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Beyblade, Vol. 1: Let It Rip! (2002) – DVD Review

Beyblade, Vol. 1: Let It Rip DVD


Directed by Toshifumi Kawase
Character Design by Takahiro Umehara and Park Ki Deog


  • Bonus sixth episode

Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:

  • Inexplicable excitement
  • Pointless quasi-mysticism
  • Gang warfare

Released by: Pioneer
Rating: 7+
Region: 1
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format

My Advice: Skip it.

[ad#longpost]Young Tyson dreams of being the best Beyblader in the world, and he thinks he’s almost there. But when his duel with a local expert Beyblader gets interrupted by a mysterious stranger named Kai, Tyson may have bitten off more than he can chew when he challenges Kai to a battle. Kai, it seems, is the leader of a Beyblade gang, known as the Blade Sharks, and they’re undefeated. How can Our Hero hope to defeat their special techniques and deep knowledge of their blades?

Before you watch this disc, you need to understand that “Beyblades” are tops. Most of them have some little jagged blades attached to them, but these blades don’t actually damage anyone else or even other tops. So when a character references their “blade,” they mean their top. And the Blade Sharks gang is a top gang. A gang. Of top-players. Tops. Each top is supposed to be sort of possessed by a sentient spirit called a “bitbeast.” We don’t get to see much of these spirits, but they are related to the player’s ancestors and get more powerful as the character learns to properly respect and learn about his ancestors.

Okay, now that we have that clear, let’s look at the characters. We have Tyson who is your typical cocky, talented-but-not-polished hero. There’s also Kai, the enigmatic leader of the Blade Sharks, who is almost interesting, but they don’t quite give him enough screen time or opportunity to show his real personality. Kenny and his sentient laptop computer Dizzi are possibly the most interesting characters on the show, annoying as Kenny can be, but they too lack much screen time. Tyson’s hip-hop speaking grandfather is amusing, but also all-too-rarely seen. The characters look cool…they just aren’t.

Would that we could see the bitbeasts attacking directly. Yes, then the show might look a lot more like Pokemon or even like Yu-Gi-Oh during card battles, but at least it would be more exciting than watching tops spin around and around. It’s very hard to understand why the characters get so excited about these battles as it is–we don’t see the ancestor-connection come into play, no battle auras, and the bitbeasts aren’t even very important.

The audio and video quality are both just fine on this disc. The colors are bright and clear, and the overall crispness is parallel to any good TV anime series. It looks fine–it’s just that there’s not much happening to look at.

Watching this show is quite frustrating, because top gangs notwithstanding, it could have been cool. Basically, this isn’t an anime kids’ series, it’s a toy ad. And not a particularly good one, either. If you have easily amused children, then you might want to pick this up for them, but otherwise, skip it. Lacking the character development of Yu-Gi-Oh, the visual interest of the Pokemon animals, and the comparatively interesting plots of either of those titles, you’re just better off with one of those two series than with this one.

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