Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Character Spotlight: Zane Tuesdale

A look back at Zane's multiple milestones in the anime...

What a time to be alive, Konami seems to be paying much attention to mill decks nowadays. First, it was Lawnmowing Next Door, and now this.

Released OCG Effect:
When you would take battle damage from an opponent's attacking monster, during damage calculation: Send 1 card from the top of your Deck to the Graveyard for every 500 damage you would haven taken and make the battle damage you take from this battle 0.

Anime effect: (Also available in Tag Force game series)
If you receive Battle Damage due to a Direct attack by an opponent's monster, you can send any number of cards from the top of your Deck to the Graveyard. Decrease the amount of Battle Damage by 100 for each card you sent to the Graveyard by this effect. 

There are buffs and nerfs to this card's effect. On one hand, you no longer have to wait for a Direct Attack for this card to be able to be activated, but on the other hand, you do not have a choice on the number of cards milled from this card's effect. Reducing the damage by 500 instead of the original 100 in the anime also reduces the number of cards you can mill from your deck.

Well, but today's star isn't Power Wall. It is the user who made it popular. Featuring Zane Tuesdale, or more famously known in the original as Ryo Kaiser, and eventually, Hell Kaiser.
Starting off
The older brother of the protagonist's dormmate Syrus/Sho, Ryo Kaiser was a star in Duel Academia before Judai even set foot in the school. Highly respected and friends with Fubuki (Atticus) and Asuka (Alexis), his first on-screen duel was against none other than protagonist Judai Yuki. Many fans questioned if Judai, a wild card brimming with potential, would be capable of defeating the undisputed ace of the school, but Ryo wasted no time supplying an answer.
With the benchmark set at 4000LP in the anime, fusion monsters like Cyber Twin Dragon easily broke the threshold, threatening to defeat the opponent in a blink of an eye with the devastating capability to inflict up to 5600 on its own. Despite Judai putting up a good fight with his HEROes and the swarming antics, Ryo would eventually emerge victorious after a fusion summon of Cyber End Dragon achieved by Power Bond, bring the attack of the fusion monster to sky-high levels for the game at that point of time - a staggering 8000ATK.

The Seven Shadow Rider arc would see Zane lose for the first time, having forced into a game loss for the sake of his brother when he was faced against Shadow Rider and vampire Camula.

The duel with Judai was sufficient to leave a deep impression on Ryo Kaiser, such that he requested a rematch with his fateful opponent, choosing Judai as his opponent for his graduation match. The duel proceeded with plenty of ups and downs, before Judai decided to embrace his happy-go-lucky personality and engage Ryo without a plan or strategy. With the combined efforts of Power Bond and Limiter Removal, Ryo raised the attack of Cyber End Dragon to 16000ATK, determined to show Judai the vast difference in their skill level. The climatic scene soon saw a turn of events, as Judai attempted to turn the tables with the activation of Battle Fusion, forcing Ryo to chain his own copy of the quick-play spell. At an exchange during the ensuing conversation, Ryo admitted that he has reached the limits of his abilities, foreshadowing his development and the reason behind his change of heart in the future seasons. This flawed perception of his as he slowly accepted his inability to evolve and grow to be better, would later be a mistake he came to realise in the final season.

Despite not being able to win Ryo, Judai was able to force the battle to a draw by Battle Fusion. The two duelist collapsed in laughter and fatigue after the long duel, both satisfied with the outcome. The duel was also responded with a standing ovation from the audience. And with that, Season 1 came to an end.

Many of the cards used in the duel such as Cybernetic Fusion Support would be printed in the OCG only over a decade later since its anime debut.

Season 2
This season of the anime would later take a dark turn when Ryo Kaiser lost his first duel to Aster Phoenix. This loss was not due to choice like his previous defeats, and marked the first time Zane took damage from Power Bond's drawback and hefty cost. Zane's initial thought of having an advantage due to his knowledge of Elemental HEROes was proven to be a glaring mistake. The difference in power would shock Zane as he seemingly started to realise his place in the major dueling scenes of the anime universe.

Ending up in an underground duel league, after being expelled from the Pro League and facing a losing streak, Ryo eventually exited his slump after he abandoned all aspects of his 'Respective Dueling" virtue and values. Adopting a more ruthless strategy, his deck shows parallels of his change in character as the Chimeratech archetype started making appearances and debuted in his duel against "Mad Dog". The DARK machine archetype served as a stark contrast to his previous army of LIGHT machine monsters.

Returning to his roots at the Cyber Style dojo, not for redemption but as a power-hungry man, Zane even defeated his former mentor and fatherly figure - Chancellor Sheppard - after the latter underestimated Ryo's change of heart. By then, Ryo would have severed all his sentimental ties with Cyber Dragon and hence, did not fall into the trap and plan carefully laid by the Chancellor.  Not using Creature Swap to regain control of Cyber End Dragon, Ryo claimed victory shortly after declaring that he no longer wants it. This victory granted Ryo Kaiser his CyberDark deck.

Rebranding himself as Hell Kaiser, his winning streak and ruthlessness continue. Various attempts by his friends and family, Fubuki and Sho, to bring him back were foiled, as niether were capable of defeating Hell Kaiser and bringing him to his senses. Both parties failed, much like how Chancellor did. The duels only proved one fact - that Ryo wasn't controlled or manipulated, but adopted this significant change solely by choice.

His disdain and discarded sentiments of his previous Cyber Dragon deck was once again reinforced by the fact that his LIGHT dragons saw little to no play, having minimal role in his new-found deck and playing style. He would later be seen on-screen less and thus, dueling lesser, as his character made way for other characters to enter the limelight, leaving the fate and future of Hell Kaiser unknown for a good period of time.


His sadism would slowly tone down and his cold-hearted attitude reduced after a few dozens episode later, when he reappeared in the series, dueling Johan to fuel the awakening of Rainbow Dragon. The duel would later be interrupted and the results rendered inconclusive. But it made Hell Kaiser designate Yubel as his final opponent to satisfy his power hungry deck and personality upon learning of the cosmic being.

His road to redemptions started partially when he assisted Jim Cook and O'Brien when they attempted to take down the Supreme King possessed Judai and by then, Ryo has not have a complete duel for a few dozen episodes. Another unfinished battle with a traumatized Judai left Ryo, yet again, with another incomplete duel. Hence his dueling philosophy was left ambiguous. Was it still his constant greed for victory or has part of his old self returned?

The answer was served during the final showdown, shortly after the unsuccessful endeavor to restore Judai to his previous self, where Hell Kaiser put together arguably the most climatic moments of his dueling career. Eventually succumbing to his health, caused by his deck, he drew his last breath in his final battle of the 3rd Season of Yugioh Gx. Battling the Yubel-possessed Johan, Kaiser couldn't manage to land the finishing blow despite his ferocious and aggressive offensive plays. He did, however, managed to reinstate Cyber Dragon as his iconic ace and everlasting symbol, reminding both the audience and his comrades that the deck of his, is not represented by the Cyberdarks, is instead Cyber Dragon itself.

His final words and plays were sufficient to remind Judai of the Kaiser he once was, inspiring Judai to pick up fusion summoning once more.

Return and rebirth
The road of Hell Kaiser has yet to reach an end. Being brought back into the story under unexplained circumstances during GX's final season, Ryo entered another character arc involving him and his brother Sho. After failing to keep up with the duel due to his yet-to-be-cured heart condition, younger brother Sho would later duel in his place, finding an answer to the darkness in the deck that Ryo himself was never able to - respecting the deck itself.

In a heartwarming buildup of the duel's climax, Cyber Style won the Pyscho Style in the battle with Sho unleashing a new combo-play that Ryo didn't think was possible previously or the fact that it even existed. Ryo's shock and disbelief served as a throwback towards his claim of him reaching his limits at the end of the first season. As his younger brother proved to him how the deck, which Kaiser thought has reached the peaked of evolution, was still capable of growing, Kaiser admitted his misconception about limits.
Realising that limits are as high as the sky, Ryo accepted that his younger brother has surpassed him, in a heartwarming reunion between the two brothers. Having reconciled, Ryo decided to pass the torch to his brother, determined to build a new deck from scratch. The two brothers made amends and accepted one another, and embarked on their dreams to make a Pro League out of their name.

In the Tag-Force series, a non-canon adaptation of the Gx anime, first-year Ryo maintained his attitude from the first series of the anime, upholding his values of respect towards the opponent in dueling.
Future instalments of the game would see the Hell Kaiser persona surfacing, mirroring his change in the anime. Despite so, he has explicitly displayed care and concern towards his younger brother's development to the player, eventually making peace with the fact that Sho has matured. He also knows that the clock is ticking, and his time is limited due to his deteriorating condition.

In his first year he uses additional machine monsters not shown in the anime such as Gattling Ogre and Blowback Dragon. He would later add the Cyber Ogre series to his arsenal when they were made available as cards in the game. Tag Force 3, the third installment was the adaptation of the last season of the anime. Ryo uses his Cyberdark deck series and from time to time, mixed it with the Cyber Dragons. He would abuse Future Fusion to summon Five-Headed Dragon and attempt to reuse the continuous field spell for the second time by using Giant Trunade , this time to summon Cyberdark Dragon, having sent Five-Headed Dragon to the grave when Future Fusion was successfully returned.

In the timeline after the anime series ended, he was presumably chased down and defeated by Paradox, the villain from [Bonds Beyond Time] movie, as his Cyber End Dragon was corrupted into Malefic Cyber End Dragon. Judai would recognise the corrupted machine monster with shock upon its summon from the villain's hand.

In a universe set with the same characters but different storyline and plot, he is largely similar to his anime counterpart, but is regarded as a top scholar on top of being a top duelist. Much like in the anime, he was shown to be a composed and calm individual, not showing a tinge of panic when Manjome cornered him in their duel. Living up to his reputation, he dominated that battle with an overwhelming victory of 4000:0.
He role in the manga was diminished, and the spotlight was given to main characters Manjome and Judai. Unlike the anime, he never descended to his Hell Kaiser persona but was seen donning on an outfight similar to Hell Kaiser's anime appearance in the final chapter of the manga, likely as a reference to his anime counterpart.

The card Cyber Dragon transformed the face of the game of the OCG/TCG card game when it debuted. Being a staple in the early years of the game, a 2100ATK beatstick that can be freely summoned on a player's second turn gave players an advantage despite going second. This machine monster would see ups and downs in its path since its release, witnessing a semi-limitation, and eventually a limitation to a single copy, before slowing crawling its way back up to an Unlimited status. It would also participate as a member of the infamous Cyber-Stein OTK strategy, as well as the Future Fusion + Overload Fusion Machine OTK power play.

Cyber Dragon's special summon effect would later spiral to the combo-based, swarming and field spamming version of Yugioh card game that we all know (and maybe love?) today.  It can be said that Cyber Dragon was Konami's initial method of testing the waters before changing the game state, making the "summon-beatdown-end turn" method of Yugioh obsolete in the years that follow.

From a once respected and respectful student who discarded his philosophy for sheer victory, trending on a path of sadism and ruthlessness, eventually returning to the road to redemption, Hell Kaiser's ways of dueling would leave a deep and long-lasting impression on audiences of the series for years to come. The archetype was also famous for its extraordinary ATK points, much like how Kaiser would engage in a brutal OTK attack.

I hope that this article served as a nostalgic walk down Memory Lane for plenty of old players. I thank all machine fans and Ryo Kaiser fans for taking your time to read. Thank you.

Brought to you by Ken Sir

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