"Playing Defense", known as "Be Revived! Yuma vs. Shark, A Healing Duel" in the Japanese version, is the eighty-fourth episode of the Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL anime. It first aired in Japan on December 23, 2012 and in the United States on October 26, 2013.
After his Duel with Mizar, Yuma is injured in both body and spirit. Therefore, in order get through to him, Shark challenges him to a Duel.
Yuma recovers on a bed in the hospital. Yuma doubts himself as he has failed to protect Astral and even himself and promises to be more careful in the future. Shark, next to Yuma, becomes concerned. Kari enters her brother's room, with his friends already inside, and complains that he is irresponsible and reckless enough to land himself in the hospital and that he needs to be more serious. Rio tells her to quiet down as Shark is resting. Kari apologizes, tells Yuma that he is lucky that his and Shark's injuries aren't serious, and leaves. Ray comments that Kari is an intimidating person (in the dub, he notes that Kari can strike fear into the heart of a grizzly bear). Cathy says that her cat-liver shrunk upon hearing Kari yell at Yuma (in the dub, she comments that Kari and Yuma are very different from each other). Flip adds that Kari will have a difficult time finding someone to marry with that attitude (in the dub, Flip says that Kari is very serious). Everyone laughs but Caswell realizes that they would wake up Shark. Bronk covers his mouth and apologizes if he woke up Shark, but Rio tells everyone that she lied and that her brother is already awake, confusing everybody. Rio pulls away the curtain separating Yuma and Shark and comments on Kari's concern for Yuma (in the dub, Rio clarifies that Shark was resting, not sleeping, and that she did it so Kari would calm down, which she did). Bronk says that even when Rio is smart, despite her concern. Shark tells Rio to close the curtain because it helps him forget that he is sharing a room with a "wimp".
After visiting hours, Yuma is about to eat, but immediately stops out of depression. Shark, in the middle of his meal, is annoyed at Yuma's attitude (in the dub, Shark asks himself what's wrong with Yuma). During the evening, Yuma has a nightmare about his Duel with Mizar. Yuma is thrown back and shocked by the Sphere Field. Mizar asks if Yuma can't stand up anymore. He adds if he wanted to cover himself with dishonor, he should just lie there (in the dub, Mizar says that Yuma is weak and asks if he wore him down. He also tells Yuma that if he needed a break, he can give it to him). Mizar commands "Galaxy-Eyes Tachyon Dragon" to attack Yuma with "Tachyon Spiral of Destruction". Before the attack can connect, Yuma wakes up in a shock and realizes it's just a dream. Shark, furious, walks next to Yuma's bed, telling him to stop whatever he was doing. He exclaims that he was getting nightmares from Yuma's screaming. He asks what it's about and adds that Yuma was constantly pulling a gloomy face (in the dub, Shark says that Yuma's fear is getting the better of him even in his sleep). A nurse interrupts their conversation and tells them to knock it off, while telling them to regard that it's night time and people are sleeping.
Meanwhile, Kite views the footage from Mizar's Duel, when Hart tells Kite to visit Yuma. Kite responds that he doesn't want to. Hart then leaves to visit him, but Kite asks where he is going. Hart responds that he is doing the right thing by visiting Yuma. Orbital 7 tells Kite about the visiting hours at the hospital, while adding it would be a waste for Kite not to visit "that stupid donkey" (in the dub, Orbital says that Yuma will not expect him to suddenly pop up, while calling Yuma a "pitiful little pest"). This makes Hart happy, knowing that Kite will visit him. Later during the day, as Yuma is at a checkup, Shark comments that Yuma's irresolution was the reason for him being so consumed by stress (Yuma's checkup is cut from the dub; Shark also comments that Yuma won't be around to annoy him). He spots the Emperor's Key on Yuma's bed and decides to take it. After Yuma's checkup, Yuma reads a note he found on his bed, saying that Shark has the Emperor's Key and if he wants it back, he would have to Duel him for it. The letter also says to meet Shark on the roof. Yuma runs up there after reading the note. Shark says that Yuma is late (in the dub, he congratulates Yuma for showing up). Yuma asks why he has taken his Key. Shark responds that it doesn't matter and reiterates that if Yuma wants it back, he has to Duel him for it. The two arm their D-Pads and Duel Gazers and start the Duel. In the Emperor's Key, Astral mutters Yuma's name.
Yuma begins first as he Sets "Gogogo Golem" and ends his turn. Shark is shocked at Yuma' move and asks if he plans to win like that (in the dub, Shark adds that Yuma isn't trying to win--he's afraid of losing), and Yuma tries to say that it was part of his strategy, but it fails to come out (in the dub, Yuma responds that there is nothing wrong with playing it safe). Shark chides Yuma for not saying "tactics" fully (he calls Yuma pathetic in the dub) and throws the key to Yuma, and tells Yuma to come at him with Astral (in the dub, Shark adds that Yuma is no threat without Astral). As Yuma takes the Key, it begins to rain. Shark starts his turn. After drawing, he notices that Astral did not come out of the Key. He comments that Astral gave up on Yuma after realizing his "wimpy ways". He activates the Spell Card "Fish Spawn", summoning two "Fish Spawn Tokens" by paying 1000 Life Points. He Tributes them to Tribute Summon "Big Whale". Shark activates its effect, which flips all face-down monsters face-up, revealing "Gogogo Golem" in Defense Position. "Big Whale" also lets Shark Special Summon a Level 4 or lower WATER-Attribute monster from his hand. He Special Summons "Drill Barnacle". Shark then activates the Spell "Tri-Slice" from his hand, which allows him to Tribute "Big Whale" and Special Summon three copies of "Starfish". Yuma suspects that Shark is about to Xyz Summon (in the dub, he asks what Shark is up to). Shark overlays two copies of "Starfish" to Xyz Summon "Submersible Carrier Aero Shark" in Attack Position, then overlays last "Starfish" and his "Drill Barnacle" to Xyz Summon "Black Ray Lancer", also in Attack Position. Yuma is surprised to face two Xyz Monsters at once. Shark says he isn't done yet. He activates the effect of "Aero Shark", detaching an Overlay Unit to inflict 400 damage to Yuma for each card in Shark's hand. Shark declares "Torpedo Take Down", inflicting 800 damage to Yuma as he has two cards in his hand. Yuma prepares to take cover as the missiles of "Aero Shark" hit him, causing his Life Points to fall to 3200. Shark activates the effect of "Black Ray Lancer", detaching an Overlay Unit to negate the effect of "Gogogo Golem" until the End Phase. Shark says that Yuma is going down, along with "Gogogo Golem". (in the dub, Shark criticizes Yuma for playing it safe) He orders "Aero Shark" to attack "Gogogo Golem", destroying it. "Black Ray Lancer" attacks Yuma directly with "Shimmering Spear Slash", causing Yuma's Life Points to fall to 1100. Shark ends his turn, thinking he has tortured Yuma enough, while shouting at him to get up. Meanwhile, in the Emperor's Key, Astral attempts to tell Yuma that if he wants to win, he cannot depend on defensive strategies, while Yuma begins to doubt himself even more. Yuma realizes that he has to find a way to fight two Xyz Monsters with an empty field. Yuma draws and Normal Summons "Gogogo Giant". Shark is pleased and comments that Yuma is finally putting up a fight. Yuma knows with 2000 ATK, "Gogogo Giant" can destroy "Aero Shark" but not "Black Ray Lancer", as they have 1900 ATK and 2100 ATK, respectively. Yuma decides to activate the effect of "Gogogo Giant", which Special Summons "Gogogo Golem" from the Graveyard in Defense Position, then changing "Giant" to Defense Position. Yuma activates the Continuous Spell Card "Gogogo Talisman", which prevent "Gogogo" monsters from being destroyed once per turn as long as he controls "Gogogo" monsters. Also, any effect damage inflicted to him becomes 0. Yuma ends his turn. Shark, frustrated at Yuma's play, calls Yuma a loser, a guy without the courage to fight and a guy who can't grasp a win (in the dub, Shark tells Yuma that this play won't save him because he's a miserable coward and that he can't win a Duel because fear rules him). From the Emperor's Key, Astral tries to tell Yuma to snap out of his depression and that their greatest enemy is in front of them. He asks what the most essential thing is to them (in the dub, Astral says that Yuma's power to fight the Barians comes from within him).
Shark Normal Summons the Level 5 "Panther Shark", which can Summoned without Tributing if Yuma controls two or more monsters. He then Special Summons "Eagle Shark" via its effect, as he controls "Panther Shark". He overlays "Panther Shark" and "Eagle Shark" to Xyz Summon "Shark Fortress", which Shark calls, "the trump card of the seas." Shark equips "Black Ray Lancer" with "Sharkify", making "Black Ray Lancer" a "Shark" monster and increasing its ATK by 300 (however, Shark says its ATK is increased by 400 instead). "Black Ray Lancer" changes to "Black Shark Lancer". He then uses the effect of "Black Ray Lancer", negating the effects of "Gogogo Golem" again. Shark says that he will beat the cowardice out of Yuma. (in the dub, he adds that Yuma deserved everything that has happened to him). He orders "Aero Shark" to attack "Gogogo Giant", but the effect of "Gogogo Talisman" prevents its destruction in battle. Shark tries again. This time, "Black Shark Lancer" attacks and destroys "Gogogo Giant". He commands "Shark Fortress" to attack "Gogogo Golem", but the effect of "Gogogo Talisman" activates again, preventing its destruction in battle. Yuma is glad that he survived the attack of all three monsters, but Shark says he's not done yet. He activates the effect of "Shark Fortress", detaching an Overlay Unit to allow a "Shark" monster he controls to attack again this turn. He targets "Aero Shark". "Aero Shark" arms itself with a missile from "Shark Fortress", then attacks "Gogogo Golem" again and destroys it. Shark adds that now Yuma has no "Gogogo" monsters, "Gogogo Talisman" is destroyed. He detaches another Overlay Unit from "Shark Fortress" to target "Black Shark Lancer". Shark calls Yuma a coward and tells him that he deserves everything that's coming to him. "Black Shark Lancer", armed with a missile, prepares to attack Yuma directly. Shark says that this is the end (in the dub, Shark readies "Black Shark Lancer" to fire at his command).
Yuma asks himself if this is truly the end (in the dub, Yuma thinks that it's like having the same bad dream over and over again). He recalls his Duel with Mizar and on how he couldn't protect himself and Astral. Yuma falls to his knees and thinks that he wants to go on, but he can't. (in the dub, Yuma thinks that Shark is right--he's been playing it safe and that he's so afraid of losing that he stopped trying to win). "Black Shark Lancer" fires its missile, and Yuma declares that he wants to fight with Astral again. The key begins to react and Astral appears, telling Yuma that he had been waiting for him to say that. Yuma thinks that Astral was gone, but Astral says that he can help Yuma while he is protecting him (in the dub, Astral reminds Yuma that they are a team and that they cannot function unless they face their threats without fear and they can truly high-five the sky if they do). Yuma regains his confidence and continues the Duel. Yuma, on Astral's urging, Special Summons "Gagaga Gardna" in Attack Position and discards one card to prevent its destruction in battle. Shark reminds Yuma that while "Gardna" was not destroyed, Yuma will still take damage. Yuma is blown back and his Life Points fall to 100. Shark ends his turn. Astral tells Yuma to rise to his feet. Yuma says that he will keep doing this again and again, and that he will fight with his friends to open a new future, which pleases Shark once again (in the dub, Astral says that they can still win. Yuma agrees, but adds that when he and Astral work as a team, nothing can stop them).
Yuma starts by drawing "Magnum Shield". Astral says that they have everything they need to win the Duel. Yuma Normal Summons "Ganbara Knight", then Overlays his two Level 4 Warrior-Type monsters to Xyz Summon "Heroic Champion - Excalibur" in Attack Position. Shark is impressed that Yuma has regained his confidence. Yuma equips "Excalibur" with "Magnum Shield", increasing its ATK by its DEF, making its ATK 4000. Sharks says that's still not enough to win the Duel. However, Yuma activates the effect of "Excalibur", detaching all of its Overlay Units to double its current ATK to 8000. "Excalibur" attacks "Shark Fortress" with "Shock Sword Slash", with "Shark Fortress" cracking with small explosions at first, but eventually completely destroys it with a huge explosion. Shark falls back, reflecting on how Yuma doubted himself as his Life Points fall to 0 (in the dub, he thinks "Mission accomplished"). The rain stops and a rainbow appears. Yuma takes off his Duel Gazer and asks Shark if he is alright. Astral thanks Shark for helping Yuma regain his confidence. Shark responds that he did not need any thanks (in the dub, Shark says he only did it because Yuma annoyed him and he wanted Yuma to stop being a "wimp"). Astral reiterates that this was Shark's intent right from the start. Yuma thanks Shark, saying he is a true friend. Shark is annoyed and asks what's so touching about that (in the dub, Shark threatens Yuma to stop being emotional). Yuma and Shark argue about the matter, while Astral makes Observation Number 21: "Occasionally humans may not honestly express their feelings. Be it as it is...Friends are something good." (Observation Number 22: "Humans express their friendship in many different ways. Some do it quite loudly, while others speak volumes with their silence. I prefer the latter," in the dub.) While making his observation, Astral spots Kite and Orbital 7 on the roof of another building. The episode ends with Yuma trying to hug Shark, with Shark trying to push him away (in the dub, Yuma also adds that Shark is ruining his polyester clothing while Shark is surprised that Yuma can pronounce "polyester").
Featured Duel: Yuma Tsukumo vs. Reginald "Shark" Kastle
Turn 4: Shark
As Yuma controls two monsters, Shark Normal Summons the Level 5 "Panther Shark" (1100/2000) without Tribute via its effect. As he controls a face-up "Panther Shark", he Special Summons "Eagle Shark" (1000/1800) from his hand via its own effect. He then overlays his two Level 5 monsters to Xyz Summon "Shark Fortress" (2400/1800) in Attack Position, using one less Overlay Unit than required as he controls an Xyz Monster. Shark equips "Black Ray Lancer" with "Sharkify", letting him treat it as a "Shark" monster and increase its ATK by 400 (2100 → 2500)[Notes 1]. He activates the effect of "Black Ray Lancer", detaching an Overlay Unit ("Black Ray Lancer" ORU 1 → 0) to negate the effects of "Gogogo Golem" until the End Phase. "Aero Shark" attacks "Gogogo Giant", with the effect of "Gogogo Talisman" preventing its destruction by battle. "Black Ray Lancer" attacks and destroys "Gogogo Giant". "Shark Fortress" attacks "Gogogo Golem", with the effect of "Gogogo Talisman" preventing its destruction by battle. Shark activates the effect of "Shark Fortress", detaching an Overlay Unit ("Shark Fortress" ORU 2 → 1) to target a "Shark" monster that has attacked this turn and let it attack again. He targets "Aero Shark", who attacks and destroys "Gogogo Golem". Since Yuma controls no "Gogogo" monsters, "Gogogo Talisman" is destroyed via its own effect. Shark activates the effect of "Shark Fortress" again, detaching an Overlay Unit ("Shark Fortress" ORU 1 → 0) to allow "Black Ray Lancer" equipped with "Sharkify" to attack again. "Black Ray Lancer" attacks directly, but Yuma activates the effect of the "Gagaga Gardna" (1500/2000) in his hand, Special Summoning it in Attack Position as he is about to be attacked directly. Yuma uses the other effect of "Gagaga Gardna", discarding a card to prevent its destruction by battle (Yuma 1100 → 100).
Turn 5: Yuma
Yuma draws "Magnum Shield" and Normal Summons "Ganbara Knight" (0/1800). Yuma overlays his two Level 4 Warrior-Type monsters to Xyz Summon "Heroic Champion - Excalibur" (2000/2000) in Attack Position. He then equips it with "Magnum Shield" which allows it to gain ATK equal to its DEF since its in Attack Position (2000 → 4000). Yuma activates the effect of "Excalibur", detaching both of its Overlay Units ("Excalibur" ORU 2 → 0) to double its ATK (4000 → 8000) until the End Phase[Notes 2]. As Yuma has 500 or fewer Life Points, "Excalibur" attacks and destroys "Shark Fortress" (Shark 3000 → 0).
The following cards appeared in this episode. Cards in italics debuted here.