First Impression – BTOOOM!

Not many people get to live and learn from the mistake ‘don’t get blown up.’

When in doubt, name your anime after a sound effect. In this universe, K-ON! would be called JAKKA JAN, Initial D would be called VROOM!, Naruto would be called POW, and Black Rock Shooter would be called NNNYYEEEHHHHHHHHRRRRERARRERElesbians. Luckily, this trend is used sparingly. I’m starting off my review of episode one of Btooom! with a boom (forgive me) so hang on tight!


What’s BTOOOM!?

Everyone’s a badass online until their mom walks in on them

Enter the world of Sakamoto Ryouta – an expert player of the game BTOOOM!. It’s an FPB (first person bomber) that plays exactly like a typical shooter, except you use explosives instead of guns. Ryouta is addicted to this game, and spends all his time playing it instead of getting a job or being nice to his mom. He refuses to work anywhere but at a game company, which is a bit of a pipe dream for someone with no experience whatsoever. But enough about jobs, because Ryouta is abruptly shipped off to an island to play a real life version of BTOOOM! where you blow up real people with real bombs. For real.

The basis of the first episode is getting to know Ryouta as both an incredible player and a royal asshole, then seeing him reduced to a gibbering fool when put in the real life equivalent of the game. Ah, divine retribution in the form of kidnapping! The general tone is pretty dark and focused more on either watching Ryouta suffer or reminding us how much he deserved this twist of fate. The action is more of a subfocus, surprisingly enough. It’s only towards the end that the bombs get used in a more creative fashion that could promise some Mirai Nikki-esque battles of wits and cool powers. Every player has a unique type of bomb, which could be really cool. So far we’ve seen time bombs and proximity bombs, but there could all sorts of crazy stuff like landmines, gas bombs, stun bombs and…well, that’s about all I know about bombs, but there’s the potential for some mighty clever battles. So if you like violence, explosions, psychological torment and a series that’s just dumb fun then look no further. It may not actually deliver on the strategy front, but it will most certainly contain as much dumb fun as any typical action flick.

Sometimes I forget this isn’t a zombie anime.

Production notes: Madhouse is at the helm of BTOOOM!, animating it in that dark and edgy way that it does best – albeit with a more generic coat of paint on top. You’ve got Kotono Watanabe directing this, which probably doesn’t ring any bells since she’s only done work on a few episodes here and there and hasn’t ever directed a full anime. Those “few episodes” include the likes of Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica and Chihayafuru though, which could be a good omen.

The Verdict

Considering that this anime revolves around blowing people up with explosives, the opening episode was actually quite focused on Ryouta as opposed to “WOW, LOOK AT THESE EXPLOSIONS!” It takes the opposite approach that K does, instead laying out the groundwork of everything first while sacrificing style points. It’s a very stable start, but a bit unremarkable as a consequence. If anything, the next episode should be more of a dealbreaker since all the rule-explaining exposition is (hopefully) out of the way. I’m a fan of the Battle Royale type of death match situation since it always brings out the worst in people. Not only do I expect all manner of emotional malfunctioning to occur, but the lengths these kids will have to go to survive (and slaughter one another) should be a good enough hook to keep me content.

The only real issue here is how the upcoming battles pan out. I like that Ryouta starts off incredibly shocked and confused, instead of starting out as a total ace at the real world version of BTOOOM! just because he was good at pressing buttons. Most anime try and get that period of uncertainty and disbelief in the absurdity of the situation over with quickly, but I like that he tried to cling to the naive hope that maybe things would work out. It was more believable. That being said, his initial reaction to the timed bombs and how to use them was dumb. He learned through firsthand experience that they explode with a timer. He watched it count down. There is no way he wouldn’t put two and two together unless he’d never heard of a time bomb before – and oh, wouldn’t you know it? – he most certainly has because he plays a game where ALL YOU USE ARE BOMBS. However, he makes up for it in the end by concocting a wonderful strategy. Well, okay, it was pretty simple, but I liked it. Just don’t ask me how he could understand that glowing = sonar, while equating time bomb = a fucking time bomb put too much of a strain on his neural networks.

I like BTOOOM! because it’s senseless violence with a lovely dose of human suffering on the side, even if the way its served is a bit crude. There’s nothing really smart or cutting here. It’s not like some Lord of the Flies stuff is going to happen since everyone is already at each others throats from the start. It’s harmless fun! Even if the only female characters are there for eye candy, I really don’t mind. As long as Himiko is useful at least sometimes, then I don’t mind if her ass is pressed right up against the camera for the rest of the episode. I think it’s best to start with no expectations for her, especially since she’s getting (almost) raped in the preview for next week’s episode. As a girl who plays video games, I’ll let you guys know if I’m offended next week. For now, I’m just transfixed by all the pretty explosions.

Preview: Himiko doesn’t try and blow up the main character. Instead, she tells him about her past, which somehow leads into her getting almost raped later on. Uh, yeah. Bombs!


A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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15 Responses to “First Impression – BTOOOM!”

  1. BlackBriar says:

    I’m intrigued, another good anime this season. Looks like a show you can sit back, turn off your brain and watch the glorious mindless violence (YES!!! This and the upcoming Jormungand: Perfect Order!!). I’m calling it now: This show is potential sadist magnet. The premise is like a combination of Deadman Wonderland and Mirai Nikki with “The Hunger Games”. My god, I’m making it sound like we, the viewers, are spectators watching a gladiator match in ancient Rome.

    Ryouta’s old lifestyle was pretty much an ideal example of people today losing themselves into gaming and ignoring everything else. Ryouta’s reaction on the island is believable. It’s one thing to be the best in a video game but it’s another story when you’re actually fighting for your life. To his credit, he’s quick to adapt to his situation. I’ll be looking forward to seeing him snap under the pressure.

    • Highway says:

      I thought his reaction was a bit too slow and dim-witted. Maybe it can be hand-waved away with a ‘well, he never expected it to become real’ explanation, but it just felt bleh to me.

    • Overcooled says:

      I had a feeling you’d like this. Focus on just the violence and it’s pretty good! The whole “throw kids in a deathmatch free-for-all” has become a very popular trend nowadays. Guess we haven’t come that far from ancient Rome days.

      His reaction was slow, but I think it’s quite believable aside from not realizing bombs that his bombs were timed. Forgetting to push the switch in a flurry of panic or trying desperately to befriend a killer because he can’t believe it’s happening make sense. Considering he’s a NEET, he could also just be a bit dumb too lol and that’s okay! It shows what really happens when you ditch school/work!

  2. skylion says:

    I did a head-desk…multiple times while watching this one. Pedantic is almost too kind. The chase was tiresome on top of repetitive, and the exposition of the online world mas mediocre.

    About the only thing that got my interest was the preview for the next show, and as Overcooled has already said, it looks like it will cash in Rape Points for drama; looks can be deceiving. I’m detecting my first “three then dump” show this season.

    • Overcooled says:

      I can see how it could seem repetitive and forced. I don’t know, I actually liked that for once a main character wasn’t automatically a pro at something, and that their improvement was gradual.

      Pretty sure BTOOOM! aims to shock with all the subtlety of the bombs it’s famous for, so the rape scene will most likely be very flashy. It’s certainly got me curious though. How the hell is she going to get out of it, and how often is this sort of thing going to happen to her?

  3. Highway says:

    Once again, skylion is in my head on this one. The show didn’t do anything good for me, although it didn’t do too much bad, so I’m willing to give it another episode (unlike K). I am also with OC that the MC was a complete jerkass in the real world, and then turned into a complete idiot after being dumped on the island. He’s spent how much time playing a game with different bombs? He pushed the button and watched it countdown and got scared and threw it away and then it blew up? And THEN it takes him 3 more tries to even get a bomb to go off right, because he can’t figure them out?

    If it does go for rape next episode, it might be an immediate drop for me if there aren’t severe consequences. I’m good with twincest (so it’s not all taboo things), but not consentless sex.

    • Overcooled says:

      Wow, you’re done with K? I’m surprised.

      Ryouta is a huge jerk, so seeing him run around being inadequate and stupid-eyed all the time was actually kind of satisfying. I can generally tell myself “oh, he was just scared and confused!” for everything he does except his inability to comprehend that something that ticks, counts down, then explodes is a time bomb.

      Not sure how far the rape scene will go or what the tone will be. It’s hard to tell how bad or offensive it will be without the context. Hopefully it’s not a fullblown rape/sex scene, because I’d rather not sit through that either.

  4. Joojoobees says:

    Yeah, I hope the battles get much more interesting. I doubt the show as-is will hold my interest.

  5. Liza says:

    This anime looks interesting in concept. Nothing like a battle royale type show to watch humans suffer. XD I felt it to be a bit slow but I’m just hoping that it is just first episode explanation everythingness and the focus will go back on survival and bombs soon. And fanservice since that’s the only reason Himiko is there. -_-

    • Overcooled says:

      I’m always down for a group of people blowing each other up. =w= I can turn my brain off when there’s fanservice and be relatively unperturbed by it, but we’ll see how far BTOOOM! pushes it with Himiko. There are others girls too, so maybe they’re useful for something other than making guys drool?

  6. MikADo says:

    sounds like another survival game show 😛
    this type of show depends on how you can focus on to the main character and how the metal state of each character is described. lots of brain play would be nice too, but i would love to see some of the philosophy each main character should have. so far it was mediocre, but we will see how it goes
    this show is on the list
    btw we will see if you get offended OC 😛

    • Overcooled says:

      I would love for it to take a more internal approach and show us some of the thoughts racing through their heads as they go on killing sprees. More than just “ahhh where am I? Huh? What’s happening?!” of course. We’ll see how BTOOOM! develops over time. I think this show will be a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine.

      Yes, we shall see who gets offended! Not just me, because I think everyone is waiting in anticipation for that rape scene…

  7. Kyokai says:

    I want to kick MC’s ass SO BAD. Though, I should not be taking this show too seriously. Reminding me so much of HoTD but we’ll see about more fighting. Some people should die soon, yo!

  8. YotaruVegeta says:

    Spoilers: in the end, all the participants die due to brain trauma from nearly getting blown the hell up so much. Plus rape.

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