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"Battle Between Buddies: Part 1", known as "Steadfast Resolution!! Noboru Gongenzaka" in the Japanese version, is the twenty-fifth episode of the Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V anime. It first aired in Japan on September 28, 2014 and in Australia on November 28, 2015. It became available with official subtitles via Crunchyroll on November 22, 2016.

Declan finally confronts the mystery surrounding the Leo Institute of Dueling attackers, which has been enveloped in unprecedented feelings of tension. Meanwhile with three straight wins in his qualifying games for the Junior Arc League Championship, Yuya finds himself fired up about the last match awaiting him. However, the opponent that Nico chose for his final match is Yuya's best friend Gong. Furthermore, Gong says that this Duel decides who will progress onto the championship. In a serious match between two best friends that neither side want to lose, Gong shows off his new power to Yuya...

Summary

Claude and the Leo Corporation employees step aside as Declan approaches Shay. Shay asks who Declan is, and Declan introduces himself as Leo Corporation's current president. Shay repeats Declan's name to himself. Declan remarks that Shay's continued assaults on Leo Corporation-related parties in Paradise City suggest that Shay wishes to meet him, asking if he's mistaken. Shay smiles, and he brashly asks if Declan is the son of Leo Akaba. Claiming that he's been waiting for this moment, he challenges Declan to a Duel. Declan asks Shay why he's fighting him, and Shay retorts that he doesn't need to answer that. Declan muses that it's most likely to rescue Shay's comrades, as the girl behind him testified that when she first encountered Shay he was asking for someone named Lulu. From this, he deduced that Lulu was to him, to all of them, a dear comrade who has yet to escape from their enemy. Shay freezes up in shock as Declan states that this is why Shay is continuing to attack LID like this, as he looks over the unconscious Kit, Julia, and Dipper. Shay remembers Yuto telling him that Zuzu wasn't Lulu, as Zuzu learned Fusion Summoning with a smile on her face, something that Lulu would never do. Back in the present, Shay agrees that there is no doubt that Lulu is still captive, but he will save her. This is why he continued to attack LID and sent Declan the cards with the cards sealed inside, all to draw him out. Declan muses that it's just as he suspected; Shay wants to use him as a hostage for an exchange. Shay agrees, since if he has Leo Akaba's son as a bartering chip, even Leo will be unable to say no. Declan wonders about that, admitting that he doubts that his father values him that much. Shay asks what he means, but Declan brushes the remark off and states that he has no objections to Shay fighting him, but he has one condition. If Shay alone fulfills that condition, then Declan will gladly be his opponent, and should Shay win, he can do whatever he wants. He and Claude turn and leave as Shay protests.

Zuzu runs through the street where Shay Dueled Julia, Kit, and Dipper, but she finds no-one there but the crows.

The next day, Yuya picks up his Deck and remembers Nico Smiley's words from after his third match. Yuya has grown just as Nico expected; in the first Duel, he showed that there were no perfect plans in cooking or Dueling and learned that having a flexible state of mind and the ability to improvise on the spot create the best hospitality; in the second Duel he learned that one wouldn't improve through complacency and that it's important to communicate with both the opponent and the audience; and in the third Duel, he finally surpassed Nico's imagination and left the entire gallery in awe. So far so good, but the final match, the fourth and final match that Nico arranged for him, is the most important; if Yuya wins this, he'll have won 30 out of 50 times this year and reached the 60% benchmark needed to qualify for the Junior Arc League Championship. He told Yuya to show Nico the summation of his acquired skills in this next battle and make his first step towards becoming a pro. Thinking that his future will be decided today, Yuya vows to enjoy himself no matter the opponent and make it through with his Entertainment Dueling. He cheerfully slides down the pole to the lounge, deciding to have a serving of 30 pancakes for his 30th win; but his mother is nowhere to be seen, and neither are his pets or even Sora. He desperately asks where everyone went.

Later, in the You Show Duel School elevator, a thoroughly annoyed Yuya eats his breakfast, irritated at his mother not making her son breakfast on such an important day. But when he emerges from the elevator, he can't find either of the Boyle's or the kids. He wonders aloud where they went, as does Nico Smiley, who bows deeply to Yuya. Yuya asks again where everyone went, and Nico wonders if it's bothering Yuya. Yuya replies that it is, but gets no response from Nico, who comments that Yuya will be late for his match and drags him into the elevator. Yuya angrily asks him where everyone is as Nico smiles innocently.

Nico leads Yuya to the Strong Dojo, and Yuya asks Nico who his fourth opponent is, don't tell him it's who he thinks it is. Nico tells Yuya to confirm that for himself, and the enter the Dojo grounds, where Gong tells Yuya that he was getting tired of waiting for him. Yuya wonders why Nico went out of his way to make him fight Gong, as they've already fought tons of times. Nico agrees, but they haven't had a serious match yet. He's aware that Gong is Yuya's best friend, who protected him from the cruel public after Yuya's father's disappearance, an act that moved Nico. Wiping the tears from his eyes, Nico tells Yuya that even if they are best friends, a real match is another matter entirely, especially if Yuya is aiming to be a pro. Gong agrees, claiming that despite having fought countless times before, there was no seriousness in those matches. While Gong couldn't fault Yuya for how he felt after Yusho's disappearance, he realized that feeling pity for Yuya only served to weaken him. Even though they were tied at 1-1 in the matches against LID, he still wasn't able to win his Duel. Yuya reminds him that it ended in a draw, but Gong claims that he couldn't win the Duel due to the weakness of his heart that came from being unable to break away from his own softness. He has to push himself further if he is to purge himself of such weakness. Nico cuts in, explaining that Gong even went as far as betting his entrance into the Junior Arc League Championship on this Duel, winning matches until he was just one away from the required 60% win ratio, and then refusing any challenges until Yuya was in the same position. With both of them requiring just one more win, simply put, only the one who wins this Duel will be the one to enter the Championship. Yuya asks in shock why Gong went that far, and Gong explains that he didn't think he'd be able to get a serious match out of Yuya if he didn't go this far. Eventually, Gong will inherit this dojo, so the Duel will also be a test for his Heavystrong Dueling, and Gong will put aside his weakness and fight with everything he's got because Yuya is his best friend. He tells Yuya to prepare himself, and Yuya bites his lip in frustration.

In the past, Yuya walked down a street with his goggles over his eyes, as the children around him whisper that it's "the coward's kid," the one who was at the stadium saying that he would Duel The Sledgehammer. Depressed, Yuya walked right into a bigger boy wearing a shirt with the Sledgehammer's face emblazoned on it. The boy removed Yuya's goggles and told him that if Yuya's going to fight in place of his father, then the boy would fight for the Sledgehammer. He challenged Yuya to a Duel, but Yuya was hesitant. The boy called Yuya a weakling, riling Yuya up, but Gong stepped in to break them up, refusing to tolerate bullying of the weak. He asks if the boy had forgotten the iron rules of their dojo. The other boy claimed that he wasn't bullying Yuya, but that they were going to fight on behalf of Yusho and the Sledgehammer. Gong warned the boy that their dojo did not teach him Heavystrong Dueling for such acts, and that those who took part in meaningless fights would be excommunicated at once, whether the boy was his senior or not.

In the present, standing before the disciples of the Strong Dojo, Nico asks if Yuya has not yet steeled himself, though it's understandable, since he has to cut down the man who's supported him through all these years or he won't be able to enter the tournament. Yuya wonders where everyone else is at a time like this. Nico adds that Yuya will also have to learn to stand alone, since up until now, he's been protected not only by Gong but also plenty of others, and always being cheered on by others has given him strength. Being a pro means that Yuya must display his own skills even as the away team, even if everyone around him is cheering for the enemy, which was why he had Yuya's "cheer crew " take a leave of absence today. But this isn't entirely true - unbeknownst to Yuya, the three kids, Zuzu, Sora, Skip, and Yoko are hidden in an upper room looking through a grate. Skip wishes the two Duelists luck in their first serious match, while Zuzu whispers Yuya's name. Nico asks Sensei Strong if they shall begin, and Sensei Strong stands up, declaring that Dueling is to polish one's soul, diligently cultivating each other's character while possessing an immovable spirit no matter the circumstances: that is the path that their dojo travels upon. They shall clash with each other fair and square in this fight, and he wishes for them to polish each other's souls. He declares the activation of the Action Field, "Sword's Cemetery." The same field that Gong Dueled Kit Blade on materializes around them, and Yuya asks Gong why he picked this one. Gong reassures Yuya that he'll find out why soon, and they ready their Duel Disks.

Gong yells, "Duelists locked in battle," while Yuya declares, "Kicking against the earth and dancing in the air alongside their monsters!" Gong roars "They storm through this field!" "Behold!" Yuya cries, and they both declare "This is the newest and greatest evolution of Dueling! Action! DUEL!" The Action Cards scatter through the field.

Gong takes the first move, and he Summons "Superheavy Samurai Flutist" from his hand. On the turn he successfully Normal Summons "Flutist," he can Tribute it to Special Summon a "Superheavy Samurai" from his hand, and he Tributes it to Summon "Superheavy Samurai Big Benkei" in Defense Position. Tate is shocked to see a Level 8 monster right out of the gate, and Sora comments that little-Gong is going all out from the start. Poor Skip is conflicted as to who he should cheer for with both of their entries into the Junior Arc League Championship, Gong, who's been such a big help over the years, or Yuya, his student, and as he gets desperate, Zuzu has to smack him with her fan to calm him down, reminding him that they can't let Yuya hear them. Ally agrees, pointing out that Nico told them to watch quietly. Skip apologizes, and Sora wonders how Yuya will react to little-Gong's fighting spirit, and he excitedly declares that this is going to be fun.

Yuya asks himself why his most important match has to be against Gong, the reason that he's come this far since the reason that he even has fifty matches this year is due to being referred to disciples from the dojo, and now he has to defeat the person who helped him and make him unable to enter the tournament. Gong warns Yuya that pitying his opponent so much is the same as disrespecting them, and he reiterates that it's because Yuya is his best friend that Gong will defeat him with all his strength, and Yuya should throw away those meaningless feelings and face Gong with all his might. Yuya draws, and then he Summons "Performapal Silver Claw." He leaps onto "Silver Claw's" back and the monster sprints forwards. Yuya snags an Action Card from the ground, "Extreme Sword," which increases "Silver Claw's" ATK by 1000 during the Battle Phase. "Silver Claw" rises to 2800 ATK and Yuya grabs another Action Card, excitedly exclaiming that he can use it too. He activates "Over Sword," which will increase "Silver Claw's" ATK by a further 500 during the Battle Phase. The ATK of "Silver Claw" rises to 3300. Sora observes that Yuya is going on the offensive, running around while getting Action Cards, and Tate exclaims that Yuya is Dueling as he normally does, while Frederick comments that it always gives him the shivers. Zuzu points out that "Silver Claw" still only has 3300 ATK against "Big Benkei's" 3500 DEF. Screeching to a halt, Yuya leaps off "Silver Claw" and declares his Battle Phase, and as "Silver Claw" lunges forwards, he activates its monster effect, increasing its ATK by 300 when it battles. "Silver Claw" is surrounded by a blue aura and Tate and Ally praise "Silver Claw's" ability to beat "Big Benkei," as Frederick gets his shivers. But Gong activates the effect of his "Superheavy Samurai Soulfire Suit" from his hand, sending it to the Graveyard to negate "Big Benkei's" destruction. "Soulfire Suit" appears and blocks the attack with a red energy dome before disintegrating. Gong adds that "Big Benkei's" DEF is reduced by 800 when the effect is used, and "Big Benkei" falls to 2700 DEF. Thinking that he can't fight this Duel with half-hearted feelings, Yuya Sets a card to end his turn. Nico observes that Yuya is attacking while Gong is defending; the first round has gone as expected. Gong's father agrees, stating that no matter how much the opponent may move around, one must always hold a steadfast stance, the primary fighting style of their dojo (the Japanese name of Gong's Heavystrong Dueling style is "Steadfast.") He congratulates Gong, telling him to pierce through the Junior Arc League Championship with his Heavystrong Dueling. Gong comments that his father is getting ahead of himself, since the match has only just started and he hasn't even exerted his true strength yet.

He declares his turn and draws "Superheavy Samurai Trumpter," declaring that it's here. He muses that he has cast off his shell and steeled his heart in order to defeat his friend. He tells his father to watch, this is the new Heavystrong Dueling that he aspires to create, and he Summons the Level 2 Tuner monster, "Superheavy Samurai Trumpter." Everyone gasps in utter shock as they realize that Gong is going to Synchro Summon, and Gong tunes the Level 8 "Big Benkei" with the Level 2 "Trumpter." He chants "Raging deity, in unison with the roar of a thousand blades, appear now in a spiralling sandstorm! Synchro Summon! Now come before us! Level 10! Superheavy Samurai Warlord Susanowo!" As the Synchro Monster jams its halberd into the ground, displaying its 3800 DEF, everyone reacts in shock, and Skip wonders if this was why Gong picked this field. Yoko murmurs her son's name. Gong stamps on the ground, and he tells Yuya that he's coming, and the serious match has finally started. He tells him to prepare himself, as Yuya remains in a state of shock.

Featured Duel: Yuya Sakaki vs. Gong Strong

Gong VS Yuya

Gong vs. Yuya

At the start of the Duel, the Field Spell Card "Sword's Cemetery" is activated, as per the rules of an Action Duel. It will allow the players to use Action Cards, but they may only have one in their hand at a time.

Turn 1: Gong
Gong Normal Summons "Superheavy Samurai Flutist" (500/1000). As it was Normal Summoned this turn, he activates its effect, letting him Tribute it to Special Summon a "Superheavy Samurai" monster from his hand. He Tributes it to Special Summon "Superheavy Samurai Big Benkei" in Defense Position (1000/3500).

Turn 2: Yuya
Yuya draws and subsequently Normal Summons "Performapal Silver Claw" (1800/700). He finds and activates the Action Card "Extreme Sword", increasing the ATK of a monster on the field by 1000 until the End Phase ("Silver Claw" 1800 → 2800). He then finds and activates the Action Card "Over Sword", which increases the ATK of a monster on the field by 500 for the Battle Phase only ("Silver Claw" 2800 → 3300), and prevents its attacks from being negated. "Silver Claw" attacks "Big Benkei", with its effect activating and increasing its ATK by 300 ("Silver Claw" 3300 → 3600) during damage calculation. Gong activates the effect of the "Superheavy Samurai Soulfire Suit" in his hand, sending it to the Graveyard to target a Level 5 or higher Defense Position "Superheavy Samurai" monster he controls. It cannot be destroyed by battle this turn, but its DEF is decreased by 800 ("Big Benkei" 3500 → 2700). Yuya Sets a card.

Turn 3: Gong
Gong draws and subsequently Normal Summons "Superheavy Samurai Trumpeter" (300/600). He then tunes the Level 2 Tuner monster "Trumpeter" with the Level 8 "Big Benkei" to Synchro Summon "Superheavy Samurai Warlord Susanowo" in Defense Position (2400/3800).

Duel continues in the next episode.

Featured cards

The following cards appeared in this episode. Cards in italics debuted here.

Yuya Sakaki
Gong Strong
Action Field
Action Cards
Flashbacks

In other languages

Language Title
Flag of Australia English Battle Between Buddies (part 1)
Flag of France French Duel entre amis: 1ère partie
Flag of Germany German Kampf unter Kumpeln (1)
Flag of Italy Italian Battaglia tra amici (prima parte)
Flag of South Korea Korean 뚝심 듀얼, 권현승
Flag of Thailand Thai การตัดสินใจที่มั่นคง กอนเง็นซากะ โนโบรุ

Notes

  1. This card can be seen on the bottom of the Deck after Yuya picks it up.
  2. This card can be seen on the bottom of the Deck.

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