I’m not sure when the game of tops became used for combat play. Maybe it always was, but in the 80s they decided to get creative with the design. For example, Spinjas had tops that looked like little ninjas and samurai fighting to keep the gyroscope that creates gravity from falling into the hands of evil Spinjas. And you thought only Thundera had that problem. They were neat looking toys but the backstory was kind of silly. The top as a battle game really got popular more recently when Japan sent us Bayblade, in which the tops are all modable fake blades that you used in battle. The show is about as accurate as any Yu-Gi-Oh episode, which means very little of the actual game play exists in favor of fighting spirit and heart and all that stuff. Strategy and luck are for suckers after all.
So what happens when you combine Bayblade with Transformers? You get South Korea’s Robotex, a series of tops that turn into robots…by having them fold up into the top and back out to be robots. It’s like the ultimate shellformer, for my fellow Transformers toy collectors. The toys are released globally by a company called Play Future if you’re curious, but I don’t think tonight’s Showcase is going to be all that convincing to be honest. A series was produced for South Korea’s KBS, and they posted one episode in English on one of their YouTube channels. It’s also the only English episode I could find. So come with us to Korea to meet Stoney, a kid who has trouble making friends because he travels so much, as he meets one of three refugee Robotex robots on the run from their enemies. All I can promise is that you’ve seen worse. I’m posting this more for curiosity than promotion.
So we have a group of jerk kids who may or may not become his friends, robots who don’t communicate through talking (which is admittedly the most creative thing about this show), a trio of the most obvious and incompetent human villains you could find, and the dialog needs work. I am kind of curious to see if the show ever got better. I also thought it was going to end up being some kind of science teaching show, but I’m not necessarily sure I’m wrong given the discussions of Earth and the moon. I could be wrong though. At any rate I’m not sure if this show would have worked out for US kids, but sometimes I’m surprised by what finds an audience.
If you understand Korean you can watch the whole series on one of KBS’s other YouTube channels. Twenty-six episodes of this awaits you. The only other thing I could find besides advertisements on Play Future’s YouTube channel and the translation of the theme song below. It should give you an idea of what to expect.
I’m not sure we missed anything, but it might have been better than the DinoZaurs cartoon.