It seems like it’s time to introduce another card game anime to the world. These series happen every so often, but most of them never seem to stick. Whether it’s Future Card Buddyfight or Luck & Logic, they tend to be flash in the pans that go as far as their card game can take them. The only two that have remained for longer than a couple years are Konami’s undisputed King of Games and Cardfight Vanguard.
This new series, Shadowverse, gives us a new plucky protagonist along with a new card game to learn. For those curious about the show, here’s everything they need to know, with minimal spoilers.
10 BASED ON A VIDEOGAME
The latest card game anime is based on one of the most popular mobile games. The title comes from Cygames, a mobile game developer that has grown increasingly more popular over the last decade after having multiple incredibly popular video games.
They’ve been known for Granblue Fantasy, Rage of Bahamut, and more. They’ve also created several anime based on their properties, like Horse Girl Pretty Derby.
9 THEY DON’T EXPLAIN HOW TO PLAY
The first episode is a bit weird, in that they don’t really explain to the viewer how the game is played. It works off a resource system, where every turn the player is given an additional resource until Turn 10. Each card costs a certain number of resources—some cost 2, others 3, some 8, and so on.
Monsters come in unable to attack until their following turn, where they can attack either the opponent directly or other monsters. On turn 4 for players who go second, and turn 5 for players going first, monsters can “evolve,” becoming stronger and gaining “Rush,” which is the ability to attack other monsters but not the opponent’s life. Players start out with 20 life and lose once they hit zero. There’s more to it, but this is more than what the show gives to start out, and will keep newcomers from getting lost.
8 WHO’S THE MAIN CHARACTER
The main character is Hiro Ryugasaki, a young boy in middle school that wants more than anything…a smartphone. His grandfather won’t get him one, but he finds one anyway in the shed by his house.
The phone, somehow, comes pre-installed with Shadowverse, which allows him to get directly into battling people! And despite being completely new to the game, he’s surprisingly incredibly talented with it.
7 THE SERIES HAS TWO RIVAL CHARACTERS
Currently, the main character has two rivals that he’s dealing with. The first is Luca Yonazuki, a Bloodcraft player that has a very specific sort of victory over the main character, leading Ryuu to vow to become better than him one day.
Then there’s Kai Ijuin, a Runecraft player that believes himself to be a super genius until he lost to Luca Yonazuki. Kai’s goal is not only defeat Luca, but anyone who’s proven themselves worthy to Luca as well.
6 THERE’S A JOEY
Hiro’s got a few schoolmates that he’s close to. The first is Kazuki Shindou, who’s essentially the Joey of the show. Well, Joey before he started getting tons of Ws. Kazuki Shindou is a Swordcraft player, and he’s easily the worst player on the show.
He’s constantly losing to other players, presumably to eventually set up a story arc where he learns to grow into being a good player since he’s using one of the best decks in the game.
5 HOPEFULLY THERE’S NO TEA
Card game anime series don’t normally do so well with female characters. The first three Yu-Gi-Oh series for instance had women that were progressively more useful, but overall useless in the end.
This series has Mimori, another classmate of Hiro that plays Forestcraft. When we see her at first, she easily beats Kazuki, but afterward we see her get her phone stolen by the first episode villain. She’s in the OP, so we know she has some importance, but it remains to be seen how important that is.
4 THE CHARACTERIZATION IS DONE RIGHT
One thing that’s fun to see as a fan of the card game is how the characters are basically extensions of the decks they’re playing. The Bloodcraft player is dark and mysterious, and his first duel is in the middle of the night.
The Runecraft player talks about how his opponents are guaranteed to lose at a certain turn in the duel, which is exactly how that strategy works. There’s a ton of shout-outs present in the music as well, which makes the series feel welcoming to fans of the game.
3 THE MAIN CHARACTER’S BEST CARD DOESN’T EXIST
For people aiming to get into Shadowverse as a game, just know…the main character’s card doesn’t exist. And it’s quite honestly so incredibly game-breaking it wouldn’t be able to exist in the same form anyway.
An 8 point dragon with 3/5 that can evolve for free if the player controls no cards, and inflicts damage to all the opponent’s creatures on attacking. And if it attacks the opponent directly, the attack can double. It’s basically a way for the writers to give the main character a way out of any pinch, no matter how ridiculous.
2 THE STORY MODE OF THE GAME IS DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT
In case people are wondering, the actual Shadowverse has it’s own story, and it’s absolutely nothing like this one. In the Shadowverse world, it’s about a collection of characters fighting against beings with the power to reshape planets as they see fit.
There’s a lot of traversal into different planets in the battle against this threat. This series could actually potentially tie into that, but there are no promises yet.
1 LENGTH OF THE SERIES
So far as we know, Shadowverse is scheduled to run for a full year, meaning 52 episodes. There’s no specific story it’s adapting, so they’re free to go where ever they want with things at the moment.
There’s obviously a tease involving the main character’s father, who seems to have some sort of special powers, while the other characters in the opening seem to be teaming up to go against some sort of mysterious threat. It remains to be seen whether they’ll delve into this fully, or be more like Cardfight Vanguard and hint around it more than display it head-on.
The Shadowverse series has become extremely popular recently, so there are some things that every anime fan should know.