In the blink of the mind's eye, Ryouta Sakamoto suddenly finds himself transported from playing the hit Btooom! video game to being stranded on a mysterious island, equipped with a day's worth of provisions, a bag of bombs, a strange crystal embedded in his left hand and a huge gaping hole in his memory. But it doesn't take long to figure out what's going on, especially after the first person Ryouta meets tries to kill him. Someone is attempting to recreate the ultra-violent Btooom! game in real life, and the island has been filled with an army of other unwilling players, each armed with one of the multiple variants of explosive weapons called BIM. Fortunately, Ryouta's an ace Btooom! player, but this insane version of the game has no reset switch or second lives, and there's only one way off the island: kill seven other people before they can kill you! Can Ryouta repurpose his game based skills fast enough to survive?
In my effort to find animes that don't star some stupid little high school boy I decided to focus as much as I could on finding animes starring adults. My search didn't take that long surprisingly when I came across of a description "A 22 year old..." that my friend was how I discovered BTOOM!
I decided to give the anime a shot to see if I like it and ended up watching the whole thing in two days. :D Let me first talk about all the things I liked about it.
The story is about a guy who sits at home playing videos games all day, he's one of the top players in a game called BTOOM! Eventually he gets kidnapped and taken to an Island where he has to play the game to survive and win back his freedom. I immediately thought of myself and my Killzone 3 addiction. lol! So I can sort of relate to the main protagonist. I also love stories like "The Hunger Games" where people are forced to fight each other for their lives.
The Characters are a the biggest draw for me as they are all real people...or they feel like real people and not just a bunch of anime archetypes thrown together. The main character, Ryouta is just a regular guy who is very selfish and tends to think only about how things affect him. He's not some goody two shoes but he's not the devil as well. What was interesting to me more than anything was finding out that everyone on the Island was sent there by someone they know and we do get a glimpse into the reasons why some of the characters are there and with the others you can sort of see why, based on their actions, why someone would send them. In other words, some are more deserving of their spot there than others and with Ryouta, it's up to you to decide if he should really be there or not.
The next main character is Himiko/Emilia a highschool girl who also played the game somewhat and even married Ryouta in the game. When I first saw this character I rolled my eyes because I wanted to avoid the high school kid thing but I was wrong. This girl is as real as it can get and someone I found myself rooting for and relating to a great deal. I love how her character was handled in some of the situations she was in. She was almost raped twice and it made her grow mistrusting of men in general, something that I know a lot of women go through. She just did bounce back and become some sex kitten, nor was she a damsel. she fought to maintain her purity in a world where men were eager to take it away from her. Even if it meant sacrificing her own life.
Anyway, the characters, even the ones I didn't root for all had something about them that made me feel a certain way about them whether it was love, hate, disgust, etc.The anime did not pull its punches showing how horrible some of these characters are and for a story premise about how these people were chosen by someone "who wants them to disappear" that's how it should be. The story is filled with betrayals and so on that constantly remind you of why they are there.
I really enjoyed the slow development of the relationship between Ryouta and Himiko. He's not some stupid shy little boy and she's not some super bitch or super sickly sweet chick. They are just two people thrown into a nightmare and they are trying to survive.
Now what I didn't like about it:
First I was happy that Himiko was called a foreigner. she was a character with blond hair and blue eyes, it makes sense. Then later she calls herself Japanese?? I don't know many Japanese girls named Emilia or at least that's not a common Japanese name. Why can't she just be a foreigner living in Japan?
The anime suffers from not being longer than 12 episodes. I would have liked to know more about the other characters and what was going on with the people behind BTOOM and this island version of it. It sort of reminded me of "Cabin in the Woods" the way they were monitoring them all.
The anime did way too many 'That could have been messy" moments. For example: Himiko manages to toss a bomb off of her while the timer was at 1 sec. That is ridiculous considering the fact that we have seen other characters die from the same bomb type from a farther distance and I doubt she was able to throw it that far that fast in 1 sec. This also happens to the Ryouta a lot. Too many close calls takes away from the suspense of having them.
I really like this anime. I love the characters in it ad I really want to get to know more about them. When I finished the last episode I looked for a season 2 because there is just no way this anime is over. It pretty much finishes in the middle! However, sadly I read that it was one of the worst selling animes of 2012. *SMH* of course it is. Why am I not the least bit surprised that this anime was a poor seller. It isn't starring some idiotic high school boy who spends all day blushing at chicks and riding mechs. It isn't starring an equally annoying anime girl who is so sweet she might as well p*$$ maple syrup or a girl who is so emotionally devoid of life she might as well be a sockt puppet. Everybody's problems can't be solve by saying "Believe in me/us/him/her" Maybe it wasn't eechi enough for all the pervs. heaven forbid it shows a girl almost getting raped and gee golly whiz, not actually like it or sequel helplessly.
Oh well, I won't hold my breath for another season and considering where it stops off at you would probably be better off not even watching it. here is a manga though so I'll check it out.
"This is where tomorrow brings a new game. It's time to learn that pain is gain. Ready FIGHT!"
Survival games have been very prominent in Japan. Normally, survival games will involve who gets killed and who will become the last man standing. Some of the survival games like Mirai Nikki, Fate/Zero, Danganronpa and others.
Ryota Sakamoto is a NEET which stands for Not educated, employed or trained. He plays a new game called BTOOOM! and he became one of the top players. One day, he woke up in a deserted tropical island and he realized that he is trapped in a real-life game BTOOOM with other players including Himiko, Ryota's in-game wife.
Each players have a green gem which represents their life and if the gem is removed, the player might die. Basically, it is like a survival game. In order to win, you have to collect all the gems and make it out alive.
Basically, it is your typical survival game.
The animation is good. It portrays a dark and serious tone.
I loved the opening song "No pain, no game" while I liked the ending "Aozora". The opening plays like a rock and roll tune. The ending gives a smooth tune.
The characters are by far the weakest. Ryota and Himiko were predictable. Ryota can sometimes be a badass. Himiko is a typical damsel in distress. Although I sincerely understood her past when rape is a terrible thing to go through.
Kosuke Kira was a tragic character who lived a tragic life in his childhood.
Masashi Miyamoto looks like a soldier with a magenta pirate hat.
Kiyoshi Taira was a good character who helped Ryota and Himiko survive through this game. Although he didn't leave much impression.
So far, it is sad to say that the characters are bland and uninteresting.
I didn't enjoy this show a lot but I did appreciate the way how they make use of people being trapped into a virtual game where the only way to win is to be the last man standing.
Even the ending leaves no resolution to the plot. Normally, I see this in most anime I watched. There was no resolution.
That's all I have to say. If you enjoy survival games, you might enjoy this too.
Sometimes the decisions we make aren't always the right ones. During the process, though, we often think that there is zero chance that we are doing could be wrong. But as we all know, "hindsight is 20/20." Most of the time, our choices not only cause a radical affect on ourselves but also on the people around us. Taking this in stride, BTOOOM! is an anime about bombs, psychology, and a host of problems that make the entire experience less than favorable.
BTOOOM! is a tale involving Sakamoto, one of the best players to play the game the anime is titled after. After a small series of events, he finds himself trapped on an island with other people, having to play the game outside of the virtual world.
The pivotal aspect of the show that it explores is the way in which characters interact with one another after being placed into such a situation. Many ideas are brought to light and are put into play: how to trust, and not trust, certain people, learning to cope with hope and despair, and choosing the morally sound decision in a particular situation. A lot of the characters represent these varying sides to a degree, and for the most part, it works. But it's a difficult sell because for most of us it is completely unrelatable. Not just having to fight for our lives; predicaments such as dealing with terrible parents or lying to make events happen in our favor are not things that we've all dealt with. I'm not saying that there aren't people like this, as they certainly do exist, it's just attempting to cover so many bases at once is beyond the show's capabilities.
One major issue that the show has is in the game itself. The issue is that it is too simple. Essentially, it involves two key components: bombs and radar. The show incorporates a sizable amount of different bomb types and some tricks involving the radar. But beyond that, there isn't much to go off of. To combat this, the show tries too hard to make the fights seem too dire. What is presented, then, are a lot of overly dramatic scenarios without much weight behind them. It becomes way too predictable what is going to happen the more the show progresses. And while it tries to be "cool," the lameness of the game and the overly-simplistic battles come off as boring and silly instead.
When it comes to fan-service, I'm not one to complain. I often don't mind if it's there or not. However, BTOOOM!'s use of it is rather strange. On the one hand, certain aspects make sense such as Himiko's sexual assault. On the other hand, certain aspects don't make sense, such as the river scene or later on when she is passed out. These are blatant attempts at showing off her body that were sorely out of place.
At it's core, the premise of the show is quite inane. Basically, any single person can be chosen to be selected for this game for potentially any reason. In other words, it's required of the audience to suspend some belief throughout the show; how the government would allow this, how a gaming company could possibly undertake such an event, etc. The argument here is that for a lot of shows we need to do exactly this. But BTOOOM!'s problem is that it takes itself so seriously that it is quite hard to do. In other words, the show has a huge issue when it comes to being "super edgy." Many instances happen "at the last second" or characters escape "by the skin of their teeth." This happens a lot throughout the show, so at some point you become desensitized to it. At that point, you mostly start to laugh at the absurdity of it all.
Surprisingly, the art and animation for the show is quite lackluster.
In regards to the art-style, it mostly sticks to foliage and ruined buildings. It all seems appropriate given the setting and the island the cast is placed in. The characters, however, are pretty much cardboard cutouts. In other words, they are not very imaginative; Sakamoto is skinny with brown hair, Himiko is blonde with big boobs, Date is an older gentleman with glasses, etc. These design choices were most likely chosen to coincide with the "mature" vibe the show was attempting to give off, but instead it just makes everyone rather boring to watch.
Animation-wise, the explosions from the bombs, such as the "timers" and the "poisons" are nicely animated, given the subject matter. However, both during and outside of the battles, the animation is rather poor. The show loves to do zoom-ins, single face shots, and jittery camera work. Even when the show gives the close-ups nice detail for the teeth, facial contours, and shading, it usually just sticks to mouth movements instead of eye or facial movements.
The psychological aspect to BTOOOM! is at least above average, but the same cannot be said for its characters.
One of the worst characters in the show is Sakamoto. A NEET by day, he is the "10th best BTOOOM! player" in the world. Yet, even after learning what he was thrown into, he acts as one of the dumbest. Even from the get-go, he doesn't understand or even recognize the bombs and the radar that he discovered he had. Alongside being stupid, he generally contradicts himself; he doesn't want to kill people because it isn't the right thing to do, but sometimes he tries to and other times he doesn't. Essentially, it just depends on the situation at hand.
Himiko is a young woman, who is both beautiful and troubled. Early on, she had the potential to be a rather strong character. Her early background and initial time on the island set her up to be someone who could have overcome her trust issues and have her see some actual character development. Instead, the show chooses to place her in this quasi-state of trust and doubt that doesn't make much sense. She starts off hating men, not wanting to believe anything they have to offer. But by the end, rather than having her become independent or strong enough to deal with issues on her own, she relies solely on Sakamoto, the type of person she previously deplored.
The rest of the supporting cast are mainly used to highlight the different psychological aspects detailed earlier: Taira with worry, Date with doubt, Miyamoto with disregarding morality. For the most part, the supporting cast are better than Sakamoto and Himiko (the mains). However, these characters are simply used to showcase their psychological aspects and nothing more. Among all of them, I would consider Taira the best member of the entire cast, but he is quickly cast aside and only taken back into account at the show's conclusion, which is a massive blunder.
BTOOOM! suffers a "Mirai Nikki" with its OP, in that the OP somehow outclasses the entire anime. The guitar, roughness of the lyrics, and range of the vocals make it great to listen to.
The ED is supposed to contrast what BTOOOM! offers. Instead of being dark and tense, it is quite light and soft. It does its job well, even if I don't particularly like the song.
The soundtrack for the show is rather forgetful. Nothing notable stands out. The same can be said for the voice-acting. No one in particular does an outstanding job, despite the crazy situations the cast find themselves in.
I didn't know what to expect when going into this one. Honestly, I just thought that the title was kind of hilarious. I didn't expect one bit that the show would look so heavily at the psychology behind such a situation. While perhaps not executed as nicely as something like NGE, I think anything trying to go at least a bit more mature is a good step in the right direction.
Yet, I often found myself cringing during every episode; Sakamoto "marrying" Himiko in the game, Sakamoto jumping sideways during his fight with the young kid, and especially the introduction of the "giant lizards." These parts made me laugh and shake my head all at the same time, because I couldn't believe that the show was making these parts seem "awesome" when in fact they were quite ludicrous.
The show also suffers from a terrible case of continuity issues. A large selection of the scenes depict many near-death-experiences. But the next shots, or at least the explanations behind them, show that they had a lot more time than what is initially perceived. In other words, the anime is trying to make us unfairly feel tension in these moments. I never felt this way during these moments, perhaps because the same trick was used over and over.
I think BTOOOM! had a lot of potential in every department. I'm not sure what happened along the way, but something clearly wasn't done right. Whether this be the world itself being too simplistic or the characters being wholly uninteresting, something better could have been done. Instead, the show activated a "cracker" and forgot to throw it, blowing itself up in the process.
Story: Bad, the psychology works but everything else doesn't
Animation: Fine, art style fits the show's tone yet the actual animation is lackluster
Characters: Terrible, lame, boring, one-dimensional, or a combination of the three
Sound: Fine, good OP, fitting ED, average soundtrack and VAs
Enjoyment: Fine, has its moments but mired in silliness
Btooom! is one of those shows that tries to be as edgy and mature as it can simply for the sake of being edgy and mature, while at the same time tries to pull off a laughworthy plot with a straight face. Unfortunately the results are less humor inducing and more cringeworthy.
The setting relies far too much on the “humans are bastards” trope, wherein many of the characters resort to murder to survive when there really isn’t any need to. The players are simply given a bag of bombs, dropped off on a deserted island, and are told to go kill each other if they ever hope to return home. That’s it. Nothing’s actually forcing them to partake in the game, so why not band together to survive on the island, and use their bombs to combat against the evil corporation facilitating the game? Of all the characters, only two of them are convicted criminals; otherwise it’s just a bunch of average people who were jerks to their family and coworkers.
The characters in general are horribly written. Ryouta is the archetypal chivalrous hero who manages to ward off evildoers and protect his woman each episode, giving us too stark of a contrast between the huge asshole we see in the flashbacks; Himiko is the useless damsel in distress most of the time, and Taira’s character gradually degrades from the brosky sidekick to someone who must be at Ryouta’s side at all times–otherwise he’ll go insane with worry. Most of the other characters are villains who, in accordance to the shows over reliance on “humans are bastards,” are much too cartoony to be taken seriously.
Sometimes the bomb fights themselves can be entertaining, but more often than not Btooom! will focus on the tactics of the fights, and there’s just not much to work with if you’re trying to make this a battle of the minds. Even with the variety of different bomb types, chucking multiple bombs while hiding in the bushes would be the most effective strategy in most cases, and yet the show tries to have to have the characters “outsmart” each other. They don’t even ever outsmart each other; once a character simply catches a bomb before it can detonate, and suddenly everyone acts as if he’s “outsmarted” his opponent. If anything this just makes them look even more unintelligent than they already do
Perhaps worst of all is that Btooom! is a series riddled with sexism and rape culture. There are quite a few scenes where Himiko is violated in some way or form, and although none of these scenes are as bad as they could be–especially in comparison to the pornographic source material–they’re still gratuitous and titillating to the point of being fanservice. And rape as fanservice simply isn’t something that belongs in a dramatic narrative.
The main problem with Btooom! in regards to rape however, is how it depicts Himiko and her virginitiphobia. For one, the writers seem to equate the phobia with misandry, and tries to make a point of how Himiko should learn to be more trusting of men; that alone is reason enough to believe that they don’t have enough respect for rape issues as they should. Yes, it’s obviously wrong to distrust every man you see, but trying to drive this point across with an episode about a woman who is alone, ugly, and crazy because she distrusts men, is pretty unsympathetic to people suffering from virginitiphobia.
Then there’s the several scenes where Himiko becomes suicidal in the heat of battle, either to protect her “purity” or because she’s simply lost all hope of winning. This is understandable seeing how she’s gone through several traumatic experiences, but problematic in how it only serves to make her a damsel in distress, and not to actually make a compelling character out of her.
As a mindless action series, Btooom! succeeds at being mildly entertaining. Otherwise, it’s easily one of the worst animes of 2012.read more
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