Come onnnnn, rare drops!
|KA-POW! Another explosive episode of BTOOOM! coming right atcha! I’m still not quite a fan of the show, but it’s alright. I shall persist in my blogging endeavours unless it becomes unbearable. It kills time and pulls off some cool things every now and then, so there are a few things in the “pros” list to balance out the “cons.” One of those pros is Miyuki Sawashiro voicing a psychopathic kid. Oh baby!|
Interpreting a situation where you run into bloody kid, a tree with a huge hole in it, and a dead body isn’t exactly intuitive, so episode 4 actually rewinds a bit before the cliffhanger from last week. We get to learn quite a bit about Kousuke, aside from the previously apparent fact that he was a remorseless murderer. Now we know why he’s a murderer! His father was an absolutely wretched human being who solved all of his problems with violence and yelling. I’m not a guy, but it was pretty painful to see his dad grab a handful of his son’s junk to torture him. For a split second I panicked because I thought a rape flashback was going to fade in with all the horrific impact of seeing a killer slowly swing an axe at my head. I saw my life flash before my eyes in that moment. Luckily, they went for the abuse route rather than rape. There’s the off-handed mention of him raping some girls he killed for added shock value, which comes off as more petty and forced than anything.
The whole situation with his father is supposed to make us feel a small shred of sympathy for Kousuke. He’s not just an outlandish villain, but an outlandish, misguided villain. He has reasons for his killing sprees, even if they’re rather horrible ones. Unfortunately, there aren’t many other releases from that kind of stress other than extreme actions. For Kousuke that was hunkering down for Btooom! marathons and…killing people. His dad not only inflicts so much mental and physical trauma that he drives Kousuke to this state, but he also teaches him the same set of deranged morals. Immediately after killing his dad for being so cruel, he acts exactly like his father did a second ago. He has become the very creature he created, much like how Dio in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure was just as rotten as his dad despite trying so desperately to separate himself from him. It was an interesting twist, although I could have done without a disembodied head of his dad appearing to make sure we got the reference. It was even red too! Get it? ANGER!! BLOOD!!! BLARRGG!!
All in all, Kousuke is almost comically insane. I can’t take him seriously at all. The only thing that lends him any credibility is Miyuki Sawashiro’s excellent (as always) voice work. I won’t be too disappointed if this kid dies any time soon, although it looks like he’ll make a comeback since Sakamoto was merciful. His skills in Btooom! made the battle interesting, at the very least. I actually liked him more before he killed his dad because he switched from murderous, to cheerful (with the lawyer), and meek (around his dad). Once he’s alone, he only shows his sadistic side, and the lack of contrast just makes him a one-note character.
I also really enjoyed his initial talk with his lawyer, who calmly tried to instill some logic in him. He tries to tell him killing is wrong, but Kousuke cannot fathom why. He simply does not possess the same emotional aversion to death as most humans do – the hallmark trait of a classic “psychopath.” They can intellectually see the link in logic of the argument, but they don’t actually feel remorse or guilt since they are entirely unable to see life from someone else’s shoes. The almost accurate depiction of a kid with Conduct Disorder was of particular interest to me. Sadly, the whole thing devolves into Kousuke spouting nonsense and ALWAYS being in kill mode.
Speaking of things going wrong with you brain, Sakamoto smacks his head against a rock and enters a strange trance. Unfortunately, I can’t put a real life label on this one aside from maybe “hallucination” or “severe delusion.” Basically, he sees the island as a game and loses all of his inhibitions about killing people. Without these self-imposed restrictions, he fares a lot better against Kousuke, and actually almost kills him. It was the only really cool part of a rather dull hide-and-seek type battle. I really hope he gets concussions more often, because things got a lot better when he went all-out. I still don’t get why some of these bombs don’t kill people despite the fact that THEY’RE BOMBS. How am I supposed to feel like the battles are high stake events when you can lob a bomb with perfect trajectory at your target, have it explode in their face, and still only mildly injure them? It’s not a very consistent system.
Bonus Screenshots: Show ▼
Oh, Btooom!. You try (or do you?). We’re introduced to more detestable people this week, which means I still don’t really like any of the characters. The best character is probably that old guy who hid in a bush and then stole a radar chip. He’s already doing better than Sakamoto! Clever, clever. In my first impressions post I said the only thing I was really expecting from Btooom! to be good was the action. However, even the action was a bit lacklustre. All the strategies used didn’t strike me as particularly clever. There was no game-changing move other than cancelling Kousuke’s radar, which just sounded so implausible that my mind gave up and turned off for the rest of the episode. He timed it exactly right each and every single time while running and hiding? You want me to believe that? Am I…missing something here? Well, at least Sakamoto might start to be a better player now. That much is good news.
Preview: Sakamoto reunites with his crafty friend and they become a lovely little trio. This probably only happens after a huge amount of persuasion and maybe a little bit of fighting though.