The best way to describe this show is that it’s like Yu-Gi-Oh! minus saving the world by playing a children’s card game. Aichi Sendō is a shy boy who has been living his life looking backwards than forward. However, he has one thing that is keeping him going – Blaster Blade, a rare card from the card game, Vanguard.
One day, Katsumi Morikawa, a classmate of Aichi’s, discovers Aichi has Blaster Blade. After school, Morikawa steals the card from Aichi with the help his friend, Yūta Izaki. Aichi chase the two to a card store, Card Capital, to find Morikawa had lose the card in a bet againist Kai, another Vanguard player. Aichi challenge Kai a game to win Blaster Blade back, which Kai accept. Kai lets Aichi use Blaster Blade for the match.
However, there is one problem. Thou Aichi has his own deck, he never actually played the game. As they battle, Kai teaches Aichi the basics of the game. During the match, Aichi reveals that it was Kai who gave Blaster Blade to him a few years ago. In the end Aichi wins the match and Blaster Blade. Soon Aichi becomes friends with Morikawa and Izaki.
After some time, Emi, Aichi’s younger sister, notice Aichi’s behavior has change, and is worried. After school, Emi follows her brother and his new friends to Card Capital. Once she enters the store, she is surprise to see the people in the store playing Vanguard, including Aichi. After the store manager, Shin Nitta, introduce himself to her, they watch a cardfight between Morikawa and Aichi. While watching the match, Emi notice how much her brother had change due to the card game, and is supportive of him playing.
Shin takes a look at Aichi’s deck, and decides to show him “somthing nice.” Shin has Aichi battle Misaki, who has never actually been in a Vanguard fight even thou she works at a card shop. During the battle, Misaki shows that she knows more about the game than she lets on as she draws multiple cards and plays the Grade 3 CEO Amaterasu. Using the “Twin Drive” ablility that Grade 3 cards have, Misaki wins. Thou he lose, Aichi learns that he has much to learn about Vanguard if he wants to paly againist Kai again.
Aichi heads to the card store to buy a booster pack in hopes to get a Grade 3 card. When he arrives, a grade schooler, Kamui Katsuragi, defeat Izaki in a cardfight. Aichi challenges Kamui for a match, but Kamui refuse. After Kamui defeats Morikawa in a match, Aichi tries to buy a booster pack. Suddenly, Emi appears and Kamui instantly is in love with her. Before Aichi could buy a pack, Emi drags him home while Kamui looks on, believing that Aichi and Emi are a couple. Later, Aichi buys a booster pack, and is happy to find that the pack contain a Grade 3 card, Solitary Knight, Gancet. Soon Kamui appears and challenges Aichi for a match while demanding to get Emi if he wins. Although Aichi get the wrong impression of Kamui’s objectives, he accepts. In the end, Aichi loses. Afterwards, Emi arrives and tries to get Aichi to come home. It’s then that Kamui learn that the two are siblings. In hopes to get closer to Emi, Kamui starts referring Aichi as his “big brother.”
One day, Aichi and his friends decide to go to a different card store called PSY. While there, they notice the shop’s special Vanguar Fight Stage. It oddly reacts to Aichi which leads to a woman, Kourin, to challenge him to a match. In the end, Aichi loses. Afterwards, another woman, Suiko, gives Aichi the card The King of Knights, Alfred as a memento for visiting the shop. Shin soon introduces the standing fight tables to improve the experience of a Vanguard fight, with Morikawa and Kamui being the first to play on it. After Kamui beats Morikawa, Aichi and his friends heads home. On the way, they spot Kai heading home. Curious where Kai lives, they try to follow him, but he soon notices them. Aichi apologizes and tries to get Kai to a card battle, but he declines. However, Kamui challenges Kai, and he accepts. Kai defeats Kamui.
As the Card Capital Shop Tournament soon approaches, Aichi is hesitanit to play in it. When he learns that Kai will be in the torurnament, Aichi decides to enter. As he submits his entry form, another player, Osamu Kishida, places his application at the same time time. Both of them want to enter, but there is only one spot left. To resolve the issue, Shin has Aichi and Osamu have a match againist each other to see who gets the last spot. With the help of The Kng of Knights, Alfred, Aichi won and is officially in the tournament. During the tournament, Aichi reaches the semifinals. However, he lost to Kamui. After the tournment is over, it is revealed that the four finalist (Kai, Misaki, Kamui, and Aichi) would head to the Regional Tournament. Then Kamui takes Aichi to a pirate theme card store, Card Shop Handsome. While there, Aichi is forced to a match againist the strongest player due to a misunderstanding.
As Emi continues to come to the Card Capital, she is convince to try Vanguard. On his way to the card store, Morikawa had his fortune told and he finds that he’ll have good luck with his juniors today. When entering the store, Aichi is surpries when Emi is getting ready to play Vanguard. Misaki hands her deck to Emi to use as Shin wants both Aichi and Emi to battle each other. However, Morikawa wishes to teach/battle Emi. By the end of the match, Emi had fun and thanks Morikawa.
The regional tournament begins, Shin names the team “Team Quadrifoglio” or Q4 for short. Q4 reaches to the finals where they are fighting againist Team Handsome. In the end, Q4 wins the tournament. Aichi, Kamui, and Misaki visits Card Shop PSY. There they meet a red-haired man, Suzugamori Ren, who they learn is the winner of last year national tournament. Ren and Kourin have a match which Ren ends up winning. To get ready for the national tournament, Aichi and Misaki have a match. During the match, Miskai has flashbacks of her tragic past which causes her to break down. In the end, she wins, but she announced that she’s leaving the team.
In some ways, Cardfight!! Vanguard is like Yu-Gi-Oh! The main hero in both shows are shy, and becomes friends with the bully(s) by the end of the first or second episode. Izaki and Morikawa remind me of Joey (Katsuya Jonouchi) and Tristan (Hiroto Honda). Thou some of characters and how the show starts remind me of Yu-Gi-Oh!, there are some differences. For one, Vanguard isn’t as strategic as Dual Monsters. And two, there’s no saving the world. Cardfight!! Vanguard is mostly people playing the card game. Because of this, I think that some viewers may become bored and only watch a few episode. The third difference is that the main hero doesn’t win all the time. Where as Yugi always wins his matches, Aichi actually lose at some of his. For that, I think, it’s a good thing. Also, the card fights last about an episode or two when it takes about three or four episodes in Yu-Gi-Oh!
However, this show has some flaws. It does starts out slow, and it may not be for everyone. Also, there are moments that reminds me of Yu-Gi-Oh! I’ll watch a few more episodes to see if it’s going to get better.