It was a surprisingly satisfying finale. At first, I was disappointed that the thing that Yuma forgot he lost that Astral was trying to remind him about basically was having fun while dueling. I can see why they'd go that route when the duels for this arc basically left Yuma crying for understandable reasons, but he looked like he was having fun dueling against Astral in the previous episode. It didn't really seem like an act either. He tried to bluff Astral a couple of times, but his enjoyment didn't seem like an act. I was hoping for a bigger twist too, especially when they already mentioned that the price, or one of the prices for the Door, was Yuma's ideals and I thought that they were going to refer to the fact that Yuma opened the Door twice.
I was also hoping that Number 00 would be Astral's Number form since he's been referred to as the original Number before, so yet another Hope monster was disappointing. I liked the whole future aspect of the monster that they were going for with Yuma saying that his future isn't defined yet, which ties back to being a Rank zero monster, so that was nice. Yuma is also apparently a piece of Astral that he lost during his first fight with Don Thousand reborn as a human. I kind of like the twist because it does add more of a connection between the two of them, it would kind of explain how his parents knew what he was going to do when they were talking to Akari in that flashback and I didn't see it coming at all. Although, I'm still confused about how a piece of a being from a different world could be reborn what looked like to be thousands of years later. It would have been nice if they explained that a bit more instead of throwing it as a means to explain why Yuma could use Shining Drawn outside of the Astral World.
Number 99 had a really cool design, which almost made up for being another Hope monster. Seriously, despite having every Number, Astral just used Hope monsters. I understand why from a symbolic point of view, but after the whole series has been primarily about spamming ace monsters and especially Hope, seeing the last duel of the series coming down to two different Hope monsters is rather annoying. Still, the duel was engaging and it had a pretty good conclusion. While I had a strong feeling that there would be something more after Astral left, his farewell to Yuma was pretty touching.
I knew that the Barians and Kaito would be revived, but I thought it was pretty lackluster. They just appeared back at school or helping Dr. Faker in Kaito's case. I thought that they would make a bigger deal about them being revived, or at least with Shark and Kaito given how their deaths were handled. While Yuma's parents returning off screen was kind of cheap, I'm more annoyed with how they never bothered explaining anything about Yuma's mother. Why was she in the Astral World? How did she even get there in the first place? Honestly, they barely made a big deal about Yuma's mother, especially compared to his father, so they could have easily cut her out of the series. Nothing would be lost. There would be just be one less glaring plothole.
I also really didn't care for Kotori's semi-confession about loving Yuma's smile. It just kind of happened with no buildup because they wanted to provide one more cute scene for Kotori. It would be cuter if their relationship felt like it had drastically changed over the course of the series or if Kotori was interesting in the slightest. Plus, it made me a bit upset that they could do something with that pairing for the finale, but they didn't have some nice moment between Jack and Carly in the finale for 5D's. I'd still say that their pairing is still canon and they actually did declare their love for each other, rather than just saying something like "I love your smile" to get a semi-confession, but they couldn't be bothered to do something with them at the end of the series and yet they did that for Yuma and Kotori's relationship here. Granted, Carly's character was pretty much ruined at that point, but some nice scene between her and Jack would have been better than nothing.
Although, I did like that they were going to the Astral World to help fight against a new threat. The whole adventure continues on vibe actually worked pretty well. Even with the Numeron Code, they didn't find a way to get rid of the power of Chaos affecting the Astral World. I also didn't think that Yuma and Astral would be separated for good for a lot of reasons. Throughout the series, they have stressed on Yuma and Astral's dependency on each other, rather than the need for them to separate eventually like they did with Yugi and Atem. Yugi and Atem still depended on each other, but they knew that once Atem gained his memories, he would leave, and Yugi wanted to become more confident without Atem as well. Honestly, I don't think that they ever mentioned in the show that Astral would leave once he got all of the Numbers, at least not before the flashback in this episode, and there wasn't really a reason given in the show. I think most people watching the series came to that conclusion that he would leave, much like everyone knew Yuma vs. Astral was going to happen, but I don't think that really came up during the show. Despite how Yuma vs. Astral was clearly their own kind of Ceremonial Duel, it wasn't really about seeing if the two were ready to separate. It was more about Astral trying to make Yuma happy to duel again before leaving for the Astral World. Plus, after being separated from Astral during the previous arc and all of the heartbreak Yuma went through in this arc, I didn't think that they would go for a sad ending with the two of them being separated for good.
Yuma, Shark, Kaito, Rio, Kotori, the Arclights the rest of the Barians traveling to help the Astral World to go help Astral gave pretty much everyone a happy ending and it seemed like a pretty fitting conclusion to the series. I prefer the finales for the original series and 5D's primarily due to liking the characters more, the duels being more engaging and being more emotionally touching for me. I haven't seen GX's finale yet, so I can't compare it. I will say that Zexal's finale is less rage inducing than the 5D's finale was. I didn't mind Jack losing, even though that would have been fine by me, but it was the whole issue with his relationship with Carly that bugged me.