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Anime: Crush Gear Turbo

Kouya Marino is the younger brother of the deceased Crush Gear champion, who wants to follow up to his brother's legacy. Problem is, he is just one of the few members left of a Crush Gear club whose sole claim to glory is that it was once his brother's club. However, he is helped by a few friends and some Crush Gear players who defect to Kouya's team. Fighting with his brother's keepsake on his side and facing his brother's ex-teammate-turned-rival, will Kouya ever realize his ambition to become the greatest Gear Fighter in the world?

A 68-episode anime produced by Sunrise, Crush Gear Turbo seem to be a run-of-the-mill Merchandise-Driven show, involving mechanical vehicles being thrown to a ring to fight other machines called Crush Gears, which according to some detractors, looked like Beyblades in steroids. However, it boasts superb CGI fight scenes that has aged well for its genre, sheer over-the-top fight scenes that put both Beyblade and Bakusou Kyoudai! Let's & Go!! to shame, and a soundtrack helmed by none other than JAM Project. The result is a veritable mix of Hot-Blooded Shounen show with gorgeous visuals and excellent rewatch value. The anime series is not well known in US or UK, but is big in South East Asia, Australia and Germany where it was aired dubbed. The series also had a manga series, a Pragmatic Adaptation that had a similar beginning, but has a big shift in plot focus mid-way.

This series also spawned a sequel called Crush Gear Nitro, but it wasn't as popular as the original. Many blame the loss of JAM Project's catchy signature opening/ending songs and an inexplicable, more kiddy-friendly Art Shift.

Tropes:

  • Adorkable: Kyousuke around Ran Fan Except when he destroys her gear. That's just plain heartwrenching.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Kouya uses his brother's Garuda Eagle at first, before the Mid-Season Upgrade.
  • Animal Motif: Quite a few, most notably eagle for Kouya, dragon for Takeshi, a tiger for Wang Hu, and swan for Heinrich Gang.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Some Gear Fighters resort to this when they run out of strategy. Kyousuke, during his second fight with Ohkawa Kishin, resorted to execute Fire Spinner over and over again, which got him defeated badly for his trouble.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Both U-YA in the anime and Heinrich in the manga. Both of them are capable of mimicking other players' signature move simply by observing it. Note that while U-YA's capability to mimic Great Hurricane Crusher was used solely for Black Garuda Eagle to gain enough speed to launch its signature attack, Heinrich is capable of mimicking Manganji's move which was so game-breaking it was banned from further use just by seeing it once, while the original user had to sacrifice his wrist to perfect it.
  • Bait and Switch: U-YA, who is heavily hinted to be the long-deceased Marino Yuuya that was alive all along, turns out to be Carlos, someone completely different.
    • On a lesser note, Heinrich Gang, who is featured in the opening every single time, is hyped/thought to be the Final Boss of the anime series. Turns out, he only appears in person for a few episodes, duels Kouya to a standstill, and then sits it out again. This is averted in the manga, where he is the Final Boss.
  • Blood Sport: Of sorts. Gear Fight is a perfectly normal, everyday version of playing using Gears. Gear Pankration (Pancratum in the dub) however, uses Death Trap laden arena that very often destroys Gears in the process of normal fight. To top it all off, Pankration is a winner-takes-all high stakes game mode where the loser must destroy his/her Gear, whether or not it survives during play. This is deemed illegal by the GFA (Gear Fight Association) and any officially registered players caught being a player in Gear Pankration will be immediately disqualified from any currently registered tournament and banned from further tournaments.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Played with, while Marume Claude most definitely has French blood and nary a Japanese one, it is not elaborated whether he got his Japanese family name from her mother's marriage, or that he really is half-Japanese. Meanwhile, her mother, Marume Yekatrina, has a Russian first name.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Apparently, some Gears' super move, such as Dino Spartan's (Kyousuke's Gear) Fire Spinner, damages the Gear itself while the move is in effect.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: In-universe version: after Kouya discovers the Shining Sword Breaker, he keeps using it like no tomorrow. This puts a lot of strain on Garuda Eagle's aging, custom made frame and internals so much so that, after using it one too many, Garuda Eagle shatters into tiny little pieces from overuse.
  • Conspicuous CG: Most of the fight scenes in the anime. For a 2002 vintage, the smoothness, particle effects and sheer details were unsurpassed by any other show at the time, especially amongst Shōnen shows.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Many. Faced by the might of Gaiki's multi-billion Yen VT design or Garuda Phoenix/Black Garuda Eagle's Shining Sword Breaker, you need to be a serious badass to withstand not being defeated within 10 seconds, or worse, having your Gear shattered.
    • In the manga, Kouya fights against virtual version of Heinrich with Manganji's simulator. Heinrich defeated Kouya within 3 seconds flat, even when Kouya used his own Dangerous Forbidden Technique.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Kouya uses one too many times and shatters the Garuda Eagle as a result. Strangely, this seems to have no effect on Black Garuda Eagle, nor Garuda Phoenix, Eagle's successor. Perhaps it really was due to bad maintenance.
    • The manga has this with Manganji's technique. A throw that makes Gaiki spins so fast it floats in midair and creates a whirlwind so strong it defeats Gears by throwing them out of the Arena entirely. This however, cost Manganji his wrist, and this, along with Kouya's disappearing Gear technique was banned due to its detrimental injury-inducing properties.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: How the team came together.
  • Death by Origin Story: Marino Yuuya, Kouya's brother. His death has caused, amongst others, the original Tobita Club members dispersing, a former World Champion turning into a recluse, and an innocent boy from South America turning into a bloodthirsty Gear Fighter due to self-loathing. Of course, this also spurs Kouya into action, 4 years after Yuuya's passing, setting the events of the story into motion.
  • Doppelgänger Attack: Many gears move so fast they look like they copied themselves before hitting their poor opponent into submission.
    • Hilariously subverted by the Takoyama Brothers (who were identical quadruplets) during their 2 on 2 battle against Kouya and Kyousuke. Their signature attack, which looked like them invoking this trope, actually involves them surreptitiously sending in their other brothers' Gears into the Arena so they can fight 4-to-2. They got busted that same episode, and much righteous ass-kicking ensued when the rest of the Tobita Club joined in the fray to even things out.
  • Dub Name Change: Heinrich Gang's name is changed to Harry Gamble in the dub version.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Kuroudo warns Kyousuke, when he got enamored on Ran Fan, that based on the clothes, Ran Fan is most likely a man. Kyousuke himself, despite this, still find himself enamored to Ran Fan. Of course, he found out her gender... in worst possible way. Ran Fan is not amused, neither does Kyousuke. After all has been said and done, Lilica amusingly points out to a dumbfounded Claude that nowadays, woman can play in Chinese Opera.
    • On a straighter use, both Claude and Heinrich does look rather feminine, especially in the opening.
  • Dynamic Entry: The main method of deployment of the Gears in both the manga and the anime, which could be rather problematic when people start thinking that this is the correct way to use the tie-in toys.
  • Elite Tweak: Applicable in-universe, with the toyline, and in the videogame tie-in: customizing your Garuda Eagle with a VT Chassis and spin wheels is a perfectly valid combination, while affixing Gaiki's weapons to Shooting Mirage's frame is also doable. In fact, before Shining Sword Breaker overshadows everything else, Gears in the anime are often customized between matches.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning/Spin to Deflect Stuff - Gears can spin for a more defensive approach. Garuda Eagle/Phoenix however, uses spinning to launch itself into the air, and many other Gears use spins to power up their super move.
  • Evil Knockoff: U-YA's Gear, Black Garuda Eagle, is an aptly named evil counterpart to Garuda Eagle. Not only that, while Garuda Eagle summons a golden bird during its Dangerous Forbidden Technique, Black Garuda Eagle summons a silver variant.
  • Evil Mentor: Ming Wu, the manager for Team Four Stars, a Chinese Opera-slash-Gear Fighter team. He has an agenda to change Gear Fights to become closer to Gear Pankration. In the manga, he's convicted of outside match gambling and controlling Wang Hu's Superpowered Evil Side by letting Wang Hu smell blood.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Kyousuke. Overlaps with Mr. Fixit.
    • Subverted when he admitted flat out that he could not repair Garuda Eagle after it was shattered into tiny little pieces. Then double subverted when he manages to create an enhanced version of Garuda Eagle in the nick of time, using experimental technology nonetheless.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Jirou suffers a torn shoulder muscle early on, and had to have a surgery, taking him out of the action for quite some time. In the manga, both Kouya and Manganji suffer rather serious wounds after their match. Despite being declared the winner, Manganji was so injured that had to have his hand bolted together, a possibly career-ending handicap.
  • Gratuitous French: During his match against Ma Liang, Claude utters a French phrase before executing his one-time only finishing move. Interestingly, this French phrase is actually a translation of a Latin phrase (specifically, Diogenes' "stand out of my light" to Alexander.)
  • It's All My Fault: Carlos was hit especially hard by Yuuya's death since he believed he was responsible for it. Alex Borg, ex-Gear Master of Tobita Club, made Carlos a copy of Garuda Eagle and taught him Shining Sword Breaker. It won't be years afterward that he rose to the spotlight from Gear Pankration arenas, taking the name U-YA, and wielding the now-black Garuda Eagle.
  • Jerkass: Manganji seemed to like going out of his way to be mean to people.
    • Freudian Excuse: Of course, then we learn in the penultimate episode that this is a Jerkass Façade to cope with Yuuya's passing, since Manganji was Yuuya's teammate.
  • Merchandise-Driven: played straight.
    • The merchandise is almost as hard to find as the TV show, though.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Kouya switches to the Garuda Phoenix. The rest of Tobita Club follows suit not long thereafter.
  • Precocious Crush: Kyousuke to Lan Fang. Even his team can see it and Jirou volunteers to fight Lan Fang instead of Kyousuke until Kyousuke can keep his emotions in check.
  • The Phoenix: Not so surprisingly, Garuda Phoenix, symbolizing rebirth after Eagle's "death".
  • The Rival - Manganji Takeshi to Marino Kouya. Similarly, Heinrich Gang to Marino Yuuya. In fact, all members of Tobita Club, past and present, had rivals. Jirou's rival is his former Baseball Junior League teammate Taki Hiroomi, while both Kyousuke and Claude somehow keeps going at each other's throats.
  • Raised by Wolves: Wang Hu.
  • Rule of Cool: Plastic toy cars with weapons outside the ring, spark-trailing metal weaponized cars of destruction inside the ring. A correct throw can decide a fight, and the strongest finishing moves can completely destroy an opponent's Gear into tiny little pieces. Toy cars or miniature Destruction Derby on steroids? You be the judge!
  • Second Prize: In the manga, Kouya technically lost to Manganji during Asia Cup finals. However, Manganji was too injured to continue, and so Kouya was selected to enter the World Cup instead.
  • Serious Business: So serious that it cost 80 billion yen to develop Gaiki.
  • Shorter Means Smarter: Kyousuke Jin.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: In the manga, Kaoru had to crossdress as Kouya to disguise the fact that Kouya was AWOL for their Asia Cup matches. Although she clearly didn't like it, it worked. That being said, she isn't a Gear Fighter, so to prevent her needing to fight at all, both Claude and Jirou have to win two matches in a row all the way to the finals since Kyousuke was also AWOL.
  • Spanner in the Works: Although never outright stated, Manganji plans to recoup for the 80 billion yen cost of developing Gaiki by making the VT technology proprietary, and selling the schematics at a high price to those that can afford it. Come several episodes later, the whole schematics was leaked to the internet, helpfully with the message "Royalty Free!" included with radical simplifications. Manganji was not amused.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Overlaps with My Nayme Is, Marume Claude's name is always spelled as the phonetically Japanese Kuroudo, for some reason.
  • Spoiled Brat: Manganji.
    • Subverted in the last episode as it is then revealed that he became like that to cope with Yuya's death.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Kouya, in one of his qualifying matches to fight Carlos, aka U-YA, was so consumed by hatred of Carlos whom he thought was responsible for his brother's death, that his Garuda Phoenix turned temporarily black and completely destroys his opponent's Gear, something he had never done before.
  • Super Prototype: Overlaps with Ace Custom, when Manganji's ultra-expensive Gaiki rolled out, it used a then-revolutionary mechanism called VT (Variable Transmuting) Chassis. Due to its difficulty to replicate, it seems that only Gaiki, Manganji's team members, and later, Garuda Phoenix, are the only ones equipped with it in the world. Come several episodes later, the schematics to build a VT chassis, with appropriate lower cost parts were leaked to the internet, and thus, everyone starts using VT Chassis for their Gears. Being the original however, few came close to Gaiki's Game Breaking performance.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Kouya, when told about the recklessness of his actions, quits the World Championship tournament. This abrupt change in dynamics actually led to him participating in Gear Pankration complete with a pseudonym and a new Gear for some time before returning.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Jiro and his thing for red bean buns. Also, Kouya and any kind of food with crabs in it: boiled crabs, crabsticks, etc.
    • Kyousuke prefers tomato juice. This, and his sensitivity to sunlight led to many a vampire joke on his expense.
  • Training from Hell: Quite a few phalanges were broken in the process of trying to find the right way to throw the Gears into the arena.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in the manga, where up to this point, Gear Fights were rather mundane in comparison to the anime. Manganji trains throwing his Gaiki to perform his signature move by throwing a 2 kg Gear in such a way that it can stop a swinging steel ball. This repeated exercise takes such a toll that when he finally uses it, he breaks his wrist such that Manganji may never play again from his injuries. Due to its game breaking performance and the massive injury it may cause to the player attempting it, it was later banned from use in any official tournament.
  • Would Not Play Against A Girl: Kouya flat-out refused to fight the all-female Pink Lips team, because he thinks losing to them would be extra humiliating. Claude however, has no such compunctions.
  • Younger than They Look: Many characters look like this. Lilika in particular, who could pass as a young adult, is 15.

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alternative title(s): Crush Gear Turbo
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