Beyblade: Metal Fusion
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this anime series is closely tied to a line of trading cards, toys, and games, so kids are sure to be drawn to the merchandise after seeing the show. The content centers on an ongoing battle between civic-minded heroes and a gang of bad guys out to take over the world by mastering the Beyblade battles and defeating their opponents. The good news is that the “weapons” in this show are spinning tops that knock into each other for points, so no one is hurt in the process. The bad news? The show relies on flashy animation, unrealistic characterization, and the aforementioned marketing ties to keep kids’ attention, and it doesn't take advantage of the opportunity to send positive messages to its young audience.
What's the story?
In BEYBLADE: METAL FUSION, groups of kids team up to battle each other with powerful spinning tops called Beyblades, which have mystical powers associated with the astrological signs. Nefarious Kyoya (voiced by Peter Cugno) and his gang, Dark Nebula, are out for world domination -- but when blading master Gingka (Robert Tinkler) arrives in town and stands in Kyoya’s way, battles ensue. Soon the lines between good and evil start to blur, and the bladers’ games intensify as the stakes get higher.
Is it any good?
Metal Fusion is the latest incarnation based on the Beyblade manga franchise, which (not surprisingly) is accompanied by an extensive line of toys, trading cards, and games. The show falls short on worthwhile content, since it rarely strays from the good-vs.-evil storyline, features lots of bullying behavior from the thug-like bad guys, doesn’t relate to real life, and resorts to battles in every instance of disagreement. Any attempt to inject reminders about acknowledging personal strengths and standing up for what’s right is lost amid the flashy animation and loud anime style.
Only minor changes separate this latest installment from its predecessors, so kids familiar with the previous storyline will have no problem settling into the show's new characters and adjusted plot. On a slightly positive note, unlike similar anime series like Bakugan, this show does dehumanize the objects being sent into battle by the kid characters, so there’s no risk of the clashes being upsetting to kids. Overall, though, there are plenty more worthwhile choices (with fewer marketing strongholds) for impressionable kids.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about coping with bullies. Have you ever encountered a bully? If so, what did you do? Which characters in this show are bullies? How do they intimidate others? What are their weaknesses?
Kids: Does this show make you want to buy your own Beyblade toys? How do you think the toys you see in the store will differ from the ones in the show? How do shows like this influence what you want?
How does this show compare to others like it? Were the characters more or less likable? Did you like the Beyblades as weapons? What would you change about it if you could?