Sep 2, 2023
If you're familiar with Kurumada's storytelling, i.e. deus ex machina galore (see: Saint Seiya), well... B'T X is pretty much exactly the same. It is the epitome of the classic 90's shōnen manga -- for the most part (*more on that later). Kurumada said he had never drawn a story with robots before, thus was born B'T X. A B'T is a large mechanical being often based on a mythical creature that is loyal to their blood donor... forever linked until death. X is the name of the B'T of this story's hero, Teppei. The author will explain in the story what the "B" stands
for... but forget the "T", that one is never explained. XD
Anyway, your enjoyment of this series will be heavily based on your tolerance for ridiculous clichés and deus ex machinas. This manga is deus ex machina after deus ex machina after deus ex machina. Most characters have a single special attack that's used over and over again. You'll be tired of seeing Teppei's Methayer Fist soon enough. Also, battles don't showcase movement. It's mostly always one drawing and little stars and explosions in the background. I don't think Kurumada really knows how to draw battles that have some back and forth. It's just... blah blah blah WATCH MY FIST EXTENDED INTO THE AIR and the enemy goes ARGHHHHH and little explosions everywhere. Also, for some reason, Kurumada really likes to draw a line right in the middle of a character's face. When there's "action", there will unavoidably be lines everywhere, and one line will always split the character's face in half. It's a weird design choice but you get used to it.
You also have typical tropes such as... "OMG! We have a 99.8% chance of losing against this B'T!!!" (that's an actual stat given in the manga). Anddd do you think they will lose? :) Deus ex... You also have stuff like... ARMOR REINFORCED TO 200%! You know, usual random power stats given to "illustrate" power.... A new special move discovered can be used more than once in the battle, too, just to win twice in a row *yawn*. But remember, it's always one drawing of the special move and one drawing of the enemy getting destroyed. There's rarely more than that. It's also very classic in its development... we have to fight seven generals to reach the base! So our hero slowly advances towards the base during the entire duration of the manga.
There's also a weird mix of esoteric/spiritual/philosophical/scientific mumbo-jumbo in the story. Kurumada likes to bring real-world concepts into his story and give his opinion on a bunch of subjects, like religion, black matter, atoms, music, etc. He also usually tries to explain a character's special move rationally, with real-life physics concepts... except when he needs a deus ex machina and suddenly the "power of the heart" wins over everything. Like, seriously. At one point an attack manages to succeed because the enemy omitted to consider the power of one's heart!! It's pretty ridiculous.
Kurumada also lovessss his mathematical equations. When you get to volume 13, there's the ultimate anti-shōnen battle I was referring to at the beginning of the review. There's a battle between two adversaries that is literally a series of extremely high-level math challenges... and the questions and answers are all given to us! Most of us wouldn't be able to solve any of the equations presented, but who cares! This is so out of left field that I love it. It feels fresh and unique and that's a big feat for this manga. And this is where the positive points finally appear in this manga for me. Out of 16 volumes, I feel like volumes 13-15 are the best ones. The characters suddenly feel more developed and more interesting.
The last volume is disappointing, as the ending is a let-down and again, typical of the genre. Despite all of it, though, I think B'T X is an easy read. It never really feels boring despite not being particularly good. I would probably not recommend this manga to most readers, but if you're willing to make it to the end and are a fan of the author or that era of manga or the cliché and deus ex machina-ridden storytelling or the static artwork, you might find yourself enjoying this.
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