The Beyblade manga hit Japan in 1999 to support the release of the battle tops of the same name. In 2001, an anime adaptation was developed and aired in Japan and would come to America along with the tops the next year.
Each anime iteration usually focuses on a protagonist attempting to become the best Blader in the world and participating in international Beyblade tournaments.
Know Your Beyblade
The Beyblade toys, or Beys, are tops consisting of three main parts that are customizable depending on the user’s preferences or strategies. During a match, the contestants launch the beys into a special curved arena known as a Beystadium.
Match wins are determined on a point-round system depending on the rules agreed to. This reflects the anime, as in the first iteration there was one round in a match, but in the Burst saga, it could be 2-3 points, awarded depending on how the match ends.
If a Beyblade stops spinning or is knocked out, players are awarded 1 point. A Burst Finish, when the top bursts into three pieces, is two points. According to certain sources, the makers of the Beyblade toys, Takara Tomy, do not approve of Burst Finishes, yet they’re featured in the anime.
In the anime, a critical asset to most Beybladers are the use of Bit Beasts, powerful spirits that inhabit the Beyblade and are used to attack other beys during a match.
While depictions of dragons battling sabretooth tigers make for great animation sequences, most actual Beyblade battles come down to the customization of the bey. This may sound like an obvious piece of information, but when you’re eight years old and trying to get a toy to shoot a dragon out of it, the realization can be somewhat crushing, as may or may not have been my experience.
Each Season of Beyblade Is Its Own Series
The Beyblade manga ran from 1999 to 2004, but new iterations of the anime continue coming out to this day. The original Beyblade anime focuses on Tyson Granger (Japanese: Takao Kinomiya) as he attempts to win the Beyblade world championship. He recruits rival Bladers to his team the Bladebreakers and battles through regional, national, and international competitions to become the World Champion.
There are two other continuations of this storyline, similar to seasons. Beyblade V-Force finds the original team of Tyson, Kai, Max, Ray, and Kenny have gone their separate ways following their success.
They’re called out of retirement for one last job after they’re attacked by two teams, the Saint Shields and Team Psykick, looking to steal their Bit Beasts. The Saint Shields are looking to seal their Bit Beasts away because they fear they’re too dangerous, and could turn loose as they have in the past.
Team Psykick is a team made up of Bladers who have been corrupted by cyber copies of the Bladebreakers’ Bit Beasts, and are led by Dr. Zagart. We find out later that Dr. Zagart wants the Bit Beasts in order to turn his android son Zeo, who doesn’t know he’s an android, into a real human.
Beyblade G-Revolution introduced Beyblades made with hard metal parts and follows the team after they’ve split up again in order to battle each other in a new tournament. In the interim, one of the villains from the first series, Boris, has set up a new Beyblading corporation that aims to take control of all Beyblading and Beybladers. At some point, the universe is threatened.
Beyblade Metal Fusion Introduced New Blades and New Bladers
In 2009, Beyblade Metal Fusion was released. It follows a completely different cast of characters than the previous Beyblade series. This new series follows Gingka Hamane as he travels the world training to defeat an organization known as Dark Nebula, which is responsible for the death of his father.
He also hopes to recover an incredibly powerful Beyblade known as Lightning L-Drago, which Dark Nebula seems to be using for their dark deeds.
Season 2 of Metal Fusion was Metal Masters, which follows the crew from Metal Fusion entering a tournament and attempting to outwit the designs of a Dr. Ziggurat. Dr. Ziggurat is attempting to gather data on Beyblades and Beybladers for use in his experiments to create devices that greatly enhance a Bladers’ skill.
These devices are not as safe as one might imagine, and Gingka and his team must work together to defeat Dr. Ziggurat and his team.
Metal Fury follows Gingka and the team as they seek to recruit a special group of Bladers to battle against a great evil that is being revived through the use of Star Fragments, mysterious artifacts that have fallen to Earth and have the power to greatly empower Beyblades.
Eventually, the mysterious evil summons a God of Destruction, which must be defeated by Gingka as he channels the power of every Blader in the world.
Beyblade Shogun Steel Has a New Hero Look for the Old Hero
Shogun Steel is the fourth season in the Metal Saga. Shogun Steel mostly follows a new character, Zyro Kurogane. The name is drawn from Zyro’s Beyblade, Samurai Ifrit. Zyro witnessed the final battle of the last season and was given Samurai Ifrit by Gingka.
Zyro resolves to battle his way to Gingka and challenges him, but upon reaching Gingka’s hometown he finds that he’s mysteriously vanished.
Valt Aoi Goes for the Gold in the Beyblade Burst Series
The most recent series is Beyblade Burst, released in 2016. Beyblade Burst largely follows Valt Aoi as he trains to be the best Beyblader in Japan. He assembles a team along with his friend and rival Shu Kurenai. He eventually makes it to the top but loses against Lui Shirosagi, an undefeated champion.
Beyblade Burst Evolution follows Valt as he goes to Spain as the newest member of BC Sol. This season introduces the concept of Beyblades evolving in order to grow stronger. As a member of BC Sol Valt attempted to take on the Beyblade European League in order to qualify for the World Championship.
Eventually, he reunites with Shu, who has been corrupted and is destroying the beys of everyone he battles. Through the tournament Valt eventually battles Shu and defeats him, returning him to his senses and winning Valt the World Championship.
Burst Turbo follows a new character, Aiger Akabane, as he trains to also become the number one Blader in the world. Aiger meets up with Valt as he looks to get his Beyblade evolved by Aiger’s father. While Aiger watches Valt work and train he vows to become the number one Blader in the world.
Burst Rise follows Valt as he trains the newest round of Beybladers at BC Sol in Spain. Two of Valt’s students, Dante and Delta, are impressed with the power that Valt wields through his bond with his Beyblade. The series follows them as they seek to gain that same power by traveling to Japan and working their way up. The most recent season is Beyblade Burst Sparking, which was released on April 3.
The franchise continues to go strong with little sign of slowing down. With its manga, anime, even movies, and video games, there is plenty of merchandise to explore. As long as toy sales continue to perform, it seems that there will be plenty of opportunities to Let it Rip as the kids say.