By Emily Ashby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
So-so anime series' focus is on product marketing ploys.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The series intends to entertain rather than to educate.
Newcomer Riki's partnership with the Blue Dragon grants him access to an elite and secretive group of B-Daman aficionados, implying that material objects can "buy" social status that talent and hard work may not. On the other hand, the characters' common interest in the B-Daman legends and game is a unifying force that forges friendships among unlikely peers, and kids see how the players' different personalities are reflected in unique (but ultimately equally competitive) playing styles.
Positive Role Models
B-Daman players don't always embrace newcomers right away, but time proves beneficial to most relationships, allowing friendships to form.
Violence & Scariness
Tournaments involve players using their B-Daman figures to shoot marbles in a series of challenges, so there are no physical exchanges by the players or their avatars. As the marbles accelerate, they take on the forms of legendary beasts, which sometimes crash into walls and such, but the effect is more about flash than outright violence.
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Products & Purchases
Every aspect of the series is designed to make kids want action figures and other toys in the B-Daman product line, especially given how the story implies an "in" crowd of elite players determined by their choice of avatars. Just as each TV character has a favorite B-Daman, kids will favor one or two, plus they'll want the battlefields and accessories that look like the show's as well.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that B-Daman Crossfire is the equivalent of a 30-minute infomercial peddling the wares of a line of Hasbro toys inspired by the show. Each character in the show has a unique B-Daman avatar who serves as both a friend and a teammate in tournament-style marble-shooting matches, and all of them have action figure replicas (plus accessories, battle gear, arenas, etc.) on toy shelves. What's more, certain B-Damans –- and, by association, their human partners –- are granted special privileges in the story, so it's safe to assume that young fans will clamor to own these over others. Content-wise, there's not much to worry about in the story itself; in fact, since the B-Daman tournaments involve marbles and obstacle courses rather than physical combat between the avatars, violence isn't even a real concern.
Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
B-DAMAN CROSSFIRE is a Japanese anime series centered on Riki (voiced by Mikie Morgan), a young inductee to the world of B-Daman and the chosen partner of Rising Dracyan, the legendary Blue Dragon. Dracyan's association with Riki gives the latter access to a secretive group of B-Daman players, among them the sullen Samuru (Wendee Lee) and his dragon partner, Lightning Dravise. Together Riki and Samuru uncover the mysteries surrounding the dragon spirits caught within the B-Daman forms while fending off foes in tournament battles.
Is It Any Good?
No kid could be expected to withstand the barrage of marketing ploys that link favorite TV and movie characters with toys, clothing, accessories, and even food items in stores. Where one goes, the other will follow, and most parents are used to making some concessions on behalf of their kids' whims. Pokemon fruit snacks? Dora the Explorer hair clips? Disney princess bedding? We've all caved at one point or another because, let's face it, it is fun to sport our individual preferences.
But B-Daman Crossfire takes this kind of soft-core advertising to a new level. Naturally the handheld avatars who shoot marbles out of their midsections make for primo action figures, and the show's changing battlefields can be replicated by a collection of accessory kits. What really crosses the line is how the story creates an "in" crowd even within the B-Daman society, a secret, invitation-only group accessible only by possessing a very short list of B-Damans, thus impressing upon kids that being cool is more about what you have than about who you are.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the commercial aspect of this series. Are you familiar with the toys and accessories related to the show? Do you have a favorite B-Daman character? What attributes draw you to that one?
Does seeing characters' images on products in the store make you want them more? Are you drawn to items in a store that have pictures of these or other TV characters?
How does Riki and Samuru's friendship change over time? Have you ever had a similar experience with a relationship that took time to evolve?
- Premiere date: August 17, 2013
- Cast: Mikie Morgan, Wendee Lee
- Network: CW
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures
- TV rating: TV-Y7-FV
- Last updated: February 6, 2020
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