Back in the 1990s we had these toys called Sky Dancers, which were kind of like Beyblades, except instead of being “let rip” into a plastic battle arena, they were launched into the sky. They looked like Barbies, except their hands were big foam propellers. When the ripcord was pulled, their propellers would spin like helicopter blades, launching the Sky Dancers into the air. It was fun to see how high they would fly if you pulled really hard on the ripcord, but it was even more fun to aim them at my little brother and see if I could chop his head off. After hundreds of reported injuries, including scratched corneas and broken teeth, the Sky Dancers were recalled.
A lot of the death trap toys from my youth are gone. I definitely have brain damage from inhaling the fumes created by Super Elastic Bubble Plastic, and looking back, I don’t think it was worth it. Cap Guns were created to prevent young children from losing their hearing, the Slip N’ Slide was basically a fast track to the emergency room, and lawn darts are now banned because they keep stabbing kids in the face. To be clear, I think it’s a good thing that toys don’t maim or kill children so often anymore, but it also gives me some pride to know that I survived metal slides, moon shoes, and the finger-eating Snacktime Cabbage Patch Doll.
Despite the general increase in safety standards over the years, one extremely flawed toy has continued to thrive since the 1990s and somehow managed to become the same. more dangerous over the years. I’m talking, of course, about Beyblades, heavy pinwheels of death covered in metal spikes designed to tear each other and your hands to shreds. Google “Beyblade injuries” and you’ll find hundreds, if not thousands, of reports of bruises, lacerations, and friction burns caused by Beyblades. The Beyblade caused infinitely more damage than the Sky Dancers ever did, but managed to survive for over 20 years and somehow became even more dangerous.
With each new generation of Beyblade, Taraka Tomy found new ways to raise the stakes. The second generation, which started in 2008, introduced heavier metal beyblades that could spin faster and had more complex parts that could do more damage. Introduced in 2016, the Burst system added a new mechanic that would make the Beyblade explode when it took enough damage, sending chunks of metal flying in different directions. In July, the fourth generation of Beyblade, Beyblade X, will hit the store shelves, which somehow seems to be the most dangerous version yet.
I don’t follow Beyblade these days, but I saw this TikTok video explaining the new features of Beyblade X, and it freaked me out. The Beyblade X has a pinion-shaped attachment—a pointed tip that contacts the arena—that’s designed to catch on the track on the outside of the arena, forcing the Beyblade to accelerate back toward the center at absurd speeds. According to this TikToker, the new launcher is also three times faster than the old one, and I believe it. When I first saw the video, I was amazed at how fast the new version spins. When he catches the edge of the arena and crashes into another Beyblade, it looks like he hits it with the force of a semi truck.
The Beyblade X’s are designed to be played in this new arena, which has a larger dome that covers the top to prevent the tops from launching themselves, but come on. I too had an arena when I was a kid, but I also stuffed the Beyblade in my pocket and let it rip on the trays at the playground and in the cafeteria. Even if you have it in the arena, these things are not made of reinforced military materials. The “Premium” Xtreme Stadium is worth $30 in plastic and is the only thing standing between a ten-year-old and a detached retina.
The scariest thing is that they are not yet at their full destructive potential. All of the Beyblade launchers shown so far have been right-handed, meaning that the Beyblade spins clockwise after being launched. When the generation gets left-handed launchers, the Beyblades will be able to go both ways on the track. You’ll not only be crashing the Beyblades in the middle of the stadium, but right next to the track when they’re moving the fastest.
For the record, they look sick as hell. I’ve been watching Beyblade X videos for a week now and I can’t get enough of them. A YouTuber named zankye was doing preview videos with his dad for a few weeks and I saw them both have to jump out of the way to avoid a flying Beyblad that launched itself out of the arena multiple times, and these guys are pros. You know because they wear fingerless racing gloves.
I’m not here to celebrate the broken fingers, blood blisters, and stitched up wounds that inevitably result from Beyblade X battles, but you have to admire the tenacity of the Beyblade brand and Beyblade players. Our society is quick to weed out anything that poses even the slightest danger to children, yet Beyblade lives on and becomes more dangerous every year. By 2028, the Beyblade will need rocket fuel to launch and the arena will look like the setting of Beyond Thunderdome. I can not wait
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