OWLS November “Failure” Post: What Card Game Anime Have Taught Me About Failure

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Hello everyone, and welcome once again to my monthly OWLS post. The topic for this month is failure, as described below:

One of the best ways we can learn is through failure. This month we will be talking about the failures of our favorite characters in pop culture media and what we can learn from them. We will also reflect on our own mistakes and failures and how those experiences have allowed us to grow as human beings

As I am the first person going this month, I would encourage you all heavily to check out Megan’s post when it come out on the 7th. For my post today, I thought I would talk about something that I do not often talk about anymore: Trading Card Games (TCG’s) and their related anime. With that said, let us get started.


As I stated above, I have a pretty long history TCGs and their anime, most notably Yugioh and Cardfight Vanguard. However, I do not often talk about either because I have not consistently watched the anime for either in a long time, and since this is not really a blog related to card games, I tend to avoid that subject as well. Still, there is no denying that both of these franchises have had a big impact on me, and have taught me quite a few things in my time watching them.

The first of the card game anime that I spent a long time with is Yugioh. For many reading this post, that probably is not surprising, considering just how popular it was for so many growing up. The show has thus far had six different iterations, with roughly one new game mechanic being introduced with each series. Despite the change, however, each one has roughly the same story line and central focus for its main characters, that being wanting to become the best pro duelist.

The one I think does the best job with this concept is Yugioh 5ds, which tells the story of Yusei, a young duelist who grows up on an island disconnected from the mainland of Domino City. After finding his way off of the island, battling the security and riding his bike through a garbage shoot all the way to the mainland, Yusei attempts to connect with his former friend Jack Atlas, who betrayed him in order to get off the island and make it as a pro turbo duelist.

One of the biggest character traits among Yugioh main characters as well as Shounen protagonists more broadly speaking is a sense of unwavering confidence. No matter the situation they find themselves in, whether it be fighting against a powerful opponent, or trying to solve a difficult mystery about their identity, they generally take on everything with a smile. This is even more true in shows aimed at kids where the stakes are much lower story-wise. Because of this, the franchise’s many iterations do not often deal with the concept of failure. Rather, through the main characters’ confident exteriors implies that the best cover against failure is to shield one’s self with, well, confidence.

However, other card game anime, like Cardfight Vanguard, take an opposite approach when it comes their main characters. Cardfight Vanguard centers around Aichi Sendou, a middle school student with a passing interest in the game of Cardfight. Aichi is fairly shy and timid, and often does not stand up for himself. Morikawa, his school’s bully, recognizes this and uses it to steal Aichi’s favorite card Blaster Blade. After getting his card stolen, Aichi reunites and plays against Kai, who originally gave him Blaster Blade.

Aichi arguably deals with failure much more throughout the series than any of the Yugioh protagonists did during the course of their series, excluding Yusei. After forming a team with a few other people at a local card shop, Aichi then begins competing in tournaments. However, at first, it does not work out that well. Team Q4, as he, Misaki, Kai, and Kamui are then known, do terribly at the first regional event they participate in, and as such, are unable to qualify for the national tournament. Even after initially qualifying for team Q4, Aichi is only a stand-in member, and does not play much.

Still, instead of giving up, Aichi takes note, and learns from both his teammates matches and his own. He eventually is able to compete among the best in Japan, and later on the best in the world. To him, failure is simply an opportunity for learning and improving, and he is not the only one. The other members of Q4 also face their fair share of rivalries and challenges, but do not give up when the going gets tough. Except for Kamui in the beginning, he kinda sucks, lol.

The most important takeaways from these series are, as cheesy as they may be, to always be confident when working towards your goal, but also to be humble and learn from failure. Failure does not have to be scary. In fact, most of the time it is good.


What else is important about failure? Let me know in the comments below.

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If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friendos!

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