SSBS – Beyblade Episode 4: The Qualifier Begins

Plot: The Regional Qualifiers are underway and people are already dropping like flies. The dialogue is a bit weird, though, because both the announcers and the Chief make it sound like Kai is personally beating all of these kids in the qualifiers, but the animation makes it clear that they’re just mass Beyblade battles against whole groups of combatants with about ten people per group.

One of the announcers, Brad Best and AJ Topper, actually brings up an issue I have with this format, and that’s, once enough Beyblades fall, won’t the losing blades kinda get in the way of the remaining competitors? Apparently, once enough blades fall, they stop the match, clean them out, then restart. Why not just do smaller groups in the first place?

One thing I’ve always thought was a lot of fun about Beyblade was the tournament format where the audience basically follows the action as if they were watching a real Beyblade tournament. We get cheesy (and sometimes very funny) announcers, overlay graphics, everything outside of sponsorship plugs.

Back to the action, Max manages to win his qualifier, and now Kenny is up next in block C. He manages to do pretty well, even if the animation continues to show off how much of a non-sport this actually is because the bladers just stand around doing nothing while their blades either get knocked out or destroyed or they wait for the other competitors to fall.

Somehow, someway no one noticed that Kai has been in this block the whole time even though they were just talking about him incessantly when he wasn’t actually there and they keep bringing up that Kai is the reigning champion trying to defend his title.

And since Kai is in the Chief’s block, you can bet any hope you might have had for our bespectacled pal to actually get a win are now nonexistent. You can also clearly tell how ridiculously stacked battles are against blades that don’t have bit beasts in them because Kai’s blade is clearly changing direction sharply and aiming specifically for other blades.

Tyson: “Wait a minute, I bet Kenny and Dizzi have something up their sleeves. King Kai’s gonna lose his crown.” It’s really nice of Tyson to have such faith in Kenny and Dizzi, but I couldn’t help but be DBZ distracted when he called him King Kai….

Kenny is now the last one standing against Kai, and…..I gotta call out Kenny on his Beyblade. The Chief’s Beyblade is an odd duck. He uses a green blade called Jumping Base (Or Einstein in the original version). It’s a Beyblade…on a spring.

Okay, please bear with me because I am far from a physics major, but…isn’t this design bullshit?

They don’t really explain what they’re going for with this Beyblade, but just from looking at it, it doesn’t look like it could stay spinning for more than a second or two let alone be the last blade standing in a mass battle against Kai.

First things first, the whole blade is spinning, not just the top. That means that the little point at the end of the spring is the main point of contact and what is allowing the blade to spin.

Springs work by storing kinetic energy when they’re compressed. However, when compressed, the little bit on the end would obviously get force imposed on it as well. Since that bit is spinning, that means it’s generating friction on the surface it’s spinning on. That friction is gradually slowing the blade until the energy runs out. The force of the spring’s compression and eventual expulsion of energy would cause so much friction that I don’t think the blade wouldn’t be able to survive one bounce.

Not to mention that bouncing springs are kinda hard to control, and a wok/BeyStadium is probably one of the worst smooth environments you can find to control a bouncing spring. If you’ve ever used a pogo stick, imagine trying to use one in a half-pipe. And that’s with the spring wrapped around a pole, giving it stability and a rider being able to control a multitude of variables. This is just a free spring, allowing it to flail back and forth, with no one having any control over it.

Speaking of flailing, it might be able to take a hit pretty well, considering it has good ‘shocks’ so to speak, but the energy from a hit would just send it flailing, probably knocking itself into the wok blade first, which would drastically slow down the spin if it didn’t just fall over anyway.

You’d have to call in some sort of Beyblade Mythbusters to really debunk this, I’m just doing off-the-cuff research, but as far as I can tell, this Beyblade shouldn’t be functioning in the least, and the idea that Kenny, of all people, is using this goofy-ass design, and that it was Dizzi’s idea, is insane.

Sometimes lack of animation is too funny depending on the dialogue. “I can’t look!” Tyson says while making absolutely no effort to close or cover his eyes or look away.

“OoOhh! Kai’s attack is going to totally destroy that young man!” Says Mr. Dickenson as he doesn’t move, is smiling and posed in such a way that he might as well be feeding bread to pigeons in the park.

After taking a ridiculous amount of time for Dranzer to reach Jumping Base with its attack, Kai talks some smack and then defeats Kenny with no issue. (Kenny said he needed a lucky bounce to withstand the attack, but what was he hoping for? Jumping over Dranzer? He’d just attack again. This blade is really stupid.)

Golly, who could have predicted this?

Wanting to avenge Kenny….I guess, Tyson runs out into the arena, but he, Mr. Dickenson and Kenny are amazed that Dranzer is continuing to spin with no signs of stopping. According to Kenny, this should be impossible. Right. Right….THAT’S impossible. But your Tigger-esque Beyblade is somehow not.

Tyson is about to take Kai on, but Kenny stops him, telling him he lost fair and square. He merely underestimated Kai, and challenging him now will just get him kicked out. Tyson backs off, Kai throws more smacktalk and walks away.

It’s a little weird that Kenny underestimated Kai. He’s usually the one who errs on the side of caution the most, and he had no confidence in himself when he went out there in the first place.

Next up, group D starts – Tyson’s turn. And who else was to be his main opponents for this qualifier than Carlos and a bunch of other Blade Sharks? Tyson and the sharks manage to make it to the second part of their round, which introduces them to a new BeyStadium, an obstacle dish, which is just a sneak peak at the many, many, many ridiculous BeyStadiums they’ll come out with over time. It’s basically just as it sounds – it’s a dish with obstacles in it.

May I ask, however, why Tyson’s group gets this dish in their second half, but Kai and Kenny’s wok was extremely normal?

AJ: “It’s going to take more than skill to maneuver around those obstacles.” It’s going to take luck, because that’s all the control you’re supposed to have over your Beyblades once they’re launched. You can’t steer them. This will most likely be the last time I bring this up, because I have a feeling we’re now entering ‘Somehow we can control the Beyblades with our minds and commands and no one will question why this is or how this works’ territory.

The Blade Sharks obviously gang up on Tyson, and somehow, even without Bit Beasts, the three Blade Sharks I didn’t care to the learn the names of just so happen to not only be able to control their Beyblades telepathically, I guess, but their Beyblades can also generate electricity when they’re close together. I know I just said I’d refrain from mentioning stuff like this, but they don’t have Bit Beasts to sort of explain this away, so I was a little confused.

Tyson manages to maneuver away from them, and in a twist, Carlos picks off his teammates one by one (Though you only actually see him take out the purple haired one on-screen). Now’s as good a time as any to say that the three other Sharks have terrible voice acting. Nothing else to add there, I just don’t think we see them again after this and I wanted to get that out.

Anyway, Carlos tells the three of them to get lost because he’s flying solo now. It’s just him and Tyson now. They’re entering into a third round, which I find strange. Kai and Kenny were only in a second round, not third, and considering Tyson’s blade was still spinning when Carlos’ crapped out, I’d saying this is Tyson’s win, but whatever.

Tyson: “It’s a game and it has rules – rules you follow!” Yeah…..and in none of those rules does it say you can’t take out your teammates when it’s a free for all brawl with only one victor moving on to the tournament. They’re treating it like this is some terrible thing to do, and it is shitty, but they would’ve had to have fought each other at some point, Carlos just sped up the process.

Carlos: “I’d say you’re just jealous!” Trust me here. Amazing line delivery. All the effort of a sleeping infant.

Also, jealous of what? Again, Tyson would’ve won that match if they didn’t call for a third round here.

Tyson: “Better watch it, Carlos, cuz the rules are out the window!” 45 seconds prior to this you were literally looking down on Carlos, proclaiming that he knew nothing of Beyblade because it has rules that need to be followed. Now you’re saying ‘Ah, well, fuck the rules then!’? Come on, Tyson. Be better than that.

Carlos: “All my life, I’ve wanted to taste victory on my own. Now you’re the appetizer. *licks lips*” Uh, you’ve never won a match on your own? That is extremely incorrect. You alone were known around Tyson’s town as a bully who went around destroying or stealing other blades….on his own. Yeah, you were a member of the Blade Sharks, but they weren’t there helping you gang up on other kids.

Also, really could’ve done without the overly evil and gross lip licking.

They start the match, and Tyson shows he’s not messing around. Dragoon quickly vanishes before everyone’s eyes. Carlos is thrown for a loop, and Tyson uses this opportunity to knock his blade out of the arena…..well…that was underwhelming. The second round lasted much longer and, in my opinion, was better because it had Tyson using the field to his advantage to get away from the Sharks. Here….he somehow made Dragoon vanish and he just, boop, knocked him out of the ring…and broke his blade apart. (Also, Kenny explains that, somehow, Dragoon is now so fast that it’s invisible to the human eye. I would roll my eyes a little harder at that, but, again, that’s just the tip of the goofy ice berg.)

As Carlos collapses on the ground in defeat and mutters due an animation problem, I assume, Tyson is declared the winner and moves on to the tournament.

Tyson’s a good sport, though, and hands Carlos the pieces of his Beyblade.

Tyson: “Wicked battle, man.” Carlos’ blade did nothing. That battle was one-sided and terribly boring. Also, it was really weak as a chance to either redeem Carlos or turn him into this big threat. Maybe this is just a measuring stick match since Carlos thrashed Tyson once before and still gave him a bit of a run for his money on the rematch, so him completely spanking him now is a sign of how much he’s grown, but it’s still disappointing.

Bottomline: Qualifier rounds of shounen gaming anime tend to be mostly entertaining filler. You know the main characters (barring Kenny, because he’s the tech guy not a Beyblader, really) are going to advance, and the enemies this time around are rematches with people Tyson’s already beaten before.

The whole episode was building up to Tyson’s match, but all of the gameplay I saw there was rather boring. Like I said, the group match against all of the Sharks was more entertaining than his battle with Carlos, which was so short and uneventful it was almost a joke.

I was a little bit more preoccupied with Kenny’s match vs. Kai, because, well….that Beyblade, man. That bouncing little kangaroo Beyblade. That is some marvel of physics. And by ‘marvel’ I mean ‘marvelously insane.’ How did Kenny even make it as far as he did with that defy-er of all things logic Beyblade? Did he just bounce in place and managed to not get hit by anyone? Did he somehow manage to bounce above everyone when they tried to hit him? The more I think about it, the more confused I become.

This episode as a whole maxes out at ‘okay’ and I’m being a little generous there.

Last note, but this episode had noticeably worse animation than usual. Like…bad bad. I understand that the budget is typically reserved for bigger episodes and qualifiers basically are filler episodes, but wow. Some of those shots were beautifully bad.

Next Episode….

….Previous Episode


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SSBS – Beyblade Episode 3: Take it to the Max!

SSBS - Beyblade ep 3 Screen7

Plot: Tyson and Kenny meet the new kid, Max, who happens to be an ace Beyblader with a dad who owns a hobby shop with its own Beystadium. As Tyson tries to learn and train, they learn that there’s an exciting new Beyblading tournament coming up and they all want to enter.

Bey-Battles

Max (Draciel Metal Ball Defenser) vs. Tyson (Dragoon S)

Victor – Max

Breakdown: Tyson is training with his new Beyblade when it’s suddenly taken by a puppy named Sparky. After Sparky returns to his owner, a little girl, Tyson and Kenny meet the new kid in town, Max Tate. However, their introduction is interrupted when they hear the girl yelling out in panic as Sparky is whisked away by the river.

I have a few questions about this whole rescue. Where did that conveniently sized log even come from? How little attention was this girl giving Sparky to let him climb on a log and float away? Why is this river that quickly flows into an incredibly steep man-made waterfall not blocked off to the public? Tyson and the others hang out there all the time. Not only is the river not restricted, but kids can easily climb on top of the waterfall platforms with no gates, fences or even guardrails.

Tyson and Kenny try to save Sparky, but the current quickly gets too strong for them to even attempt going in. Just then, Tyson gets the idea to smack the log with his Beyblade so it will turn sideways and block off the top of the waterfall. I get that we have to incorporate Beyblades into basically every facet of every plot point, but if I saw a couple of kids trying to save my dog with Beyblades I think I’d smack them. I know they can’t do much else, but still.

Tyson’s shot was unable to turn the log and the blade lands on top of the waterfall. Max steps up and releases his Beyblade to help, but Tyson chastises him for doing the same thing he did when it failed. I don’t know why he’s upset. He already launched it, there’s no point in getting angry over it. Max doesn’t even do the same shot – he launches his Beyblade to Dragoon’s location and smacks it to the proper angle, successfully shifting the log’s position and stopping Sparky.

With Sparky safely back with his owner, Tyson applauds Max for his Beyblading skills and they become quick friends. However, he’s slightly concerned over his Beyblade for being sunk in the water after that last shot. Max suggests taking it to his father’s hobby shop to get it looked at.

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After getting a clean bill of health on his Beyblade from Mr. Tate, he asks if Max wants to have a friendly Beybattle with him so he can teach him that shot that saved the puppy and he agrees. Max brings them down to the basement where he reveals that his father’s shop actually has it’s own Beystadium and even a few pieces of training equipment like a smaller Beystadium and a…..ramp with spikes—what?

SSBS - Beyblade ep 3 Screen3

Kenny has concerns, however, so he pulls Tyson aside to talk to him. He says he probably shouldn’t let Max train him because his shot seemed suspiciously good. Max is obviously a very skilled Beyblader, but finds it a bit too much of a coincidence to suddenly meet this skilled Beyblader with his own Beystadium right at the perfect time to save that dog…..Uhh…The dog was in trouble after Max started to introduce himself to them, so unless Kenny’s insinuating that Max was the cause of that accident, Kenny is a bit paranoid. Tyson just believes he’s being jealous and moves on with the match.

Kenny notices that Max uses an Easy Grip launcher, which improves accuracy without sacrificing spin, and the match begins. Dragoon is making some nice hits, but Max’s blade stays firmly in place. Max praises Tyson’s rotation, but Tyson points out that sitting there won’t help him win. Kenny, on the other hand, has news for Tyson. Max’s blade, the Draciel Metal Ball Defenser, is a special defense-focused blade. Despite it seeming like Tyson is way ahead, he’s actually doing no damage. Tyson’s not giving up so easily and changes up his strategy to pushing Draciel out of the wok instead, which he nearly succeeds in doing before Dragoon runs out of energy and falls.

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Max is the winner, leaving Tyson upset that he doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Max tries to teach him that patience is the key to improving – one match won’t improve much of anything. Uhh, I thought the first scene implied that Tyson’s actually been doing quite a bit of training. Kenny agrees, which makes this even more confusing because he’s been the one training Tyson all this time.

I would understand if it was the shot that Tyson missed because that was a new issue that was brought up, but despite talking about teaching Tyson the shot, there was no mention of it during the match and it wasn’t implied to be the problem afterward. He just got overconfident in the power of Dragoon and overestimated its lasting power.

Max suggests training with him for a while, promising to teach him all sorts of secrets and techniques for accuracy and power. Tyson agrees, but before they can start another Beybattle, a man walks in and greets Mr. Tate. He introduces him as Stanley A. Dickenson, the chairman of the BBA, the Beyblade Battle Association. Kenny gushes over Mr. Dickenson, proclaiming him to the most important man in the sport of Beyblading. He promotes and trains up and coming Beybladers to make them some of the most skilled players in the game.

Mr. Dickenson is a family friend of the Tates, and he has come both to check out Mr. Tate’s new store and to let him be the first to learn of the new Beyblade Battle Tournament that the BBA is hosting. They all get excited over it, but Tyson quickly gets worried, stating that a tournament this major is sure to bring out Kai. Mr. Dickenson says Kai’s actually already entered……Wait, he specifically said he wanted them to be the first to know of this tournament yet not only does Kai know, he’s already signed up?

Mr. Dickenson praises Kai as a Beyblader and reveals that he’s actually the returning champion. Despite the worries, they all get amped up for the challenge and go back to training.

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We cut to Kai who is also doing some training of his own. He’s trying to increase Dranzer’s lasting power. When he hears that Dranzer’s been spinning for over ten minutes, he implements a new phase of training, which is taking on three of his lackeys at once with the same still spinning blade. They start the match, but it’s over within a few seconds as all of their Beyblades are quickly knocked out of the arena. Even after the battle is over, Dranzer is still spinning strong. We get some slight insight into Kai who thinks to himself ‘That’s why I’m the champion….whether I like it or not.’

Back with Tyson and Kenny, who have returned to the dojo after from some intense training with Max, Kenny apologizes for what he said about Max and admits he was jealous. Tyson and him make up before analyzing Dragoon for some tweaks.

The truce lasts about a minute before Tyson gets all pissy about having to do actual planning, thinking and analysis to become a tournament class Beyblader. He says he’s gotten to where he is today without all of that boring stuff, but Kenny argues that it’s necessary in order to control the power of Dragoon. Tyson then gets personal and says Kenny’s only good at building Beyblades but sucks at actually using one, and he’s also so inept at controlling his own bit beast that he trapped her in a computer. Tyson realizes he’s gone too far too late and Kenny leaves.

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I don’t even know why Tyson got so pissed there. I can understand him having a tantrum over having to do technical work but going that far when he knows full well that Kenny has been invaluable to his victories since he met him? And that he’s been a great asset in his overall training? Kenny’s been so valuable that he’s been kidnapped for his knowledge.

Kenny and Max has a bit of a heart to heart by the river and Max asks Kenny to get Tyson and meet him later.

Back with Tyson, he’s training in kendo with his grandpa, who, coincidentally, is basically mirroring his match with Max. Grandpa is taking a defensive stance, and Tyson’s continuous swings are useless against it. He says he has to be good at analyzing his moves and predicting them in order to succeed in battle, which Tyson connects to what Kenny was trying to tell him earlier.

Grandpa suddenly starts moving so quickly back and forth that he’s basically learned anime!Double Team from Pokemon. Tyson realizes that the way to combat this is by studying where Grandpa was and is in order to predict where he’ll be next. Then, with proper timing, he’ll be able to strike the real one.

Tyson’s attack actually fails, which I like because it emphasizes the other lesson about needing to practice new moves instead of learning them immediately.

Later, Tyson has some quiet reflection in the dojo, thinking that Kai’s strength is in balance while Max’s is in defense. If he can figure out strategies to combat both, he’ll be the new champ—uh, dude. No. That will help immensely, but you do realize that there will be many, many, many other very skilled Beybladers at this tournament, right? In order to truly be effective, you’ll need to learn how to quickly adapt, study your opponent’s moves for strengths and weaknesses and use both of those aspects to your advantage.

Kenny arrives at the dojo and spies through the window for a second to see Tyson start training. He puts some spin on his wrist as he launches Dragoon, and his Beyblade speeds off like a blur, leaving burn marks in the floor and shooting it through the wooden wall of the dojo, embedding it in another stone wall. Tyson rejoices that he’s finally mastered controlling Dragoon’s power. Uh….so you worry about your Beyblade when it’s submerged for a few minutes, but not when it’s crashed through a wooden wall and embedded itself in a rock wall?

SSBS - Beyblade ep 3 Screen6

As Kenny updates his stats and devises new strategies for Tyson, Tyson apologizes for what he said and the two make up, ready to take on the tournament together.

————————————-

I liked this episode, but mostly due to Max. Ray used to be my favorite character, but Max has gained a larger appreciation to me over the years. He has such a great attitude, awesome strategy, and I love his Beyblade. Plus, his backstory always seemed a bit more interesting to me than Ray’s. Truth be told, I think I used to be biased with Ray because I had a bit of a crush on him.

Tyson ruins this episode slightly to me because he has a little more ego than usual and he’s being a complete ass to Kenny for no reason other than ‘waaah, thinking!’

Some plot threads don’t mesh together like the log shot that Max just never taught Tyson, what connection the Double Team-ish move had to do with any of Tyson’s past matches, unless that was purely meant to give Tyson a niche (speed?) and I don’t see how him watching his grandpa do that automagically allowed him to control Dragoon.

Next episode, the qualifier for the tournament begins.

…..Previous Episode


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SSBS – Beyblade Episode 2: The Day of the Dragoon

SSBS - Beyblade episode 2 screen1

Plot: Tyson and Kai start their match. While Tyson is confident in his new technique, Kai’s Beyblade, Dranzer, easily blows his Beyblade apart. Tyson starts building a new blade and preparing for a rematch, but the Blade Sharks soon set their sights on the Chief and Dizzi. Training will have to be cut short.

Bey-Battles

Tyson (Dragoon Grip Attacker) Vs. Kai (Dranzer S)

Victor – Kai

Tyson (Dragoon S) Vs. Kai (Dranzer S) REMATCH

Victor – Draw

Breakdown: Continuing on from the previous episode, it’s Tyson versus the leader of the Blade Sharks, Kai, in a fierce Bey-battle. Tyson thinks he has the whole thing locked up with his new speedy Dragoon, but Kai is far from breaking a sweat. His Beyblade, Dranzer, is actually feeding off of the energy that Dragoon is creating with its intense spinning. With one fell swoop, Dranzer lifts up into the air like a helicopter and smashes down on top of Dragoon, shattering it into a million pieces.

I find this a bit….ya know. I’ll actually let stuff like this pass. We’re going to see far odder stuff in the future than a Beyblade gaining spinning power off of another’s and somehow randomly lifting into the air and setting back down without so much as a wobble.

Tyson wants a rematch right then and there, but that’s obviously impossible, and Andrew even advises him not to since they’re obviously not on the same level.

The next day, The Chief and Andrew go to Tyson’s house to see if he’s practicing and are surprised to find he is indeed practicing, but in kendo.

Tyson: “Argh! En garde!” That’s fencing, Tyson. But nice try.

As Tyson gets more and more intense, thinking about how he’ll find a way to beat Kai, his family sword reacts with a brilliant glow. Also, somehow, this all happens and, despite The Chief and Andrew watching the whole time, neither one seems to notice that this happened….okie.

SSBS - Beyblade episode 2 screen2

They talk to him about what happened the other day and explain more about who Kai and the Blade Sharks are. They’re not just a band of punks collecting random Beyblades for kicks. Kai is searching for the ultimate Beyblade – one with the ultimate Bit Beast that no one can ever beat.

He goes on to talk about Bit Beasts like they’re both something known (flippantly saying it’s a Bit Beast) and then saying that legends tell of Beyblades that are powered by creatures like lions and dragons…..Uh, what do they think a Bit Beast is if not a powerful beast that lives within the Beyblade?

Tyson then gets the revelation that the only way to get a rematch with Kai and beat him is to build the ultimate blade….foolproof plan. Because if you had the parts and ability to do so beforehand, why were you using the less powerful blade in the first place? Andrew also points out the obvious that he’d have no chance anyway because he has no Bit Beast.

Tyson brings Andrew and The Chief to his room to show them all of his Beyblade parts to get started on building the new blade. The Chief takes this opportunity to properly introduce him to Dizzi, The Chief’s Bit Beast that was trapped in his computer after a mysterious power surge (I don’t think they ever adequately explain this, and Dizzi as a whole is a dub-only thing, so just roll with it) Dizzi is short for Dizzara. No, that never matters either.

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Tyson then asks what a Bit Beast is…..*rubs temples* Uggh, I don’t get this. One minute they know about Bit Beasts like they’re a common thing, the next they’re legends, the next a kid who is supposedly the best Beyblader in town has no clue what they are at all.

Also, the Wiki for this episode says this:

“Tyson is introduced to the advent of the Blade Sharks, Bit-Beasts and Dizzi, even though he already knew of it in the previous episode.” So it’s just poor writing? Kay.

Instead of giving any sort of real answer, The Chief just says that Dizzi knows everything there is to know about Beyblades, so she’d be perfect to help Tyson build a new one to beat Kai.

As they work on that, Kai shows his cruelty in…an almost laughable scene where Carlos has his blade destroyed. They spin his Beyblade in a wok, three of Kai’s goons release their blades into the arena and smash it to pieces.

The whole time, Carlos is yelling and begging for them to stop…..Dude, calm yourself. Tyson just had his blade smashed way worse than yours and he barely mourned the loss at all, despite the fact that he has a more emotional connection to the game and his blades. Certainly that can’t be the only blade you have anyway.

He’s so distraught over this that he collapses and needs to be carried away.

Kai’s goons then inform him of what Tyson and the others are doing as well as the existence of Dizzi, so he goes to investigate.

Back with Tyson and the others, he tests out his new blade, the Dragoon S, against Andrew and beats him fairly easily, but Dizzi says the power level is still too low to beat Kai…..so….it’s under ninethousaaaaaannnnddddddd?

If Kai’s blade is one that feeds off of the power of other blades, isn’t focusing on increasing the power kinda….pointless?

The Chief decides that he needs to do more research in order to help Tyson win, so he goes back home for a while. On his way back, he’s cornered by Kai’s goons, one of them wearing whatever the hell this is.

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For those awkward times where you want the formal appearance of pants and the breeziness of shorts, there’s this thing. Ugly bare mid-drift top not included.

They kidnap The Chief, and the kidnapping is witnessed by two guys I think I should recognize but don’t, and they tell Tyson what happened.

Kid: “We thought we could save him if we followed him, but there were just too many!”

The instant The Chief got jumped, you yelled out ‘Let’s get out of here!’ How is that a precursor to ‘Let’s follow them and try to save The Chief!’?

Tyson: “Those blasted Blade Sharks!” This accursed line!

Kid: “But you can’t beat him on your own!”

Tyson: “Well, what else am I supposed to do? Stand here and do nothing?”

Kidnapped child.

Call. The. Cops.

Tyson: “Rrrgh, aw man! I have a feeling this is going to put a serious dent in our development program…”

Aw, drat. My friend got kidnapped and that negatively affects ME.

Andrew and….Kid #1 and #2 agree to go with him to the warehouse to help save The Chief, but before he leaves, Tyson asks the Dragoon for help in saving his friend. Dragoon hears his pleas and emerges from the sword, entering Tyson’s Beyblade. With the power of Dragoon with him, he heads off to face Kai again.

Back at the warehouse, the goons try to get info out of Dizzi, but are confused when they find her acting like a fairly normal computer interface. Just as the goons are about to try to get information out of The Chief directly, Tyson and the others (including a slue of other random background children) show up.

They’re about to start a big group Bey-battle when Kai appears and accepts Tyson’s challenge.

They start the match, and it seems like it’s merely going to be a repeat of last time as Dranzer draws power from Dragoon’s spinning and flies into the air. As it descends, Dragoon spins rapidly around the arena, creating a vortex that Dranzer flies into. It seems like Dranzer will either crash or lose its spinning power, but Kai proves that the battle’s far from over.

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As the blades continue to clash, Dranzer glows orange while Dragoon glows blue. Dranzer, revealing itself to be an amazing red phoenix, and Dragoon emerge from the Beyblades and clash in the air. Both Beyblades fly out of the Beystadium and into the hands of their owners, causing the match to result in a draw.

Kai explains what Bit Beasts are to everyone before walking away. Kai shows us a closeup of his blade and it’s pretty severely cracked while Tyson later shows us Dragoon and it’s mostly unfazed. Doesn’t that technically kinda mean Tyson won?

Tyson, The Chief and Andrew talk about what just happened. Andrew promises to help him make Dragoon even more powerful, but Tyson says he doesn’t need to because his Beyblade’s now powered by Dragoon. Prepared for anything that Kai may throw at them in the future, the three part ways.

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This episode is pretty alright. Nothing mind-blowing, but we do get some fun battles, we get to actually see the Bit Beasts now and since the Bit Beasts have been introduced, you can expect more of Beyblades pretty much just doing stuff on their own.

The conflict here is one that seems like it could fixed by calling the cops, but since this is a kids anime, the cops are probably too busy being cardboard cutouts sitting in patrol cars.

The writing is a bit screwed here, too. As the Wiki pointed out, Tyson is learning of things he already learned of in the first episode, and the whole thing about Bit Beasts just continues to get scrambled. In the end, even Andrew, who was giving the explanation earlier as to what Bit Beasts roughly were, was confused as to what Dragoon was. And Kai had to explain it again too.

Like the last episode, the solution to the battling problem doesn’t make logical sense to me. I don’t know of a solution to this issue outside of avoiding getting hit, but if something absorbs your Beyblade’s power, increasing the power doesn’t seem like it would help.

Not to mention that the final few lines of the episode irk me and exemplify one of the main problems with the series that I’ve already addressed.

Not only does Kai explain how special his and Tyson’s blades are in comparison with other ‘normal’ blades, but Tyson straight up refuses to further alter his blade or try to improve its power just because he got a Bit Beast. It highlights the problem that is Bit Beast = better than you normies.

His refusal doesn’t even make sense. He never beat Kai, and Kai also has a Bit Beast. He should be altering his blade and practicing in order to beat him in the future.

Rating: 6.5/10

Next episode, it’s the debut of Max, my favorite character.

……Previous Episode

SSBS – Beyblade Episode 1: The Blade Raider

Beyblade episode 1 screen

Plot: Tyson is a passionate player in the game of Beyblading. He’s one of the best around, and he’s always up for a challenge. When he’s set to challenge Andrew, another top Beyblader in town, he finds that their match is canceled due to Andrew losing his Beyblade in a bet against the Blade Shark, Carlos. Infuriated that Carlos is collecting Beyblades from his opponents, he challenges him to win them back. However, he needs to find a way to beat Carlos’ incredibly steady heavy Beyblade with some ingenuity and lots of practice.

Bey-Battles:

Tyson (Dragoon Grip Attacker) vs. Billy (Death Driger)

Victor! – Tyson

Andrew (Unknown) vs. Carlos (Kid Dragoon)

Victor! – Carlos

Tyson (Dragoon Grip Attacker) vs. Carlos (Kid Dragoon)

Victor! – Tyson

Breakdown: Ah, Beyblade. Another nostalgia bomb. I loved Beyblade when I was a kid. I had plenty of Beyblade toys, though they annoyed the living hell out of my mom since they were so loud.

Like many shounen gaming anime, I both loved the fact that they were super exaggerated forms of the real thing to make for loads of fun and the fact that you could get a taste of the same excitement with the toys. Like the Beyblades in the show, most of the real Beyblades could be taken apart to the smallest piece and customized with other parts. Sadly, the little bit beasts never emerged from my Beyblades, but I take what I can get.

Beyblade, to me, is still a show that, for the most part, doesn’t stray too far away from just being a fun sport. Sure, ancient beasts emerge from the Beyblades and start wrecking the joint, but that just adds to the fun. Rarely does anyone get hurt or anything severely dramatic happens, and to the best of my knowledge the world’s fate never rests on these spinning tops. In this series anyway – there are many more sequels to cover. There’s even a series airing this year.

Without further ado, here’s the first episode of Beyblade!

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We start out with some blue silhouettes of Beyblades as a narrator tells us that Beyblade is actually an ancient game involving ancient beasts. They must’ve lived next door to Egypt where Duel Monsters was gaining popularity. Now, the game stays popular but the beasts are dormant, ready to be awakened some time soon.

Tyson and his always-trying-to-sound-‘hip’-and-‘cool’ Grandpa are training in Kendo in their family’s dojo when Tyson tries to leave. Tyson’s Grandpa stops him to tell him the legend of the family sword and how an ancient dragon named Dragoon was entombed inside of it. The sword must be passed down to skilled martial artists in the family, so it’s important for Tyson to practice.

Now’s as good a time as any to tackle the concept of Bit Beasts. Bit Beasts are the ancient monsters that the narrator was speaking of before. Nowadays, they take the form of small pieces of plastic that clip into the top of a Beyblade. When called upon, the beasts emerge from the Beyblades and use special abilities like elemental powers or buffs.

Obviously, the beast Dragoon will eventually become Tyson’s Bit Beast. Dragoon has the power to make tornadoes in battle.

Now, the concept itself, to me, is pretty cool. If I can accept that monsters can be shrunk down and captured in little balls by ten years olds, and that monsters live in pieces of cardboard for a children’s card game, the fact that monsters live in pieces of spinning tops is no problem to me.

However, I do have two issues with it.

The first is, if you have a Bit Beast and you’re going up against someone who doesn’t, they’re kinda screwed. They really have no chance unless the person with the Bit Beast just sucks that much at Beyblading.A normal run-of-the-mill Beyblade going up against something that can, say, create tornadoes, create lightning, create fire, somehow slash at your Beyblade with cat claws and more. There’s no way a normal Beyblade would be able to compete.

The second thing is, these Bit Beasts are meant to be rare yet by the end of the series they’re everywhere. Everyone and their brother has one. At least the ones that the main characters typically battle, indicating, again, that people with normal Beyblades stand no chance. If you want to get into the Beyblading circuit, you better hope that you stumble upon one of these ancient beasts or you’ll be toast.

It also bugs me how using these things isn’t considered cheating at any point. They give you a major advantage, yet refs usually act like it’s all part of the game.

Beyblade episode 1 2

Tyson pretty much blows off Grandpa again and gets suited up for a scheduled Bey-battle when he’s cornered in the street by a bully (?) named Billy and his two goons. Billy wants to settle a Beyblading score with Tyson so they set up at a nearby Beystadium (which, on the street, is basically just a wok) and start the match.

One of Billy’s goons conveniently has never seen a real Beyblade battle despite Billy, an avid Beyblader, being his best friend. Being a handy-dandy intro episode, Billy’s other goon explains the game to him.

It really could not be more simple – you launch two tops, known as Beyblades, into a Beystadium using a launcher and a ripcord or winder. The two tops smack into each other until one Beyblade either breaks, stops spinning, or flies out of the stadium. The game gets a bit more complicated later on, especially in tournaments, where new aspects such as terrain, specially modified Beyblades and more Bit Beasts start showing up.

Then there’s the whole thing with it seeming like Beyblades actually obey the commands of their owners….Not kidding – they act like trained dogs. They turn when told, go where they’re told, attack when told. It’s weird. I imagine this change was made so that the Beybladers actually seem like they’re doing something in battles instead of just standing there and hoping for the best, but it’s still weird.

In this Bey-battle, since those factors aren’t in place yet, the battle pretty much goes the same way a real one does – you basically just stare at the Beyblades until one of them is thrown out. In real life, though, it’s usually just a matter of the Beyblade losing rotation power and crapping out in the wok.

Tyson wins, and Billy laments that he was unsuccessful yet again. Tyson gives him a pep talk and says he has a great Beyblade, but the difference between him and Billy is that he’s had his Beyblade forever and is constantly practicing with it and perfecting its design. He even dreams about it. There ya go Billy. You keep losing because you’re not nearly as obsessed with the game as Tyson.

Beyblade episode 1 3

Billy asks for a rematch, but Tyson realizes that he’s late for his scheduled Bey-battle against Andrew, noted for supposedly being the best Beyblader in town and having a skull design that baffles medical science to this day, and he runs off. Meanwhile, while Andrew is waiting for Tyson, a Blade Shark named Carlos challenges Andrew and puts up the bet that he has to give him his Beyblade if he loses.

Tyson later arrives to find his Bey-battle with Andrew canceled due to the fact that he lost against Carlos and lost his Beyblade. Enraged that Carlos, the boy with way too many sharp angles in his face, appears to collect the Beyblades of all of his ‘victims,’ Tyson challenges him to a match next. Carlos states that Tyson was his next target anyway and accepts, but is interrupted by the Chief who tries to get Tyson to notice something odd about the patterns left in the wok from Carlos’ Beyblade.

Beyblade episode 1 4

Carlos quickly grows tired of the stalling and leaves while telling Tyson to meet him the next day at the river for a match. If he wins, he gets Tyson’s blade. If he loses, Carlos has to give every Beyblade he’s won back to their owners.

Chief introduces himself to Tyson and also introduces his computer’s AI, a quick-witted Bit Beast named Dizzi, to him as well. Tyson is weirded out that the Chief has a Bit Beast trapped within his computer, but is very willing to hear what he and Dizzi have to say.

….Wait, Bit Beasts are already common knowledge in the Beyblading world? And seeing one isn’t even worth a few minutes of awe? Did I miss something? (Technically, yes I did. Dizzi is only a Bit Beast in the dub.)

Tyson, Andrew and the other kids watch a recording of Andrew and Carlos’ Bey-battle in which Dizzi explains that Carlos’ Beyblade is made to be heavy, thus making it very stable and allowing it to spin longer, which doesn’t make much sense.

In order to combat it, the Chief calculates that a faster Beyblade is the solution – a Beyblade that is four times faster than normal speed, to be precise. The other kids simply want to give up, but Tyson will hear none of that. After a quick pep talk, Tyson runs off to build the perfect Beyblade to beat Carlos.

Beyblade episode 1 5

That night, Tyson gets an idea during dinner to put an extension on his winder to make the Beyblade faster. I don’t really get why he gets this idea merely from seeing his Grandpa hold a fish with chopsticks, but according to the Wiki this is something that merely didn’t translate from Japanese to English (and they really didn’t try)

“In (the) Japanese version, as they’re having dinner, Tyson sees the fish that his grandfather is holding with sticks ‘duplicate’ itself three times, making a longer series of fish. That is what originally gave him the idea to lengthen his ripcord.”

However, even with the extension, the Beyblade only spins twice as fast as normal…..I don’t really get how that works. I mean, even with a longer winder, isn’t it the speed in which you’re pulling the winder that affects a Beyblade’s speed and not the winder’s length? Even if I had a long winder, if I pull it at the same speed, the speed of the Beyblade wouldn’t be affected. If you rip the thing out of the launcher like it owes you money, it would go faster.

After Tyson gives up in light of his only idea being a failure, he is visited by Dragoon who transplants himself into Tyson’s blade. With a newfound enthusiasm, Tyson goes out for some intense practice to get his Beyblade up to speed before his match the following afternoon.

Beyblade episode 1 6

Tyson arrives late to his match and shows up covered in bandaids from his training. The match begins, and Tyson gets a running start to launch his Beyblade. This always confused me as I never understood how merely getting a running start and jumping could affect how fast a Beyblade spun.

…..I still don’t, but watching the scene again and seeing him perform the launch…I’m assuming it’s because he puts all of his body into his launch while in the air and that allows him to pull the winder harder? I really don’t see that working very well, but that’s the only way I can add logic here. Also, you could’ve made the Beyblade lighter….

I’m not getting why a faster blade is best against a heavy one. The faster speed does make for better power, but if Carlos’ blade is all about stability and lasting power while the faster blade is more unstable and has little lasting power then shouldn’t it just be a matching stand off? I guess it’s an effort to out-muscle the heavier Beyblade, but I’d bet on the heavy blade in that match, to be honest.

Also, wouldn’t making a Beyblade heavier give it less lasting power? Heavy blades require much more energy to spin because weight makes movement difficult. Being more stable, I can get behind, but spinning much longer than a lighter blade? I sincerely doubt it.

The match seems pretty equal for a bit until Carlos’ blade is shot out of the wok, making Tyson the winner. While Tyson and the others celebrate, Carlos tries to make off with the Beyblades only to be stopped by the leader of the Blade Sharks, Kai.

He states his disappointment in Carlos and smacks him to the ground. As Kai leaves, Tyson stops him and challenges him to a match. The Chief tries to stop him as the Blade Sharks are the toughest Bey-gang in town (apparently Bey-gangs are a thing…), but Tyson won’t listen. Kai accepts his challenge and gives him ample warning about his Beyblade as well as his Bit Beast, Dranzer.

As they start their match and launch their blades, the episode concludes.

Beyblade episode 1 7

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Thism as a first episode, is a pretty good one. It explains the game very well, allows us to get plenty of insight into Tyson as a character and even as a Beyblader, plus the development of the strategies, even if they sometimes don’t make much sense to me, was always a part of the show that I really enjoyed. However, this episode has several problems.

First, let’s address something that’s a problem with the entire series. The art and animation are horrid. It’s not the worst I’ve seen, and you have to take shounen gaming anime art with a grain of salt a la Yu-Gi-Oh, but dear god, this is disgusting sometimes.

Carlos’ face looks like it was drawn with rulers, Andrew’s face looks like it was molded with silly putty, and Tyson’s face looks huge. The details are sparse, though they are much better than, say, Medabots, and everything just looks ugly. The animation is stilted and the mouth flaps never match up with the words properly. I know it’s a dub, but this is bad even for dub syncing.

The music is great, and it has one of the most memorable and catchy OP’s of the bulk of shounen gaming anime I’ve watched.

The voice acting is….ech….Everyone is just okay at best (Kai, Chief and Tyson) and laughably bad at worst (Carlos). Also, the line reads are so incredibly awkward due to the poor lipsyncing efforts. There’s so much stalling for no reason in the middle of sentences or saying things oddly just to try to get the line to fit.

The characters….Okay, I’ve always liked Tyson because, despite the fact that we’re starting off with him being a super awesome Beyblader who is undefeated, he definitely has plenty of growth and problem areas to work out through the series. He works his ass off to figure out ways to beat his enemies, and he definitely doesn’t end up scoring wins around every corner, something we’ll see very soo—oops spoilers.

However, there’s not a lot to make him stand out much. He’s a hardworking optimist, and that’s great, but I’d never see one anime character and instantly think ‘yeah, he’s a lot like Tyson from Beyblade.’

I’ve also always liked the Chief. I kinda think his role on the sidelines constantly giving advice to the team is cheating a little on occasion, but his role is necessary to both provide the audience with detailed information on what’s going on and why, and as technical support for the group. Dizzi is funny and memorable, though I am kinda weirded out that she seems to have a crush on the Chief…

Carlos is just a terrible first antagonist. He’s a laughably bad poorly written thug who just takes Beyblades….in a pretty fair manner. He’s not forcing these people to put up their Beyblades, nor is he forcing them to battle him, they agree to Bey-battle and put their Beyblades up as an ante if they lose. They could just refuse the terms, but no – they decide to put their precious Beyblades on the line against a psycho with a sack of blades. Also, his horrible laugh and bubble gum are just cliché and silly.

Kai is a bit more interesting, though we don’t get much insight into him right now. His kinda-ish rivalry with Tyson is interesting because they are indeed friends and teammates and not sworn rivals like Kaiba and Yugi.

The story as a whole was fine, but not terribly creative. The cliffhanger was fairly decent, especially considering that Tyson is rushing into this mostly blind while relying on modifications he made purely to battle someone else. I also appreciate how Bey-battles are relatively short instead of going on for ages like how some games do in these shows. However, that won’t last forever. Bey-battles will get pretty long and crazy in the future.

Rating: 7/10

Next episode, we conclude Kai and Tyson’s match.