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I can write Essays on Beyblade… Let me prove it!
Or ‘How to sell an toyline in anime form right’
Well I’m only going to write one article on Beyblade on my blog and so I thought about it and I thought about it… And I couldn’t decide what to focus on, so lets just go with the flow.
Pick your main character; Pick his Rival
Takao (Tyson) was Beyblade’s main character, a Ash Catch’em clone with a hint of Goku added to the mold. When I compare Ash and Takao I think of Ash like Peter Pan as the boy who never grows up. Oh Ash gets older, he gets more experience, but he never changes.
That’s where Takao was different. Takao DID change and he changed those around him. I like Luffy because he is in similar light to Takao here. Now firstly you must understand two versions of Takao exist, anime and manga and though they are of the same character they were of two different portrayals of the same character, anime Takao was the better characterized of the two portrayals of the character. He was smarter and had the buffer zone (thanks to 3 seasons of 52 episodes) that his manga counterpart never had.
Takao’s biggest rivalry was always with Kai, he had rivals but things always fell back to Kai. Why? It was summed up (at least in the English dub) in season 3 by Takao’s elder brother; Takao RELIED on Kai.
During season 1, Kai is a gang leader and a bully who battles bladers to destroy their blade and keep the best quality ones if he finds them. Takao battles him, looses and their fight is taken to the Japan championships to be finished there. Suddenly Kai is on the same team as the brat he hates the most, but mysterious and quiet Kai tolerates this.
Takao was the first to express worry when Kai goes missing for longer then he usually does but also the first to insult Kai when he acted like a sour bean and the grump he is. The two were a stark contrast to each other. When Takao messes up however or is absent for a match Kai would step in. The only time he didn’t step in when Takao messed up was to prove to the American team that their research meant nothing, but defeating his foe so fast in a match up they couldn’t record his power leel properly.
Considering that Kai also had a heart at times, even allowing Max to take his place in the American tournament finals to prove himself to his mother, his teammates didn’t see Kai’s betrayal coming until it was too late. Though it was Takao who was the one who was most determined to get to the bottom of things at the time, even refusing to believe what he saw when Kai joined the evil team in Russia, becoming as heartless and ruthless as they were. Not to say the other team members weren’t also concerned, but Takao was the one who just didn’t want to give up on the idea.
But that’s the whole thing, Takao kept Kai from being Kai and Kai was the voice of reason for Takao, preventing Takao from leaning too far in the wrong direction. Now that’s not to say they didn’t have this going on with the rest of the team, but Rei and Max never had the same reasons for acting as Takao and Kai did together.
In the end, Takao saved Kai from his downward spiral, even throwing Kai’s own beyblade against him to show him what he had with the team that he lacked without them. On top of this, Kai owed Takao his life when he saved him from drowning. By the series, Kai’s the one to support Takao after Takao faces Yuri (Tala) in thanks for all Takao does.
Season 2 pretty much didn’t show much, it was just one series of events after another, but did show the team as settled on being friends. Season 2 didn’t have many Takao and Kai moments as the show pushed on Rei and Kai more.
But season 3 was back to Kai being his rival. Takao had to deal with Kai again, this time for the first time Takao had to let go of relying on Kai, something that Takao hadn’t done before. Now season 3 really pushed their relationship as friends and rivals to the further. Takao watched as his team broke apart and the only member who didn’t leave was Kai, but then Kai left anyway after seeing the old Russian team back in action.
Kai left for the same reason the rest of the team did, to face Takao at his strongest and he couldn’t do that on Takao’s team, but he also needed to find the strongest team he could to combat Takao and Yuri’s team fit the bill. Takao had to get over the fact for the first time since in a couple of years on not having Kai there to prevent him being Takao and on top of that he himself had a “brat” to deal with. Takao feels the pressure that’s never been on him before and it hits him first against his teammate Rei who beats him in a match because he lets the anger of his old team quitting get to him.
Kai himself expressed his anger at Takao’s brother (who had become coach of Takao’s new team) when their match against each other saw Takao benched for getting too big headed in his previous match. But Kai faced off against Takao in the finals and got the match he wanted anyway. Kai himself even states that he was pleased how Takao had grown over the course of the battles and explains why he left was to do just that, but all friendship aside their battle awaited.
During his match with Takao, the two “connect” with each other, they realise they enjoy the whole beyblade experience, they want to fight each other forever, but there has to be a winner. They throw what they have at each other and Kai looses. Kai still walks away feeling pleased at the match even though he lost it, as he got to connect with the one blader who he had grown to consider the best.
However, the nicest part of their relationship was saved until later. Kai still wants to fight Takao because of how much he enjoys blading against him, so when the BBA (the offical beybade matches) are taken over by another group called BEGA, Kai joins the other side instead of Takao’s side the BBA. Takao watches Kai face off against the other sides best blader, and with horror watches as Kai is not only beaten but receives heavy pain and wounds fighting as the power of the guy’s blade strikes at Kai. Kai himself is in complete awe as this isn’t what he is used to. Brooklyn was a beast who could win any beyblade match without putting effort into it since he was a naturally talented blader whereas Kai had to work.
Well it’s a 5 vs 5 match up and the team has Daichi, Takao, Max and Rei to face off against the other side. All the teams in season 3 where trying to put their part in and Takao had to choose a 5th blader to face off in match ups but is heavily reluctant to name another player. He hangs around, hoping to see Kai again while Kai pulls himself together after the heavy battle. And finally Kai shows up, having master a new beyblade and Takao is happy to see him again.
But the sad part comes, Kai faces off against Brooklyn and beat him after the toughest match up the team have seen. Takao is Kai’s leaning support, this time it becomes Kai relying on Takao completely. But after Kai’s victory. He walks away from the dish and falls over, Takao grabs him as he falls, after a little while Kai steps up and says his fine. The team stare at the other team and Takao notes his next match up against the next Blader on their team Garland, meanwhile Kai collapses again. Though you’re not told it, this time it costs Kai his life.
While the team is preparing for the last match, Takao is getting over his loss of Kai, he more then anyone else is affected by this. However he still has some connection to Kai even though he passed away, and Takao comes to terms with Kai’s passing after he sees Kai tell him to keep going. So Takao once again goes into the dish and for the sake of Kai wins.
But Brooklyn hadn’t had enough of the team, the teams had 2 losses, 2 victories each. Brooklyn is being haunted by the image of Kai since Kai’s victory over Brooklyn left him insane and he now faces against Takao in the deciding battle. This time holding NOTHING back. Brooklyn unleashes his mind against Takao, Takao is barely hanging things together. Then near the end of the match, Takao hears Kai calling him not to just give in since that connection and the combination of reality being warped by Brooklyn’s mind allowed Kai to come back to support Takao once more.
The ending of the Brooklyn Vs. Takao match is never seen, but by then Takao has taught Brooklyn what he taught Kai back in Season 1 about Beyblading. The BEGA building was destroyed in Brooklyn’s madness anyway.
The last part of the series is Takao and Kai sitting on a hill next to each other since the events allowed the pair to be brought together in a way like no other. They face against each other as the series ending.
I kinda draw a line here where on rivals should be. I’ve seen it in countless shows, but theres a difference between Kai and Takao and most other shows. Even in the manga, Kai and Takao still finish up as they started as rivals, but their relationship was strong enough that even as adults they don’t step away from the chance to fight each other like they did as kids. At one point a Japanese magazine was suppose to have named the pair an official Yurei couple but I never saw the article clipping to see if it was right or wrong myself.
Now, at the time the only other show was Yugioh, and while it had little nice touches to it, the characters were much flatter. Well, the first season was skipped… And it did suffer 4Kids shameful voice actor choices (yuck!). It just didn’t have the SAME kind of things going on. Kaiba fights Yugioh to prove his better no matter what the occasion. Heck, Kai and Takao would fight each other because they enjoyed it. Maybe it’s the show itself… But while there may have been more to a card game then a spinning tops show, its just… Its hard to expand, but something wasn’t there.
Hehee… Four pages in Microsoft word of text written in one essay, damn theres the proof I can write Beyblade essays for you.
BTW, am I going to watch the NEW Beyblade series coming out? Properly, sad isn’t it? Thinking about it, I’ve never really gotten over being a fan. Though I no longer share the urge to go and seek out a forum anyone to talk about my giddy fan days unless I knew some of the old crowd was going to be there with me. Plus things HAVE moved on, the current Beyblade fans are not the Beyblade fans I knew back in 2004 when last we all met up. Rulz, Jaunita, Beholder-sama… Everyone is gone from that crowd. Even if there are still fans out there, there is no longer a FierceDranzer and there is no more forum and that is where my true love as a Beyblade fan had died.
And I’m haunted by the 2004 Japanese fanartists kicking up a storm against the Western fanart stealers. :-/