Bakugan Battle Brawlers: Mechtanium Surge

TV (46 eps)
2011 - 2012
Winter 2011
3.125 out of 5 from 1,485 votes
Rank #13,288
Bakugan Battle Brawlers: Mechtanium Surge

Drago is unable to control the powers he has received from Code Eve, so Dan and Drago contemplate retirement. Meanwhile a new and insidious enemy infiltrates Bakugan Interspace shaking the Battle Brawlers and their fans. The Battle Brawlers must find a way to control Code Eve's powers, with the help of some new allies, or else this new threat could threaten all Bakugan everywhere.

Source: ANN

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This review will contain some spoilers under "Characters" and "Ending" as I describe how well or poorly some characters were written and how the wrap-up of the story was handled. - It’s finally over. This nightmare of a season is finally over. I watched Bakugan ever since it first started airing. I really enjoyed New Vestroia (season 2) and Gundalian Invaders (season 3), so I was excited for Mechtanium Surge. Unfortunately, it was a disappointment. I watched the first 7 episodes regularly before I got too annoyed with it. I watched some episodes after episode 7, but not regularly, so I didn’t have much context of what was happening. Eventually, I decided to drop it completely. Due to my New Year's promise for this year, I decided to pick this anime up again, determined to finish it. Now that's I've finally watched all episodes, I can describe what season 4 of Bakugan got right and what went wrong. Story (5/10) The season is split up into two arcs. I’m calling Arc 1 “Dan makes everything worse”, and it was extremely frustrating to sit through. It mainly takes place in Bakugan Interspace, a virtual dimension designed by Marucho where people participate in bakugan battles. The protagonist of the story - Dan - along with his best friends Shun and Marucho are currently the best brawlers in Interspace. There are also two other important groups in Interspace - Team Anubias and Team Sellon. It’s pretty obvious that Anubias and Sellon are up to something from the first episodes. It doesn’t take long for the audience to find out that the two of them are working for the bad guy of Arc 1 called Mag Mel, who obviously must be stopped. I think this "plot twist" could've been written better. It would've been better if we - the auidience - found out about Anubias and Sellon's true motives at the same time the brawlers did. Unfortunately, it was revealed so early that it's not even a plot twist. It can't even be considered a spoiler. Arc 1 ends around episode 26 where the audience is introduced to the new villains - a couple of Mechtogans (They might be normal bakugans. I don’t really care) who seek revenge against Drago because Drago’s ancestor had banished them to the Doom Dimension, which is basically a graveyard for bakugans. Again, not a spoiler. They quickly teamed up with the main villain of Arc 2 named Wiseman, whose goal was to destroy the world. You know, the usual. I’d like to title Arc 2 as “Transformers: Bakugan edition” because they look like transformers now. Story was pretty boring overall and unnecessary dragged out. Not to mention it’s extremely predictable. The only two times MS actually made me frown in surprise were the reveals of Mag Mel’s true identity and Wiseman’s true identity. But that’s it. Honestly, I think giving this category a 5/10 is me being generous. They have no excuse to be this lazy with the script. Animation is pretty bad as well. The human (or human-like) characters are fine, but the Mechtogans look terrible and the battle scenes are truly a "hit or miss". Sometimes they're acceptable, sometimes they look horrendous. Also, there are so many plotholes in the story. For example, Shun and Marucho have new bakugan partners in Arc 1 (which they always do in each season because they’re not Dan). By the time Arc 2 starts, they suddenly have new partners again. They don’t explain what happened to the previous ones or how they met their new partners. Just…why? Let’s keep it to facts; this entire season was nothing but a big cash grab. If you’ve watched the previous three seasons, you can instantly tell that no love went into this. The amount of new bakugans show this as well. New evolutions, fusions, triple fusions, BakuNanos (basically add-on weapons for bakugans), Mechtogans  and Mechtogan Titans. Hell, Arc 1 even includes bakugan on motorcycles. They just want to sell toys. And they have no shame in doing it. Characters (3/10) (Spoilers) Boy, do I have a lot to say about this category. Let’s start with Dan Kuso - the hero to the story. Grab a drink because this will take a while. This season actually made me despise Dan. In the beginning of MS, it becomes evident that Drago couldn't control his new powers while Dan had begun to see strange visions and dreams. Eventually, he and Drago decided to leave to train in New Vestroia. You know, leaving everyone behind and without telling them what’s going on. This was both dumb and irresponsible of him considering that he’s the leader of the Bakugan Brawlers, yet didn’t even give someone else the title of (temporary) leader until he came back, leaving the group in a mess. When he later returned to Bakugan Interspace (as a deus ex machina), he immediately engaged in battle despite Marucho screaming at him not to do it. The reason why was because Bakugan Interspace was very unstable. The battle was dangerous to Dan and Drago, as well as everyone else in the Bakugan Interspace. Of course, Dan couldn’t possibly have known that specific part. However, if your best friend - who’s also the creator of the virtual dimension - is panicking and yelling at you to stop, you should at least ask him why. I understand Dan was eager to show off how much how much he had learned, but he’s so blinded by his emotions that he couldn't see what was going on around him. Marucho had to physically grab Dan’s arm to prevent him from continuing the battle. What’s extremely frustrating was that Dan acted so nonchalantly when he returned, acting like everything was fine and nothing ever happened. He didn’t even apologize for abandoning his team when he’s supposed to be the leader of it. And when he found out that Marucho had become the new leader (obviously, the team needed a new leader since Dan wasn’t around), Dan had the nerve to get angry. No, you abandoned your team. You have literally no right to complain about someone else stepping up to fix the problems you caused. Moreover, Mag Mel had the ability to see what Dan could see through Dan's visions that he kept having, so when the brawlers found out that Mag Mel was heading towards the capital of planet Gundalia (from season 3) to destroy it, Marucho told Dan to stay behind since Drago couldn't control his powers and because Mag Mel could see what Dan saw. Yet, for some reason, Dan got angry, exclaimed that he was the leader and the creator of the brawlers, and that Marucho therefore couldn't remove him from the team. Let’s get one fact straight: just because you’re the group’s creator, doesn’t mean you’re fit to lead it. To make things worse, Dan even grabbed Marucho by his collar as a threat. Excuse me? He even called Marucho a pest after he left. His disrespect towards Marucho is insane. And this is supposed to be our hero? This self-centered, arrogant, disrespectful, irresponsible jerk is the hero??? He and Marucho ended up apologizing to each other. First of all, Dan only apologized for not realizing that the others were just caring about him the entire time, not because of his rudeness towards Marucho or because he abandoned his team. I don’t know why, but the others accepted this apology and started calling him their leader again. Why? The guy is clearly unfit to be a leader. He can’t even reflect on- and take responsibility for his own actions. Secondly, Marucho had nothing to apologize for. It wasn't his fault that Dan acted like a toddler throwing a tantrum. Dan got a bit better in Arc 2, but it's still not good. He’s still far too OP, just like previous seasons. Really? You couldn’t let Gunz beat him even once?  I usually try to remain as objective as possible in my reviews by finding both positive and negative features, but it's difficult to avoid ranting when a character - especially the character we're supposed to be rooting for - is this terribly written. You know what would’ve saved Dan’s character? If he had actually stepped back and given Marucho his support as the new leader of the Bakugan Brawlers, showing that he’s had some self-reflection and matured as a person. Marucho got such an unfair treatment in Arc 1, both by Dan and by the newcomers Rafe (Haos brawler from Neathia) and Paige (Subterra brawler from Gundalia). He’s clearly the most reasonable person there, yet nobody listened to him. And he went through more character development in one single episode than Dan did in the entire season. Shun was fine as always, but he didn't really stand out as much as other characters, which is disappointing considering his status as a main character in both arcs. I will give him credit for one thing though; it was pretty badass of Shun to have a combat fight against a bakugan. Twice. Furthermore, the newcomers - Rafe and Paige - only appeared in Arc 1, which makes me once again wonder why they even bothered creating these two in the first place instead of bringing back other characters. They could've brought back Ace and Baron for nostalgia's sake, but nope. They even could've pulled a real plot twist by bringing the entire Vexos back, but nope. I was overjoyed to see Spectra and Gus in Arc 1 though. But as much as I like Spectra, he was nothing more than a deus ex machina who showed up briefly to save the day when the creators had written themselves into a corner. Mira was an important character during Arc 2, which I’m glad to see despite nobody explaining why she's suddenly living on Earth now. Anyway, she works as a professor and helped the brawlers by creating new battle gears from Vestal's technology. Julie appeared as a news reporter and Runo also returned. I’m glad to see both of them with more significant roles compared to New Vestroia where they caused more damage than actually helping the brawlers. Speaking of the girls, I must say I’m quite disappointed with their roles. Arc 1 was…acceptable. We had Paige and Sellon with her two teammates Chris and Soon, who are all girl brawlers. Guess how many girl brawlers are in Arc 2. I’ll tell you how many. Zero. Nobody. Not a single female brawler. A Haos bakugan even showed up from New Vestroia, was very eager to fight and begged Runo to be his partner. She declined. Why the hell not? Runo (and Mira, since she had a Subterra bakugan) could’ve joined the battle team, which would’ve been great nostalgia for returning watchers. I get why Mira wasn't able to fight, but there’s no reason why Runo couldn't. Since when did she become so passive anyway? Again, I’m disappointed with the lack of female brawlers, especially in Arc 2. The last character I’d like to give a shout-out to is Gunz, a new character of Arc 2. By far the most interesting character in the entire arc with an established backstory, a nice build-up and a breath of fresh air in regards to his personality. A disappointing conclusion of his character since I strongly believe he should’ve defeated Dan at least once (Specifically their last battle), but of course he didn’t since Dan has the “Gary-Stu armor”. Frankly, Anubias and Spectra carried Arc 1 while Gunz and Mira carried Arc 2. If it hadn’t been for Dan and how terribly he was written, this category would’ve received a 5/10. Thanks for being a pain, Dan. Music and voice acting (5/10) I watched it in English dub because I didn’t want to suffer more than I already was. The English opening and ending has the exact same music as the previous seasons. The only difference is that the opening has scenes from MS and there are new bakugans dancing in the end. But I must admit one thing; I've always loved the dancing bakugan in the ending. They're so adorable. Most of the humans have acceptable casting with good line deliveries. Special mention goes to Scott McCord as Daniel "Dan" Kuso, Graeme Cornies as Gunz Lazar and Rob Tinkler as Wiseman. A lot of the bakugans, however, were pretty emotionless or simply had voices that didn’t fit them. Still, I think Andrew Jackson did a decent job as Helios and Crispin Freeman as Amazon was fun to listen to. Overall, I'd say it was average, so I'm giving this category a 5/10. Ending (3/10) (Spoilers) Anticlimactic and predictable. There’s one thing in the final fight that had me roll my eyes that I just have to mention. The original Dragonoid (Drago’s ancestor) started speaking during the final battle. During this, he actually started explaining to the Mechtogans(?) that they wanted revenge against him for locking them up in the Doom Dimension and tried to get revenge on Drago. You don't say. The creators have clearly never heard of the “Show, don’t tell” rule. We already knew what had happened since the Mechtogans(?) had talked about this before. We already knew why they were angry and wanted to destroy Drago because, again, the Mechtogans(?) had already mentioned it before. You don’t have to spell it out for the audience (again). Yes, the anime may be targeted towards young boys, but they most certainly aren’t morons. Everyone's aware of what’s going on, so this was completely pointless and does nothing but dragging out the final fight by 3 minutes. The very final scene in the anime truly is a sight to see, which you almost need to see for yourself to believe. It's a good summary of how Dan is a character now. In case you're curious about what happened, you'll have to watch it yourself because I'm not spoiling that part. The anime is easy to find, and can be watched on Youtube. Furthermore, the ending didn't clear up the missing plot points either, so I'll give the ending a 3/10 because it wasn't handled well. Total: 16/40. Disappointing. Honestly, I’m still unsure whether I’m glad I decided to finish this anime or not. I guess I lean more towards being pleased. Maybe? Probably? Whatever, it doesn’t really matter. The season had some good things about it. But for every good thing, they are countered with 3 bad things. The result is the season being a massive disappointment, so I'm going to have to give this a 2/5 stars and a 4/10 rating. It's a bit below average. Personally, I don't recommend watching this season. All three previous seasons are better than this, I can assure you that. But if you decide to watch MS for whatever reason, I wish you best of luck getting through Arc 1. Note: This review has also been posted on my MAL account.

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