was first introduced as manga, unlike other such games like Yu-Gi-Oh!
, it was originally conceived as a marketing device for the actual toys. Launched shortly after the manga series, the original Beyblade Basic System was at the time a relatively novel idea. While battling top games had previously existed, it was the first time that the tops were customizable. Each Beyblade was made of several pieces that could be swapped out for other pieces, allowing players to try different strategies where old top games were little more than "whoever spins their top faster will probably win".
Notably, the initial line was an outstanding success in Japan. The anime series that followed after the manga and toys lasted 3 seasons, and was the main selling point from that point on. Each season introduced new aspects and parts to the game, but by the time it was over had seriously run its course. Takara Tomy, the initial investors of the game, decided to call a hiatus while they reworked the concept.
The series was relaunched in 2009 after a 5 year hiatus under the name Metal Fight Beyblade
, known in English as Beyblade: Metal Fusion
. The game pieces were redesigned from the ground up, moving from the frankly schizophrenic style of the old series to a more standardized one, using between 4 pieces for each top. The only major revision made replaced the top metal wheel with a different metal wheel and plastic ring to help the launchers last longer, which was the version of the game released worldwide.
Immediately after Metal Fusion
's run, a new line was introduced called Shogun Steel
in Japan). The parts used in the Shogun Steel line were largely the same, other than another new metal wheel system and some changes to the stadiums.
The game's mechanics are simple. Two players each launch a top into a bowl-shaped battle arena, and the last one left standing is the winner. Winning can either be from knocking your opponent out of the ring or making their top stop spinning. Each win gets you a point, and the first to seven points wins. Each player can have up to three tops available to them.
There are 4 basic types of tops: Attack, Defense, Stamina, and Balance. Counter-intuitively, Balance means having bits of the other three types all put together, rather than having a top that's good at balancing on its tip.
- Attack: Fast and made for hitting. Strong against Stamina, weak against Defense
- Defense: Heavy and hard to move. Strong against Attack, outlasted by Stamina.
- Stamina: Light, with focus on spin time. Good against Defense, but usually knocked out by Attack.
- Balance: Hard to predict, and varies greatly based on actual parts used.
Tropes specific to the tabletop game are:
- Bribing Your Way to Victory: Better launchers and parts are often what determines a match. The person with the string launcher is pretty much guaranteed to win, if both players don't have one.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Several packaged Beyblades are built specifically for one purpose, rather then being designed to be playable. Some are specifically designed to go against another specific Beyblade.
- Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Attack < Defense < Stamina < Attack, in general. Balance types are harder to place.
- Defictionalization: Some originally manga- and anime-only tops got real life versions after much begging from fans.
- Difficult but Awesome: Balance types. Getting juuuust the right parts is really tricky, but can have awesome results. Also, ringing out a heavy Defense build.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: The first series of tops were much different than anything after them, and had the greatest variety of part types.
- Elemental Powers: Shogun Steel get Crystal/Element wheels that show through the metal wheel as an "Element orb".
- Fragile Speedster/Glass Cannon: Attack builds can move very fast, but a heavy Defense type can stop it or ring it out very quickly.
- Fusion Dance: One of the gimmicks of Shogun Steel: two metal wheels can be placed together to form a Synchrome Beyblade.
- Gratuitous English: Most of the tops have English names in Japan.
- Gratuitous Japanese: Occasionally happens with the English names, like Bakushin Susano-o
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: The plastic era is long gone, but that doesn't stop people from playing it anyway.
- Kraken and Leviathan: Both are present in Shogun Steel.
- Metagame: Boy howdy. Most types of wheels aren't even considered in the Metal Fusion tournaments, being outclassed. A tier list of all parts can be found here.
- Mighty Glacier: Defense Beyblades. They're heavy and ponderous, but designed to last against strong attacks.
- Mutual Kill: Double Ring-outs.
- Nerf: Occasionally done when localizing new Beyblades outside of Japan. Both of the top tier L-Drago wheels got a significant weight reduction when Hasbro licensed them.
- New Season, New Name: Each series has done this. Metal Fusion became Metal Fury then Metal Masters. The original became V-Force and later G-Revolution.
- Ninja: An Element Wheel available in Shogun Steel is called this.
- No Export for You: The original 4 tops from the manga are only available in Japan. A good number of accessories never made it across the Pacific, either.
- Not Quite Dead: Zombie builds. They keep spinning even when knocked over, which counts as still being in the game.
- Not the Intended Use: Happens quite a bit with modders. Some have designed custom parts that let you omit Spin Tracks or allowing right spin tops to spin left.
- Orochi: A Warrior Wheel in Shogun Steel.
- Our Dragons Are Different: They spin left! They're also usually a cross between Eastern and Western style dragons.
- Samurai: Another Element Wheel.
- Serial Escalation: Each new version adds more weight to the tops. The current ones even allow twice the amount of metal per top, making some of the heaviest builds possible.
- So Last Season: Several former top tier parts are now barely used except in really esoteric builds.
- Shoddy Knockoff Product: Rapidity. Made by a company called Hongyi, they contain toxic chemicals that can leak acrid gas when heated. Like if left in a car on a hot day, which no child has ever done. They break faster too.