[Thanks to my good friend keroberrycola for the banner image!]
Bakugan Battle Brawlers is a Japanese-Canadian animated series made to help advertise the strategic miniatures and card game Bakugan developed by Sega Toys and Spin Masters. The series began airing in 2007 and, while it was a commercial failure in Japan, Bakugan found significant popularity in Canada and the United States. This prompted Canadian co-producer Nelvana Animation to commission three more seasons of the show, which would continue to air until 2012. A reboot of the series, Bakugan: Battle Planet, started airing at the end of 2018 to coincide with the release of the trading card game of the same name.
Bakugan: Defenders of the Core is an action-adventure game released in 2010 for the seventh generation of consoles. Unlike the previous video game in the series, Bakugan Battle Brawlers, Defenders of the Core is less interested in emulating the real-life game of Bakugan and instead provides a more traditional video game experience. The game is split between stealth-adventure sections where you play as a human character, and arena battles focusing on collectible kaiju-sized Bakugan. It actually comes off as an inspired adaptation of something as cynical as an anime based on a toy franchise, providing a simplified but still feature-rich series of video game systems for children and also me to enjoy.
While Bakugan’s plot originally dealt with common shonen anime plot beats about how power corrupts and the importance of reconciling differences between people, its second arc, New Vestroia, aims for higher ambitions. Defenders of the Core takes place in a game-exclusive scenario during the events of New Vestroia. The player takes control of a customizable avatar who has to use his Bakugan battling abilities to bring peace to an alternate reality being threatened by the Vestals, a race of people who have enacted colonialism on the Bakugan home planet of New Vestroia and are now aiming to take over Earth. It’ll make sense later, I promise.
I’m ChorpSaway and growing up with a brother much younger than I has given me an odd sort of fondness for this series. I also think this game is genuinely good and an example of a strong anime tie-in game, especially as a children’s anime tie-in. Joining me are my fellow brawlers TheJayOfSpade, FutureFriend and Taoc, who have no knowledge or appreciation for Bakugan as a franchise. Together we’re going to save the world of New Vestroia and learn a little something about friendship and self-respect along the way.
I will be completing the story mode and showing off all the playable Bakugan, as well as getting all of the collectibles in the game.
Look, I get it, we’re playing a kid action game based on a toy franchise and it’s very silly. That said, I’d like to keep the tone of the thread more light-hearted; I don’t need anyone going hard in on Bakugan just because it’s a ploy to get kids to buy toys. We were all into stuff like this as children, none of you are free from sin.