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Monday, May 9, 2011

The entertaining World of Children – what is a beyblade ?

Do you know what groups : ‘Storm Pegasis, Dark Worf, Flame Libra, Earth Aquila, Thermal Pisces, Basalt Horogium, Thermal Lacerta and more…………..

In the famous Spencer Mall, there was a competition for children.  Many parents brought their children well prepared with the equipments, allowed them to compete and were watching anxiously wanting their wards to win…  can you imagine what it was ?

In our younger days, we had lots of area to play and less of equipments. Computers were unknown – it was in late 80s of early 90s that Offices had desktops – with Pentium processors which had to be kept in dust proof rooms, employees had to enter the room leaving their footwear outside and only privileged few had access to handle them.  

Children used to play cricket in streets; gilli and then bambaram (spinning tops). It was primarily made in wood, painted attractively, would have a pointed nail at the bottom.  It would be carved in a manner that the rope could be wound around in steps.  Once the rounds are complete, one can release and see the top rotate magically and majestically.    It was great fun requiring skill to remain in the game.  The wooden top would jump, spin and keep rotating when unleashed with cords (kayiru).  There were variants and in one cruel one – those who lose will have to keep their painted top inside the circle, on which others would land theirs with force.  That would leave a scar not only on the top but also in the minds of loser.  Only experts can lift the top from the ground when spinning by deftly using the rope and allow it to spin on the palm.  Greater experts would do on air without the top touching the ground…..  hours of practice..

A similar conceptual toy is ‘Bey blade’  advertised to be a line of high-performance spinning top toys originally developed and manufactured by Takara starting in 2000. Both the toys and their name were inspired by "Beigoma", a traditional spinning top. The introduction of the toy corresponded with the broadcast of the Beyblade anime television series of the same name.   In  2008, Takara Tomy released a new generation of Beyblade with a metal outer layer; the first incarnation of the toy in three and a half years. from the Basic System through the Heavy/Hard Metal System, Beyblades were categorized as Attack, Defense, Combination, or Endurance Types, but when the Hybrid Wheel System was introduced, the Combination and Endurance Types were renamed as Balance and Stamina Types, respectively.

These contraptions have  pictures on them that symbolizes a creature (known as a Bit-Beast) which shows what the Beyblade does, or looks like. In Beyblade Metal Fusion, they have symbols on them that represent one of the 88 known constellations in space.  The first gen were of plastic and would have bit chip, attack ring, weight disk, spin gear and blade base.  The improvised versions now have spin gears removable and interchangeable.  

The present kids are on web all the time and three is World Beyblade Organization!, an  unofficial sanctioning body for the battling spinning top hobby Beyblade.   To capture the minds and the market, each variant would have a base story.  Here is an example of how Hasbro products spun a story :  A new cast of characters take on the continued battle between good and evil. Gingka, our hero, and his group of loyal friends take on a dangerous group called the Dark Nebula. The Dark Nebula’s sole mission is to take over the world and unleash their evil upon it; but before they can do so, they must destroy Gingka as he is the only person that’s strong enough to stand in their way. The plot thickens as friends become enemies and enemies become allies. Everything starts and ends with Gingka as he struggles to find the strength to defend his world and the honour of Beyblade.

If you ever thought that this a simple toy and it is child’s play – you have not learnt enough.  Beyblade would spin like a top – but there is more strategy and poise needed.  The base needs tobe placed on the launcher, and the rip chord needs to be pulled with skill.

These being precision toys – there have been some failures / snags discovered after they hit the market and as they do in high end automobiles, there have been product recalls.  Here are some examples of product recall made by Hasbro  : 
Nerf Recon CS-6 Blaster  :   2008    The blaster's plunger can pull the user's skin during firing of the toy blaster resulting in injury to the face, neck or chest.        Consumers should immediately take the recall-to-repair toy blaster away from children.
Easy-Bake Ovens:   2007 Entrapment and burn hazard.
September 22, 2006      Suffocation hazard- toy nails may become forcefully lodged in the back of children's throats.
Super Soaker Monster Rocket :  Risk of impact injuries to users and bystanders.    
Galoob Sky Dancers :    Unpredictable flight of dolls-risk of facial and eye injuries.     

At Spencer Plaza on 7th May 2011 hundreds of children curiously participated in the Beyblade Metal Fusion Battle Competition.  It was a competition organised by Landmark book store and Funskool India for children aged 6 – 14 who battled with fiercely spinning metal bey blades.  During Jan 2011, there was a similar event at Thiruvananthapuram where also children participated with glee.  

If you are still wondering what the names mentioned at the start of this post are :  just ask your school going children and they would reel out the traits of each. They are the variants of metal bey blades.

At Landmark or any other mall, a single bey blade would cost Rs.350/- and more and children would crave for many no. of bey blades.   There is a specially made tub on which these can be placed – whether singly or in a competition where more than one child play and it would cost more than Rs.800/- 

If you think of the cost or draw invidious comparison with the wooden top that you used to play – one can only feel sorry for you for being such an old timer !

Beyblade was a popular series in Japan, written and illustrated by Takao Aoki.  The series focussed on a group of kids who formed teams with which they battle one another using highly powerful spinning topscalled "Beyblades" which are enchanted with magical spirits.

The World of children is more passionate and sometimes tough to understand unless you have the zeal to become one..
Regards – S. Sampathkumar


  1. Good post. looks useless contraption but my daughter loves them - Gurudev

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