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Beyblade, also known as Bakuten Shoot Beyblade (爆転シュート ベイブレード, Bakuten Shūto Beiburēdo) in Japan and colloquially referred to as the Original Series, is an anime series based on the popular manga of the same name.
When the series and toyline was released internationally, "Bakuten Shoot" was removed and the titles were changed to "Beyblade", "Beyblade: V-Force" and "Beyblade: G-Revolution" respectively.
Bakuten Shoot Beyblade was the 3 marketing method to promote the toys, with the first being video games such as Next Generation Beigoma Battle: Beyblade and second being the Bakuten Shoot Beyblade manga. However, it was the success of the manga itself that would lead to an anime based on the manga.
While the anime used a number of elements from the Bakuten Shoot Beyblade manga such as characters, for the most part elements were carried over into the anime and handled very differently. New characters and storyline elements were introduced to fill out the manga storyline. Though events were often tied to the anime, storyline changes were made such as those concerning Kai's family. Some other elements of the story, such as Tyson's own family were largely glossed over and Tyson's mother's death was briefly mentioned.
V-Force was the only part of the anime that was not tied to the manga as the first season, since the Bakuten Shoot Beyblade manga chapters were monthly. V-Force therefore was mostly filler content, it barely referenced Season 1's events at all and even had a few continuity errors in regards to details about things such as details about Beyblade or the Bit-Beasts.
The Original Series aired on TV Tokyo in Japan.
Despite the manga running for a while longer then the anime, both ended by 2004 and focus was put on the Beyblade toy. As a response to this, Beyblade would not see another storyline related instalment until 2008 with the Metal Fight Beyblade manga.
Exportation outside of Japan
The series was licensed for distribution by Nelvana for other territories. In the UK the series ran on the TV channel Cartoon Network.
Drastic changes had been made to appeal to a younger Western audience. Dialogue and names were modified, and some scenes were either heavily edited or removed altogether. Any scenes featuring suggestive content, violence and death were edited out. The additions of Dizzi and AJ Topper & Brad Best were thought to be unnecessary and have been criticised by fans. Despite the changes, only the introduction of these 3 characters were considered bad to the show. Most of the removed scenes were not noticeable, there was even one or two animation corrections that Madhouse neglected, such as adding doors to the lab scene when Kai wonders from the abbey in Russia. Many of the missing scenes were only minor and were often done due to the limited run time Beyblade had on TV, making slight removals necessarily.
However, the overall markets of manga, toy and anime was not united. The name of "Bakuten Shoot Beyblade" can at times be mistaken as the original name of the franchise entirely and it was known just as "Beyblade" in the west. However the franchise is called "Beyblade" not "Bakuten Shoot Beyblade". This confusion is caused by the lack of most of the additional aspects of the Beyblade franchise coming into the west from Japan as such the games and licensed manga never made it into the west. The anime also was released before the Bakuten Shoot Beyblade manga was, causing further disconnection on the origin of "Bakuten Shoot Beyblade" as a name. Overseas fans more commonly think as a result of "Bakuten Shoot Beyblade" as a anime and not as a manga.
The dub of the English version was mostly done by actors who were teenagers at the time of production, with one or two even hitting puberty after the season, causing their voices to change for Beyblade: V-Force and Beyblade: G-Revolution. Most of the cast therefore had little voice acting experience with George Buza, the voice of Tyson's grandpa, being the being the only veteran voice actor in the cast of the first season.
Dubbed episodes of the first three seasons are available on US streaming service Daisuki's premium service. Dubbed episodes of the first season are also available on Crunchyroll and Disney XD's site/app. Other language versions such as the German dub were based on the English dubbed version.
The story follows a team called the Bladebreakers who try to win a World Championship with spinning tops called Beyblades which hold beasts inside. Along the way they make new enemies and allies.
Tyson Granger, a young boy and his friend, Kenny enter the Super Battle Tournament. There he meets Ray Kon, Max Tate and, Kai Hiwatari and organize a team called the Bladebreakers in order to win the Beyblade World Championship.
The Bladebreakers have disbanded but their enemy teams reunite them quickly enough. Two new teams, Team Psykick and Saint Shields attack them by trying to steal their Bit-Beasts' for their own purposes. Beyblade skeptic Hilary Tachibana joins the team and throughout the season she learns the true value of Beyblading.
Based on the manga the storyline is about Daichi and the return of the "Dark Bit-Beasts". It is considered "non-canon" and was depicted in the artstyle of V-Force.
In order to face each other at the World Championship, Tyson, Max, Ray and Kai have once again disbanded the team and rejoined their old teams. With only Tyson, Kenny and Hilary left in the Bladebreakers, a new Blader, Daichi Sumeragi and Tyson's older brother Hiro Granger join them. Soon after the World Championship, the evil Boris creates BEGA as a replacement to the Beyblade Battle Association and to take control of all Beyblade activity. In order to stop Boris, Tyson challenges him, which leads to the creation of the Justice 5 tournament with the fate of Beyblade in the balance.
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Of all the marketing attempts of the Beyblade toyline, the anime was by far the most successful. The anime was responsible for bringing Beyblade to a more wider audience then any other method of marketing the toy within the Beyblade franchise. It was well received in Japan and as a result was responsible largely for the Beyblade craze in the early 2000s. Tournement entries in Japan went up for the real life Beyblade championships and the toys saw a large sale increase.
However, this trend ended in 2002, on top of this V-Force had been more poorly received due to the changes of direction and artstyle compared to the first season. The series was much more poorly received then the first season.
G-Revolution attempted to restore interest in Beyblade, including bringing back the director of the first season who was responsible for the original series success. However, it failed to renew interests despite being much better received. Tournement and toy sales within Japan both saw a decline during this period.
Despite all the changes, Beyblade was quite well received and had gained many fans, this in turn helped spark a Beyblade craze in America and Europe. This reception is remarkable as at the time criticism towards shows like One Piece were causing backlash from anime fans, with companies like 4Kids! Entertainment receiving the hardest criticism for going too far with their editing. The later seasons overlapped with these events.
- The team styles and method of battling changed throughout the seasons.
- In the first season there were 4 bladers in a team. Matches were won based on a 2 out of 3 victory, though the rules stated all 3 rounds had to be played. If the team was unable to compete in the 3rd round for whatever reason, victory was automatically given to the other side. Forfeiting the last round would invalidate the previous two rounds and the match would also be awarded to the other side. The 4th blader on a team (Ian, Kai, Kevin, Emily, Enrique) was a substitution blader in case one of the normal 3 couldn't blade. However, only Kai ever stepped in substitution of any of the teams 4th bladers.
- Things were changed in V-Force. Though non-World tournament matches followed the same format as the previous season, the World Tournament was set up in pairs. Matches were best two out of three again, in a case of a tie (one victory/loss in the first two rounds) the winners of the previous two rounds fight in the 3rd round of the match.
- In G-Revolution, the matches were once again pairings. Teams could have up to 2 substitution bladers for use in place of the main, though there was only one example of a substitution (Kenny replacing Tyson due to his attitude as the World Champion). Matches were mostly a 2 out of 3 with the same rules as V-Force's World Championship. However, under the rules, if both teams agreed to a two versus two battle, all 4 bladers would battle at the same time until one team was beaten. In this format only one Blade need remain spinning to win.