Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal – Vol. 4 by Shin Yoshida and Naohito Miyoshi (a J!-ENT Manga Review)
January 2, 2014 by Dennis Amith
“Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” pits Kaito and Astral against Eviluder, the Commander of the First Faker Fleet! Will they endure? Find out in another thrilling card battle volume of “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” volume 4!
Image courtesy of © 2010 Kazuki Takahashi, Shin Yoshida, Naohito Miyoshi. All Rights Reserved.
MANGA TITLE: Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal – Vol. 4
STORY AND ART BY: Shin Yoshida and Naohito Miyoshi
FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.
PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shonen Jump Manga
RATED: T for Teen
RELEASE DATE: January 7, 2014
The mysterious Luna suddenly appears and challenges Shark to a duel. At stake is a new card and a new power! Elsewhere, Yuma and his friends form the Numbers Club, dedicated to finding the powerful Numbers Cards and stopping the plans of the evil Dr. Faker!
In 1996, Kazuki Takahashi would create a manga series about card games known as “Yu-Gi-Oh!”. Wanting to create a battle manga that was unique and not about fighting and a fan of tabletop role-playing games, Takahashi did not imagine how popular the series would be among fans worldwide.
With the original manga serialized in Sept. 1996 through 2004, the games have been popular among anime, manga and of course, the card gaming fans in America and also around the world. The series would spawn off various series (featuring manga adaptations by other artists/writers) such as “Yu-Gi-Oh! GX” (2005-2011), “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” (2008-2011) and most recently with “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” (2011-2012).
And now “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” vol. 4 is being released in America on Jan. 2014 courtesy of Viz Media.
What is “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal”?
“Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” continues the card battling theme that the original series was most popular for. First featured in 2010 and then later serialized on “V Jump” magazine in 2011, the fourth “Yu-Gi-Oh!” series has received an anime adaptation and is currently airing in America on the Cartoon Network’s Saturday morning cartoon block, Toonzai, Vortexx and now on Nicktoons.
The series is set in the near future in a place called “Heartland City” and features a teenager named Yuma Tsukumo who wants to become the next “Duel Monsters” champion, but he has a while to go as he is only an amateur. One day after dueling against his rival Shark, a mysterious spirit known as Astral appears before him (no one else can see him) and gives him advice on how to win.
Astral explains that he needs Yuma’s help as he has lost all his memories, which have been transformed into 99 Xyz Monster cards known as Numbers and have been scattered all around the globe. It’s imperative they find the Numbers as duelist who possess them can gain abilities to combine their forces using the power of Zexal (the ability to combine monsters to create a more powerful monster) which can be dangerous in the wrong hands but also, each card can help bring back Astral’s memories.
And as the both Yuma and Astral form a partnership, unbeknown to the two is that a Numbers Hunter is going around battling people possessing a numbers card, but not only hunting down their card but also taking their soul.
This leads us to the second volume of “Yu-gi-Oh! Zexal”. We are introduced to the Numbers Hunter named Kaito, and find out that he is working with Mr. Heartland, who in turn is working with Dr. Faker who want to use the Numbers cards for their own selfish needs.
Dr. Faker and Mr. Heartland have Kaito trying to collect 100 Numbers as they said it would help make his young brother Haruto normal again. But in truth, he is being used by both Dr. Faker and Mr. Heartland.
As Yuma learns from his sister, details of a Numbers Hunter causing problems, one day both Yuma and Astral come across Kaito, the Numbers Hunter who has stopped time and challenges Yuma to a duel.
But both are quick to realize that Kaito is not just someone more powerful than Yuma when it comes to Zexal battles but Kaito also may be more powerful and knowledgeable about the game, even more than Astral.
And during their battle, Kaito easily demolishes Yuma (with Astral’s help) but before Kaito can end the game and defeat Yuma, he receives news about Haruto and thus Kaito ends the game early.
With Yuma depressed over his loss and knowing he does not have the cards to defeat Kaito, his friends Tetsuo Takeda, Kotori Mizuki, Tokunosuke Hyori, Takashi Todoroki and Cathy decide to form the Numbers Hunters Club and together with Yuma, help search for Numbers cards that will help get him the cards needed to take on Kaito, if they are ever to meet again.
But in order to do that, each of them must put themselves in harms way to get access to a Numbers Card. Are these young teens ready to take on the challenge?
In vol. 3, Mr. Heartland confronts Yuma and friends and reveals that he can also see Astral and that his plans are to acquire the numbers which hold a terrible power and want to destroy the Astral world. He also reveals that Astral is a messenger from the evil world, which Yuma does not believe to be true.
So, Mr. Heartland as been a thorn in Yuma and friends lives.
But now another antagonist has made himself known in vol. 4 of “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal”!
As Shark gains a new mysterious teammate named Luna, a messenger of the Moon, who gives him a special card to help destroy all number cards.
Meanwhile, Yuma and friends are surprised when Cathy reveals that she has a secret headquarters that can be used by them to pinpoint number cards.
And while a numbers card is detected, as Yuma and Astral go to retrieve it, as does Shark and Luna, standing in their way is Kaito Tenjo, the Numbers Hunter.
Meanwhile, vol. 4 reveals the history of Shark and his relation with Kyoji Yagumo and Yuma must take on Eviluder, Commander of the First Faker Fleet.
The characters of “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal”:
- Yuma Tsukumo – The main protagonist and a boy with a never give-up attitude. Unfortunately, he is also an underachiever when it comes to school and duels. He dreams of becoming the Dual Monsters champion and he is able to work with Astral, a unknown being that assists him during battles.
- Astral – A mysterious spirit from another plane of existence who can be seen and heard by Yuma. He has lost his memories, which have been turned into Numbers cards and scattered around the world. He is unsure of his true purpose but by working with Yuma, he hopes he can help Yuma with his battles, while Yuma helps him by acquiring numbers to help regain his memory.
- Kotori Mizuki – Yuma’s childhood friend and classmate. She doesn’t like to duel but she has a crush on Yuma. She is very smart with computers.
- Tetsuo Takeda – Yuma’s friend and a skilled duelist who has beaten Yuta in dueling many times before.
- Takashi Todoroki – The class president of Yuma’s class and a friend.
- Tokunosuke Otomeura – A kid who has been bullied as young child, it has led to him playing dirty to win duels at times.
- Cathy – A shy girl who looks like a cat and has a crush on Yuma. She is very wealthy and her home is the headquarters of the Numbers Club which has high tech computer devices to pinpoint numbers cards.
- Kaito Tenjo – The Numbers Hunter who is trying to save his sick brother, Haruto by collecting 100 Numbers Cards. He is knowledgeable about the battles and overlaying Numbers cards.
- Ryoga Kamishiro – A rival of Yuma Tsukumo and like Yuma has Astral to aid him, Ryoga has Luna. Known as “Shark”, his goal is to destroy all number cards.
- Luna – A messenger of the moon who once worked with Dr. Fake and together with Ryoga “Shark” Kamishiro, they want to destroy all number cards.
- Kyoji Yagumo – Grew up with Shark in an orphanage but for some reason, he decides to align himself with Dr. Faker.
“Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” continues to heat up as Yuma finds out that there are other people after the numbers cards, cards that are necessary to revive Astral’s memory.
His rival Shark has now aligned himself with Luna, a former assistant of Dr. Faker, while Dr. Faker has sent his fleet to retrieve the cards and take on anyone in their way!
But will Yuma be ready to take on the powerful Eviluder, Commander of the First Faker Fleet?
The concept of “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” is one that will appeal not only to fans of the original series but those who are familiar with RPG video games such as “Shin Megami Tensei” (especially the “Persona” series), as the goal is to combine monsters and in this case, using monsters and creating an overlay network via Zexal and creating something new and powerful.
For example, Kaito summons a level 3 Light Serpent and a Level 3 Plasma Ball, overlay the two level 3 monsters to create a rank 3 Giga-Brilliant monster with a larger attack. But also with Kaito’s skills and owning multiple Numbers cards, he is able to release two summon two monsters with attacks over 2,000, releasing them and summoning them to create Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon with a 3,000 ATK.
Not only does this up the level of the game (especially those playing the actual real world game of “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal”) and also make it more challenging but it’s definitely an intriguing twist for “Yu-Gi-Oh~” card gaming fans.
And because with each battle he wins, he acquires those cards and is able to use them in battle against other foes and become part of his strategy.
It’s important to note that with each volume purchased of “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” an exclusive card is featured. In this case, an ultra rare Nightmare Shark card is included with volume 4.
Overall, “Yu-Gi-Oh!” is a manga series with card battles that young fans and even older fans may enjoy. The fourth volume focuses more on the different types of battles that Yuma and Astral must partake in and how risky these battles are but how they need to work as a team in order to fight their opponent.
Another thrilling volume in the “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” manga series, volume four is recommended for “Yu-Gi-Oh!” fans!
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