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Anime Review: Original Beyblade Series

wooden spinning top

Introduction:

Beyblade is a manga series by Takao Aoki, published in CoroCoro Comic from 1999 to 2004. It received an animated adaptation in 2001, which ran until 2003, for a total of 3 seasons. The show loosely adapts the storyline of the manga.

The hell is Beyblade?

Beyblade are spinning tops of various designs. The rules are simple. You launch the Beyblades in an enclosed area like a dish, where they collide with each other and the boundaries of the dish itself. Whichever Beyblade stops first loses. If your Beyblade is thrown out of the dish with an impact, you lose. In the anime and manga, they have super natural properties, but of course, in real life, nothing like that is true, and I regret that every single second.

Plot:

Takao Kinomiya, (Tyson Granger in the English Dub), is an enthusiastic player of Beyblade. His grandfather owns a dojo, where in a sword, a spirit is passed down through their family for generations. When Dragoon (the spirit in the sword), goes inside his Beyblade, it starts the adventures of Tyson, as he has to face various challenges, and fight for a world championship along side his friends and teammates Ray, Kai, Max, and Kenny.

Personal history:

When I was a kid, I played this game alone. (Much like chess.) I was considered to be a sort of expert in this game, and was pretty hard to beat, unless you cheat. Which people often resorted to, because their egos couldn’t handle losing to a blind kid, I suppose. I had a huge pile of collection, which I had to say goodbye, because I couldn’t maintain it, and they were just eating space. But it was one of the few things which I enjoyed in my childhood.

My review:

In the first season, after getting his Bit-Beasts, (as the spirits possessing the Beyblades are called), and building a rivalry with Kai, Tyson participates in a tournament where he faces Kai. The players from that tournament form a team called Bladebreakers, which goes on to participate in the world championship. They face many challenges, going from Asia to America, and then Europe. The lore of Bit-Beasts is expanded in the first two seasons. Apparently, they used to be some wild and dangerous spirits, which were tamed by humans, and then used in wars. (Getting strong Naruto vibes here.)

During the first seasons, we see several villains. First are the Dark Bladers. After twisting from the hatred towards Europe’s strongest bladers, they turn into hideous monsters, and go after Blade Breakers. And let me tell you, they are fucking terrifying when they appear.

Only to lose their purpose, and their spotlight is stolen by the team of those European bladers, called Majestics. I personally think that they wasted a perfect group of villains. They had everything, terrifying presence, scarry looks, (According to other people, I am unable to confirm this,) motivation. But they just had bad luck, both on the show, and when it comes to the writers of the show.

Second is Boris. He runs the Abbey, where children are trained in a horrifying fashion, (Seriously, my boarding school days were a breeze in comparison) where apparently Kai was also trained. Though not much is shown about day-to-day operations in Abbey, fan speculation is wild regarding his crimes. If you stumble on to some old internet forums, you’ll get to see that speculation.

The Russian and the team of United States presents a nice contrast. They’re both very serious when it comes to the sport, looking at the sport as an alternative to war, and wishing to dominate it. They both go on to extreme length to train their players to win. One is darker, and the other is lighter and somewhat softer.

Though Kai is my favorite, because whenever he talks or makes a move, it is a sign that something is about to happen. (That, and I like characters like a certain Saiyan prince.) but other members of Bladebreakers are also likable. Exclusive to English dub, there’s a Bit-Beast called Dizzira, called Dizzi for short. Unlike other Bit-Beasts, who don’t have a gender, this one has a female gender. This of course, barring Dragoon, who talks with a male voice, whenever he bothers to communicates.

Dizzi is trapped in Kenny’s laptop. And I really like that concept. Who says that spirits can only be trapped in a sword or a spinning top? Now just imagine what I could do with a spirit in my computer. I could be ruling the world right now.

I mean, I would be a perfectly productive member of society, what are you talking about? There are no plans to take over the world. Stop asking!

And then comes season 3. This season bungles up everything. After Bit-Beasts were so heavily featured in the story in the first 2 seasons, in the third season, no one even talks about them. Dizzi also disappeared. Despite that, it has some great ideas. Bladebreakers splitting up, so they can get out of Tyson’s shadow. Boris returning and creating a rock and roll connection with Beyblade, planning to turn himself into a business tycoon, and an awesome fight to end the season.

But the fans were never satisfied by this season. Which is why there was a demand for the fourth season. But as we all know, if a season fails, that is often a nail in the coffin of a show. That is exactly what happened, even though the fans felt that the show deserved a better ending than what it got.

For all its generic story, animation blunders, story blunders, this show turned Beyblade into a massively popular franchise, especially in India. Though after all those screwups in the third season, it basically made the franchise disappear from television worldwide, not returning until the next decade.

There’s something to be said about the songs exclusively composed for the English dub. Rise Above the Storms is my favorite, and the opening is also great. This was the era when English dub often got its openings different from the Japanese ones. But they never released the best song. And now, it is lost in a hard drive crash. So, there’s no chance of releasing it. (Always do backups kids.)

You might think, how could a show about spinning tops be so interesting? My answer is, you should try it. After a while, same old same old is not good for your body. You should try new things, including new shows. At least give the first episode a chance.

You can read my experience with two mentors on my other blog . Follow me on Twitter, and if you like my reviews, you can buy me a coffee. If you visit the page, feel free to rage at me for why that page sucks, and you wouldn’t want to buy me a coffee.

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Published by Tanish Shrivastava

I'm a guy who likes programming, chess, and writing.

4 thoughts on “Anime Review: Original Beyblade Series

  1. I never got into Beyblade too much, because I didn’t like how much they westernized it. I remember thinking Kai was cute though. He looked like a stern version of Gohan.

    I was 11 when the original show aired and then it kind of came back in my 20s? My friend’s son was crazy about it then.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know this is a pain point among the anime fans, but if I do have to think, I would say that the westernization of Beyblade actually worked quite fine, as opposed to some other anime.

      the second series, which came after this one was heavy on Japanese elements, and it never got westernized to the extent as this one did.

      Liked by 1 person

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