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|Company||Takara Tomy, Hasbro|
Beyblade (ベイブレード, Beiburēdo, diminutive Bey, from the diminutive of beigoma) is a line of spinning-top toys originally developed by Takara, first released in Japan in July 1999, along with its debut series. Following Takara's merger with Tomy in 2006, Beyblades are now developed by Takara Tomy. Various toy companies around the world have licensed Beyblade toys for their own regions, including Hasbro in Western countries, Sonokong in Korea, and Takara Tomy for Eastern countries.
Both the toys and their names were inspired by beigoma, a traditional Japanese spinning top. The concept is similar to Battling Tops, a board game developed by Ideal Toy Company in 1968. The toy line was introduced with an accompanying manga series of the same name in 1999. In 2002, Hasbro began to sell Beyblade toys internationally (under license from Takara) along with a coordinated country-by-country release of localized versions of the TV series. On July 12, 2008, Takara Tomy released Metal Fight: Beyblade, the second incarnation of the toy. The third incarnation, titled Beyblade Burst, was released by Takara Tomy on July 18, 2015. The fourth incarnation of the toyline, Beyblade X, was released on July 15, 2023.
Game and rules
Aside from informal play, a game with specific rules was published for the initial toy line. The formal game is played with two or more players. Each player is allowed up to three Beyblades, but may not switch parts once a match has started. Players may choose from any of the three Beyblades they have with them for any battle in a match.
In Metal Fight Beyblade, a points system was introduced. In the Beyblade Burst line of toys, Hasbro releases its own ruleset for its toy line. In general, the first player to 3 points will win a match.
Points are awarded to a player based on how their Beyblade looks because some Beyblades’ names vary depending on the region; the following use the Hasbro terminology followed by the Takara Tomy ones.
- One point is awarded if the opponent's Beyblade stops spinning (Sleep Out/Survivor/Spin Finish/KO/Knockout Finish).
- One point is awarded if the opponent's Beyblade is knocked out of the stadium or falls into a pocket in the stadium (Stadium Out/Ring Out/Over Finish).
- Beginning with Beyblade Burst, two points are awarded if the opponent's top is "burst" during a battle (Crash Out/Burst Finish).
- Beginning with Beyblade X, Over Finishes count for two points, and three points are awarded if the opponent's top is knocked through the Xtreme Pocket in the special Xtreme Stadium (Xtreme Finish).
In the event of a draw (both Beyblades are knocked out of the ring, stop spinning simultaneously, or burst at the same time), no points are awarded to either player.
Three of the main types of Beyblades have rock-paper-scissors style effectiveness, with Attack generally being weak to Defense, Defense to Stamina, and Stamina to Attack. However, due to the high variability of the custom designs, this is not a hard rule. Balance types may be strong or weak to any of the others depending on specific parts.
- Attack Beyblades specialize in attacking other Beyblades. They are used to knock out other Beyblade quickly at the cost of having poor stamina. They tend to outperform Stamina-type Beyblades, which have a lack of defense. Attack-type Beyblades are heavy as to be able to knock others out. They usually have flat or rubber performance tips and have layers that can grip the opponent.
- Defense Beyblades are used to knock back attacks. They tend to travel slowly and are heavier than other types, resulting in opponents being deflected. Their weight also causes them to launch slower, resulting in less stamina. They tend to wear down Attack-types but are outlasted by Stamina. They tend to be made of thicker metals and have wide ball-like performance tips.
- Stamina Beyblades attempt to outlast opposing Beyblades. They are used to out-spin the enemy Beyblade. In exchange for a lack of power, they can outlast other types of Beyblades, making them naturally advantageous over Defense-Types, which focus on resisting hits. They have sharp cone-shaped performance tips.
- These Beyblades specialize in a combination of the other three types listed above, giving them no glaring strengths or weaknesses. Regardless of their strength, they combine Attack, Defense, and Stamina Types but do not excel at any of them. Some Balance Types have Attack, Defense, and Stamina Modes, and their performance tips can vary.
An arena called a Beystadium is sold by both brands Takara Tomy and Hasbro. It is primarily a shallow plastic bowl but may have other features dependent on the purpose of the particular stadium. Different stadiums were released in different markets. Brands Takara Tomy and Sonokong produce Beystadiums similar to those featured in the manga and anime adaptations, with open sections in the walls and openings on the sides to launch into. Hasbro produces stadiums with walls that are about 3.7 inches tall and pockets that count as a ring-out instead.
Common features of a Beystadium include a shallow impression called a cyclone/tornado ridge, which allows Attack type Beyblades to move around quickly without accidentally knocking themselves out, and cyclone/tornado’s points, which are recessed disks in the stadium floor that spin freely to add randomness to a battle. Other features may be specific to the series that the Beystadium is released in, like the rails from the Beyblade Burst Slingshock toy system, the large, almost bowl-like HyperSphere toy system, the noticeably taller Speedstorm toy system, and QuadDrive toy system, which features a Low Mode and High Mode not unlike its Takara Tomy counterpart along with a detachable, separate Armor tip on the driver, and the similar QuadStrike toy system, the Armor Tips and Stadiums of which are similar to drivers from the HyperSphere system.
A Beyblade Launcher (often referred to as a BeyLauncher) is used to launch the user's Beyblade into battle. Select launchers have different levels of power depending on the gears inside of them and the user's own launch strength. Launchers differ in size and shape, with some of them using Ripcords (long sticks of plastic with grips on the end and teeth on the sides to strike the gears that launch the user's Beyblade when pulled) and others using Strings (launchers that are built with a retractable string inside of them that launch the user's Beyblade with slightly more power when pulled). String Launchers are preferred by most players because of their launch power. Different series such as 2000/Original, Metal Fight/Fusion, and Burst launchers cannot be used with others.
Launching is often accompanied by a catchphrase. In the Takara Tomy version, this would be "3, 2, 1, Go Shoot!" (３、２、１、ゴーシュート!); in the Hasbro version, this would be "3, 2, 1, Let it Rip!"
These toys are designed so that the top may separate if it has sustained enough hits, which creates a "burst" due to a spring in the Performance Tip. The Burst System consists of 3 parts, the "Energy Layer," the "Forge Disc," and the "Driver/Performance Tip." For example, Victory Valkyrie B.V has the 'Victory Valkyrie' or 'V2' Energy Layer, 'Boost' Forge Disc, and a 'Variable' Driver.
As the longest-running Beyblade series, Burst has had considerably more subsystems than its predecessors. These are:
- The Dual Layer system, where the layers are made of two inseparable plastic parts.
- The God Layer/SwitchStrike system, where each "layer" has its own gimmick, and the introduction of the core discs: discs that can now be attached to plastic parts called frames that add weight to the bey and features their own characteristics.
- Takara Tomy's Cho-Z Layer system, in which every "layer" features metal, increasing their weight.
- The SlingShock system, Hasbro's counterpart to the Cho-Z system, featuring tops with different modes, designed to climb rails when switched to SlingShock mode. All beys excluding Dread Hades and Breaker Xcalius, however, lacked the metal found in their TT counterparts. This system marked a turning point; Hasbro would start to do their own systems rather than releasing the same beys as Takara Tomy in their main line.
- The GT Layer system (GaTinko Layer System), which was released by Takara Tomy and featured customizable "layers," altering performance. Many "discs" in this system also began to have their own gimmicks.
- Hasbro's HyperSphere system, released as a counterpart to the GT system, features large, bowl-shaped "performance tips" designed to climb special HyperSphere walls and strike the other Beyblades while descending.
- Takara Tomy's Superking/Sparking system altered the construction of the tops by introducing "chassis," replacements for "forge discs" that heavily increased weight. In addition, new launchers were released, which gave off sparks when used.
- The SpeedStorm system (Hasbro's equivalent to the Superking/Sparking system), features taller tops designed to gain speed or change direction in the SpeedStorm BeyStadiums.
- The Dynamite Battle Layer system, once again features customizable "layers," this time with both a "high" and "low" mode, intended to shift the top's center of gravity. High mode is more aggressive and is easier to knock over. Low mode is more balanced and has more stamina.
- The QuadDrive system was released from Hasbro in replacement of the Dynamite Battle layer system. These layers have plastic weights, instead of metal armours, that allow the Beyblade to switch from "Core" and "Apex mode". Their drivers also feature additional pieces (called Armour Tips) that increase the height and variation of how the Beyblade moves along the stadium. A new Stadium was also released that features levels of playing fields that alternate the bey’s path.
- The BU Layer system would be the most current iteration which features the same concept as the Beyblade Burst DB system but is a different line of Beyblades that are callbacks to previous fan favourites which never got an upgrade like Chain Kerbeus or Xiphoid Xcalibur. These Beys do not get an anime season release but can be assumed to be used by their original users from the God Series.
- Just like the BU Layer system, the QuadStrike system is supposed to be an upgrade from the QuadDrive system, however, the Armor Tips now are large and bowl-like, similar to the HyperSphere Drivers.
Beyblades were the "most sought-after toy for Christmas 2002" in the UK, and won the British Association of Toy Retailers award for "Toy of the year" in 2002. They were the top-selling battling toys in the US in 2011.
- "Beyblade Burst Guide Book" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-06-12.
- "Beyblade - Toys "R" Us". Toys R Us. Archived from the original on March 28, 2017. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
- "Toy craze banned by school". BBC News. 14 February 2003.
- "Spinning top is top toy". BBC News. 26 January 2003.
- McKinley, Jesse (March 21, 2012). "What Goes Around (and Around)". New York Times.