World Beyblade championship set for Toronto in March

Translated by The Asahi Shimbun from the website of Anime Anime Japan Ltd.

The 2012 World Beyblade Championship will be held in Canada, with top players from more than 40 countries vying for the title of the world’s “No. 1 Blader,” Corus Entertainment Inc. announced.

The championship will be held March 25 at Corus Entertainment’s new office building in Toronto’s waterfront area, the company said.

Regional and national tournaments will be held in the second half of 2011 to determine participants from each country to compete for the top spot.

Developed by Japan’s leading toymaker Tomy Co., Beyblade is a spinning top toy popular among children.

The championship will be presented by Tomy, d-rights Inc., U.S. toy company Hasbro Inc. and Nelvana Enterprises, a subsidiary of Canada’s leading media conglomerate Corus Entertainment.

After Beyblade was relaunched in 2008, an Asian championship was held in 2010 in Seoul.

The Asian competition is slated to take place in summer this year. But it will be the first time to organize a championship that includes players from countries outside Asia.

Beyblade, which was developed in 1999, is the high-performance version of a Japanese traditional spinning top known as “begoma.” The toy instantly became wildly popular at home and abroad, selling 160 million units in 55 countries.

A new generation of the tops were introduced in 2008 under the name of “Metal Fight: Beyblade,” or “Beyblade: Metal Fusion” in North America, and became popular in Japan and other Asian countries.

It made a foray into Europe and North America in 2010. The popularity was so phenomenal that related toys became in short supply.

The “Metal Fight: Beyblade” animated TV series was also produced after the relaunch, and the show continues to enjoy enormous popularity.

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