2387957_Blazing_TeamThe PopCult Toybox

Strange as it may seem to us here in the United States, around the globe the Yo-Yo has once again become a “hot toy.” In China the traditional toy has been updated with an animated cartoon with Pokemon-like storylines and a line of Yo Yos and accessories with colorful designs and flashy packaging, and Blazing Teens is the top-selling boy’ss toy in the most populous country on Earth.

Now Hasbro is going to try to launch the property in America. The concept has a slightly-altered name, “BLAZING TEAM,” and the newly-translated animated series will debut on Discovery Family, the cable channel that Hasbro still holds a 40% ownership stake in, beginning November 13 with international distribution to follow in 2016.

Chinese packaging. The US version will probably be close to this.

Chinese packaging. The US version will probably be similar.

Hasbro has partnered with the property’s original devolpers, Guangdong Alpha Animation & Culture Co., to Bring BLAZING TEAM Brand Across Multiple Platforms in New Markets.

Guangdong Alpha Animation & Culture Co. is  the leading toymaker and  entertainment company in China.

The series is produced by Alpha in association with Hasbro Studios and will introduce audiences to the mystical world of Yo Kwon Do, a practice that blends the skill of the yo-yo with the power of martial arts.

The BLAZING TEAM series features a group of ordinary teens who begin to recognize the extraordinary capabilities they have within when Yo Kwon Do master Lao Shi takes them under his wing to combat the growing darkness in their city and teach them power of Yo Kwon Do. The show kicks off with a two-part premiere on Friday, November 13 at 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. on Discovery Family Channel.

More elaborate sets come in boxes.

More elaborate sets come in boxes.

In 2016, Hasbro will introduce a line of BLAZING TEAM yo-yo products featuring different difficulty levels. The line will launch in the U.S. beginning in March 2016 followed by additional markets later in the year.

“We are thrilled to be working with Alpha to bring this powerful brand to new fans across the globe with new action-packed entertainment and an innovative product line that brings the fantasy of Yo Kwon Do to life, ” said John Frascotti, president of Hasbro Brands.

“Collaborating with Hasbro on the launch of BLAZING TEAM will allow us to reimagine our most popular brand for new audiences around the world,” said Mr. Cai Xiao Dong, President of Alpha. “We look forward to introducing fans to this exciting property beginning with the animated series on Discovery Family in the U.S. this fall.”

The cover of a Greek DVD release of the cartoon from five years ago. This has been a phenomenon for quite some time.

The cover of a Greek DVD release of the cartoon from five years ago. This has been a phenomenon for quite some time.

This is a low-risk move for Hasbro. It’s part of a joint venture that will see Hasbro products introduced in the huge Chinese market. They’re placing the show on a channel that they own part of, so it doesn’t cost them anything (they pay to have their Transformers cartoon shown on Cartoon Network). The timeslot, 6:30 AM, may indicate a lack of faith in the product, but we’ll see what happens when BLAZING TEAM hits stores.

It’d be a kick if BLAZING TEAM somehow catches on, and we head into 2016 with the hottest toy in this high-tech age being the Yo-Yo. Stranger things have happened.