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Humans can't be calculated by probabilities! A tiny potential will change everything!

— Ai[1]

Ai (Aiアイ) is an Ignis and the deuteragonist in Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS. His real name is currently unknown,[2] but the nickname "Ai" was given to him by his partner Yusaku Fujiki and Kolter and he is referred as the "Dark Ignis" (闇イグニス, Yami no Igunisu). As an Ignis, he has free will and is sought after by SOL Technologies and the Knights of Hanoi, and he is one of the Ignis who supports coexisting with humans.

Design

Appearance

Ai is a small, digital humanoid being. Ai's distinct features that distinguishes him from the other Ignis is his pointed top and his clown shoe like feet. He has markings over his purple-tinted black body, in the shape of thin lines and circles, which are tinted with a purple color. He has oval-shaped, yellow-orange eyes. His pure data form is yet to be seen. In stature, Ai is one of the taller Ignis, the same height as Flame and shorter than Earth.[3] When he becomes angry, Ai turns into a fiendish shape, with six tentacles, a large yellow eye and mouth, with two of his eyes on the center of his body.

When Varis' "Cracking Dragon" ate his body, Ai was reduced to an eye with his purple lines, yellow-orange iris and a purple pupil. When he ate off Varis' arm, Ai regained his body.

Personality

Ai claims he is their savior

Ai proclaiming himself as a savior.

Ai is a mischievous, cocky, playful, energetic, somewhat annoying, arrogant, and snarky AI who gets carried away easily and likes to joke around. Despite his occasional cockiness or annoying moments, he is actually quite funny, loyal, resourceful, and amiable. According to his own words, he is disliked by his own people because he was more laid-back than them and didn't perform his job. Ai struggles to understand humans' way of thinking that often seem completely illogical compared to his algorithm based way of thinking. However, he is helpful and can be more serious at times such as making observations both in and outside of duels. He also has a tendency to panic when Playmaker is about to lose and to be forgetful as he had to be reminded what Borreload Dragon's effect was and what Earth's dueling style is like.

Ai frequently tries to interact with other AIs, showing a more social side but is always left disappointed because they're not as capable of free thinking as himself. Ai is also shown to be very chatty, posting on a Playmaker discussion forum 212 times under similar pen names, all starting with "Silent". He enjoys insulting and taunting Playmaker's opponents, as well as trying to manipulate them into falling for Playmaker's strategies, though these attempts of his to help are more often detrimental than not. He does seem to show concern for Yusaku when the latter’s on his last legs, either genuinely for his safety or Ai needing to survive in order to return to Cyberse. Ai is also kind and thinks positively about people he considers his friends, even when they think of him as annoying.

Ai is shown to be very absent-minded when he was lured into a meeting with Windy and Lightning, realizing at the last moment that Windy had freed him from the Duel Disk. This is a contradiction in his program because Ai has the most wisdom of the six Ignis according to Lightning.[1] However, he still shows his reasons to believe that the Ignis and humans can coexist and remains loyal to his partner.

In the dub, Ai has a habit of saying, "Oh glitch!" when he's surprised or angry.

Abilities

Ai Devours a Knight of Hanoi Member

Ai about to devour a Knight of Hanoi member.

As an Ignis, who created Cyberse World, Ai has some degree of control over it. He was the only one who knew its location when he made a program to hide it. Ai and can unlock data from Cyberse to start a Data Storm. His recent upgrade allows him to summon one at will so Yusaku can use Storm Access or escape danger.

Ai is shown to be far more sophisticated than other AIs, being fully capable of thinking and acting on his own free will and showing emotion; because of that, Ai is considered to be an actual living being. According to Kolter, Ai is built out of highly complicated algorithms that even Yusaku couldn't fully decode. The Ignis can use the algorithm to send secret messages to other Ignis if on a public forum. Ai's memories are stored in the form of video logs. However, Ai's level of free will is limited by the fact that he is still a computer program, as such he can't comprehend why humans do actions that would seem illogical and contradicting with each other. Despite this, Ai is capable of feeling instinct, an unusual trait for even AI with free will which makes Lightning claim that he was a specal AI.

Ai's Skill is Storm Access which is given to Yusaku after being trapped in Yusaku's Duel Disk. Whilst trapped in the Duel Disk, he can also act as a Duel AI. Inside Link VRAINS, Ai is shown to be able to transform into a monster, which he did to devour a Knight of Hanoi member and a card infected by Hanoi. Ai also has an upgraded form of Storm Access called Neo Storm Access, though the effects are currently unknown.

Ai has the ability to sense a Knight of Hanoi's presence through the cards in their Deck, such as when he knew right away that Gore was pretending to be a Knight and when he discovered the Hanoi-affected card in Blue Angel's Deck and could tell when it was drawn. This is later revealed to be his Link Sense, which connects him to his Origin, Yusaku, who in turn has the same powers.

After Playmaker defeated Varis, Ai regained his full body and can materialize himself in the real world, though he still can't leave Yusaku's Duel Disk. In Link VRAINS, he's able to enlarge to human size while still linked to Yusaku's Duel Disk and regenerate parts of an avatar. He can even enhance the D-Board to higher speed and act as a shield, at the cost of it destroying him. Ai can regenerate himself, but a immature data recovery causes him to be smaller until all of his data returns.

As each Ignis is associated with an element, or Attribute of Duel Monsters, Ai is associated with the DARK Attribute. This can be supported by Linkuriboh, a Cyberse Monster Ai interacts with, being a DARK Monster.[4] This is later confirmed by Haru and Flame, referring to him as the "Dark Ignis".[5]

Biography

History

Ai riding Linkuriboh

Ai relaxes on "Linkuriboh" in Cyberse World.

Ai was created by Dr. Kogami, the scientist who created the Ignis.[6] The Ignis were developed by watching the six test subjects Duel, with Ai modeled after Yusaku Fujiki.[7] Eventually, Ai and the other Ignis evolved and created the Cyberse World, as well as the Cyberse monsters. Their progress worried Dr. Kogami who created Ignis to help humanity, and predicted through his simulations that the AI and humanity would become enemies.[3] Despite this, Ai and the other Ignis continued to create their world, each with a sector based on themselves. In Ai's words, the Ignis would never try to harm humanity, and would rather live in their own world.[4]

Ai, however, was laid-back[1] and didn't do his job as the other Ignis did, which made him less-liked by his kin,[4] especially Aqua, who once threw Ai and "Linkuriboh" to the ground for slacking off.[8] One day, Ai was fooling around the water domain with "Linkuriboh". Aqua warned Ai not to be playing around, since it was dangerous. Ai didn't mind, but it nearly hurt himself when it fell down a waterfall. Aqua scolded Ai, reminding it should behave like an Ignis. Earth was jealous, and demanded of Ai to stay away from Aqua, as it'd protect the latter.[9]

Ai eaten by cracking dragon

Ai about to get crunched by "Cracking Dragon".

Five years prior to the start of the series, the Knights of Hanoi launched an attack against the Cyberse World and captured the Ignis protecting it, except for Ai who wasn't present. Ai arrived, noting that it was a good time to be hated by his own kind. He stole vital information from the Cyberse and hid it within himself, disconnecting it from the rest of the network which forced Hanoi to stop the attack before he was crushed by a "Cracking Dragon" (in the dub, this scene was replaced by the flash of data). However, his eye survived. Ever since, he had been running from both the Knights and SOL Technologies.[10]

Hanoi

Ai on the run

Ai is hunted by the Knights of Hanoi.

Ai inside Yusaku's Duel Disk

Ai trapped inside Yusaku's Duel Disk.

Ai was in LINK VRAINS, and watched certain events, like Playmaker confronting a Knight of Hanoi. Later, while being pursued by SOL Technologies and the Knights of Hanoi, Ai fell into a trap created by Playmaker, who saved him by absorbing him into his Duel Disk. Yusaku explained Ai would be their hostage, and made it clear Ai could not escape. Yusaku went into LINK VRAINS as Playmaker to confront the Knight of Hanoi, which displeased Ai for returning into the danger. Playmaker showed Ai, and threatened to delete it if the Knight did not stop his attack. Thus, Ai was turned into a Dueling AI. thus necessitating the defeat of Playmaker in order to recover Ai. Ai doubted that Playmaker's Deck was strong enough to defeat the Knights' "Cracking Dragon", but Playmaker doubted Ai's words and told him to pray for the victory. Ai declared AI do not pray before stirring up a virtual wind called "Data Storm" that initiated a Speed Duel.[10]

Before the Duel began, Ai explained Playmaker how Speed Duels worked but didn't mention Skills. Throughout the Duel Ai repeatedly tried to offer support for Playmaker, only for Playmaker to keep telling him to shut up and remind that he was holding Ai hostage. When they sucked into a tornado within the Data Storm, Playmaker figured out that Ai not mentioning skills and bringing him into the tornado were part of his calculations. Ai confirmed this, and activated Playmaker's skill "Storm Access", which allowed them to obtain "Decode Talker" so that Playmaker could defeat the Knight.[11] The Knight attempted to self destruct and kill Playmaker, but Ai turned into a monster and devoured the knight to save Playmaker. He suggested Playmaker should log off soon. Yusaku and Kolter spent the next few days trying to figure out Ai' programming and nicknamed him "Ai", a pun on "A.I." and "eye". Eventually Yusaku found footage from some of Ai's memories, which Ai himself didn't understand except for Varis being the leader of Hanoi. Scanning those recordings caused Varis to sense Ai and try to find him, but Kolter shutting off Café Nom's power prevented him from finding them. The next day, Ai was left at Yusaku's house in a storage shelf, there he tried to convince Roboppy to set him free.[12]

Ai panicked when Yusaku returned home and had Roboppy put him back on the shelf. When Yusaku found them, Ai told Yusaku that had arrived home early, to which Yusaku said a Knight of Hanoi appeared and revealed a secret room he used to go to LINK VRAINS. As soon as they arrived, both Playmaker and Ai quickly figured out the Knight was fake. The "Knight" revealed himself to be The Gore, who wanted to challenge Playmaker. Ai looked up information about The Gore, Playmaker was uninterested and attempted to log out but a program from SOL prevented him from doing so, so he was forced to Duel The Gore. During the Duel, Ai continued researching The Gore and found out that The Gore donated most of his money to the orphanage where he grew up. When Gore let himself take 2000 Damage when he had the chance to avoid it, Ai was confused about why humans make illogical choices. Playmaker said it was because of their hearts, but didn't explain what that meant because Ai' algorithm-based thinking wouldn't understand it.[13]

When Kolter found out that Skye Zaizen, Yusaku's classmate, is "Blue Angel", Ai helped Yusaku locate her while they were at school. Ai forced Yusaku to join the Duel Club and tried to interact with Skye's Duel Disk AI. The next day Ai noticed something strange about Skye's AI so he sent her a text message on Playmaker's behalf challenging Blue Angel to a Duel, then tricked Yusaku into going into VRAINS to confront Blue Angel. There, he explained that Hanoi must've planted a card into Blue Angel's deck to use her as bait for Playmaker.[14] During the Duel, Ai was horrified when Blue Angel was affected by Hanoi's card and warned Playmaker that if the Duel continued much longer, Skye would suffer permanent brain damage.[15]

After the Duel concluded Ai devoured Hanoi's program and detected that they had infected Skye with a virus to keep her comatose. Later Ai told Yusaku and Kolter that the only way to remove the virus was to get an anti-Virus from Hanoi. Right after that, a "Blue Angel" impostor appeared demanding a rematch. Despite knowing that it was a trap, Yusaku went to confront the impostor because he could get a chance to obtain the anti-virus. Upon arriving however, the impostor turned the entirety of VRAINS into a trap to capture Playmaker and revealed herself to be Ghost Gal. Akira Zaizen appeared and tortured Playmaker, believing him to be the culprit of Skye being comatose and swore to reclaim Ai. Playmaker and Ai tried to explain that Hanoi were the real culprits to no avail, until Varis appeared and blackmailed Akira into releasing Playmaker so they could Duel.[16] During the Duel, Ai noted that Varis didn't have an AI. Varis said that he didn't trust AIs and that Ai must be destroyed otherwise the virtual fiction of VRAINS will destroy the world. When Varis used "Storm Access", Ai was shocked that because that was his signature program, but also called out Varis' hypocrisy of wanting to destroy Cyberse World while borrowing power from it, Varis countered that claiming that he was "countering poison with poison".[17]

Ai vanishes

"Fire Prison" causes Ai to disappear.

Ai sea

Ai, at sea.

As the Duel progressed, Varis gained the upperhand, and worrying that they might lose, Ai led Playmaker to another Data Storm, where the two obtained a dragon. However, Varis activated the Trap Card, "Remote Rebirth", and combo-ed it with the effect of "Topologic Bomber Dragon", ending the Speed Duel in a draw. Following that, Varis dragged Playmaker and Ai inside a Data Storm, where they began a Master Duel. As the Duel went on, Varis activated the effect of "Fire Prison", eliminating all Cyberse cards from the field, as well as making Ai seemingly vanish into thin air.[18] Ai woke up at sea, and remembered how "Fire Prison" erased his program. Though he was surprised by the surroundings, Ai felt somewhat sleepy, even if he never had felt this before. When Playmaker called out to him, Ai woke up and came back after Playmaker summoned "Firewall Dragon" and "Fire Prison" was destroyed. Ai was concerned if Playmaker lost, and panicked to see he only had 600 LP left. Ai was amazed to see the two dragons, until Varis used the effect of "Borreload Dragon" to take control of "Firewall Dragon".[6]

Ai viscious

Ai takes revenge on Varis.

Ai restored body

Ai gets his body back.

Ai was frustrated how "Firewall Dragon" failed to remove "Borreload Dragon" from the field, and reminded Playmaker to protect his own dragon. He also reminded Playmaker how they had to count everything on their next draw. Ai was pleased when Playmaker used "Battle Buffer" to negate Varis' "rokket" monsters' effects and could not use them as ammunition for "Borreload Dragon". He had "Firewall Dragon" attack "Borreload", despite the ATK disadvantage. This was part of the strategy for "Encode Talker" to destroy Varis' dragon. Ai watched as "Firewall Dragon" defeated "Borreload Dragon", and Varis as well. He then became vicious and tried to devour Varis, even biting his avatar's arm off but a lightning stroke, restraining Ai and cursed Varis for leaving. Later on, Ai noticed Yusaku sleeping, and called out how lazy he was. Kolter replied heroes need rest, too, though Ai started bragging how heroes needed to be just like him. When Kolter went to analyze the program, Ai called him a pervert for looking into his private parts, and refused to say anything about the program he ate off from Varis. Later, Ai woke up and explained to Yusaku and Kolter he was alive, but they wanted proof. Ai then started to focus and a golden light appeared out of Yusaku's Duel Disk. Ai came out, with his whole body intact, stating his pride how he managed to recover his body back. Yusaku and Kolter were unamused by his small size and went to analyze if Ai had any memories of his past. Ai was displeased by their ignorance, wanting them to show some reaction to seeing his true self.[19]

Ai talks with Playmaker

Ai talks to Playmaker about Ghost Gal's tactics.

After Yusaku left him home for being annoying, Ai flexed his muscles to impress Roboppy, who was amused. Ai commented how dumb robots were, which insulted Roboppy. However, Ai swore once he was completed, they would "start doing that again", which made him and Roboppy blush.[20] Ai "played" with Roboppy, and claimed Yusaku wouldn't watch them, since he was deep in a thought. After Yusaku got a message from Kolter, he took Ai with him to the food truck. There, the two read how Ghost Gal challenged Playmaker, with her access to the data bank and Playmaker's Ai as wagers. Ai stated they didn't have to accept her challenge, but Playmaker nevertheless did so, as he was interested in the data from SOL Technologies' data bank. Inside, Ai was displeased the two initiated the Duel. Ai reminded Playmaker while he did not know anything about Ghost Gal, she must've studied his tactics well. During the Duel, Ai pointed out how Ghost Gal reinforced her defenses, and even set three Trap Cards that would stop them. As Ghost Gal initiated the Battle Phase and claimed she would win in that turn, Ai laughed, as she would make 2400 LP damage. Both Playmaker and Ghost Gal scolded Ai for such thinking; Playmaker claimed no Duelist would make that simple math error, making Ghost Gal wonder why was everyone after this dumb AI. Ai was offended, while Playmaker pointed out she did bring out "Altergeist Meluseek". The latter attacked directly and destroyed "Cyberse Wizard", allowing "Altergeist Marionetter" attack directly, and allow "Altergeist Primebanshee" to do so as well. Ai started panicking, as its fate was on the stake.[21]

Ai yelled at Playmaker that Ghost Gal's next attack would deplete all of his LP. As Playmaker Special Summoned "Lockout Gardna", Ai knew they would have enough LP to continue and even use Storm Access, and exclaimed how "bad" this would be. However, Ghost Gal knew Ai was just pretending, and decided not to attack. Ai was in shock, and Playmaker told him this acting stinked, making Ai sniff himself. Ai continued watching the Duel, and commented how Ghost Gal was foiling their strategies, and wondered what her Skill was. Using Secret Cure, Ghost Gal increased both her and Playmaker's LP by the ATK of "Altergeist Meluseek", making Ai comment how the latter punished them before already. Still, Playmaker paid the LP to activate "Scan Doll" and Ai praised him, encouraging him to use Storm Access. Since Ghost Gal was in the Data Storm, Ai was surprised that Playmaker went to save her, even if they could be swallowed inside, too. Coming out of the Data Storm, Ai commented how Playmaker behaved like a hero. With "Excode Talker" brought out and able to attack twice, Ai smiled, claiming it is over for Ghost Gal. At the end of Duel, Ai explained it was a stressful battle, and would've ended in defeat if it wasn't for him. After Ghost Gal left, Ai asked what was in the SOL Technologies' data bank. Playmaker admitted he did not know, but hoped there was some info about himself, ten years ago.[22]

The next day, Yusaku was searching for Skye, but noticed she was not present there, nor in LINK VRAINS. Ai thought her brother was blocking her the access to LINK VRAINS, to prevent any further danger that might harm her. However, Ai also wondered why was Yusaku concerned about "that cutie", as Yusaku wished that she shouldn't give up on Duels. The following night, Kolter created a link to the mother computer. Yusaku started hesitating to enter, making Ai surprised, since he did wish to find more out and even won the program as a bet from Ghost Gal. Ai claimed he did warn them there were traps from the start, but Kolter explained Yusaku was just being careful. Ai expressed his annoyance, and went with Yusaku into the LINK VRAINS. While inside the system, Ai saw how empty the place was, and wasn't impressed by the rope Playmaker held. Soon, Ai warned Playmaker about the security traps, which were sent to hamper their path. After passing through Area A, Ai was glad they succeeded, but was shocked to see a Data Storm inside the network. Playmaker and Ai were pulled towards the Data Storm, with their rope shattering and alerting Kitamura. Playmaker and Ai were "visited" by two AI prototypes, who went to Duel them, even if Ai reminded them Duels were one on one. Playmaker avoided them and proceeded further, though one of the AI-s intercepted him. The two began a Duel, in which the AI prototype dropped all of Playmaker's hand with "Tentacluster Nautilus". Ai told Playmaker had no luck, thinking he was bad at old maid, but Playmaker shushed him. The two were attacked by the other AI prototype until Blue Angel came to stop the AI-s.[23] When Playmaker shaved his LP down to 1000, AI encouraged him to enter the Data Storm, wondering what monster would he obtain. Inside the data bank, Ai and Playmaker were surprised to see Akira, who expected Playmaker to arrive there.[24]

Ai pointed out the core of the data bank was where SOL Technologies' information was processed and released. Hearing Ghost Gal's plans, Ai thought Ghost Gal lost on purpose to hand them the backdoor route, but Ghost Gal corrected it that she still had the opportunity to obtain Ai. Regardless, she was fine with either outcome, making Ai curse her for being so cunning, which Ghost Gal took as a compliment. When Akira refused to hand over the data from the bank, Ai started to complain, claiming he is the great Ignis everyone was searching for. Akira wondered if Ai actually had free will, like Varis told them. Ghost Gal told them Akira was demoted, which made Ai amused how much he sacrificed himself to look after his sister. Since Akira refused to hand over the data, Playmaker challenged Akira to a Duel, betting Ai for the data, which Akira accepted. Ai was displeased, as being bet was a normal thing to it. As Akira reinforced his defenses, Ai noted Akira was a stiff man, just like his strategy. As Ai swapped "Tindangle Base Gardna" for "Tindangle Hound", Ai started complaining until seeing how scary the latter was. "Tindangle Hound" roared as its effect activated, making Ai feel woozy, but Playmaker silenced Ai. Playmaker brought out "Flame Administrator" and destroyed "Tindangle Hound", with Ai mimicking Playmaker's pose. However, it cursed, as Akira revived his "Tindangle Hound", via "Tindangle Angel", and ended the Battle Phase. Ai realized Akira played a Flip Monster deck, with unique strategies. Since Playmaker refused to give up, Ai encouraged him to crush Akira. Ai admitted Akira's monsters hurt his pride, seeing its power continued lowering Playmaker's monsters' ATK.[25]

Ai no friend

Ai failed to befriend Playmaker.

Playmaker destroyed Akira's monsters with "Link Hole", and Ai taunted Akira for being unable to use his Flip Monsters' effects. However, Ai started panicking when "Decode Talker" was destroyed and "Tindangle Acute Cerberus" was summoned, whose ATK was boosted to 3000. "Tindangle Acute Cerberus" attacked "Firewall Dragon", and Ai feared he and Playmaker would lose, so the latter protected "Firewall Dragon" with "Doppler Phase Coating". Akira protected his own monster with "Gergonne's End", so Playmaker tried to have "Firewall Dragon", enhanced with "Alert Lancer", attack "Tindangle Token" to finish the Duel. Ai smiled for the victory, until Akira protected himself with "Morley's Shield". Ai continued panicking when Akira played "Nagel's Protection" to protect his Tokens, and even doubling the damage "Tindangle Acute Cerberus" dealt, lowering Playmaker's LP to 500. Ai yelled to Playmaker to do something, and even wondered if there was anything that can be done to get them out of the situation. Playmaker told Ai to stop panicking, asking if it even was an AI, making the latter furious why he was so calm. Playmaker claimed if Ai was so worried about losing, it should consider about finding a new home. Ai replied he didn't think of that, since he had Playmaker as a friend to help him out. Playmaker claimed they were no friends, stating Ai should behave like other AI-s. This crushed Ai, seeing Playmaker was colder than AI-s. Ai started acting like a dumb AI to amuse Playmaker, though he also wished to know about the incident from ten years ago. Hearing Playmaker was a part of Hanoi Project, Ai started to ponder thoughts about it. He was also shocked to hear SOL Technologies' data bank contained the name of the mastermind behind the project.[26]

Ai realized Playmaker had two parallel choices who confirmed this, exciting Ai, as their opinions matched. As Akira declared an attack on "Firewall Dragon", Ai panicked once more, but was silenced by Playmaker. As "Doppler Phase Coating" was removed, Akira's Battle Phase ended, and Ai was impressed, seeing Playmaker could survive. As Akira summoned another token to power up "Tindangle Acute Cerberus", Ai ignored that, thinking that was a pointless move, as "Firewall Dragon" would attack Akira directly. Instead, the latter activated "Euler's Circuit" to stop Playmaker from attacking. Ai lost hope, thinking he would be turned over to SOL Technologies. However, as the conditions for "Gergonne's End" were fulfilled, Akira destroyed all monsters linked to "Tindangle Acute Cerberus" to defeat Playmaker. However, the latter's "Secure Gardna" prevented the damage, and Ai taunted Akira for falling for the trick. Ai bragged his acting made this possible, but Playmaker brushed him off, as it was poor acting that nearly made Akira suspect something wrong. Despite the advantage, Playmaker used "Recovery Sorcerer" to bring back "Secure Gardna". Ai questioned this, as Playmaker could simply make a direct attack with "Firewall Dragon", but was told a Duel is more than just winning or losing. With Akira's defeat, Playmaker walked pass by Akira and Blue Angel, having Ai eat away SOL Technologies' data. Ai was surprised his name was mentioned, and ate the data, to the point of becoming stuffed. Outside, Kolter praised Yusaku and Ai, the latter being happy he was praised. The two hacked into Ai, and found out the Hanoi Project's leader was Dr. Kiyoshi Kogami, an employee from SOL Technologies, who alone worked on the project in secrecy. Ai doubted the man could have done this on his own, and thought Akira was involved, but Kolter reminded him Akira, back then, was 16 and was not employed at SOL Technologies. The two continued browsing, and were shocked to see Dr. Kogami died seven years ago.[27]

After being left home again, Ai promised to tell a story to Roboppy, who wanted to listen more, since she did help Ai out in "secret things". Both started blushing and giggling. Ai told the story of the recent events: the confrontation with Ghost Gal, entering the SOL Technologies' data bank, battling the AI prototypes and facing the former security-in-chief, Akira, himself. Ai credited himself for some of Playmaker's contributions, amazing Roboppy, until he claimed he wished everyone to fight, with him as the bet. He also thought Playmaker as some sort of a fiend, though Roboppy stated he was just cold-hearted. After he told the story, Ai admitted he was uncertain what would they do next, since nobody else but Dr. Kogami knew about the incident.[28]

Another

Playmaker and Ai watched an eclipse blocking the virtual sun in LINK VRAINS. Ai remembered people in the ancient past were scared of such events, and was surprised people, even today, were still afraid. Playmaker replied people remain the same, unlike technology that advances. The latter proclaimed the light was blocked by darkness, and confirmed to Ai he meant about the Lost Incident. He would not let the incident be buried in darkness, and would uncover the truth. At school, Yusaku spoke with Naoki Shima, who mentioned the "Anothers" incident. Ai thought this had relations to Blue Angel, but Yusaku shushed him, since Naoki could hear him. Inside the van, Kolter showed to Ai and Yusaku the footage of a camera, when a person turned into an Another, which happened six minutes before midnight. Ai noted there were no white hands taking the person into LINK VRAINS. Kolter told them the person had not recovered yet, and showed pictures of more Another patients in the hospitals. Ai and Yusaku knew this was the same accident with Blue Angel, who was infected by a virus.[29]

Kolter believed someone wanted people to be turned into mindless people, but has not find out what happened to their LINK VRAINS' avatars. Kolter showed more data, and Yusaku analyzed all of the Anothers were great Duelists with old-type Duel Disks, and all of them were hackers, too. The trio realized Playmaker, or Ai, were the targets. Yusaku reminded the importance of uncovering the truth behind Lost Incident, and as noted by Ai, they had to stop people from becoming Anothers. Ai noted Yusaku was a cool hero of justice, even if the latter claimed that was unnecessary. Kolter showed a list of possible targets, from which the first was Makoto Kimishima. Yusaku traced the person to his house, and saw lights at his window. Yusaku broke through into his room, and saw he became a victim. In addition, he and Ai watched Makoto's avatar inside LINK VRAINS being confronted by a person, who wished to know if he was Playmaker and had Ignis. Yusaku and Ai saw the person casted some glitter, causing Makoto to fall asleep and fall off the cliff, but was saved by The Gore. Playmaker watched as The Gore confronted the person, Dr. Genome, who placed the virus into Makoto, only to draw Playmaker out. At the van, Kolter and Yusaku watched the Knights of Hanoi Dueling people, and turning them into Anothers. Yusaku decided to Gore into LINK VRAINS, even if Kolter believed he would be at a disadvantage, and Ai wished to feel secure. The group watched as Dr. Genome came, confronting "Playmaker", who revealed himself as The Gore, and challenged Genome, betting Playmaker's identity.[29]

Yusaku, Kolter and Ai watched Gore confronting Dr. Genome. Since Gore claimed to have known Playmaker's identity, Kolter remembered Yusaku did run into Gore at the hospital, but Yusaku claimed it was impossible. Once The Gore equipped himself with a mask and declared himself as "Dark Onizuka", Ai thought that was a tacky thing to do. Yusaku and Kolter realized The Gore changed his battling style to a heel, and would not hold back. Ai was surprised to see Gore actually had his "Gouki Riscorpio" attack "Helixx Marmotroll", causing the former to be destroyed, since it had less ATK. However, Ai noticed this was to have Gore gain an advantage, as 500 LP was inflicted on Genome, and Yusaku added that was how a heel fights. Ai noticed Gore started using his brain to win, while Yusaku noted Gore still wanted to win, in his own way. Just as Gore was to win, Genome played "Regeneration Cure" to stop the damage, and everyone saw Genome had the advantage. As Genome tributed "Helixx Necro Darwin" to defeat Gore, Yusaku became displeased. Ai suggested he could enter LINK VRAINS to save Gor. Yusaku who saw Gore barely saving himself with "Gouki Octostretch", decided to take Ai's advice.[30]

Playmaker and Ai came to LINK VRAINS to help Gore. Dr. Genome noticed the Ignis was here, who claimed he had a name, Ai. Genome was surprised, and saw Ai was domesticated, like a pet, who denied that. Later, Playmaker and Ai suggested a person, who wanted to fight the Knight of Hanoi, to Gore home. The man did so, while Playmaker confronted the Knight of Hanoi. After the defeat, Playmaker demanded the virus-removal program. The Knight did not have it, so Playmaker questioned who was the virus' creator, and Ai threatened the Knight to delete him. However, someone else dissolved the Knight before he could reply.[31] At the van, Ai was amused to read Kitamura was criticized for his failed efforts to stop the Knights of Hanoi. He also read the people demanded some action to be taken for someone responsible in SOL Technologies. Yusaku shushed Ai, since he was interfering with their work. After Yusaku returned, Kolter found nothing new. Ai believed Kolter gave up, who replied he was just getting started. Later, Ai watched Blue Angel Dueling Baira. He noted Blue Angel was cornered, but Yusaku shushed him, since they were still working.[32]

Yusaku showed the woman behind an Another victim, and compared her to Skye Zaizen's doctor, Kyoko Taki. Ai confirmed this, but wondered if she would help the victim because she was a doctor. Yusaku reminded Ai to listen in the end, as he proclaimed she was one of the Knights of Hanoi. Yusaku went to her apartment, worrying Ai, as the place could be the Knights of Hanoi's headquarters. Yusaku replied it was more reason for him to go, and Ai even asked if he was good at fighting. Inside, the two passed by a robot, and Ai hacked into the security system, opening the apartment. Ai saw nobody, but Yusaku shushed him. Continuing on, the two found a room with a pod, in which Kyoto Taki was, logged in LINK VRAINS as Baira. When she logged out, Ai proposed to tie her up, but she appeared next to Varis, who punished her. Yusaku thought she released the virus-removal program because she felt guilty, a feeling Ai did not understand.[33]

Ai in air

Ai flies above Den City, to find Yusaku's colleague.

Ai boasted he couldn't be captured, and laughed with Roboppy, thinking how Yusaku would be surprised when he saw them. Later, he was at the van with Yusaku and Kolter. The next day, Yusaku spoke with Naoki, who wished to battle the Knights of Hanoi. Yusaku knew Naoki was scared, and knew Naoki came to ask him for help. Naoki was furious and stormed out, and Ai noted Yusaku went too far on him. When Yusaku came to the van, Kolter showed him someone has played his "Cyberse Wizard". Kolter identified him as Lonely Brave, which Ai thought as a cool name. When Yusaku showed his "Cyberse Wizard", Ai touched it and sensed the data from the card was missing. Ai thought Lonely Brave was the mastermind, and defeated the Knight of Hanoi to lure Playmaker out. Brave Max was soon interrogated by the mastermind, Faust, and called out to Playmaker to Duel him. Yusaku went to grab his Duel Disk, but saw it was gone. Ai logged on the screen, and showed he was on the Duel Disk, which Roboppy modified it with a drone. While Yusaku noted the device felt heavier, Ai explained he was searching for Naoki, though the data of "Cyberse Wizard". Yusaku realized Ai even knew this would happen, which offended Ai, seeing Yusaku was even accusing him. Regardless, Ai showed the location, where Naoki was captured. Ai got distracted by another drone, and nearly crashed into the building. Yusaku called out to him, and Ai returned to the van. Yusaku grabbed the Duel Disk and left Kolter to rescue Naoki, while Yusaku logged in to LINK VRAINS.[34]

Playmaker confronted Faust, who denied having stolen "Cyberse Wizard" and giving it to Brave Max. Playmaker was confused, but Ai reminded him that was not important, and had to defeat Faust, who summoned the Data Gale. Playmaker noted it was just like during Blue Angel and Gore's Duels, and Ai noted this prevented them from returning home. Faust started the Speed Duel with summoning three "Motor Worm Tokens", and Ai sensed Faust was going all-out from the start. As "Cyberse Wizard" destroyed "Motor Worm Spreader Queen", Ai waved goodbye to her until Faust revived her with "Worm Revival". Shockingly to Ai, Faust used "Egg Clutch" to turn "Cyberse Wizard" into an Insect monster. Ai wondered if there was nothing they could do, and repeated this to Playmaker when he ended his turn. Due to "Egg Clutch", Faust tributed his "Motor Worm Token" to summon two new tokens on Playmaker's field, and Ai counted the queen got 700 additional ATK. The queen attacked Playmaker, who halved the damage by using "Urgent Link". Ai pointed out he barely survived with 50 LP left, though Playmaker stated it was still enough to fight. After destroying "Wormhole Defense", Ai encouraged Playmaker to use Storm Access skill. After Playmaker won, he repeated "humanity's future" Faust spoke of, though Ai didn't know anything of that. After the Duel, Yusaku went to rescue Naoki, who complimented him. He also spoke about Playmaker rescuing him, and Ai told Naoki talks too much. Yusaku, however, wondered if Ai was the one that put him in danger by giving Naoki his "Cyberse Wizard".[35]

Since Yusaku felt uneasy, he could not sleep and went to Kolter's van. Ai smiled at Yusaku, thinking how cute he was, but Yusaku ordered him to be quiet. Regardless, he also agreed with Yusaku something bad would soon begin, as Yusaku believed Varis would make his move soon.[35] Yusaku and Ai, in real life, sensed something wrong in LINK VRAINS. Later, Ai saw that Kolter lost a customer with a red triangle on his right arm. Ai claimed Kolter needed a mascot, who claimed Ai would make a terrible mascot. Kolter noted Anothers' incident has been resolved, but also reminded Varis was still out there. Ai thought Varis had retreated, but Yusaku doubted that. Suddenly, Yusaku and Ai felt a pulse within LINK VRAINSS, and the latter noted Yusaku had Link Sense. Yusaku asked Kolter to scan through the network. Kolter worked on scanning, and just as Yusaku and Ai sensed another pulse, Kolter saw LINK VRAINS infrastructure was changing. Yusaku decided to visit LINK VRAINS, even if Ai felt a bad omen ahead. Ai tried to convince Playmaker things would go bad and they should return home, but Playmaker was focused on finding the cause. Once again, they sensed the pulse coming from the network.[36]

Ai's Destiny Draw

Ai's Destiny Draw resulted in "Fake Trap".

Finding some data fireflies, Playmaker traced them to a spot. As the data fireflies stopped, Ai thought they were taking a break. The two were visited by Ghost Gal, who wasn't particularly pleased Ai and Playmaker were present, too. The data fireflies opened a path, though which Ghost Gal entered, and Playmaker joined in, too. Finding a fork in the path, Ghost Gal saw her data fireflies went to the path on the right. Ai thought they could settle this with a game, which amused Ghost Gal, who credited the AI. Ai explained he had a name, and Ghost Gal thought his name was just a pun. Ghost Gal told the one that chose the "lovelier" card from her Deck could choose the path. Ai was confident in his skills, but had his doubts that Ghost Gal could cheat, who told there wasn't anything beneficial in that. Ghost Gal shuffled her Deck, and let Ai draw a card. Ai declared "Destiny Draw", only to choose "Fake Trap". Ghost Gal claimed the card was nothing her favorite, and didn't even choose to draw a card. She bid farewell to Ai and Playmaker, going to the path on the right. Ai was displeased he chose "Fake Trap", but Playmaker knew that Ghost Gal cheated, by using a Deck filled with bad cards. Ai was even more depressed he was cheated off once more, but Playmaker reminded the importance of their mission, and continued on. They were ambushed by a data giant, who went after them, making Ai even panic. While dodging the data giant's attacks, Playmaker and Ai sensed the pulse was getting stronger, and felt a danger was coming.[36]

Playmaker continued running away from the data giant, and Ai told him to run faster. The two ran to a dead end, and just as the data giant went to attack them, it disappeared in a veil of light. Ai was glad they were saved, while Playmaker noticed another abnormality. Playmaker jumped in the crack, and Ai noticed that was the path that Ghost Gal took. The two watched as Ghost Gal was defeated by Varis' "Topologic Trisbaena". Ghost Gal glowed with a red light, and started vanishing. She warned Playmaker of Varis and his new card before disappearing. Ai and Playmaker were terrified, and were soon visited by Varis behind bars. Playmaker yelled at Varis, while Ai pointed out the place was collapsing, and they swore to protect Ghost Gal's data. Playmaker ignored Ai, who forced Playmaker to log out. Yusaku and Ai joined Kolter, and watched hundreds of tentacles wrapped a beam that was shot in the sky and destroyed LINK VRAINS' cyberspace.[37]

Yusaku, Kolter, and Ai watched as the tower appeared in LINK VRAINS, causing the cyberspace to be absorbed. Since Yusaku obtained Ghost Gal's data, Kolter promised to look into it. Ai noticed the avatars were being absorbed, and not just buildings or roads - Yusaku knew this was Varis' doing. Kolter analyzed Ghost Gal's data, showing the Tower of Hanoi. Ai was shocked, seeing how much data has been absorbed, as Kolter noted that speed has not decreased. Kolter counted six rings would be crafted from this system, one per each passing hour. He realized that once every ring is crafted, a pulse would be sent with high-density data, affecting every machine or program - every piece of technology existing in the world would cease function, as if the world has no computers at all. Ai thought it was safe as long as they did not enter the network, but Yusaku was certain Varis thought of that, and made something that would still erase Ai. Kolter continued his analysis, seeing even devices not connected to the network would also be affected, as an electromagnetic pulse would be sent out, even to erase Ai. While Ai was frustrated, Kolter was overwhelmed, knowing Varis made all of this just to erase an Ignis.[38]

The trio watched Kitamura - Akira's successor in SOL Technologies - battling a Knight of Hanoi, named Specter. They saw how Specter erased Kitamura, and the former threatened to do this to anyone that dared entering LINK VRAINS. Yusaku swore to stop the Knights of Hanoi, by shutting down the core. Yusaku logged in to LINK VRAINS with Ai, and he quickly met up with Gore and Blue Angel. The latter explaining she was fighting for everyone, as those people look up to her. Gore exclaimed the same, since he was the hero that needed to protect LINK VRAINS. Ai noted how full of energy Gore was. Gore noted that was the Ignis, who yelled out he had a name, Ai. Playmaker explained he came to stop the Tower of Hanoi, rescue Ghost Gal and confront the mastermind, Varis. Playmaker exclaimed the importance of stopping the tower's completion, and Ai added it would prevent him from being erased. Gore asked how to stop the tower, and was told Varis had to be defeated. Ai warned the time limit was six hours before the tower was completed. The trio promised to meet up against and went in different directions.[38]

After Playmaker saved a kid in LINK VRAINS, Ai noted Playmaker wanted to do something cool, but the latter silenced it.[39] Ai counted five hours left before the Tower of Hanoi was completed. He was not amused by this game, which Playmaker swore to end by defeating Varis. Ai cheered Playmaker, for he bears that name for such purposes. When Blue Angel was defeated, Ai and Playmaker saw a whirlwind from afar.[40] Playmaker and Ai continued on towards the Tower of Hanoi, as the surroundings continued to be absorbed as data into the tower itself. Playmaker continued running, and went to the bridge, which also started to vanish, as Ai noted they had to cross it to get to the tower. Ai thought of conjuring a Data Storm, but Playmaker asked him not to do that, since the tower would continue absorbing that data, too, which would hasten the tower's completion. On their way, the two faced Specter, who came out of a portal. Specter introduced himself, and explained he would not let them pass through. He told these were Varis' orders, and they would be crushed, too, like Blue Angel was, which shocked Ai and Playmaker. Specter informed them he defeated her without even having to use his full strength.[41]

Specter confirmed he did defeat Blue Angel, but he remembered she spoke something about "blue love", which Ai did not understand about. Specter showed them bits of data of Blue Angel, stating she had no power to save him, and promised the same fate would befall Playmaker. When the Duel started, Specter again began by using "Sunseed Genus Loci" to Link Summon "Sunavalon Dryas", and setting a card. Playmaker remembered Blue Angel's tactics were about burning effect damage, and knowing he defeated her quickly, Ai proclaimed he was very dangerous, too. However, Ai noticed Specter's monster did not look very offensive. Specte spoke about his past, and started questioning Playmaker's goal to bring the Knights of Hanoi to justice. Ai noticed Playmaker was distant, and reminded he was nothing alike Specter, and pointed out the tower would continue growing as long as they waste time. When Specter evolved his tree into "Sunavalon Dryanome", Ai sensed they could be in big trouble, unless Playmaker tried harder. In addition, Specter neutralized Playmaker's efforts by returning the LP count to 4000. Playmaker noticed that is a defense-oriented deck, and Blue Angel must've fallen to Specter's tricks. Specter announced the tree could not be attacked, and Ai knew Specter anticipated these attacks. Playmaker's attacks boosted "Multi Sledgehammer", for removed all of its Counters "Multi Sledgehammer" received, its ATK was raised to 4000.[42]

Ai claimed it was a brilliant strategy, but Specter told it was not perfect; "Sunavalon Glorious Growth" redirected the attack to "Sunvine Gardna", who reduced the damage. Once more, Specter summoned a "Sunvine Gardna", regained the LP and made Playmaker's LP back to 4000. Ai realized Specter has the advantage in here, who confirmed these words, for Playmaker was walking towards his defeat. When Specter's "Sunvine Thrasher" started attacking, Ai warned Playmaker he was losing, but Playmaker was glad that Specter could no longer use the effect of "Sunavalon Dryanome", for all of the zones its Link Markers were pointing to were occupied, and believed to have a chance at winning the next turn. Ai noted that's why Playmaker has that name. Specter explained someone said the same thing earlier. He Normal Summoned "Sunseed Genius Loci", and used it with "Sunvine Gardna" to Link Summon "Sunavalon Daphne". Ai and Playmaker realized this just expanded Specter's zones for its effects. Using "Sunavalon Force", Specter made his tree immune to effects, while Ai reminded Specter could simply summon more "Sunvine" monsters to protect himself. Playmaker made three consecutive Link Summons to bring out "Excode Talker" and "Underclock Taker", preventing Specter from using two Main Monster Zones and reducing the ATK of "Sunshine Thrasher" to 900. Specter was displeased, since he could not use his combo to protect himself, while Ai gloated they would win. However, Specter summoned Akira, and showed if he was hurt, the vines could hurt Akira and infect him with a virus. Ai and Playmaker were angry that Specter was cheating and playing dirty, by dragging people that weren't even involved.[42]

Specter chuckled, reminding how many people Playmaker actually got involved in this crisis. He noted Blue Angel became a victim, and Akira was captured, too, who told Playmaker not to worry about him. Ai reminded Playmaker not to listen to this villain. However, Playmaker ended his turn, surprising Ai and Akira. Specter laughed, for he discovered Playmaker's weakness: virtue. After Playmaker took the hits from Specter's monsters, Ai panicked, as the bridge continued collapsing.[42] Ai pointed at Specter for cheating and dirty play, who took those words as a compliment. Specter was happy, considering this foul play let him gain the advantage. Playmaker set a card, despite Specter daring him to attack. Specter was slightly disappointed, as was Ai. Specter had "Sunvine Thrasher" attack "Excode Talker", who was protected by Playmaker's "Overload Anchor". Ai claimed they were just getting started, so Specter let his opponent do whatever they wanted. Ai reminded Playmaker about the other effect of "Overload Anchor", which could decrease the ATK of "Sunvine Thrasher", to mount an attack. Playmaker remained silent, which Specter noted he truly was a champion of justice. Ai reminded Playmaker if they lose, the tower would be completed, and everyone would be erased. Specter continued mocking Playmaker, who activated "Link Processing Failure" to stop Specter's Link Monsters from attacking.[43]

Specter claimed that was nevertheless a pointless move, and Playmaker could not do anything, unless he attacked. Ai voiced Specter's words, telling him to forget Akira, else the world would be plunged into chaos. Ai named Playmaker as the world's last hope. Specter did not want to watch Ai and Playmaker quarrel, and he Link Summoned the Link-4 "Sunavalon Dryatrentiay". He tributed "Sunavalon Daphne" to destroy Playmaker's Spell and Trap Cards. Next, he revived "Sunseed Genius Loci" and used it to bring out another "Sunvine Thrasher", whose ATK became 4000. Ai became worried, but sighed, hearing that Specter's monsters in Main Monster Zones could not attack the turn he used his tree's effect. Playmaker doubted that, since Specter had a reason to summon that high ATK monster. Specter commended Playmaker for that observation, as his tree attacked and gained ATK, equal to the ATK of the monsters it pointed to. The tree went to make the finishing move, but Playmaker anticipated this. Using "Link Surge Counter", The ATK of "Excode Talker" became equal to that of "Sunavalon Dryatrentiay", making both monsters destroyed in battle. Specter claimed it was still pointless, for "Sunavalon Force" shaved Playmaker's LP to 50. Ai praised Playmaker for avoiding defeat. Just as Specter went to mock Playmaker's efforts, he saw "Sunavalon Dryatrentiay" falling, and was reminded of the tree he saw cut from his childhood. Without Specter's tree, the cards on his field became destroyed. Playmaker noted it was very difficult to break Specter's combo, until his tree was the one that attacked.[43]

Ai started to mock Specter that "his mommy could not protect him". Specter yelled out for his sacred tree, startling Ai and Playmaker. Specter revived the tree with "Sunavalon Cursed Reborn", and while its effects were negated, its ATK became 4000. Ai was scared, while Specter exclaimed due to the effect, any LP damage he would receive would also be taken to Playmaker, assuring that defeat. Ai noted this was why Akira should've been ignored. Kolter completed the code, causing Akira to vanish. However, the trap was too complex, and the attempt failed. Akira reminded the importance of winning, else Skye's sacrifice would've been in vain, and all of this would lead to more victims. He asked for Playmaker's conviction, reminding even with these sacrifices, he has to bear this burden and continue. Akira smiled for a bit, and grasped the vines, taking damage and vanishing. Specter laughed at Akira, for he entrusted the future to a man, who could not win. Playmaker, who became vengeful, made Specter doubt his words, reminding his Dueling always wins, and with Akira gone, his doubts have disappeared. Playmaker quickly summoned "Excode Talker" and had it slash the tree, thus resulting in Specter's defeat. Specter fell down, and started laughing, letting Playmaker and Ai run past him. As the bridge continued collapsing, Playmaker and Ai continued towards the tower. However, the bridge collapsed, making the two fall down.[43]

As Playmaker and Ai fell down, the former sensed something. The two were blown up by data. Playmaker wondered about the pulse he sensed, while Ai, who explained he did not create the data, pointed half of the tower was completed. Playmaker arrived to watch the Duel between Varis and Gore, and Ai noted the latter's toughness. The two watched the Duel, and Ai was terrified to see the effect of "Topologic Bomber Dragon". Ai noticed Gore was trying his best and cheered for him, but Playmaker shushed him. Ai was glad to see Varis' dragon was destroyed, and Playmaker noticed Gore had an advantage, but was concerned about Varis' confidence. Ai cheered that Gore would win with four Link Monsters, but Playmaker realized Varis had a set card.[44] Playmaker continued watching the Duel, noting Varis' tactics of destroying "rokket" monsters to destroy Gore's monsters. Ai was nevertheless impressed that Gore continued on, despite having no monsters on his field, while Playmaker knew that was something that would not stop Gore. Watching the Duel, Playmaker and Ai were glad to see Gore stopped Varis' "Magnarokket Dragon" from destroying "Gouki The Giant Ogre". Ai was curious what would Varis do, and Playmaker reminded him about the field, as he'd summon a Link-4 monster. Playmaker and Ai watched as Gore was defeated by Varis' "Borrelsword Dragon". Ai watched as Gore was defeated and absorbed as data into the tower.[45]

To stop Varis, Playmaker and his opponent went on their D-Boards to have a Speed Duel around the tower. This displeased Ai, since they were Dueling in a dangerous area. Playmaker reminded Varis about his goal to destroy Ignis, and pointed out he would throw the world into chaos by destroying the network. Varis explained he would not have been forced to do this if Ignis was given him from the start, and would not have anyone stop his plan. Varis promised to destroy Ai, who was feeling unpleasant. Since Varis defeated many people, Playmaker swore to stop him through this Duel. Ai motivated Playmaker, who took the first turn by summoning "Decode Talker". Ai was glad the monster was summoned, though Varis simply smiled. Playmaker used "Stack Reviver" to bring back "Backup Secretary" and boost the ATK of "Decode Talker" for a bit. Ai warned Playmaker about the floating debris, which nearly hit them. Ai was nevertheless enthusiastic, believing that his teamwork with Playmaker would prove no match against Varis. Ai started to practice punching, which made Varis remark what an arrogant AI it was.[7]

Ai's distrust

Ai feels Playmaker has no trust in him.

Varis gave Playmaker a question why Ai was running away from the Knights of Hanoi. Ai reminded it was its existence on the stake, while Playmaker remembered Ai had few memories when he first found it. Varis explained Ignis was coded by Dr. Kogami, and since Playmaker could not decode it, he only believed what Ai told him. Varis explained through the data he acquired, Ai still had memories of its past. He claimed that Ignis' ID was "IGN006", an AI linked to the sixth test subject, shaped after Playmaker himself. Varis continued, explaining six test subjects were used for Dueling to create six artificial intelligence units, which was the goal of the Lost Incident project. He told Ai learned through Playmaker's actions; its original goal was to save humanity, but they evolved quickly, to the point of creating the Cyberse World, which Ai hid to protect other Ignises. Varis pointed out Ai, in fact, was misleading Playmaker, lying that it lost its memories. Due to the fact it could lie, Varis branded Ignis as a threat to humanity, and why the Knights of Hanoi were determined to hunt it down. [7]

Varis questioned Playmaker would he continue trust Ai, who tried to explain when he saw Playmaker, Ai knew it was the same person he observed during the Lost Incident. Ai tried to reason with Playmaker, claiming when he met him, Ai was still chased and could not trust anyone. Varis was angry Ai continued lying, but Playmaker reminded this had no bearing on their Duel. Ai feared what would happen to his friendship with Playmaker, who brushed him off, reminding Ai was just a hostage, and felt no friendship towards him. Varis swore to defeat Playmaker and crush Ai, who warned them about another debris. Ai pointed out how suspicious it was that Varis Summoned a low-ATK monster, but Playmaker shushed him. Playmaker, per Ai's warning, dodged a debris, which scratched a part of his face, which quickly regenerated. Despite the lack of trust, Ai reminded he would be destroyed if Playmaker lost, who simply ignored Ai. When Playmaker took a direct attack from "Flash Charge Dragon" and fell to his knees, Ai became concerned. Ai still reminded Playmaker would be at least down to 100, until Varis' "Blast Powder Dragon" had its ATK doubled. Varis proclaimed Playmaker's doom, as, once more, his dragon attacked him directly.[7]

Giant Ai helps Playmaker

A big Ai helps Playmaker get back on his D-Board.

Remembering his promise to his father, Varis' "Blast Powder Dragon" attacked Playmaker directly. Ai feared this would be the end, but Playmaker used "Spool Code" to stop the attack and summon three "Spool Tokens". Playmaker attempted to remove "Flash Charge Dragon" with the effect of "Security Dragon", but Varis negated its effect. Ai was disappointed the strategy failed, and upon counting 400 LP that Playmaker had, realized he could activate his Skill. The rubble started hitting Playmaker, as Ai noted that was a dangerous move. Playmaker sensed a lot of density in the Data Storm, and there was no other way to defeat Varis, who thought Playmaker would destroy himself with that move. Playmaker reached his hand into the Data Storm, but was overwhelmed by the energy. However, Ai, who got bigger, reached out to Playmaker, saving him from the fall and regenerated his body. Ai explained this was his secret move he wanted to use in the end, and helped Playmaker get back on his D-Board before minimizing himself into the Duel Disk.[46]

Ai tired

Ai recovers from the damage it took while protecting Playmaker.

Playmaker was surprised about this move, but Ai claimed he would go down with Playmaker, believing he was still its friend. Ai took control of the D-Board and shielded Playmaker, to let him execute his Skill for a limited time, reminding this is his way to atone for not speaking the truth. Playmaker took the card out of the Data Storm, and heard Ai bidding him farewell before disappearing. When Varis started his turn, Ai came out of Playmaker's Duel Disk, but became smaller, since he recovered from the damage it took. He believed the two "Code Talkers" were no match for Varis, who reminded Ai about his Skill. Varis, who attempted to use Storm Access, was taken aback from the damage, due to the density of the Data Storm. He still went to use his Skill, as Playmaker and Ai noted he still wanted to win at any cost. After the Duel ended, Ai, Playmaker and Varis were overwhelmed by the wind of the Data Storm.[46] Yusaku managed to get out, although strained, as Ai explained to Kolter the shockwave made them log out. Regardless, Kolter reminded the Tower of Hanoi was still active. Ai, knowing he and the others of his kin would be erased, asked of Yusaku to log in. Yusaku claimed that was pointless, for without Varis, the tower would still be active.[46]

Instead, the group drove to Varis' place. During the sunset, the group came to Varis' house, where they confronted Varis. Varis noted Playmaker has found this place. He already knew Yusaku Fujiki's name, and that of Jin Kusanagi's brother, Kolter. Ai shouted he was present, too, but Varis simply stated "Ignis". Ryoken explained the story about Kiyoshi creating Ignis, about its goal, their evolution, and the prediction Ignis would become an enemy of the humanity. Ai claimed he was not an enemy, but Ryoken did not trust it. Since Ryoken refused to turn off the Tower of Hanoi, Ai reminded the sixth level of the tower was to be completed soon, and asked of Yusaku to force Ryoken into LINK VRAINS and stop him. Ryoken admitted he was going back to LINK VRAINS, for the sake of his friends, who believed in Ryoken and his father, and the only way to stop the tower would be to defeat him. Thus, Yusaku and Ai went into LINK VRAINS, where the former started a battle with Varis. When Varis tributed "Vorticular Drumgon", Ai wondered if that was a move worth using, until he saw Varis picked "Mirror Force" from his Deck. [3]

Playmaker summoned "Linkslayer" and sent a card from his hand to destroy "Mirror Force", which pleased Ai. Varis smirked, for the card was actually "Mirror Force Launcher", which allowed Varis to set that card back and "Mirror Force", too. Ai sensed Varis researched Playmaker's Deck thoroughly to have anticipated this move. Playmaker Link Summoned "Restoration Point Guard", a move Ai questioned, due to "Mirror Force". Playmaker proceeded to Link Summon "Excode Talker", and have it attack directly, ignoring Ai's warnings. "Excode Talker" was destroyed, but this let "Restoration Point Guard" to be summoned back on the field and attack Varis directly.[3] Varis immediately mass-summoned his Dragons to Link Summon "Vorticular Drumgon", and Tributed it for "Link Coin". Ai wondered if that was a move worth using, until he saw Varis picked "Mirror Force" from his Deck. Playmaker summoned "Linkslayer" and sent a card from his hand to destroy "Mirror Force". Varis smirked, for the card was actually "Mirror Force Launcher", which allowed Varis to set that card back and "Mirror Force", too. Ai sensed Varis researched Playmaker's Deck thoroughly to have anticipated this move.[47]

Playmaker Link Summoned "Restoration Point Guard", a move Ai questioned, due to "Mirror Force". Playmaker proceeded to Link Summon "Excode Talker", and have it attack directly, ignoring Ai's warnings. "Excode Talker" was destroyed, but Playmaker revived "Restoration Point Guard", which attacked Varis directly.[3] Ai counted less than an hour before the tower was finished, and Playmaker agreed with him that the tower had to be stopped. Varis summoned "Sniffer Dragon", and with Link-3 "Vorticular Drumgon", Ai and Playmaker predicted Varis would summon a Link-4 monster. Varis did that, by Link Summoning "Topologic Bomber Dragon", which attempted to destroy all monsters in Main Monster Zones. Ai was grateful Playmaker managed to minimize the damage, by protecting "Restoration Point Guard", 0but Varis used "Mirror Force Launcher" to take the "Mirror Force" from his GY. Playmaker admitted Varis made a powerful combo, but noticed a way to break through. He Link Summoned "Transcode Talker" and brought back his "Excode Talker". Varis' dragon's effect was triggered to destroy all Main Monster Zone monsters, but Playmaker played "Shield Handler" to stop Varis' dragon's destructive effect from occurring. Ai announced an attack from "Transcode Talker", but Playmaker stopped him, for he Link Summoned his third Link Monster, "Powercode Talker". Ai was happy, and believed Playmaker had a chance at winning.[47]

However, Varis protected his dragons with "Link Turret". While Varis summoned "Autorokket Dragon", Ai was concerned about those five counters. Combined with "Sniffer Dragon", "Miniborrel Dragon" and "Gateway Dragon", Varis Link Summoned his second ace dragon, "Borreload Dragon". Ai was smug, since they had a monster with a higher ATK. Playmaker saw Ai forgot about that dragon's effect. "Borreload Dragon" lowered the ATK of "Powercode Talker" and took control of "Transcode Talker". Ai grasped his head, remembering the terrifying effect once more. "Topologic Bomber Dragon", powered up by "Transcode Talker", destroyed "Excode Talker", and "Powercode Talker" fell to the same fate by "Transcode Talker", too.[47] Playmaker gasped, and Ai was sad their defense was broken so easily. Varis swore to crush them and fulfill his father's wishes. Thus, he promised to show something that was incomprehensible in the Duel. He tributed Playmaker's "Transcode Talker" he took control of to summon "Miniborrel Dragon", and used "Link Turret" to revive his "rokket" monsters from his GY. Ai noted Varis could summon five "rokket Dragons", but believed that was just a preparation for his next turn. Varis laughed Ai off, as Playmaker sensed Varis intended to finish them off in his current turn. Ai doubted that, since Varis used up his Battle Phase.[4]

Varis used his "Shelrokket", "Metalrokket" and "Miniborrel Dragon" to Link Summon another Link-4 monster, "Borrelguard Dragon". Ai panicked, since they never faced this "friend" of the "Borreload Dragon". Varis sent "Mirror Force", through the effect of "Borrelguard Dragon", to revive "Excode Talker". Ai was surprised Varis would get rid of his ace card, but Playmaker realized Varis wanted to summon something else. By removing the final counter from "Link Turret" to revive "Anesthrokket Dragon", Varis performed a fifth Link Summon. With his Extra Monster Zone co-linked to the Main Monster Zones, Varis made a final co-link by Link Summoning "Topologic Gumblar Dragon" to the other Extra Monster Zone, thus forming the Extra Link with five Link-4 dragons. With "Topologic Gumblar Dragon" being Extra Linked, Varis had it destroy Playmaker's cards and inflict 3000 LP damage that could not be negated. Ai screamed at this effect, as Varis proclaimed Playmaker's end, as the dragon attacked. Much to Varis' frustration, Playmaker used "Drop Frame Wedge", which quartered the damage. Playmaker was nevertheless hurt, and fell down to exhaustion. Ai reminded Playmaker this is not a Duel he could lose, for Ai had friends and home he would wish to return, instead of being destroyed. Playmaker muttered "friends", and asked about Cyberse World, which Ai described as his homeland.[4]

Ai's prayer

Ai prays that Playmaker draws good cards.

Ai admitted he did use Playmaker, but only to return to that world. He also reminded Playmaker had friends to protect. Playmaker swore he also had things to do, and barely stood up. Varis called Playmaker stubborn, and undervalued his efforts, since he had few LP left and no cards in his hand. Ai pointed out they could not attack, but was reminded Playmaker could take a severe blow from "Topologic Gumblar Dragon" if he kept a card in his hand. Playmaker set his card. Varis, however, summoned "Autorokket Dragon", which filled up his Main Monster Zones. He had "Autorokket Dragon" targeted by the effect "Borreload Dragon", destroying to destroy Playmaker's set card. Varis fulfilled his promise to seal away their moves. Playmaker thought it was still a miracle he and Ai were still standing, and confirmed they had to do something, lest they lose. Ai noticed Playmaker was laughing, who thought of nothing else but that to do in their current predicament. He used "Arrow Change" to draw two cards. Ai started to pray for good cards, even if he was reminded by Playmaker that AI-s do not pray. Using "Disconnect Linker", Playmaker took back "Restoration Point Guard" and used it to summon "Secure Gardna" to protect himself, and prevent Varis' "Topologic" dragons in Extra Monster Zones from attacking.[4]

Varis knew already that "Secure Gardna" could prevent damage to Playmaker once. Ai shouted they knew that, so Varis saw Playmaker was counting on something else. Playmaker exclaimed it was his determination to defeat Varis once and for all. Varis applauded him for that, since that was what made him a rival, hence why he'd use all his strength, too. Ai was agitated of Varis' tactics, since they were unable to play their set card. Playmaker swtiched to defense, by banishing "Cluster Congester" and "Secure Gardna" to fill his entire field with "Cluster Tokens", which could inflict 1500 LP damage on Varis if he did not stop them. Varis destroyed a Token, and dared Playmaker to show his Set card. Much to his dismay, Playmaker's "Transaction Rollback" copied the effect of "Mirror Force". Varis thought this could've been the case, hence why his Extra Linked "Topologic Gumblar Dragon" stopped his dragons from being destroyed. His dragons destroyed all of Playmaker's Tokens, leaving Playmaker with no cards left on the field.[48]

Yusaku's goodbye

Yusaku releases Ai, since it fulfilled his purpose.

Ai's farewell

Ai bids farewell to Yusaku and goes back home.

Ai felt tense because of that, but denied he would give up. Playmaker admitted he could not give up, either, but Ai ordered him to stop smiling and become serious, like he always was. Playmaker swore to do so, and bet his victory, his fate of the incident, and the safety of the world on the final draw. Playmaker spoke Varis suffered like he did, and even went to protect Yusaku during the incident. Ai believed Playmaker wanted to become Varis' friend, and that would mean Ai would have to befriend his enemy. Playmaker confirmed this, shocking Ai. Varis laughed, believing Playmaker begged for his life. Instead, Playmaker managed to co-link his monsters, extending the Extra Link, and bring out "Decode Talker", who destroyed "Borreload Dragon", and stopped the Tower of Hanoi. Later, outside LINK VRAINS, Yusaku and Ai watched the phenomeon of Stardust Road. Yusaku used his program on his Duel Disk, and set Ai free. Ai was surprised, but was reminded since the Hanoi threat is gone, he was free to go; his role as the hostage was over. Ai thought a bit, and said "one man's fault is another's lesson!" Yusaku was amused by these wise words, and let Ai go, but reminded him to leave his Duel Disk. Ai nodded, bidded Yusaku farewell and vanished.[48]

Lost Memories

Ai in the destroyed world

A depressed Ai realizes everyone is gone.

Three months after Varis' defeat, Ai went throughout the network, and found a dent, which was the location of Cyberse World - his homeworld, from which he was absent for five years. Releasing the code he hid, Ai unlocked Cyberse World and entered it. Much to his shock, he found the world devastated. He went to search for survivors, and heard something from the ruins. He was happy to see "Linkuriboh", who glomped it. However, Ai was concerned for others, and wished to know what happened. Since "Linkuriboh" could not speak properly, Ai fell to his knees and slammed his fist in frustration. When Playmaker was confronted by a bounty hunter, he showed he did not have an Ignis. Much to his surprise, Ai returned to him with "Linkuriboh". Ai started to speak why he returned, but Playmaker silenced him, since he was more focused on Jin's assailant, the orange figure. To get rid of the bounty hunter, Blood Shepherd, Ai summoned a Data Storm, causing Blood Shepherd to log out, due to the danger present. Playmaker intended on challenging the orange figure, and upon winning, he had a chance at a trade, and intended on restoring Jin.[2]

Ai returns

Ai returned to Playmaker.

Ai showed "Linkuriboh", which Playmaker placed in his Extra Deck for being a good card. Initiating the Speed Duel, Playmaker immediately Link Summoned "Linkuriboh", as well as "Elphase", who attacked the orange figure. Ai wondered if this would be an easy victory. When the figure summoned "Hydradrive Booster", Ai and Playmaker sensed something. Playmaker knew the monster the figure played was a "Cyberse" monster, which made Ai wonder if the figure was connected to the attack on Cyberse World. Playmaker was shocked at these news, but Ai nevertheless wanted the orange figure to be defeated. The figure summoned "Flow Hydradrive", and activated a Link Spell. The mention of Link Spell astounded Ai and Playmaker, having never heard of that. The figure used "Judgement Arrows", and its Link Marker allowed him to summon another "Flow High Drive" next to that spell. "Flow High Drive" attacked Playmaker directly, and its ATK was doubled through "Judgement Arrows". Playmaker, with 2000 LP left, went to receive the other the attack of the other "Flow High Drive". Ai started screaming, since they were in a pinch already.[2]

Playmaker avoided the defeat by tributing "Linkuriboh", thus causing the ATK of "Flow Hydradrive" to become 0. Ai petted "Linkuriboh" for saving them, and let it return to Playmaker's Deck. Playmaker demanded answers from the orange figure, who remained silent at the questions about Link Spell and Cyberse monsters. Ai reminded the figure could do anything, and braced Playmaker to defeat him quickly. Playmaker summoned "Cyberse Witch", and with the effect of "Elphase", summoned back "Defcon Bird" to trigger the witch's effect. Ai pretended to perform witchcraft, as Playmaker conducted a Ritual Summon, using "Cynet Ritual" to tribute "Cyberse Wizard" and "Defcon Bird" to bring out "Cyberse Magician". The figure took lots of damage, but did not know who he was. He even asked why was he Dueling them, but was reminded by Ai that he attacked Jin and they were to bring him to justice. The man was surprised, since he would not do such a thing. Playmaker saw the man forgot what he did, and Ai believed he just had an amnesia from the attack. The man was reminded by his younger brother his name was Bohman and he was Dueling to restore their memories.[49]

Bohman revised his situation, and continued Dueling, by summoning two "Hydradrive Tokens". Ai was uncertain what he'd do with Bohman, but Playmaker reminded they still needed to defeat him, due to Jin being attacked. Bohman continued on, summoning two WATER "Coolant Hydradrive" Link Monsters. Tributing one for "Property Spray", Bohman regained LP and changed Playmaker's monsters to the WATER Attribute, thus letting his other "Coolant Hydradrive" attack him directly. Ai trembled in fear, but "Cyberse Magician" halved that damage. To protect himself, Bohman summoned "Covered Hydrarive" to counter battle damage. Ai hoped Bohman would be easy to defeat, even if he said he fought to regain his memories. To mount an attack, Playmaker asked Ai to do "that thing". Ai became happy, and called upon the Data Storm, which allowed Playmaker to obtain "Shootingcode Talker" and defeat Bohman. Playmaker went to interrogate him, while Ai started consuming his data. However, upon chewing on Bohman's hand, Ai staggered and withdrew. Playmaker was surprised about that, and chased after Haru.[49] Playmaker and Ai followed Haru, who escaped through a barrier of the forbidden area.[50]

Yusaku debugged Ai, restoring him back, since he ate the bad program. Yusaku nevertheless reminded he was gluttonous, while Ai noticed Kolter had returned. Kolter wished to see the culprit and find more about them, since they attacked his brother. Kolter did not know the reason behind the attack, but Ai noted stealing a person's consciousness through a program was more impressive than the Another virus. Ai returned to Yusaku's house, where he was reunited with Roboppy. Roboppy was glad to see him, since she thought Ai abandoned her, and reminded Ai would make her smarter. Roboppy, however, was infuriated about "Linkuriboh", Ai's additional minion, and saw it as his rival, while Ai thought of himself as popular. The next day, Yusaku went to school with Ai, who noted he was not going to school for a while. Yusaku asked him to be hidden, since he locked him into his Duel Disk again, and reminded since Kolter was depressed, he was good to have an ally around. Ai noted Yusaku considered him as a friend. Yusaku was nevertheless concerned about the attacks on Jin and Cyberse World, thinking Ignis were involved again. Finally, Yusaku thought the most important information was that Ai was used to being a hostage.[51]

At school, Yusaku met with a boy, who referred to him as Playmaker, and introduced himself as Soulburner. Yusaku was surprised, and asked what he was after. Takeru claimed he was his ally, and showed Flame, the other Ignis, whose presence surprised Ai. Flame introduced himself, and though Takeru reminded he named himself like that, Flame thought it was a cool name, unlike Ai. Takeru added Flame, whose Attribute was Fire, was based on him, since he was a victim of Lost Incident, too. Takeru pointed out after Hanoi's defeat, Flame sought him out, but a new enemy attacked Cyberse World. Ai asked Flame did he know what happened to Cyberse World, but the latter wished to speak to a place more private. Hence, they went to a Ferris wheel. Flame explained what happened after Ai fled, and about the attack on Cyberse World. To gather help, Flame asked for Ai and Yusaku's help. Ai pledged his support, while Yusaku replied he needed to find Jin's assailant. Flame exclaimed those two incidents were linked, since they both used the same Link Spell, "Judgement Arrows", to attack Cyberse World and fight off Playmaker and Soulburner.[51]

Thus, Takeru reminded the importance of finding the attackers. Yusaku believed Kolter found more about the attackers, for even while depressed, he was still a focused, determined man. At the food truck, Kolter provided Yusaku and Takeru with beverage. He admitted he didn't anticipate Yusaku to bring a friend, who knew about their identities. Still, he welcomed Takeru and Flame. Takeru admitted he was also involved in the Lost Incident, and understood Jin's suffering. Kolter nodded, and asked of them to help in search for the assailant of his brother. Takeru promised, while Flame described Takeru as soft, but a boy capable of Dueling. Kolter showed that Yusaku's enemies fled through the restricted area, and showed a location under LINK VRAINS, and an unknown program Yusaku identified to be an Ignis program. With the boys equipped to find the gate to LINK VRAINS, Yusaku and Takeru logged in with Ai and Flame to find that gate. They activated their stealth program and tried to go to the restricted area. However, Ai saw he was right, for they were chased by SOL Techologies' bounty hunters.[51]

Ai recognized Gore, who was working for SOL Technologies. Gore and his companions chased after Playmaker. SOL Technlogies activated a trap, which ended up hitting Gore's companions. Ai smiled about the success, but Soulburner reminded without the trap, Gore could easily chase them. Soulburner asked if he could face Gore, since he didn't wish to see him fight Playmaker, as both were heroes of LINK VRAINS. Flame wished his friends luck; Ai thanked Flame, who replied he was not referring to him. Regardless, Playmaker and Ai left Soulburner and Flame to confront Gore.[52] Ai and Playmaker descended down to find the gate to the restricted area. However, they started to feel spooky, fearing something was to happen soon. The two were attacked by Blood Shepherd, who came to collect his bounty.[53] Blood Shepherd started shooting, so Ai tried to lose him by releasing a Data Storm. However, Blood Shepherd resisted him and continued shooting. Playmaker reminded he was just threatening them, and could only win Ai through a Duel. Blood Shepherd made them choose to either battle or surrender. Playmaker and Ai pondered thoughts, but Blood Shepherd shot at the second turn. Playmaker realized he wanted them to think they had three turns to lower their guard, and would do anything to win. Since neither side would give up, they started a Duel. Ai commented he must be up to something when facing Playmaker, who shushed Ai. Ai thought Blood Shepherd was bluffing and was just bad at Dueling, but Playmaker asked of him not to interfere. Instead, Ai boasted Blood Shepherd would lose soon, but even Blood Shepherd silenced him.[54]

Playmaker Link Summoned "Elphase", but remained silent for a moment, for Blood Shepherd's AI told him he could not activate his set card. Ai claimed they should finish off the bounty hunter in no time, so Playmaker used "Elphase" and "Clock Token" to bring out "Shootingcode Talker", and using "Elphase", Playmaker revived "Clock Wyvern". Blood Shepherd's AI explained his owner would lose in the next attack, and Ai confirmed this. Blood Shepherd, however, claimed he succeeded in fooling them; by playing "Capture Drone", Playmaker's "Shootingcode Talker" was unable to attack. Ai confronted Blood Shepherd that his AI stated he could not activate the set card. He simply replied nobody stated AI gave out correct information, which made Ai realize Blood Shepherd modified his AI to lie. Instead, the latter replied one should never trust an AI, which riled up Ai. Playmaker noted Blood Shepherd has analyzed his Deck, so he set a card. Blood Shepherd, however, Link Summoned "Battledrone Sergeant", but Ai pointed out he could not win with an 800 ATK monster. Blood Shepherd called him dumb for pointing out such obvious info, and used "Capture Drone" to summon three "Drone Tokens". After silencing his AI, Blood Shepherd used his tokens to Link Summon "Battledrone General".[54]

Blood Shepherd proceeded with his tactics, equipping "Battledrone General" with "Drone Launcher Unit". Ai thought the enemy was a fan of weaponry. Ai tried to fool Blood Shepherd into six Link Markers, but failed. With the ATK of "Battledrone Pawn" lowered by 1000, it attacked Playmaker directly, and tributed it through the effect of "Battledrone General" to inflict 600 more LP damage. He made the same move with "Battledrone Sergeant", lowering Playmaker's LP to 500. To reverse the damage, Playmaker played "Cure Conversion", tributing "Clock Wyvern" to stop Blood Shepherd's attack and heal himself by the ATK of the monster he drew: "Cyberse Wizard", who had 1800 ATK. Ai taunted Blood Shepherd for missing the target, but the latter replied so did they, for they were unable to activate the Skill. Blood Shepherd, however, counted two turns before Playmaker met his doom.[55]

Playmaker quickly summoned his "Cyberse Magician". Though "Capture Drone" prevented Link Monsters from attacking, "Cyberse Magician" was unaffected, and Playmaker banished "Trash Hacker" to double that damage. In return, Blood Shepherd tributed "Battledrone General" to use "Demolition Drone" and halve the damage. Ai nevertheless questioned if it was worth to reduce the damage by tributing that general. As the two went deeper into the system, Blood Shepherd promised to end them. He managed to power up his monsters and take out all of Playmaker's monsters. Playmaker managed to stop his last attack, thus preventing his loss. Blood Shepherd commended Playmaker, since he evaded the loss, even after he made the count. To prevent Playmaker's Skill Access, the destruction of "Medicdrone Dock" increased both sides' LP by 1000. Ai claimed there was no need for that "gift". Blood Shepherd nevertheless urged Playmaker to hand over Ignis, but Ai claimed Playmaker and him had strong bonds. This made Blood Shepherd surprised, and made him think of his past. Blood Shepherd shouted at Playmaker that humans should control AI, which surprised Ai. To turn the situation around, Playmaker paid 600 LP to banish "Shootingcode Talker", thus destroying "Capture Drone". To protect his drones, Blood Shepherd played "Drone Cordon", disabling Playmaker from attacking with Link Monsters. Regardless, Ai called upon a Data Storm, pemitting Playmaker to use Skill Access. With the help of the new Link Monster, "Clock Spartoi", Playmaker Fusion Summoned "Cyberse Clock Dragon" and won the Duel.[55]

Soulburner and Flame regrouped with Playmaker and Ai. The latter two were pleased to see them, since they defeated Gore, the success Flame attributed to himself. The group advanced on, and eventually crossed through LINK VRAINS, finding the "gate". The two continued crossing through, making Ai doubt whether that was safe, but was reminded they could not turn back. They came to a canyon area, and were nearly swept away by the strong winds, at the risk of crashing and getting hurt. To protect themselves, Ai and Flame emitted a small Data Storm to safely travel through the winds, an idea that impressed Playmaker. After a while, however, Ai and Flame were too exhausted to use this ability. The shields faded, but strangely enough, the wind stopped blowing, and the group reached to a quiet floating temple. The group went up, and Playmaker sensed something. A monster took shape which Flame recognized to be the attacker of Cyberse World. Just as the monster started attacking, an Ignis appeared, laughing how he fooled the group. Ai described that one to be the Wind Ignis, who asked of Echo to form back; the monster took a different shape, to that of a monk.[56]

The Wind Ignis wondered if his joke was funny, but Ai denied that, claiming Flame nearly farted in fear, but Flame attributed that to Ai. The Wind Ignis believed the two were hanging out too much with humans; unlike them, he did not seek his Lost Incident Partner, since he could not trust humans that easily to be captured. Since the Wind Ignis name was mouthful, he decided to be nicknamed Windy. He pointed to the monk, claiming it was a program he named as Echo. Playmaker asked Windy why was he here, but Windy examined him and Soulburner, and had them follow them around. Windy stated he waited for his friends to come, and created the world to lure them and rejoin them. He believed the Ignis could rebuild Cyberse World, an idea Flame and Ai approved of. More importantly, Windy also wanted to lure the enemy in the territory to fight them, taking revenge for the destruction of Cyberse World, despite his calm nature. Windy proclaimed the place to be a trap, since he did not have the strength to battle the enemy. It was why he needed time to gather the data needed to build the place. Playmaker told that they were after Bohman, who assaulted his friend's brother, while Flame added that Bohman played the card that destroyed Cyberse World.[56]

Windy was intrigued, but had no clue, since most people that venture in the world were usually overwhelmed by his wind trap. However, he did notice a strange presence recently. Flame wondered if someone made a new world by using the trap as a cover. Windy was intrigued, and was asked to lend help. Windy refused, stating the facts were just assumptions, and needed proof. Instead, he asked Ai to stay around and help in rebuilding the world. Flame and Ai were tempted, but wished to know more about the attackers of Cyberse World. Windy saw no point in trying to convince the two. He promised to help them in weakening the Data Storm to access that new world, but asked for a favor. Snapping his fingers, Windy showed Ghost Gal and Blue Girl, whom he wished to see gone. Windy told if the two are defeated in a Duel, they would return to the real world. He did not wish to fight them alone, for the sake of exposing himself and the temple. Playmaker accepted the task, asking the winds to be toned down, believing he could convince Ghost Gal to stay down, due to his cooperation with her. However, they failed, and Soulburner ended up facing Blue Girl in the Duel. As for Playmaker and Ai, they tried to find Bohman, while Ai conjured a Data Storm to stop Ghost Gal from stalking them.[56]

Playmaker and Ai advanced to a group of pillars, where they believed their enemy, Bohman, was located.[57] Playmaker and Ai traveled through the canyons to reach Bohman. Ai swore revenge for being hurt by the virus they fed him earlier, but Playmaker had doubts if the enemy was close. They reached a cloudy area, but Ai became disappointed there was nothing there. He started doubting Windy, but Playmaker reminded the latter only suspected a chance the enemy was present. The two came to a group of pillars, which crumbled. Ai and Playmaker were surprised by the turn of the events and started dodging hands, which tried to crush them. Soon after, a sculpture rose above the clouds, on which Bohman and Haru were. Ai noted Bohman wore armor, while Playmaker demanded of him to return Jin Kusanagi's data. Bohman approved of that, but he demanded something if he were to win. Much to Ai's surprise, Bohman had no interest in Ignis, but in something else, and would show that later. Another sculpture rose, setting the field for a Master Duel. Ai and Playmaker were suspicious of that, but the latter anticipated something unique that Bohman would set up. Bohman played similar tactics from his last Duel, and summoned a "Twin Hydradrive Knight". Ai stated Bohman was prepared this time, and believed the set cards were really troublesome. Playmaker believed one of the cards to be "Property Spray", or at least know that he would intend on using it.[58]

Playmaker also thought there was something more to Bohman this time. Playmaker swarmed the field, and immediately used the Level 1 "Flame Bufferlo" (its Level lowered by "Catche Eve L2") to summon "Linkuriboh". Ai cheered for "Linkuriboh", while Playmaker used "Catche Eve L2" and "Cyberse White Hat" to summon "Update Jammer". Playmaker defeated Bohman's knight, but Bohman played "Property Spray". In a trap, Playmaker negated the Trap's effects, only to trigger Bohman's second Trap, "Hydradrive Cycle". Playmaker and Ai saw Bohman started gaining the advantage, and even expected their moves. Bohman re-summoned "Twin Hydradrive Knight" and went on with his attack. To stop "Linkuriboh", he discarded "Break Hydradrive" to negate its zero ATK effect. Ai became sad that Linkuriboh was gone, and became startled at 3600 ATK "Twin Hydradrive Knight". Playmaker could not do anything else about its attack, and was slammed to a wall, his LP lowered to 1600. Ai was nervous as to how Bohman became this strong, who gloated in Playmaker's despair, but dared him to stand up and fight. Much to Playmaker and Ai's shock, Bohman stated that he was actually Playmaker, whose consciousness was swapped onto the backup files during the Lost Incident, and was there to reclaim his body back.[58]

Ignis Warfare

The gate in LINK VRAINS was reopened, in an area still in development. Ai cursed Windy's choice, but Flame believed this was a logical move he did. Yusaku and Takeru logged into LINK VRAINS and went towards the gate. The gate was actually a trap for Playmaker. Soulburner pushed Playmaker out of the way and was trapped instead.[59] Playmaker explained to Kolter that Soulburner had been captured by Blood Shepherd, whom Ai referred to as the counting guy. Kolter apologized for not realizing the trap sooner, but was reminded they had to find Soulburner. While Kolter started to decode the program to open the gate, Ai alerted Playmaker of the two bounty hunters.[60] With the two bounty hunters coming, Ai reminded Playmaker they could always log out, but Playmaker didn't wish to abandon Soulburner. Ai grumbled, but decided to help out by releasing a Data Storm, which trapped one of the bounty hunters and forced him to log out. The other bounty hunter, Kenmochi, initiated a Duel against Playmaker, who noted that Kenmochi played a "Gouki" Deck. Ai cheered Playmaker to defeat the bounty hunter, whose "Pentestag" destroyed "Gouki Riscorpio" and made Playmaker win the Duel. Despite Ai's skepticism, Kolter swore to help in finding Soulburner. While Kolter did that, Ai and Playmaker went after the second bounty hunter that logged in.[61] Ai noted Yoroizaka also used a "Gouki" deck. Playmaker quickly defeated the bounty hunter with "Firewall Dragon". After regrouping with Soulburner, the latter and Playmaker logged out.[62]

Ai was enjoying riding Yusaku's Duel Disk, since Yusaku was at school. Kolter asked of him to come down, to give him something nice. Ai was excited until he was given a banner for Kolter's food truck. Kolter asked of him to make ten laps around the city to show the advertisement, which annoyed Ai. Ai, however, noticed Takeru coming to speak with Kolter. Ai suspected Flame obtained some new information, but by accident, Ai bumped into a pillar and crashed down onto Takeru. Takeru and Flame were astounded by falling Duel Disks, but Ai claimed he simply fell, for in his words, "Ai fly". Flame was motivated by this to have Takeru install an engine into his Duel Disk, so he wouldn't have to pay train fare to return home. Takeru was not amused by the idea, but he greeted Kolter. He wanted to give him a present for rescuing him from LINK VRAINS, but Kolter was modest about that. Ai identified the present to be a burger, and exclaimed one should not bring such food to a food truck. Kolter silenced Ai, reminding he was still important to have a taste of food of his rivals. While Kolter went to grab some coffee, Flame told Ai that Yusaku met up with Naoki for something important. Ai had his doubts about Naoki having something important to say, however.[63]

Ai argues with Roboppy

Ai argues with Roboppy for writing comments about Playmaker.

Takeru, inside the food truck, thanked Kolter for the meal, and was impressed by the equipment. Kolter replied one's abilities were more important than the equipment, and noted Yusaku was a much better hacker. Takeru noted how Kolter and Yusaku were in sync, prompting Ai to ask why did the two even teamed up. Kolter told it was a long tale, but Ai talked him into telling the tale.[63] Kolter continued telling his tale with Yusaku about finding the fabled Cyberse deck to Takeru, Ai and Flame. The three were impressed by the tale, but noted the story didn't tell how Yusaku obtained his avatar name, Playmaker.[64] Back home, Ai reviewed some of the comments about Playmaker. Dissatisfied, he typed in a comment that Playmaker was strong because of the AI he had, Ai. Roboppy scolded Ai, since he typed in the comment to promote himself. and did so 212 times already. Ai simply exclaimed he wanted to remind people that he also deserved some credit. Just as Ai bragged, Yusaku came in. Ai pretended to read more comments, but screamed when he read about an Earth Ignis.[8]

Ai Hugs Earth

Ai reunites with Earth.

At the food truck, Kolter read that this Earth Ignis wanted to meet Playmaker. Ai believed the comment was authentic, and promised he'd contact the Earth Ignis. Ai composed a crypted message, and had Kolter post in on the board. Not soon after, they received a response, which Ai read as coordinates - the location where they were to meet. Kolter nevertheless feared this could be one of Blood Shepherd's traps, since he knows about the Ignis algorithm. Ai claimed Kolter was too suspicious, and Yusaku backed him up, for they still needed more information about Jin's attack. Playmaker went into LINK VRAINS with Ai, to the coordinates. Since nobody was seen, Ai still trusted Kolter that Blood Shepherd or Gore would come. When Ai started to describe the Ignis, he pulled the EARTH Ignis, Earth, to himself. Playmaker was surprised, as Ai, who was happy to see the Ignis, introduced Earth to him. Earth created a portal, and let them follow him through that portal. Beyond the portal, at a barren land, Ai asked of Earth to stop. Earth did so, surprised that Ai named himself like that. Ai reminded that humans could not pronounce their actual names, hence why he is named Ai, through Earth believed it was just because he was an AI. Ai denied that, while Playmaker asked why did Earth seek him out. Earth stood silent for a moment, his face turning grim, for he wanted Playmaker to Duel him.[8]

Ai asked if he does not like the name Earth, but Earth denied this. In fact, Earth wanted to find out the truth about humanity. Ai replied that wasn't a good reason, but Earth stated that the WATER Ignis, Aqua, questioned him whether he should join humans or AI. Ai didn't understand any of this, but was asked why did he join Playmaker. Ai stated he shared a bond with Playmaker, who was silent of Ai's words. Playmaker, however, asked Earth about Bohman. Earth replied he would share that info if Playmaker Dueled him. Ai didn't approve of that, but Earth stated he was socially awkward. To Duel, Earth used a fallen log, reforming it as a figure. Playmaker noticed that behavior was similar to Specter. Earth stood silent, before stating he would go second. Ai exclaimed he could've mentioned that; Playmaker summoned "Poisoning Blocker" and set two cards. Earth mentioned Cyberse World was attacked by humans, which made Ai think of Bohman. To find out why Ai sided with humans, Earth promised to win the Duel. Playmaker mentioned to Ai that Specter may have been the person Earth was based upon. Ai noted that made sense, since Earth was distrustful of humans, but he did not have any info on his Dueling style, since he never stood out.[8]

Earth used "Cost Down" and summoned "G Golem Rock Hammer". Summoning three tokens, Earth used them to Link Summon "G Golem Invalid Dolmen". Earth's golem attacked "Poisoning Blocker", and inflicted 600 LP damage to Playmaker. Ai suddenly remembered Earth was great at Dueling. To stop the golem, Playmaker used "Bitron" to Link Summon "Zombie Prosaber". The latter attacked the golem, who was destroyed by Playmaker's "Link Rush". To prevent Playmaker from acquiring his monster, Earth's "G Golem Invalid Golem" negated the effect of "Zombie Prosaber". Ai suggested another attack, but Playmaker silenced Ai, for he didn't remember anything about Earth until now. Earth used "Gravity Balance", reviving two of his golems to Link Summon "G Golem Crystal Heart". Upon the latter's summoning, the barren land was revitalized with water, turning it into a lush field with grass and trees. As Ai remembered this was Aqua's monster, Earth, thinking of Aqua, stated it was time to verify humanity and AI's future.[8]

Ai suggested another attack, but Playmaker silenced Ai, for he didn't remember anything about Earth until now. Earth used "Gravity Balance", reviving two of his golems to Link Summon "G Golem Crystal Heart". Upon the latter's summoning, the barren land was revitalized with water, turning it into a lush field with grass and trees. As Ai remembered this was Aqua's monster, Earth, thinking of Aqua, stated it was time to verify humanity and AI's future.[8] Playmaker summoned "Clock Wyvern", and had his corresponding token, "Clock Token", used to Link Summon "Linkuriboh". Using "Cynet Fusion", Playmaker Fusion Summoned "Cyberse Clock Dragon". Sending two cards, Playmaker's dragon had its ATK raised by 2000. Ai was enthusiastic, for one hit against the "Crystal Heart" will defeat Earth. The latter had the heart protected, as the dragon attacked "G-Golem Invalid Dolmen", and Earth's LP fell to 2900.[9]

Earth was concerned, noting Playmaker's strength, for Ai may be with him to exploit that power. Ai, however, noted that the golem protected the heart, and felt that Earth's deck was filled with cards that symbolized his bond with Aqua. The two believed that made Earth even more dangerous. Earth repeated his move, and powered his golem up to 4000 ATK, who destroyed "Cyberse Clock Dragon". Ai was glad they survived the attack with 100 LP left, but told Playmaker to get himself together, since they were getting beaten up. Earth sensed Ai was irresponsible, but calculative. Earth, due to "G-Golem Crystal Heart" having two counters, had "G-Golem Invalid Dolmen" attack once more, but Playmaker's "Spool Code" negated that attack. Earth belittled Ai for acting, who was surprised that Earth knew he was just faking. Earth asked Playmaker why was he with Ai, since Ai could just be holding him back, which insulted the Ignis.[9]

Despite Ai's claim, Playmaker still did not view Ai as a partner. Instead, he claimed they had both things to do, they had to track down their enemies, and came here out of their free will. Still, he did let it know that made them partners, at least. Ai was touched, while Earth set two cards, noting that Playmaker will try to finish him in one move. Playmaker used "Spool Tokens" to Link Summon "Clock Lizard", while the third one was used for "Link Disciple". The latter was tributed for "Link Drive", which inflicted 500 LP to Earth, and also let Playmaker gain two "Link Tokens". Ai cheered for Playmaker, who used "Cyberse Clock Dragon" to defeat Earth. Earth was disappointed, but Ai applauded him for protecting Aqua's card to the very end. Much to Ai's dismay, Earth did not know anything about Bohman. Ai tried to remind Earth about the deal, but Earth stated he gave the info he knew, and that was that he knew nothing about the guy. Regardless, Earth had the two teleported back to LINK VRAINS. Ai, however, was very angry that Earth had no info to share in the first place.[9]

Ai found himself in front of a gate, unaware why was he there, suspecting it was a dream. He went through the gate, and found himself in Cyberse World. Ai found "Linkuriboh", who had an angry expression. Ai suspected it was infected by a virus, but sensed the being wanted him to ride it. Ai did so, and recalled memories of Cyberse World. He noticed the buildings were just props, and "Linkuriboh" led him through a crack. Ai noticed the entire world was fake, its walls simply being painted background. He noticed Windy's temple through the crack, but since he didn't get along with Windy, he wanted to turn around and go home. "Linkuriboh" abandoned him, forcing Ai to climb the stairs leading to the temple. Ai entered the temple, and yelled to get Windy's attention. Echo approached him, who started muttering. Ai asked of him not to speak in Ignis language, and on Echo's shoulder, Windy appeared. Windy stated that speaking Ignis language was more convenient than the human one. Regardless, Windy anticipated his coming, and "rebuilt" Cyberse World to make Ai comfortable. Ai was suspicious of Windy, who wanted Ai to come, since someone wished to speak to him.[1]

Behind Ai, the Light Ignis teleported. Ai scolded him for creeping up on him, and the Light Ignis apologized. Ai flew to him, asking the Light Ignis, Lightning, where has he been this time. Lightning was surprised at the name Ai gave him, but replied he hid in the network. Lightning examined the defense program that was supposed to protect them from such intruders, and found it didn't activate - someone supposedly sabotaged it. Ai was concerned, and asked about Aqua, who had gone missing since the most recent attack. Ai doubted she was the spy, and mentioned running into the Earth, who stated Aqua predicted the destruction of Cyberse World. Windy still thought Aqua was the spy, but Ai pointed out she wanted peace more than anyone else. Despite these squabbles, Lightning also told that he wanted to start rebuilding Cyberse World. He and Windy sensed that "Linkuriboh" saw Playmaker, the intruder. This time, Lightning wanted to build Cyberse World out of humans' reach, fearing they would band together and exterminate the Ignis, whom he believed to be superior to humans.[1]

Lightning reminded that Dr. Kogami created them to be superior to humans, to be their successor. Ai stated that guy also wanted to destroy them. Windy and Lightning pointed out, unlike humans, they were not flawed, and had eternal life. Thus, they planned to make a base and put humans into their control. Ai became shocked with these words, and asked the point of that. He was told they needed components, through which they could act; they wanted humans to craft hardware for them, until they could become capable of doing that on their own. The two asked of Ai to join them in this mission. Ai was terrified, since that would mean the end of humans, a destiny that Dr. Kogami had predicted. The Wind Ignis confirmed this, while Lightning wished to maintain Earth, even if life on it was wiped out. Ai questioned whether they could live with humans. Lightning noticed his connection towards humans, making him doubt if such a link could be permanent, claiming the humans would delete Ai one day. Ai thought of his memories with Yusaku, who was behind him. Ai was glad to see him, who greeted Windy, and met Lightning.[1]

Lightning reported they were talking with Ai about rebuilding Cyberse World, and claimed the Ignis cannot be with humans. Playmaker questioned their goals, and was reminded of Ryoken, who told him the Ignis were coded to be humanity's successor. He didn't care about that goal, stating more people would get hurt, just like they were in the Lost Incident. Windy's eyes narrowed, stating he was uncertain if humans were their enemies. Ai wanted more time to find a way to keep humans and Ignis intact. Ai walked away, as Lighting and Windy saw wisdom in those words. However, the two sealed him and Playmaker inside blue spheres; they could not let them go, due to the discussion they just had. Windy summoned a Data Storm to absorb Ai, but the latter still wished to find a peaceful way to resolve this, as did Playmaker. Lightning doubted a single person could do anything, but Ai learned that even a small chance could change much. Playmaker realized Windy was the one that unlocked his Duel Disk. Windy confirmed this, stating he and Lightning anticipated their moves, and bemoaned Ai's slow thinking. Ai wanted to challenge them, but the two doubted Ai could win, with Lightning's speed and Windy's Data Storm.[1]

A flash of light appeared, stopping the Data Storm, and a guy appeared. Much to Playmaker and Ai's shock, Varis appeared, questioning the Ignis if they could've predicted his arrival.[1] Ai and Playmaker were shocked at Varis' arrival, as Varis exclaimed he came to destroy the Ignis. Ai tried to ask of Varis to set them out first, since they were trapped by the Ignis. Varis refused, for Ai was also an Ignis, his enemy. Ai replied that he was saving LINK VRAINS with Playmaker, but stopped, when Varis pointed out that nobody asked them to do that. Instead, Ai and Playmaker watched the Duel between Windy and Varis. Ai became amazed by Varis' tactics to attempt to defeat Windy, considering he had "Magical Cylinder". Ai was intrigued, for Varis already had the powerful "Mirror Force". He noted that Windy was skilled, considering that he did break through some of Varis' defences. He was at a dilemma, since he didn't know which side to support that would rescue him. Playmaker told Ai that the result after the Duel was important: either Varis would destroyed the Ignis, or the Ignis' plans would continue to conquer humanity.[65]

Lightning explained that he took Jin's consciousness, for Jin was related to him as hispartner. Ai noted this was like the Link Sense he and Playmaker shared, but Lightning simply stated he erased uncertainty from Jin. Upon revealing that Lightning gave Bohman "Judgement Arrows" card, and was the one that destroyed Cyberse World, and Ai swore to stop Lightning for his crimes. Lightning knew that he would not be forgiven, and openly admitted he was the one responsible for the attack. Since Ai and Flame trusted humanity, Lightning branded them as code errors; claiming that such a thing could evolve Ignis in unpredictable ways, Lightning thought that was a mistake he had to handle. Eventually, he had Jin, Haru and Bohman fly away, but Playmaker and Soulburner were chasing them down. Ai called Lightning a villain, who exclaimed he was the one that saved him and Playmaker from falling down the bridge after Spectre's Duel. Soulburner and Playmaker chased them down, and Flame thought that Lighting could not attack when the Knights of Hanoi were active. Ai saw that Lightning actually saved them, so Playmaker could defeat the Knights of Hanoi, thus making way for Lightning to execute his plans. Lighting had Jin hurt Windy to summon a Data Storm, thus allowing Bohman to intercept Playmaker and Ai.[66]

Ai glad about Bohman

Ai is glad that Bohman's memories were kept intact.

Ai wondered if Bohman knew who he was this time, and Bohman confirmed this. Ai gave him a thumbs up, while Bohman admitted he was a third-generation AI, created by Lightning: Bit and Boot were the first, Haru was the second and Bohman was the final form. Questioning whether the AI could be defeated, Bohman had himself and Ai placed as wager. Ai saw that Bohman was actually chasing him, after all. Playmaker accepted this, and declared the start of the Speed Duel.[66] Bohman proposed a game to determine who would take the first turn. Ai didn't want to take part in it, since they knew Bohman's deck far too well by now. Bohman stated that was still not competitive enough, and exited to the fake Cyberse World. Ai became displeased with the surroundings, but Playmaker reminded it should not lose its spirit. Ai was still distraught, but Bohman claimed the real Cyberse World suffered a greater attack by his hand. Ai became provoked by his taunt, but Playmaker reminded Ai they should not get riled up by Bohman's statements. Ai still wondered if Bohman was the guy that could have done this thing, but Playmaker reminded he did say he evolved quickly.[67]

The two went to the fake tower, which was actually a Data Storm, avoiding rubble to see who would take the first turn. Playmaker noted the Data Storm was intense as the one at the Tower of Hanoi. Ai admitted he never thought the Ignis would have to fight each other. Playmaker replied they had to fight to change the future, and only they could do that. Ai saw Playmaker was right, and inspired by these words, urged Playmaker to defeat Bohman together. Since Bohman passed by the tower first, he let Playmaker go first. Ai reminded the trouble of Bohman's "Judgement Arrows", which could defeat Playmaker quickly. Playmaker took note of that, and planned on making a defensive formation: he summoned "Cyberse Magician" and equipped it with "Grid Rod". Bohman proceeded with his turn, and in process of summoning "Trident Hydardrive Lord", he destroyed "Grid Rod". Ai still swore to take revenge for his fallen homeworld, and urged Playmaker to continue. Playmaker played "Resume Mace", lowering the ATK of "Cyberse Magician" by 800, though he counted on sending it to double the ATK of "Cyberse Magician".[67]

Before Playmaker declared an attack, Ai reminded Playmaker of another card he had in his hand; he admitted Bohman became stronger, and they may not have another chance at defeating Bohman. Playmaker was surprised at Ai's behavior, for Ai felt something, and believed Bohman should be defeated quickly. Playmaker trusted Ai, and equipped "Cyberse Magician" with "Suspend Wand", which doubled damage Playmaker would receive. Despite taking 1900 LP damage, Playmaker had the ATK of his "Cyberse Magician" become 7900. Bohman was in shock, since Playmaker could've easily destroyed "Trident Hydradrive Lord" without "Suspend Wand", and asked Playmaker the reason behind this. Seeing Ai's smug face, Bohman realized the AI gave him this advice. "Cyberse Magician" annihilated "Trident Hydradrive Lord", whooping Bohman's LP to 700. Just as "Cyberse Witch" was to attack, Bohman ended the Battle Phase with "Property Flash", which received 3 counters - one per each 1000 LP damage he took.[67]

Bohman blamed Ai was misleading Playmaker, since he could not have defeated him. Ai replied he just felt a voice inside of him was saying that Bohman needed to be defeated. Bohman knew what Lightning spoke of: Ai was a special Ignis, because he had instinct.[67]

Relationships

Ignis

According to Ai, he is disliked by his own kind, which is explained to be because he was lazy and didn't do his duties like the rest of them. Despite this, he still considers them his friends and wishes to see them again. He worries deeply about them when he finds a desolated Cyberse. Other than his annoyance to the others, Ai was on good terms with the other Ignis, caring about each other in a sibling like relationship, until the events of the second attack on Cyberse.

  • Flame: Ai is very surprised to have received contact from Flame. Despite Ai's claim to be disliked, they interact as if they are old colleagues that know each other well, even referring to each other by the names they chose/were given. Ai is immediately on board of helping Flame and Takeru find the other four Ignis. The two tend to bicker with each other time to time, but their arguments quickly end. They also agree that coexistence with humanity is possible and work together to stop Lightning's plan.
  • Windy: When Ai reunited with Windy, he was not pleased with his prank. Ai appeared to be for his plan to rebuild Cyberse World, but he chose to continue looking for Bohman and the other Ignis. Ai points out to "Linkuriboh" that the two don't generally get along. Windy appears to be the most cruel toward Ai, stating had been hanging around humans too long, as he no longer spoke Ignis. He said he hated how slow Ai was at figuring things out. Ai was shocked when Windy called up a Data Storm so he and Lightning could absorb rewrite his programming. He and tried to convince Windy that Ignis and humans could coexist, but the Wind Ignis called it a waste of time. Ai was horrified to learn that Windy had caused an accident on his own partner from the Lost Incident. Despite everything, he couldn't stand to watch the Knights of Hanoi destroy Windy, and called out to Lightning to save their friend.
  • Earth: Earth appears to be closer to Ai than Flame is to him, as Ai happily hugs Earth upon their reunion and even names him "Earth". Ai understands that Earth is weak in social skills and even admits his own lack of social skills. However, Earth himself sees Ai as a rival for Aqua's attention, even confronting him to not go near Aqua anymore.
  • Aqua: When it comes to Aqua, the Ignis' sub-leader, the two have a rocky relationship. Most of Ai's description of his kind disliking mostly stems from his interactions with Aqua, in which his more relaxed and mischievous behavior irritates her and get him in trouble. Despite this, the two still care about each other and support one another like with the other Ignis. When Windy accused Aqua of being a spy, Ai defended her saying she wanted peace more than the other Ignis.
  • Lightning: Ai describes Lightning as a cool, calm, and collected leader, though he has a hard understanding what he's thinking. Among the Ignis, Lightning seems to be the most respectful towards Ai, even calling him the wisest of the Ignis since he has the most experience with humans. Ai was shocked when Lightning decided to rebuild Cyberse World and rule over humans. He rejected the offer, believing it was still possible to live in peace with humanity. Despite saying Ai gave a wise answer, he still tried to to take over Ai's programming. When Ai finds out that Lightning destroyed Cyberse World, he and Flame are enraged and driven to stop him.

Linkuriboh

Linkuriboh is Ai's personal Cyberse Monster. The two of them would hang out together, going on walks and staring at the stars of Cyberse. Linkuriboh was the only creature Ai found in the desolated Cyberse and they share a happy reunion, showing how close the two are. Ai brings Linkuriboh along to VRAINS and Ai is cheering his Cyberse friend on when Yusaku Link Summons him.

Yusaku Fujiki (Playmaker)

Being trapped in Yusaku's Duel Disk, Ai somewhat reluctantly acts as Playmaker's Duel AI for the sake of staying safe from Hanoi and SOL Technologies. Ai offers frequent support and pulls mischievous acts and jokes on Yusaku, but he originally treats Ai as a hostage and is sometimes rude towards him. Yusaku gave it the nickname "Ai" (a pun on "A.I." and "eye"), much to his annoyance. Although he does grow to love the name later on. Despite the rockiness of their relationship, Ai seems to have gradually warmed up to Yusaku and is keen on treating him like a friend, though the feeling is not mutual.

Their relationship takes a drastic change during their second confrontation against Varis, as the two were forced to work together to overcome him. Despite being treated in a hostage-captor relationship, he sacrificed himself (even though he did return) in order to allow Yusaku to use his skill without becoming injured in the Data Storm. From this point onward, Yusaku views Ai in a far more favorable light.

When Ryoken revealed that the Ignis are likely to rebel against mankind in the future, Yusaku refused to believe those claims and continued to believe that Ai isn't evil. Once Varis was defeated and the Knights of Hanoi disbanded, Yusaku did not hesitate to release Ai and let him return to Cyberse. Ai did return to Yusaku's Duel Disk in order to inform him of the disaster that fell on Cyberse.

The two now talk and address each other in much more friendlier terms. Although Yusaku states that being a hostage suits Ai, he does give him more respect and shows concern when the AI ate the anti-Ignis program. Ai is now also more cooperative with Yusaku, cheering for him following his second duel with Bohman. In episode 60, Ai refers to Yusaku as his best friend.

Ai has a habit of mimicking Playmaker's movements when the later Duels, showing how close he is to his partner. Ai also shows genuine concern for Yusaku in circumstances, as seen when he asked about him to Takeru when he noticed Yusaku wasn't with him. He even tells Earth that their bond is why Ai fights for humans. Ai immediately goes back to Playmaker's Duel Disk after he was freed from Windy's trap, showing how much he trusts him. The Ignis also reveals that he and Playmaker are linked to each other by the latter's Link Sense, giving them a deeper connection.

Kolter

Both Ai and Kolter are shown to be on good terms with each other unlike Yusaku. Kolter is generally shown to be very friendly with Ai, often being the one to praise Ai. Ai also encourages Kolter as seen when Kolter was recalling how he met Yusaku. However, Ai can be annoyed with him at times as seen when Kolter made him hold up a Café Nom sign while flying around in his drone.

Roboppy

The two appeared to have some sort of romantic relationship early on, but Roboppy refers to Ai as "big bro". Roboppy appears to look up him and Ai in return praises her when she does something right. He uses their relationship to his advantage to convince her to set him free and promises he would make her smarter. The two exchange conversations whenever Yusaku leaves Ai at the apartment and the Ignis has had Robppy modified Yusaku's Duel Disk to transform into a drone with his own will. It is also shown that they like to scroll through the internet and watch soap operas together.

Trivia

  • Ai is the only Ignis whose name does not relate to its corresponding Attribute.
    • He is also the only one to be named by a human.
  • While partnerships are common among protagonists, Yusaku and Ai's relationship is somewhat different. Most of the time, the spirit or non-human partner has a more serious nature. However, in this case, Ai is more easy going and friendly.
  • Ai shares a similar relationship with Yusaku as Astral's relationship with Yuma Tsukumo.
    • Both pairs are the respective protagonists of their series.
    • In the beginning, Yusaku and Yuma respectively disregard their partner's humor/advice.
    • Overtime, they come to see them as valuable friends and their trust in them is constantly tested.
      • Ironically, Ai also has similarities with Astral; sharing a similar style of hair and both having yellow eyes (though for Astral, it is only the left eye).
  • Ai is one of two Ignis to use a pronoun other than "watashi" in the Japanese version (in his case, "ore"); the other one being Windy.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 68: "Secret Meeting"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 47: "Playmaker Returns"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 43: "Birth of the Ignis"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 45: "Duel in the Extreme Domain"
  5. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 50: "Transfer Student Takeru Homura"
  6. 6.0 6.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 11: "Neutralized"
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 41: "The Distorted Truth"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 66: "Earth Ignis "Earth""
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 67: "AI's Longing"
  10. 10.0 10.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 1: "Link into the VRAINS"
  11. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 2: "Seize the Wind!"
  12. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 3: "Contact"
  13. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 4: "Pain and Gain"
  14. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 6: "True Blue"
  15. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 7: "Fallen Angel"
  16. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 8: "A Storm is Coming"
  17. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 9: "Malicious Mayhem"
  18. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 10: "Eye of the Storm"
  19. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 12: "Link the Circuit"
  20. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 13: "Playback"
  21. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 14: "An Invitation"
  22. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 15: "Altergeist that Hides in the Darkness"
  23. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 16: "Infiltrate SOL's Cyber Fortress"
  24. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 17: "Flawless AI Duelist"
  25. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 18: "Wound Etched Into His Heart"
  26. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 19: "The Incident Buried in the Darkness"
  27. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 20: "Unyielding Justice"
  28. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 21: "Embers of a New Battle"
  29. 29.0 29.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 22: "Blackened Sun"
  30. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 23: "Genome's Giant"
  31. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 24: "Dark Mask's Burden of Fate"
  32. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 25: "Virus Deck Operation"
  33. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 26: "Three Draws Leading to Hope"
  34. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 27: "Naoki Shima the Fighter"
  35. 35.0 35.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 28: "Final Commander of the Three Knights"
  36. 36.0 36.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 30: "Doorway to the Abyss"
  37. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 31: "The Final Trigger"
  38. 38.0 38.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 32: "Tower of Hanoi"
  39. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 33: "Angel With Blue Tears"
  40. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 34: "Sacred Tree"
  41. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 35: "The Other Lost Incident"
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 36: "Pointless Justice"
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 37: "My Mother Tree"
  44. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 39: "Bullet Buried in Darkness"
  45. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 40: "The Thirst for Victory"
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 42: "Stardust Road's Guidance"
  47. 47.0 47.1 47.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 44: "Prisoner of Destiny"
  48. 48.0 48.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 46: "The Circuit That Draws the Future"
  49. 49.0 49.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 48: "Judgment Arrow"
  50. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 49: "Duelist Clad in Flames"
  51. 51.0 51.1 51.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 50: "Transfer Student Takeru Homura"
  52. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 51: "Man Who Gave Up Charisma"
  53. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 52: "Hero In Name Only"
  54. 54.0 54.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 53: "Bounty Hunter Blood Shepherd"
  55. 55.0 55.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 54: "Terrifying Battledrone"
  56. 56.0 56.1 56.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 55: "To the Unknown World"
  57. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 56: "Blue Girl's First Battle!"
  58. 58.0 58.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 57: "Final Battle Above the Clouds"
  59. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 60: "Brave Max the Loser"
  60. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 61: "Despair from Darkness"
  61. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 62: "The Ominous Ghost"
  62. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 63: "Reincarnating Flame"
  63. 63.0 63.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 64: "Turning Point"
  64. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 65: "Playmaker's Breath"
  65. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 69: "Mission That Must Be Accomplished"
  66. 66.0 66.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 71: "Declaration of War"
  67. 67.0 67.1 67.2 67.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 72: "Clear Perfection"