"Bracing For Battle", known as "The Land of Ambition - Duel Academia" in the Japanese version, is the forty-first episode of the Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V anime. It first aired in Japan on February 1, 2015 and in Australia on January 3, 2016. It became available with official subtitles via Crunchyroll on December 13, 2016.
Appearing before Declan is Celina, a girl who resembles Zuzu. Furthermore, Declan has already met with Celina once before back in the Fusion Dimension. Declan travels through dimensions in order to chase after his father, whereas Celina crosses the dimensions in an attempt to obtain freedom from the Fusion Dimension... Everything, including the Professor's ambitions and the truths behind the Arc League Championship, are all made clear through the second meeting between Declan and Celina.
Declan muses that the girl is Celina, not Zuzu Boyle. Celina repeats Zuzu's name in confusion, and Declan explains that Zuzu is someone from this dimension who resembles Celina, but let's leave aside why they look alike for now. He explains that he is Declan Akaba, Leo Akaba's son. He asks if she doesn’t remember; he’s met her before, at the Fusion Dimension's Duel Academy. Celina was the Duelist that Leo Akaba had his eye on the most there, and now she has appeared in their world. But for what purpose; did she improve her skills under Leo Akaba's teachings and get sent here as the vanguard for an invasion? Celina angrily denies it, claiming that she came to this world of her own will. She remembers Declan too, from when he crossed dimensions and came to her world three years previously. Celina had had to watch her comrades going off to the front lines, while she lived a trapped life in the stifling castle, ever since that day that Declan appeared three years ago.
A large cylinder is seen glowing in a laboratory. A younger Declan steps out of it, feebly reaching out, and the glow fades. As he explores the hallways of Duel Academy, he hears shouting, and he sees a young Celina running down a hallway with three Academy professors in pursuit. Shadowing them, Declan hides on a stone walkway above where the professors have cornered Celina. The Aide steps up, telling Celina that it is the Professor's orders and asks her to come back. Celina snaps that she wants to test her abilities, but the Aide replies that there is no way that the Professor would allow her to do that. Celina snaps that she doesn't need his permission and activates her Duel Disk, stating that she’s getting out of Duel Academy by her own free will; she won’t show any mercy to those that get in her way. With no other choice, the Aide orders the three professors to capture Celina, and the professors deploy their Duel Disks. Celina starts off, Summoning "Lunalight Blue Cat" and Setting a card. She tells them to bring it on, and the Aide orders the professors to do it. They each Summon "Ancient Gear Soldier", and Declan ducks as a shockwave rocks the area, despite the absence of an Action Field. Celina's "Blue Cat" lands unharmed and she snaps that it’s ridiculous that they call themselves professors of Duel Academy. The Aide warns her that this isn’t over, but before they can continue, Declan Summons "D/D Cerberus" and declares his Battle Phase, destroying one of the "Ancient Gear Soldiers". Declan yells at Celina to jump as he holds out his hand. Celina looks back as "Cerberus" bars the way of the professors, and Celina leaps into the air to grab his hand. They flee, "Cerberus" fading, and the Aide contacts someone on his Duel Disk.
Declan and Celina arrive at the harbor and she tells him to let her go, asking him where his boat is. Declan is confused, and Celina points out that Declan must have taken a boat there; she’s getting out of Duel Academy by her own free will to grasp her future. A voice declares that her future is here. The Professor, accompanied by four blue-uniformed guards wearing strange masks, walks into the area. Declan gasps, "Father!" but Leo ignores him, addressing Celina instead, telling her that he knows her abilities more than anyone else. Celina angrily asks why he keeps her locked up on this island, not making use of her abilities. Leo replies that it is not that time yet, and Celina asks when it will be, when Leo destroys Xyz or Synchro? The terms confuse Declan, and Celina explains that she heard a rumor that the advance into the Xyz Dimension is about to start, so if Leo approves of her abilities, he should add her to the vanguard squad. Leo states that he cannot, because Celina already has what she needs to do. Declan angrily cuts in, asking what this advance and destroy talk is all about, and what the heck Duel Academy is. Leo didn’t say anything to Declan or his wife, and even abandoned the company. Leo asks if Declan crossed dimensions just to find that out, and Declan is shocked that he has crossed dimensions. Five more guards step up and restrain Declan and Celina, two taking Celina away as she struggles and Declan protests. Leo tells Celina that he will find her no matter where she runs, and absolutely bring her back. As Celina curses and struggles, the guards take her away. Leo explains that he'll have Declan return as well, and Declan angrily asks him to explain where they are. Leo explains that this is the Fusion Dimension; Duel Academy is his front-line base to accomplish his plans. He orders his guard to bring something, and one of them straps a hexagonal band around Declan’s wrist, informing Leo that it has been set. Leo explains that the band is a dimensional transporter that will self-destruct after being activated to prevent Declan's return. He tells Declan to stay put in his world, but Declan furiously yells that he isn't done talking to Leo, and asks what he meant by advance and destroy. Leo claims that it is all for the purpose of uniting the worlds, and Declan tries to ask what that means, yelling "FATHER!" as the guards release him and the device activates.
In the present, Declan explains to Celina that these last three years he has been making preparations to crush Leo's ambitions, which was why he became the President of Leo Corporation in his place, and has worked towards finding and training Duelists with potential, all to protect their world. He asks if Celina wants to join him, and she is surprised, as Declan states that they can protect this world from Leo and Duel Academy. Celina interrupts, telling him not to be ridiculous; she only came here because she heard that there were remnants of the Xyz forces here. She remembers hearing Sora's tantrums in Duel Academy about the Xyz scum, and comments that they must have been skilled to defeat an agent of Duel Academy. She thought that if she defeated him, then she could make Leo Akaba acknowledge her abilities, and she pulls out a card, lamenting that her first target was a complete disappointment. She throws Dipper's card to Declan, who catches it and informs her that Kev Ravenwood was not the one she wants. Celina angrily asks where he is, the Xyz Duelist who defeated the agent of Duel Academy.
In the Center Court, a gold-armored Duelist is thrown through the air, his LP falling to zero. Nico Smiley announces that that does it; the winner is Shay of LID. His opponent, Chalac from Knights of the Duel Disks, a special guest school from overseas, was utterly defeated in a one-sided match by Shay. Three other armored Duelists sit in the stands, watching their comrade’s defeat.
"A Duelist from the Xyz Dimension?" Declan asks. "I don’t know of one." Celina decides to search on her own and turns to leave, but Declan warns her that he will not be able to overlook her causing a disturbance in this town, and even if she is not here under Leo Akaba's orders, Declan will consider her an enemy. His statement finally rouses the injured Barrett, who activates the forced return function of his Duel Disk, explaining that he has informed Duel Academy of their location. His Duel Disk warps him away, and Celina nonchalantly comments on the forced return program. She explains to Declan that she will be pursued, and when that happens… Declan remembers his father’s absolute vow to bring Celina back when she ran, as Celina continues that her pursuit will cause more than just a disturbance, but if she can defeat the Xyz Duelist, then Leo Akaba will have no choice but to acknowledge her abilities. She finally leaves, and Declan takes out his Duel Disk, calling someone to gather the top brass immediately.
At the You Show Duel School, Yuya, Zuzu, Skip, and the kids watch the Duel News on the television, as the announcer explains that after intense battles over the past few days in the Paradise City Junior Arc League Championship, Round Two has finished and the Top 16 have been determined. She begins to introduce them, staring with Zuzu, prompting an excited reaction from Skip (and a smack from Zuzu's fan). The announcer continues with Yuya, making a name for himself with his Pendulum Summoning. Yuya rubs his head in embarrassment as the announcer explains that Yuya defeated two fierce opponents; LID's Sylvio Sawatari in Round One and Bandit Warrior Academy's Iggy Arlo in Round Two, and has qualified for Round Three in his first tournament. At the mention of Iggy, Yuya goes quiet, remembering Iggy slapping his hand away, and he vows to never have a Duel like the one that he had with Iggy again, but one that the Duelists and the audience can enjoy, like the one that he had with Sylvio.
Zuzu puts her hand out, reminding Yuya that they're rivals now that they’ve come this far. She encourages him to do his best and give the audience the best Entertainment Duel. Yuya agrees, complimenting Zuzu's last Duel, and states that he wants to have one like that. They clasp hands, bringing Skip to tears as he declares that this is youth put into Duels, and he enthusiastically tells them to aim for the top. Frederick complains that Skip is too loud, and Ally points out that the announcements are still not over. The Knight of Duels students have just been announced, and next up is Reed Pepper of the Duel School. Yoko goes into squeals over Reed, much to Yuya and Skip’s discomfort. The announcer announces Trout, the Fishing Duelist, whose words are "big haul", and she wishes Trout good luck in getting a big catch. She states that one of the tournament’s dark horses is the Strong Dojo's Gong Strong, who has been making a name for himself with his Heavystrong Dueling. And another one of those dark horses is LID’s Shay. Yuya gasps to see Shay being announced, and the announcer remarks that his shocking victory over You Duel School"s Sora Perse is still very clearly in their minds. Shay also took his second match with a one-sided victory, and the announcer wonders what kind of Duel he’ll show them in Round Three. Tate is horrified, protesting that no matter how one looks at it, Shay went too far. Ally agrees, claiming that she bets that it’s his fault that Sora is gone too. Frederick says that he’s so angry that he’s got the shivers. Yuya just murmurs Sora's name.
In the Fusion Dimension, Leo sits on his throne in front of his machine, asking if Sora wished to go to the Standard Dimension again. Sora replies that he does, as there are Xyz remnants there. Leo replies that he will grant that wish, and Sora thanks him politely. Leo explains that Sora will not be going alone this time, and nine of the blue-uniformed students guards step up: the Obelisk Force. Leo explains that finding the Xyz Duelists is only a secondary objective; their primary target is her. A hologram of Celina appears, and Sora gasps that it's Zuzu. Leo corrects him that it is Celina, and Sora asks in confusion why. Leo states that he has no need to know that. His mission is to retrieve Celina and return her to the Fusion Dimension; he is authorized to engage the local Duelists in combat to accomplish this, and he must bring Celina back.
Back in the Standard Dimension, Skip reassures them that Sora will come back, and suggests that Yuya and Zuzu keep winning for him. Frederick agrees, reminding them that Sora only joined the Championship because Yuya was, and he mimics Sora’s eyes and voice. Tate suggests that if they keep winning, Sora will be so frustrated that he'll have to show his face. Ally adds that Tate is still winning in the Youth Class as well, and Skip declares that that settles it, telling Yuya, Zuzu and Tate to all win and do their best to frustrate Sora. Yoko muses that she would like Reed to aim for first place as well, and Yuya sweat drops in shock.
The announcer on the television declares that tomorrow, they’ll finally have their match to determine the Top 8, as the Top 16 are shown on the screen: Nagi, Sun Shadow, Moon Shadow, Taka, Halil, Trout, Olga, Dennis McField, Reed, Carl, Bram, Ashley, Yuya, Gong, Zuzu, and Shay. She hopes that all of their competitors will fight with no regrets tomorrow, and begins announcing the weather. In the Leo Corporation, Henrietta snaps her fingers to switch the screen off, and she turns to Declan, commenting that it seems like it’s finally happening. Declan refuses to let it, stating that they will absolutely prevent it as he stares out over the city in the evening.
The next day, in the LID Center Court, the Top 16 stand behind Nico Smiley, save Shay, whose absence is noted by Yuya, Zuzu, and the three Knight of Duels students. Nico thanks the audience for waiting, for right now, a Battle Royal between these sixteen Junior Youth competitors will take place. Everyone gasps in shock.
Up in Declan's office, Henrietta comments on the city-wide Battle Royal, congratulating Declan. Declan explains that an alert of interdimensional invading Duelists would cause a mass panic, so instead they will release the Top 16 of the Junior Youth class into the city, and have them intercept the invaders. Meanwhile, the ones who will actually intercept the invaders are the Top 8 of the Senior class, a plan made smoother by the fact that all of them, including Kev Ravenwood, are from LID. Henrietta tells them that for the honor of LID and the fate of their world, they are counting on them, and the Senior class respond in the affirmative. Declan nods, and then turns to Shay, who is leaning against the wall, telling him that he's sure that he knows that his orders are to find Duelists with potential among the sixteen in the stadium, and to have them join the Lancers as emergency backup. Shay asks if Declan doesn’t want him to fight the enemy, and comments that he can’t promise that, since he'll have no choice but to take part if the Senior Team get wiped out. Kev is derisive of Shay running his mouth despite being only Junior Youth class, and Shay leaves, telling them to do their best to stay alive.
In the Center Court, Nico explains the rules. The match will start at exactly noon, when Action Cards will be spread out, but this is the most important part: there are Pendulum Cards developed by Leo Corporation scattered around the city; competitors must find two of them and Duel. Zuzu and Skip realize that everyone will be able to Pendulum Summon, and Nico explains that the matches will be held under an Ante Rule with the Pendulum Cards as the winnings. The winners will take the number of Pendulum Cards bet by the loser. In addition, the city will be divided into four areas by the Field Spell Card "Quartet of Quandry", competitors being free to battle in any of these four areas. Tate and Ally gasp that the entire city will be an Action Field, and Frederick gets an impressive bout of shivers.
Nico states that there’s only five minutes until the Battle Royal begins, and he asks the entrants to prepare their Duel Disks. Yuya, Zuzu, and Gong all ready their Duel Disks, which enter Battle Royal mode. Nico orders the gate to open, and a section of the stadium rises up. Celina watches from the outside, thinking that the Xyz Duelist must be in there. Everyone prepares themselves and Shay moves through LID as Nico declares the start of the match and begins the Action Duel chant. Everyone finishes by yelling "Duel!" and they dash out of the gates, Yuya, Zuzu, Reed, and the Shadow brothers leading the way as Yuya laughs happily, while the Action Cards scatter in four bunches.
Featured Duel: Declan Akaba and Celina vs. Duel Academy professors
Turn 2: Duel Academy professors
A Duel Academy professor Normal Summons "Ancient Gear Soldier" (1300/1300) and subsequently attacks "Blue Cat". Through unknown means, it is not destroyed and no one takes battle damage.
Turn 3: Declan
Declan Normal Summons "D/D Cerberus" (1800/600). It attacks and destroys "Ancient Gear Soldier". "D/D Cerberus" then holds back the Duel Academy professors, allowing Declan to help Celina escape, so the Duel ends with no result.
The following cards appeared in this episode. Cards in italics debuted here.
- When Declan berates Leo for abandoning his family, he does not mention Riley Akaba. This is possibly an early indication that Riley was adopted into the family after Leo's departure.
- As a point of irony, after Yuto was blamed by Julia Krystal for Shay’s attacks, Ally blames Shay for actions that Yuto was involved in.
In other languages
|French||Prêt pour le combat|
|Italian||Pronti per la battaglia|
|Korean||야망의 땅, 듀얼 아카데미아|
|Thai||แดนแห่งความใฝ่สูง ดูเอล อคาเดเมียร์|