"Cardfight!! Vanguard" (カードファイト!! ヴァンガード Kādofaito!! Vangādo) is a manga drawn and written by Akira Ito. It is the manga equivalent of the anime series. The Japanese version is published by Kadokawa Shoten and the English version is published by Vertical. It was originally published in Kerokero Ace since January 2011, until it was moved to the Monthly Bushiroad magazine on September 2013 after the former ceased its publications. After finishing the high school arc, Akira Ito has decided to take a break while focusing on other projects, so the manga remains temporarily finalized.
An anime series slightly based on the events of the manga was announced on March 14, 2018. This also marks a new beginning after the conclusion of Cardfight!! Vanguard G series, including redesigns of classic cards.
PSY Qualia Arc
Despite never having been in a cardfight, Aichi Sendou carries a precious card, Blaster Blade, with him as a symbol of strength. After an encounter with Toshiki Kai, the boy who originally gave him the card long ago, he is introduced to Vanguard fights, making several new friends at the card shop “Card Capital“ as a result. Soon, he encounters the card gang “Foo Fighter”, who force opponents to fight wearing “VF gloves”, accessories which inflict physical pain when a fighter takes damage. During a fight with Kyou Yahagi, one of Foo Fighter’s powerful AL4 members, Aichi is guided to victory after hearing the voice of a card speaking to him, and awakens to the power of “PSY Qualia”, an ability to communicate with one’s units that was previously thought to be unique to the leader of Foo Fighter, Ren Suzugamori.
As the remaining members of the AL4 attempt to hunt down Kai, who they consider a traitor, it is revealed that Ren and Kai are former friends and rivals, and it was Ren’s inability to defeat Kai that brought about his current obsession with the power of PSY Qualia. Intending to end things between them, Kai faces Ren in a cardfight, but is defeated. Ren then challenges Aichi, angered by the knowledge that another fighter exists who could defeat Kai. The two of them engage in a battle of PSY Qualia, taking place in a mental arena as if they had actually been transported to the planet Cray to fight along with their units. Despite Ren’s confidence, Aichi is not only able to win, but also free Ren from the power-hungry grip of his PSY Qualia obsession.
High School Arc
At his new high school Miyaji Academy, Aichi attempts to start a cardfighting club, with limited success until a member of idol group “Ultra Rare”, Kourin Tatsunagi, joins him. After Naoki Ishida, Komoi Shingo, and finally Misaki Tokura join, the club is officially recognized by the school, and organizes an intramural match against Fukuhara High’s Vanguard club, which includes Ren and the other members of the AL4. There, Aichi attracts the attention of Takuto Tatsunagi, who reveals that he knows about PSY Qualia.
When Kouji Ibuki, a mysterious fighter with the power to “delete” his opponents’ connections to Vanguard, appears, Takuto reveals his true nature as the “Concertmaster”, the one who guides the flow of destiny between Earth and Cray. He fights Ibuki in an attempt to learn more about the Deletors, a deck which even he does not recognise, but is defeated, and his body is taken over by the “Destiny Conductor”, the Deletors’ master and envoy of planet Brandt which seeks to conquer Cray.
The members of Ultra Rare, now under the Conductor’s command, begin to defeat other fighters and infect them with a form of PSY Qualia, which turns them into “zombies” and can be spread via cardfighting. Ibuki, meanwhile, simply seeks to delete as many fighters as possible out of his hatred for Vanguard. After both Ren and Aichi are zombified, the Conductor asserts complete control over Cray's destiny, but Aichi is freed by Ibuki deleting his vanguard. Aichi challenges the Conductor, gathering the support of both his friends and units to become the vessel of Cray’s deity Messiah and defeat Brandt. In defeat, Brandt is absorbed by Messiah, and, with her master gone, Kourin’s memories begin to disappear. She gives Misaki her hairband to remember her by, and they promise to meet again.
- Aichi Sendou
- Toshiki Kai
- Kamui Katsuragi
- Misaki Tokura
- Taishi Miwa
- Shin Nitta
- Katsumi Morikawa
- Emi Sendou
- Takuto Tatsunagi
- Kouji Ibuki
- Naoki Ishida
- Shingo Komoi
- Kourin Tatsunagi
Team Ultra Rare
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- Unlike anime, the cards featured originally in the manga can have different characteristics of their official versions, sometimes being more powerful or weaker. For example, Promise Daughter and The Dark Dictator; Arc Saver Dragon can also be the most drastic example.
- The manga, so far, has featured mechanics originally from later seasons of the anime. This includes Limit Break, Cross Ride, Legion, and a slightly altered Stride.