Season 1, Episode 12: Adios Bladebreakers
Ray's coming to terms with the loss of Driger, and his soul searching takes him high into the mountains of China.
This episode follows on just a few hours after the ending of the last. Ray’s lost his bit beast and leaves camp while everybody else is still asleep. Tyson and Max go to look for him under the pressure of the tournament beginning the next day. Without Ray they won’t have a full team, so it’s an all-or-nothing effort that involves some seriously impressive mountain climbing on the part of Max and Tyson.
Story driven, incredible scenery and great character exposition; this is one of those “change of pace” episodes that I love. In terms of understanding Ray’s backstory, then the last episode was like the appetiser – it gave us just enough information to want more, but it hardly answered our questions. This episode is still far from being the main dish though – perhaps something more like a side of fries to stave us over, but ultimately we’re left wondering “what did you do Ray?”
Something I really enjoyed was just how dark this episode felt. As well as Ray’s history, we see some of the in-universe history of beyblading itself. We learn that it came from a weapon called a bey, and the bit beasts were themselves there to help warriors destroy their enemies. As this is explained we’re treated to a surprisingly graphic still of one of Ray’s warrior ancestors standing victoriously over a field of dead soldiers, some of whom have spears poking out of them.
In terms of the rift between Ray and the White Tigers, you start to get the impression that it’s more a rift between Lee and Ray; Mariah is desperate to get Ray back to the team. This is a great bit of insight into Ray and Lee’s former friendship and gives us an idea of how painful a betrayal this must have been.
Finally I’d like to praise the animators and storyboard artists of this episode. There are some experimental shots to be found here; you get the sense people were having fun making it. When Tyson, Max and Kenny are talking while walking through the courtyard near the beginning of the episode it’s animated “on ones” – or in other words, a brand new frame for each of the 24 frames per second the animation runs at – for no apparent reason. Another example is the cool Kung Fu movie style editing. Take the camera movement when Mariah is revealed to be on the cliff for example.
In summary, this episode is a great representative of the series and if someone had started watching the show with this episode, I daresay they’d want to carry on to the next.
What I Liked
The Kung Fu style editing of this episode; it really worked nicely with the backdrop of rural China. I also really enjoyed seeing the very rare, more assertive, side of Mr. Dickenson when he gets fed up of Tyson because it gives him some depth as a character.
My Favourite Quote
Max: “You know, I’ve always fantasized about climbing Mount Everest. I’ll even let you be my Sherpa!”
- For some reason it's never explicitly mentioned in the English dub of this season, but Mariah is meant to be Lee's little sister
- I can't be sure, but it's possible the mountain that Ray chooses to climb is the same one we see Driger perched on as he leaves in the previous episode
- In a lot of the scenes of this episode - especially the final scenes on top of the mountain - many of the characters appear to be drawn "off model" and have disproportionally large heads. This makes them appear more youthful than they normally do.