Bakuten Shoot Beyblade: Rising

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It’s good to see the old characters back as Beyblade returns to full glory. A shame that the manga only updates every 4 months though as it has less than 10 chapters even after going for around 3 years. I’ll have a review for it up once the series finishes, but that certainly could be a while. Good to see the plot starting to return as well. That’ll help the series ascend to the next level!

Overall 7/10

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Beyblade Review

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Beyblade is a pretty iconic franchise and one that has gotten quite a few tv shows and manga over the years. I probably still have it ranked as the biggest anime franchise that I haven’t jumped into yet next to maybe pretty cure. It’s definitely a fun series with quite a lot of tournaments and matches going on. It’s not a particularly long manga but one that makes the most of its 14 volumes. Definitely a title that lived up to the hype.

The series follows a kid named Tyson as he journeys to become the greatest Beyblade player ever. The game of Beyblade has become incredibly popular across the planet because of how it made top spinning fun again. Of course the road to being the best won’t be easy and Tyson makes plenty of rivals along the way. There are also villains who plan to use the tops for their own nefarious plans. Looks like it’s time for the heroes to let it rip!

As you can probably guess, there are a bunch of tournaments over the course of the Beyblade series. Everyone wants to be the best after all so it makes sense that you have to win a lot to stay at the top. While some of the tournaments have 1 on 1 battles, Most of the series is about team tournaments. The main characters actually had a pretty stacked roster for a while since Tyson was with all of his rivals. Of course, the villains were also quite powerful. One of the more serious arcs involved a kid who tried to destroy everyone’s Beyblade to prove to his father that he was a strong fighter. That arc had a cheesy ending, but actual villains which was certainly hype. Surprisingly the later volumes played it straight with the tournaments, but of course that works for me.

The final arc of the series is…you guessed it! A huge tournament. Naturally this was the perfect way to end things off as Tyson got to fight with all of his rivals one last time. They all got new metals from the sponsor to make them even stronger as well. He seems rather shifty the whole time but in the end it turns out that he was just a normal guy. During the whole arc I was waiting for the inevitable twist that the guy was evil but surprisingly nothing like that happened. The tournament went on without a hitch. We even got a private battle between Tyson and Kai before it was over. I always like seeing two of the fighters go at it before it’s technically their turn to fight. It builds up the suspense. A good example of this is Lan vs Chaud in the NT Warrior anime as they fought in the streets. It’s especially good if you know that the final fight is not going to end or if it’s going to be interrupted somehow. Unfortunately this is the case for Beyblade.

While it’s not something that would affect the score of the series in the slightest, the ending did leave much to be desired. The final fight doesn’t actually get to happen and it just feels rushed in general. I’m cool with it ending abruptly but only after a winner is chosen. I think it’s safe to say that Tyson would have won here but I still wanted to actually see it. Stretching the series out to 20 volumes would have done wonders for it as 14 just feels too short. It’s all over in the blink of an eye. At least that shows how solid it is.

Meanwhile the series does something interesting with the bonus chapters at the end of each volume. Usually they are just comedic stories for most titles, but in Beyblade they are used to give development to Daichi. At first you just wonder why this kid is getting so much screen time but by the end you realize that it was all deserved. It leads to him showing up in the main series and made his appearance feel more like a crossover than just an ordinary new character. For the past volume we got a big time skip which is certainly a trope that many titles like to use. The only problem is that once again the fight was off screen instead of being shown. Off screen fights are one of the worst things that you can do so it should be avoided at all costs.

As Tyson is the main character I’ll talk about him first. He is definitely a solid lead who is always ready for a good fight. He knows that a good offense will take you far and is always trying to make his top faster. Tyson always makes sure to have fun while he plays as well and never loses sight of that. If someone tries to stop him from a match whether it be friend or foe. The scene where he tied up Daichi was definitely fun and challenging Kai before their match was also the right move. Tyson just has that enthusiasm and intensity that you want to see from a main character. He never backs down from a challenge.

Then we’ve got Daichi who is the main character of the backup stories and a supporting character in the main series. I was actually worried at first that he was going to beat Tyson but fortunately that was not the case. While I prefer Tyson to Daichi, both are still quality characters. Daichi really improved a lot considering that he didn’t have much to work with. His origin story was also the most grim while being surreal at the same time. His father gets crushed by a rock but with his dying breath urges Daichi to take up his Beyblade and fight. Considering that he is being crushed to death while still alive, the father took it in stride. Well he would be proud that Daichi ended up being one of the best players in the world.
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Then we have Kai who is the big rival of the series. He’s definitely an all star beyblader as well and really forces Tyson to keep on improving to match his pace. While you never really get the impression that he can beat Tyson, that doesn’t take away from his character. He still talks tough at every corner and can match Tyson yell for yell. Depending on how you interpret the ending maybe you can even say that he is the world champ although I would call that a stretch. Kai is always a step ahead of all the other rivals and the fact that he was able to learn Tyson’s ultimate attack so easily is pretty impressive.

Max is one of Tyson’s many rivals, but I could never take him quite as seriously as Kai. I guess I should say now that none of them were ever all that serious in comparison but maybe I’m setting the bar too high. As it stands, Max does have a pretty good defense so I suppose that I should acknowledge him as a good fighter. His defensive playstyle makes him a good counter to Tyson and he did make it very far in the tournament. Certainly farther than you may have expected.

Then there is Ray. He is another strong fighter who wants to be the champ. He does let the allure of power get to him quite a bit though as in his final fight you can barely even recognize the character. He only cares about winning, but fortunately Tyson snapped him out of it. Ray is skilled though and I may take him in a fight against Max. I’m sure it would be a close fight though.

We’ve also got Kenny who is the brains of the operation. Unfortunately he isn’t very good at the actual game though and you know how I feel about characters like that. It’s great that Tyson has someone around who can fix his top, but Kenny should really focus on improving his own skills first and foremost. That is ultimately how he will improve.

There are a bunch of other supporting characters of course, but I won’t really go into the rest. For some it’s because they’re too minor and for others it’s because its been a long time since I read the earlier volumes so I don’t remember them quite as well. As a result the series will have pretty good replay value if I ever read it again. One consistency that I always remember is how fun the series is though. Each volume had great pacing and never let up. It’s very easy to just pick up and read. There aren’t really any negatives to speak of here.

The art is rather standard but that doesn’t mean it’s bad at all. It’s not an elite title of anything like that but it is easy to follow the action. The character designs are on point as well. You can feel the intensity behind every play even if it never gets quite as exaggerated as in the TV show. I’m sure many people didn’t think a manga about tops could be this exciting but it just goes to show that anything is possible when tournaments are involved.
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Overall, Beyblade is definitely a great manga. It is one of those timeless classics that has just aged very well. You can’t help but get really excited while reading it. It’s easy to see why it became such a big sensation over the years and I look forward to seeing how the sequel stacks up. If you haven’t checked this manga out yet then I would definitely recommend fixing that. This is one title that you don’t want to miss.

Overall 8/10

Beyblade: Metal Fusion Battle Fortress Review

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It’s been a long time since I let a game play me instead of the other way around. It may sound impossible, but this is one of those games where you are encouraged to put down the Wii remote once the battle starts. There is even a bonus you get for winning rounds without using the controller at all. It’s really a unique way to play the game, but not in a positive way. If I wanted to watch the game I’d check out a Let’s Play or watch the TV show adaption. Fortunately the fun story and solid soundtrack help save the game, but this ended up being a real missed opportunity.

The main characters of the Beyblade Metal Fusion series have been kidnapped and brought to an alien spaceship. The aliens want to absorb their Beyblading abilities through matches so they can then destroy the planet. A lot of humans are also helping them in exchange for “Molecular Powers” which will apparently help them exceed the skill levels of the normal humans. Gingka doesn’t like this since he says that all a Beyblader needs is a determined spirit and prepares to stop them all.

Lets dive right into the gameplay. Through the years the Beyblade games have experimented with a bunch of different gameplay styles. From Turn Based to Monkey Ball to the classic Gamecube Beyblade where you rotate your tops on a field and try to knock the others off, the series has been places. This one tries to be like the Gamecube one. Your Beyblades (Which are effectively tops) are placed on a field and you try to knock the other one off. When you have enough meter you can use a super attack which covers a fixed range which either comes from your Beyblade or from the center. Knocking your opponent out of the ring gives you two points while destroying it or outlasting the spin just gives you one point. Getting to 3 is the goal for most levels.

That’s no problem. This gameplay is what Beyblade is supposed to be. There’s just one big problem….You Can’t Move. That’s the only problem, but it is a massive one. Who thought it would be a good idea to make it so that you can’t move at all in the game? It’s like playing a DBZ game where you can choose when to use the special abilities, but otherwise the characters do whatever they like. It would get irritating very quickly since they keep getting hit by basic bread and butter combos that you know you would dodge. That is definitely the worst part about the situation. The fact that you know you could do a better job. As a result, you’ll find that your Beyblade is knocked out of the ring many times. I customized my Beyblade beautifully so that it could wreck all of the others quite easily. I basically never lost a head to head fight. The problem is that they would just knock me out of bounds instead and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. You can use a mini boost but it always just sends you off the stage as well.

One stage took me close to an hour at one point. I was able to get some good reading done in the meantime, but it’s not exactly the most entertaining experience. The game actually took quite a while because while most levels were quick and easy, the ones that were tough took many, many tries. The story could also get a little repetitive at times as they make the same speeches over and over again as you meet new bladers. It was a little funny just how often Gingka would start talking about a Blader’s spirit. He would mention it before and after virtually every fight. At the very least, you can’t say that Gingka isn’t serious about the subject. He will never hesitate to let everyone know what’s up.

The story will get you interested in the show since it seems to have quite a lot of “hype” characters. You’ve got Gingka’s first rival Kyoya who was tempted by the power but got knocked out of it. Hikaru who may have defeated Gingka in the past (Story was vague on that) but fights with honor. Hyoma, Tsubasa, Ryuga, etc. The cast is very solid and I’m sure they all get quite a lot of intense fights in the anime. Unfortunately, the story’s original characters weren’t all that great. I liked the designs for the robot killers and their various super forms, but there’s not too much to say about them besides that. Once you’ve fought one robot blader you’ve fought them all. The old man scientist wasn’t a very interesting villain either and it was hard to buy his character arc of turning good again so quickly. Mariko was okay as at least she had a character arc that was a lot more developed than the others. She was pretty shady from the start, but at least she fooled the heroes for a while. She’s also pretty powerful so she can hold her own in a fight.

The graphics are pretty good. It’s the kind of game where all of the cutscenes are just recycled pictures of everyone as they yell and point fingers, but the actual images look pretty sharp. The gameplay shots are also fairly decent although the quality certainly does end up taking a hit. As far as the music goes, that is even better. We really only have a small handful of tunes, but one of them is quite excellent. That really helps to seal the deal here since I got to hear it a bunch of times during the story. One good tune can always go a long way.

There is a pretty good amount of content here to keep you busy. The actual story has around 5 worlds and each world has 5-6 battles. I doubt you’ll beat them all in one go but even if you do that should last a few hours. I’d imagine that this game should last you 6-10 hours. There’s no real replay value after finishing the game but odds are that you’ll have had enough of the gameplay style by then. You’ll be ready for something new and fresh. At least there is multiplayer mode so with the luck system in place it should make for some pretty entertaining matches.

Overall, This is a good Beyblade game, but one that could have been so much better. You’ll mainly just want to play it to hype yourself up for the show. I’ve never been a big fan of luck based gameplay so a title where it is almost 100% luck is just not going to be up my ally. Especially as there is one event where you have to win 3 matches in a row or get sent back to the first and various 1 vs 3 rounds where you just need luck to save you. With enough time you will beat them all as a result, but I don’t really want to wait to get to the end. Skill should be the only thing to have to worry about. I’d definitely recommend the Gamecube game instead of this one as that is the definitive Beyblade game. That being said, if you really prefer the Metal Fusion cast to the old characters then it isn’t a bad one to get. Just focus on the story instead of the gameplay.

Overall 6/10

Beyblade VForce Ultimate Blader Jam Stats and Records

Stats time!

Stage Stats Time Completed- Items

Episode 1
1-1 3.87s 1/1
1-2 10.48s 0/2
1-3 12.99s 0/1
1-4 29.34s 0/1
1-5 13.21s 0/1
1-6 14.38s 0/1
1-7 31.58s 0/1

Episode 2
2-1 16.88s 0/2
2-2 14.33s 0/1
2-3 13.07s 0/1
2-4 25.04s 0/1
2-5 16.46s 0/1
2-6 25.58s 0/1
2-7 47.32s 1/2

Episode 3
3-1 31.36 0/1
3-2 18.92 0/2
3-3 5.20s –
3-4 31.36s 0/1
3-5 46.24s 0/1
3-6 8.24s –
3-7 35.18s 1/2

Episode 4
4-1 23.16s 0/2
4-2 43.74s 0/2
4-3 13.10s 0/1
4-4 32.04 0/4
4-5 26.81s 0/3
4-6 24.52s 0/2
4-7 22.91s 1/1

Episode 5
5-1 31.60s 0/1
5-2 53.56s 0/2
5-3 34.33s 0/2
5-4 40.01s 0/2
5-5 34.92s 0/4
5-6 21.21s 0/2
5-7 57.31s 1/3

Episode 6
6-1 31.44s 0/4
6-2 1m 11s 2/5
6-3 9.87s 0/1
6-4 1m 16s 1/4
6-5 34.81s 0/2
6-6 43.07s 1/3
6-7 9.74s –

Episode 7
7-1 53.63s 0/3
7-2 38.22s 1/5
7-3 19.29s 0/1
7-4 44.89s 0/1
7-5 35.16s 0/2
7-6 1m 12s 0/2
7-7 23.84s –

Beyblade VForce Ultimate Blader Jam Review

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I haven’t played a Beyblade game in a very long time. I’ll admit that I’ve missed it as Beyblade is easily one of the greatest franchises that I have yet to really get into. Although, I suppose that playing the games and reading the manga should count as getting myself formally introduced to the franchise. It’s a lot of fun and I enjoyed the first game a lot so I was looking forward to this one. The gameplay is radically different from the Gamecube title and can’t quite match up, but it’s still fun and fairly original. The only game that I can think of, which is pretty similar to this one would be Monkey Ball and those games have less action.

The plot is a little all over the place because the game has to cover a whole bunch of episodes in a relatively short amount of time. Tyson and his friends are the world champions of Beyblade. They were on top of the world, but that’s when the new villains decide to strike. Tyson and his friends are actually defeated by these new players and must train hard in order to surpass them. The problem is that there are also two villain groups to watch out for. These guys try to steal the animal spirits that reside within the Beyblades and that makes each duel a matter of life and death. The Earth and maybe even the whole universe could be forfeit if we are not careful. Tyson’s going to have to step up his game if he wants to win.

The cutscenes don’t always mesh well with the gameplay. For example, a cutscene will end with Tyson about to fight someone and then the next level will be a standard “Reach the goal” stage. The boss fight will end up being in the next battle instead. The cutscenes also seem to come at random points and a lot of battles happen off screen. The actual plot is still fun though and Tyson learns that illegally modifying his Beyblade is not a good idea. He has to win like a main character and that’s what he ends up doing. It solidifies the fact that the Beyblade shows are definitely very good.

The soundtrack is very catchy as they seem to have thrown in one of the theme songs or at least a lyrical piece that fits well with the gameplay. It can be hard to hear what they are saying, but there are very few GBA games that have the budget needed to put in a full song so that’s neat. By the end of the game, you’ll have heard it many times and will be ready to recite the beat from memory. It gave the game a little extra boost of excitement.

As for the graphics, they certainly aren’t anything special, but they’re not bad either. They’re simple and to the point. The backgrounds are all fairly distinct and you can tell which Beyblade you are playing as at all times. The game does seem to have a bit of a low budget though as there aren’t many character models. It just reuses the same pictures constantly in the cutscenes and likewise with the gameplay. The game is still easy to look at so I’ll count it as a win in my book.

Now, let’s finally take a look at the gameplay. As I mentioned earlier, it’s very similar to Monkey Ball. The game is looked at from an overhead view and you have to roll the Beyblade to the end of the course. There are a lot of tight turns so you want to take your time, but you also need to go a little quickly towards the end if you want to beat the “par” time. It’s not necessary, but that’s how you unlock the bonus levels. There will occasionally be minions that you can fight by bumping them off the stage or until they top spinning or you can just skip them. I advise just avoiding the fights unless you need to bump into the other Beyblades to get through.

Boss fights are extremely easy to the point where I wonder if the developers thought about them. Maybe the gameplay just didn’t work very well in that area. The bosses are just other tops that are slightly bigger than yours and you smash them until they stop spinning. It’s extremely easy as bumping into them is all that you need to do to win. Typically, you can win these levels in around 20-30 seconds with ease. The final boss is very anticlimactic because he is no stronger than any of the other bosses. You can just apply the same strategy and still win on your very first try.

There’s not a whole lot of replay value to be found here. You can replay the levels again to try and reach the par time and unlock the bonus levels. Furthermore, you can go through all of the levels and gather the items. Beyond that, there’s not much else to do. The gameplay is a lot of fun so you can work on your hand eye coordination by playing the levels. It takes a lot of concentration not to fall while you are on the tougher levels. It’s one of the reasons why this style of game is so good because it does feel like you are actually improving as you play it.

I got the game for around a dollar at Gamestop and I can safely say that I am pleased with my purchase. It’s certainly not as good as the Gamecube title, but it was a fun ride and it lasted for most of a car trip. The game was probably around 60-90 minutes in length although it could take a little longer if you end up getting stuck on any of the levels. You will never be stuck for very long though as you are almost guaranteed to be able to find a way past the stage as you continue to give it a shot. The items and enemies don’t move around so repetition will help you find out what the best strategy is.

Overall, Beyblade VForce was a fun game. I almost forgot that I had it in the backlog for a while and it was merely by chance that I finally got to give it a whirl. I definitely won’t be forgetting this classic anytime soon. It was a good game and while it is very short, you can get it for a very good price so I’d recommend taking the plunge. I aim to buy the next game at some point in the future, but until then it’s back to Flip’s Twisted World! Perhaps the extra experience with precision has also helped to sharpen my mind to solve all of Flip’s mysteries. We shall see!

Overall 7/10

Smash Bomber Review

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Smash Bomber is a series that I had not heard about until about 10-20 minutes ago. I quickly checked out the 3 chapters and I have to say that I can see why it was canceled. The actual concept is great and this could have been the next toyetic elite, but the author made some interesting choices that just didn’t go over well. Add in the under average art and you don’t have the next Megaman NT Warrior. Well, let’s see how it went.

Keep in mind that there were only three chapters and the page count was less than 60 overall. So, this is about half as long as the average manga volume or even less than that. Well, it is the future and a new game has captured the hearts and minds of kids. It’s called Smash Bomber and the rules are almost identical to that of Beyblade’s. You have to essentially use your disc to hit the opponent’s discs out of the arena. It takes skill and tricks, but the big change is that you use your physical abilities to amp up your moves. Like jumping off of a sky scraper or something like that. Each fighters starts out with 5 discs so you have to think strategically about how you want to win.

The main character goes by the name of Binta. He wants to be the greatest Smash Bomber who ever lived. Unfortunately, his friend thinks that this is an unreasonable goal and so does everyone that he comes into contact with. I can understand since Binta is apparently not even that good, but it’s still sad for the kid. He duels Banji, the leader of the bullies at school and then they learn of an evil plot led by BJ. These guys are stealing people’s discs after they humiliate them in duels. Binta won’t stand for this and he quickly decides to team up with Banji’s group to put a stop to this. Will they be able too?

I do have to give the series credit for the fact that it actually manages to end things without a cliffhanger even though there were only three chapters to be found. That takes a lot of effort on the author’s part and he’s probably glad that he hadn’t started adding many characters in yet. Some of them certainly get the shaft thanks to the quick ending, but at least they got to show just how strong they could be. One panel fights can still be impressive…..right?

So, Binta seems to be a decent main character. Naturally, he is super generic though and I can’t say that I’m overly impressed with his skills. He gets a “hardcore” moment after his big training montage, but it’s hard to really feel like he earns one. He can’t have improved all that much in a few hours. I also think that he should have quickly walked away from the training at the first opportunity so that certainly did not help his case either. He’s not a bad main character, but he’s not exactly the next Kaz Gordan!

Banji is the Dex of the series. He’s a bully who quickly turns out to be a nice guy after chapter 1. He’s supposed to be very tough, but he lost to Binta in chapter one so consider me unimpressed. I definitely don’t care for him and he almost put a whole building out of business just so that he could train some more. He has an emotional moment during his duel that is supposed to win you over. Let’s just say that it didn’t really work.

BJ is the main villain of the series and he’s mean to the bone. He wants to duel with the highest possible stakes, but the problem is that the stakes are actually pretty small during the duel. Nevertheless, he decides that he will take his own life if he loses the duel. This causes some tension with the main character. After all…can Binta really try to win this duel if he knows that it will be all over for BJ? BJ’s design is pretty cool and he’s a tough villain. He’s very one dimensional, but you can only do so much in three chapters right? He’s definitely the best character in the series so I’ll give him some props there.

Chie is the main heroine and she’s certainly not passionate about Smash Bomber. She wants Binta to give up on the “silly sport” so that he can become a real person like the others. She must not have heard that everyone in the world loves Smash Bomber, but that’s just the way that it goes I suppose. At least the author finally decided that having everyone’s name start with a b would get old after a while so he went for the next letter. She has her big friendship moment during the last chapter, but she still felt a little overly hostile towards Binta. He has discs to save after all!

The art is pretty sketchy here I’m afraid. It’s very rough around the edges and even the Beyblade manga started out on a higher level in this category. The actual designs are good, but it’s almost impossible to see what is happening. I only grasped the rules once the third chapter had started and even then I have a feeling that there is more than meets the eye. The way that they hit the discs just seems strange. I think the characters throw the disc at the other discs or maybe they just make contact with their staff or body. It’s very interesting and the series definitely could have gone more in depth with it. Binta gets mad at BJ for putting all of his pieces together, but why should he be. It’s like camping or projectile spamming…they’re totally legitimate….

Now, why is this series a 5 instead of a 7? The main reason is the second chapter. To improve their skills, the heroes head to a local bathing house and learn that training requires serious business. They mean that literally btw. Basically, each character poops and then they place the stack right in front of themselves. The others have to throw their discs at the other person’s disc, but if they aim too low they will hit the poop and if they aim to high….that could be painful. Naturally, all of the kids aim too low for shenanigans to ensue until the main character steps in. That being said, it’s still incredibly wince worthy and you will never want to read the chapter again. I’m sure that the series was canceled at this point because that chapter was just sad.

Overall, Smash Bombers is a series that could have certainly been better. Toyetic shows should always be nothing less than amazing and if you aren’t an instant 7 to an 8 then you must have done something wrong. Having an entire chapter dedicated to the main characters using their droppings to train was really uncalled for. That guaranteed that a 5 was the best that it could do and even a 4 was in question for a minute there. *shudder* If you ignore that chapter, then the rest is decently good and you should probably check it out since it’s a very quick read.It does have some neat action scenes and the ending does manage to make things very dangerous very quickly. Also, how many people can brag that they’ve read a 3 chapter manga before right?

Overall 5/10