Rewind time to a decade ago when we had limited access to multimedia entertainment, when most of our schedules were seized by study books and homeworks, and getting to watch our favourite shows on TV was something we'd be looking forward to all day; when Beyblade was still airing and the talk of the town, at least in the world of the lively, high-spirited youth. Beyblade, known in Japan as Bakuten Shūto Beiburēdo, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Takao Aoki centring on the game of spinning tops called “Beyblades”. The anime adaption of Beyblade had been one of those colourful, millennial-themed, Cartoon Network series many of us grew up watching that struck a chord with us. Some of the things we'd likely always reminisce about Beyblade include —
The beyblades: And the merchandise too. With the show at its prime, most of the retail shops would be lined up with Beyblade merchandises. There used to be children of all ages out in the school corridors and canteen floors trying out their newly bought beyblades, comparing the launchers and showing off their makeshift beyblade arenas, which would often be plastic or metal dishes, sometimes even steel pots taken from the kitchen.
The mania: Be it for the characters, the animation, the story, or even merely the hype, Beyblade had been one of the most popular shows targeted for the youngsters. There were girls debating over the strongest beyblader in the show, there were boys using pens to have bey-battles in class, there were sing-along sessions during the intense fight scenes when the background music blared out and seemingly no end to the craze.
The soundtrack: The soundtrack of the show was (and still is) a fan favourite. Along with knowing all the songs by heart, fans would form playlists according to ratings, research the artists and break down lyrics. Some songs frequently recommended and worth trying would be 'Rise above the Storm', 'Swing Low', 'All across the Nation' and of course, the theme song from the first series.
The friends: It wasn't rare to bump into strangers only to find out they were fans of Beyblade too back then. It helped to overlook the class groupings, conflicts, and petty fights; awkward meetings were less awkward and finding conversations starters were easier. This show linked a lot of lives and opened a gateway for new friendships that lasted years.
The lessons: It may have been a short-lived phase, but it had an impact that most of us who watched it took with us along the years as we grew up. In terms of content, it was more or less the same as any other anime series we used to watch when we were little, highlighting courage, hope, perseverance and the value of friends and family. But even so, Beyblade still connected with the audience, became a committed medium to put every message across with sincerity and heart, and remains to this day a cherished memory for fans.
Mashiyat Iqbal is a sad procrastinator, a sad coffee-addict and a sad insomniac whose friends say she is hopelessly optimistic but she begs to differ. Send her pity at email@example.com