Btooom! Series Review – 06-12 [END]


Was this show the bomb, or did it bomb?

Sometimes I choose some amazing series to blog about. For example, I’ve had the pleasure of covering Shiki, Madoka, and Psycho-Pass. I would love for this to always be the case, but that unfortunately is not the reality I live in. The reality I live in has shows like Btooom! which I kick myself for offering to cover. Episode 5 was actually so bad that I had a kneejerk reaction and dropped it then and there instead of waiting to blog a nice even 6 episodes. Despite not having a lot of fun with the show, I recognized that it had some good qualities hidden deep (I’m talking Mariana’s Trench deep) underneath the terribleness of it all, so I figured I’d do a round-up of the remaining episodes at the end instead of giving up.

Is It Worth Picking Up Again?

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I get the feeling a lot of people dropped this show once it became too much for them, and may be questioning whether or not it’d be a good investment to continue. It’s a tough choice, because the beginning is very bad. It uses rape as a plot device far too often, the characters are all detestable little spawns of Satan, and the attempts at showing more adult issues are tackled with the finesse of a wrecking ball smashing into a building. Rape, violence and gore was added in at seemingly random intervals just to try and keep people watching for the shock factor. This is why Btooom! is so tiring, and therefore very easy to drop and leave behind.

Miraculously, episode 7 and onwards moves away from  relying on cheap thrills and starts to become a good show. It actually improves! The second half of Btooom! is not only watchable, but it’s actually kind of decent! Himiko stops getting molested and by now Sakamoto is starting to seem like a pretty nice guy since his past is completely behind him. The battles with bombs actually become more cerebral than just two dudes running between trees and chucking explosives around. This is largely because Sakamoto starts to run into some incredibly clever players who take a more tactical approach to Btooom!. Furthermore, they’re actually interesting characters because of how deceptive they are. You constantly have to ask who is betraying whom and it’s never clear who has the upper hand in any given situation since the flow of a battle can turn on a dime.

So if you survived around 5 episodes already, you might actually benefit from finishing it off. If you haven’t started it at all, sitting through those first 5 episodes is not worth it. I’d only recommend seeing this to the end if you’ve already invested some time into it that you can never get back.

What Happened?

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So maybe you don’t want to touch Btooom! again and just wanna know what went down. I don’t blame you. Here’s a total SPOILER-FILLED summary of the main events from episode 6 to 12.

Show ▼

Final Thoughts

Half absolutely terrible and half “eh”; Btooom! is a big waste of potential. The Battle Royale formula should allow for all sorts of unexpected and exciting betrayals, truces and exciting confrontations. However, bombs are a very all-or-nothing weapon most of the time, and I can tell they were often at a loss for how to make the fights interesting. Most of the fights consist of a running montage with some radar pings and then characters throwing bombs in the blind hope that it hits something. How do you screw up a giant fighting arena on an island where people have no choice but to kill and survive? Somehow Btooom! does it. The first 5 episodes get progressively worse and worse until it hits a crescendo of wretchedness. The middle of a series should not be so bad. It’s kind of amazing how if you overcome that hump that the show improves so much in comparison.

The new characters are quite simply much better, and they spice things up. Taira was only interesting for so long, so taking him out was a good mood. The psychotic kid has extremely limited appeal and his abusive past was so overwrought with drama that it was almost a mocking parody of every child who ever had to deal with violence in their household. Thankfully, he was also moved to just a sideline character providing taunts and jeers every now and then. It’s Date, Murasaki, and Oda who are really the show-stealers. In fact, I like all 3 of them more than I ever liked Sakamoto and Himiko. Unlike everybody else, it’s a lot harder to tell what they’re thinking just by looking at them. Even though we can hear Date cap off every sugary-sweet lie to Sakamoto with a thought about how he’s going to kill everyone in their sleep, he still remains a bit of a mystery. Why does he live to betray? How did he get like this? Does he really love Murasaki? He has multiple sides without being fake – unlike Sakamoto whose nice side on the island and borderline tyrannical behaviour back at home just seems like a horrible mistake in characterization.

The cliffhanger ending followed by the CONTINUE YES/NO screen makes me wonder if there will be a season 2 later on. I believe the manga is still ongoing, and they might be waiting for more chapters to be released to avoid catching up too quickly and having to make up an anime-original ending. For now, I don’t see any official statement about any more Btooom! Even if there’s another season, I’m still not sure if I’d continue watching it. At the very least, I won’t be blogging about it, so this may be the last you’ll see of the awkwardly-named anime for some time.

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Marriage = GAME OVER


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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26 Responses to “Btooom! Series Review – 06-12 [END]”

  1. Highway says:

    I hope this dreck doesn’t get a second season, or any sort of continuation. From what I saw and read, the second half was only ‘better’ in comparison to the absolutely atrocious first half. I mean, come on, they had a bomb gain kinetic energy bouncing off Himiko’s boob.

    Awful people doing awful things, meh, forget it.

    • Overcooled says:

      The second half is a lot better than the first half…but that’s like saying getting hit by a car and surviving is a lot better than slowly being tortured to death. I laughed pretty hard when a bomb bounced off Himiko’s boob and her face went red as if it was supposed to be an erotic scene.

      Surviving part one made getting through the second half a lot easier though!

  2. BlackBriar says:

    Shiki and Psycho-Pass are always a pleasure. I kept on watching even though things were getting a little too much (which I’m sure is a surprise to some people) because I wanted to see how the story ends. Thankfully, I got better once the presence of rape and child abuse disappeared and the story steered in the direction of good old insanity, backstabbing and survival of the fittest.

    There are some characters that really got a moral kick to the ass. That doctor, Masahito Date, for example. He used and betrayed that innocent nurse to get off the island and karma slapped him in the face by having someone send him back to the island six months later. I couldn’t help laughing and shouting “It serves you right!!” when I heard that.

    Overall, once the second half started, it became a lot more bearable to watch with some nice action scenes. To me, it’s a better version of Deadman Wonderland because in BTOOOM!, the lead isn’t such a wimp. Sakamoto mans up when the situation calls for it and he skillfully uses the knowledge from his gaming experience into the real world to survive. And Himiko is tolerable since she started trusting Sakamoto while in the process of burying her androphobia.

    So it’s half worth the time I’ve invested in watching. And just like Deadman, the finale was open ended. There is a chance it could continue because I understand the manga has more than 50 chapters and I doubt they’d leave the story like this without some sort of possibly cliché happy ending.

    • Overcooled says:

      I kind of want to know why they let people get sent BACK to the island after clearing it. I mean, even if people write down their name again, I’m sure there are tons of other candidates they could choose instead of re-using the same guy. Oh well, it was kind of funny to see him get royally screwed over.

      Ehh, Deadman Wonderland was also fairly bad, but I might say DW is an ounce better than Btooom!. At least the powers were sweet. Ganta was a pretty bad main character though…Ugh. So much horribleness I don’t want to remember!

      We’ll see if this gets another season. I’m pretty sure the manga is still ongoing like you said, so it’s possible.

      • BlackBriar says:

        I guess they were aware of what would happen to them and if they came back alive, their name would be written again and have another chance at hoping they’d be killed. After all, as shown in one of the episodes, it shows there are people privately watching the massacre and making bets on the captured players and that doctor pissed off a lot of people other than that nurse.

        The Wretched Egg/Shiro and the Branch of Sin abilities were the best part of Deadman Wonderland. Crow and Minatsuki were also my favorite characters but Ganta needs some serious development to carry the show. The only good parts with him was when he had no choice but to fight back.

        It’ll probably get another season if the sales do well for it and yeah the manga is still ongoing. Currently, it has 51 chapters.

  3. Highway says:

    Your post got offended at my disparaging comment about Btooooooooom!!!! and decided to feed it to Spammy. 🙂

    • BlackBriar says:

      Hahaha!! Maybe Spammy felt you were being a little too strong and ate it or he just ate it because he simply can.

      • Overcooled says:

        The funny thing is that BOTH of you had comments that I had to rescue. Even Spammy can’t handle Btooom!…

        • BlackBriar says:

          I bet you’ve lost count how many times you’ve rescued comments from Spammy. It takes a strong few to handle BTOOOM! and its many flaws.

  4. d-LaN says:

    Remember my statement on continue watching BTOOOM?? I actually backlogged this in favor of my tighter schedule XD

    Lol highway, why so mad? Just sit back and enjoy the show.

    • Overcooled says:

      I followed through on my duty, but I don’t blame you for backlogging it u_u

    • Highway says:

      This show actually outright offended me, as a human being and as a male human being (and as a few other categories). I’m not one to get too easily offended, and I don’t think anyone should be necessarily censored, but shows like this really give humanity a bad rap.

      I can’t enjoy a show that was as atrocious and amoral as this one was through the first half.

      • BlackBriar says:

        I understand what you mean but unfortunately, since there are different people in the world, there are surely those that would completely enjoy watching a show like this and not say a word.

  5. Hazou says:

    I dropped Btoom by episode 4. It was just a waste of time compared to Jojo’s Adventure, Psycho-Pass, Shinsekai Yori. This season of anime was just not good. I dropped three shows K, Btoom, and even Code Breaker. Just a lack of stuff to grip the audience and a lack of good character progression.

    • Overcooled says:

      Really? I thought there were a ton of good shows this season! I still need to catch up since I’m trying to watch so many shows…

    • Highway says:

      I thought this season had a bunch of great shows, and a lot of acceptable or better shows. Comparing to Summer, the shows in every category were better. I didn’t finish as many shows in Fall as I did in Summer, but only a few of the summer shows could match up to even the middle of the pack of Fall shows.

    • d-LaN says:

      Shin Sekai Yori says hi.

  6. Namika says:

    I was actually thinking of marathoning this on holidays, but the end….. marriage? O_O is this a f-ing shoujo? meh

    • BlackBriar says:

      Believe me when I say BTOOOM! is nowhere near the shoujo genre and that “marriage” was just in the video game before they got sent to that hellhole of an island to fight for their lives. I’d only say “yes” to marathoning this if you have a lot of time on your hands and a strong tollerance for immorality and cruelty.

      • Namika says:

        Rly? Immorality and cruelty?? ( ̄w ̄) hmmmm

        • BlackBriar says:

          Be warned. There’s the kind of Immorality and cruelty you’d like to watch because it looks like fun and the kind that would make want to drop it because of material you may find heinous. In this case, you might find it to be the latter.

    • Overcooled says:

      Don’t bother if you haven’t already wasted time watching the first half. I almost wish it were a shoujo considering how it turned out =_=

      • Namika says:

        whoa O_O is it really that bad? I don’t even know, who to trust now. Immorality and cruelty sounds kinda nice, because I’m searching for an anime like that. But your advice almost completely turned me off. Well, I guess I’ll give it a try anyway. I don’t think anything will disappoint me more than K this season so meh…. why not ?

        • Miyu says:

          The thing about Btooom is that it won’t only disappoint you, it will also disgust you in many ways… but uh, up to you?? :c Dropped this when Cool did because my tolerance for crude grossness is pretty low.

          • Namika says:

            Wow. It’s THAT disgusting??? O_O Now I kinda want to see it even more, Idk why LOL

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