- Recent Beyblade Events: Beyblade West & Hasbro at CharaExpo
- Learning How to (Not) Relax – JoJo’s Experience with Large vs. Small Tournaments
- Getting Started as a Beyblade Tournament Organizer
- Getting Started as a Beyblade Youtuber
- How JoJo Prepares for Beyblade Tournaments
- The Desire to Have Fun vs. The Desire to Win
- Impressions of The Current Beyblade Metagame
- The Many Beyblade Communities of California
- Advice For Creating Your Own Beyblade Community
- How JoJo Got Into Beyblade & The Community
- The Impact the Beyblade Community Has Had On JoJo’s Life
- Follow JoJo
I recently had the opportunity to interview well-known Beyblade Youtuber, player, and WBO Organizer JoJo [Jp0t].
Her channel focuses on Beyblade reviews and battles, but she also covers other toys like Bakugan. She has been uploading for basically a decade, so it seemed to me like there might not be a better candidate for my first interview here on BeyBase!
We spoke about a wide range of topics, including some of the recent events she has hosted and attended, as well as her experience as a tournament organizer, approach to competitive situations.
I also asked how she got into Beyblade and Youtube. At least one of those things involved someone yelling “I don’t like Yu-Gi-Oh any more. I play with Beyblades!” while ripping a Dragoon onto concrete …
Recent Beyblade Events: Beyblade West & Hasbro at CharaExpo
Blader Kei: You hosted Beyblade West last weekend in Huntington Beach! How did that event come to be?
JoJo [Jp0t]: Ooh, that’s a long story. It started when we were planning WBO X. When that got out on hold, some YouTubers were still expecting a big tournament in Southern California. So I decided to host one at the end of November around Thanksgiving but with less people. It would be kind of tough to do a whole tournament with over 100 people. When word got around in chat rooms, a bunch of bladers from the east coast and Canada decided to come!
I originally wanted it to be a one-day event but turned into a 3-day event since there would be help from other organizers.
K: Right, that’s what I sort of heard through a few other people as it was being planned. WBO X Championship is another story altogether, but for anyone reading this: before that event was put on hold, we had been leaning towards hosting it in California.
It’s cool that you were able to make something happen anyways, though! The choice to keep it under 100 people was a smart one too. We’ve tried huge events over the past couple years like Beytuber Brawl and BEYBLADE SHOGATSU 2019, but despite the organizational improvements we’ve made, you really do need a professional and dedicated team to do a huge event justice.
J: It was pretty fun. Very small booth and they were only using Beyblade Burst SlingShock stadiums for the tournament. It was too bad they weren’t selling anything. They did demo HyperSphere for a bit but that was pretty much it.
CharaExpo is a really small convention.
K: What were the tournaments like exactly?
J: 16 player tournament, Turbo and any previous Beys were only allowed.
K: That seems typical. There really is an opportunity for Hasbro to do more at conventions, if that’s the case.
Like why not take inspiration from TAKARA-TOMY and offer event exclusive Beyblades? Or host G3, G2, or G1 style tournaments?
J: Yeah! I was hoping they would do HyperSphere tournaments! But it was only demoed. Only 2 of them were out to play with. They did have an exclusive pin lol
K: Ha, yeah I saw that. It just continues to strike me how differently Hasbro and TAKARA-TOMY handle the product. But hopefully Hasbro ramps up their efforts as time goes on; they really seem to be pushing their presence at conventions lately, so it’s a step in the right direction.
Had you met the BeybladeGeeks before?
J: I met them once before when they were in town for VidCon. I just met them at an In-n-Out for food. We didn’t stay long cuz Brendan had a flight back home. They’re really cool and laid back.
Learning How to (Not) Relax – Jojo’s Experience with Large vs. Small Tournaments
K: Do you have a preference for larger or smaller events? Both as a player and organizer.
J: Beytuber Brawl was the first large event experience I’ve had. It actually gave me some anxiety to be honest. Besides Beyblade West, the other large events we’ve had 3 other events with over 50 people.
K: You’re definitely not alone when it comes to Beytuber Brawl! We did pretty well, all things considered. But it was a huge learning experience.
For years, many regions struggled to get enough people for events, so we were always in the mode of wanting to get more and more people. This was the right mindset, but obviously … we have limits!
Large events require more planning and time than most people are willing to invest as an unpaid volunteer, and I think that the benefit they bring beyond being “cool” just for the mere fact of being big is pretty minimal.
Small events are less stressful, easier to plan, and probably offer a better experience for players too given the resources a typical local Beyblade community normally has available.
J: I do prefer smaller events which is why most of the LA organizers like to cap at 32. I feel like we have a more relaxed way of running events. But sometimes I do feel like we are too relaxed.
I think we learned a lot from the east coast organizers when it comes to calling matches more efficiently. But at the same time only Shindog and I are the only veteran organizers running the tournaments.
K: What sort of things specifically do you feel like you learned from them?
J: I like how they are constantly calling out matches and there is no dead time.
We have a lot of young, back-up judges who tend to leave their stadium after one battle. But we do want them to have fun and not seem like they are working the whole event.
Plus there are a lot more adult organizers on the east coast than we have here. I know it seems basic, but keeping judges stationed and having less dead time is something I’ve learned to do more often.
I think it just goes back on our relaxed mood when running events. It is California lol.
K: Ha, good point!
Dead time is definitely one issue I’ve tried to solve over the years, and it’s what led to the “standby area” idea we tried at BEY OR DIE II and then at Beyblade West.
Getting Started as a Beyblade Tournament Organizer
K: How did you get into hosting tournaments in the first place?
J: I was really afraid of hosting because I don’t really do well talking to crowds. It sounds weird because I have a whole audience on YouTube, but in real life I get nervous.
I started hosting when one of the first organizers, Achi-baba, left for the Navy and when Alta was unable to host do to his computer breaking. So it was only Tai and I at the time. This was before Shindog came into the scene. It would be a lot of work in Tai to do spreadsheets so I stepped in.
And as you know, I’ve helped him with other sheets that he fell behind on. Luckily, my first event went pretty well and because of that, it made me feel a little more confident in hosting more.
K: Interesting! I don’t do well talking to crowds either, but I do feel like over the years I’ve become more confident as a result of hosting a lot of Beyblade tournaments.
In your experience, what is the biggest challenge you have with hosting events? Is it simply talking with crowds?
J: I think that’s really it to be honest. I guess I’m afraid of saying something stupid or giving wrong information due to my anxiety. At least with YouTube, I can do different takes.
K: Yeah, it’s a totally different environment.
I was really afraid of hosting because I don’t really do well talking to crowds. It sounds weird because I have a whole audience on YouTube, but in real life I get nervous. – JoJo
Getting Started as a Beyblade Youtuber
K: With that said, what led you to the creation of your Youtube channel? I did some research and noticed your first video is called “I need an egg…I NEED AN EGG!!!” …
J: Oh gosh that egg video lol. That was at an anime convention in Sacramento years ago! Voice actors from my favorite video game, Resident Evil, came together and did a panel. And I ended up capturing a funny moment.
K: Haha, I love Resident Evil too! But gotta stay on topic here …
J: That egg video wasn’t what lead me to making Beyblade videos. I saw a commercial for Metal Fusion in TV and got really excited for the return of Beyblade. I used YouTube as a way to find episodes but ended up seeing people doing unboxings and battles. I ended up watching old YouTubers like OniMuzik and Jeereggy.
I took the most inspiration from OniMuzik because he really went into the more competitive side and explained more of the physics of Beyblade. So long story short, I just started watching everyone else and wanted to do the same.
K: The name is familiar to me, but I can’t recall OniMuzik that well. What sort of videos did he make exactly? Is there any specifically you still remember?
J: He did usual unboxings, but one video I remember specifically was when took each of his parts and organized them into attack, stamina, and defense. He explained how to make the best combos for each type. It was very educational and taught me not to pay attention to the type printed on the packaging haha.
How Jojo Prepares for Beyblade Tournaments
K: I assume over the years you were able to learn more and more about how to build competitive Beyblade combos and how to do well in tournaments. How do you prepare for Beyblade tournaments now? Do you do any testing of new combos or release? Any research of opponents? Lie awake in bed all night thinking about it the day before?
You’ve placed within the Top 3 at some WBO events this year, like Back to Beigoma Academy. You were also in the Top 8 at Beyblade West, perhaps the most competitive event of the year.
J: I’m in a chat room on LINE with a bunch of top bladers from here and the east coast. We like to share our thoughts on combos and exchange short testing clips. I also like to scroll through the WBO and see what people are using.
But I do tend to stick with attack types because it’s more fun play even during the heyday of stamina types (Perfect Phoenix, Archer Hercules, and Hell Salamander). So the night before a tournament, I like to practice my angled launch do get those nice KOs and fun bursts.
There have been times when I do feel unprepared and I do kind of lie awake and rethink my combos. But in the end I just choose whatever feels like will give me a fun time.
And sometimes when I know attack types aren’t working and I’m falling behind, I will switch to stamina to play it more safely.
When I look on the WBO at the winning combos, I’ll try to come up with others that will counter it and have the most success.
The Desire to Have Fun vs. The Desire to Win
K: This is a bit of an abstract question, but: how would you say you balance your desire to just have fun with your desire to do well in Beyblade tournaments?
For me, I’m a super competitive person; I take every match seriously and find it fun to use the combinations I feel will be the most competitive and have the highest probability of winning for whatever situation I am in (whether that be attack, stamina, defense, or something in between) rather than predisposing myself to a specific type by default.
That’s not to say using attack because you find it fun means you’re not serious about trying to win, but I do think it’s a bit different than my approach.
There’s many ways to play this game, so I’m curious to hear more about how you approach it in a competitive setting.
J: Win or lose, I still have fun even if I do terrible.
I feel mildly serious when it comes to wanting to win. But my desire to have fun and to have a successful event without any hiccups is greater.
It is fun to find the right attack combo that will beat out common stamina combos. So there is a bit of a mixture there when it comes to competitiveness. If that makes sense.
K: Yeah, I get it! Definitely as an organizer and/or judge, there is also the aspect of wanting to ensure the event runs smoothly as well. I feel that too.
And I think having fun regardless of a win or loss is the right attitude. Of course, feeling down and questioning how or why you lost is natural too.
I think that taking things seriously is the best way to have fun; through action is how we learn, and through loss is how we grow.
You’re right about attack combos as well. If you’re going to pick one type to gravitate towards, attack is certainly the one to pick as generally it stands the best chance of being able to overcome any challenge thrown at it. Especially in a metagame filled with stamina types.
I feel mildly serious when it comes to wanting to win. But my desire to have fun and to have a successful event without any hiccups is greater. – JoJo
Impressions of The Current Beyblade Metagame
K: What’s one thing you love about the Beyblade metagame right now?
J: I do love that attack types are more useful now obviously haha.
K: Who doesn’t? The transformation of attack types in Beyblade Burst since the release of Xtreme’ in 2018 and then Judgment in 2019 has been spectacular.
Is there anything that you hate about the Beyblad metagame right now?
J: I wouldn’t say I hate anything at the moment. But I’m not really a big fan of the new motorized Drivers. They work really well when they are supposed to and are terrible when they don’t. They’re inconsistent and breakage is pretty common. And if Takara Tomy decides to make it the new norm, my wallet will definitely take a hit. I also feel like they are non-traditional if that makes sense. I never delved into Engine Gear too much. But it is still too early to give my full opinions on the new drivers.
K: I had mixed feelings about them initially too. I think it’s because up until now electronic Beyblades have always had a stigma around them within the competitive community as “toys” rather than something which could have a meaningful place in the metagame.
With Hybrid and Ignition’, I feel that Takara Tomy has done a good job at making them feel like they belong in the game. Hybrid especially is a pretty competitive part for stamina that is well-balanced by the ease with which it can be knocked out or bursted.
The cost though is certainly something to be concerned about, though. It seems like the prices of new Beyblades have kept going up and up over the years. Although, they did call Imperial Dragon a DX Booster at least … so surely not all releases moving forward can be DX Boosters, right?!
J: Yeah, you do make really good points when it comes to the new Drivers and the metagame. I guess I’m just old school lol. Competitive RC meta game, when TT??
K: Hahaha, at this rate I wouldn’t doubt it’s coming!
Is there anything you’d like to see improved or changed in terms of the rules used at WBO Beyblade tournaments?
J: There is only one rule in WBO tournaments that I think should be changed; when a Beyblade rebounds without initially making contact with the opposing Bey is still in play. I think once it’s out, it’s out. There was some confusion at Beyblade West where some judges didn’t even know that was a rule and some did.
K: Ah yeah, that’s a tough one. The whole back wall/rebound rule seems to have been a hot topic lately.
The specific part of that rule you’re talking about here was implemented for the right reasons; we mainly wanted to avoid attack type users from losing a round because they popped out of the BeyStadium Standard Type for a second without even touching their opponent … when first conceived, attack types were in a really bad place in Beyblade Burst. This was when Hell Salamander and Archer Hercules were king.
However, times have changed and we recently made some other updates to our rules in an effort to simplify them where possible. If it’s up to me, this particular rule is probably going to be the next one to be simplified.
The Many Beyblade Communities of California
K: Now, before I get into the last few questions, I wanted to make our way back to event organization briefly:
The LA community has grown so much over the years. There are many organizers from around California who have started things up in their local communities as well. What would you attribute that to?
J: TRAFFIC and distance definitely attributed to that lol.
I don’t think many people outside of the LA area realize how far away each county is and how much traffic there is. There have been a couple of tournaments in Southern California that I’ve skipped because I really don’t want to drive for nearly 2 hours. And public transportation here isn’t really great. LA is a good midpoint for everyone. I drive an hour at most for LA events.
Racing Cheetahz is from Bakersfield which is more Central CA. So he and his mom would drive 3-4 hours just for an LA event.
K: It really is amazing how far some people will travel not only for big events like Beyblade West, but smaller local events too. We’ve had several players like bladekid travel from the US for regular events in Toronto before.
Advice For Creating Your Own Beyblade Community
K: Do you have any tips for people out there thinking about starting their own Beyblade community?
J: Well, the only way to start is to start! Whether it be at school or trying to meet up through the WBO, you just have to take that first step.
But it’s also important to be consistent with meet-ups to build that community and for word to get out. Alta reached out to me years ago to help promote one of their first events in Little Tokyo. And it just grew from there.
I get a lot of comments of people who want events in their area but aren’t willing to run them themselves. If you really want something to happen, they need to be dedicated to make it happen!
We do get newcomers who like to observe how we run events just to get a feel for it. I hope they do end up hosting for themselves someday ?
K: Hosting your own Beyblade tournament seems to be a lot like anything else … there’s a lot less people who actually take one step forward to try something for themselves than those who think about wanting to do something. So, you’ve gotta take action!
How Jojo Got Into Beyblade & The Community
K: Speaking of newcomers, how did you originally get into Beyblade?
J: I have an older cousin that I looked up to because he had a lot of nice toys like RC cars and he’d let me play with them. And I thought he was the coolest!
When I was about 11 or 12, we were really into Yu-Gi-Oh at the time. But one day, I asked if he wanted to play YGO with me, he gave me a look like it was old news. He ripped an original Dragoon on the concrete in front of our grandma’s house and said, “I don’t like Yu-Gi-Oh any more. I play with Beyblades!” And I thought it was the coolest thing ever haha!
Of course, at the time we didn’t know concrete would damage the tips. I think we’re all guilty of that. And that’s how it all started. I never had enough money to buy Beyblades in stores and I wasn’t aware of Takara Tomy when I was a kid. I had a lot of bootleg tops from small Asian shops. I think I only had 5 legitimate Beyblades during plastic generation.
K: Hahaha, that’s incredible.
Your first impression of Beyblade was certainly coloured by your cousin’s enthusiasm, but you’ve had a bit longer to spend with the game now, so I’m wondering: what would you say your favourite aspect of Beyblade is? Has it changed over the years as you’ve started to learn more about it?
J: I’d have to say my favorite aspect of Beyblade is being more involved with the community and being able to play against more people. It’s kind of a struggle to play it on your own.
I enjoy the interaction I get when battling someone. Especially against younger kids who are enthusiastic and try to so anime style launches. Playing against someone also serves as a learning experience than just testing by yourself. Everyone has a different style of playing and thinking.
K: Absolutely. After all, Beyblade is really a game to be played between two people. You’re trying to understand each other and do what you can to emerge victorious. In that sense, it’s both about connecting with other people and testing yourself.
What is your first memory of your time with the Beyblade community?
J: Probably, when I went to my first tournament in 2013. It was MFB standard. I didn’t know who was who on the WBO and who I should be watching out for competitive wise.
The event only had about 10-12 people, but I was so nervous! But I did end up placing 2nd. ?
K: Nice! Do you remember what sort of combinations you used back then?
J: I have video on the tournament!
K: What sort of impression did you have of the community during or after the event when you had a chance to play and meet everyone?
J: During this particular event or just in general?
K: During this particular event, since it was your first one.
J: I felt a little out of place to be honest. Everyone kind of knew each other and I didn’t know anyone. It was a really quiet event since there were so few of us. I mostly kept to myself and just watched each battle. And once the tournament was over, everyone just left. So I didn’t get much of an impression and my next tournament wouldn’t be until Burst released.
K: I see! It can be tough coming into an established community, I’m sure.
Did it eventually get a bit easier after you attended a few more tournaments?
J: Yeah, for sure! Thanks to Alta, ThaKingTai, and Achi-baba for starting and keeping up with the scene. I was able to continually to attend events and get more involved with the community.
I moved to Southern CA in 2012, so I had to make new friends and it wasn’t easy at first. The 2013 tournament was probably my first time throwing myself into an established group of people.
K: That’s good to hear, and I think probably something that other organizers of established communities should try to think about: it’s easy to get comfortable with a specific group of people once you’re established, and it’s great if you are able to create something like that … but it’s also important to make sure your community is as open and welcoming as possible to new players!
He ripped an original Dragoon on the concrete in front of our grandma’s house and said, “I don’t like Yu-Gi-Oh any more. I play with Beyblades!” And I thought it was the coolest thing ever haha! – JoJo
The Impact the Beyblade Community Has Had On JoJo’s Life
K: Finally, my last question is: what impact has your time with the Beyblade community had on your life?
J: It’s definitely forced/willed me to get out of the house more! I’m such a hermit outside of work and everything else. And I’m glad to have made more friends though Beyblade. It sounds generic but it’s really true. It’s even given me opportunities to travel.
K: I’m similar, so I definitely feel you there!
J: I’m finally getting my husband to play in a tournament near the end of the month. He’s not really into Beyblade but I hope he’ll have fun.
K: I’ve brought my Beyblades to work before and did a mini-tournament with them and they had a blast. It’s hard to not have fun with Beyblade, so I’m sure he’ll have a good time.
Now it’s just a matter of trying to better communicate more clearly how strategic and competitive the game is to a general population … which is part of what I hope to accomplish with BeyBase.
So, thank you for your patience, time, and for being my first ever interviewee! Hopefully we can meet again soon … maybe in Toronto?
J: I wish I can bring my Beyblades to work but I work in a massage spa. It’s not a very quiet game haha
I had a lot of fun answering your questions! Thank you! I definitely want to make it to Anime North next year or perhaps a Beyblade South will pop up in the near future.