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Manga / Bakuten Shoot Beyblade

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Although not the first media entry, the manga is the foundation of the Bakuten Shoot Beyblade (爆転シュートベイブレード)note  portion of Beyblade. It was written and illustrated by Takao Aoki and serialized in CoroCoro Comic from 1999 to 2004. The manga was subsequently licensed twice for an English-language release, first in Australia, then in North America by Viz Media. In the the period 2016-2017, to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the brand, a sequel series was created under the name Bakuten Shoot Beyblade: Rising, again written and illustrated by Takao Aoki.

The manga can be divided in five components:

  • The core storyline documents Takao and the BBA Team as they rise up to top of the beyblade scene, make friends, deal with some personal problems, and save the sport itself once or twice. This part of the manga served as the basis for the anime.

  • The side storyline follows Daichi's desire to catch up with Takao to honor his late father's wish that he'd become the best. Along the way, he meets and battles various talented bladers, some old charasters, some new ones. This storyline was scrapped from the anime until the moment Daichi and Takao meet.

  • Rising takes place one year after the end of the 1999-2004 storyline, marking the first time that the cast ages. Like the second and third seasons of the anime, it continues the story, but also has its own take on what came before. Its initial focus is on Kai's family situation, then moves on to a tournament arc.

  • The script for the Non-Serial Movie Beyblade: Fierce Battle was written by Aoki and he created a few manga pages for it; not a full story, but a premise to get people interested. The manga, however, is based on the initial script and is different from the produced movie on a several fronts.

  • Aoki manages his own website where he has posted and continues to post several small additions to his manga work. For one, there's a light novel about Yuriy's background written by Megumi Tachimori. It was originally meant to be a story to be told in the manga, but circumstances prevented its inclusion. On top of that, the light novel version could not be part of the volume publication either, leaving Aoki to put it on his website. For two, there's a mini-manga titled "Spin-Off" which introduces Ayaka, Makoto Hiruta's older sister. The rest of the additions constitute an artwork gallery which, if nothing else, show what colors some manga-only characters are supposed to have.

One important thing to note about the relationship between the manga and the anime is that they were in part produced concurrently and Aoki did do work for the anime too. This means that on occasion it's the manga which changed from the anime rather than the other way around. The most representative instance of this is Zeo's true identity, which was altered for the manga while the original idea made it into the anime.

Bakuten Shoot Beyblade contains adaptation examples of:

  • Adapted Out: With the exception of Takao, Kai, Hitoshi, Dragoon and, sort of, Dranzer and Yoshie, nothing of Jisedai Beigoma Battle Beyblade made it into the manga. Notable omissions are Takao's friends Kurumi and Rokumaru, and Hitoshi's bit-beast Saizo.
  • Adaptation Species Change:
    • One that deeply affects the rest of the franchise. In Jisedai Beigoma Battle Beyblade, Dranzer is a three-headed dragon. Its name and Dragoon's are dragon+army portmanteaus, namely dragon+panzer and dragon+platoon. When Aoki wrote the manga, he created the The Four Gods theme by changing Dranzer into a bird and adding Driger and Draciel. The "dra-" bit originally standing for "dragon" thus was recontextualized as Alphabetical Theme Naming. This is why Dragoon (dragon), Driger (tiger), and Draciel (shell) have clear animal self-references, but Dranzer does not. Alphabetical Theme Naming would go on to be used for several more bit-beast groups until a shift was made to other kinds of Theme Naming.
    • A case of Doing In the Wizard occurs in regards to Zeo. In the anime, he's an android made in the image of Zagāto's deceased son. This was Aoki's original idea for him, but after some feedback he decided to change things for the manga, where Zeo now is a human raised in the image of Zagāto's deceased eldest son.
  • Death by Adaptation: Takao's mother is alive and well in Jisedai Beigoma Battle Beyblade. She is not in the manga. On the other hand, she gets Named by the Adaptation: Yoshie.
  • Expy: Although Rokumaru was excluded from the manga, Kyōju takes his role and more than a few cues from his design.
  • Retool: Rising does follow on the original manga run, but reworks what it needs to to enable its story.
  • Unrelated in the Adaptation: Daichi's first appearance is in Bakuten Shoot Beyblade (GBC) and in that game he's introduced to Takao by Ryūnosuke as "onushi no kā-san no imōto no masuko-san" ("your mother's younger sister's son"). So, Takao and Daichi started out as cousins, but in the manga (and all fiction following) they're unrelated. By extension, Yoshie and Rinko aren't related either.

Bakuten Shoot Beyblade also contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Warehouse: The hideout of the Shell Sharks, which is said to belong to Hiwatari Enterprises.
  • Anime Chinese Girl: Mao, especially in Rising and the artwork gallery.
  • Babies Ever After:
    • The last chapter of the manga features the cast some twenty years in the future. Takao has a son named Makoto. Kai has a son named Gō. Rei and Mao have a daughter named Lin. Max and Kyōju are childless still, but Makoto regards them as Honorary Uncles.
    • Early in Rising, Max's new sister Charlotte is introduced.
  • Back for the Finale: I-V14C3 Ends the manga's main story with a match between Takao and Daichi versus Kai and Yuriy. Many of the characters that have appeared during the manga's run are among the audience, some cheering on a specific blader, others simply to witness history being made.
  • Beneath the Mask: Happens to Kai in I-V4C1. Susumu approaches him after the Japanese Tournament and for a moment, there's nothing but joy on the boy's face because his father has come back to him after all these years. Then he remembers his father's betrayal and how much of who he is now is the result of that and with clenched teeth he demands an answer.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The Barthez Soldats gets mentally overwhelmed by the power of the Heavy Metal System, which is the one thing that's allowed them to keep up at top level, and begin to employ dirty tricks to ensure their victories. Mathilda breaks free first, followed by Aaron and Claude, and finally Michael.
  • Confronting Your Imposter: Daichi does this in I-V8CSS1, after (painfully) learning that someone's being going around claiming to be him and stealing people's beyblades. The fake one doesn't mind that his cover is blown, because he already has acquired a strong bey to beat the real Daichi with.
  • Death by Origin Story: Daigorō, Zeo, and Yōichi all die prior to the story to serve as motivations for Daichi, Leon, and Mitsuki. Yuriy's father half-qualifies. He's not dead until Rising, but the (self)destructive path that led to his death is what serves as Yuriy's motivation.
  • Distant Finale: The last chapter in the manga takes place several years into the future.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: Combines with Scary Shadow Fakeout for Rai's introduction in I-V3C4. While taking a leak in the forest, Takao comes under attack by a wild dog. Before the animal can bite, in jumps Rai on all fours, sufficiently covered by shadow for his silouette to resemble a lion's. He lets out a roar befitting the imitation and the dog flees, then reveals himself as human to Takao.
  • Empathic Plastic Toys: They're actually made of metal, in-universe. It's the official toys that are plastic, though some toys come with metal parts. Some of those quite heavy, and some comes with small pieces of a material that sparks on contact.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Zagāto Tower, where all the research is done towards creating blades and bladers capable of stealing the strongest of bit-beasts. It's there the BBA fights the Saint Seals and the Zagāto Ichimi.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Played with. It's inevitable that a franchise where everyone is friends but everyone also tries to become the reigning champion has this and for the most part it's played straight. But towards the end of the manga, Takao does go through a small crisis at the realization that almost everyone he's close to also is hellbent to take his title for themself.
  • Honor Before Reason: The Majestic 4 don't take on Borg because such a fight wouldn't have any honor. They do wish the other teams good luck saving the world of beyblading, though.
  • Island of Mystery: There's two.
    • In I-V6C1, the BBA, the Bái Hǔ Zú, and the All Starz accept Borg's challenge and voluntarily come along to an island controlled by Borg to fight a small army worth of bladers. Despite Borg's dirty tactics, the three teams hold their own and eventually emerge victorious.
    • In the movie manga, the mysterious island is the one serving as the prison of the four holy beasts of darkness. The four bladers defeated during the Kyushu Tournament visit it, unaware of the danger, and become possessed by the bit-beasts.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Rei, Zeo, Kennosuke, and Hikaru have this going on the strongest, and if the 20-30yo crowd isn't disqualified, so does Mister B Several others could count too, but these five leave the least room for discussion.
  • Looming Silhouette of Rage: Pulled by a few villains when they go off the deep end. Yuriy, for instance, is pretty good at these, enough so that it uniquely made it into the third season of the anime. Michael also has one when Takao realizes he's being possessed in I-V13C2.
  • Meditating Under a Waterfall: Kennosuke, the samurai, does this as per I-V7CSS1.
  • Mocking Sing-Song: Tsuki does a mocking sing-song in II-V1C6 when Takao and his friends are annoyed he won't fight back. It's part him being childish (to deal with his trauma) and part deliberate to provoke Takao to attack more fiercely, which Tsuki needs to unleash his bey's full power.
  • Morph Weapon: The chimera technology in Rising seems to allow this, although there are conditions to it such as that the bey has to absorb power during the battle before the chimera tech will work. Tsuki's Bloody Moon is the only bey to use this technology. Kai shortly used it for Dranzer, but found that the sheer power he got from it left his defense severely lacking.
  • Official Couple: Rei and Mao, as per the end of the manga.
  • Olympus Mons: The Artifact of sorts from when Aoki planned for the main four bit-beasts to be the only one in existence. When more bit-beasts were added, the main four simply became the strongest of all, with late-comer Gaia Dragoon's status being somewhat ambiguous. This is best made clear by the fact that every time the BBA Team calls forth their bit-beasts, their glowing silhouettes appear on the bladers' foreheads.
  • Orphanage of Love: The Golubeva Child Education Center in Rising, where Borg lives post-Volkov.
  • Replacement Goldfish: The boy known as Zeo is actually Leon, while the true Zeo is his older brother, who died after being hit by a truck. Leon was then raised as a replacement of Zeo rather than as his own person. After a serious confrontation with himself, Zeo's father allows him to be himself in the end.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: The core arc belongs to Takao, while Daichi helms the side arc. This goes on until they team up after the Japanese finales of the GBC Tournament.
    • Character Overlap: Characters from the two arcs incidentally cross over, unsurprisingly mostly from the core arc to the side arc. Memorable moments include the reveal that Tarō and Daigorō are childhood friends, Hiruta's implicit character development from Takao's bitter former rival to one of Daichi's closest supporters, Kyōju and Hikaru being good friends, and Kennosuke as Takao's opponent for the Japanese finales.
  • Sinister Silhouettes:
    • In I-V1C4 of the manga, ten silhouettes of potential opponents the BBA Team could get a chance to battle against are shown against a world map. Four of these are identifiable as Rai, Michael, Yuriy, and Johnny.
    • In I-V7C1, the Saint Seals are actually physically present, but the three panels that introduce them constantly rearrange their positions so that they can't be taken literally. The first two panels are of them as sinister silhouettes.
  • Spirit Advisor: An ambiguous case since it could also be All Just a Dream. In I-V12CSS2, Daigorō's spirit visits Daichi to motivate him and grant the boy the chance to defeat him that his death seemingly took away. It's implied he visited Rinko also. By his own words, his spirit is one with Gaia Dragoon.
  • Team Killer: Michael destroys Mathilda's bey in their double match against Takao and Daichi in V13C2. Mathilda was fighting the hold their beys had on them and was begging Michael to play fair. He couldn't take the thought of losing again, so he silenced her that way, believing that if he'd win his team would forgive him. He lost, but they forgave him anyway.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: What does Kai use in I-V1C2 to destroy Hiruta's beyblade as punishment for losing? Is it another beyblade? Is it a large stick? Is it a rock? Nope, he uses a wrecking ball. Justified because the gang's hideout is an abandoned warehouse owned by Kai's family; he simply has access to one.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Mister B, Steve, and Mamoru all get unceremoniously dropped from the story without any explanation. Romero and Barthez appear in one panel in I-V10C2 each with their respective teams, don't get introduced whatsoever, and then that's that.