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Anime: Battle Spirits Shonen Toppa Bashin

The first anime inspired by Bandai's Battle Spirits trading card game. It premiered in Japan in 2008 as part of TV Asahi's Sunday Morning Kids block. There was also a manga series serialized in Kero Kero Ace about about the same time. The anime was lighter and softer than both the manga, and its successor, Battle Spirits Shonen Gekiha Dan.

The series focuses on Toppa Bashin, a 12-year-old idiot red-headed hero in love with Battle Spirits. Of course, his favorite attribute is red. He goes through daily school life and battles his friendly rivals J, Striker and Suiren. It's a slice of life series, with very little ongoing plot, but things do get more serious at about the half way point.

Also see Battle Spirits Heroes for the 4th series in the franchise.
This show provides examples of:
  • Absolute Cleavage: Number Eight, sometimes.
  • Accidental Athlete: When Bashin runs down a track one episode to try and catch a runaway Aibou, beating all his school’s runners, all the sports teams try to recruit him. Of course, he has no interest in joining any team.
  • Action Girl: Suiren Later Meganeko too
  • Actually, I Am Him: Subverted in Bashin’s first meeting with Suiren, as he’s too oblivious to realize that she’s actually My Sunshine.
  • Affably Evil: Pretty much all of Thousand Spirits Group
  • Affectionate Nickname: Card Sensei's nickname for Masako is Ma-chin and she calls him Kyo-chin.
  • All-Encompassing Mantle: J’s cape
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: J is seen to be very popular with girls in canon, considering all the merchandise of him, including plushies and half-naked pictures.
  • Alliterative Name: Kyouji Kawatou, Kyuusaku Kujou, Manabu Miyagawa
  • All Just a Dream: Most of ep. 44
  • Aloof Big Brother: J
  • Alternate Continuity: Battle Spirits Shonen Gekiha Dan
  • Apologizes a Lot: Suiren, but it’s a subversion as she does it in a totally mocking way.
  • Art Shift: Regular anime-style to CG during battles.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Bashin was one of J’s big fans, and ultimately gets to hang around with him all the time, and be regarded for his skill like J.
  • Badass Driver: Hayami
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Number Nine
  • Badass Teacher: Card Sensei.
  • Bare Your Midriff: My Sunshine, Number Eight.
  • Battle Couple: Bashin's parents used to be this.
  • Beach Episode:
  • Becoming the Mask: Apparently, giving the task of “watch over Bashin” to Thousand Spirits Group members is a dangerous idea Considering the effect it had on Card Sensei and Number Eight.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Believe it or not, Meganeko turns out to be one of the best players in the show
  • Big Brother Instinct: J
  • Big Eater: Bashin
  • Big Fancy House: The Sawaragi household. All of them.
  • Bishounen: J, Seven and Number Nine.
  • Biting the Handkerchief: In episode 48, mimicked by Seven mockingly, except it’s his cape he’s biting.
  • Bland-Name Product: Card Sensei owns the My Sunshine game for Ninnindo GS.
  • Brainwashed: Towards the end, most of Thousand Spirits Group, including ex-members and fodder, aside from Nine, Smile and J.
  • Breather Episode: Episode 44 would qualify, as it's right in-between two more serious tournament arcs.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Perhaps Kyouka loves J a bit too much
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Michael Elliott.
  • Calling Your Attacks: But it’s kinda necessary playing a card game
  • Carrying a Cake: Happens with Meganeko once.
  • Cats Are Mean: Okyou
  • Character Development: Especially Meganeko and J
  • Chekhov's Gunman: For most of the series, there's no mentioning of Number Ten, despite there being a Number Eleven. It's Meganeko's grandfather.
  • Christmas Episode: Episode 15
  • Christmas in Japan
  • Class Trip: Bashin’s school goes on one to Kyoto.
  • Club President: In Bashin’s middle school, Seven is president of the Battle Spirits club
  • Collectible Card Game:
  • Combat Commentator: The hosts of Battle Spirits TV, seeing how they have no official names outside of Female Announcer and Commentator-san.
  • Cool Big Sis: Number Eight. Bashin has also called her onee-san.
  • Cool Car: Most cars now have talking AI navigation systems programmed into them.
  • Cool Mask: Suiren.
  • Cool Shades: Galaxy Seven and Number Eight.
    • Number Nine wore them in one episode.
  • Conspicuous CG: All the spirits, all the time
  • Crash into Hello: How Meganeko and Number Eight meet
  • Creator Cameo: Michael Elliott, the game designer, is a character in the anime. Technically, it’s more than a cameo.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Bashin, J
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Card Sensei, Seven
  • Cute Kitten: Okyou
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Suiren uses a purple deck, wherein all the cards are zombie skull creatures.
  • A Day In The Lime Light: Used a couple times. Episode 16 is about Aibou, and episode 32 is about Bashin's mother. They're also the only episodes with no battles. Also, episode 37 is devoted to the pets.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: After spending about 10 episodes as a member of Thousand Spirits Group, J quits once he loses to Bashin.
  • Defictionalization: Both of the ED singles were released as if the actual artist was My Sunshine. While the second was actually performed by her seiyuu, the first was not. Also, the bonus track on the 2nd ED single is the first ED theme, actually sung by My Sunshine.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: J is a male version
  • Demoted to Extra: Meganeko, Card Sensei, Masako, Seven and Hayami in the manga. Kyouka, Nanarin and Guraguri don't even exist.
  • Descriptive Ville: Bashin lives in Toaru City (a certain city) and J lives in Tonari City (neighboring city).
  • The Determinator: Bashin
  • Disappeared Dad: Bashin’s father
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Although Smile is the last Number to remain fully loyal to Nine, he’s actually opposed to Nine’s plans. He just wants the opportunity to defeat Bashin and J in battle, proving that he and J would be a stronger tag.
  • Dreadful Musician: Number Eight, apparently. Aibou too, but that’s expected because he’s a mouse.
  • Duels Decide Everything
  • Education Mama: Hayami
  • Even the Guys Want Him: J
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Many red spirits
  • Everything's Better with Plushies: J and Smile plushies exist within canon.
    • Also, Meganeko made a plushie of Guraguri for Card Sensei
  • Evil Costume Switch: When J joins Thousand Spirits Group, he wears a black cape as opposed to his white one. Once he returns, he immediately does a GoodCostumeSwitch back to his normal cape.
    • Also, Nine’s reveal as the big bad is marked by him changing into a blood-red suit.
  • Evil Laugh: Number Nine
  • Expressive Mask: Suiren’s tends to change shape depending on her mood.
  • Eye Catch: Just a picture of a trading card.
  • Face-Heel Turn: J. Of course, it's not permanent
  • The Faceless: King Uchuuchouten Until the last episode.
  • Fake Boss: This is an interesting one. Of course Uchuuchouten is the final boss, until Number Nine turns out to be nuts, betrays him, possesses all the Numbers, and plots to ruin and conquer the world. However, after Nine tries to steal Uchuuchouten’s source of power, he transfers his soul into Uchuuchouten, who ultimately ends up the final boss, trying to carry out Nine’s plan for real.
  • Fangirl: Meganeko is a huge My Sunshine fangirl.
  • Fanservice: Number Eight’s uniform probably counts as indecent.
    • My Sunshine and Meganeko both wear swimsuits in the OP, and there’s both a pool episode and a beach episode.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Eight wears them sometimes
  • Finishing Move: See an X-Rare come into play and the match will probably be over soon. At least in the earlier episodes.
    • Also, once Bashin gets Double Draw, he will pull the card(s) he absolutely needs to win.
  • Five-Bad Band:
  • Flung Clothing: Done on several occasions, for characters to switch into their alter-egos.
  • Friendly Enemy: Although he becomes an official member of Numbers Elite Seven was and still is Bashin’s sempai and friend.
    • Masako is generally friendly with her students, despite her initial unhappiness towards her mission. Ultimately, she joins as a temporary 6th member of Bashin’s team.
  • Foil: Bashin and J
  • Four Is Death: Smile, perhaps the creepiest member of Thousand Spirits Group, is Number Four.
    • He's much worse in the manga wherein he's outright demonic, and The Big Bad.
  • Genki Girl: My Sunshine’s persona. Suiren’s, however, is not genki at all.
  • Gratuitous English: Elliott inserts quite a lot of English into his speech.
    • Also, a lot of terms in the card battles are English, and the cards have English names.
  • Hachimaki: Aibou wore one while trying to prep Bashin for a school test.
  • Happily Married: Striker’s parents. And he seems to be the only one of the five mains with a functional family situation
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: Not in those exact words, but pretty much Masako's reaction whenever anyone brings up her past relationship with Card Sensei.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Number Five/Card Sensei pre-series.
    • Eventually, Masako, Michael Elliott, J’s father, and J, after his earlier Face Heel Turn
  • Hello, Nurse!: Everyone is probably in love with My Sunshine.
  • Hot-Blooded: Everyone. Card Sensei and Bashin in particular, lampshaded in the series.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Episode 27, with Amade Us.
  • Idiot Hero: Bashin
  • Idol Singer: My Sunshine
  • Improbable Hair Style: Where to begin? Striker deserves a special mention though, for having a scythe growing out of his head.
  • Informed Ability: Thousand Spirits Group. Supposedly elite and powerful, but they lose a whole lot. Especially Number Eight, who is completely unable to win until paired with Striker in an offscreen tag match. And you would think game designer Michael Elliott would have better skills at his own game, but he never wins a single match.
  • In the Hood: Suiren does this to escape performing a concert as My Sunshine. Later, this is mimicked by Meganeko and Card Sensei to keep their identities a secret while entering a tournament.
  • Interspecies Romance: Joked about in Striker’s dream, where in all the female characters love him, including J’s cat, Okyou.
  • Intertwined Fingers: Card Sensei and Masako’s hands are seen like this when sitting together in a flashback of their past.
  • Jerkass: Smile
  • Just Friends: Oddly enough, this could probably be applied to Bashin and J’s relationship, teasing and all.
  • Kansai Regional Accent: The Sawaragi’s speak Kyoto-ben.
  • Keet: Bashin, Striker
  • Kick the Dog: Number Nine
  • Kid Hero: Bashin, J, Striker, Suiren, Meganeko, Kyouka
  • Knight in Sour Armor: J's father starts off as close to this as possible for such an optimistic series.
  • Last Episode New Character: In the last chapter of the manga, Dan can be seen from behind in one panel.
  • Light Is Not Good: Smile uses yellow, mostly based on angels and fairies.
  • Lolicon: Card Sensei, considering his My Sunshine collection, might be one.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Both J and Suiren.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Not that romance is a big deal at all in this series, but if you look at it, Bashin likes his childhood friend Meganeko, as well as idol My Sunshine and ojou Kyouka. Meganeko and Suiren (My Sunshine’s alter ego) both have crushes on Bashin. As well, J seems to have a thing for Bashin. Kyouka may like J in more than just a sibling way, and Smile is a bit too obsessed with J. Striker is also infatuated with My Sunshine and likes Kyouka.
  • Love Makes You Evil: The main reason Number Eight is loyal to Thousand Spirits Group, seeing how she doesn’t even agree with Nine’s plan, is pretty much out of spite for her ex-boyfriend for leaving the organization.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: Bashin and Striker both love My Sunshine rather than Suiren, despite the evidence that Suiren is interested in both of them.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Bashin’s father is Uchuuchouten
  • Magnetic Hero: Bashin
  • Mask Power: Suiren.
  • Meaningful Name: The nicknames Striker and Meganeko, because Striker plays soccer and Meganeko wears glasses.
    • Aibou got his name because Bashin’s father used to call him “aibou,” meaning partner.
  • Meganekko: Er… Meganeko. Until the second half of the series anyway.
    • There’s also Setsuko later on.
  • Memento MacGuffin: Bashin’s stone came from his father
    • Also, the Angel Voice card that Number Eight got from Number Five.
  • Mentor Mascot: Aibou in particular, but the other pets to an extent
  • Merchandise-Driven
  • Mind-Control Device: Number Nine’s black masks.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Number Eight
  • Mons: The spirits
  • No Sense of Direction: Number Eight
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Aibou, Okyou, Pink, Cap, Nanrin and Guraguri
  • Number Two: Manabu is called Setsuko's number two. Though Elliott is "Number Two" of Numbers Elite, Number Nine really seems to take the role of Uchuuchouten's number two.
  • Oblivious Younger Sibling: Striker's brothers don't seem to know that he battles in an alternate world and talks to his parrot. Averted with Kyouka, who knows basically everything.
  • Official Couple: Card Sensei and Masako
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Okay, so after Kyouka gets Card Sensei's stone in order to help get her brother back, she never actually uses it. She does, however, apparently get to own Number Nine, but we don't get to see the actual battle.
  • Ojou: Kyouka
  • Only One Name: Smile, which may not even be his real name.
  • Opaque Lenses
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Number Eight's teacher outfit. Sadly, it works.
    • Shock! Kiiroko and Master Yellow are Meganeko and Card Sensei.
  • Parrot Pet Position
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Both Smile and Nine have one eye hidden. What's underneath is never revealed.
  • Personality Powers: Several of the characters main attributes fit with their personalities.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Masako had a pink version of Card Sensei's normal blue outfit. She also has pink eyes while his are a gray-ish blue.
  • Playing with Fire: Most red cards seem to be fire based.
  • Plot-Based Photograph Obfuscation: Bashin's father is always hidden from view in his family photo Not that anyone could tell he was Uchuuchouten anyway, as Uchuuchouten wears a full-body disguise and his physical appearance underneath is changed as well.
  • Polly Wants a Microphone: Even before actually gaining the ability to talk, Cap was learning how.
  • Portmanteau Series Nickname: Batosupi. Though, it was used by the card game first, and all the characters use it in canon.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Number Nine
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Nanarin, an actual dog, does this in order to distract guards in one episode.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Meganeko, by her grandfather. Her parents aren't dead. They're exploring jungles in Africa.
  • Red-Headed Hero: Bashin
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Bashin is red, J is blue.
  • Regal Ringlets: Kyouka
  • Relative Error: Bashin misinterprets the relationship between J and Kyouka in the episode where Kyouka is introduced.
  • Rescue Arc: To an extent, the last arc. While the overall purpose is to defeat Nine and win the King Uchuuchouten Cup, Nine also captures and brainwashes most of Thousand Spirits Group, and as they lose, most of Team Shomen Toppa is also captured.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Aside from the squadron of pets, most of the yellow cards are pretty darned cute.
  • Right-Hand Cat: After J joins Thousand Spirits Group, Okyou fits this role.
  • Ring of Power: The rings worn by the members of Numbers Elite can actually open the gate to Isekai World.
  • The Rival: Bashin vs. J
    • Probably Striker vs. Suiren as well
  • Rival Turned Evil: J, temporarily.
  • Road Sign Reversal: Bashin and Striker do this in ep. 11 to try and lure My Sunshine to the Battle Spirits Center.
  • Running Gag: Pink trying to eat Aibou
    • Okyou calling someone a cat burglar, who points out that she's the cat.
    • Maccho trying to get a battle with Bashin.
  • Satellite Character: Cap, Pink, Nanarin and Guraguri to their respective owners.
  • Sculpted Physique: Some of the Spirits
  • Secret Identity: This trope is practically abused. Where to begin?
    • My Sunshine is Suiren
    • Temporarily, Meganeko puts on a Suiren mask and calls herself Kiiroko, along with Card Sensei, who is Master Yellow.
    • Number Eight actually uses her real name (Masako Inogashira) to disguise herself as a teacher. And as it turns out, that was her original appearance without makeup.
    • Seven-sempai is not-so-secretly Galaxy Seven
  • Seven Is Nana: Seven’s real name is Nanao Watanabe.
  • Ship Tease: Lots of it for Bashin/Meganeko and Striker/Suiren especially.
  • Shorttank: Suiren
  • Show Within a Show: Battle Spirits TV
  • Shrinking Violet: Meganeko starts off this way
  • Sixth Ranger: Kyouka.
  • The Smurfette Principle: While the chosen card battlers are surprisingly gender-balanced for this type of show, equally so once Card Sensei hands his stone over to Kyouka, the only female member of Numbers Elite is Number Eight.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Galaxy Seven is based off the mascot Galaxy Watanabe, so you'd think the spelling is obvious. Plus it’s, you know, an actual word. However, the show usually romanizes it as Garaxy.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Both Bashin and Striker look a lot like their fathers.
  • Suck My Rose: Lampshaded in one episode with J, due to roses being conveniently around.
  • Sunglasses at Night: Number Eight
  • Surprise Santa Encounter: Smile dresses as Santa in the Christmas episode. Later, My Sunshine wears a more cute, girly Santa outfit.
  • Student Council President: Setsuko
  • Stuffed into a Locker: Number Nine did this to Aibou
  • Stripperiffic: Number Eight’s uniform.
  • Talking Animal
  • The Thing That Goes Doink: There's one at at least one of J's homes.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: Aibou blushes.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Meganeko
  • Tournament Arc: Several
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Aibou and mushrooms
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The extended next-episode previews on the R2 DVDs are terrible in many cases, to the point where you might as well not watch the next episode.
  • Training from Hell: Exactly how does Card Sensei’s training of Smile make you a better card battler?
  • Transfer Student Uniforms: While Bashin and his friends start wearing school uniforms in middle school, Smile, who transferred from America, still wears the clothes he always did. It's somewhat similar to the proper uniform, but greener, and he wears the jacket like a cape.
  • Transformation Sequence: The usual intro sequence with Meganeko and Suiren was replaced in ep. 37 with Suiren having a magical girl transformation into My Sunshine. This was only in the tv broadcast, and omitted from the DVD release.
  • True Companions: Bashin, J, Striker and Suiren. Later adding Meganeko.
  • Tsundere: Suiren, Setsuko, Masako. All are type A.
  • Turtle Power: Guraguri.
  • Twist Ending: Done in numerous episodes, the biggest in episode 31 where J becomes Number Eleven.
  • Two First Names: Michael Elliott
  • Umbrella of Togetherness: Bashin and Meganeko share an umbrella.
  • Unwanted Harem: Striker gets this in one episode, but it’s only a dream.
  • Verbal Tic: Smile’s “kekeke,” or some variant of it.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Meganeko, probably.
  • Villain Over For Dinner: A variant on this, where Aibou is very disturbed to find Bashin's mother having a fancy dinner on Number Nine's yacht.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: J
  • Wham Episode: Episode 31. Especially because it seems so silly and innocent up until the end.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: J who becomes an enemy for a while.
  • Will They or Won't They?: There’s a bit of this with Striker and Suiren
  • Window Love: Toward the very end Bashin and Meganeko have a moment like this.

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alternative title(s): Battle Spirits Shonen Toppa Bashin
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