Beyblade Anime Review
US Release By
Top-ramming Pokemon ripoff
51 25 minute episodes (1st season)
2001-01-08 - 2001-12-24
What's In It
- Violence: 0 (none)
- Nudity: 0 (none)
- Sex: 0 (none)
- Language: 0 (none)
Tyson is a kid who plays the future's top 'sport': beyblading. The basic idea is to launch two tops into a dish in the ground and have them ram into each other (when I say 'action,' I use the term loosely. It was either that or sci-fi). Of course, he's got a bitter rival named Kai, and friends named the Chief (of what?!) and Max. Eventually (I won't waste anyone's time explaining how), Tyson becomes part of a team consisting of himself, Max, Kai, Chinese blader Ray, and the Chief as their advisor. The reason for this teaming is because each of these people have a 'bit beast,' which is a mystical spirit in their beyblade that can come out and help them knock over the other guy's top.
Let me lay this out straight for you: there are only three animes in the world that I despise so much, I wish a horrible and painful death upon their creators. Reign: The Conquerer, Medabots, and the last is Beyblade.
Down to it's very core, Beyblade is a ripoff. Of what? Well, mainly Pokemon. The characters spew the dumbest friendship, teamwork, and perseverance garbage this side of Ash Ketchum (Satoshi, for you hardcore anti-dub fans). Not only is this sappy and continuous, it's also directed not only at the other team members, but at the beyblades as well. Yep, you heard it right. This is how a typical match plays out in Beyblade:
Enemy: My Bit Beast is the most powerful! I will destroy you!
Tyson: No! You treat your bit beast like a slave, but I'm friends with mine! That's why I'm going to win! Oh yeah, and you treat your team like a slave, but I'm friends with my team and we work together and cheer each other on! (Beyblade slams into enemy's)
Enemy: No! You beat me!
Tyson: That's okay. Let's shake hands! I'm sure you'll do better next time!
Enemy: Yes! Now I know to treat my beyblade with love and respect! Thank you, Tyson!
To a lesser extent, Beyblade is also a ripoff of G Gundam. This is because they tried to play to the stereotypes in their international tournaments, but failed miserably. This was done in Medabots as well. In G Gundam, the stereotypes were not only almost universal, they were also more subtle. This also just works much better with the Gundam idea than with tops. Another show which Beyblade ripped off is Yugioh. The bit beasts are supposed to be ancient gods, exactly like the cards in Yugioh. The entire 'friendship' bit was also ripped off from Yugioh, since Pokemon didn't make as big of a deal about the friendships between the human characters and each other.
The characterization is Beyblade is awful; not because it's not there, but because it is there. Tyson is a gung-ho kid like Ash, but he's also completely detestable. He has the most annoying voice (even more annoying than Excel's English voice in Excel Saga), and whenever a member of his team loses he yells at them even though they're supposed to be 'friends.' Max is supposed to be a happy-go-lucky kid, and his emotional struggle with fighting against a team trained by his mother is not only cliched, but also stupid. It doesn't generate a whit of sympathy for him. The Chief is a fussy nerd with a wisecracking computer/former bit beast. He's the most annoying character in the whole show, save for his dumb computer, who makes jokes about celebrities constantly. If I wanted to see crap like that, I would plunk down a few dollars and order Treasure Planet on Pay-Per-View. Ray has no personality; let's leave it at that. Lastly, Kai is supposed to be one of those 'trained from youth to be a weapon' sob stories, similar to Heero Yui in Gundam Wing or Kirika Yuumura in Noir, except for one thing: YOU FIGHT WITH TOPS!!!!!
Technically, the show is mediocrity incarnate. The animation looks about the same as Hamtaro, but everyone has an extremely pudgy face and a nose shaped like a wedge of cheese. I don't (for once) know what the original Japanese music was like, but the American music is extremely stupid rock songs sung by some two-bit band called "Sick Kid." Amazingly, "Sick Kid" seems to actually have some modicum of singing talent (more than Aaron Carter), so the music could be worse, I guess. The dub fits the show fine. Please excuse me for using crude slang, but the show sucks, and the dub sucks with it.
In the end, I'll use the same final line as my review of Alexander the Great: "I recommend this show to no one except fans of Medabots and Alexander the Great. Not because they have similar subject matter, but because if you're a fan of those shows you must be a masochist. Well, this show will hurt too."
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Notes and Trivia
The beyblades are the best-drawn characters in the entire show.
US DVD Review
The DVDs are dub only, but include several more episodes per disc than the VHS version (6 in the first, 5 subsequently, instead of 3).
Since we're not considering gratuitous marketing bad content, anyone can watch.
Violence: 0 - Tops ram into each other.
Nudity: 0 - All the main characters are male.
Sex/Mature Themes: 0 - These people are ten years old.
Language: 0 - They say 'darn it!'