"Now or Never, Part 1", known as "The Stern Duelist - "Dyson Sphere" Upheaval!!" in the Japanese version, is the one hundredth and sixteenth episode of the Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL anime. It first aired in Japan on August 11, 2013 and aired online on Hulu on July 28, 2014.
To distract himself from the loneliness of Astral not being there, Yuma plans with Trey to fight the Barians. At the same time, Kite, in order to protect the human and Astral World from the onslaught of the Barian World, looks for some means or directions for getting to the Astral World, aided by his former mentor, Quinton. Could the King's Coins that Kazuma left behind in the ruins be the key to opening the door to the alternate universes!?
In the middle of a blizzard, a pilot struggles to control his plane. His copilot exclaims it's impossible to deliver goods now. The pilot says there are no landing areas either. Suddenly, the blizzard clears and the plane is flying above a bridge Heartland City. Outside a building, Mr. Heartland is frustrated that Erazor and Chironex were defeated. The ninja kneeling before him cackles and tells Heartland not to worry; as long as they are here, everything is running smoothly. Heartland says even though Yuma and Shark are still bothering him, Kite is still nowhere to be found. The ninja calls this a perfect opportunity because he detests big monsters (in the dub, Heartland assigns the ninja to eliminate Kite, which the latter agrees to). He transforms into a mosquito and flies away. Heartland looks on and says he is counting on Scritch to get the job done.
Yuma and Trey are on patrol. Yuma stops and reports that there are no abnormalities. He thanks Trey for helping him. Trey asks Yuma how long he will patrol like this. Yuma confirms it and says he cannot afford to lose to the Barians. Trey voices his concern over Yuma acting fine even without Astral around. Yuma remembers Astral's disappearance after Trey speaks. Trey calls out to him and Yuma snaps back to reality. He hides his sadness by calling Trey's arrival the effort of hundreds of people (in the dub, Yuma compares Trey's presence to ten Astrals). As Yuma continues to boast, his friends are watching outside of a gate. Caswell wonders if Yuma recovered yet. Cathy hopes that this is the case. Tori begins to speak, but she is interrupted by Flip showing up, wanting to offer his assistance. He reports that something is ready, but Bronk tries to silence him. Yuma wonders what his other friends are doing here (in the dub, Yuma convinces Bronk to let Flip speak). Flip breaks free of Bronk's restraint and yells that he finished preparations. Yuma wonders what he means and Flip shows him a grave that he made for Astral, made out of glass that Flip picked up earlier. Cathy asks why Flip did this and he replies that he did it for Astral. Yuma starts to react and Bronk starts to protest. Flip says funerals are meant for something important and allows the living to sort out their minds. Bronk tells Flip to knock it off and chides him for not thinking about Yuma. Yuma starts to get upset. Bronk grabs Flip by the collar, but a teary Flip knocks away his hand. He admits that he felt sad too. Even though he and the Numbers Club can't communicate with Astral like Yuma can, Astral is still their friend. It was thanks to Astral that the lives of the Number Club were saved and also why Flip has been able to get along with his other friends. Bronk, Cathy and Caswell say they feel the same way before the latter two break into tears. Tori cries for Astral too. Trey says he also felt the same way; everyone here received help from Astral at some point. Flip concludes that the funeral was prepared for his sake, whether or not other people came.
Back at home, Trey calls Yuma for dinner, but cannot find him in the attic. Yuma sits on the rooftop and mutters Astral's name. The next day, Yuma and Tori walk home from school. Yuma exclaims that he felt pumped after all those Duels. Tori comments that this is rare coming from him. Yuma starts to bring up Astral helping him, but stops, then laughs it off, worrying Tori. At home, Yuma looks over his Deck. He thinks he cannot take out "Half Unbreak" because it is useful. Yuma hears Astral's voice somewhere, telling him it is the right decision. He turns to find Astral standing next to him. Astral disappears and Yuma continues editing his Deck.
Downstairs, Quattro asks Trey on how Yuma is doing. Trey reports that Yuma's Dueling skills are top notch. Astral helped Yuma improve, but Yuma lost his confidence after Astral disappeared. Quattro asks if Yuma can still get a hold of himself. Trey says he does not know, but since this is Yuma they are talking about, Trey is certain about something (in the dub, Trey says he does not know because it's too soon to tell).
In the city, Kite says there was no mistake in picking their target. Quinton says this is expected from Kite and praises him (in the dub, Quinton gives all the credit to Kite). Addressing Quinton as "Chris", Kite asks him if they should proceed with the experiment (in the dub, Kite does not use Quinton's real name). Quinton approves, but tells Kite the experiment is dangerous and they cannot let Yuma know about it.
The next day, Yuma and Trey are on patrol again. Everything seems normal from where they are standing. They continue on an abandoned highway and Yuma reports there are no abnormalities. At sunset, Yuma confirms that all of Heartland is safe again. He boasts that the Barians have gotten afraid of him. Trey gloomily mutters that he hopes so too. Yuma asks him what's with that tone, then finds the Number Club trailing them from behind. They hastily hide behind a bench upon being found out. Yuma is upset that they followed him again and Tori apologizes. She explains that they did it because they were worried about him. Yuma denies that there's something wrong with him. Trey clarifies that Tori meant that Yuma still cannot get over the loss of Astral. Yuma denies it again; he claims that he is as good as he always has been. Bronk asks Yuma if he really noticed his true state. Yuma is confused and Cathy confirms that Yuma indeed did not notice it. Tori says the places that Yuma patrolled were the places where he Dueled with Astral. Yuma denies Tori's statement and she continues that even their current location is where Yuma and Astral Dueled. Caswell and Flip point out the location of Astral's grave again (in the dub, Caswell and Flip specify that Astral's grave is the last place that Yuma stopped every day). Yuma sees it and he mutters "Astral..." Trey tells Yuma that although Yuma thought he overcame Astral's death, he is still searching for Astral unconsciously. The reason why Yuma visited the places he did was so that he could run into Astral one day (in the dub, Trey tells Yuma to accept the fact that Astral is gone). This leaves Yuma in a state of disbelief as he recalls the memories of Astral. It starts to rain and Yuma runs away from his friends. Tori calls out to him.
As Yuma runs, he recalls more memories of Astral and refutes Trey's and Tori's earlier statements, as well as Astral's death. Yuma stops at a plaza, where his friends catch up. Tori tries to comfort him, but Yuma snaps at her to leave him alone. He refuses to believe that Astral is dead, which is why he will keep searching for him. From behind the group, Kite says he was waiting for Yuma to say that. He orders Yuma to stand up and he complies. Kite decides to take Yuma somewhere, to the latter's confusion. Kite replies that they will bring back Astral, shocking everyone present. Yuma asks what Kite means, but an aircraft descends. Kite decides to save the explanation for later and tells Yuma to get on board (in the dub, Kite tells Yuma this is his ticket to save Astral and asks if he is in).
In the plane, Yuma asks if Astral is still alive. Kite says they have to prove it first. He asks Yuma the purpose for their battles. Yuma seems to have forgotten, and Kite enlightens him by reminding him of the Numeron Code. Yuma remembers Astral telling him about the Code. Kite says Astral's mission is to find the Numeron Code and destroy the Barian World. Without Astral, the Numeron Code cannot be found. No matter how hard they resist, as long as the Barians keep up their assault, they will eventually obtain all the "Numbers". They will then modify the Numeron Code so that it will destroy the Astral World and the human world. Because of this, they need Astral. Kite reports that while Yuma was depressed, he and Quinton found a way to the Astral World. Yuma wonders how they will do that. Scritch, in his mosquito form, eavesdrops on the conversation. Kite shows the group a King's Coin. Yuma realizes that this was the coin his father left behind in the Number ruins. He digs into his pocket, pulls out the coins he has and realizes that one is missing. He asks Kite where he found the missing coin (in the dub, Yuma accuses Kite for stealing it). Kite returns it to Yuma, saying that he simply borrowed it. He returns to the main subject: there are secrets hidden in the coin. Scritch buzzes behind Kite, who gently swats him, then flies away. Yuma asks Kite what's wrong and the latter responds it's nothing.
The plane arrives at the group's destination. Everyone disembarks and Yuma sneezes. Yuma wonders what the machine standing before them is. Kite replies that this machine is a Interdimensional Teleporter built by him and Quinton. Orbital 7 welcomes Kite. Kite tells Yuma that the Different Dimension Airship was able to search out the "Mythyrian Numbers" in the ruins. He continues that the King's Coins may have some secrets related to the "Numbers" (in the dub, Kite says the airship was not able to detect the "Numbers", but it was able to detect the King's Coins). The coins are made of Astralite, a substance found in the Astral World. Yuma says "Astral Light?", but Kite corrects him. Astralite is a powerful source of energy that Earth does not have. Quinton and Kite can use the coins to open the gateway to the Astral World. Yuma marvels at the creation, but Quinton interrupts. He demands why Kite would bring Yuma here. His student replies that unlike Quinton, he did not intend to coddle Yuma. Quinton says this is not the problem; they will use the teleporter to open the gateway between dimensions, with no knowing of what will happen next (in the dub, Quinton says he intended to test the teleporter himself, then inform Yuma about it). Kite says he knows; Yuma demands why Quinton did not tell him about this. Quinton says it was simple: Yuma would go for it if he told him about the teleporter. Yuma protests that this is the way they can get Astral back. Quinton chides Yuma for not knowing the experiment's danger. Even if Yuma somehow entered the Astral World, it's a totally unknown place; Yuma may not even return alive. Yuma says this doesn't matter; he wants to be reunited with Astral. Kite tells Quinton that Kazuma leaving the coins in the ruins is no coincidence. If he expected everything that happened so far, the coins must be messages to summon Yuma to the Astral World. Yuma regains hope; Astral must still be alive. After worrying for Yuma, Tori begs Kite and Quinton to support Yuma, since he is the only one who can bring Astral back. Yuma also begs Quinton to send him to the Astral World. After a brief moment of thought, Quinton agrees to send Yuma off.
Quinton guides Yuma through the procedure. He and Kite will open the gate to the Astral World and send Yuma there. They have no idea how long the gate will stay open, so if the gate closes, Yuma may not even return. Yuma understands and tells Tori not to worry; he will bring Astral back. Orbital starts up the teleporter. Quinton explains that high voltage will be applied to the Astralite in the device to let it release energy. By charging it and releasing it all at once, the gateway to the Astral World will be opened. He tells Yuma to stay where he is and not move. They can only extract energy from the Astralite once, meaning there is only one chance to open the gate. A yellow sphere surrounds Yuma and lifts him off the platform. Yuma nods in understanding. Orbital reports on the energy levels, but the lights get cut off. Quinton says this isn't good; if the blackout continues, the experiment may fail. Kite orders Orbital to use his own power source to restart the teleporter. Orbital starts to protest, but Tori begs him to do it. Reluctantly, Orbital plugs one of the machine's cables to the Baria Crystal in his chest compartment (in the dub, Orbital remarks he should have brought extra batteries). This shocks him and causes him to fall on his back. Kite is satisfied that they now have a backup power generator to continue the experiment. Suddenly, he hears laughter behind him. Scritch addresses Yuma, Quinton and Kite, saying they're trying to visit the Astral World, but he himself won't let that happen. Kite identifies him as a Barian, while Quinton deduces that Scritch was behind the blackout (in the dub, Kite says the Barians always show up at the worst possible times; Quinton does not speak at this point). Scritch responds by laughing at the group mockingly. Yuma curses at the Barians for interfering, but Kite reminds Yuma to remain still until Orbital's energy charges up the teleporter. Until then, he and Quinton will protect this place. Yuma is concerned about his friends from the sphere. Scritch laughs and calls the situation interesting; he will defeat Kite and Quinton first, then. He throws a small sphere at Kite's and Quinton's feet, blinding everyone else with a red light. Scritch declares, "Mosquito Ninja Art! Mosquito Ring Formation of Undead Corpses!" (the kanji of Scritch's ninja art is cut from the dub) Don Thousand's Emblem appears for a brief moment, while Scritch explains that his opponent's LP are halved, while Scritch's are doubled. Kite calls it a handicap Duel (in the dub, Kite appears unconcerned about the handicap), while Quinton accepts the conditions. Scritch says he dislikes big things, especially the giant monsters that Kite and Quinton use (in the dub, Scritch says he will enjoy taking down Kite and Quinton). Scritch's eyes glow purple and he initiates Barian Battlemorph. He transforms into a humanoid mosquito, armed with a Duel Disk. Kite deduces this must be Scritch's true form. Yuma throws a card to Quinton, who catches it. He realizes that the card is his old "Number", "Number 9: Dyson Sphere". Yuma urges Quinton to win with this card. The latter promises Yuma to take care of the feelings he entrusted to him. Turning back to Kite, Quinton says he never thought that he would Duel alongside Kite. Kite tells his mentor not to drag him down (in the dub, Kite tells Quinton to keep up with him). Quinton tells Kite not to get ahead of himself because he taught Kite how to Duel. Kite says that students are meant to surpass their mentors; Quinton urges Kite to show him that power.
Kite initiates Photon Transformation, while Quinton arms his D-Pad. Scritch tells his opponents that they are playing under Battle Royal rules (in the dub, Scritch tells Quinton not to make promises he cannot keep). All three players yell "Duel!" Quinton takes the first turn and Special Summons "Deep-Space Cruiser IX" from his hand by sending a Machine-Type monster, "Planet Pathfinder", from his hand to the Graveyard. He follows up with "Hologram Projection", which lets him Special Summon it as a monster with the same Level, ATK, DEF, Attribute and Type as a monster he controls. Quinton targets "Deep-Space Cruiser IX" for this effect. "Deep-Space Cruiser" is surrounded by green light for a brief moment, then a hologram of it splits away. Yuma exclaims that Quinton has two Level 9 monsters. Quinton overlays his two Level 9 monsters to Xyz Summon "Number 9: Dyson Sphere" in Attack Position. Scritch exclaims that the monster is huge (in the dub, Scritch remarks, "The bigger they are, the harder they fall"). Quinton says no one can attack on their first turn of a Battle Royal Duel, so he ends his turn (in the dub, Quinton assures Scritch that no matter how hard he tries, "Dyson Sphere" will not fall, but the Barian will not be as fortunate).
Kite goes next and Special Summons "Photon Thrasher" by its own effect, since he controls no monsters. He then Normal Summons "Photon Chargeman". Kite activates its effect to double its ATK once per turn. He Tributes his two monsters with 2000 or more ATK to Special Summon "Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon" and ends his turn.
Scritch says that his opponent's ace monsters appeared right from the start. He Normal Summons "Mosquito Force" and activates its effect, which lets him add a "Mosquito Force" from his Deck to his hand. Scritch then activates ""Ninjitsu Art of Mosquito Marching", which lets him Special Summon two "Mosquito" monsters from his hand; he Special Summons two copies of "Mosquito Force". Kite and Quinton grimly note that Scritch has three Level 2 monsters for an Xyz Summon. Scritch overlays his three Level 2 monsters to Xyz Summon "Number 2: Ninja Shadow Mosquito", which is not visible to everyone present. Quinton says it has 0 ATK, while Kite and Yuma look around for the monster itself (in the dub, Quinton wonders if the monster disappeared, while Kite asks what Scritch is up to). Tori wonders why this can be, but Scritch reminds them that it's right in front of them and says that size does not equal power.
Featured Duel: Kite Tenjo and Quinton vs. Scritch
Turn 1: Quinton
Quinton activates the effect of the "Deep-Space Cruiser IX" in his hand, sending a Machine-Type monster from his hand to the Graveyard to Special Summon it. He sends "Planet Pathfinder" and Special Summons "Deep-Space Cruiser IX" (900/900) in Attack Position. He then activates "Hologram Projection", which lets him target a monster he controls and Special Summon this card to the Monster Card Zone as a monster with the same name, Attribute, Type, Level, ATK and DEF as that of the target. He targets "Deep-Space Cruiser IX". Quinton overlays his two Level 9 monsters to Xyz Summon "Number 9: Dyson Sphere" (2800/3000) in Attack Position.
Turn 2: Kite
As he controls no monsters, Kite Special Summons "Photon Thrasher" (2100/0) from his hand in Attack Position via its own effect. He then Normal Summons "Photon Chargeman" (1000/1000) and activates its effect, which allows him to double its ATK until his next Standby Phase (1000 → 2000), at the cost of it being unable to attack this turn. Kite Tributes his two monsters with 2000 or more ATK to Special Summon "Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon" (3000/2500) from his hand in Attack Position via its own effect.
Turn 3: Scritch
Scritch Normal Summons "Mosquito Force" (200/0) and activates its effect, which allows him to add one "Mosquito Force" from his Deck to his hand. He then activates "Ninjitsu Art of Mosquito Marching" which allows him to Special Summon two "Mosquito" monsters from his hand. He Special Summons two copies of "Mosquito Force" (200/0 each) via this effect. Scritch overlays his three Level 2 monsters to Xyz Summon "Number 2: Ninja Shadow Mosquito" (0/0) in Attack Position.
Duel continues in the next episode.
The closed captions refer to Scritch by his Japanese name, Kaninja.
The following cards appeared in this episode. Cards in italics debuted here.