Season 1, Episode 14: The Race is On!
A landslide means Max is left representing the entire team, and he needs to stall for time.
This is a memorable episode for me and one I can picture myself sitting down and watching when I was a kid. The funny thing is this isn’t exactly an episode with super intense battles – despite the opposing team being called “The Blade Hunters” – and the events that drive the story forward are very simple. For some reason though, I find this episode to be incredibly charming and in the spirit of what I love about the show: messages of friendship and perseverance, and dumb jokes that get me every time.
While we’re still very much in Ray’s story arc at this point, this ends up being where we first see some of Tyson’s character development. The episode starts off with Tyson oversleeping and the rest of the team pranking him to wake him up (feeding him a chili pepper while he’s asleep) and having to be literally carried by Ray because he can’t drag himself out of bed. Tyson’s so slow, in fact, that the rest of the Bladebreakers leave him and Ray behind and head over to the stadium without them.
Max, Kenny, Kai and Mr Dickinson arrive at the tournament and the first battle starts. Meanwhile Ray and Tyson are still making their way there – with Tyson complaining the entire way – and manage to catch a bus. They’re finally making good progress on their journey but then come across a landslide. It’s now that the stakes become more apparent; technically Max is the only blader registered for this match who’s actually present to battle.
Knowing that they’ve got to get to the tournament on time, Ray and Tyson decide to proceed on foot. Unfortunately, as they’re climbing up a cliff face, Ray sustains an injury. In a perfect mirror image to the beginning of the episode, Tyson now finds himself carrying Ray to the tournament.
While all of this is going on, it transpires that the Blade Hunters are not quite what they were cracked up to be, and are easy to defeat. We learn that one of their members has a beyblade made from old plywood. Brad Best and AJ Topper also voice their surprise that the team even made it this far. Any other day this would be an easy win, but because there’s nobody to fight the next battle, Max is forced to stall for time. Despite his good intentions, this leads to the crowd thinking that Max is playing the sport poorly and attempting to mock Chucky – his opponent.
I found this whole segment genuinely tense. Despite the fact I’ve seen it before and know how it works. Despite the fact that it’d be a genuinely surprising move to have the Bladebreakers eliminated in episode 14. It’s really well-done suspense and I’ve seen high-budget films that could take a few pointers from this example.
It’s no secret that I like episodes with a nice variety of locations and a great deal of character interaction, so it goes without saying that I really enjoyed this outing. Not only are we treated to character growth, but there were some genuinely really funny moments in this episode. The other team and the fact that their battles weren’t treated seriously is a perfect example of that absurd humour you sometimes see in the show.
What I Liked
The goofy humour sprinkled throughout this episode.
My Favourite Quote
Kai: "Get him, Dranzer!"
- The Blade Hunters are meant to be the team representing the Maldives.
- In the Japanese dub, the reason Ray is carrying Tyson at the start is because the chili-in-the-mouth trick rendered him unconscious – hence his squiggly-drawn eyes.
- If you look carefully, the Blade Hunters are all sharing the same cracked beyblade. It's revealed in the Japanese dub that the sport doesn't really exist in their country, and this is a beyblade that a tourist left behind on a beach. I personally feel it's a shame they took this out of the English dub; it adds much more meaning to Max giving them his old blade.