Promotional image of Cardfight!! Vanguard
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Hatsuki Tsuji|
|Produced by||Atsuyuki Takada
|Written by||Tatsuhiko Urahata|
|Music by||Takayuki Negishi|
|Network||TV Tokyo, TV Aichi, AT-X, Cartoon Network Korea|
|Original run||January 8, 2011 – March 31, 2012|
|Anime television series|
|Cardfight!! Vanguard: Asia Circuit|
|Directed by||Hatsuki Tsuji|
|Produced by||Atsuyuki Takada
|Written by||Tatsuhiko Urahata|
|Music by||Takayuki Negishi|
|Network||TV Tokyo, TV Aichi, AT-X|
|Original run||April 8, 2012 – January 2, 2013|
|Anime television series|
|Cardfight!! Vanguard: Link Joker|
|Directed by||Hatsuki Tsuji|
|Produced by||Atsuyuki Takada
|Written by||Tatsuhiko Urahata|
|Music by||Takayuki Negishi|
|Network||TV Tokyo, TV Aichi, AT-X|
|Original run||January 13, 2013 – March 2, 2014|
|Anime television series|
|Cardfight!! Vanguard: Legion Mate|
|Directed by||Hatsuki Tsuji|
|Produced by||Atsuyuki Takada
|Written by||Tatsuhiko Urahata|
|Music by||Takayuki Negishi|
|Network||TV Tokyo, TV Aichi, AT-X|
|Original run||March 9, 2014 – ongoing|
|Written by||Akira Itō|
|Published by||Kadokawa Shoten|
|Magazine||Kerokero Ace, Monthly Bushiroad|
|Original run||March 26, 2011 – ongoing|
|Cardfight!! Vanguard: The Movie|
|Directed by||Takashi Motoki (live-action)
Shin Itagaki (animation)
|Written by||Mayori Sekijima|
|Studio||Ultra Super Pictures (animation)
Ace Crew Entertainment (live action)
|Anime television series|
|Original run||April 6, 2013 – December 14, 2013|
Cardfight!! Vanguard (カードファイト!! ヴァンガード Kādofaito!! Vangādo?) is a Japanese media franchise created in collaboration between Akira Itō (Yu-Gi-Oh! R), Satoshi Nakamura (Duel Masters), and Bushiroad president Takaaki Kidani. An anime television series was produced by TMS Entertainment and aired in Japan on TV Tokyo starting on January 8, 2011. An official trading card game by Bushiroad began releasing in Japan on February 26, 2011, in Singapore on May 5, 2011, and internationally on May 12, 2011. A manga series was also announced and began publishing in Kerokero Ace magazine on March 26, 2011. A second season for the anime under the title Cardfight!! Vanguard: Asia Circuit (カードファイト!! ヴァンガード アジアサーキット編 Kādofaito!! Vangādo Ajia Sākito Hen?, lit. Cardfight!! Vanguard Asia Circuit Chapter) began airing on April 8, 2012. A third season for the anime began airing on January 13, 2013 under the title Cardfight!! Vanguard: Link Joker (カードファイト!! ヴァンガード リンクジョーカー編 Kādofaito!! Vangādo Rinku Jōkā Hen?, lit. Cardfight!! Vanguard Link Joker Chapter). A fourth season for the anime with the subtitle Legion Mate (レギオンメイト編 Region Meito Hen?, lit. Legion Mate Chapter) began airing on March 9, 2014.
On July 2010, an anime television series was green-lit by TMS Entertainment under the directorial supervision of Hatsuki Tsuji. Music is composed by Takayuki Negishi while Mari Tominaga provided the character designs. The series began airing in Japan on TV Aichi beginning on January 8, 2011 and rebroadcast by AT-X, TV Tokyo, TV Osaka, and TV Setouchi systems. The media-streaming website Crunchyroll simulcasted the first season to the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. Crunchyroll began streaming the second season to the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom on June 30, 2012 and continues to stream the series. It was announced on November 17, 2013 that Hanabee Entertainment has licensed the anime and will release it on March 5, 2014 in Australia and New Zealand.
A common theme among Bushiroad franchises are crossover cameo appearances of characters from other series. The four main characters (Sherlock, Nero, Hercule, and Cordelia) of Tantei Opera Milky Holmes appear in various episodes and during the credit sequences of the fifth opening and ending themes. Certain Cardfight!! Vanguard characters make special cameo appearances in episode 4 of the Future Card Buddyfight anime. Misaki Tokura (who is voiced by Izumi Kitta in Japanese and Carol-Anne Day in English (both of whom also voice roles in the Japanese and English versions of Buddyfight)) is the only one who has a spoken line.
Episodes 83 and 119 of the anime feature actor/musician Daigo playing a caricature of himself. Daigo is a major contributor to the Cardfight!! Vanguard franchise as he stars in the live-action drama Stand Up! Vanguard and many live-action Vanguard commercials. He also features as a performer the fifth and seventh opening theme songs and sometimes appears at certain official Vanguard events. In the English dub, Daigo's voice is provided by Phil Fulton.
An English dub co-produced by Ocean Productions (recorded at Blue Water Studios) began airing on Singapore's Okto channel from October 16, 2011, on Animax Asia from January 22, 2012, and on Malaysia's RTM-TV2 channel from November 18, 2012. Dubbed episodes also began being released on YouTube from May 29, 2012. The series can be seen officially on a dedicated channel for it created by Bushiroad, and as of June 25 is available for viewing in most countries without "geo-blocking". Hulu began hosting the English-dubbed version on August 26, 2013 in partnership with Aniplex of America.
While there are a few changes, the English dub adaption is mostly faithful to the original Japanese version. However, the most notable change in the English dub is that three opening themes and three ending themes are used. The only openings are English versions of the first opening theme "Vanguard" (from eps. 1-65), the third opening theme "Limit Break" (from eps. 66-104), and the fourth opening theme "Vanguard Fight" (from eps. 105 onward), all of which are still performed by their original respective artists. The first ending theme used in the dub is an English version of the third ending theme "Dream Shooter" (from eps. 1-65) while the second ending theme is a unique song titled "Way To Victory" (from eps. 66-104), both of which are performed by Sea☆A. The ending credit sequence for this exclusive theme is the one used for the original sixth ending theme "Jōnetsu-ism". The third ending theme used in the dub is an English version of the original ninth ending song "Endless☆Fighter" (from eps. 105 onward), which is performed only by Aimi Terakawa in the dub. Similarly, the Ultra Rare insert songs are performed in English by Suzuko Mimori, Yoshino Nanjō, and Aimi Terakawa (the original Japanese voice actresses of Kourin, Rekka, and Suiko). There are currently no plans for the show to be aired on television in western countries.
Aichi Sendou is a timid young boy in his third year of junior high school. The one thing that keeps him going is his trading card Blaster Blade from Cardfight!! Vanguard, a trading card game that takes place on a different planet called "Cray" and is popular throughout the world. When Aichi's Blaster Blade is stolen by his classmate Katsumi Morikawa, he chases him to a local card shop named Card Capital. There, Aichi has his first cardfight with Toshiki Kai, an aloof and cold-hearted high schooler who has outstanding abilities and who originally gave Aichi his Blaster Blade when Aichi was little. Aichi wins the fight, reclaiming Blaster Blade, and begins to enjoy a fulfilling life as he delves deeper into Vanguard. Aichi's primary goal throughout the series is to become a stronger fighter, so he can once again battle Kai and have him recognize his worth. Aichi eventually places high enough at a local tournament to join with Kai, Misaki Tokura, and Kamui Katsuragi to form Team Quadrifoglio ("Q4" for short). Together, they enter regional and national tournaments to test their skills against fighters from all over Japan. Aichi's principal rival becomes Ren Suzugamori, a powerful but despicable cardfighter who is the leader of the reigning national champion team. Ren eventually makes Aichi awaken a power that Ren also possesses: Psyqualia, a psychic-like ability that lets its user foresee victory in cardfights. However, Aichi’s usage of Psyqualia slowly distorts him into becoming a dark person like Ren. Thanks to Kai’s efforts, Aichi decides to no longer use Psyqualia and reverts to his normal self. When Aichi battles Ren at the finals of the national championships, it is revealed that Cray is real, and Psyqualia is the power given to those who will determine Cray's future. Aichi manages to reconcile his good-natured personality with his dark desires to become stronger. Simultaneously on Cray, the Royal Paladin characters depicted in Aichi's cards resolve their conflict with Ren's Shadow Paladins. Aichi defeats Ren, and Team Q4 becomes the national champions of Japan. The season concludes with Aichi's Psyqualia mysteriously vanishing and Kai fulfilling Aichi's wish to cardfight him again.
Season 2: Asia Circuit
Shortly after Q4 wins the national tournament, a strange phenomenon occurs when Aichi meets a young boy named Takuto Tatsunagi. The Royal Paladin, Shadow Paladin, and Kagero clans of Vanguard have been wiped from existence, and due to this, Aichi’s Royal Paladin deck has been changed to Gold Paladin. Aichi reunites with Q4 (excluding Kai) and travels across Asia to participate in the Vanguard Fight Circuit, an invitational multi-stage tournament featuring the world’s best cardfighters, for the opportunity to meet and seek answers from the sponsor, Takuto. Throughout the circuit, Aichi, whose Psyqualia has reactivated, encounters a mix of familiar friends and new rivals. One noteworthy rival is Team Dreadnought’s Leon Soryu, a man possessing Psyqualia who is on a mission to lead the second coming of both his family and the long-lost Aqua Force clan. After losing at the Singapore, Seoul, and Hong Kong Stages of the VF Circuit, Q4 finally manages to win the Japan Stage and meet with Takuto, who reveals that a dark entity known as Void is currently threatening the planet Cray. Furthermore, Leon is exposed as having made an alliance with Void, allowing the three clans to be sealed away in exchange for Void's promise to return Aqua Force to power. In a final confrontation, Aichi defeats Leon, who had absorbed Void’s power. With a reformed Leon’s help, Aichi uses his Gold Paladins to drive Void out of Cray and subsequently free the captured clans. The VF Circuit concludes with Q4 crowned as the winning team. Afterward, life returns to normal, except that Aichi now has a new deck featuring his signature Royal Paladin units as Gold Paladins.
Season 3: Link Joker
Months have passed after the VF Circuit, and the members of Team Q4 have drifted apart. Aichi enters his first year of high school at Miyaji Academy, where the instructors and students focus on looking towards the future and studying. Aichi thinks Vanguard can be a future that people can believe in, and he tries to establish a Cardfight Club on campus. Despite the interference of the Student Council, he manages to recruit the requisite five members for the club: Kourin Tatsunagi, Naoki Ishida, Shingo Komoi, and Misaki, who is also a Miyaji Academy student but was reluctant to join the club. During Aichi's inaugural appearance at the VF High School Championship, his team defeats Kai's team but loses to Ren's team. Kai remarks on how much stronger both Aichi and Ren have become. The second major story arc of the season revolves around an extraterrestrial entity called "Link Joker", the clan which is the avatar of Void. Various fighters become corrupted by Void's power and turn into "Reversed" fighters driven to seek out stronger opponents and bring them under Void's influence. Kai visits Takuto to seek answers, and in a moment of weakness while cardfighting the Reversed Takuto, he allows himself to become Reversed in exchange for additional power. More and more cardfighters around the world become Reversed, including several of Aichi's friends. Although Ren and Leon manage to fend off and free their respective comrades from Reverse, Aichi is unaware of what is happening until he sees Reversed Takuto announcing the end of the world. At first hesitant to face his Reversed friends, especially Kai, Aichi eventually resolves himself to fight them to save the world. After many battles, Aichi and his friends emerge victorious over Link Joker, but at the cost of losing the original Takuto. Moreover, Aichi faces Kai in one last fight to decide the strongest fighter. In the end, Aichi wins after Kai realizes what a true friend Aichi has been for him.
Season 4: Legion Mate
Several days after the mortal battle against Link Joker, life seems to have returned to normal. However, Aichi Sendou, the hero who saved the earth from the invasion of Link Joker and Void, has disappeared, and Kai, his closest friend ("mate"), seems to be the only person who remembers him. After receiving a Royal Paladin deck containing a new version of Aichi's avatar card Blaster Blade, Kai sets out to not only remind everyone about Aichi but also find him. Through cardfighting, Kai manages to gather other comrades who remember Aichi: Naoki, Misaki, his classmate Miwa, and Kamui. However, unbeknownst to Kai and his friends, there are enemies, the Quatre Knights, who intend to stop them from finding Aichi...
- Opening themes
- "Vanguard" by JAM Project (eps. 1-33) (eps. 1-65 in English dub)
- "Believe In My Existence" by JAM Project (eps. 34-65)
- "Limit Break" by JAM Project (eps. 66-104)
- "Vanguard Fight" by Psychic Lover (eps. 105-128)
- "Mugen∞REBIRTH" (無限∞REBIRTH Mugen∞RIBĀSU?) by Daigo (eps. 129-148)
- "Break your spell" by Psychic Lover (eps. 149-163)
- "V-ROAD" by BUSHI★7 (Daigo, Psychic Lover, Suzuko Mimori, Izumi Kitta, Suara, and Shūta Morishima) (eps. 164-present)
- Ending themes
- "Diamond Stars☆" (ダイヤモンドスター☆ "Daiyamondo Sutā☆"?) by Natsuko Aso (eps. 1-15)
- "Smash Up!!" by Shīna Hekīru (eps. 16-25)
- "Dream Shooter" by Sea☆A (eps. 25-38) (eps. 1-65 in English dub)
- "Starting Again" by Sayaka Sasaki (eps. 39-52)
- "Nakimushi Treasures" (泣き虫 TREASURES?) by Saori Kodama featuring Milky Holmes (Suzuko Mimori, Izumi Kitta, Sora Tokui, and Mikoi Sasaki) (eps. 53-65)
- "Jōnetsu-ism" (情熱イズム Jōnetsu-izumu?) by Rin (eps. 66-78)
- "Fighting Growing Diary" by Natsuko Aso (eps. 79-91)
- "Entry!" by Sea☆A (eps. 92-104)
- "Endless☆Fighter" by Ultra Rare (Suzuko Mimori, Yoshino Nanjō, and Aimi Terakawa) (eps. 105-119)
- "Yume Yume Express" by Milky Holmes (Mimori, Kitta, Tokui, and Sasaki) (eps. 120-138)
- "Ride on fight!" by Misaki and Kourin (Kitta and Mimori) (eps. 139-150)
- "Fly away -Ōzora e-" (Fly away -大空へ-?, Fly away -To the Great Sky-) by Suara (eps. 151-163)
- "Get Up" by FAKY (eps. 164-present)
- Insert songs
- "Miracle Trigger ~Tomorrow Will Be Ultra Rare!~" (ミラクルトリガー ~きっと明日はウルトラレア!~?) by Ultra Rare (Mimori, Nanjō, and Terakawa) (eps. 18, 26, and 115; simply known as "Miracle Trigger" in English dub)
- "Stand Up! DREAM" (スタンドアップ! DREAM?) by Ultra Rare (Mimori, Nanjō, and Terakawa) (eps. 39, 115, and 118)
- English dub ending theme
- "Way To Victory" by Sea☆A (eps. 66-104 in English dub)
Trading card game
An official card game by Bushiroad began releasing on February 26, 2011. An English version of the game is produced in Singapore, first released in that region on May 5, 2011. It has also been released internationally, starting on May 12, 2011.
The basic premise of the trading card game, as explained in the anime, is that the two players represent astral spirits dueling on the fictional planet Cray. The cards in players' decks, called "Units", represent characters from Cray that players can "Call" to the field to fight for them. Players alternate turns calling, attacking, and defending with units. When one player reaches six damage, or there are no more cards in his or her deck, that player loses the game.
Each unit has a Name, Clan, Power Level, Shield Value, Critical Value, one or more Skills, and "Grade", which ranges from 0 to 3. Overall strength of units increases with grade, but a unit can only be called if the player's vanguard is of that grade or higher. A deck must contain exactly fifty cards, including exactly sixteen "Trigger Units." There can be no more than four copies of the same card, no more than four total Heal Triggers, and no more than four cards with the keyword Sentinel (守護者 Senchineru?) in a deck. There is otherwise no restriction on how many cards of a certain clan or grade must be used.
The game begins when the players place a grade 0 unit, the titular "Vanguard", face-down in the center of their playing area, and each draw five cards. Each player is allowed one "Redraw": the player shuffles any number of cards from the starting hand into the deck and draws the same number of cards. Players randomly decide who goes first and reveal their starting Vanguards; the player who goes first cannot attack during the first turn. To use a unit to attack or activate certain skills, the player must rotate it from its normal position ("Standing") to 90 degrees clockwise ("Resting"). At the beginning of a player's turn, during the Stand Phase, that player stands all his or her rested units, so they can be used again. During the Draw Phase, the player draws a card. Next, during the Ride Phase, the player can choose a unit from the hand that is either the same grade or one grade higher than the current vanguard, which "Rides" over top of the former vanguard and replaces it (the card stack underneath the Vanguard is called the "Soul"). During the Main Phase, the player can call "Rear-Guard" units to five additional spaces: one each to the left and right of the vanguard, and three to the back row. The player can move rear-guards between the front and back row in that column and can "Retire" a rear-guard to call a new one in that space. Retired units are put into the discard pile ("Drop Zone").
The next part of the turn is the Battle Phase. The player can conduct any number of battles in sequence, and can attack with the same unit more than once as long as it is standing when the attack is declared. A battle is conducted by resting a front-row unit and choosing an opposing front-row unit to be attacked. If there is a standing grade 0 or 1 unit behind the attacker, it can "Boost" by resting, which adds its power to the attacker's. Then, the defending player has the chance to either take the attack or "Guard" with units from his or her hand and/or to "Intercept" by guarding with grade 2 rear-guards in the front row. Guarding units add their shield value to the defender's power, but are retired immediately when the battle ends. After guards are declared, if the attacker is a vanguard, the attacking player performs a "Drive Trigger Check": the player reveals the top card of his or her deck in the "Trigger Zone" and then adds it to his or her hand. Attacking grade 3 vanguards have the "Twin Drive" ability, which causes an additional drive check to occur after the first check is completed. If a trigger unit that matches the clan of one of the checking player's units is revealed during a Drive Check, one of that player's units gains power, and one of four possible effects may occur.
The four triggers, all of which give any unit an additional 5000 power until the turn ends, and their effects are the following:
- Critical Triggers (Yellow) give a unit +1 critical value.
- Stand Triggers (Blue) allow a rested rear-guard unit to stand.
- Draw Triggers (Red) let the player draw one more card from the deck.
- Heal Triggers (Green) allow the player to "Heal" by taking a card from the damage zone and putting it in the drop zone, but only if his or her damage is equal to or higher than the opponent's.
At the player's discretion, the power boost and additional trigger effect can either be given to one unit or divided amongst two units.
When the attacker's power is equal to or greater than the defender's, the attack hits; otherwise, nothing happens. If a rear-guard unit is hit by the attack, it is retired. If a vanguard is hit, however, it remains in play and the defending player makes a number of "Damage Trigger Checks" equal to the attacker's critical value. The process works exactly like a Drive Check, but the revealed card is put into the "Damage Zone" instead of the hand. After the attacking player has finished conducting battles, the turn enters the End Phase, where certain effects may happen or resolve, before going on the next player's turn.
Nations and Clans
Units in Vanguard are organized in Nations and Clans. Nations are the different countries that Planet Cray is divided in, with a total of six nations. Each nation is subsequently subdivided in clans, which are groups of units that band together to form an alliance. Each clan usually has its own unique aesthetic, and bases its play style around a certain skill.
- United Sanctuary: A small, holy nation that combines old traditions with scientific technology. Represented by the color yellow.
- Royal Paladin: A chivalrous army of knights who act as the United Sanctuary's main military force, and are ruled by their powerful but righteous monarch Alfred. Their play style is based around strength in numbers, searching and calling allies from the deck and gaining power by controlling many rear-guards. Introduced in Blaster Blade.
- Shadow Paladin: A group of dissenters and outcasts from the United Sanctuary, they are the dark counterpart to the Royal Paladins. To reflect this dichotomy, their play style uses the same mechanic of calling and searching allies from the deck, but instead sacrificing their rear-guards to fuel the powerful abilities of their boss units. Introduced in Eclipse of Illusionary Shadows.
- Gold Paladin: A new clan created by the remaining members of the Royal and Shadow Paladin during the War of Liberation, after the leaders of both clans were sealed away. They incorporate the same theme as their Paladin predecessors but focus on speed over consistency: whereas the Royal Paladins use expensive skills that search out for specific units, the Gold Paladins use cheaper skills that instead call random units from the top of the deck. Introduced in Slash of Silver Wolf.
- Oracle Think Tank: A corporation of magically-gifted individuals that use their powers to predict the future and support their Paladin allies with information, mainly composed of female units themed around Japanese mythology. Their play style involves drawing additional cards from the deck and checking and rearranging cards from the top of the deck, allowing them to "predict" the future. Introduced in Descent of the King of Knights.
- Genesis: After foreseeing a doomed future for the Planet Cray, the CEO of Oracle Think Tank created this second conglomerate of magically-talented individuals to fight and protect the future. Like Oracle Think Tank, they are themed around Greek and Japanese mythology, but instead focus on increasing their soul with effects that "Soulcharge" from the deck, and then removing these cards to activate powerful abilities. Introduced in Triumphant Return of the King of Knights.
- Angel Feather: A clan of angelic beings themed around medicine and healing, with many of their units being doctors or nurses, who protect and take care of the wounded in battlefields all over Planet Cray, while at the same time fighting as trained field medics. Their main ability is manipulation of the damage zone by swapping cards between it and the hand, field or deck. Introduced in Breaker of Limits.
- Dragon Empire: The largest nation of all, the Dragon Empire is a militaristic monarchy that is bent on conquering the other nations. Represented by the color red.
- Kagero: A group of fire dragons and their human servants who rule the Dragon Empire and act as their Aerial Assault Unit. Their play style focuses around retiring the opponent's rear-guards, often gaining additional benefits from doing so. Introduced in Dragonic Overlord.
- Narukami: A clan of lightning dragons who replaced the Kagero when they were sealed away during the War of Liberation and managed to keep the Empire together in those times of strife, being rewarded after the return of the Kagerō by becoming the Empire's elite army force. Like Kagero, the Narukami Clan focuses on retiring the opponent's rear-guards, as well as preventing the opponent from intercepting. Introduced in Resonance of Thunder Dragon.
- Nubatama: A group of ninja animals, dragons and spirits who act as the Empire's Covert Operations Unit. They deplete the opponent's defenses by forcing the opponent to discard cards from their hand, as well as "Binding" (removing for a single turn) cards from the opponent's field and hand. Introduced in Descent of the King of Knights, they were not able to make a single clan deck until Catastrophic Outbreak.
- Murakumo: Another group of ninja animals, dragons and spirits, sister clan to the Nubatama, who act as the Empire's Black Ops Agency. Their play style focuses on hit-and-run tactics, with abilities that can call additional copies of units from the deck that return to the deck at the end of the turn. Introduced in Awakening of Twin Blades.
- Tachikaze: An army of mechanically-enhanced dinosaurs and primitive humans who act as the Empire's Ground Assault Unit and main infantry force. They overpower the opponent with extremely high-powered attacks, but at the expense of sacrificing their own units, many of which have some way of returning from the drop zone to the hand or field. Introduced in Descent of the King of Knights.
- Dark Zone: A dark and mysterious nation whose leadership is constantly disputed between the various demonic and magical creatures that inhabit it. Represented by the color purple.
- Dark Irregulars: A clan of demons, vampires, ghosts and mutant humans who use mysterious powers fueled by sorcery. Their play style focuses on soul-charging cards, giving power boosts to their units if the number of cards in the soul is high enough. Introduced in Descent of the King of Knights.
- Spike Brothers: A demonic team of the extremely violent Cray version of American football, Blood Ball, which they are current reigning champions of. An extremely aggressive clan, they feature units that gain power boosts when they attack but must return to the deck after doing so, and boss units that sacrifice cards on the hand to call even more attackers to the field. Introduced in Descent of the King of Knights.
- Pale Moon: A highly popular traveling circus secretly housing a guild of elite assassins who will serve whoever pays for their services. Like Dark Irregulars, they focus around adding cards to the soul, but instead use it to swap units between the soul and the field to attack multiple times. Introduced in Demonic Lord Invasion.
- Magallanica: An archipelago nation of islands which is inhabited by all sorts of creatures, from undying immortals to charming inhabitants of the sea. Represented by the color blue.
- Granblue: An association of undead pirates, ghosts and zombies that sail around the seas of Cray. Their play style focuses around sending cards directly from the deck to the drop zone, then reviving fallen units from the drop zone back to the field. Introduced in Descent of the King of Knights.
- Bermuda Triangle: A clan of mermaid pop idols and singers who are the biggest stars in Cray, and whose highly expensive concerts are attended by members of every clan. They focus around skills that return their units from the field to the hand, triggering effects like additional card draw or power boosts. Introduced in Onslaught of Dragon Souls, this clan is unique in that additional cards for it have never been released outside of Extra Boosters and promotional cards.
- Aqua Force: A naval military clan who once ruled all of Cray thanks to their dominance over the sea and their belief in absolute justice before falling to oblivion, they have recently returned to the planet. Their skills focus around increasing the number of their attacks, with units that activate certain skills when they are the 3rd or 4th attack in a turn. Introduced in Descendants of the Marine Emperor.
- Zoo: An extremely fertile and nature-attuned nation situated in the east of Cray, that houses the most intelligent creatures in the world, sentient plants & bioroids, as well as the most heinous criminals. Represented by the color green.
- Megacolony: An insect mafia and the main criminal force of Cray. Their play style focuses around gaining power from the opponent's units being at rest, and disallowing the opponent's resting rear-guards from standing at the beginning of the turn, which in turns prevents those units from attacking or boosting. Introduced in Descent of the King of Knights.
- Great Nature: A clan of sentient and peaceful animals that study in the Great Nature University, the highest educational institution on Cray. They focus around giving power boosts to their rear-guards at the cost of being forced to retire them at the end of the turn, offset by skills that draw cards or search additional copies of units when they are retired. Introduced in Onslaught of Dragon Souls.
- Neo Nectar: A clan of sentient plants, bioroids and forest dragons who produce the largest amount of grain and food in Cray, which in turn grants them great influence in nations with low self-sufficiency of food. They focus around filling the rear-guard by calling units from the deck through various methods and giving them power from calling the same units. Introduced in Awakening of Twin Blades.
- Star Gate: A nation situated in Cray's southern pole, in which a spaceport operated by the Comercial Wrestling Federation attracts all kind of visitors from outer space and alternate realities. Represented by the color gray.
- Nova Grappler: A no-holds-barred fighting league that attracts the toughest fighters in the galaxy, their fighting matches retransmitted as a competitive sport in all of Cray. Their aggressive play style focuses on re-standing units during the Battle Phase, which allows them to attack more than the usual three times per turn. Introduced in Descent of the King of Knights.
- Dimension Police: An intergalactic vigilante corp whose heroes, non-native from Cray, travel the galaxy fighting powerful supervillains who are also considered part of the same clan. Their play style grants them benefits for having a certain amount of higher power than the opponent's vanguard, with heroes focusing around increasing the power of their own vanguard, and villains focusing around decreasing the power of the opponent's vanguard. Introduced in Demonic Lord Invasion.
- Link Joker: A group of highly-advanced extraterrestrials who launch a full-scale invasion of Cray, starting with the territory of Star Gate. Their arrival forces the various nations of Cray to band together and defend the planet. They have the unique ability of "Locking" (turning face-down) the opponent's rear-guards, disallowing the opponent from doing anything with them until the end of their next turn. Introduced in Star-Vader Invasion.
- Etranger: Cards which feature real people or cameos from other franchises are assigned to this clan, which means "foreigner" in French. Examples of characters that have been featured include Spider-Man, Keroro from Sgt. Frog, and "Baron Kidani", an alter-ego of Takaaki Kidani, the CEO of Bushiroad. Etranger has only appeared on Japanese promotional cards.
Vanguard cards are sold in Booster Sets, Extra Boosters, and Trial Decks, each containing a selection of new cards and sometimes reprints of older cards. Most common are Booster Sets, which are sold in boxes of 30 randomized booster packs. A typical booster pack contains five cards: four common (C) cards and one rare (R) card. Sometimes, the rare card will be replaced by a double rare (RR), triple rare (RRR), or Special Parallel (SP) card, in progressing order of rarity. SP cards are alternate versions of lower-rarity cards in the same set, but have different flavor text and sometimes artwork. Cards of R rarity or higher also have special holographic foiling patterns, which vary depending on set and rarity. Extra Boosters are sold in boxes of 15 booster packs and contain a lower number of cards to collect. Trial Decks are 50-card decks designed as an introduction to the game. They contain a fixed selection of cards, including one RR and two R cards.
List of Booster Sets
- BT01 - Descent of the King of Knights (騎士王降臨 Kishiō Kōrin?): Cards appearing at the beginning of season 1.
- BT02 - Onslaught of Dragon Souls (竜魂乱舞 Ryūkon Ranbu?): Cards appearing in season 1.
- BT03 - Demonic Lord Invasion (魔侯襲来 Makō Shūrai?): Cards appearing around the midpoint of season 1.
- BT04 - Eclipse of Illusionary Shadows (虚影神蝕 Kyoei Shinshoku?): Cards appearing in season 1.
- BT05 - Awakening of Twin Blades (双剣覚醒 Sōken Kakusei?): Cards appearing at the end of season 1. Introduces the "Crossride" mechanic.
- BT06 - Breaker of Limits (極限突破 Kyokugen Toppa?): Cards appearing at the beginning of season 2. Introduces the "Limit Break" mechanic.
- BT07 - Rampage of the Beast King (獣王爆進 Jūō Bakushin?): Cards appearing in season 2.
- BT08 - Blue Storm Armada (蒼嵐艦隊 Sōran Kantai?): Cards appearing in season 2.
- BT09 - Clash of the Knights & Dragons (竜騎激突 Ryūki Geki Totsu?): Cards appearing at the end of Season 2.
- BT10 - Triumphant Return of the King of Knights (騎士王凱旋 Kishiō Gaisen?): Cards appearing at the beginning of season 3. Introduces the "Break Ride" mechanic.
- BT11 - Seal Dragons Unleashed (封竜解放 Fūryū Kaihō?): Cards appearing in season 3.
- BT12 - Binding Force of the Black Rings (黒輪縛鎖 Kokurin Bakusa?): Cards appearing in season 3. Introduces the "Lock" and "Reverse" mechanics.
- BT13 - Catastrophic Outbreak (絶禍繚乱 Zekka Ryōran?): Cards appearing in season 3.
- BT14 - Brilliant Strike (光輝迅雷 Kōki Jinrai?, lit. Radiant Thunderclap): Cards appearing in season 3. Introduces an ability called "Unlock".
- BT15 - Infinite Rebirth (無限転生 Mugen Tensei?, lit. Infinite Reincarnation): Cards appearing at the end of season 3.
- BT16 - Legion of Dragons & Blades (竜剣双闘 Ryūken Sōtō?, lit. Dual Battle of Dragons & Blades): (to be released)
List of Extra Boosters
- EB01 - Comic Style Vol. 1 (コミックスタイル Vol.1 Komikku Sutairu Vol. 1?): Cards appearing in the manga.
- EB02 - Banquet of Divas (歌姫の饗宴 Utahime no Kyōen?): Cards specifically for the Bermuda Triangle clan, featured in season 1.
- EB03 - Cavalry of Black Steel (黒鋼の戦騎 Kurogane no Senki?): Cards from older clans not appearing in BT06-BT08, featured in season 2.
- EB04 - Infinite Phantom Legion (無幻の兵団 Mugen no Heidan?): Cards specifically for Kamui's Nova Grappler clan, featured in season 2.
- EB05 - Celestial Valkyries (神託の戦乙女 Shintaku no Ikusa Otome?): Cards specifically for Misaki's Oracle Think Tank clan, featured in season 2.
- EB06 - Dazzling Divas (綺羅の歌姫 Kira no Utahime?): Cards specifically for the Bermuda Triangle clan, featured in season 3.
- EB07 - Mystical Magus (神秘の預言者 Shinpi no Yogensha?, lit. Mystical Prophet): Cards specifically for Misaki's Oracle Think Tank clan, featured in the manga.
- EB08 - Champions of the Cosmos (銀河の闘士 Ginga no Tōshi?, lit. Fighters of the Galaxy): Cards specifically for Kamui's Nova Grappler clan, featured in the anime and manga.
- EB09 - Divine Dragon Progression (創世の竜神 Sōsei no Ryūjin?, lit. Genesis of Divine Dragon): Cards specifically for Kai's Kagero clan, featured in the manga.
- EB10 - Divas Duet (歌姫の二重奏 Utahime no Dyuetto?): Cards specifically for the Bermuda Triangle clan. This set features "Black" and "White" versions of cards.
- EB11 - Requiem at Dusk (宵闇の鎮魂歌 Yoiyami no Rekuiemu?): Cards specifically for the Shadow Paladin clan. (to be released)
- EB12 - Waltz of the Goddess (女神の円舞曲 Megami no Warutsu?): Cards specifically for the Genesis clan. (to be released)
List of Trial Decks
- TD01 - Blaster Blade (聖域の光剣士 lit. Shining Swordsman of the Holy Land?): Cards from the Royal Paladin clan used by Aichi in season 1.
- TD02 - Dragonic Overlord (帝国の暴竜 lit. Raging Dragon of the Empire?): Cards from the Kagero clan used by Kai in season 1.
- TD03 - Golden Mechanical Soldier (黄金の機兵?): Cards from the Nova Grappler clan used by Kamui in season 1.
- TD04 - Maiden Princess of the Cherry Blossoms (桜花の姫巫女?): Cards from the Oracle Think Tank clan used by Misaki in season 1.
- TD05 - Slash of Silver Wolf (銀狼の爪撃?): Cards from the Gold Paladin clan used by Aichi in season 2.
- TD06 - Resonance of Thunder Dragon (雷竜の鳴動?): Cards from the Narukami clan used by Kai in season 2.
- TD07 - Descendants of the Marine Emperor (海皇の末裔 Kaiō no Matsuei?): Cards from the Aqua Force clan used by Leon in season 2.
- TD08 - Liberator of the Sanctuary (聖域の解放者 Seīki no Ribereitā?): Cards from the Gold Paladin clan used by Aichi in season 3.
- TD09 - Eradicator of the Empire (帝国の抹消者 Teikoku no Ireizā?, lit. Eraser of the Empire): Cards from the Narukami clan used by Naoki in season 3.
- TD10 - Purgatory Revenger (奈落の撃退者 Naraku no Ribenjā?): Cards from the Shadow Paladin clan used by Ren in season 3.
- TD11 - Star-Vader Invasion (侵略の星騎兵 Shinryaku no Sutāveidā?): Cards from the Link Joker clan used by Kai in season 3.
- TD12 - Dimensional Brave Kaiser (超次元の勇者 Chōjigen no Yūsha?, lit. Super Dimensional Hero): Cards from the Dimension Police clan used by Kenji in season 3.
- TD13 - Successor of the Sacred Regalia (神器の伝承者 Jingi no Denshōsha?): Cards from the Genesis clan used by Misaki in season 3.
- TD14 - Seeker of Hope (希望の探索者(シーカー) Kibō no Shīkā?): (to be released): Cards from the Royal Paladin clan used by Kai in season 4.
- TD15 - Brawler of Friendship (友情の喧嘩屋(ブロウラー) Yūjō no Burourā?): (to be released): Cards from the Narukami clan used by Naoki in season 4.
List of Special Sets
- FC01 - Fighter's Collection 2013 (ファイターズコレクション 2013 Faitāzu Korekushon 2013?): Cards appearing in seasons 1-3.
- FC02 - Fighter's Collection 2014 (ファイターズコレクション 2014 Faitāzu Korekushon 2014?): (to be released)
- DG01 - DAIGO Special Set (DAIGOスペシャルセット DAIGO Supesharu Setto?): Cards from the Royal Paladin clan used by Daigo in season 3. Released in English as MT01 (Mega Trial Deck 1) - Rise to Royalty.
A manga series written and illustrated by Akira Itō was announced along with the anime. The first chapter was published on March 26, 2011 in Kerokero Ace magazine. With Kerokero Ace ceasing publication with its September 2013 issue, new chapters of the manga continued starting with the first issue of Monthly Bushiroad magazine. While the manga shares the same characters as the anime, it follows an original storyline and contains many differences from the anime version. Vertical has licensed the manga series and will release it in North America starting on April 29, 2014.
A sidestory referred as Episode 0 was released on May 23, 2013. It is also illustrated by Itō. Its storyline follows Toshiki Kai's childhood.
A spin-off manga series titled Mini Vanguard, also known as Mini Van (みにヴぁん?), began publishing in Kerokero Ace alongside the original manga. The first chapter of the spinoff was released with the sixth chapter of the main manga series. Mini Vanguard is a short yonkoma comedy manga by Quily featuring all of the characters as super deformed. Like the original manga series, Mini Vanguard continued in the first issue of Monthly Bushiroad magazine after the final September 2013 issue of Kerokero Ace magazine. Mini Vanguard was adapted into a flash anime series produced by DLE. It aired from April 6, 2013 to December 14, 2013. The ending theme song of this series is "Mirai Sketch" by Ultra Rare (Suzuko Mimori, Yoshino Nanjō, and Aimi Terakawa).
Another spin-off manga series titled Cardfight!! Vanguard Gaiden: Swordsman of Light (カードファイト!! ヴァンガード外伝 光の剣士 Kādofaito!! Vangādo Gaiden Hikari no Kenshi?) began publishing in Monthly Bushiroad magazine. It is supervised by Akira Itō and illustrated by Makoto Kishimizu. Its story focuses on the lore of the Cardfight!! Vanguard trading card game.
A talk radio show titled Stand Up Our Vanguard (立ち上がれ僕らのヴァンガード Tachiagare Bokura no Vangādo?), also known as TachiVan, began airing in 2011 on Hibiki Radio. It is currently split into two shows: the main show which changes its subtitle to coincide with the current anime season and airs on Saturdays, and TachiVan Sunday. It is hosted by Tsubasa Yonaga and Takuya Satō, the voice actors of Aichi and Kai respectively, with occasional guest appearances by various other Japanese voice actors and actresses from the anime series.
A 224-page novel based on the anime series was released in Japan on May 15, 2013. It is written by Bandana Aoi, and the internal illustrations are done by Yōsuke Adachi. The story follows Aichi reaching out to a lonely young boy named Hiro Hamane (浜音ヒロ Hamane Hiro?).
A mobile app game titled Cardfight!! Vanguard: Cray Wars (カードファイト!! ヴァンガード 惑星大戦 Kādofaito!! Vangādo Wakusei Taisen?, lit. Cardfight!! Vanguard Planet Wars) was released on March 12, 2013. It is a strategy role-playing game and is region-locked to prevent devices outside of Japan from installing it. The game introduces an original character named Navica, who acts as the player's guide in the world of Cray and explains the game mechanics. The game's storyline is based around the Virtual Vanguard System (VVS), which generates a virtual space in which people experience the world of Cray, an earthlike planet where magic and science have progressed hand in hand. Each continent of Cray is dominated by one of six prospering nations. Through the VVS, the player's avatar dives into this dreamlike world and fights daily battles for one of these nations. However, a sudden abnormality upsets this scenario. Players move their avatars about the world map of Cray using a six-sided die, accepting and completing quests to receive items and gold to advance the storyline. Two types of deck are composed for use within the game: one to be used in battle and one with which to besiege dungeons. Each deck has six cards; skills are triggered in the battle deck based on the position of cards in relation to one another, while the dungeon deck makes use of skills related to manipulating dice and avoiding traps. In addition to the player's avatar having a level, individual cards have levels. Increasing the cards' levels enhances skills. Leveling up and skill synthesis allows cards to be customized so that two players may have the same card but different abilities.
A Nintendo 3DS video game adaption titled Cardfight!! Vanguard: Ride to Victory!! (カードファイト!! ヴァンガード ライド トゥ ビクトリー!! Kādofaito!! Vangādo Raido tu Bikutorī!!?) was released in Japan on April 11, 2013. It was developed by FuRyu. The game features an original story which stars a new cardfighter protagonist who is aiming to win at a national tournament. Players choose one of six possible original characters to play as, one male and one female each of three personality types: hot-blooded (熱血系), cool (クール), and dark (ダーク). The game features appearances by at least 30 characters from the anime such as Aichi Sendou, Toshiki Kai, Ren Suzugamori, Misaki Tokura, and Shin Nitta. There is a tutorial mode for those who are new to playing the TCG. The main story takes the player through a series of fights against rivals, ending with the national tournament championship. There are also optional missions, which challenge the player to win with a predetermined set of cards, and free play, where the player can duel against any opponent previously encountered in the story. Winning a fight earns the player points, which can then be spent at the Card Capital shop to purchase booster packs to build a stronger deck. The game also features wireless online play.
A second 3DS game adaption titled Cardfight!! Vanguard: Lock on Victory!! (カードファイト!! ヴァンガード ロック オン ビクトリー!! Kādofaito!! Vangādo Roku On Bikutorī!!?) will be released in Japan on June 5, 2014. It will also be developed by FuRyu. This game's story will be based on the Link Joker arc of the anime series. Similar to the first game, players will choose to play as one of the previous game's six original characters (albeit older) plus four more original characters and will attend one of the high schools depicted in the anime. The game's wireless battle mode will be greatly expanded. For example, the game's AI will continue an online match if a disconnection occurs. The game will support a wireless link-up method similar to Nintendogs.
A live-action 90-minute drama titled Stand Up! Vanguard was aired on May 3, 2012. It is directed by Takashi Motoki, who describes this project as the "first-ever live-action card-game program". It stars Daigo, Shinta Sōma, Haruki Uchiyama, Suzuko Mimori, Nao Nagasawa, Kazuki Namioka, and Kazuhiko Kanayama. Two of Breakerz's songs, "Climber x Climber" and "Nonai Survivor", are used as background music for this drama as well as some live-action Cardfight!! Vanguard commercials. Much like in the anime, this drama features cameo appearances of the main characters of Tantei Opera Milky Holmes. In this case, three girls cosplay as Nero, Cordelia, and Hercule as one of the teams in the Vanguard team tournament.
Daigo is a wanderer who claims to be a genius and strongly believes in justice. One day, at a playground, he sees Hiroki Miura being bullied by other kids, including his classmate Teru Minamihara. Daigo attempts to save the day, but he gets beaten up in Hiroki's place. The kids' homeroom teacher, Maria Kagami, arrives to the scene and scares the bullies away. As Hiroki walks back home, Maria explains to Daigo about how Hiroki is a timid boy who never speaks his mind, which has warranted him to be picked on. To help Hiroki (and win Maria's affection), Daigo gets a job as a special teacher at the school. As Daigo tries to get closer to Hiroki, he learns that while Hiroki may be reserved, he is actually passionate about and confident in himself when it comes to playing the game of Cardfight!! Vanguard. Little by little, as Daigo has Hiroki teach him more about the game, he opens up Hiroki's heart while teaching him to have courage. However, he also learns that several factors all inhibit Hiroki from coming out of his shell: Hiroki havs a fear of losing, Hiroki's busy working father Shigehiro looks down on his hobby, and Hiroki's mother Kumiko, who got him into playing Vanguard, is deceased. Eventually, Daigo convinces Hiroki to play against Teru in a cardfight. However, Teru wins and insults Hiroki, causing him to lock himself in his room out of frustration. Daigo tries to have a match with Teru but instead finds himself challenging Teru's supremacist home tutor and a greater genius, Eiji Satomi. He ends up losing to Eiji multiple times, with Hiroki secretly watching. Hiroki asks Daigo why he tries so hard, to which Daigo answers "losing is frustrating, but what comes after is most important."
Hiroki declares to Teru that he will get his revenge at a city-wide Vanguard team tournament. The tournament commences with Hiroki, Daigo, and Maria teaming up. Defeating many colorful teams along the way, both Hiroki's and Teru's teams advance to the finals, which are to be held the next day. However, the night before the tournament finals, Maria gets hit by a car and is hospitalized as a result. With no one else to turn to, Daigo asks Shigehiro to be Maria's replacement, but he refuses due to his work. The next day, despite Hiroki not believing his father would come, Shigehiro does in fact make it in time before Hiroki's team gets disqualified. The finals begin with Shigehiro using his deceased wife Kumiko's deck against one of Teru's team members. Although Shigehiro ends up losing, he remembers the last conversation he had with Kumiko before she died. After the fight, he apologizes to Hiroki for all the mean things he said and gives him Kumiko's necklace, telling him to have courage. With Teru's team leading 1-0, the next fight between Daigo and Eiji starts. Despite Eiji's genius-level play, Daigo refuses to give up. He miraculously defeats Eiji, who runs away crying. With the score now 1-1, it comes down to the last match between Hiroki and Teru. Although Hiroki tries his absolute best and never gives up, Teru ultimately wins. Hiroki, Shigehiro, and Daigo all cry in frustration, but during the awards ceremony, Teru recognizes Hiroki and gives him his respect and friendship. Afterwards, when Daigo goes to the hospital to give flowers to the injured Maria, he unfortunately sees her with another man, assuming that he is Maria's significant other. Believing that his love for Maria is over before it started, he runs off. In the end, Hiroki is now more confident in himself and has many friends. Daigo decides to go back to being a wanderer, but not before he and Hiroki have one last cardfight.
An untitled hybrid live-action/anime film will be released in fall 2014. The live-action segment will be directed by Takashi Motoki at Ace Crew Entertainment, and it is set to star Daigo, Suzuko Mimori, Taizō Shīna, Takuma Sueno, and others. The anime portion will be directed by Shin Itagaki at Ultra Super Pictures, and screenplay will be made by Mayori Sekijima. Tsubasa Yonaga, Takuya Satō, and Izumi Kitta will reprise their roles as Aichi, Kai, and Misaki respectively.
In its Winter 2011 Anime Preview Guide, the staff of Anime News Network had a poor impression of the anime series. Carl Kimlinger complained about the crass commercialism of the trading card game shows and was glad that the series (in his view) flopped. Carlo Santos and Bamboo Dong gave equally scathing reviews. Chris Beveridge of Mania.com compares the series with other trading card game based shows such as Yu-Gi-Oh! and states that, while he sees lots of kids using the series to take notes and getting their game plan, he feels the series still needs to work on being engaging and entertaining.
As for the trading card game, it has received praise for its marketing through the animated television show and various media, which has caused its popularity to rise immensely. On December 14, 2012, the company Interface in Design created a survey for which trading card game had the most fulfilling playing experience for the "Trading Card Game Award of 2012". Cardfight!! Vanguard was bestowed awards for the most excellent game in both Elementary School and General categories. It also received honorable mentions under the Junior High School, High School, and Adult categories. These awards were bestowed to Cardfight!! Vanguard due to the high praise the game received for its tournament events and ease of access to important updates in the Vanguard culture through magazines and websites. The ease of learning the game for new players was also an incredibly appealing aspect of the game.
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- "Familiar Faces in TV Animation Future Card Buddyfight Episode 4". Bushiroad. 2014-01-24. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
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- Kimlinger, Carl. "Carl Kimlinger - The Winter 2011 Anime Preview Guide". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
- Santos, Carlo. "Carlo Santos - The Winter 2011 Anime Preview Guide". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
- Bamboo Dong. "Bamboo Dong - The Winter 2011 Anime Preview Guide". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
- Beveridge, Chris (January 8, 2011). "Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode #01". Mania.com. Retrieved January 29, 2011.