Volume 3 of the Beyblade: Metal Fusion on DVD takes a break from the battling action of past episodes and puts the focus on back-story for characters and on training. The only way to get stronger is to train but why should gamers and anime fans care, let’s take a look at the latest Metal Fusion.
The Story – As Gingka heads back to his village and is pursued by his friends. As they seek out Gingka both Kenta and Benkei lose to a mysterious blader named Hyouma wielding the beyblade Aries. As the group arrive at Koma Village they just missed Gingka who has travelled to the top of the snowy mountain overlooking the village. He changes for the better upon his arrival back and reunites with his friends. The group upgrade they blades through some routine maintenance then they enter a new event where the winner will be granted a wish by sponsor WBBA. Gingka, Kenta, Benkei and Kyoya all participate and after amassing some impressive victories Gingka has a new mysterious opponent with double his win total. Who is this new opponent and how will injuries slow down the team? The battle rages on.
So the main blader Gingka continues his travels and looks to get stronger after losses in prior episodes. This DVD is a transition DVD, a break in the story. The first few main story arcs have passed, first battles are over and the main characters take a step back to experience growth in strength, training and allow the introduction of new characters that setup the next arc to come. This DVD does exactly this as Gingka and his group each get stronger and the next battles do indeed get underway so as a viewer if you’ve been on this ride, continue, but for those new take time to get caught up.
The Animation and Action – The animation retains the more kid friendly angle with large clothing and the expected personas of trainers/players. It’s bright an vivid with environments that could be used in any of the major anime of this genre (Pokémon for example). The battles and training are over the top and intense and while the stuffy adult may think ‘really?” the fun adult and kids will dig the action as it last long enough not to feel like it’s dragging. The animations and characters are crisp and sharp and look quite good in HD. Beyblade shows a polish shared by its other longer running compatriots Yi-Gi-Oh!, Pokémon and Digimon.
What’s It Mean to Gamers– This exposes itself to two types of gamers. Those who play the video games and those who play with physical, real, beyblades. It brings an added, extra dimension to both of these ventures as they both center around (the video games) and include pictures of (the physical beyblades) the characters from the anime. It’s more depth and development to the pastime these fans have invested in.
What’s It Mean to Anime Fans– Another fun, kid targeted anime that adults can enjoy and kids will dig. It pack some intense action and is not all about friendship and good things, there are some true bad guys and goals here and the story, while not War and Peace, is solid and moves along the action. These are the marketing anime folks that help and allow companies to bring over the other lesser known titles that the more seasoned anime fan wants.
Overall Metal Fusion volume 3 continues the action of the first two volumes but is so deep in story that those new to the series should start earlier. The action picks up and this is a more transition based volume as there is training and revelations that set the stage for epic battles to take place in volume 4. A rock solid, underrated and underappreciated anime indeed.