first impressions

Well, when we come to love a character, there is one thing we can hardly forget about them – that is, the first time they appear on a show. For most of the characters we love, we always remember the first time we saw them and what impression they left on us, whether it was bad or good. Whether they were introduced as heroes or everyday people, even if we come to see them under another light by the end of the series, we can hardly forget how they looked the first time they showed up, because that's where our love for those characters was born. And Kai is no different – I was immediately drawn to him ever since he got his very first screentime (which was not enough, in my opinion, though that's what made him special in the first place – the mysterious aura and all). So, when did Kai first appear in Beyblade?

Well, I am pleased to say that Kai is introduced right in the very first episode – which, in my opinion, shows that he's a major character in the series. While the other Bladebreakers were introduced a bit later (Max appeared in episode 3, while Rei came along in episode 4. ... yeah, okay, it's probably not that big of a difference, but still), Kai showed up right before the end of episode 1. Although he appeared for just a few minutes, it was immediately clear what kind of character he was – that is... somewhat of a jerk. Seriously, he did sound like one. Though the way he was introduced was still really cool.

How exactly was he introduced, anyway? Well, let's take a look a his very first scenes in the anime, step by step.

Our protagonist, Takao, had challenged Iruta, a member of the Shellkillers (bladers that worked for Kai) to a beybattle. They had agreed that, if Iruta lost, he should give back all the beyblades he had collected from the bladers he beat; whereas, if Takao lost, then Iruta could take his beyblade as well. However, winning against Iruta is not exactly a piece of cake, as his beyblade is really heavy and thus very difficult to knock out. Kyouji (yes, he too was introduced in the very first episode) tells Takao that the only way he can win is by increasing his beyblade's speed by four times. Most of the episode focuses on Takao trying out a new strategy, which consists in launching his beyblade while running and jumping in the air (yeah, I know, it does sound a bit silly when you're not a kid anymore). Eventually, he finally manages to increase his beyblade's speed and is able to defeat Iruta. But of course, do you really think that Iruta is actually going to keep his promise? As you can imagine, he tries to run away with his collection of beyblades, only to stop in his tracks when he sees a figure in the twilight. That figure, ladies and gentlemen, is none another than Kai Hiwatari!

Talk about a really cool entrance. We see this dark figure standing mighty against the light of the sunset. Isn't that just epic? When I was younger, I was totally blown away by this. This introduction just makes you think, 'Oh my, now THIS is going to be a cool character.' You can just feel it. This is also where all the mysteriousness started. Seeing this character that we absolutely know nothing about, standing there, with the sunset in the background and his scarf blowing in the wind – doesn't that just make him terribly mysterious? It definitely makes you want to know more about this character.

  

So, after the whole (extremely cool, mind you) 'scarf blowing in the sunset' thing, Kai jumps right in front of Iruta. We can see that Iruta is really scared of Kai – and who wouldn't be? Especially after losing a beybattle. We can also see that Kai, though still being cold towards him, is a bit mad at him for losing against someone weak (referring to Takao), and he tells him that he should feel ashamed of himself. Iruta attempts to say something, but of course, being incredibly scared, he ends up stuttering a few words, which does not save him from what's about to come.

At this point, Kai looks quite unimpressed and almost bored at Iruta's whining. So, what does he do to make sure that Iruta pays for what he's done and that he understands the consequences? Why, he slaps him, of course. Now, let me say that this slapping was totally unexpected. I definitely didn't see it coming. Even though he was mad at Iruta, Kai still managed to keep his cool. He looked and sounded mad, of course – but he still kept his posture. So, when he slapped Iruta, it kind of happened out of the blue. And that slap is no normal slap, either. He slaps him so hard that Iruta actually falls to the ground – you can tell that must have hurt. And what does he do after slapping Iruta? Why, he just walks away!

 

He doesn't go very far, however, for Takao stops him and challenges him, because he can't accept the way he just treated Iruta. Kai accepts the challenge, though still being somewhat of a jerk towards Takao, but he's confident that he can win. And how could he lose? He already has a Bit Beast within Dranzer. So, the episode ends with a cliffhanger, as both Kai and Takao launch their beyblades and begin to battle.

  

So, what conclusions can we make about Kai from his very first appearance on the show? Well, certainly that he's a cold, feared and respected leader, who knows how to punish those who disobey or disappoint him. The way Iruta just petrifies when he sees him is proof enough. We also see that he might be a bit violent – though after that slap, Kai does not physically beat anyone else for the rest of the anime. He's also sorrounded by an aura of mystery and coolness, which makes him really interesting. The fact that he also has a Bit Beast shows that he already knows about them (as well as the fact that he's searching for bladers who have them, too) and that, of course, he's not your average blader. He's not cocky about being extremely good at beyblading, however – he's just conscious of his power and his skills as a blader. I understand that he might also sound like a jerk, because of his attitude and the slapping (and he doesn't really get any better in the first few episodes), but later in the series this character is sure to make us change our minds about him.

In the meantime, we'll just remember his first appearance as one of the coolest (if not THE coolest) of the entire series.

Flames of Ice © Chibi. Part of Reflection & The Endless Sky Network.
Bakuten Shoot Beyblade & all its characters © Takao Aoki.
No copyright infringement intended.
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