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The popular anime franchise Yu-Gi-Oh! first hit the airwaves nineteen years ago in 1998. On May 10, 2017 the seventh incarnation of the franchise, Yu-Gi-Oh Vrains, is starting a new chapter in Yu-Gi-Oh! history. We got a chance to go behind the scenes at the Yu-Gi-Oh Vrains Shibuya recording studio to hear the main cast members Shoya Ishige (Yūsaku Fujiki/Playmaker), Takahiro Sakurai (Mysterious AI), Subaru Kimura (Shouichi Kusanagi), Daiki Hamano (Onizuka Go), Yuki Nakashima (Aoi Zaizen), and Shoma Yamamoto (Akira Zaizen) talk about the new series.

Yu-Gi-Oh Vrains take place in Den City, a city with cutting edge network technologies. Inside the network is the VR space called Link Vrains developed by Sol Technologies. But, a mysterious group that hacks by dueling called The Knight of Hanoi has appeared in Link Vrains. One duelist known as Playmaker stands against The Knights of Hanoi only to discover a strange AI in the system.

One of the biggest aspects of any Yu-Gi-Oh! series is the card game dueling between the characters. It’s the driving force behind the events of the plot and Yu-Gi-Oh Vrains will be no different. But, with dueling comes the voice actor’s wishes for who their character will duel in the series. There was a broad consensus between the voice actors and who they wanted to duel.

©高橋和希 スタジオ・ダイス/集英社・テレビ東京・NAS

“I thought Yūsaku-kun would be fun too. [Our character’s] are close, so you kind of want them to duel,” explained Subaru Kimura. Subaru’s character Shoichi Kusanagi plays a supporting role and is a partner to Shuya Ishige’s character Yusaku Fujiki in YuGiOh Vrains. This would be a fun combination of characters to see dueling, and as Shuya said, a chance to see his character Yūsaku’s warmer side.

Yuki Nakashima and Shoma Yamamoto also had similar feeling about who they’d like to see their characters duel. “Because [Aoi] has an older brother, Akira Zaizen, I’d like to see what would happen if they duel,” Yuki said. This is an interesting idea from Yuki Nakashima because it raises the question of would the duel between the Zaizen siblings in the real world or virtual world? It has lots of implications either way and hearing Shoma reciprocate Yuki’s feelings was a pleasant surprise. However, Shoma added how it would be fun to see Akira challenge his bosses to a duel, throwing a little snare in the Yuki and Shoma’s well conceived plan.

Poor Daiki Hamano and his character Onizuka Go, though. The cast members had little inkling to duel him. It could have been because Onizuka, “Is really strong” according to the cast members. That doesn’t mean Daiki had his eyes set on any of the other characters. “Kusanagi’s happy little duel sounds fun. But I’d like to duel [Yusaku],” he finished. From the sound of it, Daiki’s dream duel between Yusaku and Onizuka would be heated, hard fought, and one more chance for Onizuka to prove who the strongest in Yu-Gi-Oh Vrains is.

And what about the Takahiro Sakurai and his character Mysterious AI? Well, that’s will have to stay shrouded in mystery because it’s a big secret for Yu-Gi-Oh Vrains.

These all sound like some great ideas from the voice actors and who knows, maybe the script writes for the series will use some of them. But, until they are actually manifested on screen, the wishes of the voice actors are going to remain just that: wishes. But, here’s to hoping.

Yu-Gi-Oh Vrains premiers on May 10, 2017. It is currently not scheduled to be streamed.

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