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Anime / B't X

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B't X (pronounced "Beat X") is a Super Robot themed Shonen Manga written by Masami Kurumada, published for Kadokawa Shoten's Shonen Ace magazine after he was forced to finish Saint Seiya prematurely due to the insistence of its publisher. B't X has a similar premise but with a different setting and execution, some people considered this as Saint Seiya WITH SCIENCE!!!

Set sometime in the 21st Century note , the story begins with Teppei Takamiya, as he travels to Beijing to attend an international robotics expo to reunite with his brother Kotaro, who's been studying robotics abroad in Berlin and was scheduled to make a presentation within the expo. Not long after Kotaro begins his research presentation about the possibility to create an advanced form of Artificial Intelligence, Kotaro was abducted in public by a Humongous Mecha in the shape of a Queen Ant. Teppei immediately began his chase-down using a gauntlet known as the "Messiah Fist" to hold onto the Queen Ant as it travels to a secretive base within the Gobi Desert, which was revealed as their Empire's headquarters.

Getting thrown into a garbage heap and facing a cyborg he somehow was familiar with, Teppei's blood awakens a relic from the past; a B't known only as "X," who was considered the most powerful B't in existence. Both are equally stubborn, although quite different in many ways, and after a few initial squabbles, X resolves to help Teppei in his quest to save his brother.

Along the way, we find out quite a bit about Teppei's past, the reasons Kotaro was kidnapped, and the Machine Empire's plans involving a home-grown monster of Devil Gundam proportions.

The manga ran in Shonen Ace from December of 1994, to February of 2000; with its anime adaptation released in year 1996. The manga was once licensed by TOKYOPOP in North America, and the anime was licensed and partially dubbed (with questionable quality) by Illumitoon Entertainment and has recently been rescue licensed by Anime Midstream, who have redubbed the series from scratch.

As of June 2013, they have revived into a Pachinko game.

This series provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Teppei's teacher Karen, who had been one of the Empire's Four Knights up until five years ago. Aramis is another example.
  • Air Jousting: A lot of fights take place in the air.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The airing in Taiwan had a particularly rare situation done by the Japanese companies themselves. Stabilized since the late 80's, Taiwan would leave all licensed anime opening and ending themes untouched, even when dubbed. But in B't X's case, Fence of Defense's opening theme, Haruka~SAILING FOR MY DREAM was replaced by T.M.Revolution's HIGH PRESSURE midway through it's airing without prior notice despite Word of God personally handpicked FoD's song and the song was selling tremendously well in Japan thanks to the anime; this was speculated as to 1) B't X was popular and Sony Music wanted a piece of their pie, and 2) Sony Music wanted to officially package T.M.R to the the international anime fan base, redirecting the demographic into buying T.M.R's Triple Joker album since T.M.R was officially licensed in Taiwan and was doing well with his restoration Level 3 album thanks to Rurouni Kenshin. This made B't X as the second anime project in T.M.R's history with his name in it, albeit forcefully. Haruka~SAILING FOR MY DREAM was later placed back to it's normal state by the time of B't X's VCD release. Since the Japanese fanbase became aware of this over the years, they treated T.M.R's HIGH PRESSURE as a "bonus theme song" to this series.
  • Animal Mecha / A Mech by Any Other Name: In this case, B'ts. Kurumada took pride in this first ever mecha story that he wrote, and is persistent to not use the term "robots" for his mechs. See Meaningful Name below for more details.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted for the most part. Foh, Hokuto, and Ron rarely use theirs simply because they either hate fighting (Foh and Hokuto's reason) or they're just that good. (Ron's reason)
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Applies to everyone with a B't. Except for instances involving the B'ts' Weaksauce Weakness (see below), a B't's protective "Guard System" enables it and its rider to withstand anything ranging from magma to the void of space.
  • A Boy And His Kirin
  • Calling Your Attacks: All the time.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: It was made by Kurumada, after all. Also total Mr. Fanservice.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Foh's bible and Raphaello's cell.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Made apparent with the cyborg named Metalface, who considers sacrificing his own flesh and blood for an immortal robotic body to be an obvious choice.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Seven Demon Generals Arc and onward.
  • Deadpan Snarker: At least in the Tokyopop manga, the narrator pulls this off in the recap of the previous volume, complete with Lampshade Hanging various issues such as Teppei's Vitriolic Best Buds status he eventually gets with Foh and company, the fact that Juggler's real face looks just like a clown face anyways, etc.
  • Defector from Decadence: Karen and the other guardians after learning the true intentions of the Machine Empire.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Averted. Teppei never actually defeats Foh in a fight and the best he does against Ron is fight him to a draw. He also never duels either Karen or Hokuto. However, they all eventually side with him.
  • Dub Name Change: Teppei is named Marlon, Foh is changed to Falcon, Hokuto to Homer, Karen is named Lourdes and so ford. The only ones that remain somewhat the same are Kaos and Metal Face.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Raphaello in every sense of the word. For a good part of the series, the Empire has to move heaven and hell to keep it under control. And they fail miserably at it.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: the manga kills off a lot of people, and in the end pretty much the only two protagonists, both human and B't, that survive are Teppei and Kotaro. In the anime, the last scenes implies that everybody died, including Teppei and Kotaro.
  • Every Scar Has a Story: Teppei and the Four Generals all have physical scars on their bodies and was shown in the OVA. But it's origins were only mentioned in the manga.
    • Teppei's scar is an "X" on his forehead, and claimed it was a "minor injury" from Karen's training program.
    • Karen's scar is a big "X" on her back, though she claimed to Teppei that it was a "minor injury" she gained from old battles, readers never really knew the story behind it.
    • Foh's scar is a big "cross" on his back, but like Karen, it's a Rugged Scar.
    • Ron's scar is a "Lightning Bolt" on his chest, the scar came from Aramis, who defeated him using her sword one time when they were little.
    • And Hokuto takes the cake of having the most lengthy story behind his scar, a "Big Dipper" located on his back. This was from a radioactive explosion he encountered when he was little.
  • Faceless Mooks: the regular soldiers from the Machine Empire.
  • Filler: Three episodes dealing with the Dark Knights (while in the manga they were defeated all together and very anticlimactically), along with encountering an old member of the Four Knights and also a reclusive scientist.
  • The Four Gods: Inverted. Contrary to the popular usage of The Four Gods as trope explained, The Four Spirit animals depicted in this work, in Chinese mythology are called "The Four Benevolent Animals," and are said to be the four beings responsible in bringing prosperity to the land.
  • Four Is Death: Subverted. The Four Knights are, naturally, four in number, and they all eventually resolve to help Teppei. The seven Demon Knights, however, are all out for his blood.
  • Gecko Ending: The world is saved, and very well...the main cast, not so much ...In the anime that is.
  • Hack Your Enemy: Hokuto and Demon General Dr. Poe throws viruses at each other's B'ts in the manga. Kotaro on the other hand, hacks a laser-beam surveillance camera to aid Teppei to combat the hallways in the anime.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Plenty, especially when people realize how dangerous Raphaello really is.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Again, lots of people. Metalface managed to pull it off twice. Once sacrificing a means of safely travelling a minefield to help out a young Karen years ago which caused him to require his cyborg parts, and once again to secure the force that would destroy Raphaello at the cost of his body.
  • Heroic Spirit: Be it either facing the Despair Event Horizon of B't Rafaello growing to the giant dark blob ball about to absorb the Earth in the anime or becoming the Ultimate B't in the manga, it takes the Four Generals plus Kotaro's spirit to give Teppei the power defeat it.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: A noticeable aspect in this series. Pretty much every female character who serves in the Machine Empire, such as Salome, Karen, and Nasha, will end up having the brains to help Teppei by the end. Too bad that all of them die in at least one version of the story with the sole exception of Karin.
  • Hot-Blooded: This is a Kurumada manga we're talking about here.
  • Hyperspace Powered Armor: The Battle Gears, a type of light-weight, flexible, yet extremely durable armor made from non-metal material. The Battle Gear system was focused on Teppei as his Transformation Sequence, but anyone who owns a B't will have the Battle Gear System installed within their B't to be triggered once the command: "Battle Gear, ON!" is spoken by their Donors in order for the B'ts to apply the armors onto their Donors from thin air. The Four Spirit Generals all have wore them in the manga, but only Teppei and Karen wears them in the anime.
    • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Regardless of military rank, the color and technical specifications for all Machine Empire Battle Gears, including The Four Spirit Generals, are the same and in the color white. The armor Teppei initially received from X was also white; But after X's Mid-Season Upgrade, Hokuto deliberately tweaked X's system to surpass the The Empire's standards, including the Battle Gear System, which gives Teppei's new armor a cream-yellow hue.
    • Adaptation Dye-Job: The cream-yellow hue is a dye-job for the anime, since Kurumada was shown to render Teppei's upgraded armor as white in his illustrations through the very end. The only times the armor turns yellow in Kurumada's illustrations was when Teppei was performing his Power Glow.
    • Future Spandex: The Battle Gears every donor wears have these underneath their armors in matte finish. Unlike the armor which are color coded in white, spandex can be set to different colors as each donor chooses.
  • Kidnapped Scientist: The Machine Empire holds a long list of current, and upcoming world-class scientists of all fields ready to be recruited by force in case the empire wants them. Kotaro Takamiya was only the most recent one out of tens of thousands being abducted.
  • Magic Floppy Disk: Kurumada, despite claiming to be "technologically dumb," has made some surprisingly near-accurate predictions in technology usage within this story, but with one little blooper of Karen using a memory card that looks similar to a floppy disk to take X's data with her to flee her country. Karen gives this card to Teppei to have him reinstall X's combat data back and turn-on the Battle Gear System by episode 1 of the anime and Act 2 of the manga.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "B't" is pronounced like "beat", as in "heartbeat". Appropriate considering blood is required to activate one.
      • Kurumada insisted to not use the term "Robot" to define the mechas he created for this story, and has also intended the term to be pronounced as be-tow, note  emphasizing the pronunciation from the word, "Total" explained in the section below.
      • Implied by Aramis, a B't is defined as "a 'Total' definition of a mechanical being with a highly sentient 'Brain' born through 'Blood,' who is programed to be a 'Brave Battler.'"
      • "Blind Idiot" Translation: In the Spanish localization, however, B't was turned into Beta, deleting any meaning of the original name.
    • Family Theme Naming: The given names of brothers, Kotaro and Teppei have metals "steel" and "iron" embedded within their names, and meant "First Born Steel" and "Iron Soldier" respectively. This is pretty much their parents' wish for the brothers to form into one Unbreakable Sibling Team.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The Lycaons, which are piloted by generic soldiers.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: After X dies for the first time, Hokuto repairs him. Among other things, Teppei's armor changes and he gets a new attack.
    • Metalface and B't Madonna gets one as well.
  • Multiethnic Name: Closely in-line with Spell My Name with an S. Kurumada gave Karen and Karin ( whom are biological sisters) names that have kanji spellings, note  yet also suitable for western name pronunciations. So this most likely implied that the two women are more or less half-Asian, but as to which ethnicity they are, remains blurred; for that their on-yomi Japanese pronoun can be used to indicate Chinese names. Foh is also this with his given name rendered as the on-yomi kanji for "Phoenix," which also makes his ethnicity ambiguous.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Deconstructed with the remaining guardians after Karen's supposed betrayal.
  • Nerves of Steel: Teppei aside, the rest of his allies, namely The Four Spirit Generals and Kotaro, are individuals who are calm upon confrontations and opts to use their intellects to solve disputes before considering force. Teppei however, gradually grows into this via learning from his experiences.
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: Averted. Hokuto's radiation sickness was triggered by being just outside the direct killzone of a nuke that destroyed his home and family and he's got the burns on his back to prove it. Aramis also tries to kill Raphaello by loading Rosemary up with every nuclear warhead she can find and performing a Heroic Sacrifice, but Raphaello's power makes it a Senseless Sacrifice.
  • OVA: B't X Neo, also known as episodes 26-39.
  • Overtook the Manga: The anime entirely skips the last four Demon General battles and revamps the final battle against Raphaello.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: Any B't whose owners decides to confront the agenda of their Empire, in this case, The Four Spirit Generals. B'ts are programmed with Undying Loyalty towards their owners, so if an owner makes an agenda, their B'ts will side with them. However, our titular B't X bares the special case in that he gets to make his own decision as to whether he should aid Teppei in saving his brother who is abducted by their Empire, or reunite with his original owner, who was put on exile. Either way, X is already on the "rebel" side in terms of the greater agenda, therefore he has to make the decision as to whether he should defy his loyalty program in favoring a new owner over his predecessor. In the end, he chose to work with his new owner.
    • The Messiah Fist as well, at least in the anime. Turns out it was reverse-engineered from a sample of Raphaello's cells.
  • The Power of the Sun: Teppei's awakened power, and becomes the key person in defeating Raphaello.
  • Punctuation Shaker: Played straight with "B't", but justified with "Je t'aime", which is French for "I love you."
  • Redemption Equals Death: Many, many people, especially in the manga. Juggler, Marcello, Amigo, and Aramis just to name a few. Misha and Nasha also die in the anime after each makes a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Teppei and X fit this dynamic quite well, and it's taken to almost Vitriolic Best Buds-level proportions.
  • Rescue Arc: Essentially the entire series.
  • Scam Religion: The Machine Emperor increases his influence by inflicting nuclear bombings all over the world, manipulating each country to think it was of another country's doing, triggering world wars, recruiting war orphans to brainwash them that he's their god and savior, and that he promises to create an utopia for all people with endless life as long as they swear loyalty to him, his country, and execute whatever orders he's placed onto them.
  • Ship Tease: Metal Face implies Karen had feelings for Foh, though he immediately rebuffs this.
  • Shout-Out / Spiritual Successor: From subtle character designs, to the subtle elements within the story plot, having The Takamiya Brothers going against the Machine Empire can be seen as a huge take from God Mars.
    • Both Emperor Zuul of alien Planet Gishin and The Machine Emperor are their stories' Big Bad, and wanted to destroy Earth since The Planet Earth (humanity) never wanted to comply with their ideologies.
    • Both series takes the talents of two teenage brothers working together to bring their respective evil empires to their downfall. note 
    • Teppei and Takeru Myoujin shared the same younger brother statuses in respective to their older brothers Kotaro and Marg, the same brunette Shounen Hair cut, note  the letter "T" in their first names, and fires their Battle Aura while making "X poses" with their arms. note 
    • Kotaro echoed Prince Marg's hairstyle, wearing his hair long reaching shoulder-length. And on a bizarre note, like Prince Marg to his brother, Kotaro can somehow telepath to Teppei.
    • Teppei once had a nightmare about his older brother, Kotaro being brainwashed in serving The Empire. God Mars' hero, Takeru Myoujin's older twin brother Marg was brainwashed by their evil empire for real.
    • From the same nightmare above, Kotaro wore a cape to reveal his transformed cybernetic body. Marg from God Mars was the prince of planet Gishin, and is usually dressed in Ermine Cape Effect.
    • One interesting element both works share is their reference to the apocalyptic prediction of the year 1999, named Nostradamus. note  In God Mars, the story setting was on the year 1999, where Emperor Zuul started his invasion towards Earth in attempt to destroy the planet in which brothers, Mars (Takeru Myoujin) and Marg, along with a few supporters fought hard to take down; while here in B't X, the year 1999 did had a huge scare with a meteoroid crashing near Hokkaido, Japan. But that meteoroid however, eventually formed into a tiny private island called Kamui Island, which was the birthplace of The Takamiya Brothers, who became saviors in overthrowing the Machine Emperor.
    • When all hope is lost before their "Save the World" Climax within the manga, Kotaro throws out a "We haven't lost yet!" telepathic speech to Teppei, requesting his brother to strike B't Raffaello with all his power even when Kotaro's physically located in the path of destruction, and stating confidently that he is a scientist who does his research, and not some kind of saint who makes stupid sacrifices. This was a Take That! to a Godmars scene where Prince Marg made an infamous Stupid Sacrifice out of pure Big Brother Instinct.
  • Sibling Team: The Takamiya Brothers. In the OVA, while Teppei's busy taking out killer-robots by hand in the hallway of the Empire Tower, Kotaro remains inside an office of the tower hacking the Empire database AND help Teppei take out laser-beam surveillance cameras using a laser-beam surveillance camera.
    • Cop and Scientist: Teppei's the Cop, while Kotaro's the Scientist of the duo.
    • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: On the appearance, Kotaro is the sensitive guy while Teppei's the manly man; but on the inside, Kotaro's the manly man while Teppei's actually the sensitive one.
  • Signature Style: The inclusion of a Cool Horse through our lead mascot, B't X, which in this story is represented by a Kirin. Technically speaking, a Kirin is a mythological animal that is more of a deer with the slight anatomy of a horse, and the head of a Chinese dragon...with no wings. But somehow Kurumada designed his Kirin to look more like a full-on horse with deer antlers, dragon brows, and wings, which made X resemble more like a Pegasus over anything else. In many of Kurumada's other works, a Pegasus has something to do with the protagonist.
  • Spell My Name with an S:
    • Is it Ron, Lon, or Long?
    • And Foh, Fou, or Phoue?
    • Karin is often referred as "Carrie" according to a good portion of Japanese manuals.
  • Star Scraper: The Machine Empire Tower is this to a tee.
  • Super Robot: The B't.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Emperor representatives Misha and Nasha are this.
  • Third Line, Some Waiting: You have a number of plots going on at the same time. The three big ones are:
    • Teppei's Rescue Arc.
    • Foh and the other members of the Four Knights trying to determine if Raphaello is indeed an evil that has to be put down and if they should help Teppei.
    • Kotaro's Adventures in Wonderland Underhell where he tries to figure out Raphaello's weaknesses.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The Machine Empire's subordinates believe they are fighting to bring about an end to wars. Some of them are more dogged in this belief than others.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Hokuto vs. Dr. Poe... plus any time Kotaro is writing formulas.
  • We Can Rebuild Your BT
  • Weaksauce Weakness: B'ts are vulnerable to certain sound frequencies that can damage fragile parts of their systems, but this can be avoided when the B’ts agree to turn off their “auto-pilot” operation (aka. conscience) in letting their owners “manual-pilot” them.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: B'ts, with their design based from a huge range of animal and mythological creature selections tend to suffer from this issue pretty seriously. Poor Madonna...
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Teppei initially views X as a tool to help him rescue Kotaro. It takes a while for him to realize X has his own thoughts and feelings. This also applies to Metalface, although his realization came too late.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: The Juggler uses mooks as People Puppets, to which Teppei is horrified despite having killed hundreds of them by that point. Interestingly, once he manages to end his Villain Override of them, their helmets harmlessly blow up and reveal their faces.
  • Where It All Began: Teppei and X started their journey together from the Empire's garbage heap located at the foot of The Tower, and made their way back to the same location by volume 14 of the manga.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Aramis is eventually demoted due to her efforts to suppress Raphaello's growth. Monster Clown Juggler takes over for her.