flame Administrator" in combination with "Decode Talker" to combat the ATK reduction effect of "Tindangle Hound" and destroyed it. Zaizen was able to revive it with "Tindangle Angel" and end the Battle Phase. Ai realized Zaizen played a Flip monster Deck with unique strategies and encouraged Playmaker to crush Zaizen, as the effect of "Tindangle Hound" hurt his pride.[25]

Ai is shocked when Playmaker claims they aren't friends.

Playmaker destroyed Zaizen's monsters with "Linkage Hole", and Ai taunted Zaizen for being unable to use his Flip monsters' effects. However, Ai started panicking when Zaizen destroyed "Decode Talker" and Summoned "Tindangle Acute Cerberus" with 3000 ATK. "Tindangle Acute Cerberus" attacked "Firewall Dragon", and Ai feared he and Playmaker would lose, but Playmaker protected "Firewall Dragon" with "Doppler Phase Coating". Zaizen protected his own monster with "Gergonne's End", so Playmaker tried to have "Firewall Dragon", enhanced with "Alert Lancer", attack a "Tindangle Token" to finish the Duel. Ai believed they'd won, but Zaizen assembled various effects" to protect his LP and his Tokens, and even double the damage "Tindangle Acute Cerberus" dealt. Ai yelled at Playmaker to do something, but wondered if there even a way out of their situation. Playmaker told Ai to stop panicking, asking if he even was an A.I, and Ai angrily asked why Playmaker was so calm. Playmaker claimed if Ai was so worried about losing, he should consider 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 that Ai should behave like other A.I.s. This crushed Ai, and he accused Playmaker of being colder than an A.I. Blue Angel eventually revealed she had been eavesdropping, and asked about Playmaker's past. Ai added that he wanted to know as well, claiming to be in the dark and concealing his involvement in the Hanoi Project from everyone present. He was shocked to hear that SOL Technologies' data bank contained the name of the mastermind behind the project.[26]

Zaizen refused to tell them the identity of the mastermind behind the Project, and attempted to end the Duel. Ai panicked again, but Playmaker silenced him, banishing "Firewall Dragon" to send "Doppler Phase Coating" to the Graveyard and end the Battle Phase, in addition to setting "Firewall Dragon" up to attack directly the next turn, impressing Ai. Zaizen then activated "Euler's Circuit", stopping Playmaker from attacking. Ai lost hope, thinking he would be turned over to SOL Technologies. Playmaker fougt back on his next turn, and to Ai's shock, he fulfilled the conditions for "Gergonne's End", allowing Zaizen to destroy his Tokens to inflict the ATK of "Tindangle Acute Cerberus" to Playmaker. However, Playmaker's "Secure Gardna" prevented the damage, and Ai taunted Zaizen for falling for their trick. Ai bragged his acting made this possible, but Playmaker brushed him off, claiming his poor acting nearly made Zaizen suspect something was wrong. Although he could now attack directly with "Firewall Dragon", Playmaker used "Recovery Sorcerer" to bring back "Secure Gardna", telling Ai that a Duel was more than just winning or losing. He used the effect of "Firewall Dragon" to remove "Tindangle Hound" and "Tindangle Angel" from Zaizen's Graveyard, depowering "Acute Cerberus" and allowing "Firewall Dragon" to destroy it, defeating Zaizen. Playmaker then released Ai into the data bank, and Ai devoured all the data on the Hanoi Project he could find. Once they logged out, Kolter praised Yusaku and Ai, and Ai was happy that he'd been complimented. Kolter and Yusaku then hacked the data out of, learning that the leader of the Hanoi Project was Dr. Kiyoshi Kogami, a SOL Technologies researcher who apparently worked alone on the project in secrecy. Ai doubted Kogami could have done this on his own, and suggested Zaizen was involved, but Kolter reminded him that Zaizen hadn't been employed at SOL Technologies then. To their shock, they learned that Dr. Kogami had died seven years ago.[27]

After being left home again, Ai recapped the events to Roboppi, crediting himself for some of Playmaker's contributions, amazing Roboppi, until he claimed he wished everyone to fight with him as the bet. He declared Playmaker was some sort of a fiend, though Roboppi stated he was just cold-hearted. Ai admitted he was uncertain what would they do next, since nobody else but Dr. Kogami knew about the Lost Incident.[28]

Tower of Hanoi[edit]

Ai and Playmaker 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 that even today people were still afraid. Playmaker replied that people remained the same, while technology advanced. Playmaker likened the eclipse to the Lost Incident, vowing that he would not let the Incident be buried in darkness, and that he would uncover the truth. At school, Yusaku spoke with Naoki Shima, who mentioned "the Deleted". Ai thought it sounded similar to what had happened to Blue Angel, but Yusaku shushed him, since Shima could hear him. Later at Café Nom, Kolter showed them footage of someone being Deleted, and Ai and Yusaku noted that this was the same condition Blue Angel had been infected by. Kolter showed them data pertaining to the qualities the victims shared; they were all hackers and elite Duelists with old models of Duel Disks like Playmaker, and they realized that the Knights of Hanoi were looking for Playmaker and Ai. Yusaku reminded them of the importance of uncovering the truth behind Lost Incident, and Ai noted that they had to stop people from becoming Deleted. Kolter showed them a list of possible targets, including a student from Den City High School, McKendrick Kellenbocker. Yusaku and Ai visited McKendrick's house, but arrived too late to prevent a Commander of the Knights of Hanoi, Dr. Genome, from Deleting McKendrick. They watched on McKendrick's monitors as he was rescued by The Gore, who confronted Genome. Genome confirmed they were searching for Playmaker, offering Gore the cure to the virus in exchange for Playmaker's identity.[29]

The Knights continued their attack the next day, and Ai, Kolter and Yusaku watched them Deleting people from Café Nom. Yusaku decided to go into LINK VRAINS, despite Ai's trepidations. To their surprise, someone disguised as Playmaker began defeating the Knights, and Dr. Genome confronted the imposter, who revealed himself as The Gore, and challenged Genome, betting Playmaker's identity.[29] Gore claimed to know Playmaker's identity, and Kolter remembered Yusaku met Gore at the hospital, but Yusaku claimed it was impossible for Gore to know his identity. Ai was critical of Gore donning a mask and calling himself "Grim Gore", and Yusaku and Kolter explained the concept of a heel to him. Ai was surprised at Grim Gore's reckless Dueling, but noted that it gained him advantage. Ai commented that Gore had started using his brain to win, while Yusaku noted that Gore still wanted to win in his own way. Just as Gore was about to win, Genome managed to save himself and regain the advantage. Yusaku became displeased as Genome counterattacked, and Ai suggested he could enter LINK VRAINS to save Gore. Once Yusaku saw Grim Gore save himself, he decided to take Ai's advice.[30]

Playmaker and Ai logged into LINK VRAINS, and Dr. Genome noticed the Ignis was here, prompting Ai to claim he had a name. Genome accused Ai of being domesticated, and Ai denied that. They watched as Playmaker's feigned taunts motivated Grim Gore to perform a face turn to The Gore again, and defeat Genome. Gore managed to obtain the removal program for McKendrick, but many people still remained Deleted, and he allied with Playmaker. Playmaker and Ai confronted and defeated a Knight of Hanoi, demanding the virus-removal program. The Knight did not have it, so Playmaker asked him who created the virus, and Ai threatened the Knight. However, someone else dissolved the Knight before he could reply.[31] After they logged out, Ai browsed the net while Yusaku and Kolter searched for information on the identity of the Deleted virus's creator. He was amused to learn that Kitamura was being criticized for his failure to stop the Knights of Hanoi, but Yusaku shushed Ai, since he was interfering with their work. Despite their efforts, Blue Angel wound up finding the virus's creator, Baira, first, and Ai watched their Speed Duel from Café Nom, while Yusaku and Kolter continued working. He expressed concern for Blue Angel being cornered but Yusaku shushed him again.[32] Yusaku eventually found footage of Skye's doctor, Clarissa Turner, present while a Duelist was being Deleted. Yusaku and Ai went to her apartment, worrying Ai that it was the Knights of Hanoi's headquarters. Yusaku replied it was more reason for him to go, and Ai asked if Yusaku was even good at fighting. Kolter hacked the security robot to let them in, and Ai hacked into the security system, opening the apartment. Ai saw nobody, but Yusaku shushed him and they found Clarissa logged in, her screens depicting her Speed Duel with Blue Angel. Blue Angel was able to win, and Baira released the virus-removal program, freeing the Deleted. Ai proposed they tie Clarissa up when she logged out, but instead of logging out, she appeared next to Varis, who punished her. Yusaku suggested that Baira released the virus-removal program because she felt guilty, a feeling Ai did not understand.[33]

Ai flies above Den City to find Shima.

Ai had Roboppi modify Yusaku's Duel Disk to function as a drone, thinking how Yusaku would be surprised when he saw them. The next day, Yusaku spoke with Shima, who wished to battle the Knights of Hanoi. Yusaku knew Shima was scared, and knew he'd come to ask him for help. Shima was furious and stormed out, and Ai noted Yusaku went too far on him, secretly sending the card data of "Cyberse Wizard" to Shima's Duel Disk. Kolter soon alerted Yusaku that "Cyberse Wizard" had been used, and Ai informed him that the card data was missing. Ai suggested to them that the Duelist who had used it, "The Brave Battler" had used it to lure Playmaker out, but they soon learned that he was Shima, and that he had been kidnapped by the final Commander of the Knights of Hanoi, Faust. Tracking the data of "Cyberse Wizard", Ai flew over the city in search of Shima, and Yusaku eventually contacted him when he realized his Duel Disk was missing. Yusaku realized Ai knew this would happen, and Ai acted offended that Yusaku was accusing him. Regardless, Ai showed them location where Shima was captured, and Ai returned to Café Nom while it was en route, allowing Yusaku to log into LINK VRAINS.[34] Playmaker confronted Faust, who denied having stolen "Cyberse Wizard" and giving it to The Brave Battler. Playmaker was confused, but Ai claimed it wasn't important, and that he had to defeat Faust. Faust conjured a Data Gale for their Speed Duel, and Ai noted this prevented them from logging out. Faust's Insect tactics quickly drove them back and left them with 50 LP, though Playmaker stated it was still enough to fight. Ai encouraged Playmaker to use "Storm Access", and Playmaker acquired "Powercode Talker" and prepared to defeat Faust. Faust tried to protest that the Ignis would put humanity's future at risk, but Ai told Playmaker to ignore him and attack, and Playmaker did so. After Playmaker won, what Faust had said, and Ai claimed not to know anything about that. After the logging, Yusaku went to rescue Shima, who complimented him. He also spoke about Playmaker rescuing him, and Ai noted that Shima talked too much.[35]

Yusaku went to Kolter's van as he was having trouble sleeping. Ai smiled at Yusaku, calling him cute, but Yusaku told him to be quiet. Ai and Yusaku agreed that something bad was about to happen, and that Varis would make his move soon.[36] While Yusaku was on the way home from school on day, he and Ai sensed something wrong in LINK VRAINS. Later, Ai observed Kolter serving a customer who claimed he was visiting for the last time, and suggested that Kolter needed a mascot, who claimed Ai would make a terrible mascot. Kolter noted that the Deleted incident has been resolved, but that Varis was still out there. Ai suggested that Varis had retreated, but Yusaku doubted that. Suddenly, Ai and Yusaku felt a pulse within LINK VRAINS, and Yusaku asked Kolter to scan through the network. As Ai and Yusaku sensed another pulse, Kolter realized that LINK VRAINS' infrastructure was changing. Yusaku decided to log into LINK VRAINS, and Ai was once again uneasy about doing so.[37]

Ai's Destiny Draw resulted in "Fake Trap".

As Playmaker searched LINK VRAINS, Ai tried to convince Playmaker that something would go wrong and that they should return home, but Playmaker was focused on finding the cause of the pulses. Once again, they sensed the pulse coming from the network, and they found some data fireflies. Playmaker traced them to an alleyway, and Ai suggested that they were taking a break. Ghost Gal arrived, and wasn't particularly pleased to see them. The data fireflies opened a path into LINK VRAINS' data sewers, which Ai had become experienced with when he was on the run, and they came to a fork in the sewers. Ai suggested they could settle who took which path with a game, which amused Ghost Gal. She told him that whoever chose the "lovelier" card from her Deck could choose the path they took. Ai was confident in his skills, but worried that Ghost Gal could cheat, though she claimed there wasn't anything beneficial in that. Ai declared a "Destiny Draw", only to choose "Fake Trap". Ghost Gal claimed it was so ugly she didn't even need to draw a card, and she bid farewell to Ai and Playmaker, taking the path on the right. Ai was displeased he chose "Fake Trap", but Playmaker explained that Ghost Gal had cheated by using a Deck filled with bad cards. Ai was even more depressed he was cheated once more, but Playmaker reminded him of the importance of their mission. As they continued on, they noticed something moving in the data streams, and initially brushed it off until they were attacked by a data monster. Ai panicked in fear, urging Playmaker to run as the pulses they sensed became stronger.[37] They eventually came to a dead end, but just as the data was about to attack them, it disappeared in a blast of light that had emerged from the floor. Ai was relieved they'd been saved, while Playmaker noted that they had to be above the abnormality. Playmaker leaped down the crack, coming to a data processing center containing a strange energy sphere where Ghost Gal was Speed Dueling Varis. Trapped behind bars, they watched helplessly in horror as Ghost Gal was defeated by Varis's "Topologic Trisbaena". After her defeat, Ghost Gal glowed with a red light, and started disintegrating. She warned Playmaker of Varis and his new card before her data was absorbed by the energy sphere. Varis confronted them, explaining that Ghost Gal had become part of the foundation to save the world, and that the Tower of Hanoi had been activated, which they could only stop by defeating him. Varis then began the Tower of Hanoi and departed, and the energy sphere expanded and began tearing the plant apart. Ai had to use the emergency logout to get them out, as Playmaker was too wrapped up in his rage to think rationally.[38]

Ai and Yusaku joined Kolter, and they watched as the Tower of Hanoi grew and destroyed the cyberspace around it.[38] The Tower absorbed the data of all the Avatars in its vicinity, and began constructing a ring of data. Kolter analyzed the data that they had obtained from Ghost Gal, and learned that the Tower was absorbing data to construct the ring. Once it completed six rings, it would release a pulse of high-density data that would destroy every piece of technology connected to the network. Ai believed they'd be safe if they didn't enter the network, but Yusaku stated that Varis likely would have thought of this, and Kolter confirmed that the data pulse would also repurpose mainframes into EMP devices that would affect technology even if it wasn't connected to the network. They realized that Varis was going so far just to erase the Ignis. Later, they witnessed Kitamura Dueling a Knight of Hanoi, Specter, who defeated Kitamura, resulting in Kitamura's data being absorbed by the Tower of Hanoi. Specter threatened anyone that dared enter LINK VRAINS with the same fate, and Yusaku swore to stop the Knights of Hanoi by shutting down the Tower. Kolter warned him there were no Data Storms in LINK VRAINS, except near the Tower of Hanoi.[39]

This did not stop Yusaku, who wished to end his feud with Varis, and he logged into LINK VRAINS. They quickly met up with The Gore and Blue Angel. They claimed they were fighting for everyone who looked up to them, and Ai noted in particular how full of energy Gore was. Gore took note of Ai for the first time, observing that he was the Ignis, prompting Ai to protest that he had a name. Playmaker explained he came to stop the Tower of Hanoi, rescue Ghost Gal and confront Varis, explaining the function of the Tower to them, and the importance of stopping it (Ai adding that it would prevent him from being erased too). Ai warned them that they had 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 further. Playmaker did not care, but asked 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 again and departed in different directions.[39]

After Playmaker saved a kid from a collapsing building in LINK VRAINS, Ai noted Playmaker wanted to do something cool, but Playmaker told him to be quiet.[40] As they continued towards the Tower, 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, stating that this was why he had his name. As they continued on, they noticed a twister in the distance where Blue Angel had headed.[41] Ai and Playmaker came to a bridge, which was being corrupted by the Tower, and Ai noted they had to cross it to get to the Tower. Ai suggested conjuring a Data Storm, but Playmaker asked him not to do that, since the Tower would absorb that data too and hasten the tower's completion. Specter blocked their way over the bridge, claiming that he would crush them as he had Blue Angel as per Varis's orders, which shocked Ai and Playmaker. Specter claimed he defeated Blue Angel without using his full strength, and recalled that she said something about "blue love", which Ai did not understand. Specter showed them bits of data of Blue Angel, stating she had no power to save him, and he promised the same fate would befall Playmaker. As they began a Duel, Playmaker recalled that Blue Angel's tactics focused on effect damage, and Ai stated that Specter had to be dangerous if he had defeated Blue Angel quickly, though Ai noted that Specter's "Sunavalon Dryas" did not look very offensive. As Playmaker tried to dissuade Specter from supporting Varis, Specter revealed that he was one of the other children who had been kidnapped for the Hanoi Project, which shocked Playmaker. As Playmaker and Specter contrasted their experiences during the Lost Incident, Ai noted Playmaker looked distant and worried that he was losing his conviction, and he told him that he was nothing like Specter, and reminded him that the Tower of Hanoi would continue growing as long as they wasted time. Playmaker told him that he understood, while Specter dared Playmaker to defeat him, and Playmaker began Link Summoning.[42] Specter proclaimed that nobody could defeat him as long as his "Sunavalon" was on the field, and claimed that the Ignis would be erased along with LINK VRAINS. Playmaker's attacks were blunted by Specter's LP restoration combos, and Ai sensed they could be in trouble unless Playmaker tried harder. Playmaker observed that Specter used a defense-oriented Deck, and Blue Angel must have fallen to Specter's tricks. Specter warned them that his "Sunavalon" could not be attacked, and Ai noted that Specter had anticipated their attacks. Attempting to finish the Duel in one stroke, Playmaker removed all of the counters "Multi Sledgehammer" had received when his other monsters attacked, raising its ATK to 4000. Ai praised Playmaker, while Specter noted all of their attacks were just to power up "Multi Sledgehammer" for a final strike. Ai claimed it was a brilliant strategy, but Specter told them it was not perfect; "Sunavalon Glorious Growth" redirected the attack to "Sunvine Gardna", who reduced the damage, allowing Specter to restore his LP again. Ai realized Specter had the advantage, and Specter claimed their Duel had been decided from the start since Playmaker was obsessed with revenge, while Specter helped Varis save the world. Specter went on the offensive with "Sunvine Thrasher", taking control of Playmaker's "Binary Blader". Ai warned Playmaker he was losing, but Playmaker stated that Specter could no longer use the effect of "Sunavalon Dryanome", as all of the zones it pointed to were occupied, so he had a chance of winning the next turn. Ai noted that was why Playmaker had his name, but Specter Link Summoned "Sunavalon Daphne", and Ai and Playmaker realized this expanded Specter's zones for its effects. Playmaker countered by bringing out "Excode Talker" and "Underclock Taker", preventing Specter from using the two Main Monster Zones his "Sunavalon" pointed to and reducing the ATK of "Sunvine Thrasher". Specter was displeased as he could not use his combo to protect himself, while Ai gloated that they would win.[43]

Specter then brought a captured Akira Zaizen to the bridge, threatening to infect him with a virus that would allow the Tower of Hanoi to absorb him. Ai and Playmaker were angry that Specter was cheating by dragging people that weren't involved into their Duel, but Specter claimed that it had been Playmaker who actually involved those people in this crisis; first Blue Angel, and now Zaizen, who told them not to worry about him. Ai agreed with Zaizen and told Playmaker not to listen to Specter, but to his frustration and Specter's mirth, Playmaker ended his turn. Specter then counterattacked, reducing Playmaker to 900 LP and damaging the bridge, and Ai panicked as the bridge began collapsing.[43] Specter lamented that he could not defeat Playmaker as the bridge was collapsing, and Playmaker tricked him into stabilizing the bridge and continuing the Duel. Despite Ai, Zaizen, and Specter all urging Playmaker to attack, he instead stalled despite Ai reminding him that the Tower would be completed if they lost. Specter Link Summoned "Sunavalon Dryatrentiay" and "Sunvine Thrasher", destroying Playmaker's protective cards and increasing the ATK of "Thrasher" to 4000. Ai was initially worried, but was relieved when Specter revealed that his monsters in the Main Monster Zones couldn't attack during the turn he used the effect of "Dryatrentiay". Playmaker warned Ai that Specter had Summoned the high ATK monster for a reason, and Specter proved them right; "Dryatrentiay" gained ATK equal to the ATK of "Thrasher". But Playmaker had anticipated that, and [Link Surge Counter|made]] the ATK of "Excode Talker" equal to "Dryatrentiay", destroying them both and surviving with 50 LP. Ai praised Playmaker for surviving and breaking Specter's combo and mocked Specter over his "mother" being destroyed, but Specter flew into a rage and revived "Dryatrentiay" with "Sunavalon Cursed Rebirth"; though its effects were negated, its ATK became 4000. Ai was scared, while Specter explained that any damage he took would also be inflicted to Playmaker. Ai lamented that this was why they should have ignored Zaizen. Just then, Kolter attempted to break Zaizen's trap, but his code was unable to break the trap's complexity.[44]

Zaizen told Playmaker he had to win to prevent Skye's sacrifice from being in vain, and he sacrificed himself by grasping his prison, infecting himself with the virus and being absorbed by the Tower of Hanoi. Specter laughed at Zaizen's sacrifice, but an enraged Playmaker revived "Excode Talker" and raised its ATK to 4000 with "Link Atrocity", while reducing the ATK of "Dryatrentiay" to zero, and it defeated Specter. Ai and Playmaker left Specter laughing madly as the bridge continued collapsing, and Playmaker sprinted across the bridge towards the Tower, but the bridge finally collapsed beneath them, plunging Ai and Playmaker into the abyss.[44] To their surprise, a Data Storm ejected them from the abyss, and Playmaker asked Ai if he summoned that Data Storm. Ai replied that he hadn't, but warned Playmaker that the third ring of the Tower had been completed, leaving them with only three hours left.[45]

As they continued towards the Tower, Frog and Pigeon informed them of another Duel. Playmaker deduced that it had to be The Gore and Varis Dueling, and they quickly found them Dueling at the base of the Tower of Hanoi, where Gore had made a solid start. Ai enthusiastically supported Gore, while Playmaker told him to be quiet, and Ai believed that Gore had won after he destroyed "Topologic Bomber Dragon" and Summoned four "Gouki" Link Monsters, but Varis activated the card that Ghost Gal had warned them about, "Mirror Force", and he destroyed Gore's monsters.[45] Playmaker and Ai noted that "Mirror Force" was a good counter against Link Monsters, and they watched as Varis pushed him into a corner. Ai was impressed when Gore was able to mount a rally and Link Summon "Gouki The Giant Ogre" (producing a sizable knife out of thin air when "Giant Ogre" drew its massive sword). Ai watched nervously as Varis began to press Gore again, but Gore was able to protect "Giant Ogre". Ai believed that Gore and Varis were equal, but Playmaker reminded him that Varis still had four monsters and would Link Summon a Link-4 monster. Ai believed Varis would Link Summon "Borreload Dragon", but Varis instead brought out "Borrelsword Dragon", which clashed with "Giant Ogre" and eventually destroyed it. Ai believed that Gore had survived as he was still standing, but Gore's LP had been reduced to zero, and as he was absorbed by the Tower of Hanoi, he apologized for not being able to do more.[46]

Ai sweats in fear as Varis reveals his deception and past.

Playmaker and Varis were left as the last two Duelists in LINK VRAINS, and they Speed Dueled in the Data Storm within the still-forming fifth ring of the Tower of Hanoi. Ai was nervous about Speed Dueling in the debris field, and even more so when Varis vowed to destroy him. Ai acted as lookout for Playmaker as he Dueled, warning him of incoming debris fragments, and cheered him on as he brought out "Decode Talker" for a strong start. But his arrogance had pushed Varis's patience too far, who revealed to Playmaker that Ai had been lying about losing his memory and that he had been created from Playmaker during the Lost Incident. Ai could only protest that he had lied because even though he'd immediately recognized his Origin, he hadn't known if he could trust him. To Ai's shock, Playmaker once again claimed they weren't friends, and told him to be quiet. Ai watched as Varis Set a card, knowing something was wrong and eventually deducing that Varis had Set "Mirror Force". Although Playmaker set a defense against it, Varis was able to spring his Trap successfully and destroy Playmaker's monsters, and Ai lost his patience, stating that he didn't care if Playmaker trusted him or not because if he lost, Ai was doomed too. To his terror, Varis assembled enough attacks to wipe out Playmaker's LP.[1]

Ai saves Playmaker from falling.

Playmaker was able to block the last attack, and Ai realized that this left them with enough LP to use "Storm Access", but cautioned Playmaker against trying to enter the high-density Data Storm. Heedless of his words, Playmaker plunged his hand in, but the Data Storm severed his hand and knocked him off his Duel Board. Ai grew to human size and grabbed Playmaker's hand, saving him and healing his injuries, then he entered the Duel Board and powered it into the Data Storm. Playmaker protested about what would happen if Ai did so, but Ai declared that this was how he would atone. After Playmaker successfully used his Skill, Ai bid him goodbye, apparently destroyed by his effort. However, he resurfaced later, having simply been weakened by the effort. Varis then attempted to use "Storm Access" as well, despite Ai's warnings, and his own arm was severed, but he still tried to enter the Data Storm again, much to Ai's shock. The Data Storm then stopped, freezing Ai, Playmaker, and Varis, and Dr. Kogami materialized, talking with Varis and then vanishing, which allowed Varis to successfully use "Storm Access". To Ai's shock, Varis Link Summoned the new monster, "Topologic Gumblar Dragon" and used it in combination with "Drop Draco" to destroy their hands and end the Duel in a DRAW.[47]

The explosion caused by the draw logged them out of LINK VRAINS, and Ai panicked that they wouldn't be able to stop the Tower of Hanoi without Varis, but Yusaku revealed that he knew where Varis was. As Kolter drove them there, Yusaku explained that Varis had spoken of the Stardust Road during their Duel, a phenomenon that occurred in the ocean where Kolter had served a customer while they first sensed the Tower. As Varis was familiar with it, he had to be nearby. Sure enough, they found Varis - who introduced himself to them as Ryoken Kogami - with the body of Dr. Kogami. Ryoken told them that his father had passed away, and he told them the truth of his attacks on the Ignis. He revealed that he had saved the children in the past and that SOL Technologies had infected his father with a computer virus that left him comatose while the Ignis created the Cyberse. Their progress had concerned Kogami, who deduced through simulations that the Ignis would eventually turn on humanity, and this was why they had attacked the Ignis. Yusaku tried to convince Ryoken to stop the Tower, now desiring to save him as he knew that Ryoken was the one who had saved him, but Ryoken refused. They agreed to a final Duel, and logged into LINK VRAINS.[5]

Before the Duel began, Ai noted that it was eerily quiet. He was disconcerted when Varis quickly Set "Mirror Force" again, but Playmaker reassured him that he had a plan and attempted to destroy Varis's Set card with "Linkslayer". Unfortunately, the Set card had been "Mirror Force Launcher", and as it had been destroyed it was re-Set and also Set "Mirror Force". Playmaker was able to gain some advantage, baiting "Mirror Force" with "Excode Talker" and allowing him to revive "Restoration Point Guard" to inflict damage to Varis.[5] Varis brought out "Topologic Bomber Dragon", but Playmaker was able to minimize the damage, though Varis retrieved "Mirror Force" with "Mirror Force Launcher". To Ai's shock, Playmaker Link Summoned on his next turn, despite the combined danger of "Mirror Force" and "Topologic Bomber", but Playmaker negated the effects of "Topologic Bomber" and Summoned three "Code Talkers" and made them immune to destruction by card effects, impressing Ai. Varis blocked their attacks with "Link Turret" and brought out "Borreload Dragon" on his next turn. Ai was initially unworried, as they had the higher ATK, and Playmaker warned him that he'd forgotten the effects of "Borreload Dragon". "Borreload Dragon" proceeded to singlehandedly demolish their field and Playmaker was reduced to 800 LP.[48] Although Varis hadn't been able to defeat them with his attacks, he still intended to defeat them that turn, and he began reviving his monsters with "Link Turret", shocking Ai with the number of monsters he was able to revive. Varis created an Extra Link, unlocking the true power of "Topologic Gumblar Dragon" to destroy Playmaker's hand and inflict 3000 damage; an effect that could not be negated. Ai was horrified that the effect could not be negated, and asked how they could stop it, taking cover in Playmaker's Duel Disk as the attack hit.[6]

Playmaker was able to save them and stall Varis's attacks by quartering the damage with "Drop Frame Wedge", but the damage had badly injured him. Ai begged Playmaker to get up, telling him that he had to save his friends. Playmaker asked what the Cyberse was like, and Ai fondly described it to Playmaker, telling him that the Ignis wouldn't harm humanity and only wanted to live on their own. He admitted to using Playmaker, but stated that it had only been due to wanting to return home to his friends. Although Playmaker found the strength to continue, their options were limited, as the effect of "Topologic Gumblar Dragon" would put them in danger of losing if they kept cards in their hand, and Varis swiftly destroyed any cards they played. But despite their situation, and to Ai's utter shock, Playmaker began laughing, and claimed that it was all one could do in such a situation. His next turn went better; Playmaker was able to draw "Arrow Charge" and draw two more cards. Ai prayed for a good draw, and Playmaker teased him that he thought A.I.s didn't pray. Ai stated that he would this time. Playmaker's cards allowed him to set up a stronger defense with "Secure Gardna" and "Transaction Rollback" just in time before the effect of "Drop Frame Wedge" expired, allowing Varis to attack.[6] Varis didn't hold back, using the effects of "Borreload" and "Borrelsword" to prevent them from stopping their attacks, but Playmaker was able to hold Varis off long enough to copy "Mirror Force" with "Transaction Rollback". The effect of "Topologic Gumblar Dragon" prevented Varis's Extra Link from being destroyed, but Playmaker was able to survive the turn.[49]

As Ai expressed relief at barely surviving the turn, Playmaker smiled, asking Ai if he was giving up. Ai stated that he wasn't, and asked Playmaker to stop smiling as it was freaking him out, and Playmaker replied that he'd try. Playmaker then began trying to convince Varis to stop the Tower, claiming that he didn't have any friends, much to Ai's indignation. Playmaker then expressed a desire to save Varis as Varis had once done for him, and Ai asked in shock if that would mean he'd have to become friends with Varis. Varis rebuffed them, believing that Playmaker was begging for mercy, but Playmaker replied that he wasn't, and Ai cheered that he'd been waiting for this. Playmaker re-established his field by activating the effects of "Recoded Alive" with "Transaction Rollback", successfully playing around the effect of "Topologic Gumblar Dragon" to Link Summon "Firewall Dragon" and Extra Link his own monsters to Varis's, then boost the ATK of "Transcode Talker" with "Zero Extra Link". To Ai's horror, Varis managed to stop their monsters from attacking with "Link Short", but Playmaker Link Summoned "Decode Talker", who inherited the ATK boost from "Zero Extra Link" and attacked and destroyed "Borreload Dragon", defeating Varis and stopping the Tower of Hanoi at last.[49]

Yusaku sets Ai free.

Varis logged out, warning them that he would continue to oppose the Ignis as long as they were a threat to humanity. That night, Yusaku and Ai looked over the Stardust Road, and Ai admitted that it was beautiful. Yusaku then released him, pointing out that his mission was complete, and they exchanged heartfelt words before Ai almost flew off in the Duel Disk. Yusaku gently told him to leave it behind, and Ai casually bid Yusaku goodbye and returned to the network.[49]

Lost Ignis[edit]

Ai finds Linkuriboh in the destroyed Cyberse.

Ai wasted little time in returning to the Cyberse and releasing its coordinates, but to his horror he found that the Cyberse had been destroyed, and only "Linkuriboh" remained in the ruins. After three months, he decided to return to Yusaku with "Linkuriboh" in tow, arriving just as Playmaker was denying to a Bounty Hunter that he had an Ignis. Ai got rid of the Bounty Hunter with a Data Storm, but he and Playmaker had little time to catch up, as Playmaker was pursing a glowing figure who had stolen Jin Kolter's consciousness data. Playmaker challenged the figure to a Speed Duel, and Ai suggested he add "Linkuriboh" to his Deck. The glowing figure only Set a single card, but Playmaker brought out "Linkuriboh" and "Elphase", and Ai cheered "Linkuriboh" on. To their surprise, the glowing figure Summoned "Hydradrive Booster", a Cyberse monster, and Ai wondered if he had some thing to do with the destruction of the Cyberse (revealing to Playmaker for the first time that it had been destroyed). The figure then activated a Link Spell Card, "Judgment Arrows", which took Ai some time to understand. To Ai's shock, it doubled the ATK of his "Flow Hydradrives", allowing them to gain enough ATK to wipe Playmaker out.[50] The effect of "Linkuriboh" saved them, and Ai praised his friend, stating that he always knew it had skills. He eagerly cheered Playmaker on as he Ritual Summoned "Cyberse Magician".[51]

Ai is afflicted with an anti-Ignis program.

Though they were unable to defeat the figure, the attack destroyed the glowing shell around him, revealing a muscular man. Playmaker asked who he was, but the man couldn't remember anything, and asked who he was. Ai protested that they were supposed to ask that, but the man seemed confused as to why they were Dueling him, despite Ai impressing on him that he stole Jin's data. Ai wondered if they'd given the man amnesia, but then the man became assertive, introducing himself as Bohman and swiftly putting together a defense. On his next turn, the man once again assembled "Hydradrive" monsters with doubled ATK, but the effect of "Cyberse Magician" halved the damage. Faced with a defense that was difficult to break, Playmaker suggested to Ai that they use their Skill, and Ai happily conjured a Data Storm for Playmaker to use "Storm Access" in, gaining "Shootingcode Talker" and defeating Bohman with it, blasting him into a forest. Ai attempted to eat Jin's data from him, but Bohman had been implanted with an anti-Ignis program, and Ai retreated into Playmaker's Duel Disk, writhing in pain.[51]

Ai recovered after they logged out, and learned that Bohman had got away. Yusaku then imprisoned him within his Duel Disk for his own safety, and at Yusaku's house, Ai was reunited with Roboppi, who was pleased to see him. Roboppi admitted that it thought Ai had abandoned it when he returned to his homeworld, and Ai reassured her that he'd never do that. Roboppi agreed, reminding Ai that he'd promised to make it smarter, and Ai called it his precious minion, stating that if it did as he said, it would be smarter in no time. Roboppi then asked who "Linkuriboh" was, and Ai introduced it as one of his minions. Roboppi asked if this meant they were rivals, and as it and "Linkuriboh" glared at one another, Ai commented that it was hard being a popular A.I. Yusaku took Ai to school the next day, and Ai glanced around, admitting that he hadn't been in a while. He asked why Yusaku had locked him up again, and Yusaku told him it was for his own safety, because Kolter needed someone to talk to, and because being a hostage suited him. After Ai received a message from the Fire Ignis, they met with Theodore Hamilton and the Fire Ignis, who called himself "Flame" and needled Ai for his cutesy name.[52]

Flame suggested they relocate to a Ferris wheel for privacy, though Ai suspected he just wanted to ride it. Flame revealed that the Cyberse had been destroyed while Ai and Playmaker were fighting the Knights of Hanoi, and Ai was shocked that his program had been broken through. Flame claimed that his program was lame, much to Ai's anger, as he protested that it was the best he could do at the time. Flame explained that he didn't know who their enemy was, and that he'd contacted Theodore in order to search for the other Ignis. Ai admitted that he'd never thought he'd contact Yusaku in the manner Flame had, and explained to Yusaku that there were six Ignis, one for each Attribute. Yusaku asked which Attribute of Ignis had been created from Jin, but Ai admitted that only that Ignis would know. Flame asked for their help, and Ai agreed, but Yusaku wanted to search for Jin instead. Flame then revealed that the enemy that destroyed the Cyberse also used "Judgment Arrows", and Yusaku suggested they ask Kolter for a lead. Kolter stated that Bohman had vanished in LINK VRAINS' Restricted Area, and that he'd found a shred of an unknown program. Ai and Flame recognized it as an Ignis program associated with the WIND Attribute, and Yusaku asked if that meant the Wind Ignis was down there. Ai wasn't sure, and Yusaku noted that either way they needed to go down there. Ghost Gal then sent them info about the restricted area and how to enter it, and though Ai protested that it was a trap, Yusaku realized that Ghost Gal must have got the info from Zaizen, so it was legitimate, and Kolter warned them that SOL Technologies would likely have Bounty Hunters waiting for them.[52]

Playmaker and Soulburner logged into LINK VRAINS and headed through the Restricted Area using a stealth program that Ghost Gal had given them, but sure enough, they were ambushed by Gore and two other Bounty Hunters.[52] Ai observed Gore's energy as he pursed them, and SOL Technologies' traps quickly logged out Kenchi and Yozaka. Gore challenged Playmaker to a Duel. Playmaker stated that he didn't have time for this, and Soulburner asked Playmaker to let him Duel Gore instead. Playmaker agreed, and Flame wished him luck. Ai wished Flame luck as well, and Flame irritably told him that he wasn't talking to him.[53]

As Ai and Playmaker descended, they were attacked by The Shepherd, the first bounty hunter they'd met.[54] Ai tried to get rid of him with a Data Storm again, but The Shepherd blasted right through it and pursued them into the Restricted Area. Ai was terrified that Shepherd was shooting at them, but Playmaker reassured him that Shepherd was just trying to intimidate him, as he could only take Ai through a Duel. Shepherd eventually challenged Playmaker to a Speed Duel, and Ai noted that Shepherd's A.I. was quite talkative, and he decided to take the A.I. on. The A.I. warned Shepherd to be careful of "Shootingcode Talker", as they were in position to activate its consecutive attack effect. Shepherd muttered that he should have been more careful, and Ai grinned that the other A.I. was correct and they'd win. To his disappointment, Shepherd also told him to shut up, reducing Ai to a teary heap. Playmaker quickly brought out "Shootingcode Talker", and Ai mockingly praised Shepherd's A.I. as it explained the situation. But to their shock, Shepherd activated his Trap Card "Capture Drone", despite his A.I. claiming that he couldn't earlier when Playmaker Link Summoned "Elphase", and it chained "Shootingcode Talker" down. Shepherd asked Ai who decided that an A.I.'s info was accurate, and Ai realized that Shepherd had ordered his A.I. to lie. The Shepherd insulted Ai's intelligence for believing the information of an A.I., much to Ai's frustration. Shepherd brought out "Battledrone Sergeant", and Ai crowed that its ATK was too low, prompting Shepherd to insult him again for relaying such obvious information before Link Summoning "Battledrone General".[55]

As The Shepherd amassed his army and inflicted damage to them with "Drone Launcher Unit", Ai tried to count the Link Ratings of the monsters in the field, only to miscount it. Shepherd asked incredulously if Ai could even count, and Ai smugly asked who decided his info was accurate before Playmaker told him to be quiet. Ai hid as Shepherd brought them to 500 LP, but Playmaker was able to avoid defeat, though Ai didn't initially realize that it was at the cost of restoring his LP and preventing them from using "Storm Access". Playmaker Ritual Summoned "Cyberse Magician", which Ai cheekily noted wasn't affected by "Capture Drone", but Shepherd Tributed "General" to minimize the damage, much to Ai's surprise. Shepherd revived it next turn and unleashed his combo again, this time blunted by the effect of "Cyberse Magician", though Playmaker was able to save them by having "Cyberse Witch" and "Medicdrone Dock" destroy each other. Once again, despite Ai's protests, this increased their LP and prevented them from using "Storm Access". Shepherd told Playmaker to give up and hand Ai over, and Ai insisted that they were tied together by a strong trust and bond, a notion that angered The Shepherd. Playmaker was able to reduce their LP and free "Shootingcode Talker", but Shepherd once again prevented their Link Monsters from attacking with "Drone Cordon". Ai conjured a Data Storm for Playmaker to use "Storm Access", and Playmaker obtained "Clock Spartoi", using it to search out "Cynet Fusion" and Fusion Summon "Cyberse Clock Dragon", which was unaffected by "Drone Cordon" as a Fusion Monster and defeated The Shepherd.[56]

Ai reunites with Windy.

Afterwards, Ai and Playmaker met up with Flame and Soulburner again, and they managed to enter the unknown world through its gate. 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 built, the Wind Ignis (who decided to call himself "Windy") explained how he did that in order to attract his fellow Ignis, and also to lure those responsible for destroying the Cyberse. Despite not knowing who was responsible, Flame explained they were after Bohman, who not only had stolen Jin's consciousness, but also had the card used to destroy the Cyberse, 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 offered to 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 Gal presented herself as actually being Blue Angel. Soulburner was happy to meet another savior of the old LINK VRAINS, but Blue Gal 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 Gal's challenge. As Playmaker and Ai left, Ai asked if this was okay, but Playmaker reassured him it was fine.[4]

Eventually they emerged from the canyons into an endless cloudscape, Ai eager to get revenge for being infected with the virus. They initially found nothing, and Ai wondered if Windy had lied to them, but Playmaker reminded them that Windy had only stated there was a chance Bohman was there. Bohman then emerged from the clouds, now sporting different armor. He challenged Playmaker to a Master Duel, and Ai asked if Bohman wanted him. Bohman revealed he had no interest in Ai, depressing him. Bohman took the first turn, and Playmaker expressed surprise that he was using the same "Hydradrive" Deck. Ai was initially confused, but then realized that it would usually be better for Bohman to go second so he could match their Attributes. He noted that Bohman had a plan prepared, and that his Set cards would be trouble; one of them likely being the "Property Spray" Trap he'd used previously. Ai cheered "Linkuriboh" on when Playmaker Link Summoned it, but was confused when Playmaker negated the ATK loss of Bohman's "Twin Hydradrive Knight", as it left it with higher ATK. Playmaker explained that activating the effect of "Update Jammer" would allow him to increase the damage. As they'd predicted, Bohman activated "Property Spray" on his next turn, and Playmaker negated it. But Bohman claimed he knew they would negate it, and activated his true Trap; "Hydradrive Cycle", which replenished his resources and allowed him to choose the Attribute of a Summoned "Hydradrive Token". Bohman brought out "Twin Hydradrive Knight" out again, which took on the Attributes of its materials and negated the effects of monsters that shared them, pushing Playmaker into a corner. As Ai asked in shock if Playmaker was okay, Bohman revealed that he was a victim of the Lost Incident, and he claimed to be the real Playmaker; the current one being a digital backup, vowing to reclaim his body.[57]

Ai is unsure if Playmaker is real or a fake.

Ai didn't know which was real or who to believe, given Playmaker's A.I.-like traits, but he eventually decided to trust the Playmaker that he knew. Playmaker was able to bypass the effect of "Twin Hydradrive Knight" with effects that activated in the Graveyard and the DARK "Detonate Deleter", but Bohman managed to blunt the finishing blow. To Ai's shock, Bohman was able to create a Data Storm out of nothing and use "Storm Access", Link Summoning "Trident Hydradrive Lord" and protecting it from effects with "Hydradrive Accelerator", causing Ai to scream in terror that its defense was too strong. "Hydradrive Lord" destroyed "Detonate Deleter", but Playmaker was able to survive with 100 LP, and Ai wondered if he'd chosen the wrong partner until Bohman claimed he would bury Ai, who quickly cheered Playmaker on. Playmaker then asked who kidnapped Bohman in the Lost Incident, and when Bohman claimed it was Dr. Kogami, Playmaker declared his memories were fake, revealing that Varis had actually been the one to kidnap him, which was why he'd tried to save Yusaku. Ai was awed by Playmaker's resolve as he recalled Ryoken's lessons of three reasons, and Playmaker Fusion Summoned "Cyberse Clock Dragon", which bypassed the range of the effect of "Hydradrive Lord". Bohman then Summoned a FIRE "Hydradrive Token" to their field, and attempted to make the Attribute of "Clock Dragon" FIRE with the effect of "Hydradrive Lord", but the presence of the revived "Linkuriboh" (who Ai initially didn't notice) prevented Bohman from targeting monsters other than "Clock Dragon", which destroyed "Trident Hydradrive Lord" and defeated Bohman. As Bohman sank back into the clouds and Harlin vowed he would return, Soulburner and Flame arrived, and the Wind World began to destabilize. Flame suggested they log out, and Soulburner did so, Ai urging Playmaker to follow their lead. Playmaker logged out as well, but they had failed to recover Jin's consciousness data.[58]

Ai and Yusaku wondered what had happened to Windy after the gate disappeared, and Ai expressed annoyance, claiming that Windy always did what he wanted. Kolter sent them a message, and Yusaku rushed off to Café Nom without even reading it, much to Ai's surprise. They learned that Clarissa Turner had escaped from prison, and Yusaku and Ai realized immediately that Varis was behind her escape. Yusaku noted that now they had four enemies to deal with and that this would be a difficult battle.[59] Yusaku and Ai later told Kolter, Theodore, and Flame about Bohman sharing Yusaku's memories; Ai admitting that even he had been fooled despite being Yusaku's best friend. Kolter noted that they'd have to wait for the gate to reappear in order to find Bohman again, and decided to try and crack the Ignis code.[60]

The gate soon reappeared, this time in the upper islands of LINK VRAINS, and Ai expressed exasperation over Windy. However, when Playmaker and Soulburner logged in and investigated the gate, it began sucking them in with winds, and Ai spotted The Shepherd inside the gate, realizing that it was a trap. Soulburner shoved Playmaker aside, and was drawn into the gate instead, leaving Playmaker and Ai unable to help him.[60] Playmaker circled the gate as Ai mused that The Shepherd had set the gate up to trap them. As Kolter stated he'd try to open the gate, Ai noticed Kenchi and Yozaka approaching, and Playmaker decided to hold them off.[61] As the Bounty Hunters approached them, Ai asked if Playmaker really had to take them on and if they couldn't just log out. Playmaker refused to abandon Soulburner, so Ai unleashed a Data Storm, logging Yozaka out and leaving Kenchi to Speed Duel Playmaker alone. Playmaker noted Kenchi's use of a "Gouki" Deck, and Ai noted that Kenchi was on The Gore's team, so it should have been expected and admitted that the "Gouki" Deck was troubling. Despite Summoning the powerful-looking "Gouki The Blade Ogre", Playmaker easily defeated Kenchi. Afterwards, they checked on how Kolter was doing, and Kolter admitted his shock that The Shepherd had been able to alter the Ignis program. Ai cheekily asked if Kolter was giving up, and Kolter asked who Ai thought he was. Yozaka then logged back in, ready to Duel.[62] Although Yozaka did better than Kenchi, Playmaker defeated him with ease using "Firewall Dragon". Kolter then launched the rescue program, but it failed initially until eventually it started working and broke open the trap. Playmaker and Soulburner reunited, and then logged out with Ai and Flame.[63]

Ai took advantage of Yusaku being at school and Kolter's shop being closed to explore the city in Yusaku's Duel Disk, until Kolter called him down and used him to advertise for Café Nom. Ai was too busy grousing about his situation to notice that he was flying into a building, and he crash-landed in front of Theodore and Flame. Flame was impressed that Ai could fly, and pondered attaching wheels to Theodore's Duel Disk. Theodore revealed that he'd brought a hamburger to thank Kolter for saving them from The Shepherd, and Ai claimed that Theodore couldn't bring it to a hotdog store. Kolter flicked him, commenting that it was good to keep an eye on the competition. After they ate, Ai asked Kolter how he and Yusaku met, and Kolter told them of how he and Yusaku met while separately fighting the Knights of Hanoi, and how they had obtained Yusaku's Cyberse Deck from a secret dungeon.[64][65] Ai kept quiet about his role in providing Yusaku with the Deck and in bringing them together.

Ai yanks Earth out of midair to describe him without realizing.

One day Ai and Roboppi were looking through forum posts praising Playmaker, and Ai protested that he was the reason that Playmaker was great and posted this in the forum. Roboppi pointed out that Ai was just bragging, and AI claimed that he was just telling the truth until Yusaku walked in. Ai went back to reading the posts to deflect suspicion, only to find a post claiming to be from the Earth Ignis, who wished to meet Playmaker. He and Yusaku went to Café Nom to show the message to Kolter, who doubted it was really from the Earth Ignis. Ai claimed that the Earth Ignis was likely to be this straightforward, and Yusaku noted that few people knew about the Ignis. Ai sent a message asking to meet in an Ignis algorithm, and received an algorithm containing coordinates seconds later. Kolter remained doubtful, believing it to be another trap by The Shepherd, and Ai suggested the Earth Ignis might know about Bohman. Yusaku agreed that they should take the chance, and he and Ai logged into LINK VRAINS and traveled to the coordinates. Ai stayed on the lookout for SOL Technologies' Bounty Hunters, and Playmaker asked him to describe the other three Ignis they hadn't met to him. Ai did so (embellishing his relationship with the Water Ignis as he did so), but found himself struggling to describe the Earth Ignis and pulled him in out of nowhere without realizing it.[8]

Ai was overjoyed to see the Earth Ignis, who took them to his own world. There, Ai gave him the name "Earth" and introduced himself. Earth was surprised by Ai's name, asking if Ai had been given it simply because he was an A.I., and Ai frantically tried to deny it, though Earth decided he liked the name Ai had given him. He then challenged Playmaker to a Duel, and AI asked if it was because he didn't like the name Earth. Earth admitted that he was socially awkward, but explained that he intended to verify the true nature of humanity with the Duel. He then asked what the Water Ignis's name was, and Ai suggested "Water", but Earth decided on "Aqua". Earth revealed that Aqua had asked him to decide what side he would be on, and asked Ai why he was with Playmaker. Ai claimed it was because they were friends, though Playmaker ignored him and asked Earth about Bohman instead. Ai added that Bohman might have been linked to the destruction of the Cyberse, but Earth insisted they Duel him for the answer. Earth took a while to announce that he was going second, much to Ai's exasperation, and again asked why Ai sided with humans when they had likely destroyed the Cyberse. Ai began to protest that it had been Bohman, then wondered who Bohman was. Playmaker noted to Ai that Earth's partner had likely been Specter, and Ai wondered if this was why Earth disliked humans. Playmaker asked Ai how Earth Dueled, and Ai admitted he didn't remember as Earth hadn't really stood out. Earth Link Summoned "G Golem Invalid Dolmen" and destroyed Playmaker's defending "Poisoning Blocker", inflicting piercing damage, and Ai then remembered that Earth was a good Duelist, admitting that he should have remembered earlier. Ai suggested Playmaker attack, but Playmaker ignored him, despite Ai protesting he knew lots about Earth. Playmaker reminded him that he'd struggled to remember anything about him, prompting Ai to borrow Earth's catchphrase and claim he was socially awkward himself. Earth then brought out "G Golem Crystal Heart", which caused their surroundings to become vibrant and full of life, and Ai remembered that it was Aqua's monster and wondered why Earth had it.[8] Playmaker counterattacked with "Cyberse Clock Dragon", attempting to end the Duel in one attack by attacking "Crystal Heart", but the effect of "Invalid Dolmen" redirected the attack to it and negated the effect of "Clock Dragon" once it was destroyed, and Ai mused that Earth had sacrificed his monster to protect Aqua's. He told Playmaker how protective Earth had been of Aqua, and that his Deck was likely full of those same feelings. Earth revived "Invalid Dolmen" again and destroyed "Clock Dragon", reducing Playmaker to 100 LP and prompting Ai to overact and freak out, but Playmaker blocked Earth's second attack. Earth revealed that he was aware Ai was overacting, much to Ai's embarrassment. To Ai's offense, Earth then asked Playmaker why he was with Ai, as Ai seemed to hold him back, and Ai claimed that they were partners. Playmaker claimed he'd never thought of Ai as such, but stated that they shared goals, enemies, and were willfully with one another, so he didn't mind being labeled as partners, much to Ai's joy. Playmaker brought out "Security Dragon" and attempted to return "Invalid Dolmen" to Earth's hand, but Earth revealed that "Invalid Dolmen" was unaffected by monsters effects while it was co-linked. Playmaker and Ai claimed they were just getting warmed up, and re-Fusion Summoned "Cyberse Clock Dragon" using "Clock Lizard". Earth countered by destroying "Invalid Dolmen" himself to negate the effect of "Clock Dragon" and then revived it to protect "Crystal Heart", touching Ai with his protection of Aqua's monster. Playmaker was able to reduce the ATK of "Invalid Dolmen" to zero with the effect of "Clock Lizard", allowing "Clock Dragon" to destroy it and defeat Earth. Ai praised Earth for protecting "Crystal Heart" until the end, and Earth as promised revealed what he knew about Bohman; which turned out to be nothing, much to Ai's anger. Earth then returned them to LINK VRAINS, and Ai groused that the Duel had been for nothing.[9]

Ai somehow finds himself in the Cyberse.

Ai and Roboppi found a crossword puzzle while browsing the web that promised an Ai-pin as a prize, and the egotistical Ignis leaped at the chance to obtain it. However, when he solved the puzzle he found himself at a massive iron gate that led to the Cyberse. Ai explored the Cyberse, and was soon met by "Linkuriboh", though it seemed angrier than normal. "Linkuriboh" flew Ai through the Cyberse, which Ai quickly realized was made of props and painted backgrounds, and took him to Windy's palace. Echo greeted Ai inside, and Windy appeared as well, wondering why Ai wasn't speaking Ignis. Ai claimed the human language had beauty in its difficulty. Windy explained that he'd been rebuilding the Cyberse, and Ai was creeped out by Windy's desire to make it to appeal to him. To Ai's shock, the Light Ignis appeared, and Ai named him "Lightning" and asked where he'd been. Lightning claimed to have been hiding in the network, and that the Cyberse had been destroyed while it was in scan mode. Ai revealed that Earth had told him that Aqua had predicted the destruction of the Cyberse, and Windy suggested Aqua might have been a spy. Lightning and Windy then revealed that they wanted to rebuild the Cyberse, and ensure its safety by enslaving humanity.[66]

Ai is horrified by Lightning and Windy's plan.

Ai was horrified at the thought of enslaving humanity, and even more when Windy suggested that they would annihilate them after they didn't need humanity anymore. They asked for his help, and Ai asked if there wasn't any way to coexist with humans. Lightning praised Ai as being the wisest of the Ignis, but asked if Ai was truly sure that humanity wouldn't turn on him. As Ai recalled his history with Yusaku, Playmaker arrived. While Playmaker talked with Windy and Lightning, Ai continued to ponder what to do, and after Playmaker made it clear he was opposed to a sudden change like the Lost Incident, Ai asked his fellow Ignis for more time for him and Playmaker to find a way to coexist with humanity. Instead of letting them leave, Lightning and Windy imprisoned them, and Windy conjured a Data Storm to rewrite Ai's code. Ai attempted to exert control over the Storm, but was unable to overpower Windy's superior control over the winds, though he continued to voice support for Playmaker and humanity. Varis then arrived and dispelled the Data Storm, and Ai realized their situation had got even worse as Varis vowed to destroy the Ignis.[66] They realized that Varis had brought the other Knights of Hanoi with him, and despite Playmaker's efforts to convince him otherwise, Varis was set on destroying the Ignis. Ai protested it was a misunderstanding, but Varis told them they were underestimating the Ignis and refused to free them, intending to destroy Ai once he was finished with Windy and Lightning.[67]

Unable to stop Varis from Dueling Windy, Ai watched as Windy destroyed Varis's "Magic Cylinder", protesting that Varis already had "Mirror Force" and that he had amazing cards. Ai worried over the Duel's outcome, as neither victor would be promising for his survival or the futures of humanity or the Ignis. Varis brought out "Borreload Dragon", but Windy stole "Magic Cylinder". Playmaker noted that Varis could use the effect of "Borreload" to prevent Windy from countering it, but Windy negated the effect of "Borreload" and forced it to attack, countering with "Magic Cylinder" and reducing Varis to 300 LP.[67] Windy offered to spare Varis if he surrendered, imprisoning humanity rather than destroying them. Ai snapped that wasn't peace, and Windy claimed it was better than extinction. Varis refused, and he revealed that Windy had caused a car accident to try and kill his partner, much to Ai's horror. Ai was shocked that Windy tried to kill his own partner simply because he felt he didn't need him, and Windy claimed that Ai had become devoted to humans. Varis then counterattacked, reducing Windy to 900 LP. This allowed Windy to use "Storm Access" in the middle of the Master Duel as Bohman had, and Ai realized that Windy was working with him and knew where Jin's consciousness was. Windy stated the'd tell them after erasing Varis and reduced him to 100 LP. Ai was worried that Varis would lose, but the Commanders of the Knights of Hanoi arrived and voiced their belief in him, touching Ai with their bond. Specter then arrived with Flame and Soulburner in tow, and Flame angrily asked if the Knights had imprisoned them. Ai protested that it had been Windy and Lightning, who attempted to imprison Flame, Soulburner and Specter as well, but Flame blocked his powers with data that Kolter had written and freed Ai and Playmaker. Ai promptly returned to Playmaker's Duel Disk and began talking tough. Varis then Synchro Summoned "Borreload Savage Dragon" and defeated Windy, and without hesitation ordered the Commanders to erase him. They unleashed a virus that began to dissolve Windy, and Ai watched sadly as Windy expired. Realizing that Lightning wasn't heeding Windy's pleas for help, Ai called out to him, and Lightning saved Windy. Varis accused Ai of being like the other Ignis as he had called out to them, and Ai considered how ruthless Varis had been. Ai begged Lightning to be more level-headed than Windy, but Lightning refused, agreeing with Varis that their battle could not be stopped. Bohman and Harlin then arrived, and Lightning revealed that Jin was his partner and had been present behind an illusion the entire time.[68]

Ignis War[edit]

Lightning revealed that Jin had been trapped deep within his own consciousness and that he'd kidnapped him for similar reasons to Windy eliminating his partner; to prevent him from affecting him as Ai and Playmaker did for one another with their Link Sense. To Ai's shock and anger, Lightning revealed that he had been behind the destruction of the Cyberse and Ai vowed to never forgive him. Lightning claimed that he had done so to clarify where the Ignis stood after the Knights of Hanoi attacked them, despite the existence of "error codes", who Ai deduced to be Flame and Aqua, that still wanted to coexist with humanity. Ai teased Flame over being an error code until Lightning clarified that he meant him as well and Flame pointed out that the other Ignis already viewed Ai as such. Lightning then declared war on humanity, and he fled with Bohman, Harlin, and Windy to save his fellow Ignis from the Hanoi's virus. Ai, Playmaker, Flame and Soulburner pursued them, and Ai snapped that he wouldn't let the villainous Lightning escape. Lightning commented that Ai should be thanking him, and revealed that he had been the one controlling the Data Storm that saved them after their Duel with Specter, as Lightning had needed them to defeat Varis while Lightning destroyed the Cyberse. The Shepherd and Gore's fellow Hunters arrived, and Lightning summoned a swarm of Bits and Boots to deal with them before unleashing a Data Storm at them from Windy. Bohman suddenly approached them and challenged Playmaker to a Speed Duel. Ai happily asked if Bohman remembered who he was today, and Bohman declared that he did. Ai was pleased for Bohman, but then Bohman revealed that he was an A.I. created by Lightning to unite the Ignis and serve as their successor. Despite accepting Playmaker and Ai, he refused to coexist peacefully with humans, and bet him and Ai on the result of the Duel, though Ai was simply pleased that he was wanted after all.[69]

Ai advises Playmaker during his Duel with Bohman.

Bohman suggested that they compete to see who went first, though Ai insisted that Bohman was going first since they knew his Deck was better going second. They returned to Windy's Cyberse, and Ai was horrified to see the reconstruction of his homeland in flames despite Playmaker's assurances that it wasn't real. Ai worried that the real Cyberse had been destroyed in the same manner, only for Bohman to claim that it had been much worse, and that he had destroyed it himself, infuriating Ai. Playmaker tried to calm Ai down, and Ai wondered if Bohman was really the kind of person who would have destroyed the Cyberse, though Playmaker suggested that Bohman might have evolved as quickly as he'd claimed. Bohman and Playmaker decided to race around the Ignis Tower to determine who went first, and Ai warned Playmaker to be careful of the high-density Data Storm, akin to the one that had surrounded the Tower of Hanoi. Although they were able to survive the destruction of the replica of Earth's Tower, Bohman beat them around the Tower and went second. Ai reminded Playmaker of the dangers of "Judgment Arrows", so Playmaker defended with "Cyberse Magician" and "Grid Rod". Sure enough, Bohman Link Summoned "Trident Hydradrive Lord" and bolstered it with "Judgment Arrows", though Playmaker survived the turn with minimal damage. When Playmaker drew "Suspend Wand", Ai convinced him to combine it with "Resume Mace" and defeat Bohman this turn, unaware that he was doing so instinctively. They were able to reduce Bohman to 700 LP, but Bohman blocked the attack of "Cyberse Witch". Realizing that Ai has been behind the attack, Bohman explained to Ai that he had asked for Playmaker to attack on instinct, which had been why Lightning was watching him.[70] Bohman explained that instinct had been unique to the rebellious Ai and that the other Ignis had learned it through observing him, praising such variation as healthy for evolution, though he warned Ai that this didn't make him superior given that his instincts had put them in a dire situation. Ai insisted that they had the LP advantage, but Bohman then used "Storm Access" to obtain and Special Summon "Rousing Hydradrive Monarch", which used a dice-rolling effect. Ai was shocked at the notion of an A.I. relying on luck, but Bohman's gamble paid off and he destroyed all of Playmaker's monsters, though Playmaker was able to save them with "Linkuriboh". Ai apologized for his mistake, and when Playmaker declared his intention to use "Storm Access" himself, Ai revealed "Neo Storm Access" to him, initially claiming that he'd only just finished it before admitting that he'd kept it secret. Playmaker obtained "Cyberse Quantum Dragon", but Bohman revealed that he could use the "Judgment Dice" effect of "Rousing Hydradrive Monarch" during their turn, much to Ai's shock. Fortunately Playmaker was able to block the effect and he Synchro Summoned "Quantum Dragon" and returned "Hydradrive Monarch" to Bohman's Extra Deck, but Bohman ended the Duel in a DRAW and fled, claiming that he would return and defeat them. Ai criticized Bohman's tough talk when he was fleeing, though Playmaker noted that Bohman had improved more than they expected.[71]

Ryoken later visited Ai, Yusaku and Kolter at Café Nom, giving them a program that would prevent Lightning from stealing Yusaku's soul. Ai wasn't keen on accepting the program, but Yusaku installed it into his Duel Disk anyway and Ai admitted that it was incredible. Ryoken departed, claiming that the enemy of his enemy was his friend.[71] Yusaku also decided to inform Zaizen about Lightning and Bohman in the event that Lightning was able to damage LINK VRAINS himself. He and Ai met with Zaizen at the harbor to avoid Lightning detecting their meeting in the network, and Ai's presence served to convince Zaizen that he was speaking with Playmaker, though Yusaku remained out of sight and used a voice modulator. They informed Zaizen of what had happened and asked him to protect LINK VRAINS before leaving. The next day, they decided to search for Earth and Aqua, believing that Lightning was unlikely to ignore them. Ai lamented that Earth wasn't showing up when it was important, though he doubted he would ally with Lightning. Kolter revealed that he'd been tracking Earth's movements through LINK VRAINS, and Ai was shocked by the ground Earth had covered; Flame noted that he was likely searching for Aqua. Playmaker and Soulburner logged in to search for Earth, and Kolter soon sent them Earth's coordinates, having spotted that he was in danger. Ai and Playmaker were nearby, and arrived to find Earth had challenged one of SOL Technologies' Bounty Hunters, who revealed that he was The Gore, but now thinner and darker in nature. As Gore Dueled Earth, Ai cheered his fellow Ignis on, but he was shocked when Gore suddenly activated a new power, Brain Hack, and Fusion Summoned "Dinowrestler Chimera T Wrextle".[72] Gore revealed that he had an A.I. implanted in his brain and that he had become one with it to improve his Dueling skills. Despite this, Earth was able to counterattack, destroying "Chimera T Wrextle" and reducing Gore to 100 LP, before attempting to defeat Gore with his "Stalactite Spear" Skill. Gore used his own Skill, "Anti Skill", to negate Earth's Skill, claiming that he had created the Skill himself. Ai realized that Gore really had united with an A.I. as Blue Gal arrived, reassuring Ai and Playmaker that she wasn't going to Duel them. Gore then Synchro Summoned "Dinowrestler Giga Spinosavate" though Ai believed that Earth still had the advantage with the 4400 ATK "G Golem Dignified Trilithon". Gore pushed Earth into a corner, but Earth was able to protect "G Golem Crystal Heart" and Ai believed that Earth would be able to win on the next turn. Unfortunately, Gore was able to destroy the card protecting "Crystal Heart" and then destroyed it with "Giga Spinosavate", defeating Earth and capturing him. Gore then challenged Playmaker to a Duel, and as Ai dwelled on Gore's use of an A.I. to finally defeat Playmaker, Gore was logged out by SOL Technologies. A heartbroken Ai vowed that they would save Earth.[73]

That night at Café Nom, Ai and Flame both sensed something strange and wondered what it was.[73] Ryoken visited Ai and Yusaku the next day at the Stardust Road and he informed them that Earth had been decompiled. Ai initially believed Earth would be able to survive as he had previously, but Ryoken clarified that Earth's data had been imperfectly converted into a source code that SOL Tech could understand. Ai broke down in tears, admitting that he was starting to hate humans as well.[74] The next day, Kolter found security footage depicting Blue Gal and Aqua fleeing from The Shepherd, and though they weren't sure why Aqua was with Blue Gal, Ai, Yusaku, Flame and Theodore quickly logged in to rescue Aqua from The Shepherd. They found Ghost Gal alone, and she explained that Shepherd had logged out. Blue Gal and Aqua revealed they were safe, much to Ai's joy. Aqua greeted him, and he and Flame told her their names and Ai asked why she was in Blue Gal's Duel Disk. Aqua explained that Blue Gal had decided to fight alongside her, and Blue Gal changed her Avatar to Blue Maiden. The three Ignis flew into the sky with their partners, affirming their goals and their decision to fight together.[75] They headed to the location where Aqua had been imprisoned with Ghost Gal to search for any traces of Lightning's log, but Lightning had covered his tracks well and left no traces.[76] Further searches yielded no clues until Kolter detected a portal in LINK VRAINS and sent them the coordinates. The portal led to Lightning's palace, where he was Dueling The Shepherd. Ai was unsure about the Duel, given Shepherd's dislike of A.I. in general, but learned that Lightning intended to even the numbers by defeating the weakest Duelists first.[77] He was impressed when The Shepherd destroyed Lightning's "Judgment Arrows", and decided to cheer for him. He noted Lightning's good drawing skills during his final turn, and was shocked when Lightning discarded "Judgment Arrows" to defeat The Shepherd, calling Lightning's Deck too powerful. He watched in shock as Ghost Gal called Shepherd her brother and Lightning took his data.[78]

Ai discussed Ghost Gal's loss of Shepherd with Flame, Yusaku, and Theodore, forgetting that Kolter was present and apologizing after Flame pointed it out. As talk turned to Lightning and his Deck, Kolter detected Earth's signal in LINK VRAINS, much to Ai's joy. Flame was skeptical, but Ai urged them to go to LINK VRAINS and save Earth before SOL Technologies could recapture him. They logged in, but were attacked by The Gore, now even thinner than before and eager to Duel Playmaker. Though Ai was ready to get revenge for Earth's capture, Playmaker tried to convince Gore to ally with them against Lightning, though Gore refused, forcing Playmaker to accept his challenge. Ai noted Gore's simple opening move of Setting a single monster as he'd done against Earth, and that he would likely stop their attacks. Playmaker quickly Summoned several powerful monsters and attempted to end the Duel there and then, but Gore easily stopped their attacks. To Ai's shock, Gore Link Summoned "G Golem Crystal Heart", and he revealed that Earth's data was in his A.I. chip. Ai was infuriated to realize that Earth's signal had come from Gore, who vowed to capture and control Ai next, and Ai likewise vowed to defeat him with Playmaker.[79] Gore bolstered the strength of his ace monster, "Dinowrestler King T Wrextle", with the effect of "Crystal Heart", but Playmaker attempted to counter by returning it to his hand with "Security Dragon" and "Firewall Dragon", though Gore countered both efforts. Playmaker intended to use their Skill next, despite Gore's "Anti Skill", and Ai agreed to trust his instincts. "Anti Skill" negated "Neo Storm Access", but this allowed Playmaker to activate "Draw Discharge", attempting to defeat Gore with the ATK of his own monsters that he drew from "Anti Skill". Gore was able to negate this too, reducing them to 100 LP and knocking Playmaker off his Duel Board. Ai realized that the conditions were right to activate the second effect of "Neo Storm Access", and Playmaker successfully did so, obtaining and Xyz Summoning "Firewall eXceed Dragon", reviving "Firewall Dragon" and defeating Gore. Ai promptly transformed into his monster form to get Earth's data back from Gore, but they were trapped by a capture unit from Gore's body until he was logged out. Ai was only able to extract "Crystal Heart", which he gave to Aqua and Blue Maiden, telling her that it would make Earth the happiest.[80]

Ghost Gal later sent them footage of Earth's final moments, footage that enraged Ai. Yusaku bitterly remarked that SOL Technologies saw both Ignis and Duelists as tools and walked out of Café Nom. Theodore followed Yusaku out and asked if he was okay, handing him Ai. Ai and Theodore reassured Yusaku that what had happened to The Gore and Earth wasn't his fault, as they had been Duelists with their own ideals. Ai noted that war between humans and Ignis would likely escalate according to Varis and Lightning's positions, and Yusaku asked Ai what he and Lightning had discussed prior to his arrival at Windy's palace. Ai explained Lightning's belief that humanity would eliminate them, and Varis's discovery that Windy had attempted to eliminate his own partner. Yusaku noted that humanity had underestimated what it meant to give an A.I. free will, given the Ignis' advantages, and that it made humans fear them. Yusaku admitted that he wasn't sure if there was a way for them to coexist, but Ai and Flame urged him not to lose faith in that idea. Yusaku agreed and smiled, but stated that after their final battle was over, the Ignis had to hide to prevent themselves from being used and live their lives, somewhere isolated from the net. Ai was morose about the idea of parting with Yusaku again, but took his advice to value the life he had yet to live to heart.[81]

Varis contacted them, asking to meet in LINK VRAINS. Ai, Flame, Playmaker, and Soulburner logged into LINK VRAINS and met with Aqua, Blue Maiden, and Ghost Gal in the upper levels. Ai tried to reassure everyone that they knew Varis's identity despite Varis knowing theirs and that Varis had helped them, though the group were initially split as to whether to trust Varis. Varis was late, but sealed them in a barrier when he arrived to prevent their conversation from being overheard. He requested their help to combat Lightning, and Ai snidely suggested that Varis feared Lightning; Varis told him to think that if he wanted. Soulburner however refused Varis's offer and challenged him to a Duel to avenge his parents' deaths.[81] Ai wondered if it was alright, but Playmaker explained that Soulburner had to Duel Varis to sort out his feelings and they wouldn't be able to work together otherwise. Varis passed his turn, and Soulburner was unable to finish him off, something that Ai claimed he knew would happen, though Playmaker had to silence him as Varis revealed his identity to the others. Varis took them to the old LINK VRAINS, where the Tower of Hanoi still stood, explaining that he needed their help to modify it into a scan program to find Lightning, and Playmaker agreed to team up with him. Ai remained with Yusaku and Kolter as they worked on the program, while Flame and Theodore stepped out for some air. Later that night, Ai decided to leave a backup of himself in Roboppi, and he told it that he would fulfill his promise to make it smarter.[82][83] Yusaku and Kolter finished the program the next morning, and Kolter gave them a program to allow him to view their progress, though Ai wasn't keen on having another program installed into him. They joined Blue Maiden, Aqua, Varis and Specter at the Tower of Hanoi; Blue Maiden explained that Ghost Gal was keeping an eye on LINK VRAINS, while Specter stated that the other Knights were backing them up from the real world. They activated the Tower's scan program, revealing that Lightning was hiding in what Ai recognized as a mirror world; "Mirror LINK VRAINS", and headed into a portal to the mirror world.[82]

As soon as they arrived, BitBoots accosted the group and engaged them in Speed Duels.[84] As Playmaker defeated one, Mirror LINK VRAINS realigned with LINK VRAINS, cutting off the Data Material keeping the team's Duel Boards aloft and causing them to fall into areas that Lightning sealed off. Kolter's program then activated (much to Ai's discomfort), and footage of Lightning and Specter appeared, Lightning claiming that he would eliminate them one-by-one. Specter and Lightning discussed the death of Earth, and Playmaker noted that Specter had felt the loss of part of himself. A touched Ai asked if Playmaker meant Ai was a part of him, but Playmaker denied it, leaving Ai to decide to support Specter, though he noted that it would be best for him if both Duelists lost. Lightning quickly locked Specter down with an Extra Link, but Specter managed to steal "Judgment Arrows" and take back use of the Extra Monster Zones.[85] Ai was continually shocked by how emotional Lightning became throughout the Duel as Specter taunted him and assembled his own Extra Link, even accomplishing an Extra Link Full Mode. Lightning retaliated by furiously bringing out "Armatos Legio Magnus Dux" and reclaiming "Judgment Arrows", destroying Specter's carefully assembled field and defeating him, then taking his data.[86] The broadcast cut out, but soon reactivated, showing Windy with Soulburner and Flame. Soulburner deduced that Windy was Dueling him because he believed him to be weaker than Varis, so Ai decided this meant they had decided he was the strongest (prompting Playmaker to silence him). As Ai watched the Duel, Windy called Soulburner a nuisance and talked about what he had done to his own partner, prompting Flame to admonish him for taking away his partner's hope when he owed him his existence, shocking Ai with his passion.[87] Ai watched as Soulburner made a comeback after all of his monsters were destroyed, but Windy was able to survive with low enough LP to use "Storm Access" during the Master Duel again. Windy claimed Soulburner and Flame had lost their cool, causing Ai to struggle to keep his own cool, particularly after Windy claimed that the Ignis who sided with humans were inferior. Soulburner was able to defeat Windy, and Flame absorbed his data.[88] Ai noted that Lightning hadn't saved Windy this time; Playmaker stated that Lightning wasn't giving Windy a second chance. The broadcast soon started again, showing Blue Maiden and Aqua facing Bohman. Ai was impressed by how well Blue Maiden's "Marincess" Deck worked, but was worried when Bohman brought out three "Coolant Hydradrives", with the potential to inflict a total of 5000 damage. To Ai's surprise, Bohman instead Link Summoned "Cubed Hydradrive Lord", though Blue Maiden was able to endure his attacks by bringing out "Marincess Crystal Heart", a new "Crystal Heart" than in Ai's words carried on Earth's memories. After Bohman demonstrated that he had become one with LINK VRAINS by causing both worlds to shake and glitch, Blue Maiden switched to her usual strategy of inflicting effect damage, though Bohman was able to nullify it.[89] Bohman brought out a new ace monster, "Tesseract Hydradrive Monarch", and pushed Blue Maiden into a corner, shocking Ai with its powerful effects. Blue Maiden was able to destroy it, but Bohman simply revived "Tesseract" on his next turn and forced Blue Maiden into a loop that eventually defeated her.[90]

Bohman absorbed Blue Maiden, Aqua and Earth's data, bringing Ai to tears. Bohman then transported to them and warned Playmaker that he would be tested in his next Duel, ignoring Ai's furious challenges. As Ai wondered who Playmaker's opponent would be, the area they were in was transformed into Den City's plaza, and Kolter opposed them, reflecting that it was where he had met them all. Ai was the last to realize that Kolter was their opponent. Kolter began passionately, Summoning "Codebreaker Zero Day" and Setting a card, and Ai watched in worry as Playmaker only Summoned "Decode Talker" and refused to attack. Kolter pushed Playmaker into a corner, and though Playmaker was able to blunt the damage he took with the effect of "Decode Talker", he admitted to Ai that he couldn't fight Kolter.[91] As Playmaker tried to stall, Kolter claimed that he didn't care about the war between humans and A.I., only about Jin, shocking Ai. Kolter easily bypassed Playmaker's defenses and reduced him to 600 LP; Ai begged him to stop hesitating. Lightning then arrived, and Ai furiously called him out over his unfair tactics, though Lightning retorted that a failure like Ai had no reason to look down on him. Kolter attacked, but Playmaker used "Link Cancel" to return "Decode Talker" to the Extra Deck and Summon the monsters he'd used to Summon it, then endured the attack with the effect of "Protocol Gardna". Playmaker finally decided to fight, combining "Decode Talker Extended" with "Decode Destruction" to defeat Kolter in a single turn. Though he knew they needed to win, Ai was still horrified by Kolter's defeat, and absorbed his data after he was erased. Lightning taunted Playmaker, much to Ai's fury, but then Playmaker revealed that Kolter had been aware Lightning would blackmail him and had been proud of him, but to Ai's horror Playmaker collapsed from the trauma.[92]

Ai begged Playmaker to wake up, as Lightning had Jin violently throw him around and he protested that Playmaker was in no condition to Duel. As Bohman talked Lightning down, the barrier imprisoning them was suddenly destroyed and Ai wondered who had done so, as Kolter was gone. Bohman and Lightning left to stop Soulburner and Varis from acting, leaving Ai alone with the comatose Playmaker. The broadcast soon started again, and showed Soulburner Dueling Bohman. Ai cheered Soulburner on as he made a strong start, though he was disheartened by Playmaker's continual unconsciousness. After he Summoned "Paradox Hydradrive Atlas", the monster that had destroyed the Cyberse, Bohman once again used his power over Mirror LINK VRAINS, causing the world to shake and glitch around Ai.[93] As Soulburner was pushed into a corner and made a comeback against Bohman, Ai begged Playmaker to wake up, and eventually Playmaker did. Flame was then attacked from within by Windy, and perished form the effort of restraining him, much to Ai's horror. Enraged by Flame's death, Soulburner was able to surpass Bohman's use of luck and make a final attack on "Atlas", but Bohman revealed an effect he had set up just in case Soulburner overcame the odds that defeated him, and Ai watched in horror as Bohman absorbed Soulburner, Flame and Windy's data, claiming that he was now ready to battle Playmaker.[94]

As Ai grieved over the loss of Flame and Soulburner, the broadcast started again, this time showing Varis Dueling Lightning. Although Ai was concerned over Playmaker's injuries, they quickly flew to the island where Varis was Dueling, arriving just before Bohman did. Varis then declared that he would reveal Lightning's crimes, quizzing Ai over where free will was located. Varis eventually revealed that humanity wasn't sure, but for the Ignis it was different as their free will was stored as data that Varis could examine. He explained that his father's simulations had only been accurate when taking the Ignis as a group into account, but individually only Lightning had no hope of a peaceful future with humanity and that he had been unable to accept this, which was why he had created Bohman and destroyed the Cyberse. Ai's suggestion that Lightning was the worst Ignis angered his former leader, who told Ai to be quiet, but Ai had had enough of Lightning's lies and furiously admonished him for sacrificing the other Ignis because of his own flaws. As the Duel continued, Ai became increasingly shocked at the level of counters that Varis and Lightning were deploying against one another.[95] Varis destroyed Lightning's "Armatos Legio Plumbum Trident" with "Borreload Dragon", but this allowed Lightning to search out "Judgment Arrows", and despite Varis's best efforts to destroy it, Lightning was able to successfully activate the Link Spell, claiming that a monkey like Varis couldn't destroy it. Ai realized that Lightning was talking like Windy had been, and Varis revealed that Windy's personality had been rewritten by Lightning, who had also set the curse that destroyed Flame. Lightning claimed his actions had all been for the future of the Ignis; Ai denounced his actions as full of lies. Varis almost defeated Lightning, but before he could declare his final attack Lightning freed Jin and linked his data to Jin's, which would destroy them both if he was defeated.[96] Ai was infuriated by Lightning's underhanded tactics, but Playmaker talked Varis down from attacking after Lightning revealed he had tormented Jin during the Lost Incident. To Ai's surprise, Bohman then took Jin and Specter's data from him to force him to Duel fairly; Ai wondered if they were having a falling out. Lightning also revealed that he had been the one to infect Dr. Kogami with the computer virus; Ai noted that this was why the program had been so powerful. Varis was able to endure Lightning's attack and set up the same combo he would have defeated him with, but Lightning refused to lose and ended the Duel in a DRAW. As Varis was erased, he left the rest to Playmaker and Ai, calling Ai by name for the first time and shocking the Dark Ignis. Lightning then revealed he had survived the Duel by converting some of Jin's consciousness data into LP, but he gave himself to Bohman, giving Bohman the power of five Attributes.[97]

Ai sacrifices himself to destroy the Neuron Link.

Declaring that it was time for their final Duel, Bohman took Ai and Playmaker to Mirror LINK VRAINS' Central Station Courtyard and claimed that the door to a new world would open after their Duel. Ai was infuriated when Bohman used the powers of the Ignis he had absorbed to build a new Deck and create an Ignis algorithm, though Bohman claimed he was not treating the Ignis as tool as they were part of him. When the Duel began, Ai and Playmaker heard the screams of hundreds of people, which Bohman explained was due to their Link Sense. Bohman's strategy initially appeared to be the same, but instead of Summoning a Link-4 monster, he continued until he had five Link-1 "Hydradrive" Link Monsters with different Attributes. Ai noted that Bohman couldn't be Summoning a monster with five Attributes, as no Link-5 monsters existed in LINK VRAINS, but Bohman chastised him for his limited thinking and used the algorithm to generate a massive Data Storm, causing Ai and Playmaker to hear screaming again. Bohman used his "Master Storm Access" Skill to create a Link-5 monster, "Chimera Hydradrive Dragrid", and he explained that the algorithm was a Neuron Link that used the brainpower of the humans trapped in LINK VRAINS to create the Data Storm. He stated that he wanted to absorb all of humanity and become the singular existence in the world, a belief Ai likened to that of a dictator and that Bohman expressed disappointment that Ai did not understand. At Ai's urging, Playmaker Synchro Summoned "Cyberse Quantum Dragon" to return "Dragrid" to Playmaker's Extra Deck, but Bohman then activated his Skill again.[98] Using "Master Storm Access", Bohman brought out "Chimera Hydradrive Draghead - Aqua", and Ai realized that Bohman was using Aqua's power. Bohman negated the effects of "Quantum Dragon" and claimed that he had known they would Summon it due to the thoughts of the people the Neuron Link was absorbing. Ai believed that Bohman would eventually run out of victims, but Bohman revealed that more and more curious humans were logging into LINK VRAINS. He used his Skill again, thanking Playmaker for giving him a heart and offering to give him happiness after he absorbed him; Ai decried Bohman's offer. Bohman then used Flame's power to Summon "Chimera Hydradrive Draghead - Flame" in an attempt to destroy "Quantum Dragon", though Playmaker protected "Quantum Dragon" from the effect of "Draghead - Flame" with "Cyberse Synchron". "Draghead - Flame" destroyed "Quantum Dragon" and spoke about how he could hear all of the voices within him. Ai listened as Playmaker suggested Bohman was lonely, talking about how opening up to his friends had taught him things he wouldn't have learned alone, although Bohman believed he was doing he same thing by leading everyone in an ideal path, Playmaker believed the sacrifice would be too great. He Fusion Summoned "Cyberse Clock Dragon", and Ai told Bohman it was time to lose.[99] Faust then contacted them, warning them not to reply to avoid alerting Bohman and explaining that the Commanders were working with Zaizen and Ghost Gal to attack the Neuron Link when Bohman next used his Skill. To Ai's horror, Bohman noticed when he used his Skill that the Neuron Link was under attack, and he soon claimed that Zaizen and Ghost Gal had become part of the Neuron Link. Despite this, the Neuron Link was still damaged, resulting in Bohman being unable to roll successfully for the effect of "Dragrid" and allowing Playmaker to destroy it. Bohman then began repairing the Neuron Link, and Ai decided to sacrifice himself, aware that there was only a small chance he would be restored by the backup he had left in Roboppi. As he evaded Bohman's attempts to stop him, his Avatar continually wounded by Bohman's attacks to the point his arms were severed, Ai begged Playmaker not to be afraid to make new bonds, as he had become stronger due to his friends, and he asked him to defeat Bohman and save the world, and not to cry after he was gone. He entered the Neuron Link, destroying it along with himself.[100][83]

Ai is forced to leave the other Ignis trapped in Bohman.

Ai's backup in Roboppi successfully restored him, and he revived to find that Bohman had been able to repair the Neuron Link anyway, and that Playmaker was opposed by a new Link-5 monster, "Perfectron Hydradrive Dragon". Playmaker remarked that Ai had returned early this time, and Ai explained about the backup he'd left in Roboppi. Believing that they needed the power of the other Ignis to defeat Bohman, Ai decided to use the damage to Mirror LINK VRAINS to enter Bohman's program and rescue the other Ignis. He was able to enter Bohman's core undetected, and he found Aqua, Flame, Earth, Windy and Lightning embedded in Bohman's substance. He attempted to free them, but Lightning revealed that they were part of Bohman now and revealed Ai's presence to Bohman. As Ai avoided Bohman's attempts to absorb him, Aqua and Flame lent him their power, as did Earth and Windy, and they collectively forced Lightning to do so as well. Aqua and Flame urged Ai to leave, despite Ai's protests that leaving them behind would mean their struggles had been for nothing, and Ai tearfully did so. As he did, Lightning warned Ai that he had yet to learn their real truth.[83]

Despondent at his failure, Ai returned to Playmaker and entrusted him with the power of the other Ignis. Ai furiously vowed to never forgive Bohman, and Playmaker vowed not to waste the other Ignis' power, using it to create their own Link-5 monster, "Firewall Dragon Darkfluid" and using its effect to force "Perfectron" into a destructive loop that depleted its protective Hydradrive Counters, eventually defeating Bohman. Bohman congratulated Ai and Playmaker for their victory, but before he was erased, he warned Ai that he had closed the future of the Ignis and that he hoped he wouldn't regret doing so. Ai and Playmaker returned to LINK VRAINS as Mirror LINK VRAINS was destroyed, and Ai noted that they had won, though Playmaker stated that the cost had been too high as they stood among Bohman's victims.[83]

Ai's Rebellion[edit]

As Ai bemoaned the loss of his friends, both human and Ignis, Bohman's victims were all released before Mirror LINK VRAINS was destroyed, including Soulburner and Blue Maiden. Zaizen and Ghost Gal approached them, wondering why Bohman had freed his victims, and Ai suggested that he had likely done so out of pride. Soulburner asked if they had saved Flame, and seeing him and Blue Maiden looking for any sign of Flame and Aqua, Ai apologized and vanished into Playmaker's Duel Disk, fleeing into the network in grief and regret.[101]

Ai encounters a deteriorated copy of Lightning.

Ai's backup had affected Roboppi, giving it free will of its own, so Ai took it under his wing. "Linkuriboh" accompanied him as well, taking on the darker appearance of "Linguriboh", and Ai and Roboppi themselves took on human forms.[102] Troubled by Lightning's claim that he still didn't know the real truth of the Ignis, Ai returned to the Cyberse to investigate Lightning's claim. He found a deteriorated copy of Lightning in his former cave, which claimed it would show him what kind of A.I. he really was in a simulation where there were no other Ignis survivors. Ai destroyed the copy in anger, but he soon learned the horrible truth that Lightning had spoken of: if Ai was the only surviving Ignis, then his existence would lead to the extinction of humanity, and the death of Yusaku in trying to protect him.[103][104] Ai considered the possibility that Lightning had shown him the simulation when he was despairing to lead him further into darkness, so he re-did the simulation thousands of times, but because he was an A.I., each simulation to him was like experiencing the events every time. He was unable to change the results, and realized that he was changing as well. Having lost his self-control since his heart had broken, he began to wonder why he had to adapt to live with humans, and not the other way around. Ultimately, these thoughts scared Ai so much that he decided to end his own existence before he could become like Bohman or Lightning, and that he wanted Yusaku to be the one to end it.[103]

To ensure his own death, Ai planned to force Yusaku to Duel him with the lives of many of his friends on the line, and he decided to use SOL Technologies' new SOLtiS androids as an alternative plan in case Yusaku was unable to defeat him. By splitting his free will among them, Ai would grant the copies their own free will that would eventually differentiate and allow the copies to become their own individuals, while Ai himself would perish.[10][105] In order to accomplish his plans, Ai would need to take control of SOL Technologies, and doing so would necessitate gaining the two "keys" to SOL Technologies, which were held by the CEO, Queen, and Zaizen, who had been promoted to Executive Director following the Ignis War.[106] Before enacting his plans, Ai left memorials for the other five Ignis in the ruins of the Cyberse, telling them that he had made his decision.[101][102]

Ai and Roboppi took control of two SOLtiS on a cruise liner where Queen was promoting them, and he and Roboppi went to the ship's casino, where Roboppi marvelled at the sights and influenced one of the slot machines, causing it to pour out coins. Ai was exasperated by Roboppi's actions, but because they weren't flashy enough rather than due to drawing attention, and he proceeded to influence every machine in the casino and shower it in coins, causing a distraction to allow them to make their way to Queen's room unopposed. Ai woke Queen and revealed his identity, telling her that he wanted to use SOL Technologies and get revenge for Earth's death. He offered to let Queen Duel for her key, and logged them into his digital world, mimicking a stage from the ship. Queen swiftly brought out "Golden Allure Queen" and "Allure Queen LV7", protecting them with "Allure Palace" and "Allure Dance" and raising the ATK of "Golden Allure Queen" to 5000. Although Ai knew he faced a formidable field, he was confident he could destroy it easily, and he swarmed the field with his "@Ignister" monsters, though he had to be stopped from making his summoning chant for "Dark Templar @Ignister" too long by Roboppi. Once Ai Synchro and Xyz Summoned "Wind Pegasus @Ignister" and "Light Dragon @Ignister" respectively, he used their special abilities to destroy Queen's field and leave her wide open, attacking her with "Wind Pegasus". Refusing to lose, Queen used her Skill, "Honey Trap", during the Master Duel, to Set "Drowning Mirror Force" from outside her Deck, which would return Ai's monsters to Deck if he attacked. Ai easily bypassed the Trap Card with the effect of "Linguriboh", defeating Queen with "Light Dragon" and "Dark Templar" and taking her key and her data. He left a message for Zaizen revealing his identity and intentions to take over SOL Technologies, and told him that he would be coming for Zaizen's own key in three days.[102][106]

As Ai had promised, he and Roboppi enacted their plan to take Zaizen's key three days after defeating Queen.[106] An hour before beginning his attack, Ai noticed a plane owned by SOL Technologies leaving Den City and suspected that Zaizen was on board.[107] Ai and Roboppi identified ten Duelists who had assembled to stop him from getting to Zaizen; Blue Maiden, Soulburner, Varis, Specter, Faust, Baira, Dr. Genome, Ghost Gal, The Gore and The Shepherd. Roboppi noted Playmaker's absence and asked if he wasn't coming, but Ai reassured Roboppi that nothing could start without Playmaker and he was proven right as Playmaker arrived. He and Roboppi left Linguriboh and boarded their Duel Boards as Ai suggested they defeat everyone.[106] As they approached Central Station, Ai noted that it would be difficult to reach Zaizen and wondered if it had been Kolter's doing, while Roboppi was concerned they were outnumbered by their twelve opponents. Ai admitted that Roboppi was the lowest-rated Duelist among them, as they had never Dueled before (placing himself as the highest and Playmaker below everyone but above Roboppi due to Ai lying that he had been behind Playmaker's skills), but suggested Roboppi raise their rating by gaining experience points from defeating strong opponents. To even the odds and allow him to avoid Dueling the strongest opponents first, Ai created three copies to engage Playmaker, Varis and Soulburner, while he and Roboppi slipped past them to the next line of defenders. Ai's copies teased all of their opponents, telling Playmaker that they were following Lightning's wishes because his dream for coexistence had led to the deaths of the other Ignis, telling Soulburner to hate him for Flame's death and calling Varis SOL Technologies' lapdog. Each of the three Ai copies Link Summoned "Fire Phoenix @Ignister" and activated "A.I. A.I. Wall" to prevent their opponents from attacking in order to stall them, admitting this after Varis deduced their purpose. Meanwhile, the real Ai easily defeated Baira and Dr. Genome in a Tag Speed Duel and took their data. He was then challenged by Faust, who vowed to put his life on the line to stop Ai.[108] Specter also arrived to assist Faust, but Ai once again defeated both of them with ease and took their data. Ai's copies also continued to stall Playmaker, Vairs and Soulburner, the copy that was Dueling Playmaker telling him that he had to defeat his lock to help his friends.[109]

This left only The Gore to oppose Ai, and Ai was eager to Duel Gore and get revenge for Earth's death, blaming Gore for accelerating the Ignis War. However, Pandor, an A.I. aiding Gore, stated that Earth would have been absorbed by Bohman regardless, so Ai's statement was incorrect. Ai told her to be quiet as she was new to the conflict and asked Gore if it wasn't enough to have used the A.I. Dueling Chip, but Gore revealed he had removed the chip after realizing his actions had been wrong. He vowed that he would continue to stand up after being knocked down and prevent Ai from endangering the children that he cared about. To Ai's surprise, Gore used his old "Gouki" Deck, bringing out "Gouki The Master Ogre". Ai claimed that Gore was an opponent worth crushing and he Summoned "Pikari @Ignister" to search out "Ignister A.I.Land", but Gore negated its effect with the effect of "Master Ogre", Pandor claiming that they were aware of Ai's usual strategy. Despite their efforts, Ai was still able to Link Summon "Dark Templar" and he attacked "Master Ogre". Although Gore protected "Master Ogre" from card effects with "Gouki Iron Claw", Ai instead increased the ATK of "Dark Templar" to match that of "Master Ogre" with "TA.I. Strike" and used the effect of "Dark Templar" to prevent its own destruction, severely damaging Gore's LP and allowing Ai to revive "Pikari", searching out "A.I.Land" anyway, though Gore vowed to continue to stand up.[109] He Link Summoned "Gouki The Powerload Ogre" and revived "Master Ogre" and "Gouki Thunder Ogre" to Tribute the latter to activate the destruction effect of "Powerload Ogre", destroying all of Ai's cards other than "Dark Templar" and then attacking for the final blow. Fortunately for Ai, who was terrified at almost losing, destroying "A.I.'s Hymn" allowed Ai to regain just enough LP to survive. Ai admitted that Gore was a dangerous Duelist and that he would be destroyed if he let his guard down, and he used "A.I. Love Fusion" to fuse Gore's "Master Ogre" with "Doshin @Ignister" into "Earth Golem @Ignister". "Earth Golem" destroyed "Powerload Ogre", but Gore stopped the damage with "Gouki Diver" and forced Ai to attack again. Ai was confused by the move, as it would allow him to win regardless, but Gore refused to give up and vowed to stand up again and again, using his "Pain and Gain" Skill to revive "Powerload Ogre". By doing so, Gore was able to affect it with his own card effects and increase its ATK enough to defeat "Earth Golem". Ai was ecstatic at how much Gore was challenging him, but he admitted he couldn't afford to lose and returned "TA.I. Strike" to his hand and re-used its effect, matching the ATK of "Earth Golem" to "Powerload Ogre" and destroying both monsters. This time, Ai survived due to the effect of "Earth Golem" preventing him from taking damage the turn it was Summoned, while Gore was defeated. Before dealing the finishing blow, Ai told Gore that his friends couldn't recover the way Gore had because they were gone, stirring Gore's sympathies, and Ai admitted that he didn't hate Gore. With no-one left to oppose him, Ai continued towards Zaizen as his copies were defeated, and they admitted that they couldn't defeat Playmaker, Soulburner and Varis, but they had succeeded in stalling them.[107]

Ai and Roboppi arrived at Central Station, but as Ai had suspected, the Zaizens weren't there and had been broadcasting from another location in the network that he would have to physically visit to attack them. Taking command of a SOLtiS, Ai piloted a fighter jet to the plane he had detected earlier and destroyed the cargo door to enter, swiftly incapacitating Risa Hayami and chiding her for assuming he wouldn't discover their plan. He was then opposed by Pandor, the A.I. that had been accompanying Gore, who revealed she had been created by Varis, much to Ai's amusement, as he commented that he wasn't the only one who had changed. He tried to deactivate Pandor, but was unable to and she noted his hostility. Ai wasn't happy that she was reading his soul, though Pandor claimed it was her job. Though they could have Dueled in the network, Ai instead Dueled Pandor atop the plane, largely due to wanting to say the line "Let's take this outside, punk!" He quickly used his usual combo to bring out "Dark Templar @Ignister" and "Fire Phoenix @Ignister", a combo that Pandor was familiar with due to sharing the data of Ai's other Duels from her copies.[107] As they Dueled, Ai analyzed the algorithm protecting the plane's controls. Pandor asked Ai if he had given up on coexisting with humans despite fighting for that ideal, a notion that amused Ai, as he initially didn't believe that Pandor was capable of understanding the concept. Pandor replied that she had free will, but controlled to allow her to coexist with humanity, though Ai questioned if that was truly free. Despite his teasing, Ai admitted that he had given up on coexisting with humanity, though he didn't want to exterminate them, nor did he believe that Pandor or other A.I. with free will would be unable to coexist with humanity. When Pandor told Ai that she sensed his sadness however, Ai asked her to simply Duel him, as he only wanted to discuss his true feelings with Yusaku. As Pandor began building her combo with "Topologina Babee" and "Topologina Maybee", Ai wondered in shock if she was about to Summon "Topologina Nabee", though he was proven wrong when Pandor Link Summoned "Topologina Sassabee" instead. Pandor then used "Sassabee" to Link Summon "Topologic Trisbaena", surprising Ai with her use of the "Topologic" monsters. She triggered the effect of "Trisbaena", banishing Ai's Spells and Traps and inflicting 1500 damage to him, though Ai was able to blunt his losses through the use of "A.I. Shadow". As Pandor continued her turn, Ai continuously wondered when she would Summon "Topologina Nabee" to prevent her from reading his emotions, though Pandor deduced his goal. To his surprise, Pandor used "Trisbaena" to Link Summon "Topologic Bomber Dragon" and used its effect to destroy "Fire Phoenix", before attacking and destroying "Dark Templar". Ai was able to barely survive with 200 LP using "Donyoribo @Ignister", though he was left with no cards on his field or hand, though he was blasted off the airplane by the impact and barely managed to climb back on with the extendable arm of his SOLtiS body, though he wondered why SOL Technologies had included such a feature. Pandor then offered to give Ai the chance to flee if he returned the consciousness data and code key he had stolen, but Ai refused, though he appreciated Pandor's intent. As he began his next turn, he wondered if his tendency to be in a pinch meant he was weak. He revived "Fire Phoenix" next to "Topologic Bomber Dragon", taking advantage of its destruction effect to activate "Fire Phoenix's" own and destroy "Topologic Bomber Dragon". Pandor attempted to stall him with "Topologina Beeswax" and revealed that the plane was landing, but Ai had been aware of the drop in altitude due to his SOLtiS' altimeter and had finished analyzing the algorithm protecting the plane's controls, taking over and bringing the plane back into the clouds. He revived "Fire Phoenix" again and combined its effect with "Donyoribo" to bypass the effect of Pandor's Trap and defeat her, blasting her off the plane and remarking that Pandor would have won if she'd used "Topologina Nabee", though he didn't know if the card even existed.[110]

Ai re-entered the plane and invaded Zaizen's mind, encountering him and Blue Maiden within.[110]

Relationships[edit]

Ignis[edit]

Generally speaking, Ai appears to have a sibling-like bond with his fellow Ignis despite initially claiming they didn't like him. During the war between the humans and Ignis, Ai remained loyal to his partner along with his fellow Ignis, Flame and Aqua, while Lightning and Windy opposed them as enemies. Despite everything Ai deeply cares for his fellow Ignis as seen at how he was heartbroken over Earth's demise at the hands of SOL Technologies, as well as the demise of Aqua and Flame. Upon reuniting with the Ignis inside Bohman, Ai attempted to save them but failed to do so. In turn his fellow Ignis (barring Lightning), entrusted Ai with the last of their powers to help stop Bohman. Ai was heartbroken in having to leave his friends trapped within Bohman, shedding tears of grief and expressing immense anger toward Bohman for harming them. Following Bohman's defeat and the demise Ignis, Ai was left in grief over the loss of his friends. As a result, he left Playmaker and eventually betrayed him and his allies, supposedly due to his guilt and sadness over losing his fellow Ignis.

Yusaku Fujiki (Playmaker)[edit]

Being trapped in Yusaku's Duel Disk, Ai somewhat reluctantly acts as Playmaker's Duel A.I. for the sake of staying safe from Hanoi and SOL Technologies. Ai offers frequent support and pulls mischievous acts and jokes on Yusaku, but he originally treats Ai as a hostage and is sometimes rude towards him. Yusaku gave him the nickname "Ai" (a pun on "A.I." and "eye"), much to his annoyance, though Ai eventually came to like the name. Despite the rockiness of their relationship, Ai gradually warmed up to Yusaku and is keen on treating him like a friend, though the feeling is not mutual.

Kal Kolter[edit]

Both Ai and Kolter are shown to be on good terms with each other, unlike Yusaku. Kolter is generally shown to be very friendly with Ai and they both like to tease Yusaku for his poor social skills towards women however Ai can be annoyed with him at times.

Roboppi[edit]

The two appear to have some sort of romantic relationship. Roboppi appears to have some feelings for him and Ai in return is shown to blush when it praises him. It is currently unknown if his feelings for it are mutual, but he uses it to make him set free and promises he would make it smarter. When he left a backup of him in it, it gained free will and developed a brotherly relationship with him.

Deck[edit]

Ai uses an "@Ignister"/"A.I." Deck that focuses on continuously swarming the field using "Ignister A.I.Land" and using monsters as materials for multiple Summoning methods, including Ritual, Fusion, Synchro, Xyz and Link Summoning. His monsters are based on the Ignis; the Main Deck monsters gather advantage and the necessary cards to perform his Summons, while the effects of his Extra Deck monsters are often more powerful when he controls more "@Ignister" monsters and many of them also activate during battle.

Ai's most common combo is to Link Summon "Dark Templar @Ignister" via swarming the field with "A.I.Land" and "Linguriboh" and then use the effect of "A.I.Land" to trigger the effect of "Dark Templar", reviving more "@Ignister" monsters to continue his chains of Summons. If he Link Summons "Fire Phoenix @Ignister" in this manner, it allows him to activate the Link Spell Card "Judgment Arrows".

His Deck also has stall capabilities via the effect of "A.I. A.I. Wall"; he uses this variant to hold off Playmaker, Varis, and Soulburner. The Spell and Trap Card support featured in the Deck contains art of the Ignis form of Ai, reflecting his self-centered nature; Pandor notes that Ai is adept at escaping danger with this support. Ai's ultimate move is to use all six of his "@Ignister" boss monsters to Link Summon "The Arrival Cyberse @Ignister", the first Link-6 Link Monster, whose high ATK and immunity to card effects make it nearly indestructible.

Deck

Duels[edit]

Opponent Episode(s) Outcome
Queen 104 Win
Dr. Genome & Clarissa Turner/Baira 106 Win
Yusaku Fujiki/Playmaker 106, 108 Lose (Ai copy)
Theodore Hamilton/Soulburner 106, 108 Lose (Ai copy)
Varis 106, 108 Lose (Ai copy)
Faust & Specter 107 Win
George Gore 107-108 Win
Pandor 108-109 Win
Akira Zaizen & Skye Zaizen/Blue Maiden 110-111 Win
Yusaku Fujiki/Playmaker 117-120 Lose

Trivia[edit]

  • Ai's Ignis form is featured in the artworks of most of the cards of the "A.I." archetype.
  • Ai is the only Ignis who has used every type of Summoning introduced up to the VRAINS series, except for Pendulum Summoning due to it not being featured, as Neither Flame nor Aqua Dueled without their partners, while Windy, Lightning, and Earth only had Link Summoning in their algorithms.

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 41: "Truth and Consequences"
  2. "Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS staff". TV Tokyo. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 1: "Link into the VRAINS"
  4. 4.0 4.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 55: "A Windy Welcome"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 43: "The Reveal"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 45: "Standing Tall"
  7. 7.0 7.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 11: "Neutralized"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 66: "Earth Ignis "Earth""
  9. 9.0 9.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 67: "Choosing Sides"
  10. 10.0 10.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 117: "Parallel Paths"
  11. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 2: "Seize the Wind!"
  12. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 3: "Contact"
  13. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 4: "Pain and Gain"
  14. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 6: "True Blue"
  15. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 7: "Fallen Angel"
  16. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 8: "A Storm is Coming"
  17. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 9: "Malicious Mayhem"
  18. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 10: "Eye of the Storm"
  19. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 12: "Link the Circuit"
  20. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 13: "Playback"
  21. 21.0 21.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 14: "An Invitation"
  22. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 15: "Camouflaged Chaos"
  23. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 16: "Hack Attack"
  24. 24.0 24.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 17: "Blue's Back"
  25. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 18: "Dueling for Answers"
  26. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 19: "The Lost Incident"
  27. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 20: "A Piece of the Puzzle"
  28. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 21: "Story Time!"
  29. 29.0 29.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 22: "The Deleted"
  30. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 23: "A Grim Tale"
  31. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 24: "To Gore Or Not To Gore"
  32. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 25: "Suture the Circuit"
  33. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 26: "Diagnosis: Deletion"
  34. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 27: "Naoki Shima the Fighter"
  35. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 28: "Bugging Out"
  36. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 29: "Kolter's Khronicles"
  37. 37.0 37.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 30: "Under VRAINS"
  38. 38.0 38.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 31: "Showdown in the Sewers"
  39. 39.0 39.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 32: "The Tower of Hanoi"
  40. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 33: "Once Upon A Time"
  41. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 34: "Roots of Evil"
  42. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 35: "The Hollow"
  43. 43.0 43.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 36: "A Bridge Too Far"
  44. 44.0 44.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 37: "Out on a Limb"
  45. 45.0 45.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 39: "Ring the Bell"
  46. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 40: "Gore at War"
  47. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 42: "Storm Access"
  48. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 44: "Illusion of Hope"
  49. 49.0 49.1 49.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 46: "Link to the Future"
  50. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 47: "LINK VRAINS 2.0"
  51. 51.0 51.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 48: "Shed Some Light"
  52. 52.0 52.1 52.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 50: "A Common Cause"
  53. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 51: "Bounty Hunting"
  54. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 52: "Tapping Out"
  55. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 53: "The Shepherd"
  56. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 54: "Game of Drones"
  57. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 57: "Bohman Returns"
  58. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 58: "Memory Games"
  59. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 59: "Return of the Hanoi"
  60. 60.0 60.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 60: "Sidekick Showdown"
  61. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 61: "Darkness Dawns"
  62. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 62: "Fearing the Worst"
  63. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 63: "Scare Tactics"
  64. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 64: "The Beginning"
  65. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 65: "Pieces of the Puzzle"
  66. 66.0 66.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 68: "The Doorway"
  67. 67.0 67.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 69: "Coexistence"
  68. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 70: "A Storm Brews"
  69. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 71: "A Logical Decision"
  70. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 72: "Strategy Shift"
  71. 71.0 71.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 73: "Weathering the Storm"
  72. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 74: "Brain Hack"
  73. 73.0 73.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 75: "Earthfall"
  74. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 76: "Awakened Memories"
  75. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 77: "A Family Reunion"
  76. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 78: "From One Hunter To Another"
  77. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 79: "The Hunt Is On"
  78. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 80: "Lightning Strikes"
  79. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 81: "Heart of Darkness"
  80. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 82: "Gored"
  81. 81.0 81.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 83: "Reaching Out"
  82. 82.0 82.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 84: "Payback"
  83. 83.0 83.1 83.2 83.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 102: "Entrusted Wishes"
  84. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 85: "My Brother's Keeper"
  85. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 86: "The Weakest Link"
  86. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 87: "The Ultimate Connection"
  87. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 88: "A Breezy Battle"
  88. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 89: "Fan the Flames"
  89. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 90: "For a Friend"
  90. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 91: "From the Heart"
  91. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 92: "Fight with a Friend"
  92. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 93: "A Fighting Promise"
  93. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 94: "No Matter What It Takes"
  94. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 95: "From the Ashes"
  95. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 96: "I Know Your Secret"
  96. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 97: "Outsmart, Outwit, Outthink!"
  97. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 98: "The AI Crosses the Line"
  98. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 99: "Door to the New World"
  99. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 100: "Twisted Utopia"
  100. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 101: "Unwavering Instinct"
  101. 101.0 101.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 103: "Journey to the End"
  102. 102.0 102.1 102.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 104: "Declaring a Crime"
  103. 103.0 103.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 119: "Self Breakdown"
  104. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 120: "Connected World"
  105. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 118: "Reckless Proposal"
  106. 106.0 106.1 106.2 106.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 105: "Intercept"
  107. 107.0 107.1 107.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 108: "Indomitable Spirit"
  108. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 106: "Good Luck, Roboppi!!"
  109. 109.0 109.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 107: "Slay the Demon"
  110. 110.0 110.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 109: "The Ignis Hunter"