The fifth series in the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise.hich first aired on April 6, 2014. ("ARC-V" is a double pun: it literally means "Story Arc 5", but the "V" shape also refers to the arc of a pendulum.)
Yuya Sakaki is an eighth-grader who aims to follow in the footsteps of his Disappeared Dad and become the most popular Entertainment Duelist in the world. When the pendulum pendant he received from his father suddenly begins to glow during a televised exhibition match, Yuya unlocks the incredible power of Pendulum Summoning: An unknown form of Summoning that could be Yuya's big break into showbiz... Or lead to a whole heap of unwanted trouble. Similar to previous series, there are Duel Schools which teach people how to duel and in different styles; though unlike previous series, those are afterschools and regular schools indeed exist. However, the Fusion, Ritual, Synchro and Xyz Summonings are taught only in elite schools, with the Leo Duel School (LDS) being the monopoly of the entire world. With Yuya's creation of Pendulum Summoning, a new Summoning method was born that had never been seen before. Despite being a student of the low-level You Show Duel School, he decides to prove that the school's Entertainment Duel style can compete with anything. Then the Wham Episodes start coming... ARC-V evolves into a Deconstructor Fleet of many tropes and plot elements universal to the franchise, deconstructing and reconstructing them left and right. Reality Ensues with the hero having rare cards no one has seen before, the holographic systems are used for war, and the Serious Business aspect of the card game is justified. The result is aDarker and Edgier Yu-Gi-Oh! series that manages to be more realistic and serious while still staying true to the themes and morals the franchise is known for. Being that it is airing as the franchise celebrates its 20th anniversary, it also pays homage to all that has come before it in a way that is a massive Walking Spoiler.
- Adaptational Villainy:However, the Commons aren't much better. They fully support the messed-up system that pushes them down, buying in on the Bread and Circuses completely. Even Shinji's speech seems soon forgotten, and the citizens mock Yuya for daring to claim that the enslavement of losers is wrong, then they're thrilled when his duel turns violent. While they're still the victims, their status as Apathetic Citizens makes it hard to root for them.
- On top of that, the Commons are quick to violence and anger. At first it seemed righteous but when all hell started to break loose with Academia's invasion, they took the opportunity to revolt. What was discovered is that instead of pushing towards equality like those found in 5Ds they instead choose to try and flip the system entirely with themselves on top. Thus it's true they support the system, they just want themselves on top. In many ways they are no better than the Tops and went out of their way to cause harm and mayhem and even betray Crow who wanted to find a more peaceful solution. They didn't even care about Academia's invasion, putting their "revolution" above all else.
- Academia itself, being based on Duel Academy from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is now an Academy of Evil for training brainwashed Child Soldiers, whereas the original was an Academy of Adventure largely aimed at teaching future pro-duelists.
- Adult Fear: Which is very common in the show
- Alternate Universe:t's implied this is the explanation for the alternate dimensions — each one is based on a previous Yu-Gi-Oh! series, sans the original Duel Monsters run. The Fusion Dimension's Academia is based on GX's Duel Academy with Obelisk Force as their elite warriors, the Synchro Dimension has the D-Wheel and a classist City similar to 5Ds, and the Xyz Dimension has Heartland City as in ZeXal. These could be taken as Mythology Gags, but the presence of alternate versions of Jack and Crow in the Synchro Dimension, as well as a few other hints, suggest that some For Want of a Nail Alternate History resulted in them each being an alternate version of the "prime" dimension, that being the ARC-V dimension and the canonical previous three series so far.
- Amateur Cast: Withonlysomeexceptions, the whole cast is composed by new or/and relatively unknown voice actors.
- And I Must Scream: With the right Duel Disk, victors can seal people into cards.
- Anime Hair: Like in the previous Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series, a lot of characters have crazy-looking hair, but it is one of the more subdued series.
- Another Dimension: Episode 36 explains there are at least four alternative universes; Standard, Xyz, Synchro and Fusion, based on the series that used them the most. With Standard being the ARC-V dimension.
- Bad Future: The existence of the Fusion, Xyz and Synchro Dimensions, specifically their main locations being Duel Academia, Heartland City and Neo Domino City seem to imply that they are this forYu-Gi-Oh! GX, Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL and Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's. In reality, they serve more as Alternate Universes to them.
- Black and Gray Morality: The conflict within the Synchro Dimension is this. Shinji represents the lighter end of the scale with his desire for fairer treatment from Tops and lack of regard for those who stand in his way. The Executive Council is a Darker Gray that will do anything to maintain the status quo (up to and including allying with Academia). For Black, Jean Michel Roget wants power and will use any means necessary to get it.