Flashback Friday: B-Daman
In a world where animated Japanese shows feature some really awesome ways to settle arguments such as summoning creatures from playing cards, going super saiyan, or fighting robots with interchangeable limbs. There were some less meaningful ways like spinning tops or rolling balls that turn into animals. But the least interesting, or so in theory, was the act of shooting marbles at targets. But that is exactly what B-Daman was, a game where you take small “Blasters” and try to hit targets, or what ever the goal of the specific game you are playing was. With that being said, they took a goofy and unique gimmick and I have to say that it really worked out for them.
Being based off ht original Bomberman design and games seams like a bit of a stretch, but that is actually where the franchise comes from. Everything before the year 2000 was the Bomberman age, and where the toys looked really sweet, they were extremely dangerous and now very expensive. That was before they implemented safety elements to keep kids from shooting at them self’s or others. Some were just regular humanoids who shot “bombs” or marbles out of their chest, while others were cars or ships or other types of vehicles. Sometimes they would even combine together to create a behemoth of a creation.
Next came Battle B-Daman, which brought the customizability to a whole new level, as well as bring a more competitive edge to the game. When you bought a B-Daman kit, it would come not assembled. Almost like a model kit or a Gundam. Your basic blaster would have its main core with a head, then you would attach arms and legs, then finally adding armor. It definitely made the B-Daman feel more unique and almost having a personality. You could switch the arms and legs of each blaster as you please. Magazines would slide into the back of each head, allowing for a larger marble capacity. You could even throw some arms and a head onto come DHB(Direct Hit Battle) armor, which was used for the most common game type for this series. As the name suggests, the point is to hit the other players blaster. Hitting the target underneath the opposing barrel causes your opponent to no longer shott and thus he would loos the game.
Fallowing that came my personal favorite series, Crash B-Daman. This series is little less familiar to americans seeing as it never left japan, as well as got canceled due to the blasters being based off of hand guns, and no one whats to glorify that. The plasters consist of your base B-Daman core, its barrel attachment, your trigger grip as well as some armor to help spruce the glorified marble holder. Some of the kits would come with some sort of ammo increaser. The capacity for a base B-Daman was 3 marbles(B-dama) but could be maximized to about 11 depending on which set you picked up or the magazine or server you chose. Even the standard ammo increaser was based off of a rifle magazine. But to be honest, it is kind of satisfying shooting marbles at pieces of plastic with a fake gun.
The final series would come to america with the title Crossfire, But was originally name Cross Fight back in its home country of Japan. Going back to a more humanoid or even animalistic feel for their blasters, this series probably became most popular in the toy market. These blasters consisted of a head piece, two arms and conjoined feet pieces, but the gimmicks mainly focused on each core. This time around the cores seam to be the biggest factor in your shooting skills. Some would shoot hard and fast, others would let the ball out easier with less power but allowing for faster rate of fire. Some would shoot two B-Dama at once, and some would curve to a desired side. The gimmicks got so crazy at times that you could make a B-Dama drift 90 degrees straight down with almost perfect accuracy or load your B-Daman from the bottom instead of the head. There were so many different choices of parts, the combinations were infinite and any player could find his perfect blaster. Asl ong as you buy enough kits to find what worked for you.
B-Daman Is a perfect series for anime fans and collectors alike. The only problem is that you mostly find collectors nowadays and not enough people to play with. But I still collect, hoping one day my son will be willing to pick up a B-Daman and be able to defeat his old man. The prices are fairly reasonable (unless you need the color varients, clear variants or anything from the final battle set) and very easy to find on Ebay and Amazon. You can even find hundreds of youtube videos unboxing, customizing or even battling B-Daman all over YouTube (*cough* Team SaixShire *cough*). I for one think this series needs to come back very soon. But that’s just one mans opinion, what do you think of the series.
Written By Mark Chiasson