Saturday, October 1, 2011

Character: Daigo

"Old man? OLD MAN?"
"HERE IT COMES! My Majesty Lord Blaster! My trump card!"

Age: Unconfirmed; no younger than 22
Portrayed by: DAIGO (2012 Drama, Anime)
Drama Biography: A graduate of the American HarvardA University with a degree in justice, Daigo is a wanderer who steps into the life of Miura Hiroki after seeing the boy bullied. Becoming employed as a teacher at Hiroki's school, Daigo works continually to unearth the source of Hiroki's sadness and try to revitalize his love for life.

Spoiler warning: Spoilers for the STAND UP! Vanguard live-action drama follow.
Throughout the drama Daigo's primary aim is to win the affections of Hiroki's teacher, Mizuhara Sumire. While this motivates him to help Hiroki, he goes far out of his way to assist the boy, taking up residence in his house as a "special mission teacher" to ease the tensions between Hiroki and his father, Miura Shigehiko. While living with the two Daigo uses his degree to become employed at Hiroki's school, and gradually uncovers Hiroki's immense love for Cardfight, as well as Shigehiko's disapproval of it.

Daigo making breakfast.
Over time, Daigo makes sense of two problems in Hiroki's life; his father's hatred of Vanguard, and the bullies at school that pick on Hiroki as a weakling. Attempting to route the bullies, Daigo convinces Hiroki to stand up to them in a Vanguard fight, but after this plan fails he seeks their ringleader Teru personally.

 Daigo's degree; "YOU ARE JUSTICE."
Instead of Teru, Daigo finds himself in a fight with Satomi Eiji, Teru's private tutor and a graduate of the rival Nasa university. Becoming embroiled in a series of cardfights with Satomi, Daigo ultimately proves the loser in two consecutive matches, and is left begging for another chance. Satomi dismisses him, leaving both Dagio and Hiroki emotionally crippled by their experiences.

Hiroki eventually becomes convinced to enter into a local tournament with Daigo and Sumire as part of Team Hiroki. Daigo proves to be the weak link in their team setup, consistently losing matches where Hiroki's Kagerou and Sumire's Oracle Think Tank deck dominate. The night before the final round however, Daigo learns that Sumire was run over in a car accident, leaving Team Hiroki short one member; desperate to defeat Satomi in the tournament and mend Hiroki's relationship with his father, Daigo pleads with Shigehiko join their team. Shigehiko however, holds only resentment and disgust for Vanguard--the game brings out too many memories of his dead wife, the woman who introduced Hiroki to Cardfight in the first place.

At the last moment Shigehiko agrees, taking up his wife's Neo Nectar deck with Hiroki's reluctant instruction. Though the team is assembled, their relationship is still strained, and with the belief that Daigo will inevitably lose his own match in mind, a great deal of pressure rests on Hiroki and Shigehiko to win their matches. After Shigehiko's loss in the final rounds to Team Teru's third member, the team seemingly has no chance to win.

With his ability to ride locked down by Satomi's Murakumo deck, and a vast gap in damage between him and his opponent, Daigo's loss appears certain. Barely pulling through the match with the Sage of Guidance, Zenon and Majesty Lord Blaster acting in concert, Daigo manages to bring out two critical triggers on his final turn alongside Lord Blaster's own innate skills. Restoring the team's confidence and shaking Teru's belief in his teacher's lessons, Daigo encourages Hiroki to face Teru head-on.

Daigo plays a prominent role in the drama as the viewers' spirit animal.
In the tournament aftermath Hiroki and his father are finally reunited, ending Daigo's special mission. Going to visit Sumire in the hospital, Daigo's final reason to stay is erased as he learns that she already has a boyfriend.

However, seeing Hiroki one last time, now friends with the boys who used to bully him, Daigo determines to stay in Hiroki's town, ending the drama as close friends.

Spoilers end here.

Daigo shows a minor complex early in the drama over being called an old man (ojisan) by Hiroki's friends. A running gag is that he is commonly mistaken for a criminal; a child abductor at the beginning by Sumire, and a burglar by Shigehiko. This is later echoed in the anime series, where Daigo is once again mistaken for a burglar by Kamui.

Anime Biography: Daigo in the anime is known as a "super-famous, legendary fighter," and in ride 82 he debuts by cardfighting Souyruu Leon at the card shop, PSY. The circumstances of the fight are unknown, but as in the drama Daigo uses a Royal Paladin deck. Whether this Daigo will have any connection to the TV drama or commercial iterations of his character is unknown. Described as a legendary fighter that has consistently dominated higher-level cardfight, his name is inseparable from the game, and he's famous enough to earn entry in Vanguard Weekly.

Spoiler warning: Asia Circuit details follow.
However, three months ago Daigo mysteriously disappeared. He began to spontaneously vanish, reappearing spontaneously throughout the globe, in Japan, Antarctica, France and even Easter Island. Identified by Suiko as being caught in a time-space warp, she ascribes the cause of this to Daigo being caught up in the warp when the Royal Paladins were sealed, because unlike Sendou Aichi after Takuto sealed them, Daigo maintained his hold over his Royal Paladin deck. Because he fights with a clan that no longer exists, Daigo is now a living paradox.
Spoilers end here.

Universal Notes: Daigo is the only character in any continuity to get a critical of 4 in any single cardfight. His character is a thinly-veiled insert of the musician DAIGO, who is responsible for most of Vanguard's televised promotional materials in Japan. DAIGO has also been the one to award Japan's national championship trophy to the champions in the past.

Decks and Play Style
Daigo cardfights with Royal Paladin deck loaned to him by Hiroki. With minor Shadow Paladin influence from Blaster Dark, the deck's raw power makes up for Daigo's own inexperience and lack of skill. Being a neophyte to Vanguard, Daigo has little idea of how to use the deck and generally scrapes by on lucky maneuvers rather than on skillful play.

Note that Daigo initially uses Stardust Trumpeter as his first vanguard, but by the time of the tournament has changed her out for Wingal Brave.

STAND UP! Vanguard: Courage into Power (32/50 cards)
Grade 0
x1 Wingal Brave (FVG)
x1 Margal DT
x2 Bringer of Good Luck, Epona CT
x1 Pixie Fife and Drum ST
x2 Yggdrasil Maiden, Elaine HT
x2 Quiet Sage, Sharron ST
Grade 1
x2 Lake Maiden, Lien
x2 Starlight Unicorn
x2 Little Sage, Marron
x1 Flash Shield, Iseult
x1 Knight of Friendship, Kay
x1 Sage of Guidance, Zenon
Grade 2
x2 High Dog Breeder, Akane
x1 Knight of Truth, Gordon
x1 Blaster Blade
x3 Knight of Silence, Gallatin
x1 Knight of Loyalty, Bedivere
x1 Blaster Dark
x1 Starcall Trumpeter
Grade 3
x1 The King of Knights, Alfred
x1 Gigantech Charger
x1 Solitary Knight, Gancelot
x1 Majesty Lord Blaster

In the anime Daigo uses a Cavalry of Black Steel-era Royal Paladin deck, demonstrating a much greater overall skill level with it than with his drama deck. This new deck uses multiple 10000-power grade 2 units for ease of forming 16000-power lines, and incorporates White Dragon Knight, Pendragon as its key card. Pendragon gains +5000 power when ridden, easily forming a 20000-and-above column regardless of what stands in the rearguard behind it, and at limit break can search the deck for his Saver Dragons to empower rearguard. Pongal, Margal and Akane are included for greater Saver Dragon consistency, and Toypugal's skill is easily triggered with either of Daigo's grade 3s, making for a consistent and powerful deck despite its weak first vanguard.

Rides 82-Current: Legendary Fighter (26/50 cards)
Grade 0
x1 Stardust Trumpeter (FVG)
x1 Bringer of Good Luck, Epona CT
x1 Margal DT
x2 Yggdrasil Maiden, Elaine HT
Grade 1
x4 Little Sage, Marron
x2 Pongal
x2 Toypugal
x3 Flash Shield, Iseult
Grade 2
x2 Knight of Determination, Lamorak
x2 Knight of Silence, Gallatin
x2 High Dog Breeder, Akane
Grade 3
x2 White Dragon Knight, Pendragon
x2 Soul Saver Dragon