THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
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".
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.