Episode 98: A Virtual Nightmare (The Unknown Challenger: The Huge Mobile Fortress Surfaces)
Beneath the ocean, a large undersea structure is seen, and a voice on a radio confirms that the Kaiba Corp airship (in the Japanese, the characters call it the Battle Ship) is currently 1.4 miles from their present coordinates. Another voice orders the undersea base to begin ascent, then, in voiceover, says that at last he will reclaim everything Seto has stolen from him. (There's no voiceover in the Japanese. We just see the fortress leaving its base and rising toward the surface.)
The sun rises behind Kaiba Corp Island (Alcatraz), silhouetting the Duel Tower. As the airship approaches the island, Yugi sits up in bed, holding his Millennium Puzzle, thinking that he didn't sleep at all last night. After everything that happened, it's clear that Marik will stop at nothing to get the power of the Pharaoh. He remembers confronting Marik after his duel with Bakura, who has disappeared, sent to the Shadow Realm. But Bakura is only the latest of Marik's victims—first, his servant Odion fell, and then Marik trapped Mai's mind in the Shadow Realm. Yugi's not going to just sit around and wait to find out who's next! Marik must be stopped before—
Yugi's startled out of bed by a rumbling and shaking of the airship.
In Room 2, Joey is knocked out of bed by the impact. He sits up, yelling at the guys to wake up! (The rest of this scene is cut from the US version. Jounouchi stands up, rubbing his butt, beside the bed where Honda and Otogi are tangled up together, still asleep. He turns to them, and sees that they're both mumbling "Shizuka-chan" in their sleep. Angry, Jounouchi asks them what they're dreaming about! Then another jolt knocks him on top of them, waking them up. He tells them to get up, there's something wrong with the airship.)
Serenity is sitting at Mai's bedside (for some reason, this shot of Mai is cut from the US version).
Serenity wakes up and looks around to see what's going on, asking Téa if she heard the noise. (In the Japanese, Shizuka wonders when Anzu came into the room.) Téa is still asleep, until a second impact makes her jump up out of her chair.
The airship is turning. Mokuba tells the pilots they'd better get the ship back on course, just as Kaiba rushes in. Mokuba explains that the airship is turning on its own, and Kaiba orders the hapless pilots to get it under control. Yugi, Joey, and the others run onto the bridge.
Outside on the dueling platform, Marik laughs. It seems that someone else is bringing chaos on these fools as well! He thinks it's all pretty amusing. (Japanese Malik feels the presence of an evil spirit.)
The pilot insists that the autopilot isn't responding, and asks Kaiba what to do. Kaiba says he pays the pilot good money, so he'd better do whatever he has to do to get them back on course to Kaiba Corp Island! Tristan says the island looks like a pile of junk, and Mokuba protests that that island is where their company started. (Japanese Kaiba asks what the pilot is doing, and the pilot says he can't switch off the autopilot, or access Alcatraz's computer. Honda asks what that island is, and Kaiba says it's their destination, Alcatraz.)
Kaiba tells them that this will be the site of the finals. He built it from the ruins of his stepfather's empire, to symbolize the triumph of new over old. (Japanese Kaiba says that sorrowful wreck is the symbol of the body of Gozaburo Kaiba.) Mokuba goes on to explain that Kaiba Corp wasn't always a game company. Their stepfather set it up to contruct high-tech military vehicles. The island used to be the corporation's central headquarters, until Kaiba took over and tore down all the military factories, building the Duel Tower on top of the rubble as a symbol of the new Kaiba Corp. (Japanese Mokuba says their adopted father wanted to conquer the world, and that artificial island is a relic of the dream. His brother took over after their adopted father died.)
Kaiba tells Mokuba that's enough. To himself, he thinks that what happened between him and his stepfather is family business, and ancient history. He commands an empire that dwarfs his stepfather's, and once he's crowned the world's greatest duelist on top of that tower, he'll be free from his stepfather's shadow forever! (Japanese Kaiba thinks that at the moment he's crowned Duel King, he'll be the real victor, and then he can conquer the hatred made by that hateful man. Cut from the US version is a bit where the gang looks at Kaiba, and a closeup of Yugi thinking that Kaiba seems to hate his father, and wondering what happened between them.)
(Randomly, a scene of the fortress running over the top of an undersea hill as it approaches is also cut.)
The pilot discovers that someone has hacked into their computer and changed the destination coordinates. Mokuba insists that can't happen—their security is state of the art. (Japanese Mokuba tells the pilot to block the hacker quickly—they have to land on Alcatraz.) But the airship abruptly takes a dive. (In the Japanese, the warning display reads: "Destruction System — Caution — Failsafe Warning." In the US, we just get the circle with an X in it.)
The airship hits the surface of the water, tossing everyone about the ship. Joey yells, "Can you say lawsuit?" (In the Japanese, he says, "Do something, Kaiba!") Kaiba's pretty mad, insisting that he won't let his triumphant return to Kaiba Corp Island be ruined by some computer geek! (Japanese Kaiba wonders who it can be. Is it the ghost of Gozaburo keeping him away from the island?)
Then the airship's viewscreen dissolves into static, and a voice greets them over the radio. A boy's face appears on the screen. Kaiba demands that the intruder identify himself, and the boy says Seto's always barking orders. He says he's been observing Seto for some time, and it's time to put him in his place. From now on he'll be calling the shots, and the first order of business is to put an end to their little card game. Once again, Kaiba demands the boy's name, and he introduces himself as Noah, and says he and Seto go back a long way. (Japanese Noah is not so snotty. First, he welcomes Kaiba and the other duelists. Yugi thinks that the boy seems to know Kaiba, and Mokuba thinks that the boy looks just like his brother did before. Kaiba asks again who he is, and the boy says his name is Noah, and that he was born to be superior to Seto. Kaiba says, how dare he joke with him. And Noah tells everyone to be his guests.)
The viewscreen changes again, showing them the ocean ahead of them. A huge fortress surfaces, and the airship is drawn towards it. They shout at Noah to let them go, but Joey says the kid has them right where he wants them—he just wishes he knew where that was! A large hold opens up on top of the fortress, and the airship is made to land inside, as Marik laughs on top of the airship.
Kaiba says as soon as they land, he'll make that little brat pay. Tristan wants first crack at him, but Duke says take it easy, he's just a kid. (In the Japanese, Kaiba says nothing. Honda says, "Shit!" and Otogi says, "What's happening?") Serenity asks Joey if they're going to be all right, and he reassures her that they're safe as long as he's there. Kaiba tells everyone to keep out of it—this is his airship, and he'll handle it. He thinks to himself that there has to be more to this than meets the eye. No way that little punk planned it all by himself!
The airship finally lands, deep within the fortress. Noah comes back on the ship's viewscreen and tells Kaiba it's time for him and his friends to exit the ship, and he's got stun phasers aimed at them to make sure they do. Kaiba tells everyone to stay there while he goes out alone, and he heads for the exit, with the others trailing after, protesting. Kaiba tells Noah he'll be coming out alone, but Noah turns the guns on them, and phaser blasts zoom by them, as Noah repeats that they all must come out. (Noah doesn't say what the guns are in the Japanese, but I don't think they're "phasers.")
The airship's exit stairs come down, and Kaiba leaves the ship, followed by Mokuba, Yugi, Joey, Téa, Serenity, Duke, and Tristan. Kaiba still thinks he's going to handle this himself and they'll all be on their way soon. Joey tells Kaiba to get over himself—whatever Noah's beef is with Kaiba, it's their problem now, too.
Noah orders them to continue straight ahead, and a door opens in the hold. A couple of Kaiba's suits try to run out of the ship after them, but Noah's phasers stop them. This invitation is for duelists only, Noah says. Duke says Tristan's no duelist, but Tristan says no one has to know that!
As the gang heads for the door, Joey tries to tell Serenity to stay there, but she says they're a team, and there's no way he's going out there without her! Tristan points out that she's better off with them, anyway—that creep Marik is back at the ship! (Honda doesn't say anything in the Japanese.) Marik lurks in the doorway being evil.
Yugi calls out to Noah, asking what he wants with them! Noah replies that all will be made clear in time, and tells Kaiba that his associates are eager to see him.
They come out into a huge empty hold, and the door closes behind them. A bright light comes on, backlighting five men in suits—it's the Big 5, the former Kaiba Corporation board of directors who tried to take over the company by trapping Kaiba in his virtual reality game. (They're not introduced by name in the Japanese.) Kaiba remembers battling them, fusing his Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon with Yugi's Black Luster Soldier to defeat their Five God Dragon. Mokuba explains that when the Big 5 lost the game, they were imprisoned in the virtual world instead of Kaiba.
They wandered cyberspace for what seemed like an eternity, they say, until Noah hacked into the Kaiba Corp mainframe. Once they discovered that they shared a common enemy in Seto Kaiba, Noah uploaded their minds to his system. (The Japanese Big 5 say they hate Yugi and the others, too, for helping Kaiba.) Kaiba says he defeated them once, and he'll do it again, and they say he'll have his chance. With Noah's help, they've devised a new game—a virtual Duel Monsters tournament, and all of the gang will participate.
Yugi asks why they want to duel them, and they explain that their minds have been trapped in the virtual world for so long, they've lost their bodies. But if they defeat Yugi and his friends, the Big 5 will take over their bodies and return to the real world. (In the Japanese, the Big 5 say that they'd like to just steal the gang's bodies, but they can't disobey Noah, and he requires them to duel fairly for them.) Joey shouts that no one's taking over his body again! (Japanese Jounouchi says if he has to duel, he'll win!)
The Big 5 say it's time to pay a visit to the dueling arena, and everything goes wacky and virtual. The gang find themselves in a jungle. Kaiba says it's virtual, but some of the others aren't convinced—it seems very real. Mokuba says he doesn't like the sound of this, as a huge dinosaur emerges from behind the trees. Panicking, Joey tells everyone not to panic.
Kaiba stands unmoved as the dinosaur looms over him. Everyone runs and screams as its claws slash down—and pass right through Kaiba, leaving him untouched. Kaiba says Noah can't intimidate him—he was writing better virtual reality programs when that kid was still in diapers. Téa reaches out to touch a flower, and her hand goes right through it. Then she looks up and sees another Kaiba, this one in the blue coat he wore back in Duelist Kingdom. Téa freaks. Relax, says Kaiba, it's a cheap copy. He used to create virtual clones of himself all the time to duel against. Duke wants to know why Kaiba dueled himself, and Kaiba says, who better? (Japanese Kaiba doesn't say anything about creating clones of himself to duel.)
Virtual Kaiba faces off with a life-size Duel Monster warrior who steps out of the trees. The gang hear the voice of one of the Big 5, saying it's time to demonstrate the new rules of their tournament, the Deck Master system. Virtual Kaiba's Deck Master will be the Blue-Eyes White Dragon, while Total Defense Shogun will act as his own Deck Master.
Virtual Kaiba summons Lord of Dragons, then plays Flute of Summoning Dragon, allowing him to summon two Blue-Eyes White Dragons to the field. Then he moves his Deck Master onto the field, giving him three Blue-Eyes White Dragons. Yugi notes that the Deck Master remains at the duelist's side until it's summoned to the field.
Virtual Kaiba plays Polymerization to fuse his three Blue-Eyes into the Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon. The Big 5 says that due to the Deck Master Blue-Eyes's special ability, this monster can attack immediately. Virtual Kaiba attacks Total Defense Shogun with the Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon, but Total Defense Shogun has its own special ability, Total Defense Barrier. It reflects the attack back, destroying the Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon—and Virtual Kaiba. If a player's Deck Master is destroyed, the player automatically loses the duel, regardless of life points, the Big 5 explains. And when one of them loses a duel, one of the Big 5 will take over his or her body.
Kaiba repeats that he'll take them down, as the virtual world dissolves around the gang, leaving them standing right where they were before, in the empty hold with the Big 5. "You're trapped," the Big 5 tell them, and the only chance of escape is to defeat the Big 5 in a virtual duel. Mokuba and Joey shout threats, and Joey promises Serenity that they'll win. Yugi says if they stick together, the Big 5 won't stand a chance, and Duke and Tristan agree. But then Téa points out that no one's said which of them will actually have to duel.
They all will, the Big 5 say. The first five to lose will give up their bodies, and their minds will remain trapped for all eternity!
To Be Continued