Season 1, Episode 13: Crouching Lion, Hidden Tiger
The Asian Tournament continues, and there's still no sign of Driger. The rivalry between the Blade Breakers and the White Tigers intensifies.
I tend to treat this as two short episodes; there are two very distinct halves to it. The first half follows the White Tigers as they fight against the Spin Shepherds – the Mongolian national team – and the second half follows the Blade Breakers going up against The Charming Princes – the Indian national team. Folks, I’ve said before that Beyblade doesn’t have the most sensitive approach to portraying other nations and uses some pretty heavy-handed caricatures at times. This episode is no exception, so please keep that in mind!
The Spin Shepherds make use of wool-coated beyblades to absorb their opponents’ blows and the The Charming Princes make use of novelty-looking oversized beyblades. With this in mind I think you can safely say that the battles aren’t the main driving force of the plot; you’re never left worrying about either the Blade Breakers or White Tigers making it through to the next round.
This starts to make sense as the episode moves forward. Even during his own battle, Lee is practically toying with his opponent while he spends the entire battle taunting and talking to Ray (and he still manages to win). This is where we finally get to see exactly what led Ray to leave the tribe.
What I really enjoyed, though, is the fact that we get to see this story through both the eyes of Lee and Ray. Lee’s version of events is black-and-white: Ray abandoned his tribe and showed an unforgivable degree of disloyalty. Ray points out that he was feeling stagnant in the tribe and wanted to experience more of the world so that he could bring what he learned home. Lee remains reluctant, but now seems to be the only member of the White Tigers to still hold the grudge. The pair vow to face one another during the Asian Tournament.
Finally, we see the return of Driger! As Ray regains his confidence in battle, so does his bit beast regain confidence in his owner. I’m conflicted on this because it was a great moment in the episode, but I think it happened too soon. We only went a single episode without Driger so now, in the age of binge watching, it doesn’t feel like such a loss.
Overall, this was an enjoyable episode and it drove the plot forward. The quotes were memorable and the exposition alone makes it worth watching.
What I Liked
Seeing more of Ray's hometown and the backstory of the rift between him and his former team.
My Favourite Quote
Mariah: “Keep up your attack Gary, and sooner or later you’ll make lamb chops of that wooly old beyblade!”
Gary (licking lips): “Lamb chops, sweet lamb chops...”
Mariah: “Ugh! Forget I said that and concentrate on the match!”
- The episode title appears to be a play on the title of 2000 film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which is also set in China.
- When Ray's blade has destroyed the trick dish it's standing atop a column of rock. This strongly resembles the mountain in the last episode and is possibly done for symbolic reasons