Final Review: BTOOOM!

DISCLAIMER: Anime reviews on this blog will attempt minimal to no spoilers unless otherwise noted. If a review seems dull or shallow, it’s because I’m trying to make sure not to go into too detail for those who are actually interested in the show before or after reading the review or those who have yet to finish the title. If you want further details, there are usually tons of reviews that can be found elsewhere on the internet. Furthermore, anime reviews in general are the sole opinion of the author writing it and thus differ across the users. There is no such thing as a “right answer” only a majority agreement. You are free to have your own opinions and thereby free to state and/or argue/debate in the comments section below or on the Fansub TV Forums. The review is not necessarily meant to serve as a recommendation but rather a personal opinion of having completed the series.

BTOOOM! is base off an ongoing manga that began in 2009, currently with 9 volumes. Ryota Sakamoto is the 22 year old protagonist of the show who is unemployed and plays BTOOOM! in his room all day. However, one day he awakes on a seemingly deserted tropical island. It is not long after that he realizes that he’s been thrown into an actual game of BTOOOM! where he must now fight for survival against other real people. He eventually partners with Kiyoshi Taira and Himiko in an attempt to get off the island together through minimal killing. BTOOOM! premiered during the Fall 2012 anime season, was simulcasted by CrunchyRoll, and licensed by Sentai Filmworks.

BTOOOM! is one of three “characters thrown into game scenario” titles this season, the other two being Sword Art Online and Ixion Saga DT. BTOOOM! starts out with the most generic possible setup of a protagonist unwillingly trapped in a game with “no memory.” The game itself is like the classic Bomberman, i.e. kill others before they can kill you. So are there any redeeming qualities in this show? Well first off it’s not overhyped like Sword Art Online so this one went immediately under the radar. Secondly, the psychological development of the characters is what drives this show. Granted some of the personality switches are not completely realistic, the overall growth and adaptability of the characters to the life and death environment is what was interesting to watch. In terms of actual story, the plot advances only a little bit. I haven’t read the manga but considering the group needs 21 (later 14) additional chips and they haven’t even gotten enough to get one person off the island, it’s difficult to say any real progress was made (though only a few days had passed in the game itself). It’s also hard to believe that no one in society realized that so many people were abducted and went missing in the span of one night. Conclusion was rather anti-climatic but also expected.

Art is actually quite good for this show. Characters are drawn Death Note style, which Madhouse also animated 5-6 years ago. Backgrounds are very nice and detailed to match a true tropic jungle setting. Animation, as said earlier, is by Madhouse, which is quite good for this title. From bomb special effects to overall character movements, Madhouse hit the nail on the forehead and continues their trend of good quality works since Chihayafuru last year.

OP is by nano, which is not as good as “Now or Never” from Phi Brain 2, but still a solid song. ED is by May’n and probably the slowest song from her since Aimo or Yousei from Macross Frontier several years ago. It’s a fairly decent song as well. Background music is okay but fitting with the title as are sound effects. Seiyuu wise, Suzuko Mimori is Himiko and is her first major role outside of a moe title. Quite the voice if you ask me so I look forward to seeing her do more roles of the sort. Kanata Hongo is Ryouta and is his debut seiyuu role. Hongo had primarily done live-action works (Ryoma in Prince of Tennis Live Action, Joichiro in Gantz Live Action, Shin in NANA 2 Live Action) so he is by no means new to the entertainment world. As Ryouta, Hongo left a satisfactory to mediocre impression on me. Nothing outstanding but maybe it’s because of how Ryouta’s character is designed to be rather than Hongo’s experience.

Enjoyment? BTOOOM! is one of those shows that start off bad but progressively gets better. It is by no means a masterpiece and not to mention it’s also incomplete to begin with. The action becomes effectively nonstop once the ball starts rolling but if there is one problem with this show, it’s the repetitive flashbacks. Showing once or twice is okay but beyond that it simply gets annoying. Recommendations wise, unless they finish the show’s content, it won’t have much value long-term. I’d recommend watching Mirai Nikki, Fate/Zero, Fate/Stay Night, or Bokurano for the similar “battle royale” type series.

Overall, BTOOOM!, is a relatively interesting show. It’s not unique but a fair time waster, especially when a lot of shows this season are already mediocre. There are better battle royale series as mentioned above if you’re looking for something of the sort though.

 

Story and Character:

  • Premise (0/1): Completely unoriginal. Generic setup
  • Character Personalities (0.5/1): Ryouta isn’t the most likable character. Only becomes interesting after tremendous “growth.” Himiko is an okay character.
  • Character Development (2/2): Basically everywhere in this show with flashbacks one after another.
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (1.5/2): Relatively small main cast with a decent focus on them.
  • Pacing: (1/1): Fair pacing. Nothing particularly wrong.
  • Reasonable/Plausible (0.5/2): Unrealistic personality switches. Unbelievable setup
  • Conclusion (0.5/1): Anti-climatic but expected
  • Total: 6/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (2/2): Detailed with nice tropical jungle feel
  • Character Designs (1.5/2): Death Note like designs. Facial expressions are not my cup of tea.
  • Fluidity (1.5/2): Good movement overall despite it being mostly running.
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (1/2): Bomb effects are flashy but not really special per say.
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (1.5/2): Not as good as Chihayafuru but better than Oda Nobuna no Yabou
  • Total: 7.5/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (2.5/3): Good OP by nano and ED by May’n.
  • Background Music (1/2): Average
  • Sound Effects (1/2): Average
  • Seiyuu (2/3): Decent
  • Total: 6.5/10

Enjoyment:

  • Amusement (1/2): Weak start. Good psychological development (though rather unreasonable at times)
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (0.5/2): Progressively gets better but still no hook for most episodes.
  • Presentation (1/2): Repeated flashbacks are very annoying and don’t add value to the show.
  • Re-watchable (0/1): Not really
  • Recommendation (0.5/2): Sword Art Online, Fate/Zero, Fate/Stay Night, Mirai Nikki, Bokurano.
  • Value (0/1): Unless the story finishes with a sequel(s) this show has little value.
  • Total: 3/10

Preliminary Score: 5/10

Final Score: 6/10

 

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