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Beyblade: Let It Rip!
The basic plot (or should I say selling point since its all about selling the game) is a wisecracking kid named Tyson who plays beyblade, a game involving spinning tops (available at local toy stores everywhere!). He's got a goofy kendo teaching grandpa, a nerdy sidekick, Kenny, and of course a rival in beyblader, Kai, and his gang The Blade Sharks.
This volume presents the series first six episodes they are- THE BLADE RAIDER: Basic set-up episode, establishing the characters and the game. We meet Tyson, Kenny, grandpa, the bully Andrew, and the blade Shark gang including Carlos and Kai... DAY OF THE DRAGON: Tyson faces Kai and loses, so he tries to regroup himself and learn some strategy as well as beef up his beyblade. He discovers that the sacred sword in his family contains a spirit, the Dragoon, which goes inside of his beyblade, powering it up and making him a more formidable beyblader... TAKE IT TO THE MAX!: Tyson befriends a new beyblader, Max, and gets some insight from Max's skills. All is not good though, as this new person has Kenny feeling left out... THE QUALIFIER BEGINS: Just like in Pokemon or Dragonball after some establishing the series episodes its time for a tournament. Max and Tyson enroll in the beyblade tournament and Tyson faces his first opponent... DRACIEL OF APPROVAL: Max makes it to the semi-finals and has a match against Kai, who is beating him. Them the tables begin to turn as Max's own spirit guardian imbues itself within his beyblade... DRAGOON STORM: Tyson makes it to the semi-qualifying round and is pitted against a better opponent. Much to Tyson's dismay his beyblade is shattered in the first three round match so his buddies attempt to repair his beyblade.
I'm not too big into kiddie anime, especially this flash-in-the-pan, trendy, game oriented stuff. Something like the lighthearted (though simplistic and too cutesy for an adult male) Hamtaro or the goofy Tokyo Pig is fine, but this stuff that is just made to sell some toy is pretty dull an demeaning. But Beyblade sets the bar even lower in my opinion. Something like Pokemon for instance, may essentially be all about selling Pokemon merchandise, but at least the series has some basic identifiable and sympathetic characters and some lessons to be learned about bonds and friendship. Beyblade's doesnt try too hard to teach any life lessons. Such things take a backseat to the boring beyblade fighting dynamics and cliched stock characters. I mean, its just spinning tops, devoid of any personality, devoid of any drama. I honestly don't see the fun in it at all. Even a yo-yo is more exciting. At least Pikachu is cute and has some emotional expressions. Next thing you know, the Japanese will be trying to sell hula hoops with a 22 min cartoon called Super-Mega-Awesome Hula Power Action Riders!
Well, it is pretty obvious they are aiming this at the average US kid and not the anime fan. This is an English friendly barebones presentation
Picture: Full-Screen, Standard. Well, it is a newer anime, and the colors and sharpness really show it. The colors are rich and vibrant and the lines are smooth and black. But, upon closer examination, it is pretty simple cel work, and there is the standard budget cutting like zooming and scrolling across a still. It should also be noted that much of this is done in the mind-numbingly boring beyblade battles that try to mask their dullness by putting a blur or spark effect on the action. Too bad- it still looks like spinning tops.
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, English dub only with optional yellow English subtitles. Pretty standard dub. I would go into the specifics about the audio, but really, will your kid care? It is a clear stereo track with plenty of crisp sound fx and score and smooth dialogue. The kiddies will be pleased.
Extras: Episode and Chapter Selections.... that's it.
Conclusion: Beyblade airs on The Family Channel. The DVD is fine, but bare of any extras at all, so there really isn't much incentive to buy the disc when you can just tune into the show every morning, including weekends. If you have a child that is a huge a fan, I guess you could go ahead and purchase it. Otherwise, for anime fans- skip it because theres no alternate Japanese version. I'd advise the more discerning parent to skip this consumer oriented and flat anime series and instead read a good book to your kid.