chapitre.91

Episode 91, part 2, this would be such a fun duel if it wasn’t for the murder #justYGOthings

Part 1, focusing on Mai’s flashback early in the episode, is here!

Shit’s already super fucked-up, Yami Malik stylz

Mai can’t hear or see Anzu. I’m pretty sure this is a sop to the viewers to show where Anzu should be, and not actually what Mai sees.

But Mai is determined and battles onwards nonetheless.

Wow that’s … some name. And her attack is called Dance of Betrayal. #IblamePegasus

Yami Malik isn’t rattled by such things as counterattacks or human conversation.

oh, fuck off, edgelord

you were never even really a child, you’re just a magical mental illness

Anyway, he’s quickly able to destroy Mai’s Monster, matching her move for move.

… didn’t think I’d ever say this, but Yami Malik makes a good point.

But tragically, the upshot of Mai losing this Monster, and therefore another fragment of her own memory, is that glowing, floating memory!Jounouchi explodes like a wine glass that abruptly met a bullet

Don’t worry, she copes well!

lol jk

T___T

(right before the exploding-Jounouchi is when she has her flashback, which I recapped separately, when she realises what’s about to happen)

Meanwhile Jounouchi doesn’t even know why Mai’s no longer responding to his (near-constant) yelling

“How the hell would I know?”

Wait HOW THE HELL DID HE KNOW??

Can he see the illusions? Yami Malik says only the people in the game can, but, as we’re about to see, he doesn’t account for Yami’s dark magic abilities elsewhere.  Can he somehow sense what’s happening? Or does he read Mai as well as Yami Malik does, and also read Yami Malik, and guess that that’s what’s happening?

… Wait didn’t Yami Malik TELL Mai out loud with words what’s happening? So then this changes from “Yami’s incredible control of dark magic or Yami’s superlative observation skills?” to “why the fuck is everyone else so fucking dense?”

Either way, Yami says that outsiders can’t interfere with a Dark Game…

YEAHHHH :D I fuckin love when Yami gets all Dark Sorcerer up in other people’s business

Yami Malik is not delighted.

WHY IS HE CALLING HIM YUGI FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS RIGHT AND GOOD AND NARRATIVELY CONSISTENT WHY THE FUCKITY FUCKING FUCK CAN NO ONE GET THIS RIGHT I SWEAR TO THE GODS OF WRITING-SHIT-THAT-MAKES-ANY-KIND-OF-SENSE I COULD NOT BE MORE ENRAGED BY THE COMPLETE AND TOTAL DISREGARD THE WRITERS PAY TO THE FACT THAT MOST OF THESE FUCKING FUCKERS KNOW. DAMN. WELL. THAT THE MAGIC-WIELDING DUEL-WINNING SMACK-TALKING ROYAL-ASS ASS IS THE GODDAMN PHARAOH AND NOT IN FACT “””YUGI””” YOU FUCKING MOTHER-FUCKING-FUCKERS

fucks sake

anyway

Yami butts in to the floating green void that idk symbolises the Dark Game somehow and delivers some motivational slogans to Mai

He tells her that the horrible things that are happening are illusions based on her fears. She listens and starts to feel hopeful again, and it jogs her memory, although imperfectly: she’s now able to hear Jounouchi but not see or remember him.

well that’s sweet!

Just in case things get too sweet and touching, Yami Malik moves on to Phase 2: The Kinky Shit

great.

It’s the emphasis on “slowly” that makes this weird.

…. I’m just saying, he’s DEFINITELY getting off on this. Good to know he’s a masochist as well as a sadist. Or maybe this is like, an emotional-control kink as a Dom? idk

Mai didn’t object to Yami visiting the green void, but she’s determined to do this herself.

Jounouchi grabs Yami and asks him what the hell is going on, specifically what Yami Malik means by saying that, if Mai loses, she’ll fall into a “slumber”.

That’s… not a very informative answer.

But look at his body language: he stiffens up and looks away, turns his whole face away, so he’s not looking Jounouchi in the eyes. Even though he was perfectly comfortable identifying and even interfering in the Dark Game, he’s very uncomfortable talking about it here. I wonder if he’s ashamed of how he used to run his own Dark Games and inflict similar punishments on people, even though he thought at the time he was doing the right thing, while Yami Malik is pretty explicitly just really into fucking people up.

But hey, one slick combo later!

BOOM!

Even Yami Malik is impressed

Actually he’s been very complimentary throughout. When he’s not being a sadistic creep, which is rare. But he gives her credit for all her good moves, and even does so politely.

Unlike SOMEONE I can mention

RUDE. (so cute tho)

Meanwhile, speaking of people getting off on weird shit

good lord, he’s so into this

But when she summons it, it doesn’t exactly go the way she’d hoped and everyone is shocked

pictured: adorkable Pharaoh, shocked

and Yami Malik laughs so hard his entire cloak blows up in the air to join him in merriment:

you could even say, he’s having a BALL

My favorite thing about Vox Machina is the fact that right before they went to hell they spent a sensational amount of time making it crystal clear that under no circumstances were any of them to take anything from anyone, make any deals, or enter into any contracts

And literally the very first thing Percival Fredrickstein von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III does is take wine from a devil and proceed to enter into a contract with him

Episode 91, part 1: SIDE QUEST TO TRAUMA BOAT

So here’s where we get, over less than five minutes, Mai’s entire backstory and the strengths and weaknesses of her entire character. It’s being its own separate post because there are a lot of Thoughts and Feelings and I ended up screencapping like almost every single sentence she said during her relatively-brief flashback. 

Mai grows up in an absolutely slamming pad

10/10 would stage tragic anime backstory here

Because yes, much like EVERY OTHER FUCKING CHARACTER IN THE ENTIRE FUCKING SHOW, Mai is #spoileralert an orphan.

bby </3

UNLIKE many other characters, apparently no one even fucking noticed tho. 

WHAT

WHO ALLOWED THIS TO HAPPEN???

SHE’S FUCKING EIGHT YEARS OLD OR SOME SHIT, GODDAMMIT, I FUCKING KNOW ORPHANAGES EXIST IN THIS GODDAMN WORLD OF YOURS, YU-GI-OH BECAUSE THEY COME UP IN A BIG WAY IN THE KAIBA BROS BACKSTORY

[I came up with some AUs based on this moment of rage that I typed here but then realised this post was already getting really long so I moved them out into their own post!]

jfc even on the scale of Anime Parents Syndrome, seriously, I’m pretty sure in the dub her parents are just, like, fuckin busy and kinda not very engaged, which in an unusual move for the dub, actually makes way MORE sense

ANYWAY

She runs away and joins a cruise-ship!

This is the first thing she says. It wasn’t that she was alone, she’s chaotically surrounded by people. It’s that she didn’t like them, they weren’t good people. Mai sometimes come across as a little amoral and mercenary, but deep down, she’s a good person and she couldn’t make friends with people who were after nothing but cheap thrills and more money. 

I also think it’s interesting she says this right as it pans over one of the other employees: the sexy-bunny (sidebar WHY is that a thing???? rabbits aren’t sexyyyy) waitress. I wonder why she didn’t make friends with the waitresses? Maybe they weren’t particularly nice either, or maybe they saw Mai as a spoilt rich girl with not much in the way of social skills.  

I don’t think she’s slut-shaming the waitress by including her with the “terrible people”. The timing of the shot may actually indicate that Mai includes “people who enforce seXXXy dress codes on underpaid cruise ship waitresses” under “terrible people”. Mai is uncharacteristically covered up on the cruise ship; she’s wearing a long sleeve, high collared shirt that isn’t even particularly tight. I’m stretching here, but I wonder if Mai deliberately forsook her own preferred highly-feminine revealing style of clothes in this environment? She hates these arrogant men who think they can buy access to women’s bodies, she point-blank refuses their propositions and she doesn’t even give them the satisfaction of seeing her in her off-duty tight tops and short skirts. 

She’s unhappy here, but she stays.

She doesn’t name it and I wonder if it’s because she can’t name it. She didn’t really know what it was she was looking for, she just knew something was missing. She felt empty.

And apparently this high-rolling cruise ship casino for ADULTS who are GROWN UP goes in hard for fucking brand-new trading card games…

She talks about the Harpies as though they’re her friends, not just cards. This is not unusual for YGO [coughYugicoiugh] at all [coughJounouchikissedhisRedEyescough] god help us [cougheverythingKaibahaseversaidaboutdragonscough] at all but it does speak to the fact that she didn’t have real friends to compare them to.

But they were more than friends, they became her role models…

They used weapons and armour, she says. She ignores the fact that they also call upon each other and fight as a team. She doesn’t have that option for making herself stronger so she focuses on what she can use, and says “I lived a similar life”.

Alternative clothes!headcanon; she has been dressing conservatively this whole time, that’s why she’s covered up on the cruise ship. But when she sees the Harpies, she decides to empower herself with “weapons and armour” like theirs and starts dressing in corsets and leather jackets, clothes that mimic their armour and give her a feeling of control and power: she chooses her own clothes and she knows she turns heads and distracts men when she’s flaunting herself.

I would be interested to know what the actual Japanese is here. It’s an interesting distinction. She’s saying she internalised this way of living and convinced herself and everyone else of it. She was screaming it - loud and sure, but also distressed. From her soul, so it’s really deeply-felt for her. But inside her heart, even deeper, she was still really unhappy and she felt alone.

She speaks of meeting the nerds like a destined event.

And specifically pulls out Jounouchi, even though early on, they didn’t share more of a bond than she did with Yugi/Yami or with Anzu. I think her fondness for Jounouchi grew and now that she’s looking back, now that she knows he’s particularly special to her, she’s seeing her memories in that light. She didn’t know at the time but now she does.

#thisguy

I think it’s sweet that the moment she chooses to remember is Jounouchi telling some overblown (possibly even false) story. She really like his sense of humour and his larger-than-life personality and this, more than the more obviously Friendship moments, is what she thinks about when she thinks of him.

Although she’s focusing on Jounouchi, she keeps saying “friends”, she’s thinking of the others too.

Personally, I think this section would be better if she was more explicit about that. The writers obviously wanted to focus on the shipping aspect so singled him out, but her relationships with Yami and Anzu especially are also really fun and interesting. I don’t polarship, so I’m biased, but I genuinely think her arc is more interesting as a Learns To Have Friends arc rather than a Will They Won’t They.

Either way

T___________T

But it’s so much more than “lonely”. It’s not like “I’d like someone to talk to”, it’s a deep and hungry emptiness that she’s only halfway through recovering from, just enough that she can guess at the light at the end of the tunnel. She’s much more used to the dark and crushing loneliness than she is to anything else and it’s taking her a long time to take little steps towards something better, Yami Malik swoops in to casually and easily start kicking down her painstakingly half-built sandcastle.

YEAH NO FUCKIN SHIT

10

My Top 10 Anime of 2016

1. Bungo Stray Dogs

2. Yuri on Ice

3. Mob Psycho 100

4. Nanbaka

5. 91 Days

6. Servamp

7. Haikyuu Season 3

8. Arslan Senki Season 2

9. Boku Dake ga Inai Machi

10. Keijo!!!!!!!!