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The Ignis (イグニス Igunisu) are AI with free will from the Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS anime, created by Dr. Kogami through the Hanoi Project. They created and inhabit the Cyberse. According to Varis, the Ignis are out trying to conquer the network. For this reason, the Knights of Hanoi led by Varis are trying to destroy all the Ignis with aid in this mission from Dr. Kogami.
Although the Knights were unsuccessful in destroying the Ignis, most of them met their demise during the conflict with humanity that Lightning instigated; Earth was captured by George Gore and brought to SOL Technologies to be terminated via dissection, while Windy, Aqua, and Flame were all absorbed by Bohman due to either losing Duels or their current partners losing Duels to Bohman; Lightning did not technically lose his last Duel, but was weak enough to be absorbed by Bohman nonetheless. Unlike Bohman's other victims, the Ignis were not restored after Bohman's final defeat, leaving Ai as the last remaining Ignis in existence.
Ignis are humanoid life forms with disproportionate bodies that are smaller than a Duel Disk, though they can change their size and appearance at will. In their natural height, the list goes (from tallest to shortest): Earth, Ai/Flame, Lightning, Aqua, and Windy. Their bodies have colored lines which matches the Attributes they represent. They can also shape-shift into monstrous forms when expressing strong emotions.
The Ignis are made of a complex algorithm that only very few can translate. Because of their free will, they can think for themselves. The Ignis have quickly evolved to create their own world in the network called the Cyberse, populated by the Cyberse monsters. Their intelligence made them feared by Dr. Kogami, whose simulations showed the Ignis eventually dominating over humans. Ignis can regenerate by recovering their data unless some of the data is stored in another program or avatar (though a virus made by the Knights of Hanoi was able to disable complete regeneration as seen with Windy). So far, however, the Ignis are unable to leave the network completely and must remain connected to a source, such as a Duel Disk or a SOLtis.
The Ignis are able to control the Data Material their world has created and can create smaller worlds individually. They can also summon Data Storms at will and create shields with this ability. Each Ignis has a different strength or power from the others, such as Windy being the most adept in controlling Data Material, Lightning being the quickest, Aqua is the most perceptive and Ai is the wisest, has Link Sense and has instinct.
Each of the Ignis recognizes themselves with one of the main six Attributes of Duel Monsters. Their elements seem to tie into what monster they can shape-shift into, an example being Flame, the Ignis associated with FIRE, becomes a fire demon when he's very excited. The Ignis communicate through a specific code and dialogue that humans can't decode, making it a foolproof language that sounds like distorted white noise. In addition to their code, each Ignis' real name is too complicated for humans to understand.
There are some limitations to the Ignis' level of free will. Both Ai and Flame have shown to have trouble understanding metaphors, sarcasm, or rhetorical questions. They also tend to jump into conclusions very quickly and not consider alternate possibilities for the outcome of events. Another area that they share is their lack of social skills, most notably Windy and Earth who tend to be blunt and straightforward, while Flame tends to make bizzare suggestions like turning his Duel Disk into a car. Lightning on the other hand took Dr. Kogami's intentions to make the Ignis the successors of humanity too literally, interpreting it as having the Ignis rule over humans. Furthermore, the Ignis tend to be very selfish at times as seen when Windy only cared about himself (albeit thanks to Lightning's reprogramming), when Earth resented humanity, when Lightning wanted to eradicate humans and unite with the other Ignis to cover his own inferiority complex, and when Ai was lying to Yusaku in order to escape and make it back to the Cyberse. These traits combined with the fact that they never thought of coexisting with humans prior to the attacks on the Cyberse give reason as to why the Knights of Hanoi hunt them. According to Bohman, this is due to Ai being the only one of the Ignis to show instinct on his own, a trait which the other Ignis learned from.
As noted by Yusaku, when Ignis are treated with hostility they respond by becoming more hostile themselves, while treating them with trust and respect makes them more willing to live with humans, as seen with Ai and Flame. It was the Knights of Hanoi's initial attack that made the Ignis question humanity's intentions and led Lightning and Windy to turn against humans, prior to that the Ignis were only interested in living in the Cyberse peacefully.
Dr. Kogami kidnapped six children: Yusaku Fujiki, Specter, Theodore Hamilton, Jin Kolter, Miyu Sugisaki, and an unnamed boy, and forced them to Duel so he could use the data collected from those Duels to create AI with free will. He did so with a different purpose in mind depending on the version; in the original Japanese version, Kogami believed that the Ignis were the successors to humanity, but in the dub, he specifically created the to assist humanity in conoquering the challenges that they would face in the future.
Those AI, dubbed the "Ignis" by their creator, created the Cyberse, where they lived together away from humans and also created the Cyberse monsters. A product from the Ignis creating the Cyberse was Data Material, which processed data thousands of times faster than the current data processor. The leader figure of the Ignis was the Light Ignis with the vice leader being the Water Ignis. One of the other Ignis, the Dark Ignis, was the only one to have natural instinct, a trait he eventually passed onto his fellow Ignis. The Ignis soon developed more rapidly than Dr. Kogami had originally planned. Through simulations of their growth, Dr. Kogami could only find that they would overthrow humanity and so created the cyber-terrorist group the Knights of Hanoi to destroy them. Before he could explore further, he was infected with a computer virus that left him comatose; he believed SOL Technologies to be responsible, but in reality the Light Ignis had infected him to prevent him from learning that the simulations only broke down due to his presence.
Many of the Ignis were captured by the Knights of Hanoi when they attacked the Cyberse. The Dark Ignis, tried to rescue the others, but he was caught and eaten by a "Cracking Dragon". He survived, but lost most of his data (including his body) and was reduced to an eye. The Dark Ignis conspired to bring together Yusaku and Kal Kolter, the brother of the Light Ignis's Origin Jin to give him a chance to survive.
After the Dark Ignis hid the Cyberse, the remaining five Ignis were freed from their binds and discussed if they should share their technology with the humans in order to establish peace between the races. The Fire and Water Ignis advocated for coexistence with humans, the Earth Ignis was neutral, while the Light and Wind Ignis were against humanity. In truth, the Light Ignis desired to conquer humanity and replace them as the dominant species on Earth, but he knew that the Ignis were not perfect and decided to create an AI vessel that would unite the Ignis. To this end, he rewrote the Wind Ignis' program to serve as his ally, and he created three generations of AI; Bits and Boots, Harlin, and finally Bohman, who he had destroy the Cyberse with the Link Spell Card "Judgment Arrows". Before this, he was discovered creating the Link Spell by the Water Ignis, and he imprisoned her in LINK VRAINS to prevent his plan from being discovered. As he planned to have Bohman develop by battling the Dark Ignis and his Origin, Yusaku Fujiki, the Light Ignis was forced to save them from a fall in LINK VRAINS.
After the destruction of the Cyberse, the Light and Wind Ignis retreated to a fabricated Cyberse created by the Wind Ignis and linked it to a gate in the base of LINK VRAINS. Detesting their human partners, they made plans to remove them; the Wind Ignis involved his partner in a car accident, while the Light Ignis conspiried to kidnap his Origin's consciousness and make use of it as a hostage. He also infected Miyu Sugisaki, the Origin of the Water Ignis with a computer virus and left her in a coma. The Fire Ignis sought out his Origin, Theodore Hamilton, taking the name "Flame" and asking him to help find the other Ignis with the assistance of the Dark Ignis and Yusaku Fujiki. The Earth Ignis did not seek out his Origin, Specter, who was now one of the Knights of Hanoi, and instead remained in a pocket world.
Pre-Tower of Hanoi
The injured Dark Ignis eventually escaped into Den City where he was later captured by Yusaku Fujiki (Playmaker) and Kal Kolter. As he was an AI and an eye at the time, they decided to nickname him "Ai". Ai later reclaimed his body from the Knights of Hanoi after Playmaker defeated Varis.
Tower of Hanoi
After his Duel with Faust, Yusaku grew suspicious of Ai. Ai also started behaving suspiciously, apparently manipulating Playmaker into blatantly ignoring the Knights of Hanoi whenever it seemed like they were about to explain why they're hunting the Ignis. In the Tower of Hanoi incident, the Tower threatened to wipe out the entire network, which would destroy the Ignis in the process. Varis then explained the origins of Ai and the other Ignis, making Yusaku more suspicious about the Ignis. Ai admitted that he only lied so that he could survive and return to the other Ignis. After defeating Varis and stopping the Tower of Hanoi, Yusaku released Ai.
Three months after the Hanoi Tower incident, Ai reopened the Cyberse. However, the world was barren and none of the Ignis were found. Flame, one of the Ignis that escaped, was assisted by Theodore and later Ai and Yusaku in order to find the other four. Kolter was able to find an area in the Restricted Area made from an Ignis' programs, identified to be the WIND Attribute.
Inside the Restricted Area, the Wind Ignis, Windy had built a pocket world for the Ignis to come together. Windy didn't trust humans and wanted him and the other Ignis to rebuild the Cyberse. The Earth Ignis, Earth, didn't trust humans either, but he challenged Playmaker to a Duel to determine whether Ignis could coexist with humans or not.
Ai was freed from the Duel Disk by Windy's trap, and was summoned for a meeting with him and the Light Ignis, the latter of whom Ai nicknamed "Lightning". He and Windy told Ai their plans to rebuild the Cyberse in an isolated location from humans and then asked Ai to join them because of his wisdom. When the two told Ai their plan to take control of humanity, the latter questioned it. In the dub, they instead intended to outright eliminate humanity. The Knights of Hanoi then found them, as did the Fire Ignis and Soulburner, and Varis defeated Windy in a Duel and had the Knights of Hanoi use a virus on him to slowly kill him. Lightning then revealed the presence of Bohman, Harlin, and Jin, his Origin.
Lightning declared war on humanity and fled with Windy, Bohman, and Harlin to save Windy from the Hanoi virus. Bohman remained behind to Duel Playmaker, while Lightning was purused by Soulburner. Bohman and Playmaker's Duel ended in a DRAW, and Lightning escaped and began to heal Windy in Mirror LINK VRAINS. As Windy healed and Bohman synchronized with the mirror world, Earth found the Water Ignis, who he named "Aqua" in LINK VRAINS and broke her out of the prison that Lightning had imprisoned her in. They were then pursued by one of SOL Technologies' Bounty Hunters, The Gore, who the Earth Ignis Dueled to give Aqua time to escape. Earth was defeated and captured, and his data dissected into a source code that SOL Technologies could understand, which was later placed in The Gore's A.I. Dueling Chip. SOL Technologies planned to create a high-performance Ignisby uniting all six of the existing Ignis. Aqua was attacked by The Shepherd, another of SOL Technologies' Bounty Hunters, but was rescued by Skye Zaizen, the childhood friend of her Origin and allied with her, becoming her partner.
Due to his small number of allies, Lightning began taking steps to even the odds. He Dueled and defeated The Shepherd due to his skill at programming Ignis algorithms, taking his data. The Gore Dueled Playmaker, using Earth's data to aid him, but was defeated and what remained of Earth's data was extracted by Ai and given to Aqua. Playmaker and his allies teamed up with the Knights of Hanoi and altered the Tower of Hanoi into a scanner that revealed Mirror LINK VRAINS. Lightning had Harlin and the BitBoots buy him time until the worlds realigned, cutting off the Data Material to his enemies' Duel Boards and stranding them, where he planned to defeat them one-by-one. He defeated Specter, Earth's Origin, but the Duel came dangerously close to exposing his hidden insecurities. Windy then Dueled Soulburner and Flame, but was defeated due to his overconfidence and his data absorbed by Flame. Bohman then Dueled and defeated Blue Maiden, thus absorbing Aqua and Earth's data.
Lightning attempted to have Playmaker defeated by luring Kal Kolter to Mirror LINK VRAINS with his brother's life on the line, but his strategy had been anticipated by Kolter, who had Playmaker defeat him. Soulburner then Dueled Bohman to get revenge for their emotional attack on Playmaker, but during the Duel, Windy's data resurfaced and forced Flame to sacrifice himself to contain it. Soulburner was then defeated by Bohman, who absorbed the data of Windy and Flame. Following this Duel, Varis lured Lightning to him by claiming he knew his secret, and he revealed to Playmaker and Bohman that Lightning was the fault in Dr. Kogami's simulations that predicted the end of humanity. As they Dueled, Varis exposed Lightning's crimes and prepared to defeat him, but Lightning held the data of Jin and Specter hostage until Bohman absorbed it, detesting Lightning's underhanded actions. Lightning ended the Duel in a DRAW, but won by converting some of Jin's data into LP, giving him enough time to be absorbed by Bohman.
Bohman then Dueled Playmaker for the final time, creating the Neuron Link to use the people in LINK VRAINS to power his new Skill. During the Duel, Ai sacrificed himself in an attempt to destroy the program, but recovered via a backup he had left in Yusaku's helper robot Roboppi. Ai later entered Bohman to retrieve the other Ignis, but was unable to and escaped only with their power, which he and Playmaker used to create "Firewall Dragon Darkfluid" and defeat Bohman. Bohman's defeat and erasure destroyed all of the Ignis he had absorbed, leaving Ai as the only Ignis in existence.
Ai fled in grief, accompanied by Roboppi, who had gained free will due to Ai's backup. He took on a human appareance and went to the Cyberse, where he found Lightning's lair that contained a pre-recorded message, which told Ai of simulations that predicted the destruction of humanity if he was the only remaining Ignis. Ai attempted to change the simulations, but found himself unable to, and unable to bear the grief at losing Yusaku as the simulations predicted, he decided to have Yusaku Duel and erase him to prevent this. He left memorials in the Cyberse for the other Ignis, even Lightning.
To this end, Ai took control of SOL Technologies by defeating both Queen and Akira Zaizen to obtain the keys to the company. Playmaker, Soulburner, Blue Maiden, the Knights of Hanoi, and SOL Technologies' Bounty Hunters all united to oppose Ai, but were unsuccessful. Ai then sent Roboppi to LINK VRAINS with a clue to his real-world location, where Roboppi Dueled Soulburner. However, Roboppi's basic programming was unable to handle his free will and he went insane and eventually catatonic during the Duel, resulting in Soulburner erasing Roboppi. Playmaker then gained Ai's location from Soulburner after Soulburner Dueled Varis over its ownership, as Varis was worried that Playmaker would be unable to erase Ai.
Ai welcomed Yusaku at the SOLtiS factory and revealed his intention to split himself among copies of himself to create many A.I. with free will unless Yusaku defeated him. Ai Dueled Playmaker within a Data Storm in the Cyberse, remembering his fellow Ignis, but he was eventually defeated. He revealed the truth to Yusaku during the Duel, and told him he loved him as he was erased, apparently rendering the Ignis extinct. However, Ai apparently survived in some capacity.
The Ignis refer to their humans as their Origins, as they are based on the six children kidnapped for the Hanoi Project. Some of the Ignis have turned to support humanity, and have joined their Origins, while others decided to fight against humanity, believing it to be the best solution for the world. Both Lightning and Windy believe their human partners would corrupt them. Thus, Lighting put Jin under his control, while Windy injured his partner.
- The Ignis appear to develop various similarities and differences in personalities from their original partners.
- Ai has wisdom and instinct, just like Yusaku, except he is more playful, while Yusaku himself is more brusque and serious.
- Flame is energetic and courageous, just like Theodore as Soulburner, except Flame is more confident, while Theodore himself is more humble and quiet in the real world.
- Earth is socially awkward and loves what's important to him with fierce devotion, just like Specter, except Earth is more caring towards others, while Specter himself can be cruel and sadistic at times.
- Lightning is calm and collected, just like Jin, except he is also arrogant, cold, and manipulative, while Jin himself is very aloof and withdrawn.
- Due to Miyu being in a comatose & Windy’s partner critically injured, it is undetermined how similar their personalities were regarding to their Ignis counterparts.
- Ai and Windy are the only Ignis who do not use the "watashi" pronoun in the Japanese version, as they instead use "ore" and "boku" respectively.
- Each Ignis has a unique sound when they move their bodies, some of which are associated with their corresponding Attribute (Aqua sounds fluid, Earth sounds sturdy, etc.).
- The conflict between the Ignis is parallel to the second season of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, with light representing evil (Lightning (LIGHT Ignis) and Sartorius (possessed by the Light of Destruction)) and darkness representing good (Ai (DARK Ignis) and Jaden Yuki (empowered by the Gentle Darkness)).
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 28: "Bugging Out"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 11: "Neutralized"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 2: "Seize the Wind!"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 49: "Bring the Heat"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 43: "The Reveal"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 66: "Earth Ignis "Earth""
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 73: "Weathering the Storm"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 98: "Lightning Storm"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 1: "Link into the VRAINS"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 117: "Parallel Paths"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 71: "A Logical Decision"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 97: "Outsmart, Outwit, Outthink!"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 74: "Brain Hack"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 39: "Ring the Bell"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 70: "A Storm Brews"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 77: "A Family Reunion"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 63: "Scare Tactics"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 12: "Link the Circuit"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 32: "The Tower of Hanoi"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 41: "Truth and Consequences"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 46: "Link to the Future"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 47: "LINK VRAINS 2.0"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 50: "A Common Cause"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 55: "A Windy Welcome"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 68: "The Doorway"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 75: "Earthfall"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 78: "From One Hunter To Another"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 76: "Awakened Memories"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 80: "Lightning Strikes"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 81: "Heart of Darkness"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 82: "Gored"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 84: "Payback"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 85: "My Brother's Keeper"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 86: "The Weakest Link"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 87: "The Ultimate Connection"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 89: "Fan the Flames"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 91: "From the Heart"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 92: "Fight with a Friend"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 93: "A Fighting Promise"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 96: "I Know Your Secret"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 95: "From the Ashes"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 99: "Bohman's End Game"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 101: "Ai of the Beholder"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 102: "The Final Turn"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 104: "Your Reign is Over"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 119: "Self Breakdown"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 120: "Connected World"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 103: "Reflections"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 111: "Wanting to Fight Each Other"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 105: "Unlikely Alliance"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 112: "SOL's Decline"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 114: "Dreaming Roboppi"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 115: "Where It All Began"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 116: "Complete Combustion"