Ryouta Sakamoto is unemployed and lives with his mother, his only real achievement being that he is Japan's top player of the popular online video game, "Btooom!" However, his peaceful life is about to change when he finds himself stranded on an island in the middle of nowhere, with a small, green crystal embedded in his left hand and no memory of how he got there. To his shock, someone has decided to recreate the game he is so fond of in real life, with the stakes being life or death.
Armed with a bag full of unique bombs known as "BIM," the players are tasked with killing seven of their fellow participants to obtain their green crystals, used as proof of their victory, in order to return home. Initially condemning any form of violence, Ryouta is forced to fight when he realizes that many of the other players are not as welcoming as they may seem. Teaming up with Himiko, a fellow Btooom! player who turns out to be his in-game wife, they attempt to get off of the island together, slowly coming closer and closer to the truth behind this contest of death.
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.
That feeling when you get when you realized your life is now fucked up, turned from virtual fun into a bloody reality, and your only chance to survive is to trust in no one (I mean it here) but yourself. With only your disposal – a package of bombs, a strange gem on your hand, and your own intuition, you realize that your life has been changed forever with your new life now residing on a strange island in the middle of nowhere...
So, what should you choose to do?
A) Panic! Scream and hope someone will help you out
B) Try to team up with someone and
trust in him or her and hope that they will not betray you.
C) Do the opposite of choice B. In other words, when you find the first opportunity, KILL THEM after you've gained their trust
D) Just try to survive. Your life belongs to you and yours only
These all sound pretty horrifying, right? Well, that's Btooom! for you.
Btooom! is survival horror themed anime series based off the manga of the same name. It doesn't take long for the characters in the series to realize their lives have changed forever to be quite honest. The series takes itself from the very beginning and presents a game senario where in order to survive, you must kill seven other people before they can kill you. It's survival of the fittest and it's a every one for themselves.
The basis of the series is actually based off a game from the anime series itself called Btooom. But now, our 22-years old main protagonist Ryota Sakamoto's life has changed forever when he realizes the new situation of his reality. In fact, he used to be an pro gamer from the game itself. However, his new life puts on the edge between survival and death. The difference? It's real. In other words, there's no pause button, no restart, or bonus lives. No, now you're dead, YOU'RE DEAD.
The influence of the series seems to be based off of the classic deserted island theme. Only this time, the island itself becomes a battlefield for survival. And of course, series with themes like this isn't new especially in today's anime industry. Series like Mirai Nikki, Deadman Wonderland, and Gantz all have these themes where survival is absolute. Even in manga series, these themes are present such as Psyren, Mahou Shoujo of the End, and Cage of Eden. The fact is that these series all share a common factor in which an ordinary main male protagonist's lives are changed forever after a certain event. These events turn from peculiar, to dangerous, to tragic, to emotional, and one which will leave a memory in their minds for the rest of their lives.
Well, it's hard to describe them all but let's look at some of the most prominent ones, shall we? We begin with the main male protagonist -
Ryota Sakamoto. He is a 22 year old young man who has achieved mastery and fame in the Btooom world. In the game, he is ruthless but yet cunning as well as being infamous for his skills. In real life though, he is described as a NEET. In other words, he has almost no life but rather chooses to spent them playing the game. Yet, he is a brilliant, caring, loyal, and courageous young man if we look at him carefully especially during his time of playing the real Btooom game in the anime series.
On the other hand, there's Himiko (also known as Hemilia). She is the main female protagonist with a pair of big boobs but with a small interest in the opposite sex. As a matter of fact, she hates the male population in general for fear of her past. It's for this reason that she carries a stun gun throughout the series as a warning sign to any men who dares to approach her. In her mind, every men in the game (and possibly on the planet) is her enemy and that she is their prey. This is especially true in the beginning episodes where some of flashbacks are shown in a dark fashion.
The other contestants of the Btooom game all have different ideologies, goals, and personalities as we see the series progresses. What they all have share in similarities is their desire to win the game and get off the island. As such, most of them are willing to hurt, betray, and even kill to ensure that their goal is achieved; well, most of them anyways. For people like Kiyoshi Taira, there seems to be hope and friendship. But for others, there exists hatred, dominance, power, and intellect as part of their characteristics.
For example, Kousuke Kira, a young boy at the age of only 14 holds a hatred for his father due to his childhood. It turned him into a child murderer and one that lacks empathy. Then, there's Masahito Date who is willing to do anything to ensure his successes throughout the game and becomes its victor. Then, there are some others who uses their brains rather than their brawns such as Nobutaka Oda who has mastered his usage of the Remote Control type BIM. The point is that every one the island wants to get out of it and return to their lives.
Yet, they know their lives won't be the same again...
The games' concept involves survival and thus, there are some science fiction themes mixed in with the brutality of violence, strategy, and a little bit of luck. After all, a game is never easy when there are others with skills that matches your own. To add to the game, there are the BIMs or bombs that players use as their main weapons of destruction. These bombs all have different abilities that can lead to the death of an opponent. It reflects the science fiction side of the series. The horror side? Those would be some of the flashbacks of the characters as well as the reality of what the players face. They realize that it's not a game anymore and once they're dead, it's game over forever.
Now, the series isn't as good as it sounds. Make no mistake because every survival series has a lack of something that should have been there. In this case, Btooom has them too. The series lacks a diversity in which how the game is played. In other words, there is only bombs that are the primary weapons for the contestants. It does play on its main title as “Btooom!” seems to be synonymous to “BOOM!” That's of course what happens when one of those BIMs goes off and your body splatters. As gruesome as it sounds, the series tries too hard occasionally. Furthermore, the main male protagonist often comes with cases of deus ex machina. It's almost as if he is protected by the “main protagonist should not die” shield. Other problems I've run into the series is that the seemingly rushed sequences. Some of the contestants are killed off in a single episode with little to no screen time given beyond their performance in the game. In other words, they don't stand out as much as the main protagonists. In the end, they're just more like obstacles for them to get by and almost a way for them to “level up” or gain experience in the game.
The artwork of the series is fine but nothing unique. What it does reflect though is the nature of the game of Btooom and its survival themes. These include the abandoned buildings, the tropical forests, the shallow waters, the high mountain cliffs, and other things you typically see on an abandoned island. In fact, most of the characters' outfits reflects this as well in their casual wear and their battle scarred clothing. Most of them are dressed in ways in which they are of themselves which means that none of them were prepared for a real life version of Btooom. And of course, the battlefield has left ashes and bombs going off is usually visually represented with its spectacular explosions. Nothing else is more than that though as I found the artwork to be typical but gets to the point.
The soundtrack of the series is presented with its action paced OST. In most scenes involving action, there is the rhythm. There is hardly any comedic or lighthearted soundtrack in this series as it doesn't fit within those grounds. Yet, it does occasionally have emotional melody especially for flashback scenes of the contestants; more often these are represented as being tragic. The OP song, "No pain, No game" by Nano is a classic for this series. That's right, no pain means no game and in the world of Btooom, there's both of that. On the other hand, the ED song, "Aozora " by May'n is presented in a more soft paced style especially featuring one of the main characters, Himiko.
Ultimately, Btooom is one of those survival horror series that can be enjoyable but at the same time, becomes frustrating with its strange twists. The cliffhangers and occasionally plot twists have become predictable especially in later episodes. At the same time, there is a feeling of explosiveness (more than just the BIMs) when we watch the action scenes. It's not intelligent but packs that feeling of survival horror where your life really is at stake here. In the world of Btooom, it ultimately comes down to how to play the game. If you play your cards right, you'll win. If not, then game over for you and no second chances.
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