In this review we will be looking at one of the popular seinen anime Btooom!
Btooom! Take the ‘t’ off the word and you will get “Booom” – that is what you will get in this anime. So where do we hear the sound “Booom”? When someone farts? Maybe, but that is not what this anime is about….and there goes my lame joke…Anyway, let’s try again! Wars? Getting close!…Explosions? Almost there! Bombs? JACKPOT. Yes! Bomb is what we are talking about. The center theme of this anime is about bombs which will decide the survival of the characters. This anime falls under the radar of action, sci-Fi, and psychological genre… you can add bit of romance as a side dish! This anime was adapted by Madhouse animation studio under the direction of Kotono Watanabe. Although her direction history is not something that I like to call impressive, she has successfully directed Chihayafuru episodes which were pretty good. The manga was written by Junya Inoue who works as a designer and illustrator for video game companies. No wonder he got this crazy idea of making video game based anime!
How it all starts?
Sakamoto Ryouta is our main male character, a NEET, who spends all his time playing this game called Btooom. Simply put, it’s an online RPG game where you can use bombs to defeat your enemies. He ranks within world’s top ten best players. One day, Sakamoto is kidnapped and left stranded in an unknown island…on top of that his memory is vague. Yup! That is pretty much the starting point of this anime. He knows no one in the island, he doesn’t know why he is there, he doesn’t know how he got there, and he doesn’t have any food for survival…Basically he is lost!
Later as the story unfolds, he figures out that the island is real life stimulation of the game he played, that is Btooom. He has these bombs with him which he has to use to survive in this deadly island because he is not the only one residing there. Along with him, there are 20-30 other people who have been dropped off in same island and forced to play this game. Yes! Forced… Not a single player in this island wanted to be there on their own. Basically the main catch of the game is, “Kill seven other players before they can kill you.” If you successfully kill seven other players, you can return back to your home…If you fail…you die. It’s that simple! After each successful kill you steal the chip that is etched in the player body, and the chip will only come off after you kill the player. That means sweet talks won’t cut it! You have to MURDER!
The thing that makes this anime exciting has to be the characters. From middle aged characters to childish characters…you can find all of them in this anime. Since this game is all about thinking and making the right decision, having characters of different age group really suits the story line. There are these middle aged characters that make rational decisions, childish character that make irrational decision, and character like Ryouta who are confused with their thinking and can’t decide what’s right and what’s wrong. More often than not, they question themselves if the action they are taking is morally justified. Characters strength also varies…On one hand there are characters who have played this game before, and the other there are these folks who know nothing about this game. It is quite interesting to see how all these character with different personality and experience come together.
Since no one knows each other in this island, TRUST and BETRAYAL is one of the most important aspects of the anime. In some cases we will see players who survived because of the trustful bond they had with each other, and in some cases we see players who are backstabbed because of the same trustful bond. So yeah! Characters are really not open to each other creating this suspense atmosphere within the story. Similarly, their unknown past also adds mystery to the environment, and as we further explore the anime all these things slowly come to light.
Our main character also faces this same problem of trust and betrayal. He runs into cases where he almost dies because of his over trustful attitude. At first he meets up with this guy named Taira, who is in his fifties, and he becomes his first team mate. They both show faithful attitude to each other, and act together to show their trust. Question remains: Is it just a facade? I am not going to spoil it, but this guy Taira plays really important role in this anime.
Now let’s talk about our other main character. Yes there is a female lead character! Her name is Himiko, and she looks beautiful. With golden hair, blue eyes, and fine tits… she gives us the impression that she is a foreigner, but later on it turns out that she is actually Japanese. She is a tsundere character. Because of her heart-rending experience with males and her friends, she doesn’t want to trust anyone at all…especially males. But as the story progress these two main characters come together, and they have quite a chemistry going on. This way the anime brings up the romance plot into action…with harem feel to it….but don’t worry harem is not that extreme. It’s just few scenes which is quite enjoyable.
It has solid art and sound, but nothing that special. The background has lively feel to it and it fits the gaming environment. The only complain I have is that the character have plastic skin tone which drives away the realistic feeling from it…but in the same time I also think that they did so because they wanted us to look at them as a video game characters. Nevertheless, the art and sound are good enough to get the job done!
I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but this anime is about 12 episodes long. They did have quite a fulfilling ending, but I am still hoping for second season because it wasn’t enough to quench my thirst! Overall I enjoyed this anime quite a bit. If you like anime that is based on video games with romance and suspense storyline, this is something you should look into!