Beyblade Season 1 Review – I Love it. I’m Not Ashamed

WARNING! This is a long one and filled with spoilers so dive in if you’re interested or a fan of the show but be warned, you might want to make sure you have some provisions. This will take time.

I know what you’re thinking. “You’re a grown-up. Why are you watching a children’s TV show?”. Well, after trying to get through that ‘Good Omens’ thing with David Tennant and not quite making the full six episodes because I was bored stiff, I decided that I wanted to talk about something that I loved when I was a kid and I still find entertainment value in today.

To me, watching ‘Beyblade’ is like the ‘Power Rangers’ argument. I watched that when I was a kid and I liked all the things I was supposed to like but watching it as an adult, you tend to see things differently. ‘Beyblade’ is a show that I watched when I was young and I’m not too ashamed to say that I was obsessed with it. I still own all the Beyblades that I collected years ago, and I can’t bring myself to throw them away. I don’t play with them, they’re just a reminder of my younger self.

Beyblade is a show that was Japanese in origin and I have a soft spot for the Japanese anime because they are like cartoons that cater for adults. I liked shows like ‘Trigun’ and I really would like to do an article on ‘Bleach’, but the show is so long, it would take an age and a bit of patience to get through. Beyblade was an anime but given an English Dub and released for kids.

As with most Japanese anime, the show was originally a manga which I haven’t read but this is the basic plot of the first season which sets up the rest of the show and it goes thus.

Tyson (originally named Takao) is a young man living in Japan with his Grandpa and his favourite hobby in all the world is Beyblading. He’s really good at his hobby until he is badly beaten by another young man called Kai. Tyson ends up joining the ‘Beyblade World Championships’ with Beyblade expert, Kenny and his adorable friend, Max where he meets the talented player, Ray and together with Kai, they form the ‘Bladebreakers’ which is a beyblading team that will hopefully win the title of Beyblading World Champions.

Beyblade is such a ‘niche’ show that anyone reading this knows how the game works but for any newcomers who just read all my shit regardless of what it is, let me explain.

A ‘Beyblade’ is a spinning top that is launched into a ‘Bey-Stadium’ against another Beyblade and the first Beyblade to stop spinning is the loser. Sounds simple enough but because this is a cartoon and world is exaggerated somewhat. The Beyblade is seen as more of an extension of the player as the player can somehow control the Beyblade by giving specific commands and so a little bit more strategy is brought in. This is a game that doesn’t like the laws of Physics but fuck it, it’s a cartoon.

This isn’t just a game for kids, it’s an international sport and the Championships are broadcast on TV with the help of announcer, DJ Jazzman and commentators, AJ Topper and Brad Best and the voice actors should definitely be commended for their research because I always feel like I’m watching a sport rather than a game for kids.

The game is enhanced even further when ‘Bit-Beasts’ get involved. A Bit-Beast is the spirit of an animal that is trapped within a Beyblade and can be called out to give the player more power. You can’t just walk into a store and buy a Bit-Beast, that would be too simple. As I understood it from the start, Bit-Beasts are passed down through the family, for example, Tyson’s Bit-Beast is the spirit of Dragoon which lived in a sword until Tyson needed more power to rescue his friend and so the spirit of Dragoon entered his Beyblade.

The first couple of episodes set up the plot.

So, Tyson is going to battle his friend, Andrew but Andrew has already been beaten by this kid called Carlos who steals all the Beyblades from the people he’s defeated. Tyson disagrees with this and so teams up with Kenny who’s not very good at playing the game, but he has his own Bit-Beast called ‘Dizzi’ that lives in his laptop and apparently, they know everything about Beyblades. Interestingly, ‘Dizzi’ wasn’t in the Japanese version and was a creation for the English Dub. I know I would have created quite the disturbance to have a laptop that I could talk to.

Anyway, Kenny works out that Carlos wins all his battles because his Beyblade is heavier and so if Tyson wants to defeat him and win all the Beyblades back, he has to figure out a way to get his Beyblade to spin four times faster. Tyson manages to do this with an extended ripcord and a running jump start. Tyson defeats Carlos but then he meets Kai, the leader of the Bey-sharks who have to be the most un-intimidating gang imaginable. Nevertheless, they’re big stuff around these parts and Kai asserts his dominance by slapping Carlos to the ground. Instead of doing what he should have done which would be to call Kai a ponce for wearing blue face paint, Tyson challenges Kai to a battle which is apparently how people settle their differences in this universe. Tyson is dramatically defeated and his Beyblade is smashed into pieces by Kai. It’s because Kai has his own Bit-Beast and so he’s the most powerful Beyblader and BOY, DOES HE LIKE SAYING IT!

Tyson is humiliated and retreats into solitude but Kenny helps him build a new Beyblade but Kenny is kidnapped by the Bey-Sharks for some reason and Tyson comes to the rescue with his new Beyblade and Dragoon hidden within. Tyson and Kai face off again but because they are both battling with Bit-Beasts, the match ends in a draw.

So now Tyson has his Bit-Beast and in the next episode, Tyson meets Max whose Dad owns a Beyblade Shop. They become friends quickly and after Max beats Tyson in a friendly match, the head of the BBA (The Beyblade Battle Association), Mr Dickinson visits the shop to tell Max and Tyson that there is a tournament being held and they should enter.

Tyson and Max enter the tournament and quickly climb the ranks where they end up in the semi-final. Here is where we meet Ray who is facing off against Tyson. Ray has his own Bit-Beast, ‘Driger’ and proves to be a difficult opponent but Tyson rises up to the challenge and defeats Ray in the second round. Ray is happy that he’s found someone who can give him a decent challenge and although the score is tied in a best of three match, Ray forfeits since he’s already been beaten.

Next, Max is up against Kai and in this episode, Max gets his own Bit-Beast. Max is having trouble with Kai but comes up with a move to beat him. This move comes at a cost as his Beyblade is hurled towards him and breaks his necklace which is a family heirloom that his grandmother gave him. Inside the necklace is a bit with the ‘Draciel’ spirit inside. In the final round, Max calls out Draciel but it isn’t enough and Max is defeated. This leaves Tyson and Kai to battle in the final.

By now, we’re on episode 13 and this episode is one of my favourites in the series because it’s sort of the true beginning of the great rivalry between Tyson and Kai. By now, Tyson has been practising with Dragoon and he’s beginning to be a formidable force and since Kai has been established as the reigning champion and believes that there is no one better, this episode starts the constant ‘one-upmanship’ that carries on through the series.

Also, this episode is so well done and makes great use of the awesome theme tune and shows how powerful the two players are. It’s strongly suggested that Tyson and Kai are on par in terms of power and skill and by the end of the deciding round, after they’ve both created quite the light show with their Bit-Beasts, Kai only loses because his Beyblade falls down and lands just on the wrong edge of the dish whilst Tyson’s falls into the dish, making Tyson the winner and the new champion.

At the end of the match, Mr Dickinson reveals that he expected this outcome and secretly planned to have Tyson, Kai, Max and Ray become a team and compete in the World Championships with Kai as the Captain. Thus, the ‘Bladebreakers’ are born.

By now, I should talk about the main characters. This show (although it’s for kids) does a great job at creating its characters and the first season is structured in such a way that all the characters get equal screen time and a chance to grow. The first season shows the team advancing through the competition and travelling all over the world but what’s interesting is that the three major tournaments has a special relevance to each of the main characters.

We’ll start with Ray since the first leg of the World Championships is the Asian Tournament and it focuses on Ray. The team arrive in Hong Kong for the Qualifiers and Kai throws a bit of a hissy fit. He says that he doesn’t want to be a part of the team, but he’s already agreed to be in the team… in the last episode.

Also… this is besides the point… where are their parents? These 13-14-year olds are travelling the world without their parents, presumably they’ve given consent for them to do this. Mr Dickinson is with them in Hong Kong so at least they have a chaperon but he’s not with them for the whole trip. Tyson’s Grandpa shows up right before the American Tournament so maybe I should shut up. Let’s not go into why these barely teenage boys sound like fully grown men because they’re voiced by fully grown men. The only exceptions are Max and Kenny. At least Kai’s voice actor makes a token effort to sound a bit younger in some areas, but I actually like his voice, so I’ll let that slide.

Back to the plot.

Kai storms off and as the crew go looking for him, they encounter a street blader by the name of Bruce (presumably named after Bruce Lee… because they’re in China), Tyson battles Bruce and then wins but that’s when Kevin shows up and Tyson battles him and wins. Then Lee and Mariah show up. Lee, Mariah, Kevin and Gary (who isn’t there) are all in the White Tiger team of which Ray used to be part of. Ray was awarded the ‘White Tiger Bit’ meaning ‘Driger’ when the Bit was meant for Lee. With resentment already brewing and despite Lee presumably having his own Bit-Beast at that point, Galleon, Ray decided that he had learned all he could learn in the White Tigers and left the team to find others who could teach him more and he joined the Bladebreakers.

So, now Ray is deemed a traitor by his former team and seems to fully accept that label but Tyson and the others won’t hear of it even though they’ve only known him for a short time.

However, just into the opening rounds of the Asian Tournament, Kevin sneaks into the Bladebreakers’ lodgings and steals a computer disk with all the team’s data on it. What he was going to do with it? I don’t know. Ray catches Kevin in the act and instead of giving him a wedgie, Ray challenges him to a Bey-battle for the disk because that’s how they settle their differences in this universe. I’m just going to abbreviate that last statement into BTHTSTDITU from now on. During the battle, it looks like Ray is about to win but Kevin starts begging for mercy and Ray ends up hesitating and doubting himself and as a result, Driger leaves his Beyblade and Ray is devastated. Tyson steps in and defeats Kevin who keeps his promise and returns the disk.

The next morning, Ray leaves the Bladebreakers and heads up a mountain where Mariah finds him. She knows that Driger is gone and tries to convince him to re-join the White Tigers and Ray almost agrees until Tyson and Max find him. Tyson offers Ray a deal. They will both Bey-battle against each other (BTHTSTDITU) and if Tyson wins then Ray must return to the Bladebreakers but if Ray wins, then he can do whatever he wants. They both battle and Ray wins despite not having a Bit-beast.

Watching this as an adult, a few thoughts cross my mind. Tyson has Dragoon and so logically, his Beyblade is stronger and he has all manner of attacks at his disposal. It’s altogether possible that he let Ray win in an attempt to manipulate him into returning to the Bladebreakers. It’s a risky move because Ray shares a history with the White Tigers but without Driger, he’s not going to be much use to either team. Or it could be that Ray genuinely won and Tyson knew that he would win and wanted to show Ray that he was still such a talented player that he could beat someone with a Bit-Beast without his own. That’s also entirely possible. Nevertheless, Ray decides to return to the Bladebreakers because he genuinely feels that they wanted him back because he’s their friend and they weren’t going to discard him just because he lost Driger.

It doesn’t really matter though because Driger ends up returning at the end of the next episode. After finding out that Lee has learned all of his teammates moves including Driger’s infamous ‘Tiger Claw Attack’, Ray is infuriated and so dedicates his match against a member of the ‘Charming Princes’ to Driger and what do ya know? In a streak of green light, Driger returns in all his splendour to the roaring sounds of the crowd and the awesome theme tune whilst destroying the Bey-Stadium and winning the match. Ray and as a consequence, the rest of the Bladebreakers, breathe a sigh of relief.

So, both the Bladebreakers and the White Tigers reach the final and face off against each other. Max loses to Gary and his ‘Galzzy’ Bit-Beast and so now it’s Ray’s turn to face Mariah. Mariah now hates Ray with a passion but when they unleash their Bit-Beasts, they find that they are playing rather than fighting. Watching their Bit-Beasts play, it reminds them of the past they once shared and all the happy times and so Ray makes Mariah a promise; no matter who wins the match, they will always be friends. And with that, they both unleash their final attacks and Ray wins. Afterwards, they agree to hang out together when the tournament is over but this doesn’t sit well with Lee who doesn’t like Mariah fraternising with the enemy.

Now the scores are tied and it’s Tyson’s turn. Both Tyson and Lee are aggressive with their attacks and the final session ends in a draw. It’s decided that one member from each team will fight in a fourth and final ‘sudden death’ match. Ray decides to fight against Lee and ‘bury the hatchet’ as it were. Now we get some real character insight. Lee is set in his ways and believes that the training methods taught to him in his hometown are the right ways and the path to victory but Ray tries to get through to him that he left so he could learn some new tricks. To prove his point, Ray unleashes his Tiger Claw attack with such power that it decimates the Bey-Stadium and even shines out the top of the building. Of course, Lee is defeated. In the end, Lee agrees that leaving was the best thing for Ray as he’s improved as a Beyblader and hopes that one day, he can bring his skills back to their hometown. They finish with a handshake. So, by now, the Bladebreakers have won the Asian Tournament. Good Stuff. To America!

Now it’s Max’s turn and I think that Max is the weakest Beyblader in the team. That’s not to say that he’s bad at the game. He’s definitely up there. It’s just that when compared to the others in the team, there’s a naivety and a lack of confidence about Max that doesn’t make him as fierce a competitor as the others at the beginning of the show.

The Bladebreakers arrive in America for the American Tournament and Max is excited because he will get to see his mother, Judy who is the head of research at the BBA Research Facility. Along the way, they run in to the ‘All Starz’ who are the Beyblading team that were formed inside the research facility and will compete in the American Tournament. Max battles Emily who is Judy’s assistant and also on the team and Max loses. Ray also battles against Steve and loses. Ray takes the loss particularly badly but in the next episode, his Beyblade gets an upgrade which seems to be a game changer.

Since the All Starz are an American team, their method of Beyblading is influenced by specific ball sports. Emily plays tennis and so uses a racket launcher; Steve is a football player and uses a football launcher, Eddie is a basketball player and… you get the drift. Finally, there’s team captain, Michael who is a baseball player and definitely the cockiest of the group. The All Starz philosophy is that computers and technology are the way to winning Beyblade matches rather than the ‘Bladebreaker’ method of training, wits and teamwork. Judy is confident in her methods and Max’s mission is to show her that he is a great player without needing all the gimmicks.

The Bladebreakers make it through the qualifiers and the semi-finals so the time comes for them to face the All Starz. Tyson wins his best out of three matches against Steve in the first round whilst Ray loses against Eddie. Guess that new Beyblade was just a load of wasted effort. But now, Max faces Michael in the final best out of three match. It’s a tough match but Max figures out that since his mother is using all this fancy equipment to jazz up her teams Beyblades and also keep an eye on both of the competitors stats, he can force Michael to max himself out on the power scale and short circuit their electrical equipment and that would give him the opportunity to counter attack and win the final match therefore, winning the tournament. Max finally wins his mother’s respect even though he already had her love. It’s really cute.

The next leg is the ‘European Championship’ which I’ll just glance over because it’s not an official tournament but it is important.

As the Bladebreakers are heading to Moscow, Russia for the Finals, Tyson meets a skilled Beyblader on the boat, a posh English guy called Robert. Tyson sees that Robert has destroyed the Beyblades of some kids who challenged him and so Tyson challenges him to a match (BTHTSTDITU). Tyson is perhaps a touch ‘over-confident’ this time after just having won the American Tournament and so is devastated when Robert easily defeats him.

The boat that they were on stops in London and then leaves without them. The team decide to travel through Europe and meet some European Beybladers along the way. Instead, they find the ‘Dark Bladers’ who are a team made up of a Vampire, a Werewolf, a resemblance of Frankenstein’s monster and a Mummy. I think. His Bit-Beast is a Mummy, anyway. They were once regular Beybladers who were defeated by the best players in Europe and so turned into monstrosities. They pop up over the next few episodes to challenge the team (BTHTSTDITU) and are repeatedly defeated by the Bladebreakers.

The team go to Paris to have a little break and the see the sights but Tyson meets Oliver who is the French Beyblading Champion and so challenges him to a friendly match. Oliver is powerful but Tyson pushes through and the match ends in a draw. Oliver mentions that he is one of four master Beybladers in Europe and it might be in their best interest to find them. They should start with the Italian Champion, Enrique. Off to Rome.

After landing in Rome, the team quickly find Enrique but because he’s an Italian stud (not really), he rejects Tyson’s challenge to spend the day with some girls. I don’t know what he’s going to do with them, he’s only about 14. Shopping seems to be what they’re doing the most. Enrique caves eventually and battles Tyson in his own personalised Bey-Stadium that’s modelled on the Colosseum. Did I mention that all of the European Beybladers are rich and insufferable? Enrique wins the first match but only because his Bit-Beast, Amphilyon attacks Tyson and Dragoon blocks the attack to save him. Tyson wants round two and eventually gets it and wins by making Amphilyon turn against Enrique when he treats his Bit-Beast like a slave.

Oliver and Enrique take the Bladebreakers to Robert’s Castle but Robert smugly rejects Tyson’s offer in the sort of posh, upper class, ‘bloke who owns his own castle’ kind of way you’d expect. However, Scottish Champion, Johnny, challenges Kai who begrudgingly accepts. Since the finals against Tyson, we haven’t seen Kai have a throw-down match against anyone. Any battles that we have seen have been over quickly so this one is a breath of fresh air. Not for Kai though because Dranzer is knocked out by Johnny’s Bit-Beast, Salamulyon and this outcome leaves the team stunned, Kai most of all. Not to mention that Johnny offers his respect for the way Kai fought his match but then condemns him for losing.

That night, the team make a decision. They will challenge Robert, Johnny, Enrique and Oliver to a match as a team to determine the better players but Robert puts a different spin on it. If his team (the Majestics) win, then they will take the Bladebreakers’ place at the finals in Russia. Game on.

At the Olympia Stadium, Ray battles first against Oliver. It’s a tough match that ends in a draw. Kai’s up next to have a rematch against Johnny. Both opponents are distracted by their teammates but Kai defeats Johnny.

The funny thing is that the Majestics have never played as a team and so when the Bladebreakers start offering advice to their own team, they begin to wonder if that’s what they should be doing but they don’t know how. It’s really funny.

Anyway, Tyson is up last and goes up against Robert for their rematch. Tyson and Dragoon work as a team to win the day and defeat the Majestics. Robert humbly takes his defeat and congratulates Tyson, taking on board what working as team can accomplish. It’s then revealed that Mr Dickinson was the old man who made them miss their boat and forced them to find new and highly-skilled players to make them better individually and as a team.

Now for the last tournament in Russia and these episodes focus on Kai. Cards on the table? Kai is my favourite character because he goes through one of my beloved ‘character arcs’. Kai is not the same at the end of the series as the he is in the beginning. At the start of the series, Kai is arrogant, selfish and altogether a complete prick, but it takes one specific event to change him but before that, Kai gets even worse.

It’s always established that Kai thinks of himself as the best Beyblader even though he lost his title to Tyson. Throughout the first series, his comments towards his teammates regarding their performances are often degrading and demeaning and whilst there are a few choice moments where he offers his support, most of the time he’s just grumpy when he’s not completely silent. You’ll often see him in the background with eyes closed and arms crossed like he doesn’t want to be there but one thing that I haven’t mentioned is his grandfather, Voltaire.

All the time, we never see Kai’s parents and it’s assumed that his grandfather is raising him and has instilled this attitude of always working alone and teaching him that Beyblade isn’t a game to play for fun but to assert your dominance and prove that you are all powerful and superior. That’s why he doesn’t like Tyson because he can play the game for fun but also be a skilled player.

When the team arrive in Russia, one of the first places they visit is an Abbey that houses the team that the Bladebreakers will be competing against, ‘The Demolition Boys’. They meet Boris who runs the Abbey and also trains youngsters in the game. Boris offers Tyson a friendly match against one of the students, Alexander and although it looks like Alexander has the upper hand, Tyson brings out his famous ‘Phantom Hurricane Attack’ and defeats Alexander. Boris congratulates Tyson on his win but then has Alexander dragged away in shame for losing. Alexander begs for mercy as he’s dragged kicking and screaming and the team are horrified at the treatment of this child but the person most affected is Kai.

Kai begins having nightmares about this incident and feels that the Abbey and particularly Boris are familiar to him and his childhood. Kai sneaks into the Abbey and is reluctantly put through a series of tests to assess his skills as a player. He discovers an underground laboratory that’s run by BIOVOLT (Beybladers Intent on Victory Over Lawless Tyranny) which is the company owned by his grandfather. He discovers that BIOVOLT are creating their own Bit-Beasts that are bred from the DNA of real animals.

Eventually Kai realises that he was raised in the Abbey and had blocked the memories and once he reaches one specific room, he remembers why. He finds a Beyblade, chained to a plinth and Boris explains that this particular Beyblade, Black Dranzer, is the most powerful Beyblade ever created and Kai had a strong fascination with it when he was a child. The young Kai broke into the testing room and tried the Beyblade for himself, but the power was too much for him at that young age. Now he’s older and more skilled and Boris offers Kai what he’s always wanted, ultimate power but it’s under the condition that Kai leaves the Bladebreakers and joins the Demolition Boys. Lured in by the promises of power and wrapped in darkness, Kai accepts.

The Bladebreakers wonder where Kai is and are told by Tala, a member of the Demolition Boys, that Kai is in the infirmary after being out in the cold and developing a fever. They don’t see Kai until he is unveiled as the Demolition Boys’ fifth player. The Bladebreakers are stunned and can only watch in horror as Kai effortlessly defeats both the All Starz and White Tiger teams and steals their Bit-Beasts.

Tyson goes back to the Abbey to confront Kai and Kai gives Tyson his Dranzer Beyblade hereby officially renouncing his allegiance with the team and rejecting his own Bit-Beast. Tyson is devastated at this betrayal and the team have to face the thought of going into the finals not only without Kai but against a crazy and power-hungry Kai.

In the next episode entitled ‘Breaking the Ice’, Kai invites the Bladebreakers (minus Max) to Lake Baikal which is this huge frozen lake in southern Siberia. It’s not always frozen in reality but it is for this venture. Kai tells his former team that he intends to defeat every one of them and take their Bit-Beasts for his collection. Here’s where Kai contradicts himself… twice. The first time is when he says that as soon as he joined the Bladebreakers, he ‘resented being thrown in with a bunch of no-talents’ but then he says that ‘in order to become the best, one must defeat the best’. So now the Bladebreakers are the best when you just said that they were a bunch of no-talents?

The second time is funnier because he says that he doesn’t care about trophies or titles, he just wants to become the most powerful player and that means defeating the Bladebreakers but then in the very same sentence he says that his win is ‘not official, but it will do’. If you’re that concerned about your win ‘not being official’, then why don’t you wait until the finals?

Elsewhere, Max is with his mother as she waits for a plane back to the US and gets word from Emily that Kai is facing off against his team. Judy helps Max by flying him to their location and giving him a new Beyblade that’s specially designed for the ultimate defence.

Back in Siberia, Kai defeats his teammates one by one and is about to take their Bit-Beasts with no remorse whatsoever until Max joins the fray. Kai unleashes Black Dranzer but he seems to be having trouble against Max’s new and improved Beyblade. Tyson still has one more trick to try and make Kai see sense and so Tyson launches Dranzer against its former master. Kai is shocked at how strong Dranzer really is and leaves himself open to attack. As a team, they unleash their Bit-Beasts and Kai is helpless against the combined force of Draciel, Driger, Dranzer and Dragoon and ultimately, Black Dranzer is defeated.

What the team don’t know but are about to find out is that the force of their battle has cracked the ice, especially around Kai for some reason and so as Kai stands in the kind of shock where he doesn’t notice what’s happening around him, Kai stands on a platform of floating ice that soon starts sinking. As he’s becoming submerged in ice cold water, Kai realises what an arse he’s been and in trying to become the best individual player, he was still beaten but his team have never lost as a whole. As his friends beg him to jump to safety, there’s a moment where he tells them to go away and it looks like he’s seriously considering killing himself. Is this still a show for children?

Actually, a running theme in this show is scenes being censored or even cut because they were deemed to harsh. One of the scenes of this season shows Kai investigating the Abbey and then coming across Alexander who has been imprisoned for his loss. This scene was aired in the Japanese version but was cut from the English Dub. I’ll get into the ‘deleted scenes’ more when I do the other seasons.

Anyway, Tyson reaches his hand out to Kai and Kai is stunned that Tyson still wants to save him despite all the horrible things that he’s done. Kai listens to his teammates begging him to take Tyson’s hand and realises that they don’t care about his personality and just want him safe. In a really sweet and character-defining moment, Kai apologises and even sheds a tear before grabbing Tyson’s hand. Max, Ray and Kenny also grab Kai and pull him to safety just in the nick of time. As Kai laments on how close he came to letting himself drown, the gang offer their support in him coming back. Tyson even returns Dranzer to Kai before he flies off the ‘make things right’.

Kai’s version of ‘making things right’ pretty much involves him launching Black Dranzer into their surveillance system and running away which seems apt.

Back with his team, Kai tells them that his Grandfather has created his own Bit-Beasts and is training the students at the Abbey to believe that defeat is the ultimate humiliation. The strongest candidates rise to the top and become part of the army that will be mixed with the man-made Bit-Beasts that only the Demolition Boys are strong enough to control. Their Bit-Beasts have to ability to absorb and merge with other Bit-Beasts to become more powerful and with all this combined, Voltaire plans to take over the world.

After the Bladebreakers are ambushed by Boris and the Demolition Boys, Max fights them but is ganged up on and defeated. Draciel is taken from Max by Spencer and the Bladebreakers, Mr Dickinson, Tyson’s Father and Grandfather are left to freeze. Luckily, they are picked up by Oliver and Enrique who take them to Robert and Johnny in an abandoned and decrepit Russian villa. Robert teaches Tyson how to transfer his energy into his Beyblade to make it more powerful in preparation for the finals as organised by Mr Dickinson.

So now we’re finally at the finals and Kai is the first to play against Spencer who was called Sergei in the Japanese version. In the first round, Kai is badly defeated since Spencer’s Bit-Beast, Seaborg is a powerful water spirit and Kai’s Dranzer is a fire spirit. However, Kai is visited by his Grandfather and he offers Kai a new and improved Black Dranzer bit. Kai can become powerful and defeat Spencer but only if he betrays his team and takes their Bit-Beasts. For a moment, it looks like Kai has taken that offer and the Bladebreakers are concerned but then in the heat of the second round, Kai calls out Dranzer and he appears in all his glory. Voltaire is enraged that his grandson has betrayed him and Kai is forced into a tight spot by Spencer. In the final moments, Kai is reminded by Tyson that it doesn’t matter if he loses because his friends will always be there for him. With that, Kai is defeated and Spencer takes Dranzer. In the aftermath, Kai isn’t upset that he’s lost but proud that he fought honourably.

Next up is Ray to fight Bryan. Before the match, Bryan is told to instil fear into the crowd and this episode also introduces the prospect of the player being injured by a Bit-Beast and this trait will be used in future seasons.

For now, Ray is the first to made an example of as Bryan intentionally chips of a chuck of the Bey-Stadium and hits Ray in the gut with it but makes it look like an accident. Next, one of Bryan’s attacks blows Ray and Driger out of the ring and onto the ground. In the back, Tyson’s Father suggests that Ray forfeit since they know that Bryan will only come back stronger. Ray won’t give up and after some advice from Kai and the support of his team, Ray heads back for round two. Bryan unleashes his secret weapon, his Bit-Beast, Falborg can turn air into a weapon and Ray soon finds out as he and Driger are being torn apart. As the Bladebreakers head in to stop the match, Ray stops them and assures them that he’ll win. Ray endures the attacks and waits for Bryan to leave himself open for an attack and so unleashes the Tiger Claw attack, winning the match. However, his win comes at a cost as Ray collapses, exhausted.

There’s still one more match to go and Bryan’s pissed, delivering hit after hit. Ray’s friends and his own team are becoming infuriated that Bryan’s actions are being allowed to continue but in his darkest moment, Ray is inspired by the memories of his friends and Driger comes out the shield Ray from Bryan’s attack and Ray’s Tiger Claw attack is so devastating that Bryan is thrown from the dish and his Beyblade is shredded into pieces. As the Bladebreakers, the All Starz, the White Tigers and the Majestics celebrate Ray’s win, they finally notice that he’s lying unconscious that the side of the ring.

As Ray is being taken to hospital, he regains consciousness to find out that he won but Bryan’s attack was too much for Driger who has vanished. Before he’s taken away, Ray tells Tyson “Win it for us”. I know it’s only a cartoon, but I was so invested in the characters that it was emotional.

In the final two episodes, Judy and Max’s Father who wasn’t awarded with a name as far as I know, have upgraded Dragoon for the final battle against Tala who’s had a Cyber upgrade of his own. In the meantime, Kai, Robert, Lee and Michael prepare Tyson skill-wise for the battle.

Now for the first round and as all the characters we’ve met over the season watch on TV, Tyson and Tala step up to the dish. The Beyblades are launched and long story short, Tyson wins… almost too easily. Tyson is confident that he only has to win one more round but Tala admits that he only lost the match to collect data on Tyson.

The second round starts and here’s where this show about ancient spirit-infested spinning tops gets weird. Tala unleashes hit Bit-Beast, Wolborg and freezes the area around he and Tyson, shielding them in a cube of Ice and sending them to another dimension but somehow, the Stadium cameras can see what’s happening inside. Tyson is confused and frightened but still goes head on against Tala however, he’s no match for the entire Bit-Beast army that resides in Tala’s Beyblade and loses the second round.

Even though there’s still one more round to go, the other teams begin to lose faith in Tyson winning since he’s up against the most powerful Beyblader in the world. Tyson has no friends to fall back on but nevertheless, Tyson comes back with renewed vigour and it seems like he’s accepted that he can’t win. Tyson is messing with Tala by going in with the attitude that even if he loses, he’ll know that he’ll have done his best and he can be proud of that. In the Stadium and all over the world, the crowd is rooting for Tyson.

However, Tala combines all his Bit-Beasts and throws them at Tyson in the ultimate attack and just when it looks like it’s all over, Tyson is still spinning and the game continues. Dragoon rises and tells Tyson that as long as Tyson still believes in him, Dragoon will never abandon him. Tyson throws his final attack, as does Tala and as the Beyblades collide, the ice wall cracks and breaks apart. The stolen Bit-Beasts return to their respective Beyblades and as the dust clears, it’s shown that Tyson has won and is now the Beyblading World Champion! Tyson and Tala shake hands in the dish to mark a mutual respect for one another’s abilities. Meanwhile, Voltaire is led away for his crimes to try and take over the world. That’s what you get.

Outside, Tyson reflects on the adventures and the adversity that he and his friends have faced. However, Kai brings out his Beyblade, saying that the World Championships are over and now the Bladebreakers don’t exist, so he wants to battle the World Champion. Ray joins in, as does Max, the All Starz, the White Tigers, The Dark Bladers and the Majestics. Tyson launches his Beyblade one last time and that’s the end of the first season.

Whew! That was a lot and if you’re still here then… well done. As you can see, I am a fan of this show and I felt that the only way I could make you understand is if I show how the characters change and grow and me just talking about it doesn’t really do it justice. I would suggest finding it and watching it if you haven’t already because even though this show is meant for kids, it’s written and presented in such a way that everyone can enjoy it. This show has got great music, great animation and great characters that really made me care about what happened to them.

It’s all well and good and a kick ass show and isn’t even spoiled when you realise that ‘Let it Rip’ is a funny thing to say when you’re about to fart.

4 responses to “Beyblade Season 1 Review – I Love it. I’m Not Ashamed

      • No, sadly I’ve only seen the first three series. When the metal saga and burst series came out, I’d stopped watching Cartoon Network and since Tyson, Ray, Max, Kai and Kenny weren’t in it, I didn’t think it was for me. I might be persuaded to watch them but without the Bladebreakers, I’m not sure how much I’m going to like it.

        Liked by 1 person

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