Still from "Btoom! Online"
Last month series creators unveiled the mobile game version of Btooom!, a Battle Royale-style survival anime with a double helping of psychology and explosives. To promote the game, producer Masato Hayashi made a promise to fans: if the app ranked in the top 5 of Japan's top grossing apps, there might be a second season of the anime.
This month the app briefly graced the top free app slot...only to quickly plummet back below 50.
The current top grossing lineup is dominated by large names like Square Enix, Fate/Stay, and Puzzle Dragon that would be tough to beat out of their slots. Some fans of the series feel disappointed at the creators for pulling what they feel is a cheap trick to try and gain popularity; dangling a carrot in front of eager fans and essentially asking them to pay for the chance for a second season. Some Redditors and commenters call it "scummy." The reality is that even if the app did somehow manage to reach its goal, only the possibility of a second season is being promised, and nothing is guaranteed.
But while fans feel that asking for money cheapens the anime, it's a simple fact of the way things work: if an anime isn't making a studio any money, there won't be a second season. Sales of DVDs and Blu-Rays -- and, yes, tie-in apps -- carry more weight than the voices of a thousand disappointed fans. Still, MAL user DreamingBeats suggests on the MAL Forums that the creators could have instead ran a crowdsourcing campaign to gauge interest. "If money was an issue, Asobimo could have chosen the crowdfunding option, where people can track the progress and see how much is left to achieve the goal. [People] are able to track the progress daily and hold the company accountable if it ever reaches the goal, or exceeds it."
So will we ever see a second season for Btooom!? There's always hope, but you probably shouldn't be holding your breath.